Synthetic quilts have become very light, warm & compact during the last five years - reason enough for me to check out the Sestrals Quilt from As Tucas.
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The As Tucas Sestrals Quilt is a very light, comfortable and very well made synthetic quilt. It packs small, has little problems with condensation and other sources of moisture, and keeps you toasty at night. Watch the Video to get the full low-down in moving images:
I received the As Tucas Sestrals Quilt in time for my Cairngorms Traverse last October and have used the quilt on half a dozen trips in the autumn and spring since. Overall it has been slept under for some 14 nights and been used since nine months.
The function of a quilt, like a sleeping bag, is to keep you warm at night. Ideally it is light and packs compact during the day, and is comfortable, easy to use and warm during the night when you are resting.
The Sestrals packs a bunch of features, here’s the list straight from the As Tucas Website:
- It is Longer than most quilts
- It is Wider than most quilts
- It has a Closed footbox
- Very easy to use
- Made from schoeller®-ftc fabric with ecorepel® finish
- Uses Climashield® APEX synthetic insulation, available in three weights
- Handcrafted in the Pyrenees, Spain
- Available in four lengths, two widths and three insulation strengths (for a total of 24 different configurations - without the colour options!)
I have used dozens of (down) quilts and have seen lots of different designs, so it’s hard to see something new. However, I really like that As Tucas uses a schoeller fabric for this quilt, schoeller from Switzerland make some of the best UL fabrics out there, and they’re not just light & functional but also have a solid environmental record.
Oh, and while I’m not 100% sure, I think this quilt qualifies as being Vegan 🌿💚
The craftsmanship is top-notch. It is a very well designed and manufactured piece of kit and I found nothing to complain about.
My As Tucas Sestrals Quilt is a Size M with a Regular Width and an Climashield Apex 200 insulation, and weighs 658 g. That is a wee bit heavier than the claimed weight of 625 g but still acceptable.
I have used some 18 years ago a light and compact synthetic sleeping bag. It packed about the same size as the Sestrals quilt, but it was nowhere near as warm or easy to use as this quilt. Happily I used it mostly in Central America, where it didn’t get too cold at night! As I started to pay attention to the weight of the gear in my backpack some 10 years ago I quickly switched to a quilt. The advantages for me were just too good to pass up, and it has improved my nights outdoors so much that I would encourage anyone who camps outdoors to try a quilt. The Sestrals Quilt from As Tucas is my first synthetic quilt, and thus far I really enjoy using it.
I love how simple it is constructed and how seams have been kept to a minimum, but at the same time paying attention to useful features like the longer hood. It packs down to a compact package and with some pushing and getting the air out I can pack it down to a size of around 6 l volume (that Helsport drybag it is in on the photos is a 10 l sack). It fluffs out easily when in camp, and condensation and dew do it no harm. I have had in the past some sketchy nights in the mountains when from the really warm day temperatures the thermometer suddenly plummets towards 0°C as soon as the sun sets - in those conditions gear that lays outside immediately starts to accumulate small droplets of water, and I had some uncomfortable nights with down quilts in the past.
With the Sestrals Quilt that is no longer a worry. There’s two fabrics to thank for that: First is the schoeller ftc fabric with the ecorepel finish, which is water repellant and the dew or rain just forms in little drops on the top of the fabric (as seen in the photo above, which I shot during my Sipoonkorpi Microadventure) and that sweet fabric is also free from fluorocarbons (PFC), so it is not harmful to humans, animals and nature. Secondly, the Climashield APEX insulation is synthetic and does not collapse from moisture, unlike down (Hydrophobic down is another story). I had a down sleeping bag collapse on top of me on a winter trip (I sweated it wet) and that was a very uncomfortable night. Even when the quilt would get wet the insulation would not collapse, so while you still might have an uncomfortable night under a wet synthetic quilt you actually could wring it dry and possibly have a halfway decent sleep (now there’s an idea for a future article!).
But away from such horror scenarios! A quilt for me needs to pack small while I am hiking and be light, and on both accounts the Sestrals quilt convinces. At camp I want to easily unpack it and not need to worry about condensation, where it also scores top marks. And then it obviously needs to be warm, comfortable and easy to use while sleeping. I tuck in the quilt at my sides when I go to sleep, and usually have a leg out to “cool down”. I also turn a lot while sleeping, from my left to my back to my right to my stomach and back, and with a quilt that is no problem. I remember nights in a sleeping bag where I ended up trapped inside because I turned too much, and well, that just ain’t nice. All quilts give you that freedom of movement, and the Sestrals maybe even gives you a little bit more freedom because there’s no drawstrings and straps which can trap you.
Warmth-wise the Climashield Apex 200 is rated to -5°C Comfort, and I found that a realistic rating. In Scotland we had some cold nights which were around the -2°C mark, and I was toasty under the quilt. I am a very warm sleeper so these kind of ratings are always dependent on the person, your metabolism, and many other factors. If you easily feel cold at night take at minimum the APEX 167 quilt if you want to use it from spring to autumn, or maybe even the APEX 200 if you really, really easily feel cold.
In the morning the quilt dries fast in the sun if some dew collected on it (in black at least), and it is easy to pack up again to a compact package, ready to hike. And while I haven’t washed it yet (it hasn’t seen that much use yet) it should be easy to clean this quilt, just toss it in the washing machine, wash it at 40° and then hang it to dry. No need to send it to a special dry cleaner or throw tennis balls into the dryer, like you have to with a down sleeping bag.
Could be better
The quilt itself is for me pretty much perfect, but I would like that it also comes with a stuff sack or dry bag when you buy it. A spacious storage bag is included, so the absence of a stuff sack for hiking was a bit strange - a cuben dry bag would be perfect!
In ultralight backpacking you always try to optimize the gear to the conditions of the trip ahead. The As Tucas Sestrals Quilt is my spring, summer and autumn quilt when the temperatures at night are expected to be around 0°C but can go colder, and when I expect a lot of rain and wet ground. For these trips the Sestrals quilt has performed admiringly and I had never any concerns that I might have a cold night - be it hiking in the rain in Scotland and camping out or on the Microadventure near Helsinki earlier this month. It is light, compact and very easy & comfortable in use, and I like to take it along on most trips as it’s just a very well made piece of kit that I know will perform and which I don’t need to worry about. With that it makes my backpacking trips more relaxing, and I have had great nights of sleep under the quilt. I look forward to take it along on a trip with the ENO Sub6 Hammock later this summer and see how it works in a hammock 🌳🌲!
Where to buy it
If you are in the market for a quilt which should keep you toasty from spring to autumn, you can order the Sestrals Quilt directly from As Tucas in every configuration you want, or from Trekking-Lite-Store.com.
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