Successful camping and backpacking are all about saving space and weight. Equipment that serves more than one purpose always shines for this reason. These items satisfy the need for two different pieces of kit and of course prepare you for a multitude of unexpected conditions. Anybody who has been on a multi-day hike or hunt in continually varying altitudes can attest to this, particularly concerning weather.
In every adventurer’s pack (or trunk) you will find some sort of sleeping bag. While traditional designs have served generations of campers well, their general configuration has a few faults—like the side-positioned zipper. Sure, this seems logical, as it allows us to scoot right in and zip up but if you’re like me you quickly find yourself tucked in a little too tight for comfort and any attempt to adjust your position is met with frustration. Of course, if you are sharing your tent with somebody else, this frustration becomes contagious and you spend the night arguing instead of resting up for the journey that awaits you at first light. The answer to this issue is the camping quilt, and new for 2021 is the Alps Mountaineering Radiance.
The Alps Radiance quilt is a unique design indeed. Instead of zipping closed it is built with a cupped contour to it that turns you into a human hot dog. This is terrific for warm-weather camping when you want to be able to “breathe” a bit, and works equally well as a supplement to a sleeping pad and conventional sleeping bag. The Alps Radiance quit is constructed out of a nylon rip-stop shell with a TechLoft Micro insulation fill that is designed to keep you warm in ambient temperatures down to 35 degrees. The Radiance is complete with a fully enclosed footbox, so it also works well for close-to-home adventures around your backyard fire pit or sitting out in your favorite Adirondack chair.
For those seeking the security of a closed design, the Radiance features a drawstring system that allows you to pull the sidewalls together across your chest, reducing draft and holding in maximum body heat. Coupled with a mummy bag this setup does a phenomenal job of keeping you warm while offering you more options for airflow should you find yourself starting to overheat in the middle of the night. You even have to option of using the sleeping bag retention system to keep everything in place throughout the night, ensuring that you don’t wake up with a knot in your back because a glorified piece of fabric got bunched up in the wrong spot. Then, when you’re on the move, you can even remove the retention system to minimize the weight.
I had the opportunity to use the Radiance Quilt on two separate camping trips. The first hit a low of 49 degrees and the second had a sleeping temperature of around 75. On both trips I found this quilt to be just the ticket as I run a little warm at night. Before bed on the colder nights, I enjoyed propping it up on a log and sitting on it with my shoes off, making use of the footbox to enjoy the woods without putting my bare feet directly on the ground. After returning home I didn’t rush to stow it away in the attic as quickly as I should have, and to this day it may or may not be sitting on the couch. I love using it when I binge-watch my favorite shows, when it isn’t currently being used by the family hound dog, who has also developed a favorable opinion of it. For more info visit alpsmountaineering.com