The REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 is made with 15d Pertex Quantum fabrics, 850 fill power water-resistant down, includes an insulated draft collar, an effective pad attachment system, and is generously cut for a wide girth.
At $300, the REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 represents one of the better values in down quilts available today. At less than 19 oz (including the pad straps), when you consider its loft (2+ inches) and its wide girth, it offers a compelling performance-to-weight ratio.
Features and Specifications
- Adjustable, insulated draft tube at collar
- Pertex Quantum (nylon) DWR finished shell and lining
- Trapezoidal foot box (permanently enclosed)
- Hybrid vertical/horizontal baffle orientation
- Sewn-through baffles
- Pad fastening cords
- Water-resistant down
Specifications (size regular*)
- Claimed weight: 19 oz (537 g)
- Measured weight of quilt + pad attachment straps: 18.7 oz (530 g)
- Temperature rating: 30 F (-1 C)
- Fill type: 850-fill-power grey goose down
- Fill weight: 10.5 oz (298 g oz)
- Dimensions: 72 x 56 in (182.9 x 142.2 cm)
- Compressed dimensions: 13 x 4.75 in (33 x 12 cm)
- Shell fabric: 15D ripstop nylon (Pertex Quantum)
- Lining fabric: 15D ripstop nylon (Pertex Quantum)
- Girth (actual measurements):
- Collar: 48 in (122 cm)
- Shoulders: 56 in (142 cm)
- Hips: 53 in (135 cm)
- Foot Box: 43 in (109 cm)
My first quilt was purchased 18 years ago from Nunatak Gear – a generation one Arc Alpinist. Since then, I’ve used quilts for the vast majority of my 3-season camping. I’ve owned and used several models of quilts from Nunatak, ZPacks, Katabatic Gear, Enlightened Equipment, Therm-a-Rest, as well as some lesser-known cottage manufacturers who have come and gone.
My lightest quilt system is a two-layer system (50 deg F down inner quilt + 50 deg F synthetic outer quilt) that (combined) weighs less than a pound and a half. This is the system I use for expeditions in extremely wet environments and while mountaineering and packrafting in temperate environments during the spring, summer, and fall.
The coldest night I’ve ever spent in a quilt was nearly 30 degrees F below zero (-35 deg C), during a winter ski trip in Montana’s Madison Range. It was in a down quilt rated to 10 deg F, but I was also wearing vapor barrier clothing, expedition weight base layers, a down winter-weight parka and pants, an extra down hood, and down booties. I managed to sleep well enough until about 6 am, when I started to get a little chilly.
The quilt that I’ve used the most over the past few years of summertime (July and August) backpacking in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and California has been a Katabatic Gear Chisos. It’s rated to 40 deg F and weighs 14 oz. My primary 3-season backpacking quilt is an Enlightened Equipment Revelation (20 deg F rating), and it weighs about 20 oz.
It’s from this foundation of experience with quilts that I can put the REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 into some sort of meaningful context in this review.
Description of Field Testing
I’ve been using the REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 since early February 2019, and it’s been my quilt of choice for almost every night spent outside since then. The most challenging test of the quilt was on a wintry trip into Wyoming’s Snowy Range (watch the trip video or read the story). Temperatures were in the 20s, winds were gusting to more than 60 mph, and I was sleeping in this shelter, which has a lot of air conditioning.
Otherwise, most of the nights spent in the REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 were in the temperature range of 28 to 42 deg F (0 to 4 deg C) in the relatively dry climate of Wyoming’s winter and spring seasons.
The most unique features of the REI Magma Trail Quilt 30, when compared to other quilts at this weight, include:
Generous girth – the REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 offers more girth than any quilt I’ve ever used. I think this offers a few key advantages when it comes to comfort:
- More girth is better for side-sleeping (I’m a side sleeper), and with the Magma I never experienced the cold spots (caused by a shoulder or hip compressing the insulation) that I commonly experience on almost all of my (narrower quilts).
- More flexibility in adjusting girth for very warm to very cold conditions. On one extremely cold night, I was even able to criss-cross the pad attachment loops so the bottom edges of the quilt overlapped each other, for a very tight (essentially, baffled) seal from the outside elements.
