GoLite Ultra Quilt Review

High-quality, 800-fill down quilt with Pertex Endurance “Arid Zone” patches at head and foot is a solid value.

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

This is a well-made, light, reasonably priced quilt that includes the additional protection of waterproof-breathable fabric at the head and foot. In fall and winter testing we found it a good performer, with the Arid Zone patches offering an additional margin of protection against condensation in colder weather. Add in removable grosgrain straps, a storage bag, and stuff sack, and it’s a nice, well-rounded product for the price. We like it.

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by Steve Nelson |

GoLite Ultra Quilt REVIEW - 1
GoLite Ultra Quilt (Image courtesy GoLite)

Introduction

We tested two of the prototype version of the Ultra Quilt this past fall and early winter, with one going to experienced quilt user Ryan Jordan, and one to me, Steve Nelson, a first time quilt user. We used the quilts in Montana, Wyoming, California, and New York, in a range of configurations and shelters.

The Ultra provides generally-expected features like webbing straps for lashing it to a pad (the straps are removable) and a cinch cord at the neck, but adds the fresh touch of the WPB (waterproof-breathable) panels at head and foot.

We found that the quilt performed well across the board - the temperature rating may be a bit optimistic, but the range of the bag was easily extended using insulating layers of clothing, and the WPB panels did indeed provide an extra margin of protection against wetting out the down (though not in all conditions...more on that below).

What’s Good

  • Quality construction and materials
  • Waterproof-breathable fabric patches at each end (especially the one at the head) help mitigate moisture problems
  • Well-placed, removable webbing for strapping over a pad
  • Good price for this level of quality

What’s Not So Good

  • WPB fabric can wet out in more extreme conditions
  • Samples had uneven down filling and insufficient loft in some baffles, though a full production example did not seem to have this problem

Specifications

  Manufacturer

GoLite

  Year/Model

2008 Ultra Quilt

  Dimensions

Advertised: 72” x 54” for Regular size (also available in Small and Large sizes)
Measured: 72” at longest point, 67” from shortest point at chin. 38” circumference at neck; 54” width at widest point (approx 21” from top of quilt). 37” circumference at foot, 42” circumference at start of footbox (16.25” up from foot)

  Shell

Nylon lining and main outer shell; Pertex Endurance 6” deep at the top (head) end and 12” deep at the foot end of outer shell

  Filling

800-fill down

  Other Features

Two grosgrain webbing straps with thin buckles; cinch cord and toggle at neck

  Accessories

Cotton storage bag; nylon stuff sack

  Rating

20° F (-7° C)

  MSRP

$225

  Weights

Advertised: 19 oz for regular size; 0.55 oz. for stuff sack
Measured: 19.05 oz for my sample quilt

Performance

The Ultra is constructed of turquoise nylon over most of its outer shell, with Pertex Endurance patches at the head and foot, meant to reduce moisture penetration from one’s breath and from condensation encountered by touching the wall of a shelter. The quilt is lined with soft black nylon and filled with 800-fill power down in 6” baffled tubes with 2-3” of single-layer loft. Quality and feel are excellent throughout. Both fabrics feel soft to the touch, with a slightly crinkly feel to the Pertex compared to the nylon shell and liner.

The bag is rated by GoLite at 20° F (-7° C). Both Ryan and I found this a bit generous, though some of the baffles on both of our pre-production quilts were underfilled, which doubtless affected our experience. However, I was able to examine a production quilt toward the end of our testing and found that it was impeccably constructed with even filling throughout. It exhibited none of the unevenness of our samples, so I'm betting temperature discrepancy is a non-issue for the full production run.

The Ultra has two grosgrain straps and thin buckles underneath that allow one to strap the quilt over a pad as shown here:

GoLite Ultra Quilt REVIEW - 2
Ultra quilt over a sleeping pad, showing the two grosgrain straps (image courtesy GoLite)

The straps are removable, so you can shave an ounce or so off the weight of the quilt if you don’t need them. The Ultra also has a snap and cord and toggle at the neck (same story on saving a few more grams if you remove the cord and toggle).

GoLite Ultra Quilt REVIEW - 3
One of the loops securing the removable straps. Note also the black lining and blue shell fabric.

