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Therm-A-Rest Questar 0

Test Report by Joe Schaffer

INITIAL REPORT - February 25, 2018
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 70
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79 kg)
HEIGHT: 69 in (1.75 m)
CHEST: 40 in (102 cm)
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

     I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.

Product: sleeping bagQuestar 0 Sleeping Bag

Manufacturer:  Therm-A-Rest
        Temperature ratings:
             Comfort: to 14 F (-10 C)
             Transition (my interpretation of can't sleep): 0 F (-18 C)
             Risk range: (Gonna' die): -40 F (-40 C)

        Weight: M  3 lb (1360 g)
        Packed volume: 631 ci (10.3 L)
        Features: (from website for 20F/-6C bag & hang tag)
            •SynergyLin Connectors
            •650-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down
            •ThermaCapture seams
            •Zoned insulation
            •Toe-asis Foot Warmer Pocket
            •Quilt and blanket loops
            •Contoured hood
            •Heat-trapping draft collar
            •Full-length zipper draft tube
            •Snag-free zipper
            •Cinchable hood
            •External zip pocket  

       Color: (of bag received)
             Shell outside: Screaming blue
             Trim outside: Screaming yellow
             Shell inside: Silver gray with black cross hatching

       Sizes: S, M, L

My Specs:  M
        Weight, bag only: 3 lb oz (1.36 kg)
        Stuff sack: 1 1/4 oz (35 g)
        Storage sack: 3 oz (85 g)
        Dimensions: (approximate outside, bag flat)
             Hood-to-toe: 81 in (2 m)
             Shoulder width: 31 in (118 cm)
             Foot: 11 w x 10 h in (28 x 25 cm)
             Zipper: 52 in (1.3 m)
             Stuff sack, stuffed: 10 x 15 1/2 in (25 x 39 cm)
             Storage bag stuffed, max: 12 x 24 in (30 x 61 cm)
             Storage bag stuffed, min: 13 x 13 in (33 x 33 cm)
       Approx. loft at hip, unzippered side: 4 in (10 cm)

MSRP: $299.95-349.95 US

Received: February, 2018

My Description:
    The Questar is a down mummy with hard-finish shell and interior; 4/5 zip with a hood, zipper draft tube and an external, zipped watch pocket. The hood and integrated chest tube each have individual adjustment using the same flat draw-string running through a single cord lock on the right-hand side. The top of the zipper has a snapped garage; and the zipper track is similar to but not as tight as "waterproof" zippers. Both the top and bottom half of the zipper track inside follow heavier Cordura strips each 1 1/2 in (3.8 cm) wide to help avoid snagging. An external pocket about 7 in (18 cm) deep by 6 in (15 cm) wide has a vertical zip closure; located about 7 in (18 cm) from the chest hem and on the right-hand side. Main zipper is on the left hand side with double pulls to allow foot box venting. The bottom side of the bag has 10 pairs of loops. There is a discreet logo imprint in the chest area and a rather not-discreet brand emblazonment in the foot area.

    The inner shell is supple 20 D polyester printed taffeta. The cushy outer shell is 20 D polyester ripstop, treated with durable water repellent. Seams are claimed to be specially designed to capture and reflect body heat to retain warmth without the weight of a corresponding amount of insulation.

    Fourteen chambers plus hood, foot box and draft tube capture and separate the fill. I find no indication whether the down is goose or duck. I won't care as long as I don't wake up thinking a wet dog must have gotten in. The fill is claimed to be ethically sourced, which I understand to mean the birds are slaughtered pre-pluck. This matters to me as I don't find a comforting spot to rest my mind if thinking an animal suffered in order that I should enjoy the results of its torture. I infer from my experience over the years with this company that this claim would not be made if not true.

    The package came with Therm-A-Rest's SynergyLink system for attaching bag to mattress. Two bands comprise this system. Each band hooks to corresponding loops on the bag with the mattress sandwiched between. The bands are 26 in (66 cm) long, being 4 1/2 in (11.4 cm) wide in the mid-section of 9 in (23 cm) blue nylon. Extending from each side of the mid-section are gray stretch-sections 7 in (18 cm) long, tapering to 6 1/2 in (16.5 cm) wide. The ends are finished with 1 3/4 in (4.5 cm) blue nylon, tapering to 7 3/4 in (19.7 cm) wide. Each end has three T-hooks for connecting to loops on the bag. The website claims the system fits any mattress to 25 in (64 cm) in width.

