Anytime we venture into the backcountry, efficiency becomes a major issue. How well is your backpack packed? Did you bring unnecessary gear or clothing? Are you and your sleep system prepared to deal with unpredictable weather or other situations?

These questions of efficiency also arise while we are designing gear and planning our product offerings. Over the years, we’ve tweaked and tested our products and found that one of the easiest ways to get a more versatile and efficient sleep system is by layering.

Science of layering sleep system at camp

Let’s say you have a summer-weight sleeping like the Space Cowboy 45F/-7C. Now, let’s say you have a big trip coming up and the lows are going to be dipping below freezing. You can’t use your rugged and light Space Cowboy on our trip, right? You can if you combine it with your Corus 35F/7C.

We spent some time testing different Therm-a-Rest sleep systems at Kansas State University and in our on-site cold chamber. We were able to assign official EN temperature ratings to many of these systems and predict the relative comfort in different conditions. These precise measurements help us make more informed decisions for how to build more efficient sleep systems and better gear.

So, with a Space Cowboy and Corus in your gear closet, you could comfortably sleep in temps ranging from 20 to 50 degrees by using the products together or on their own. Add a Parsec 20F/-6C to the mix and you could sleep in temps as cold as 5 degrees!

Check out the table below to see the effects of combining a few of our favorite Therm-a-Rest pieces.

Sleep System Table

Versatile and efficient gear is never an accident. Using the info from the table above, you can start piecing together a quiver of gear that provides versatility and comfort. By carefully combining different sleeping bags, quilts, pads and blankets, you can create a system that perfectly suits the needs of your next adventure.