The Ultra comes with a moderately sized cotton storage sack and a lightweight nylon stuff sack. The latter brings the quilt down to a compact 5”x8” for packing for those who don’t mind heavy compression.

GoLite Ultra Quilt REVIEW - 4
The Ultra packed in its compact stuff sack.

Field Testing

We tested the GoLite Ultra Quilt in fall and winter, with temperatures ranging from 50° F down to just over 0° F, at locations in Montana, Wyoming, California, and New York. Ambient conditions ranged from clear and dry to rainy and humid, at settings on rock, soil, and snow. The quilt was used in tents, a tarptent, and an ultralight bivy sack, on top of foam and inflatable insulated pads.

Overall performance of the quilt was good - it is sized so that it fully wrapped around me with room to spare, and loft is sufficient to provide performance near, if not entirely down to, the claimed rating of 20° F. Both Ryan and I were able to push the quilt past that rating by wearing other insulative clothing and found that the quilt has sufficient girth to support wearing clothing with a couple of inches of loft for folks of our size (I’m 5’9” with a 40” chest; Ryan is 5’8” with a 38" chest).

As a novice quilt user, I experimented with several different setups. First, I tried the quilt using the “tuck” technique - that is, I simply draped it over myself and tucked the sides back under me any time I shifted position. I’m a side and partial stomach sleeper, and I found this technique worked just fine in the moderate conditions I experienced in the Adirondacks (no colder than the high 30s F) and the California coast (even warmer). In slightly colder weather, I used the quilt inside a bivy sack with the same technique and found the technique even more reliable for blocking drafts, though I experienced a bit more moisture collapse of the down than I had when the bag was in the open. On most occasions I also tried the quilt with a silk liner, which added some additional comfort and some very slight draft protection.

GoLite Ultra Quilt REVIEW - 5
Adjusting the Ultra Quilt in a bivy sack near the Northern California Coast

I also tried strapping the bag over a 3/4 length ultralight Thermarest pad and a tapered InSul-Mat. This was a new experience for me, and it felt a bit more constricting than the other method, but required less fiddling once I got settled. The buckles are very light and flat and are fairly easy to use (I’d find them a bit fumbly when wearing mittens or gloves). The quilt has a neck snap, plus cinch cord with toggle; in practice I rarely used them, and only when the bag was strapped over a pad.

In all of the above cases, the Ultra was a fine performer - the coverage worked for me, even when I was sleeping on my side (Aside: I decided I prefer leaving it loose and tucking in the sides, except in really cold weather.).

Finally, I tested the quilt as an overbag for a Valandre La Fayette sleeping bag inside a bivy sack; this was less successful, because the footbox really isn’t big enough for a sleeping bag of the La Fayetter's loft to fit within the Ultra. Still, I believe it might be a good way to extend the range of a lighter bag, especially if using a vapor barrier liner instead of additional layers of clothing.

The Pertex Endurance panels at the head and foot were generally effective, but not infallible. In the challenging conditions of the Adirondacks, I found that the fabric wetted out at the foot when the quilt was used in a lightweight, low airflow tarptent in high condensation conditions with temperatures in the low 40s. Moisture from contact with the walls of the tarptent, as well as spray knocked off the inside of the shelter by heavy rain, coated the foot sufficiently to wet out the fabric and cause some loss of loft.

GoLite Ultra Quilt REVIEW - 6
Foot of Ultra Quilt in the Adirondacks, showing wetted-out Pertex and damp down

Ryan and I both thought the Pertex at the head of the quilt did an excellent job at preventing breathing-induced condensation and loft degradation, particularly in the very cold (<15° F) conditions Ryan experienced on one trip. However, he also found that the Pertex was less successful in the foot area of the quilt and experienced a footbox collapse over the course of a multiday trip. Ryan noted that he’s experienced this collapse with every one of his down bags, so this is not unique to the Ultra...but the Pertex panel did not eliminate the footbox collapse, and a case could be made that the Pertex contributed a bit to the collapse by reducing permeability of the footbox from the inside.

