Mountain Laurel Designs Vision Quilt Review
Cons: Underwhelming warmth, narrow dimensions, weak closure snap
Manufacturer: Mountain Laurel Designs
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Vision Quilt utilizes 2 oz/sq yard of Climashield Apex insulation to provide a modest level of warmth. This insulation is made as a sheet of synthetic fibers so this bag is able to forego any baffles in its construction. Bargain shoppers will appreciate that these materials and the simplified construction really keep costs low. However, the Climashield Apex insulation can't offer nearly as much loft as high-quality down. That means the warmth of this quilt is really only adequate during warmer nights. Experienced ultralighters may be able to push this quilt into colder temperatures with the right selection of campsite, sleeping pad, and warm clothing. The high end of their stated range is where we think the actual low for most people would be. We also wish that this quilt included a drawstring or better closure system for really sealing in heat around the neck/shoulders to fully maximize its warmth potential.
On our independent scale, the Vision Quilt only weighed a svelte 11.2 oz. That's staggeringly light for any kind of quilt and one of this model's specs that makes it especially appealing. We should acknowledge, however, that its warmth was disappointing so the overall warmth-to-weight ratio isn't quite as impressive. This is an ultralight quilt for short summer trips at lower elevations when the chances of an unexpectedly cold night are low.
The Vision Quilt comes with a high-quality, 20-denier ProSilNylon stuff sack that weighs just 0.6 oz. Although we like the materials and build quality of this stuff, it was way too big to effectively compress the quilt. The Vision Quilt can actually compress pretty small, but the included stuff sack left it more than twice as large as its minimum packed size.
To achieve its impressively low weight, the Vision Quilt employs a trim cut and narrow dimensions. The 40-inch girth at the foot is narrow but a little better than average in the ultralight sleeping bag category. Higher up at the waist and torso the interior space can feel somewhat cramped. The quilt employs a single snap at the upper hem to seal it closed. This allows the material lower down on the bag to spread out a little and create some more room. Some testers complained, however, that this snap was not sturdy enough to stay closed during a restless night. If it comes undone unexpectedly, you can expect the warmth to decrease considerably.
Synthetic sleeping systems, like the Vision Quilt, offer considerable advantages over down insulation in wet conditions. If down feathers get wet they clump together and lose almost all of their insulation power. Synthetic fibers, in contrast, will not clump and can continue to offer some warmth even when soaked. We think this performance characteristic boosts this quilt's versatility a bit.
On the other hand, this quilt is extremely lightweight and its meager insulation only supplies enough warmth for a narrow range of temperatures. The quilt design does offer some pleasant venting possibilities but we pity anyone who has to push this model anywhere near 40F-45F. At the same time, this quilt is low-profile enough that it could be used as a liner bag to boost the warmth of another sleeping bag in cold conditions. Due to its generous dimensions, this quilt could be used over top of a down sleeping bag in wet weather, too, protecting the down loft with this synthetic quilt.
This bag is simple enough that there aren't very many features to evaluate. Our testers approved of the 10-denier Mountain 3XDWR fabric because this tiny grid pattern material seemed burlier than its low weight would suggest. The same testers, however, complained about the single snap used to seal the top of the bag because it wouldn't stay reliably closed. We would greatly prefer if this were upgraded to a proper buckle with possibly a drawcord to ensure that heat can really get sealed inside.
In addition to its incredibly low weight, the other tempting thing about the Vision Quilt is its affordable price. This model retails for less than half the cost of some of the premium models in this review. We would like to caution eager shoppers, however, that the Vision Quilt does not offer even half the warmth of some of its pricier down-filled competitors. For a truly ultralight summer quilt, we think the Vision Quilt is an excellent value. But if your ambitions extend into spring and fall, or even chillier summer nights, we think your money would be better spent on a warmer, more versatile option.
The Mountain Laurel Design Vision Quilt is a quality quilt that fills a tiny niche in the sleeping system marketplace. With synthetic insulation and a meager weight of just 11.2 oz, it cannot provide adequate warmth for full 3-season use. Instead, this is a featherlight quilt that's perfect for when the mercury rises and the forecast looks clear. We would be eager to carry it for a 1-2 night backcountry quest but would hesitate if the trip length grew and hot overnight temperatures became harder to predict.
— Jack Cramer
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