Therm-A-Rest Ventra Down Comforter
July 5, 2009
September 14, 2009
Long Term Report:
November 10, 2009
Background: I went on my first backpacking trip as a Boy Scout
at the age of 16. Over the years I have hiked the Wonderland Trail in
Washington and section hiked parts of the Florida Trail, Appalachian
Trail, Colorado Trail and 740 mi
(1191 km) of the Pacific Crest Trail. I
continue to backpack and hike year round in the Colorado mountains. I
have evolved from a heavyweight backpacker to a lightweight backpacker
and sometimes reach ultralight weights.
My three day summer solo adventures (using a hammock) have me hovering
around a 10 lb (4.5 kg) base weight.
||6 ft 1
in (1.85 m)
July 5, 2009
INFORMATION (From Website)
The Ventra comforter provides all the technical benefits of a down
sleeping bag—lightweight compressibility and warmth —without making you
feel…like a mummy. It snaps directly to your mattress with our Fitted
Sheets or Mattress Snap Kit, eliminating the wasted down and fabric
underneath you that provides little additional warmth. Instead, you get
the added benefits of space, ventilation and foot-loose freedom that
you only ever felt at home. Used as a part of a sleep system, or on its
own around camp, the Ventra Down Comforter is creating a brand new
genre of technical, outdoor luxury.
*The converted weights
don't match. On the website it lists 2 lbs 5 oz (1180 g) and on the
product literature that came with the product, it lists the weight at
40 oz (1180g). Neither one of the ounce weights match the gram weights.
The common measurement of 1180 g is (41.6 oz or 2 lbs 9.6 oz)
- Rated to 40°F (4°C)
- Box-baffled, 650-fill down to eliminate cold spots.
- Sizes: Regular & Large (testing)
- Colors: Limon & Chili Pepper (testing)
- Listed Weight* (Size Large):
2 lbs 5 oz (1180 g)
- Actual Weight (Size Large):
2 lbs 5.5 oz (1063 g)
- Stuff Sack: 0.9 oz (26.8 g)
- Listed Size: 60 in x 82 in (152 cm x 208 cm)
- Actual Size: 59 in x 80 in (150 cm x 203 cm)
- Made in China
arrived in a cube shaped
storage container made of a heavy weight cordura type nylon. On one end
is a mesh panel with a zipper and on the other end is a carry strap.
Also included was a stuff sack with a simple draw cord, made of the
same two nylons as the comforter itself.
My very first
impression was "wow
this thing is big". I ordered the large size because of my height. The
length of the Ventra seems just fine but the width is quite large. Wide
enough for two very friendly people to sleep under. To give you an
example I laid it flat on top of my queen sized bed and the top edge is
nearly as wide as the bed.
I am so glad I have an opportunity to test this product. I love
quilts/comforters and I was introduced to them about 5 years ago and I
use them extensively during the spring, summer and fall. The only time
I use a sleeping bag is during the winter when heat retention is
paramount. For me quilts fit my way of sleeping. I sleep all over the
place. I sleep on my back, on my side and on my stomach. And most
importantly is my tendency to sprawl. A sleeping bag, especially a
mummy bag just does not accommodate my style of sleeping comfort.
The top of the Ventra is made of a mini ripstop (slightly shiny) nylon
in the Chili Pepper color. The color is quite pleasing and is kind of a
rusty, reddish orange. The inside is made of a very soft, smooth gray
nylon which feels quite luxurious against the skin.
The shape of the Ventra is wider at the top 59 in (150 cm) tapering to
41 in (104 cm) at the foot end. The foot end has an elastic foot
pocket. This foot pocket is also designed to wrap around the bottom
edge of the sleeping mattress. Also along the two sides are 7 in (18
cm) wide draft tubes. The Ventra has a small
pocket with a snap closure located along the top edge .
other items which are accessories to the comforter. A fitted sheet
(with snaps) which is large enough for a 20 in x 72 in (50 cm x 183 cm)
sleeping pad and a snap kit that contains 8 self adhesive strips with
snaps that adhere to the bottom of a sleeping pad. The snaps allow the
Ventra to be attached to the sleeping pad. The Ventra has 8 snaps along
it's outside edge — three on each side and two on the bottom edge.
