In general, we like the Vesper. The construction is well thought out, and we liked the hydrophobic down. Make no mistake, though, this is an ultralight quilt, and we had to plan accordingly for a clothing system to match. Nine ounces of down isn't a lot for a 32-degree bag, and while it is distributed smartly, there are warmer quilts in the review.
Testing out the Vesper 32 while cowboy-camping in the Southwest Utah desert.
For what it is, the Vesper 32 ain't bad when it comes to warmth. It's certainly not as warm as similar quilts like the Astralite or the Katabatic Gear Palisade, but it does well with the nine ounces of down it has. On the inside of the Vesper 32 is a small tag listing the "comfort" and "limit" ratings, as per the EN ratings. Many manufacturers list their bags as the "limit" rating being the primary rating to pay attention to, whereas most users think in terms of "comfort". Going off this understanding, we think the Vesper 32 would more accurately list its comfort rating at 41 degrees.
The down is thicker in the top of the quilt and a bit thinner on the sides so as to insulate where heat is lost the most. Between the differential down and the pad attachment, it actually makes a passable seal between the pad and quilt, unless you flop around a lot at night. With a second pad attachment strap, the seal would be a touch better and warmer.
The Vesper 32 fills the center of the quilt more fully than the sides, so as to maximize the down's effectiveness and minimize weight.
At 15 ounces, the Vesper 32 tied with the Western Mountaineering Highlite as the lightest bags in this review. This thing is also super packable, packing down a little smaller than a one-liter water bottle.
The Vesper 32 is impressively light and packable at 15 ounces, but the compression sack made concerning ripping noises when we tightened it down. Not an issue if you simply stuff this bag into the bottom of your pack sans sack.
For how light this thing is, it's quite comfy. The 10D nylon fabric is plenty soft, and the slipperiness of it doesn't catch on fleece clothing. The Synergylink Connector strap and the snap at the collar are both low profile enough that we didn't notice when we were laying on them. We wished the footbox was a bit wider, but it was satisfactorily deep so our feet didn't slide out when rolling around at night.
The Thermarest Vesper has two different places where the Syngergylink Connector can be attached to strap the pad to the quilt, but only one connector. With a second connector the seal between the two would be better.
The Vesper does well but not in a ton of situations. It's really more of a summer quilt, where the nights won't dip down below about 40°. We wouldn't be too thrilled about taking this out for nights around freezing, although you could probably make it work if motivated. But for a wider range, we'd recommend something more versatile like the Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL.
The Vesper 32 dried out fairly quickly after a wet night in a single wall tent, where our testers dealt with a lot of condensation.
The Vesper 32 is a mixed bag when it comes to features. The pad attachment system was easy to use, but it would have been better if it came with two Synergylink Connectors, as there are two places to attach them. They also can't be cinched for chillier nights. Also, the snap on the back of the collar came undone occasionally during the night.
We liked the connection system for the Synergylink Connectors, but we wished there was a second one, and that they were adjustable.
The draft collar and drawstring work pretty well and stayed put all night, and the hydrophobic down is a nice touch. We liked that it came with a compression stuff sack, but it felt really flimsy and we could hear the stitching pop a bit when we tightened it down.
The Vesper 32 is best suited for summer trips backpacking, fastpacking, or bikepacking where weight and packed size are major considerations and the weather is a known quantity. The lightweight and small packed size mean you can jam it at the bottom of a pack and not think about it too much. There is also a Vesper 20 if you like the design but you'd prefer a bit more range for temperature.
The Vesper 32 fabric didn't seem to have as strong a DWR coating as some of the other bags we tested, but it did dry out fast.
At $350 the price is midrange in the review. For its price, it's a pretty good deal for the weight savings, at the cost of some warmth. We think it's hard to beat the two Best Buy award winners Hammock Gear Burrow Econ and the Enlightened Equipment Revelation for value, but if weight savings is an absolute must, the Vesper might be worth looking into.
There's a lot of good things about the Therm-a-Rest Vesper 32. It's really light, and we liked the differential fill with hydrophobic down. We wish it was a little warmer (or better labeled), and a few minor design tweaks would have raised the score. Still, if your main concern is weight and you're looking for a summer quilt, the Vesper is a pretty good option.
Letting the down uncompress before a night out in the Utah Hills. We recommend unpacking your bag well before crawling into it so that it has time to regain its loft (and therefore maximize its warmth).