REI Co-op Magma Trail Quilt 30 Review
Cons: Buttons, straps, and cinches could use another design revision, some problems with durability and design
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
When compared to the warmth of other quilts in its category, the Magma 30 can certainly go toe to toe with other products with a similar warmth rating. The footbox, although not transformable to take on blanket duties, is nothing but toasty, and with no zippers/snaps/cinches, there's less opportunity for warm air to escape.
The continuous baffle design lofts up the down nice and high. The pad strap system and draft tube around the neck area keep warm air sealed in while sleeping. We felt that the 30F rating seems slightly conservative and comfort in lower temps is possible, provided you have an adequate head covering and sleeping pad. This quilt, like most quilts, is only designed to cover you up to your chin.
In unexpected cold weather and surprise snowstorms while out on a thru-hike, one can burrow inside the quilt to escape the cold air outside as the girth of the quilt is generous enough to accept a whole body underneath without feeling claustrophobic.
The REI Trail Magma 30 weighs in at a total of 19 oz, which is comparable to other products we've reviewed. Less hardware found on the Trail Magma 30 also means a theoretical higher warmth to weight ratio. With 10.5 oz of fill weight, over half of the 19 oz total weight of the bag is quality, water-resistance 850 goose down. For the price, there are not many products we've tested in this category that can claim such a temperature rating at this weight.
The light and trail-tough 15D Pertex ripstop nylon again matches with what smaller cottage companies are utilizing for their products, which may come as a surprise to find on a more mass-produced piece of gear.
The supplied stuff sack is made of the same tough-but-light 15D Pertex, and should take the abuse of a long thru-hike while weighing a little less than .8 ounces. We wouldn't recommend looking for an after-market replacement, as the one provided is sized perfectly for the quilt.
Compared to other products we've tested, the width of the quilt is more on the narrow side at 56" for both shoulder and hip girth. This did seem adequate for our wide-shouldered, 5'11" tester, who found sleeping on his back and side comfortable enough to enjoy a recharging night's sleep.
The Trail Magma Quilt comes with two removable straps that are attached using long toggle buttons that fit onto sewn-on webbing loops on the quilt itself. There are three places on the quilt one can affix these buttons to: near the top of the footbox, in the middle of the quilt, as well as right near the top of the quilt where your head will stick out. This can help with adjusting how roomy the quilt will feel while sleeping and how tightly sealed you'd like to be.
In our testing, we found that these buttons do have a tendency to wander both while you're sleeping and while you're setting up/packing up as they don't affix all that tightly. It's then very easy to lose a pad strap while out on say: a thru-hike, so special attention needs to be given to not losing them. A bush fix on the trail for a lost strap wouldn't be too difficult to hack together, but it's still a somewhat surprising rough detail on such a simple quilt.
The Trail Magma 30 features a neck draft tube, helping keep a secure seal at the top of the quilt. This is supplemented with a snap that allows you to snuggly fit the quilt around your neck. A cinch cord also gives you the ability to compress this fit even more closely around your neck.
The draft tube is excellent and certainly adds to the warmth and comfort of the bag. It's one of this quilt's best features. The neck snap can be a little difficult to attach while your neck is sticking out of the quilt itself, and can come undone in the middle of the night if you toss and turn. The long cinch cord does lay right on a person's neck when sleeping, which can be irritating while sleeping. Once dialed in, and provided that things keep cinched/snapped/buttoned, the quilt is very comfortable to sleep under.
The footbox is quite roomy and toasty, although it lacks the hardware to transform the quilt into a full-on blanket.
Unlike other products we've tested, there's limited versatility baked into the Trail Magma 30. It's best as a sleeping quilt and will support you even when temps dip a little below its stated rating. To extend the cold-weather usage of this quilt, consider purchasing a separate down cap that can be re-utilized for other situations on trail.
You won't be able to unfurl the footbox of the Trail Magma 30 to allow the quilt to act as a blanket for a cold campsite wrap, nor use it a blanket on warm nights, nor use it as a super-layer on frigid mornings where you would like to walk about while wearing the quilt. The long and warm footbox functions fantastically to provide a comfortable and warm night's sleep for your lower body when laying down, but the footbox is so long that the actual opening of the quilt is shorter than most full zipper sleeping bags we've tested.
The sewing of the footbox does lead to a potential problem. At the top of the footbox on the bottom of the quilt comes together, there's a seam that's easy to rip and damage if handled roughly. Our testers were able to (unintentionally) start a rip in this seam almost immediately when our testing started. This deficiency is yet another peculiar rough part of the quilt's design.
The killer feature of the Trail Magma 30 is just how light and simple it is. If weight is first and foremost you're biggest concern with shopping for a quilt, give the Trail Magma 30 a serious look. This does come with some shortcomings when it comes to versatility, but if those issues aren't important to you, you'll find a no-nonsense quilt that's easily available for ordering, is lightweight, and made with quality materials. The chances you'll find this quilt available seasonally on sale are also great, so consider waiting to purchase during those opportunities.
We would have liked to see more testing done on the various strap/snap/cinch systems of the quilt, as they don't feel they're on par with other options out there. If those can be amended, this quilt would be a runaway hit for many.
The Magma Trail Quilt is certainly on the less expensive end of the spectrum of products we've tested in this category, but you do get what you pay for. It's a good, but not category-leading quilt option for the price. The real value may be in just how easily available this quilt is and the satisfaction guarantee you'll be promised by buying a product from REI. If you do have time to wait for a quilt to be made by perhaps a dedicated thru-hiker cottage company and would like a warmer quilt with more baked-in features, there are some other pretty compelling options in this category.
It's exciting to see such a large player like REI enter into what has in the past been a more niche product space. But even though they have added a new product to the mix, they didn't add much in terms of actual innovation in the product itself. A savvy buyer who's looking for a quilt like this will shop the rolling sales and score big. For those more serious about their sleep systems, offerings from smaller companies just may be a better choice.
— Justin Simoni