Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Staying warm with Outdoor Vitals' StormLoft down quilt

Once the maple leaves finish falling and days grow darker earlier, you probably keep an eye on that temperature rating when shopping for new outdoor gear.

The essential magical material idolized in any form of outdoor recreation whether it be skiing, backpacking, hiking, or even fat tire biking; is goose or duck down. Years ago when I was first starting to collect various pieces of outdoor gear for my arsenal, I remember holding off on buying anything down, feared by prices often more expensive than gear made with synthetic material. Then one day I headed to my nearby Erehwon and came home with a down jacket from Mountain Hardwear. On a chilly October hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, I quickly realized the many benefits of having down: plenty of warmth minus all the obnoxious bulk. Plus, I could compactly stow away my jacket with ease. Then, before departing on a two-week endeavor to Iceland, where I'd be sleeping either in a tent or sprawled across the backseat of my rental Suzuki Jimny 4x4 every night, I bought a 0° F down sleeping bag from Outdoor Vitals, a small outdoor gear maker in Cedar City, Utah. I've had their sleeping bag for two years now and it's been on multiple fall and winter outings, some where temperatures plunged below -15° F. It's been absolutely perfect and I would recommended this bag (and any Outdoor Vitals product for that matter) to anyone looking to extend their outdoor rec calendar into the wonderful shoulder season.

The team at Outdoor Vitals recently sent me two new products to test and review on my blog: their Dominion two-person backpacking tent along with the StormLoft Topquilt made of down and rated to 15° F. Stay tuned for a review of the tent coming within the next month, but for now let's look at this awesome quilt. At first I didn't quite understand the point of a quilt until this arrived and I put it to use on a quick overnight trip to Wisconsin's Kohler-Andrae State Park. After reheating a bowl of Thanksgiving leftovers on my camping stove, I sought refuge in my tent from the arrival of the late evening winds. By headlamp, I unpacked the StormLoft Topquilt from its stuff sack and flung it out.

I was amazed at how big the StormLoft Topquilt is. Outdoor Vitals sent me the long size being I'm 6'2ft and overall it fit me perfectly. The outer side is black, while the inner side is a cool dark blue. It's absolutely unreal how light this thing is, weighing only 1 lb 10 oz, more than a full pound less than my mentioned already-lightweight down sleeping bag. But don't let this quilt's lack in weight fool you, it's heat rivals that of an electric blanket on high. To avoid a bit of an overkill, I purposely left my 0° F down sleeping bag at home and brought my ALPS Mountaineering Desert Pine sleeping bag, (rated to 20° F) in hopes to try the fluffy StormLoft Topquilt as a liner for added warmth it.

A few facts about this quilt:
  • Rated to 15° Fahrenheit, 9° Celsius
  • It's made of 800+ fill down and DWR-treated so it's water repellent
  • The regular size measures 6ft tall by 54in wide, Long is 6.6ft tall by 56in wide
  • Stuff sack is included and size measures 10in tall by 6in wide
  • There's Lifetime warranty included
And warm did it get! The liner is so pillow-light that it doesn't feel as if it's stuck to you like saran wrap and moved freely within my sleeping bag You can also fasten it together using a few snap buttons and clips, which would be the ideal choice when using it on its own without a sleeping. The entire night, this StormLoft Topquilt provided my body with a welcomed extra layer of heat as temperatures dropped into the low twenties.

I can easily see the StormLoft Topquilt being a no-brainer as there are several uses and applications for it. Wrap yourself in it for added insulation while spending the night in a hammock, use it as a liner for your sleeping bag like I did, wear it around you like a blanket while you sit with a mug of coffee early in the morning, or if you're looking to go ultra lightweight, leave that bulky sleeping bag at home and just rely on the StormLoft Topquilt instead. Since it's so light and impressively comfortable, I'd recommend this to anyone who loves to get outdoors no matter the season.

Put one of these in gear closet, or on your Christmas wishlist.


Price: $215

[Disclaimer: Outdoor Vitals provided this new product for the purpose of this review.]