I did a “faucet test” at home and noted that, after sixty seconds of exposure to running water, the Pertex fabric and down underneath remained completely dry, with water beading up and running off the fabric the entire time. The nylon shell and inner lining both started to show slight darkening after forty-five seconds, and both shell and lining, and the down underneath, were only just damp to the touch after sixty seconds of exposure.

All things considered, Ryan and I agreed that the Pertex patches are a positive feature, particularly for reducing breath-related wetting and frosting in colder temperatures, and will offer a small additional level of protection for the ends of the quilt when used under a tarp without a bivy sack.

The underfilled pre-production baffles in other areas of the quilt collapsed more than the properly-filled ones, as one might expect. In particular, the baffle over my chest ended up with inside and outside fabric touching and little, if any, down in between (and not enough down to shift around to make up for this). Again, this definitely was not the case in the production model I examined and should not present similar problems.

The Ultra comes with a cotton storage bag, which I use for keeping the bag uncompressed at home, and a stuff sack, which I found convenient and compact. I generally don’t compress my down bags so tightly, preferring to put them loose in a plastic liner in the bottom of my pack, but, on one occasion, the compact size of the Ultra in its stuff sack was a necessity to fit it in along with all the rest of my gear in a 48” pulk for a multi-day snow camping trip.

Assessment

The GoLite Ultra is a good value for its quality and performance. The Pertex patches are valuable in some conditions, and the quilt provides standard features for flexibility in use at a nice light weight. While some might find the temperature rating a bit aggressive, it can certainly be comfortable well below freezing, and we recommend it.

What’s Unique

The Ultra incorporates Pertex Endurance “Arid Zones” to provide additional moisture resistance around the sleeper’s face, as well as where the footbox might meet the wall of a shelter.

Recommendations for Improvement

  • Consider adding another few ounces of down to bolster loft, or consider reducing the bag’s rating to 30° to reflect its somewhat sparse filling (though, to be fair, this sparseness may have been due to the fact that our models were pre-production).


Citation

"GoLite Ultra Quilt Review," by Steve Nelson. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/golite_ultra_quilt_review.html, 2008-04-02 00:01:00-06.

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Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » GoLite Ultra Quilt Review


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Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
GoLite Ultra Quilt Review on 04/01/2008 23:43:07 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

GoLite Ultra Quilt Review

Kevin Lane
(KEVINLANE) - F
Full Size And Photon on 04/02/2008 04:47:49 MDT Print View

OK, but what about full size guys? What would the fit be like?

How does it and its temperature rating compare to the Photon Designed Arch Alpinist and other already out there quilts?

mark cole
(marklivia)
Quilts rating on 04/02/2008 05:51:51 MDT Print View

I had been so eagerly awaiting the release of this bag, ever since Ryan talked about it at it's release at last years show. I own the Golite Feather-lite which Will positively reviewed here. Rated at 40 degrees , mine has a minimum of 2.75" of top loft- I know for sure cause I cut it down the bottom and made it into a quilt!
I was truly hoping Golite somehow got 5" of single layer loft into this new 19 oz. package. Alas, no go. And w/ no better or maybe less loft than my Feather-lite how can we see a 20 degree rating? When the first runs of the Feather came out I remember reading about consistency issues in the down thickness, etc. Like the feather, maybe in later production runs of this bag we'll begin to see those 4" of single layer loft numbers Ryan was speaking of. In the meantime .I'll keep my thicker Golite Feather-lite quilt.

Edited by marklivia on 04/02/2008 18:18:04 MDT.

Steven Nelson
(slnsf) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
re: Full Size on 04/02/2008 08:32:05 MDT Print View

Hi Kevin - I can't speak to other body sizes and types, so what I did was measure the quilt at several points and provide that information in the table up front in the review - hope that helps.

The temperature rating is "generous" - that is, I personally wouldn't use it alone in 20° weather, though I consider myself a warm sleeper. I'd say the loft varies from 2-3" throughout the quilt.

I just had it out in the snow again this past weekend and slept in sub-20° weather by using it in a bivy sack and wearing synthetic-insulated clothing. I was quite comfortable.

Edited by slnsf on 04/02/2008 17:52:43 MDT.

