Fanatic Fringe PG Delta 30 Quilt SPOTLITE REVIEW

Looking for an ultralight quilt, but don't trust down insulation? With a few compromises, this may be your solution.

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by Mike Martin | 2006-05-09 03:00:00-06

Fanatic Fringe PG Delta 30 Quilt SPOTLITE REVIEW

Overview

When the package from Fanatic Fringe arrived and I opened the box revealing their PG Delta 30 Quilt, the thought that immediately struck me was, "This thing is going to be really drafty." My next thought was, "Wow, this is really light for a synthetic bag." Those two initial observations pretty well define the product. Fanatic Fringe has distilled the sleeping quilt down to its essence, stripping away all zippers, straps, buckles, and drawcords, leaving only an enclosed footbox as its sole luxury feature. This lack of extraneous hardware may be aesthetically appealing to the same type of ultralight backpacker who doesn't bring along gloves because he could always use his spare pair of dirty socks in a pinch. It also contributes to a loft:weight ratio superior to some feature-rich down bags.

However, the lack of any means to secure the quilt around the sleeper's neck, shoulders, or even sides can lead to a drafty and chilly night when used alone under a tarp. Plus, the Polarguard Delta insulation doesn't drape around you and conform to your shape to form a draft seal as well as down does. Fortunately, the situation changes when the quilt is combined with a tent or highly-breathable bivy sack to stop drafts. A bivy sack, in particular, complements the quilt well both by stopping drafts and by restraining the sides of the quilt to mold better to the sleeper's shape. The quilt still is prone to drafts around the neck area, but this can be reduced by using some insulated clothing to form a gasket around the neck and shoulders.

Fanatic Fringe PG Delta 30 Quilt SPOTLITE REVIEW - 1
Underside of the quilt. Note the enclosed footbox.

The 48 inch girth at the shoulders is wide enough to cover most hikers. And, like all quilts, insulated clothing can be worn underneath without compressing any of the insulation. However, the formed footbox is narrow. It is roomy enough for an average hiker lying on his back. But, if you have extra-large feet, plan to wear booties, or sleep on your side, the footbox is too confining.

As its name suggests, the PG Delta 30 Quilt is made with Polarguard Delta insulation. This offers a significant advantage over down insulation due to its resistance to moisture-induced loft degradation. For wet-climate use, or for long trips where accumulated moisture from perspiration might reduce a down bag to a sack of wet oatmeal, synthetic insulations can be well worth their increased weight and diminished compressibility with respect to down. Plus, with its simple construction and lack of heavy and non-compressible accessories, this synthetic quilt has a higher loft:weight ratio and compresses smaller than some overbuilt down bags. The quilt is constructed by stitching the insulation to the shell fabric around its perimeter, without any any internal stitching, baffling, quilting or scrim to stabilize the insulation. The result is remarkably light weight. But, as the insulation is only secured at its edges, care must be used when handling the bag, particularly during stuffing and unstuffing, to prevent  damaging the insulation. The long-term durability of this construction remains to be seen.

Fanatic Fringe PG Delta 30 Quilt SPOTLITE REVIEW - 2
Combined with a breathable bivy sack and tarp, the PG Delta 30 Quilt is well protected against drafts and moisture.

What's Good

  • Simple design devoid of extra hardware.
  • Moisture-resistant synthetic insulation.
  • Loft:Weight ratio comparable to some down bags.
  • Well suited for use with a breathable bivy sack.

What's Not So Good

  • Limited draft control provisions.
  • Narrow footbox.
  • Construction offers little protection to the insulation, requiring careful handling.

Recommendations for Improvement

  • Improve the size and shape of the footbox.
  • Offer a version with a neck drawcord and side straps for draft control.
  • As the quilt already requires careful handling to protect the insulation, overall weight could be further reduced by using a lighter shell material.

Features and Specifications

  • Manufacturer's Claimed Weight: 22.5 oz
  • BPL Measured Weight: 22.0 oz
  • BPL Measured Loft: 2.2 inches
  • Loft to Weight Ratio: 9.0 cm/kg
  • Dimensions: 48 inch girth at shoulders x 72 inch length
  • Insulation: Polarguard Delta
  • Fabric: 1.1 oz nylon ripstop with a urethane DWR finish
  • Manufacturer's Temperature Rating: 30 °F
  • MSRP: $189

Citation

"Fanatic Fringe PG Delta 30 Quilt SPOTLITE REVIEW," by Mike Martin. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/fanatic_fringe_pg_delta_30_quilt_spotlite_review.html, 2006-05-09 03:00:00-06.

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