PHD Double Ultra Quilt

Regular listeners might remember me posting the arrival of samples of the new down quilts from PHD last year. I had a wash out of backpacking trips at the end of the year so the single quilt only made a couple of trips where I got used to the concept but didn’t feel confident enough to write it up, something that I’ll be rectifying shortly.
However, its evil twin has seen some hard use, its the PHD Double Ultra Quilt.

This has to be the hardest thing I’ve tried to take a photie of, the PHD site makes a much better job of it, but luckily it’s more than just an er, pretty face.
The stats are few, the quilt weighs 642g, the size is 82″ x 82″ and the construction is stitch-through. The baffles are long and in four rows, the loft is fantastic as it should be from the 900 down fill. The fabric is PHD’s own MX which is silky smooth and very light.
These elements add up to a very light quilt for the size of it and one thing that we always noticed was that the materials and construction allow the quilt to contour its occupants without losing its loft. I’m pretty sure larger baffles or heavier fabric would try to flatten out the quilt at places like your hip or shoulder where the Ultra just lies gently on you. Smaller baffles would contour too but wouldn’t be as warm with less loft and more stitching, the production versions of the quilt have definitely hit a sweet spot.

You might notice the “we” above, while the double could be used for solo nights, very warm ones at that it you wrap yourself up in it, its size makes it just right for two. It’s first job was on our family camping trip to Glen Coe last year where it was the final layer of family protection, being thrown over the top of all of us to guarantee Holly stayed warm. This meant that it had to fend off food, drink, felt tip pens and other craziness which is did very well, I know from experience that the MX fabric does the job, it’ll take some moisture and abrasion as well as being more puncture resistant than some of its equivalents.
It was warm as well, warm enough for us to throw it off in the night despite the frosty November air. This wasn’t lost on me and Joycee and the quilt didn’t go into the outdoor pile, it went into the bedroom.

I remember having chicken pox in my twenties (I had them when I was little too, it’s a long story, I’ll tell you at camp one time) and being cold at night but not wanting to pull the duvet over me as the irritation drove me crazy, I have a similar memory from a day I fell asleep on Ayr beach and got the worse sunburn of my life where I shivered at night, too sensitive to put a duvet anywhere near me. I would have traded my waist-length hair which I had at the time in an instant for the Ultra, now imagine real medical conditions where pressure is pain, a weightless quilt would be a godsend.
With those thoughts in mind, I felt very lame when I pulled the Ultra over our thin summer weight duvet as winter started to bite, there were probably others more deserving of the luxury. Joycee was more worried by the blackness of it, but after a few minutes neither of us cared about anything other than the warmth, the comfort, the cozy joy of it.
We slept under the Ultra all winter, almost every night until quite recently in fact. We used the light duvet underneath which kept the Ultra clean and when it did get too hot we could just throw it off the end of the bed. It’s weightless, you just don’t feel its there and the insulation is incredible, getting out in the morning is just like sticking a hand out of your sleeping bag to find your stove in a frost encrusted tent porch. The silky fabric doesn’t bind to other fabrics either, so although we just had it thrown over the top of our duvet without any ties, the Ultra tended to stay in place, our movement not affecting it much.

The Ultra has tie loops so you can fix it down with cords or bungees, it is a proper bit of outdoor kit and after something like 100 nights under it I would have have no hesitation in packing this, or its little brother, for a trip. It’s light, adaptable, made of top class materials and the bottom line is that its really bloody warm under it.

16 thoughts on “PHD Double Ultra Quilt”

  1. Warm enough to use on it’s own in winter? Or a Lightweight extra to a autumn bag? I’ve recently got a Golite quilt which will allegedly go down to -7 but I’ve yet to try it in anger (wanted to use it at a car camp night out first with normal bag in reserve!). I use my normal bag as a quilt most of the time anyway, but something like this is much lighter and compact.

  2. In a previous trip report you said that the single quilt was all right but that it was draughty when tossing and turning. You hadn’t fixed the bungee cord though. DId you try it again with the bungee cord? I’m tempted to get one for use in a bivy where there should be less chance of it moving around. I’ve got an Ultra Minim bag though, and it’s toasty even in the autumn. Mmm.

  3. 3 years ago I contacted PHD to see if they would make one of these! They didn’t get it, so I started making my own – Pertex Microlight and 800 fill goose down. I’m glad to see they have decided to start making them.

  4. Winter compatability is a tricky one, with the Ultra bag under it I’d say yes, the double quilt carefully wrapped over itself on a single sleepmat will be toasty.
    I suppose it’s all down to your own limits and whatnot.

    I did figure out a good bungee system for the single quilt, I’ll come back to that with photies in a wee while.

    Something nice about the quilts, wrapping one over your shoulders while your cooking is brilliant. Slept in a Marmot stitch-through sleeping bag, the Atom? It was fine, the stitch lines are indeed cold spots but the down baffles hold them away from you and the air still heats up so it’s not as much of a daw on your warmth as you might think, same goes for the quilts.

  5. Sounds perfect for backpacking with a partner! £350 though…

    …on the other hand that is only £175 each which wouldn’t buy you two 300 gram quilts or bags…

  6. It’s good kit, but different and needs work by the user to get the best out of it.
    I’ll be in this and some other lightweight wonders over the summer :o)

  7. It’s also another example of not being able to experiment with different gear. the yanks rave about quilts but how many UK backpackers get the opportunity to see what the fuss is all about?
    Mountain Equipment’s quilt for this summer looks great (£150) but I can’t find it anywhere! Alpkit have also confirmed that they are looking at some new things to do with down so might be working on one too.

  8. It’s when you say things that I remember the value of peer reviews on all the blogs, it’s the only way we get to know what kit’s really like.
    But, any purchase is always a mix of gamble, optimism and research. Thank you ebay for picking up the pieces of failure.

  9. Aha, the one and same place I scavanged my tent, sleeping bag, mat, rucksack and pot from. six moon designs lunar duo (£70), golite adrenaline 1(£60), thermarest z-lite(£10), granite gear virga (£50) and a titan kettle (£30). lucky for me some people just don’t realise that they don’t like backpacking until they find out a few hundred pounds into it.
    I won’t buy anything without reading a handful of reviews. I’m only 22, money isn’t easy to come across at this age.

  10. It’s a good way of doing it, learn what you like and what works best without suffering from buyers remorse all that way up the hill.

    Quilts are going crazy btw, got texts today from my buddy at a ales meeting where 2014’s kit’s being shown, big name quilts all over.

  11. Now that’s really interesting.
    I wonder what sort of price point they’ll be pitched at. I’ve had a sad interest with the outdoor market ever since I worked at a shop as a teen. I don’t see them taking off in a big way in Europe but there’s a reason I don’t pick what companies make (they’d get sick of “can’t you make the down weigh less”).
    I was looking at getting a terra nova zephyros lite 2 (with 30% off tent trade in deal from TN) when they were first announced (before I saw the lunar duo tarp tent) and thought that a small 2 man tent with a pad the same width as the tent and a big (not quite double) quilt would fit perfectly for Naomi and I. Nobody makes these things. I went with the palacially spacious 1.1kg lunar instead.

    I still really want to give a quilt a go. Fingers crossed nobody likes them and they all hit the sales and I can pick one up cheap! Have you tried any of the funny American hybrid tents?
    Stopping this monologue here.

  12. Prices are going to be… competitive :o)

    Too much choice is the thing though, to many brands, too many options, too many colours!

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