Brooks Range Mountaineering Cloak 30 ReviewJune 19, 2013
- Water-repellent down holds loft even when damp
- Open sided so susceptible to drafts and air-infiltration
This “bag” is kind of an oddball, but a very high quality oddball. It’s really an ultralight quilt that works in connection with your sleeping pad to create a warm backcountry bed, but the design can allow drafts. The minimalist cloak cuts weight and bulk while minimizing warmth.
The Brooks Range Cloak offers a lot of benefits for those who don’t mind risking nighttime chills. The tapered quilt fits over your sleeping pad but if you toss and turn during the night, there’s a high likelihood you’ll untuck the edges and get blasted by chilly air. But in exchange for the risk of cold toes, you get a very lightweight bed that compacts into a softball-sized package for transport. The use of water-resistant, instant drying DownTek down insulation means it also insulates nicely even when dampened by rain or condensation.
This 850-fill blanket packs small, compressing into a softball-sized package that fits snugly into the corner of any pack.
Warmth-to-weight ratio and Comfort
Weighing in at almost exactly 1 pound, the Cloak can’t be beat for weight, and in the right circumstances, it’s remarkably warm.
When unfurled, the blanket lofts-up nicely to create a warm covering, provided it stays in place over you. A broad pocket spans the foot section, allowing you to slip the foot of your sleeping pad into it to help hold the blanket securely in place.
The edges can be tucked directly under your body, or if you want more freedom of movement, under the edges of your pad. I found the ideal solution was to tuck one side under the edge of the pad, slid into bed, and then tuck the open edge under my thighs and back to seal myself into the rudimentary cocoon. It worked wonderfully for me, as I’m a straight-up back sleeper. For those to change positions often, though, the Cloak proved a little drafty as they twisted and turned during the night.
Though the Cloak showed no signs of wear from repeated use and a couple wash cycles, the 15-denier nylon shell does leave the blanket susceptible to small snags and tears. Of course, that featherweight shell also keeps the weight in the minimalist range, too—the common trade-off for reduced durability.