Last weekend I used a:
- Cumulus Quilt 250 with a control weight of 484g
- Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite Small sleeping pad including standard storage bag with a control weight of 211g
- VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat 8mm with a control weight of 110g. It also doubles as a seat pad. (see photo below)
Total control weight = 805g
The Cumulus Quilt 250 is not new gear and I have been using it for about a year now. This is the second season in use. I am happy with the low weight and compactness. When I was using my HMG Windrider 3400 last season, I wasn’t compressing the quilt, and it just laid in the bottom of my pack in a pack liner. Now that I am using a HMG Windrider 2400, I have chosen to compact the quilt into a ZPacks Medium-Plus Cuben Fiber 9.5 Ltr dry bag. I have noticed that when I pack my gear in the mornings that there are some small amounts of goose down from the quilt in my shelter. I’ve only noticed this after I started compacting it. I only use the quilt when temperatures are a minimum 6 or 7 degrees ℃. I’m a bit of a cold sleeper and I use these temps to gauge when I will start using the bag at the start of the season. I’m not saying that this is what you should do, only that this is what works for me. I’ve used it in lower temps around 3 or 4 degrees ℃ and I just didn’t like it because of the draughts and it was just too cold. I regard this quilt as my late spring/summer/early autumn gear. A lot of people complain that when they toss and turn at night that you have to adjust the fastening system to stop the cold air on their backs every time you turn over. This is also my experience. I basically only use the fastening system at the beginning and the end of the season. Otherwise I don’t use the cord system. I had them fastenned on the last hike I did, but they are now removed and I’m ready to use the quilt for the summer.
I have recently purchased both the Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite Small and the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat 8mm. These are my findings:
– very lightweight
– you can use the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat as a sit pad for resting on and as I did, it was great for lying on when I got sick last weekend
– the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat is a closed foam and therefore doesn’t soak any water up
– the Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite Small is very comfortable ( I only use these Therm-A-Rest Neoair sleeping pads. I have a regular size that I use in early spring through to autumn, and I have a Therm-A-Rest Neoair XTherm Regular as well which I use all through winter)
– I found that travelling on the train and busses that the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat was awkward and kept getting stuck on corners and hitting people and things etc. I mainly only take public transport, as I am travelling to Sweden all the time, so this is important for me.
– hiking through some brush it got caught often as well. I think that it would rip easily too, but that is nothing a bit of duct tape couldn’t fix.
– when I used the VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat during the day I found it difficult to remove all the twigs and leaves etc. They tended to mould easily into the mat and sat there real good.
I’m defiantly not against the idea of this ultra lightweight sleeping system and I’m always willing to try new ideas and this is why I used my money and time on it. However, me being over 50 years old, and an arthritis patient (I have arthritis in my spine and have constant pain and therefore take medicine for this), I really prefer my Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite – Regular, because of the extra comfort I experience on my back.
I said that I have mixed feelings in my recent trip report, because I’m not convinced either way. I will definitely use this system again and continue to experiment. But like I’ve written above, I have this medical condition as well and I guess I’ll just do what I always do and plan every hike like a new one and use the gear that suits that hike.
I had a recent suggestion from Karl on my Facebook page that could be interesting. He uses 4 sections cut off from a Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite SOL. The 4 sections weigh 116 grams which is only 6 grams more than my “awkward” VAUDE Evazote sleeping mat! I could arrange it easily on my pack so that it doesn’t stick out like the Vaude as it will fold more compactly. It will still double as a seat pad too.
I’ll let you know how this develops.