Insulated draft collar – My other quilts don’t have insulated draft collars. This one does. It feels so cozy when it’s all cinched up. I don’t know how much this actually affects warmth, but the effectiveness of the neck seal is undeniable and I won’t likely skimp on this feature for any quilt I acquire in the future, regardless of temperature rating.
Pad attachment system – A pad attachment system affixes the quilt to a sleeping pad, accomplishing two things:
- It seals the edge of the quilt to the pad to minimize unwanted drafts of cold air, and to mitigate heat loss; and
- It should be adjustable such that the girth of the pad-quilt system can be altered in response to ambient temperature (larger girth at warmer temperatures, smaller girth at cooler temperatures) and the user’s desire for comfort (larger girth provides more mobility and better side-sleeping comfort).
I wasn’t initially very enamored by the “shoelace” rig that REI calls a pad attachment system, but the loop-and-toggle setup is secure and very easy to manipulate and adjust while inside the quilt. It has now become my favorite pad attachment system over the Katabatic Gear cord-and-claw system and the Enlightened Equipment buckle-and-strap system.
Hybrid vertical / horizontal baffle construction – More and more sleeping bag manufacturers are moving to vertical baffles because they (reportedly) offer better down control. I’m not quite sold on this philosophy, because if a baffle is properly (and adequately) filled with enough down, it’s not likely going to shift and create cold spots. However, one distinct advantage of vertical baffling is that when a sleeping bag or quilt is cinched around your body, baffle thickness remains more consistent in vertical baffles, and you have a warmer quilt. This is most important in the torso section, where the girth is large. Some manufacturers try to combat this with a differential cut (where the inside girth is narrower than the outside girth), but few of them execute it successfully with an aggressive enough differential.
Otherwise, here are my notes on other materials and performance features:
- Fabrics – Fabrics that are lighter than the 15D Pertex Quantum nylon used in the REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 tend to be more water-resistant, less-breathable, and less comfortable (more clammy) next to skin. This is because fabrics woven from finer denier threads require more calendaring in order to stabilize the weave for strength. Heavily-calendared fabrics don’t feel great next to skin on warm nights. Although there’s a weight cost at using heavier fabrics like 15D Pertex, using this quilt was a good reminder that next-to-skin comfort of the fabric isn’t something you should ignore if you plan on sleeping lightly-clothed part of the time.
- Manufacturing quality – The quality of the materials (Pertex fabrics and 850-fill power RDS-certified water-resistant down) and construction (stitching, design, notions) are excellent, and what you’d expect from any high-end outdoor gear manufacturer.
- Baffles – all baffles are sewn-through without interior baffle walls. In addition, some of the baffles are quite wide. The torso vertical baffles are about 6 in (15 cm) wide, and the leg horizontal baffles are 7 to 8 in (18 to 20 cm) wide. This made me a little bit nervous given the quilt’s 30 deg F temperature rating. I suppose I’m used to the stuffed 5 in (13 cm) wide baffles that are so common on Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends bags. However, I found the temperature rating to be accurate, and the baffles to be generously filled to a loft of at least 2 in (5.1 cm) in the torso, and 3 in (7.6 cm) in the footbox. I also couldn’t help but wonder that perhaps larger baffles result in a better drape and conformity to the shape of the human body during its nighttime contortions.
Product Strengths and Limitations
- High quality materials, thoughtful design, quality construction
- Generous girth
- Insulated draft collar
- Effective pad attachment system
- Girth will be overkill for those who count ounces and want a skinny quilt for weight savings.
- Pad attachment straps absorb water and are slow to dry if they do get wet (unlike the cord system used on Katabatic Gear quilts).
- The included stuff sack is absurdly small, is aggravating for arthritic hands, and causes the stuffer to swear unnecessarily.
