Home / Gear Reviews / Mid-Atlantic Mountain Works Marcy 20 Quilt Review

Mid-Atlantic Mountain Works Marcy 20 Quilt Review

The Mid Atlantic Moutain Works Marcy 20 is a tapered UL backpacking quilt that can be opened in blanket mode.
The Mid Atlantic Mountain Works Marcy 20 is a tapered UL backpacking quilt that can be opened in blanket mode.

The Mid-Atlantic Mountain Works (MAMW) Marcy 20 is a 20 degree 850 fill power down top quilt with an innovative side cinching system that blocks side drafts without the awkward and easy-to-lose strap systems used by other quilt makers. Owned by Jared Bebee, MAMW makes a variety of quilts ranging from a 0-degree winter quilt up to a 50 degree summer quilt that can be used in tents or hammocks. All of their quilts are hand-made and customizable depending on your needs.

The Marcy 20 Footbox is closed with a 20" piece of omnitape to block out drafts, reinforced at the top with a flat plastic buckle
The Marcy 20 Footbox is closed with a 20″ piece of omnitape to block out drafts, reinforced at the top with a flat plastic buckle.

The Marcy 20 is filled with 850 fill power HyperDry Water Resistant Down and made with an ARGON 67 ripstop nylon shell, a highly breathable, ultralight, down proof fabric that has a silky feel to it and is ideal for making top quilts. MAMW also offers ARGON 90 if you want a bit more durability at the cost of a bit more weight.

The complete specs of the quilt I tested are shown below:

  • ARGON 67 Forest Green Outer Shell
  • ARGON 67 in Black Inner Shell
  • 430 grams/~15 ounces of 850FP HyperDry Water Resistant Down
  • 198cm/78in length
  • 137cm/54in wide at head end
  • Half Taper
  • 112cm/44in wide at foot end
  • Weight: 658 grams/23.2 oz

The Marcy 20 has a footbox that can be vented open with a drawstring so you can use it in warmer weather. The footbox is held closed with a 20 inch length of omni tape that provides a tight seal in colder weather that prevents warmth robbing drafts.

When cinched tight, quilt footboxes can still let in cold drafts. The Marcy 20 includes an attached "down plug" to fill the hole and prevent cold air from entering.
When cinched tight, quilt footboxes can still let in cold drafts. The Marcy 20 includes an attached “down plug” to fill the hole and prevent cold air from entering. The fact that the plug is attached to the quilt means you can’t lose it!

The footbox also comes with an attached “down plug” (so you can’t lose it), that fits into the hole at the end of the footbox to prevent any drafts from leaking in – a pretty unique feature – that rocks!

But what sets the Marcy 20 apart from other top quilts is the unique shock cord system that runs along the long sides of the quilt, starting at the footbox and running up a side channel to the top corner where it shares a toggle with the neck drawstring. When this side shock cord is tensioned it pulls the sides of the quilt in towards your sides, snug against your body and minimizing side drafts, especially when you lie on a sleeping pad.

The Marcy 20 has two shockcords on each side that share a toggle at the top corners of the quilt. One cord control the tightness of the quilt around your shoulders/neck which the other controls the "hug" of the quilt along the sides
The Marcy 20 has two shockcords on each side that share a toggle at the top corners of the quilt. One cord control the tightness of the quilt around your shoulders/neck which the other controls the “hug” of the quilt along the sides.

For example, if you’re a side sleeper and you roll on your side under your quilt, the shock cord pulls the edges of quilt up around your sides to conform to your body shape and prevent any drafts from entering between the quilt and your sleeping pad. Jared has a good video of the side shock cord system in action (better than I can make) that I recommend you check out here.

As a side sleeper myself, I can verify that the side cinch works nicely in cold weather, especially when you’re on a sleeping pad in a tent. (It’s less necessary in a hammock when sleeping with a underquilt, which will insulate your sides.) I also like the fact that the cinch system is a permanent part of the quilt and not an easy-to-misplace adjunct strap, especially since I frequently switch between tent and hammock shelter systems.

If you can only afford one backpacking quilt, I’d recommend getting one rated for 20 degrees like the Mid Atlantic Mountain Works Marcy 20. Whether you sleep on the ground or in a hammock, a good rule of thumb is to get a quilt that’s rated for 10 degrees colder than the lowest temperature you can expect since quilt temperature ratings are not as standardized or uniform across quilt producers as sleeping bags. I’ve taken the Marcy down to 20 degrees myself and feel it could go lower, but your metabolism and mileage may vary.

Disclosure: Mid-Atlantic Mountain Works loaned Philip Werner a Marcy 20 quilt for this review, but he had to send it back. :-(

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20 comments

  1. This is the first quilt I have seen that seems really innovative. Particularly the shock cord system to seal drafts. Seems awesome and a lot easier to fiddle with than straps. I love the add-on of the end plug

    • Glad I’m not the only one who thinks that quilts have become commoditized with very little innovation in the category. MAMW does have some original ideas though, which is why I chose to review this quilt.

  2. Thanks for this review. I will be buying a backpacking quilt soon and would not have heard of this company without your review. I agree, this company does have some interesting and original ideas.
    Right now they are on the top of my list.

  3. Great to see these younger people come up with new innovative ideas. The choices today are huge compared to even 20 years ago. Who would have thought. Lighter + Warmer = Better.

  4. Without the benefit of getting to use this, I would expect that tightening the longitudinal cords would distort the curves on the sides. