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When wanting to kit-up for bikepacking, I spent a few months researching a sleep system. I decided early on, due to their lower weight and size, to research quilts instead of sleeping bags.
Something else that helped me come to that decision is that my temperature fluctuates while sleeping: I’m hot, I’m cold, I’m hot again, covers on, covers off. My thinking was that a quilt would be easier to kick off, or partially cover myself etc.
Affording a top price range quilt was out of the question, I would be looking for something mid-budget, around the £200 mark.
Once I had decided upon the temperature rating, around minus 5 degrees C, I scoured merchandisers, looking for special offers. Ultralight Outdoor Gear had the Ember on offer at £199.99, the quilt was rated to a low of -6 ish and it was in stock. It had good reviews, so that’s what I went for. I purchased mine in January 2019. I can recommend the merchandiser, good stocks, good prices and good service.
Important notes on how I used the quilt
· I was using this quilt with a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra Wide Sleeping Mat
· I slept with the Ember EBIII and the Big Agnes mat around 15 times
· The 15 days use was in Spain, during Spring and Early Summer, March to June
· At altitudes up to 1700 metres
· I didn’t use it to its max of minus 6 ish deg C
· No frosty nights were experienced
· Lowest temperatures I experienced, at a guess, was around 3-5 deg C
· I slept wearing long-johns and a T shirt, perhaps a fleece in the lower temperatures
· I always zipped up the footbox
· I didn’t clamp the quilt to my airbed
· I’m 5’8” (172cm) tall
· I’m a ladies UK Size 10-12 (60kg)
· No damage has occurred to the quilt in during this use
· I bought the regular length, an extra long is available I believe
· Weight with compression sack is approx. 800 grams
Bearing in mind the ‘Important Notes’ above, there was never a time I was too cold, although I did get chilly now and again. Length-wise; the quilt is generous. Width-wise; when chilly I like to tuck the sides under my body, a bit like a sleeping bag, there was sufficient material to do this. It’s of good quality. A thumbs up from me, for this mid-budget quilt.
What’s in the bag
· 1 x Compression sack packs down to approx 20cm diameter x 28cm long
· 1 x Storage ‘cube’ for less compressed storage of the quilt
· 1 x Quilt
· 3 x Straps for clamping onto an airbed
I used the quilt as stated in the ‘Important Notes’ section above.
It packs down nice and small to carry in my bike luggage. The down is ‘treated’ to improve its water resistance, should it get wet. The quilt has small baffles so that the down doesn’t clump in one area, also the down seems to be thicker at the top and the bottom, the centre section seems to be less thick, which makes sense.
The zip-up and drawstring foot box is really handy, I found using this was enough to keep the quilt where I wanted it. I didn’t use the three straps to clamp it to my airbed, in fact I didn’t really know what they were for!
With the bedclothes I wore, and the temperatures I experienced, I was occasionally a little chilly but never to a point where it disturbed my sleep.
It’s a nicely made, quality looking piece of kit, and seems robust enough even though the material, especially on the ‘body’ side is very thin.
I’ve also used it ‘in the house’, in high temperatures in Australia. I found it to be light enough to not overheat me in those circumstances.
I’m more than happy with it and will continue to use it. I’m not sure it would be sufficiently warm enough for minus 6 deg C, not for me anyway. Should I bikepack somewhere icy cold, I would take a liner also, still, this would be more compact and lighter than a mid-range sleeping bag.
Benefits of a quilt
This is my first camping quilt, unless I am in high mountain, high minus deg C temperatures, I will stick with a quilt. The benefits I found are:
· It packs down small
· It’s Lightweight (no big mummy bag ‘hood’)
· You can kick it off if you get hot
· You can move about when sleeping without getting tangled up