Caution is advised when comparing quilts on paper based on down fill and weight specs alone. The REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 offers something of value the other quilts don’t – a very generous girth. In fact, this is its most hidden, but perhaps its most valuable feature.
|PRODUCT||MSRP||WEIGHT||TEMP RATING||FILL POWER||Fill WEIGHT||BAFFLE ORIENTATION||HYDROPHOBIC TREATMENT||FOOTBOX DESCRIPTION||LINER AND SHELL FABRIC||PAD ATTACHMENT||SPECIAL FEATURES (draft tubes, poncho style, etc)|
|REI Magma Trail Quilt||$299||19 oz (538 g)||30 F (-1 C)||850||10.5 oz (297 g)||hybrid vertical/horizontal||Water-resistant||fixed, trapezoidal||15D ripstop nylon||cinching pad cords||adjustable insulated draft tube, button snap neck closure|
|Therm-A-Rest Vesper||$380||19 oz (538 g)||20 F (-7 C)||900||12 oz (340 g)||horizontal, with small periminter side baffles||Nikwax||fixed||10D ripstop nylon||elastic pad cords||snap neck closure|
|Sea to Summit Ember||$259||19 oz (538 g)||25 F (-4 C)||750||12 oz (340 g)||hybrid vertical/horizontal||ULTRA-DRY||drawcord closure||15D nylon||four adjustable straps||can be opened like a blanket on warm nights|
|Katabatic Palisade||$410||17.5 oz (496 g)||30 F (-1 C)||900||9.5 oz (269 g)||horizontal||HyperDRY||fixed, trapezoidal||shell: Pertex Quantum ripstop .85 oz/yd; liner:Pertex Quantum taffeta 1.0 oz /yd||cord clip attachment system||down collar, cord clip system attaches to top of pad rather than underneath|
|Western Mountaineering AstraLite Baffled Top Quilt||$420||17.5 oz (496 g)||26 F (-3 C)||850||10.5 oz (297 g)||horizontal||no||fixed||shell: 7D nylon, liner: 10D nylon||two flat elastic loops||elastic laced adjustable bottom closure|
|Enlightened Equipment Enigma||$290||17.9 oz (507 g)||30 F (-1 C)||850||12.4 oz (350 g)||U-shaped||DownTek||fixed, round||10D nylon||elastic straps and clip||snap and drawstring neck closure|
|Kammok Bobcat Trail Quilt||$199||20 oz (567 g)||45 F ( 7 C)||600||information unavailable||diamond shaped||DownTek||snaps and drawcord closure||Atmos 20D ripstop nylon||straps||underquilt conversion, can lay flat like a blanket|
|ZPacks Solo Quilt||$339||19.5 oz (553 g)||20 F (-7 C)||900||13.7 oz (388 g)||hybrid vertical/horizontal||no||fixed||0.59 oz Ventum||flat clip and strap||30% overstuffed, flat clip and elastic cord neck closure|
|Nunatak Arc UL||$360||~19.4 oz (550g), customizable||20 F (-7 C)||900||roughly 13.2 oz (374 g)||hybrid vertical/horizontal||Hyper-Dry optional||fixed||10D with customizable options||standard straps (running under pad) or UL shockcord (running under body) optional||optional edge tension control for high draft adjustability, drawcord neck closure standard|
Review Rating: Recommended
REI has been steadily producing quality gear from their own gear and apparel design team for the past several years. Quietly, they’ve introduced a number of lightweight items, most notably, in the Flash and Magma product lines (packs, clothing, sleeping bags). In 2019, however, REI has introduced a number of products that should grab the attention of lightweight hikers looking for solid performance at very compelling weights, including the new REI Magma Trail Quilt 30.
The REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 is not the lightest quilt for its temperature rating. It doesn’t use the absolute lightest fabrics, or the absolute highest fill power down. Nor is it customizable like some products offered by smaller cottage industry manufacturers.
However, it does offer very light (15D) fabrics, high fill down (850 FP), a thoughtful baffle design, a very effective insulated draft collar, and an outstanding pad attachment system. In addition, it offers a generous girth that makes this quilt a far more versatile option across a wider range of temperatures than narrower quilts in this weight class.
And finally, it does all of this for a reasonable amount of money – $300 for a high-quality quilt that performs very well.
I’d be compelled to upgrade this to a Highly Recommended rating with the following improvements:
- Replacing the pad attachment shoelace-style cord with something that absorbs less water and is lighter, but maintaining the sliding toggle design.
- Replacing 15d fabrics with lighter fabrics without sacrificing durability.
- Adding one more inch of width and a little bit of fill to the draft collar.
- Including a stuff sack that isn’t so small, and is more durable. A waterproof stuff sack that isn’t made from quilt remnants would be great!
Where to Buy
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