Well, a few months back I found myself in the market for a new winter top quilt. I had sold my Enlightened Equipment RevX 20* quilt because it was just much wider and longer than what I really needed. The RevX is an excellent quilt and Enlightened Equipment is a great company to deal with, there was no flaw with the construction or performance of the RevX, I had simply made an error in ordering. I thought the extra length and width would be more comfortable but it turned out it was not at all necessary for my body size. I could easily shave of 5+ ounces by getting a smaller quilt.
As I always do before making a purchase, I spent a lot of time reading reviews and researching companies, fabrics and quilt models. One cottage company I came across that really hadn’t gotten a lot of mention in the backpacking community is Hammock Gear. They do seem pretty well known in the hammock circles but since I don’t hammock, I don’t frequent those forums. Hammock Gear offers a 20* quilt called the Burrow, which price wise, was within my budget. As well, the specs were right around what I was looking for. One of the things that caught my attention was the top and inner fabric they are using. The fabric is called “Argon” and I was not familiar with this material so I did a bit of searching. The Argon fabric is a 10 denier calendered nylon. Here is a quote directly from Stormcrow at Hammock Gear on 6/20/13:
“Argon”(trademark pending) is a material recently acquired by Dutchwaregear and will be available for sale to the DIY crowd by the yard as early as next week. I believe he will be offering this fabric for $10/yard, which from what I have seen so far, is VERY competitive. Argon fabric is a 10 denier, calendered nylon that weighs approximately .67oz per square yard. This material feels incredible against the skin and is perfect for inner shell material. My personal opinion is that it is as good (or better than) most of the technical materials I have worked with thus far…and I have worked with most of them by now.
Because of the tight weave and strong calendering, Argon fabric is completely down proof as well as wind and water resistant. There is very little, if any, DWR finish to this fabric which is why it excels as an inner shell material. I have also made and used Argon Black as an outer shell material for a number of my personal (and loaner) quilts with great results. As I mentioned, it will shed light moisture and is very wind resistant. Oh, and for you guys that are trying to trim down that pack weight, this stuff is as light as it gets. I am still working on finished weights for all of our quilt models, but so far, they are some of the lightest I have seen.”
I checked out Dutchwaregear and while the fabric is available for purchase from them, the description on the Dutchwaregear website does not offer any more information than the above quote from Stormcrow.
Hammock Gear offers the Burrow top quilt in a choice of 0*, 20*, 40* and 50* ratings. The Burrow 20* top quilt comes stuffed with 13.2 ounces of premium quality 900 fill-power Hungarian goose down. The following choice of options are offered:
Outer Shell: Argon brown, grey, green, black; or Epsilon Multicam (+$29)
Inner Shell: only available in Argon black
Length: Standard 74”; Long 79” (+$15); Short 69” (-$15)
Width: Standard 50”; Wide 55” (+$20)
Footbox: snap closure; sewn closed (+$15)
Taper: Straight or Half
Overfill: 1 to 4 ounces (+$9 per ounce)
The quilt I ended up ordering is a 20*, green shell, black inner, standard length, wide width, snap footbox, half taper with no overfill. I passed on any overfill because I felt the 13.2 ounces of down which comes standard is a generous amount for a 20* quilt.
I opted for the wide width and half taper due to the fact I am a ground sleeper. I think the standard width with full taper would be more suitable for sleeping in a hammock, as a hammock enables you to get by with a narrower quilt.
Before ordering, I contacted Hammock Gear with a couple questions and I received a very timely and thorough response. So +1 for their customer service. I can’t recall exact dates, but I do believe the quilt arrived within 10 days of placing my order, so it arrived quicker than I expected. Another +1 for a quick turn around time.
The quilt came with a stuff sack, which I quickly discarded into the abyss of my gear closet, as I won’t be using it. After the stuff sack banishment, I got out my scale and weighed the quilt. 20 ounces (567 grams) exactly. Now, according to their website, the quilt I ordered should weigh around 18.95 ounces (537 grams). Only an ounce discrepancy but it is worth noting for you hardcore gram counters. Still, a 20oz quilt with this much fill is a pretty sweet thing to me.
Another thing to note is that the quilt does not come with any type of strap system or attachment points to strap the quilt around you or your sleeping pad. I was fine with this as I found the attachment systems on other quilts I’ve had were not necessary and I never used them. I can’t say for certain but I am willing to bet that Stormcrow would be more than willing to add some attachment loops if you really wanted them, just email and ask. For me, I really like the simple, stripped down nature of this quilt.
The snap closure footbox was chosen as I like to have the option of opening the quilt and using it flat or being able to open and vent the footbox on warmer than expected nights. I am curious however how much, if any, weight difference there is between the snap vs sewn footbox.
I closely inspected all the stitching and everything looks great. The quilt looks very well made and of high quality craftsmanship.
I was really curious about the Argon and was kind of taking a gamble on whether or not I would like it. But I have to say, the Argon shell and inner fabric has a very nice feel to it. I compared it to another quilt made with M50 and the Argon hands down feels much better against the skin.
As of writing this, I have slept in the quilt a total of 9 nights and will attest to the accuracy of the 20 degree rating. I would go so far as to say the rating may even be a bit conservative, as I would not hesitate to take it down into lower temps with some additional layering. And I have to give another mention about how nice the Argon really does feel. I’m not quite sure how to describe it in words, except that it is quite soft and I experienced no clamminess or issues with it sticking to my skin. To put it in simple terms, it just plain feels good. Now as far as the claim of being down proof? It of course is not. I have never had a bag or quilt that didn’t leak a few feathers here and there and the Argon is no different. So don’t lose any sleep over a few lost feathers, it’s just the nature of the beast.
In summary, I feel Hammock Gear offers a great, quality product at a pretty fair price point. If you are in the market for a new quilt, there are a lot of options out there, but I would highly recommend you put Hammock Gear at the top of your list for consideration.