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Therm-a-Rest Vesper 32 Review

A comfortable and lightweight quilt for summer hiking.
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Price:  $320 List | $319.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Super lightweight, water-resistant down, nice fabric.
Cons:  Could use a second attachment strap, snap sometimes comes undone.
Manufacturer:   Therm-a-Rest
By Ethan Newman ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 13, 2019
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 13
  • Warmth - 30% 5
  • Weight - 25% 9
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 6
  • Features - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The Therm-a-rest Vesper 32 is a lightweight quilt that is functional without many frills. Thermarest has been getting more into the sleeping bag game in the past few years, and we think they're getting better. The Vesper is really lightweight and really packable. It's a bit warmer than the bags of similar weight since it doesn't have to spread the down around as much. The hydrophobic down is a nice plus as well and is showing up more and more in new bags. While it's not the warmest bag, it is a quality, lightweight quilt that works well for what it is.

In some ways the Vesper 32 is like a skimpier version of the Western Mountaineering Astralite quilt; less down, less pad attachment, similar fabric. However, the Vesper aims to be light above all else, whereas the Astralite went for warmth.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award  
Price $319.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$364.00 at Feathered Friends$300 List$410.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$379 List
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Pros Super lightweight, water-resistant down, nice fabric.Highest scoring ultralight sleeping bag, best features, and most versatileVery affordable, highly customizable, versatile, lots of featuresWarmth-to-weight ratio, excellent fabric, Made in the USAWarm for an ultralight bag, simple and versatile design, box baffle construction, waterproof stuff sack
Cons Could use a second attachment strap, snap sometimes comes undone.40 degree not as warm as others, neck draw cords loosen over timeLong wait for product to be custom made and shipped, foot box draw cord still leaves a little hole, lots of buttons and strapsTight fit, shallow hood, expensiveA little constricting, small foot box, not the best neck draw cord design
Bottom Line A comfortable and lightweight quilt for summer hiking.The highest scorer because of its versatile design that allows it to be a fully opened blanket or a fully zipped hoodless mummy.Offers the versatility of sleeping under it as a blanket or fully wrapped up, with a huge range of customizable options.A stellar choice for those looking for a warm, lightweight, fully hooded mummy.A top-scoring bag that's warm and versatile enough for full three-season use, while weighing impressively little.
Rating Categories Therm-a-Rest Vesper 32 Flicker 40 UL Revelation 20 Summerlite ZPacks Classic
Warmth (30%)
10
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5
10
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6
10
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8
10
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8
10
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8
Weight (25%)
10
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9
10
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6
10
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6
10
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6
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6
Comfort (20%)
10
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7
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7
10
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6
10
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6
10
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6
Versatility (15%)
10
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6
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10
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8
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9
Features (10%)
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7
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5
Specs Therm-a-Rest... Flicker 40 UL Revelation 20 Summerlite ZPacks Classic
Style Quilt Center zip mummy bag or unzipper to be quilt Quilt Hooded Mummy Hoodless mummy
Manufacturer Stated Temperature Rating 32F 40F 20F 32F 20F
Measured weight, bag only (ounces) 15 oz 19.1 oz 20.9 oz 19 oz 20.3 oz
Claimed weight from manufacturer (ounces) 15 oz 20 oz 20.19 oz 19 oz 19.8 oz
Stuff Sack Weight (ounces) 1.7 oz 0.8 oz 0.6 oz 1 oz 0.9 oz
Stuffed Size 5" x 6" 7" x 10" 7" x 12" 6" x 12" 6" x 12"
Fill Weight 9 oz 8.4 oz 13 oz 10 oz 13.1 oz
Fill Power 900 fill 950+ Goose Down 850 Downtek 850+ goose down 900 fill
Construction No hood, no zipper Continuous baffles U shaped baffled quilt Continuous baffle Vertical upper baffles and horizontal lower baffles, box baffle construction
Shell Material 10D nylon ripstop Pertex Endurance UL 10D nylon fabric 100% nylon ripstop .70 oz/sqyd (23.7 g/m2) Ventum Ripstop Nylon w/ DWR
Shoulder Girth (inches) 58" 62" 55" 59" 61"
Hip Girth (inches) 51" 48" 55" 51" 61"
Foot Girth (inches) 38" 39" 55" 38" 35"
Zipper Length No zipper Full length center zip 1/3 length at bottom Full length 3/4 length
Sizes Regular, long Regular, long, and wide Short/regular, regular/regular, regular/wide/ long/wide 5'6", 6', and 6'6" Slim, standard, and broad (girth) short, medium, long, x-long and xx-long (length)
Temp Options ( degrees Fahrenheit) 32, 20F 20, 30, 40F 10, 20, 30, 40F 32F 10, 20, 30, 40F

Our Analysis and Test Results

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.

Performance Comparison


Testing out the Vesper 32 while cowboy-camping in the Southwest Utah desert.
Testing out the Vesper 32 while cowboy-camping in the Southwest Utah desert.

Warmth


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.
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.

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.
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.

Comfort


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 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.

Versatility


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 dried out fairly quickly after a wet night in a single wall tent, where our testers dealt with a lot of condensation.

Features


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.
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.

Best Applications


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.
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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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).
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).


Ethan Newman