Once upon a time, Therm-A-Rest was known strictly for making sleeping pads to go under your sleeping bag while out camping. Since then however, the company's product line has evolved into pillows, seating, cots, pillows and more for your backcountry or front-country camping comfort.
For this year, Therm-A-Rest came up with a system for mating a sleeping bag with one of its sleeping pads. The Antares down sleeping bag is a mummy-style bag suited for three-season outdoors endeavors.
What makes it unusual in the realm of sleeping bags is that it includes two cross-pieces of fabric on the bottom of the bag designed to hold a sleeping pad in place. Called "Synergy Link" by the company, these fabric straps keep your bag on top of the sleeping pad instead of sliding off as you move about in your sleep.
With the intention that you will pair the sleeping bag with one of Therm-A-Rest's sleeping pads, the bottom of the sleeping bag contains no down insulation. Instead, the company uses what it calls “zone insulation” to provide warmth where it is needed; in this case, it's somewhat akin to sleeping with a down comforter wrapped around you. I've used this bag with Therm-A-Rest's Neo-Air XTherm sleeping pad and would agree that there’s little need for much if any insulation on the bottom of the sleeping bag.
However, that’s not to say any other company's sleeping pad would not work as well in providing insulation from the cold.
The Antares sleeping bag features 750+ goose down insulation and weighs just 2 pounds, 2 ounces in the long version that fits individuals up to 6-foot-6, and 1 pound, 15 ounces ounces in the regular-sized bag. The interior liner fabric is 30 denier nylon, while the shell fabric is 30 denier nylon ripstop with a DWR (durable water repellant) coating.
In addition to the Synergy Link system, the bag features a small zippered pocket for stashing things like wallets or cellphones, and has some small, mysterious loops stitched into the bag's interior. More on those down the road....
MSRP: $379.95 long, $349.95 regular
Pros: Definitely keeps you on your pad; lightweight.
Cons: The 20-degree rating might be pushing things a bit depending on your sleeping pad and whether you typically sleep "warm" or "cold." The company pins the bag's comfort zone at 34 degrees, with 23 degrees the "limit."