Gear Review: Katabatic Gear Flex 22°F Backpacking Quilt

posted in: Gear Reviews | 5

Over the last few months, I’ve been testing the Katabatic Gear Flex 22°F Backpacking Quilt. I used it on my Coyote Gulch backpacking trip, several nights in the New Hampshire cold, and as a blanket around the house. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with it’s quality and versatility.

Why Buy?

The main advantage of a quilt over a traditional sleeping bag is weight. Quilts are significantly lighter than a similarly rated sleeping bag. When down is compressed, it loses it’s ability to insulate. That means when you are using your down sleeping bag, any of the bag that is underneath you is essentially wasted weight. A quilt cuts down on this wasted material and you end up with a lighter sleep system overall or a sleep system that weighs the same, but is rated for a lower temperature. Since there is less material to compress, quilts can also typically compress down smaller than a sleeping bag.

For comparison sake, I ran a quick google search to find down sleeping bags in the 20 degree range. Here’s what I came up with, in addition to the Flex 22°F specs.

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed SEA TO SUMMIT TALUS TS II THE NORTH FACE TEPHORA 20 Katabatic Gear Flex 22°F Backpacking Quilt
~$460 MSRP ~$399 MSRP ~$219 MSRP $370 – $435
800 Fill DriDown 750+ ULTRA-DRY Down™ 550 fill water resistant 850 FP Water Resistant or 900 FP
40 oz 40 oz 53 oz 21.6 – 27.5 oz
15 degree 14 degree 20 degree 22 degrees
Sleeping bag/quilt hybrid Temp overrated per Gear Institute 550 fill requires more down than 800 fill to insulate. More Down = Heavier Bag My quilt as tested – Reqular length, wide width, 850 FP, weighing 25.5 oz with an MSRP of $420

As time allows I will add information on quilts with a similar temp rating.


My Observations

I used it on my Coyote Gulch backpacking trip, several nights in the New Hampshire cold, and as a blanket around the house.  I have comfortably used this quilt in temperatures ranging from the mid 20’s to lower 60’s in “normal” sleepwear. By adding a few layers (down sweater, down cap, etc), I used the quilt down to 10°F. These extra layers are typical of what I would carry on a backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada of California or the White Mountains of NH.

  • The Good
    • The quilt can be used comfortably over a wide range of temperatures. Temperature can be easily regulated by adding layers while you sleep, lying it out flat, or leaving the footbox open for ventilation. These options make the quilt a versatile piece of gear, accommodating a greater range of temps more easily than a traditional sleeping bag.
    • I’ve gotten my best sleep while camping or backpacking when using a quilt.
    • The quilt included a silnylon stuff sack, an organic cotton storage sack, and several 2mm Cords for attaching the quilt to my pad. Some companies consider these things to be extras/accessories and they need to be purchased separately.
    • The quilt compresses well, down to about half the size of the sleeping bags I’ve carried in the past.
  • The Bad
    • The quilt is expensive, but is competitively priced with high end sleeping bags with a similar temperature rating.
  • The Bottom Line 
    • This is the second product I’ve tested from Katabatic Gear (I also tested their Helios 55 Backpack). They have excellent customer service and make quality gear. As a company, they get my highest recommendation. This quilt is an excellent choice for 3 season backpacking and camping.

 



Disclaimer: The product reviewed in this entry was provided to HikingGeek.com by Katabatic Gear

5 Responses

  1. Andy

    Hey! Can you just tell me what is your chest measurement and body height and which size did you take? Thanks!

    • TheHikingGeek

      I’m 5′ 9″ tall, a side sleeper and my shoulder measurement is 52″ (my chest is about 42″). With those things considered they decided I needed a regular length wide. If possible, I would email the owners before ordering to make sure you get the right size. Please tell them ‘HikingGeek’ says hi. 😀

      If you need an email address to send your inquiry to, I can get one for you.

      • Andy

        Thanks for answer!

        I am 5’11″, side sleeper and shoulder measurement is 49″ (chests about 38″).

        I am thinking to go LONG since i prefer to pull my bag over ears or head when colder days are in.

        And I am not sure about width: regular or wide.

        Thanks!

        • TheHikingGeek

          Hi Andy – I was told that at 52″ I was right at the edge of regular or wide. It seems you may be ok? I’d email them to make sure! Let me know if I can help.

  2. John J

    I’m 5’11”, 205 lbs, wear a size 42R sports coat so essentially I have wide shoulders. I am a side sleeper who moves around a lot. I have the regular length and wide model. Using the neck snap and drawstring I get a great fit that wraps around me. I would not recommend getting the long with the purpose of pulling the quilt over your head; instead, get a down hood. I have the Enlighted Equipment Hoodlum and in a recent AT section hike where the overnight lows were right around 32, never had an issue with me head being cold.