Big Agnes Fussell UL Quilt Review
Compare to Similar Products
Big Agnes Fussell UL Quilt
$279.95 at Amazon
|$320 List||$389 List|
$429.00 at Feathered Friends
$359.00 at Amazon
|Pros||Light, minimalist, great for casual camping trips, quality DownTek and Pertex Quantum materials||Very affordable, highly customizable, versatile, lots of features||Super simple and light, highest quality down, spacious and comfortable||Truly ultralight, packs down well, good zipper||Very inexpensive, versatile, good feature set|
|Cons||Not warm enough to be truly versatile, sizing not very accommodating, snap pad attachment system isn’t without issues||Long wait for product to be custom made and shipped, foot box draw cord still leaves a little hole, lots of buttons and straps||No zipper, hard to tell the difference between variable fill zones, must be paired with warm jacket, feet can get hot in warmer weather, not as versatile as other ultralight bags||Not very warm, tight around shoulders||Not as warm as similar quilts, doesn't seal at the bottom very well|
|Bottom Line||This small, lightweight, and minimalist quilt could be a perfect companion for warm nights||Offers the versatility of sleeping under it as a blanket or fully wrapped up, with a huge range of customizable options||A lightweight, variable fill, hoodless mummy without a zipper, designed to be used for alpine climbing in conjunction with a belay parka||The Spark is a good fit for warm summer trips or truly ultralight applications. Bikepackers will especially love its tiny packed size||A quilt with good features at an unbeatable price|
|Rating Categories||Big Agnes Fussell U...||Enlightened Equipme...||Feathered Friends V...||Sea to Summit Spark...||Hammock Gear Econom...|
|Specs||Big Agnes Fussell U...||Enlightened Equipme...||Feathered Friends V...||Sea to Summit Spark...||Hammock Gear Econom...|
|Manufacturer Stated Temperature Rating||40F||20F||25F lower half, 45F upper half||40F||20F|
|Measured weight, bag only (ounces)||17.3 oz||20.9 oz||16.4 oz||12.4 oz||25.0 oz|
|Stuffed Size||3.5" x 5.5"||7" x 12"||7" x 10"||4" x 7"||6" x 10"|
|Stuff Sack Weight||0.4 oz||0.6 oz||0.8 oz||1.0 oz||0.6 oz|
|Manufacturer Claimed Weight||17 oz||20.2 oz||16.7 oz||12.0 oz||22.2 oz|
|Fill Weight||9 oz||13.0 oz||9.4 oz||6.3 oz||13.2 oz|
|Shell Material||100% polyester ripstop||10D nylon fabric||Pertex Endurance UL||70D nylon||20D nylon taffeta|
|Fill Power||850 fill DownTek||850 Downtek||950+ goose down||850+ goose down||800 fill duck down|
|Style||Quilt||Quilt||Hoodless, zipperless mummy||Hooded mummy||Quilt|
|Construction||Box baffle consruction||U-shaped baffled quilt||No hood, no zipper and a variable fill||Sewn through baffles||Box baffle consruction|
|Zipper Length||No zipper||1/3-length at bottom||No zipper||1/2-length||1/3-length at bottom|
|Sizes||One size||Short/regular, regular/regular, regular/wide/ long/wide||62", 68", and 74"||Regular, long||Short, standard, long, wide-short, wide-standard, wide-long|
|Temp Options (degrees Fahrenheit)||40F||10, 20, 30, 40F||25, 45F||5, 18, 28, 40F||0, 10, 20, 30, 40F|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Weighing in just an ounce more than a pound, The Big Agnes Fussell UL Quilt is one of the lightest quilts we've tested and reviewed! The Fussell is best used on the warmest nights, given that the majority of its ultralight characteristics are due to its low 9 ounce 850 down fill weight. This may just be too low to be versatile for most people outside of summer months or sub tropic climates. Still, it may be found to be incredible useful as a supplemental blanket in just-in-case scenarios where you may not know you'd be spending a night out. The Fussell is a bit short, so anyone approaching 6' is going to feel a bit cramped.
The Big Agnes Fussell UL Quilt doesn't shy away from the fact that it's made for warmer circumstances and even ships without a stated limit rating. Looking at the facts of the quilt: 9 ounces of 850 fill DownTek down, we approximate the limit rating to be around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, although quilt limit rating varies depending on the sleeping pad you pair it with. Quilts usually excel at milder situations, and if you're sleeping in even warmer temps, there's ample opportunity to ventilate the quilt by undoing some of the snaps that attach it to your pad, or even just use it as a blanket, without any attachments to your sleeping pad at all.
If you do find yourself in colder temps than the approximate 40F limit, you may struggle keeping comfortable. Although snapping together the quilt into sleeping bag-mode does work, the snaps will easily unsnap if you're an active sleeper. There is a cinch strap to allow the quilt to rest close and comfortable around your neck, no additional draft collar is present. The best way to boost this quilt would be with a warm winter hat and a trusty pad with a high R-rating. Scrunching down into a ball is also difficult to achieve given the smaller footprint of the Fussell.
