There has always been two schools of thought when it comes to traveling in the backcountry: 1) Bring the kitchen sink, 2) Go light and fast. It seems like these days “light and fast” is gaining significant traction, especially when one is trying to cover a bunch of mileage in a day. With the promotion of FKT’s (Fastest Known Times) and Fastpacking as new ways to travel in the wilderness, people are trending towards lighter gear for their adventures. In a market flooded with numerous light and fast options, ThermaRest has managed to make the game changing lightest sleep system on the market which will be available in the Spring of 2019.
The first part of this incredible sleeping system is the NeoAir Uberlite sleeping pad. Without sacrificing comfort, the ThermaRest NeoAir Uberlite sleeping pad weighs in at an unbelievable 8.8 ounces for the regular size which is 2.5” thick, 20” wide and 72” long. For the “non-average” body type or size, there’s also a long and a short version of the Uberlite weighing in at 12 ounces and 6 ounces, respectively. Regardless of size, its still incredibly light and packs down slightly larger than a can of soda. Maybe the only downside to this is the sacrifice you make in material durability. In order to make an even lighter pad, it either needs to be smaller in size or the material needs to be thinner. The latter being the case with the Uberlite. Only time will tell how well this pad will hold up.
To complete the sleeping system, the NeoAir Uberlite pad pairs with the ultralight Vesper “quilt” which weighs a mere 15 ounces for the 32 degree version and 19 ounces for the 20 degree version and it packs down to about the size of a Nerf football. It’s a quilt so there’s no zipper or no hood to add weight, but there is an insulated foot box to keep your feet warm and the quilt in position. In addition to the weight savings, the Vesper is stuffed with 900-fill down feathers that are certified to the RDS (Responsible Down Standard) and treated with Nikwax to make Hydrophobic Down that stays drier and loftier than untreated down. The Vesper also has a couple of retainer straps that help keep you and the pad and the quilt as one.
Regardless of all the ounces in savings, this system packs down so small that now you really can bring the kitchen sink… or you can just go with a much smaller pack, which helps you save even more weight.