Grzegorz Przeorski
(grzechu) - MLife

Locale: Ontario
Origin? on 04/02/2008 08:52:51 MDT Print View

I would like that is stated where the reviewed product was made. (It matters to me).

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
GoLite Ultra Quilt on 04/02/2008 09:54:55 MDT Print View

I have this quilt and think it's excellent. I am a very real believer in down. I've successfully used it in WET conditions for years.

The foot box condensation issues are a very real concern, and it happens in EVERY down bag. Here's what I have done and consider a successful (for me) solution.

The problem (I think?) is that feet get sweaty, but they are not necessarily warm. They "pump-out" moisture vapor during the night, but there just isn't enough warmth to fully get the vapor all the way through the outside liner of the bag.

The torso of my body is nice and warm, and i suspect it'll "pump-out" more heat and less moisture than my clammy feet. So - the outside sleeping bag fabric around my torso stays significantly dryer.

- - - BUT - - -

What to do about my clammy feet?

I have found that wrapping my feet in something with puffy SYNTHETIC insulation works well. This is done inside the down foot-box of the sleeping bag (or quilt). This solves the problem.

I have used these items with great success:
=================================

* Integral Designs Hot Socks. (works okay)

* A puffy synthetic vest wrapped around my feet (works pretty good)

* An old synthetic light weight summer sleeping bag, with the foot box cut off and sewn with a draw cord. (works perfect)


[The list above is in descending order, from light to heavy]



What's actually happening?
=====================

Here's my best attempt at explaining:

Somehow, the properties of the synthetic disperse the water vapor within the acrylic insulation in a way that doesn't allow it to "pool" anywhere in the bag. Is the water vapor trapped in the synthetic puffy insulation? Maybe?

- - or - -

There is less of a temperature differential between my clammy feet and the cold night air with the extra insulation, so it creates less condensation. Maybe...

Edited by mikeclelland on 04/02/2008 09:58:26 MDT.

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F - M

Locale: SoCAL
Good Review on 04/02/2008 11:16:47 MDT Print View

Thanks for the excellent review. I bought one back in the end of Feb and have enjoyed it. However, I haven't been able to use it in temperatures near it's rating, so I welcomed reading someone's experiences with it. It's too bad you didn't have a production version for most of your testing as I would have liked to see how the more consistant filling would have faired. But at least now, I have more confidence in taking this quilt to it's stated rating with the clothing I normally bring.

Charles Reneau
(charley289) - F

Locale: Cascades and Oregon Coast Range
Condensation on 04/02/2008 11:19:37 MDT Print View

I use a LaFuma 30 degree 800 Fill Down bag, and I use a small poncho tarp, so recently I got a bivy sack (Equinox) to complement the bag in colder and wetter weather. For warmth and comfort, this combination is terrific (I move around a lot at night, and having my Gossamer Gear pads and bag held in place by being inside the bivy sack is great help).

However, when it drops below 40 F at night, I've noticed lots of condensation inside the bivy sack (both on top of the sleeping bag and on the underside of the top fabric of the bivy sack). I've experienced this in dry Eastern Oregon, wet Cascades, and also the southern Appalachians. So I dry the bag out during the day.

I have two questions:
1. How can I measure loss of loft in the field? In other words, not having a postal scale, I can't measure the weight of the water that now resides in my bag. And even then, how can I know what kind of effect this will have on my sleeping warmth?

2. Should I just expect to have condensation on my bag after a night below 40F, and learn to love it?

I've often wondered if it would be an advantage to have a WPB material around my breathing hole at night, and, I suppose, this review of the Golite bag answers that question! Thanks also to Mr. Clelland for his comments- I might try some of those socks.
Thanks,
Charley

Edited by charley289 on 04/02/2008 11:21:41 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: GoLite Ultra Quilt Review on 04/02/2008 11:29:54 MDT Print View

"...footbox collapse over the course of a multiday trip . . . with every one of his down bags" - in the inital review.

Bill Fornshell - I believe you use Cuben VBL socks for warmth more than mositure control, but hope you might opine on this topic.

Has anyone else tried VBL socks to address this? It seems like moisture control is the key, and that a couple of bread bags would do the trick.