Using the snaps makes the comforter more like a sleeping bag and wraps
the edges around and underneath the pad. I
will over the course of this test decide if utilizing the snaps works
for me or not.
Instructions: The instructions
are printed on a paper band that wraps around the storage cube. They
were easy to follow and seemed straight forward. Also included were
care instructions indicating that the Ventra is machine washable in a
Sewn on the bottom edge were additional down care instructions:
Wash: Hand wash or machine wash in a large capacity, front loading
washing machines using a mild, powdered soap or special down soap. Cold
water, gentle cycle with two rinses. Do not dry clean. Do not bleach.
Do not iron.
Dry: Tumble dry in large commercial dryer with low heat, checking
comforter often to redistribute down and to check for over heating. As
the bag dries, shake gently to redistribute down. Do not hang dry.
Do not store your comforter compressed.
Trying it out: The day it
arrived I tossed it on top of my bed and slept under the Ventra all
windows were open and the ceiling fan was on medium. By morning the
room temperature was about 65° F (18° C). I consider myself a
normal to warm sleeper and most of the night I was just too warm, even
sweating a bit on occasion. The good thing is that the Ventra is very
easy to ventilate. Just throw my arms or a leg out and I cooled right
off. My first experience taught me that the Ventra is not for warm
weather and I should wait until it gets closer to 50° before I try
it out again. And the best way to do that is head for the mountains.
- Very Comfortable
- Luxurious fabric
- Easy to ventilate
- Fits my sprawling style of
- Elasticized foot pocket
- Very wide - Good coverage is important but the width seems
excessive for one person.
September 14, 2009
I have gotten out on two weekend trips
with the Ventra. These two trips are beginning to give me a pretty good
idea of the comfort range of this comforter. Overall the temperatures
have been pretty typical of a mild Colorado summer. I tent camped one
trip and slept in a hammock the second trip.
locations and conditions:
The first trip was a three
day, two night backpacking trip on the Buchanan Pass/Pawnee Pass
loop trail 24 mi (39 km). I
headed out Friday
morning and got back Sunday afternoon. Elevations were between 9,000
and 12,500 ft
(2,743 and 3,810 m). My first trip out I decided to not bring the
fitted sheet (used on a Therm-A-Rest
sleeping pad) or the snap kit. The comforter is so large that I
basically felt like I did not need them. Two nights of sleeping under
the comforter proved me right. I toss and turn quite a bit while I
sleep but I found that there was always plenty of comforter to keep me
covered. I slept underneath the Ventra in underwear and a short sleeved
t-shirt. When I went to bed temperatures were warmer at about 65° F
(18° C) but got down to
about 55° F (13° C). I went to bed a little warm but woke up
nice and toasty. I also tried tucking one side under my sleeping pad
and the weight of my body kept it in place most of the night. By
morning it was no longer under me but I was always covered. The second
night it was a little cooler and got down to 48° (9° C). I wore
the same clothing and woke up nice and warm. I was inside a single wall
tent so wind and drafts were not a problem. Humidity was very low both
nights so condensation was minimal and I did not notice any wet spots
on the comforter where it touched the walls of the tent.
The Ventra is wide enough to cover the entire bottom of a two man tent.
second trip with the Ventra was a quick overnighter to Finch Lake, a
(7.2 km) hike each
way. Elevations run between 6400 ft (1950 m) to 9900 ft (3017 m).
