A few readers have been asking me about the GoLite Ultra 20° quilt and how I like it, and I told them I would like to sleep a few more nights under it before I write an initial review. I slept a few more nights under it, and am now ready to let you know my first impressions.
Ready for sleeping!
Lets start off with the important bits and pieces, which UL backpackers find interesting. My GoLite Ultra 20°, which is 175 cm long, weights 561 g including its packsack. Its filled with 270 g of 800-fill goose down, the turquoise outer is made of a very thin yet durable and down proof material, and in the grey foot and head area GoLite used Pertex Endurance, which is a waterproof material. The inside is very soft and feels comfortable on the skin - the outer as well.
The turquoise outer.
There were two bands which are supposed to go under the mattress, but I found this not practical and just took them off, and stuff the sides under my back when I go to sleep, that arrangement lets no warmth escape. Totally at the top there's a button, so you can close the collar around your neck and with the draw cord you can zip it tight - a smart system which functions very well for me. The quilt has a footbox, which means your feet are completely surrounded by down and will be toasty. Its a smart idea, because it adds a bit more insulation to the bottom, considering that the majority of UL backpackers sleep on a torso sized mattress. It also fixates the quilt. Finally, I got a bit extra space in the foot box, so I can dry stuff there or keep batteries and other equipment warm.
Button and draw cord = trapping all warmth inside.
Speaking of a mattress, I have been sleeping on a small NeoAir with my Ultra 20° and found it a very fine combo. The NeoAir did reach it limits on colder nights, though, so I'll combine it with a Z Lite for the next nights. The solution I used without the Z Lite with me was to put my Rab Momentum Jacket with the outside down under me. That worked excellently, and kept me also from underneath very warm. Multipurpose all the way!
Lets talk about pack size. The Ultra 20° packs very small, as you can see from the photo. That's for me a huge plus, because I do not like a big pack size (I'm looking at you, dear winter sleeping bag of colossal proportions). The packsack itself is waterproof to some extent, it leaks in at the seam so if you don't use a packliner or similar I recommend using a waterproof packsack for it. Forgot to weigh the packsack and am currently not at home, so let me guesstimate its weight at ~10 g.
Small, isn't it?
The Ultra 20° is supposed to keep one warm till about -7°C (or 20° Fahrenheit). I haven't yet experienced that low temperatures, given that it is September and we have night temperatures of about 5°C. Until those temperatures I was toasty warm, and could have done without the merino base layer I was wearing. I'm going to sleep under it tonight, and temps might drop to around 0°C (I'm a bit further up north and at the coast for the next few days), so I'll see how it goes and let you know tomorrow.
The bed is made for tonight!
So, what do I think? I had a few nights with quite a bit of condensation in the Scarp 1, and in the morning the areas with Pertex Endurance where nice and dry, but the turquoise material was wet and the down under it sticked to the outer material. Nothing that a while in the sun can't fix, though I think a complete shell outer of Pertex Endurance would be nice - this might make it more heavier, though. That's the only thing I can think of which could be improved. I'm really satisfied with the quilt so far, it doesn't lose down, it has plenty of space for movement, its warm and very practical in regards to weight and pack size. For people who are considering the switch from sleeping bag to quilt, the Ultra 20° is the perfect quilt as it is both high quality and affordable - 180€ including shipping from Ultralight Outdoor Gear is a very good price, much cheaper then other high quality UL quilts. I'm actually already thinking how I can make the Ultra 20° useable in deep Winter, because I like it so much!