When Therm-a-Rest introduced their new Sleep System lineup, I immediately saw the value and the benefits of a more comfortable bed in the backcountry. While traditional mummy sleeping bags are efficient for keeping you warm, few if any are as comfortable as your sheets and comforter back at home. I remember slipping into the demo Sleep System (Neo Air, Fitted Sheets and Ventra Down Comforter) and thinking that camping has never been so comfortable. I finally got my chance to use the entire system and it was one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had while camping.
My Therm-a-Rest Sleep System Components:
- Therm-a-Rest Luxury Map 3″ mattresses (2) with body-mapped foam (Large size) – $129.95 ea
- Ventra Down Comforters (2) featuring 650-fill goose down that’s 40-degree rated – $229.95 ea
- Down Coupler 25 that wraps two mattresses in lightweight 650-fill goose down for a 2-person featherbed – $119.95
- Medium-sized Compressible Pillows (2) – $22.95 ea
Therm-a-Rest Sleep System Review: My Great Night’s Sleep
Camping with the whole family presents some logistical challenges. With my crew of 4 (all 5 yrs and under), most of them need extra help going to sleep. Stories, snuggling an songs are some of their favorites. With them in their own sleeping bags, my wife and I can situate our mattresses pretty much in the middle of our Kelty Palisade 6 tent for equal access to each child. If need be, we can grab one and bring them into our bed until they fall asleep.
These scenarios are all much simpler with the Therm-a-Rest Sleep System. The combination of the 3″ thick Therm-a-Rest Luxury Map sleeping pads joined together with the feathery-soft Down Coupler and then topped with dual Ventra Down Comforters is just the ticket for family adventures.
Other double-wide sleep systems consist of a large inflatable mattress — taking up space and rising us up above the level of the children. Another thing that anyone with kids knows is that nothing invites mattress jumping more than an inflatable mattress. It’s as if it has a blinking “JUMP HERE” sign attached. With our Therm-a-Rest Sleep System kit, we are nearly at the same level as the kids and they aren’t so inclined to jump on our mattress. If they do jump on it, the Luxury Map pads are much more durable than a thin inflatable mattress.
This complete Sleep System offers amazing comfort for two or three and maybe even four (if two are small) in a pinch.
Assembling everything does take a bit of time, but is very straightforward. First, let the mattresses sit out and inflate to their maximum level (approx 30 min — longer if first use). Once inflated, each mattress slips into the Down Coupler and is then strapped in so they stay put. The coupler fits similarly to a fitted sheet around each mattress, but much more secure. The underside of the coupler has snaps that match up with either the Ventra Down Comforter or Tech Blanket. We mated two Venra’s together for a roomy and comfortable double-sized bed.
With the double Ventra’s, you get all kinds of room, but the entire package remains relatively light and packable — all things considered. In fact, my next purchase will be to get fitted sheets for the Luxury Map mattresses for solo adventures so I can sleep in increased comfort. With a 40-degree rating, all our family adventures are fair game (we’re fair weather campers with the kiddos).
The feeling of down atop the Luxury Map mattresses is like icing on the cake as I experienced one of the best nights I’ve ever had in a tent. Side sleeping never resulted in a dead arm and I was able to quickly regulate temperature by doing the leg in/out trick or unsnapping the uppermost snap for a little more ventilation on a warm Summer night — try doing all that with a mummy bag.
You’ll have to watch the gaps at the foot of the Ventra’s in colder weather, but during warm Utah nights, a little extra ventilation was nice. The double setup is sweet, but the Ventra’s could match up just a bit better, in my opinion. And, the entire package is pretty pricey. Luckily, you can leverage two existing pads with the system and shave off $230.
Good Sleep System
- A near bed-like experience in the backcountry
- Down comforter and feather bed is soft and cozy
- Easy temperature regulation
- Snaps in place and stays put
- Lower-to-the-ground for easier access to kids
- No need to haul along a separate pump to inflate the mattresses
- Luxury Map pads allow for a variety of sleeping positions
- No worries if the kids decide to turn the bed into a trampoline
Bad Sleep System
- Assembly required and takes some time
- The entire package is quite spendy ($885 total)
Bottom Line: Therm-a-Rest Sleep System
The combination of the Therm-a-Rest Luxury Map Mattresses, Ventra Down Comforter, Down Coupler and Comrpessible Pillows offers quite a comfortable night’s sleep for two. I like that it remains low to the ground yet still provides outstanding overall comfort. The Ventra Down comforters are super-cozy and the whole package rivals sleeping in a regular bed — not something you can achieve in a mummy bag. It’s costly, but should provide years of camping comfort and flexibility in either a single or double setup.