Therm-A-Rest Antares ReviewJune 22, 2013
- Utilizes other pack contents to reduce pack weight
- Comfortable and warm
- Requires a secondary component
- Limits sleep mobility
All told, the Therm-A-Rest Antares’s combination of weight, size and warmth make this a great choice for users seeking the most efficient sleep system for their backcountry camp. By replacing the bags bottom insulation with an insulated sleeping pad, the system saves some weight but reduces some versatility of use.
The Therm-A-Rest Antares is a 750-fill down bag that mates with an insulated sleeping pad to reduce total system weight. It has a verified EN comfort rating of 34-degrees, and a lower limit of 23-degrees F.
Weight-watching hikers have long been aware of the benefits of eliminating redundancies in their camp systems. (Why carry a frying pan and a pot lid, if you can fry on the pot lid?)
Likewise, why put insulation under a sleeping bag when the bag is going be placed on an insulated sleeping pad anyway? The designers at Therm-A-Rest rolled out this idea with the latest line of bags. (The company also offered a similar concept in the mid-1990s, but for business reasons, they dropped their sleeping bag line after just a few years at that time. Big Agnes has also been using this design for years.)
The Antares is the premium bag in their latest line, boasting 750-fill and a lightweight 30-denier nylon shell.
Those lightweight and compact components – plus the elimination of a third of the insulation at the bottom of the bag–results in a highly compressible design. It initially stuffs into a sack that’s 7×12 (about average), but then compresses to half that size with an optional compression bag (that’s extremely small for this temperature rating).
The Antares proved plenty warm for use below freezing, but most testers felt it was ideal for use in temperatures above 25ºF (Editor’s note: The Antares slips into this class of 10F-24F down bags on a technicality—you’d be better advised to compare it to our 25F-35F bags). At less than 2 pounds, the weight can’t beat by any other bag in this test class but it’s not nearly as warm as the offering from The North Face, for example.
The Antares is generously cut, basically following the tapers of their NeoAir pads. A pair of flexible straps links the Antares to virtually any pad (it does not have to be made by Therm-A-Rest), ensuring the bag stays in place on the pad.
However, that also limits your sleep mobility, since you have to twist and turn inside the bag rather than move the bag with you–roll the bag and you bring the pad out from underneath you. Still, the bag is roomy enough to allow that interior movement and all of us felt it provided a remarkable restful night’s sleep–one of the most comfortable in the class, in fact.
We did snag the loose bottom panel on a trekking pole tip while dragging it out of the tent to stuff one morning, tearing a small gash in the sheet. Fortunately, that did not affect the performance of the bag in any way since that bottom panel is little more than a comfort sheet covering the linked sleeping pad. But the tear did raise durability questions.