What this quilt could come in handy with is adding additional warmth and insulation to another sleep system by being utilized as an additional top quilt. Then, 9 ounces of premium down would make a huge difference in your current sleep system limit rating.
Flyweight! Weighing in at only 17.6 ounces, the Big Agnes Fussell UL Quilt is one of the lightest quilts that we've tested and reviewed for this category. The weight savings come primarily from the simpler, square baffle construction, lack of superfluous features, the use of high-quality 850 fill DownTek down, and lightweight Pertex Quantum 10D fabric used throughout. Snaps are also used in lieu of straps, which saves a few more grams.
This svelteness does come at a compromise to the warmth of the quilt, and even overall comfort. But the no-nonsense design of this quilt makes it quite packable, to the point that you may not notice bringing it along on a long alpine hike as a useful item in your emergency overnight kit.
Being such a minimalist piece of kit, comfort may not have been the primary goal with the Big Agnes Fussell UL Quilt. The quilt itself is certainly comfortable enough with its box baffle design and down fill, but we found that the snaps holding it to the pad often snapped off when we rolled over to reposition ourselves. The small footprint of the quilt isn't what you'd describe as roomy, and the footbox is as tiny as it gets. Thankfully, the cinches for the neck are well out of the way of your face, and one of the few features that we found to be exceptionally thought out.
The Fussell is on the smaller end of quilt size. The mostly rectangular shape is 60" across, and around 66" long, only tapering at the footbox. Our main tester was 5'11", and found the footprint of the quilt left a bit to be desired, just reaching above their neck when their feet are pressed to the end of the footbox.
There are a few situations where the Big Agnes Fussell UL Quilt really shines. Warm, summer nights, where you're not worried about getting hit by an errant cold front and the precipitation that often tags along being its bread and butter. The premium features, such as it's lofty DownTek Down and thin yet strong Pertex Quantum 10D fabric do help to keep the quilt warm even if things go a little sideways in the rain.
The quilt can also be utilized as a just-in-case blanket for FKTs or as part of a lightweight emergency hiking kit, given its exceptionally light weight and awesome packability. Big Agnes itself suggests taking this quilt along for things like casual car camping and music festivals. We ourselves are quite enjoying wearing it around our laps and legs, afghan-style while we type out this very review, and could see it as a worthy ally in similar seating situations around a dying campfire.
What the Fussell Quilt may not be great at is a dedicated, long trail backpacking quilt, which is what a lot of ultralighters are shopping for. The weight is certainly right, but the temp rating is just not warm enough for the less than ideal weather you're bound to run into in the weeks/months you're out on the trail. The cramped fit and futzy pad attachment system may lead to too many nights of broken up sleep.
Snaps are used instead of straps to connect the quilt to your sleeping pad on the Big Agnes Fussell UL Quilt and this is probably its most distinctive feature. To achieve this, the Fussell actually comes with a set of ten adhesive-backed snaps for you to stick onto your pad. This works, but you'll lose out on being able to adjust how tight you can pull the quilt into the pad, as well as limit which pads you can pair the quilt to. Once you stick the snaps to your pad, they're not coming off, you'll have to buy additional snaps separately. Snaps on the quilt can also be snapped together, putting the quilt into, "sleeping bag mode". Unfortunately, we found these snaps fell short in their usability when compared to straps: any tossing and turning will certainly undo them for your pad and we found we would be constantly reattaching them through the night. If you're closer to the 6' height limit this quilt is designed to accommodate, this will be a bigger problem. The Fussell only comes in one size, so anyone larger will want to look elsewhere.
You won't find any interior pockets to stash important items like a headlamp or your phone, but there are small pockets at the top of the quilt to put your hands in, and allow you to wrap the quilt around yourself when using the quilt as a blanket. A simple cinch system works to minimize drafts around your neck, which works adequately, without putting the cinch straps in your face, something that we certainly appreciate. No draft collar is present. A very shallow footbox can be found at the other end of the quilt - just enough to keep your feet in, but don't expect too much heat retention from it.
Should you buy the Big Agnes Fussell UL Quilt?
If you're looking to pack along a "just in case" quilt/blanket for road trips, evening get togethers, spontaneous car camping missions, or even for back country emergencies, the Big Agnes Fussell UL Quilt is a great piece of kit, thanks to its light weight and simplicity. If you're looking for a do-it-all ultralight quilt for temperate climates, this just may not pack enough warmth for your entire trip, and the snap system to connect it to your pad may be a little lacking.
What Other Ultralight Sleeping Bag Should You Consider?
If you're looking for a trustworthy ultralight quilt/sleeping bag for warmer temps, the Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL is one of our favorites. Its full zip allows it to be both used like a quilt for warmer days when fully unzipped, while also allowing you to bundle up fully zipped when it gets colder. The Sea to Summit Spark SpI 40 is another warm weather sleeping bag, and is even lighter and packs down smaller than the Fussell. For a warmer quilt, check out the REI Co-op Magma Trail Quilt 30 which is sold at a reasonable price for someone's first ultralight quilt/bag. It packs more fill weight than the Fusell, so it's going to be a little heavier as well, but still a great all-rounder for most three-season activities.
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