Temperatures were between 75-85° F (24-29° C) during the day
and at night it got down to about 46° F (8° C). This trip I
slept in a hammock and since there was no indication of rain I left the
tarp off so I could see the stars. It was a very pleasant night with
only a very light breeze. I slept in underwear, a long sleeve
lightweight Merino Wool t-shirt and a pair of socks. I basically folded
the comforter in half (sleeping bag style) and slept on top of a closed
cell foam pad. I
woke up about midnight and the only thing cold was my ears so I pulled
on a lightweight stocking cap and went back to bed. I woke up warm and
content. Usually I am ready to retire the hammock for the season when
start to approach the mid 40s. I believe little to no breeze and being
able to fold the Ventra underneath me kept me comfortable.
The temperature rating of the Ventra is 40°F (4°C). I
have not experienced temperatures quite that low but so far I have been
comfortable wearing very little to sleep in and stayed warm. As
temperatures get cooler I will be adding additional clothing to see
just how low we can go.
The foot pocket has been quite good at keeping my feet contained and
warm. The elastic has plenty of give and my feet can move around a lot
and still stay covered.
- Everything in my Initial Report
- It's just like sleeping at home
under my comforter on my bed
- Plenty of room to sprawl and still
- Because it is so big it does add some extra weight.
LONG TERM REPORT
November 11, 2009
Squeezed in one more car camping trip to
finalize this test. Wanted to make sure I was able to test the
comforter at least down to it's rated temperature. We managed that and
a little more
including some great fishing and hiking.
locations and conditions:
Do ya think the wind blows up here. Check out those trees.
We drove up to Lefthand Reservoir for a glorious 4 day, 3 night trip.
One of my favorite spots on the planet. The elevation where we camped
was approx. 9500 ft (2896 m) and the temperatures were between 50 and
65° F (10° and 18° C) during the day and at night we saw
temperatures between 30 and 40° F (-1 and 4° C). Over the
course of the trip the temperatures got progressively cooler. Both
during the day and at night. For the entire trip I slept on a cot with
a closed cell foam pad on top. This trip has been my first opportunity
to test the published temperature rating of 40° F (4° C) for
this comforter. The first night I slept in underwear and a cotton
t-shirt. When I went to bed the temperature was about 48° F (9°
C) and I was already feeling a bit chilly. At midnight I woke up and
checked the temperature. It was right at 40° F (4° C) and I
felt cool, not warm and toasty like I normally do. I put on a long
sleeve merino wool top and a pair of wool socks and went back to sleep.
In the morning the temperature had dropped another degree and I woke up
warm and content. The remaining two nights got colder with the last
night bottoming out at 30° F (-1° C). By that night I had
switched to a long sleeved lightweight merino wool top with a thin
micro fleece top over that, merino wool long johns, wool socks, and a
stocking cap as the comforter does not have a hood. The last two
nights I slept quite comfortably.
For me, and I would consider myself a pretty normal sleeper (I don't
get cold too easily and I don't get too hot while sleeping). I think
temperature rating of 40° F (4° C) is pretty accurate. I think
going to bed wearing light clothing is pretty normal and not excessive
at all. It was only when the temperatures were in the 30's that
multiple layers were necessary. Since the Ventra does not have a hood I
think a stocking cap is almost a necessity at those temperatures.
I think the Ventra is an excellent piece of gear for car camping. It is
very wide which allows lots of room to sprawl and still remain covered.
It truly is like sleeping at home under your bed comforter. As a piece
of backpacking gear I will probably leave it at home. It is just too
big and that extra size just adds unnecessary weight. The fabric is
quite luxurious and I think all sleeping bags should be made from this
fabric. The Ventra has a wide comfort range and for me that was between
40 and 60° F (4 and 16° C) which is really nice during the
summer months when night time temperatures can vary so much.
I have enjoyed testing the Ventra and will continue to use it in the
I would like to thank
BackpackGearTest.org and Cascade Designs for the
opportunity to test this comforter.
Read more reviews of Therm-A-Rest gear
Read more gear reviews by Bob Sanders