It’s about this time each year when I finally start getting around to updating my camping equipment (I know its late). As a father of three young kids, I don’t get into the backcountry as much as I used to. Therefore, while I am continually adding to my pack, I try to do my planning to fully maximize the usage of my items – and that means analyzing what I can use at our overnight relays like Hood to Coast, Cascade Lakes Relay, or Ragnar (among others). Having ran a few of these, I understand that sleep isn’t always an option, but having a comfortable system in place can allow for as much restful time between legs as possible. Run Oregon selected a few items from Therm-a-Rest to build a new sleep system that would be great not only for all you hikers and campers out there, but also would be perfect pre-and post-race – as well as to take on your next relay.
For as much as I have updated my pack, for some reason my sleeping bag has been the one item that I haven’t really updated. It’s not event that I have a great one, as it’s not super packable and is sometimes more work to get cinched up than should even be necessary. The Dorado Duo HD is a great option for those who are looking for a little versatility in addition to something light and packable. The Dorado Duo HD probably isn’t best used for those who plan to take on freezing temperatures (men’s lowest recommended temperature is 35 degrees and women’s is 45), but it is perfect to utilize on those nippy evenings as a sleeping bag or as a quilt (hence the “Duo” in the name) at a ball game, bundled up around a campfire, or keeping you warm during those midnight to 6am leg changes on relays. It can even be zipped together (using outside zippers) with other Dorado bags to create a super bag or snuggle close at the campfire.
Some technical speak from the website:
Used in all Therm-a-Rest 3 and 4-season sleeping bags. Nikwax® Hydrophobic Down absorbs 40% less moisture than untreated down. This keeps you warmer over a greater range of conditions, and allows it to dry and restore performance faster. And since all water-resistant down treatments wash out over time, Nikwax Hydrophobic Down is specially formulated to be easily retreated at home using Nikwax DownWash™ and DownProof™, ensuring the long-term water-resistance performance of your bag.
In addition, unlike other treated down, Nikwax® Hydrophobic Down is a water-based formula that’s Flourocarbon-free (a.k.a. PFO’s, PFOA’s or PFC’s) and safe for you and the environment. We found this a particularly compelling reason to go with Nikwax, as questions are increasingly raised about the long-term effects of these chemicals and their persistence in our bodies and the environment.
Nikwax Hydrophobic Down provides added loft without bulk and ThermaCapture seams capture warmth.
The price may deter some ($290), but it seems like this is an investment that will pay for itself over time, given the quality and diversity of this pack.
In addition to the great technology, this bag is super lightweight (2 lbs 6 oz), soft (650 fill), and packable (16×8 in. packed). It also comes with removable straps, which come in handy when utilizing a sleeping mat in order to keep you locked in and make it so you don’t end up on the ground in the middle of the night.
Speaking of sleeping mats, the NeoAir Trekker is one of a variety that Therm-A-Rest has available. It was updated for 2017 and I must say that I am really liking it. Even though I don’t feel this pad is the biggest or warmest out there, it did increase in both areas. There created a Regular Wide size this year, as well as increased warmth using their reflective ThermaCapture technology to increase warmth by 50%. It will be great for backpacking as it folds up small, but is also a fine choice for camping at Silver Lake, La Pine Middle, or Elk Lake during CLR or Columbia County Fairgrounds or Tent City at Hood to Coast.
Inflating wasn’t too terrible challenging and required about 30+ full lung capacity breaths to get it at full capacity. The cap easily twists to lock in the air, though I experimented and found that it was best to keep your mouth on it completely until you completed the turn to keep from losing any air in the capping off process. It weights about 15-18 ounces and measures at 77 inches long, 25 inches wide, and 2.5 inches thick (depending on thickness preference). The old versions of the NeoAir were 20 inches across and I, for one, appreciated the additional width given my body frame.
The pad comes with a stuff sack (which packs down tiny – perfect for saving space in packs and in relay vans), and a repair kit – though the nylon bottom and coatings should keep those from much use. In fact, I was able to squeeze this down to about the size of a plastic nalgene bottle or 22 ounce bottled beer. That’s impressive! Once again, the price point ($129) may be tough for some to pull the trigger on, but there are a lot of benefits for the investment. It’s a fantastic mild-weather pad that can handle your basic summer camping and relay needs.
I don’t know about you, but when I have gone on overnight or weekly excursions, my pillow is essentially clothes wrapped in a towel or sheet. While this gets the job done (sort of), neck kinks and tossing, turning, and readjusting is a common occurence. Therm-A-Rest’s compressible comes in 4 different sizes and a variety of different color options, to accommodate your needs. They weigh between 7-15 ounces, and run between $20-$36, depending on size.
While this is obviously great for camping, I know it is a perfect companion for when you are somewhere along the relay route and need to catch some shuteye up against the car window. Pull this puppy out for some added comfort!
Products & Price:
In 1971, a fortuitous mix of unemployed engineers, a leaky foam gardening pad, and the dream of a better way to sleep under the stars came together to change how we experience the outdoors forever. As climbers, Jim Lea, Neil Anderson and John Burroughs knew firsthand that long days in the hills were only made longer by a horrible night’s rest, and a better sleeping pad was key to changing that equation. This blend of science and a desire to make the most of every day outdoors created the world’s first self-inflating air mattress, and it continues to be the fuel that drives us today.
Today, Therm-a-Rest remains at the forefront of comfort innovation and quality, with a commitment to building what we make, with our own hands, whenever possible.
We are a focused and passionate team with an insatiable desire to be out exploring the world. We share your understanding that being outdoors is a more than a way to define your location – it’s an essential part of life. Whether it’s your path to personal enlightenment and inner peace, or the place you go for the adrenaline fix of the next big adventure, it’s where you’d be now if you could, and that’s what bonds us all.
Company information taken from the company’s website. We like to let their own stories speak for themselves, because we review companies that have real personality and passion about what they do.
Thank you to Therm-a-Rest for providing us with samples. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.