    The bag comes with a two-stage storage sack of roughly 1,725 cu in (28 L) stuffed to the lower drawstring, or 2,700 cu in (44 L) stuffed to the hemline drawstring.

    I haven't noticed any imperfections in the fabric or construction. I've flopped the bag around on the bed in my inspections of it and have yet to find escaped fill.

   Of course the first impression that struck me was what were they smoking when they picked the color. But as a guy I generally don't see color, so I'll skip to what it feels like with my eyes closed, and that is a fabulous sensation of billowy comfort. One big advantage of 650-fill (over higher fill ratings) is the heftier loft, and this bag certainly excels in that metric.

    The feature I'm most hoping to test (groan) is how the bag performs when it gets wet. Though I never sleep in the open, overnight condensation in winter nearly always dampens the bag. It is not uncommon to find the foot frozen to the tent; and the chest area just south of the "blow hole" always gets wet. I'm anxious to see if the fill resists collapsing; and if it dries more quickly. Both observations will be rather subjective, but if there's anywhere near the advantage as claimed for the Nikwax-treated down I think I'll have no trouble discovering it.

    Though I have the greatest respect for this manufacturer, I can't help being skeptical of a bag in this weight range that is hydrophobic-treated 650-fill and rated to a comfort range to 14 F (-10 C). Perhaps the treated seams and the super-light shell fabric account for weight-loss and I will not wake up feeling skimped on fill. I'm looking at what appears to be a lavishly filled hood and also the foot box; leaving me eagerly anticipating warmer feet and head. If I'm sleeping comfortably in the teens in this bag I'll be quite happy.

    Twenty denier fabric seems optimistic, but I trust this maker to know what they're doing. They have terrific customer service and it stands to reason they have confidence the strength of this material will not disappoint. My experience with down bags suggests that these feathers in such a light shell should be sticking out like porcupine quills, but no sign of such yet.

    I'm looking forward to giving the bag/mattress coupler it's due. My unconscious body seems to know when it is on a pad and when not, whither restrained in any fashion. This system looks well designed. I'm particularly impressed with the stretch panels that will relieve the bag's loop attachment points of undue stress. (I probably should pre-test which of my mattresses can fit with the system, but I more likely will wait to see if the one I brought works and whine loudly if it does not.) If I find myself sleeping better on snow, the system will be worth the weight and bother to install it. (Mercy, the work here, though I shouldn't have to fear consequences of not reading directions!)

    It took all of 40 seconds to stuff the bag on the first try. It easily fits and I don't get squeamish thinking I've mashed the liver out of the fill. Of course that means the pill is rather bulky, but in the world of bags rated at this temp I find the stuffed size entirely OK. I never squeeze my bags as tight as they'll go. Therm-A-Rest seems to be saying in this size of stuff sack with no compression straps that over-compressed bags do not hold their performance.

    Thus was I pleased to see the bag not in the stuff sack on arrival. It was stuffed to the minimum size in the storage bag, but in a carton that did not compress it further. I can imagine circumstances where I might want a multi-stage storage sack, and the maximum size is not terribly constricting. I'm thinking I'll likely keep the bag in a larger sack, though. The bag might well cry out from the gear closet that it can't breathe well even in the larger configuration of the storage sack.

SUMMATION: Super-plush mummy not very heavy for the temperature rating and fill.

Quick shots:
    a) high-value
    b) practical design
    c) commands attention
Thank you Therm-A-Rest and for the opportunity to test this product. Field Report to follow in two months and Long Term Report in four months

Read more reviews of Therm-A-Rest gear
Read more gear reviews by joe schaffer

Reviews > Sleep Gear > Sleeping Bags > Therm-a-Rest Quester 0 bag > Therm-a-Rest Quester 0 bag > Test Report by joe schaffer

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