|Rating:||8.2 / 10|
|Weight||1.7 / 2|
|Value for Money||1.6 / 2|
|Durability||1.6 / 2|
|Warmth||1.6 / 2|
|Versatility||1.7 / 2|
While quilts have a reasonable degree of market penetration with the US thru hiking fraternity they are not so common in Australian hiking. To a great extent the lack of quilt use in Australia has much to do with the fact that most hikers have probably never seen a quilt in use, and many outdoor stores have limited product space and see them as a niche product. So what is a camping and backpacking quilt as opposed to what we might use at home?
The best way to think of a camping quilt is as a hoodless sleeping bag with a section of the back removed; but why? With sleeping bags the bit you lie on is compressed and you aren’t actually getting much warmth out of that section and as such the sleeping bag is really part of a sleep system and relies on having the appropriate R-value (insulation rating) underneath your body to provide the warmth. Quilts do away with this section altogether along with the hood.
You do need a sleeping mat of some type with a quilt and in all honesty, unless it’s hot you will need an inflatable/semi inflatable sleeping mat as the quilt has a series of adjustable straps that wrap around the mat to hold it in place. The big advantage here is that because the mat and the quilt are joined, you are unlikely to ever roll off your mat if you turn over often. Foam mat users will really need to upgrade to a new mat if you are using a quilt in cold weather which can raise your costs.
The Sea to Summit Ember II quilt is rated down to -4ºCelcius for men and for females down to -2ºCelcius, and can be used year round in all but the coldest conditions. This means quilts are more versatile as you can lay a quilt flat, cinch it up tight as you like when its cold or if you feel like it you can join two Ember quilts together. If its really cold you will need to wear a beanie of some type given the lack of a hood but having said that, this quilt comes with a descent neck baffle that keeps all the air in place.
The insulation in the Ember II is 850+ down, and the shell of the quilit is a 10 Denier shell and 7 Denier lining fabric. Essentially the Ember II is a stripped back version of the Sea to Summit Spark Sleeping bag. This quilt retains the neck baffle of the Spark as well as the cinch cord. The footbox also has a cinch cord to minimise airflow at the feet. This quilt comes in a regular and long size and even though I’m above the recommended height for the regular, I found the length to be quite a good. Fit wise this was the first time I had used a quilt and it took a bit of fiddling to get the fit right. In fact my first nights use was a 0º Celcius night and the straps should have been adjusted to be a tiny bit tighter. By night two I had worked out what I needed to do and it definitely performed better. Having said that I was toasty warm on both nights. Price wise this quilt is on par with similar warmth sleeping bags.
Now, will I change over to a quilt or will I stay a sleeping bag user? If I was going to use just one item then a quilt would be a good option but given I already own dedicated summer and winter sleeping bags I’m unlikely to change anytime soon.
You can purchase the Sea to Summit Ember EBII Sleeping Quilt Regular from Wildfire Sports (Long size)
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AUD $599 RRP. Keep an eye out for the regular sales and you may get a great deal
Sea to Summit Ember EBII Sleeping Quilt Regular
Sea to Summit Ember EBII Sleeping Quilt Regular temperature ratings. This quilt will suit the ‘average female’ down to -2° Celcius and the ‘average male’ down to -4° Celcius
1 litre water bottle up against the quilt in its compression bag
Translucent inner shell
Translucent outer shell
Neck toggle on the Sea to Summit Ember II Quilt
Tim inside the Sea to Summit Ember EBII Sleeping Quilt Regular size
Underside of the Sea to Summit Ember II Quilt
Close up of the Sea to Summit Ember II Quilt attached to an inflatable sleeping mat
This review was done with product provided by Sea to Summit for testing