Is it more complicated than this?

mark cole
(marklivia)
Loft on 04/02/2008 14:41:57 MDT Print View

Could guys who have this quilt please state the measured loft?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Loft on 04/02/2008 15:10:45 MDT Print View

From the article -

"The quilt is lined with soft black nylon and filled with 800-fill power down in 6” baffled tubes with 2-3” of single-layer loft."

S P
(HighAltitude) - F
Re: Loft on 04/02/2008 16:16:08 MDT Print View

I just received a size long and agree with the review.

Its a good quilt for the money, 2-3" of loft depending on what baffle is measured, some baffles across the chest/stomach area are a little light on the down and I would rate it at 30deg.

I spent two nights in it with lows of 28 and 24 deg. It works for someone that wants to integrate their clothing system into their sleeping system to get into the colder weather.

Don't expect western mountaineering or nunatak quality but you also aren't paying for it.

I really need something with more loft so most likely I will be selling it and getting a nunatak arc alpinist with some over fill.

Mark Bishop
(mark_b) - MLife

Locale: Northwest (WA)
GoLite Ultra Quilt Review on 04/02/2008 19:59:09 MDT Print View

Grzegorz-
You ask about the origin of the bag - the tag on mine states that it was made in China.

The loft appears pretty consistent throughout but wouldn't disagree that the chest area baffles might be a tad lighter than others. The accurate weight of my bag is 19.30 oz.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Loft... on 04/02/2008 20:18:14 MDT Print View

I will preface... I love this quilt! (See my review)

2-3" sounds like a copout, but it really does vary a bit. I don't think I'd say any of my baffles are 3" though. I'd say 2-2.5" would be a better estimate.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: GoLite Ultra Quilt Review on 04/03/2008 13:20:53 MDT Print View

I almost always wear VBL on my feet in my down bag, unless it's a warm night, in which case I just hang my (bare) feet out of the bag. I would probably do this even if I used a synthetic system. That, and rolling/stuffing the bag the instant I get out of it to get out as much of the warm, moist air as possible before it cools and condenses...

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Ultra Quilt Strap fragility on 04/03/2008 15:19:31 MDT Print View

I purchased an Ultra quilt in January & used it in February in mid 20 degree weather with gusty winds in excess of 50 mph in a tarptent. All was well until I rolled over on my side which resulted in a loop pulling out of the bag & thus inability to keep the bag attached to my torso length sleeping pad. If using the straps, be absolutely sure to not keep them too snug because the plastic loops that hold the straps to the bag will easily pull out along the hem line. Fortunately, I was able to have the bag repaired by a friend & plan to use the Ultra with a Montbell Breeze Dry-Tec bag cover in cold weather in the future. The Ultra truly is warm if you can keep it on top of you. I am 6'1 & weigh 215 lbs & the Ultra long has plenty of room for me.

Edited by jameslantz on 04/04/2008 16:16:13 MDT.

Kevin Lane
(KEVINLANE) - F
Sizes and Stuffing on 04/05/2008 05:01:33 MDT Print View

I was suprised at my lack of ability to find size information on the golite site

I was even more suprised to see Golite states that the insulation is a mix of 800 and 600 fill. Does this make it an 800 fill bag? The manufacturer states the highest quality of down in the mix?

Thanks for the size information Jim

mark cole
(marklivia)
Re: Sizes and Stuffing on 04/05/2008 06:46:29 MDT Print View

I think Golite was saying they use both 800 and 600 in their bags, not in this bag. I'm pretty sure it's straight 800 fill in the Ultra.

Ryan Hutchins
(ryan_hutchins) - F

Locale: Somewhere out there
the big fellas on 04/07/2008 10:05:42 MDT Print View

I've used this quilt quite a bit, in both the Med. size and Large. For bigger folks, the Large is the way to go, better coverage, less constrictive and less compression of down while sleeping. Switching up to the large was a whole new world of comfort for me.

Shawn Taylor
(staylor310) - F

Locale: Sierra
Nylon Fabric on 05/25/2008 08:18:40 MDT Print View

I have this quilt, and a really like the fabric used on the rest of the shell and lining. Anyone know what it is, and if it can be purchased?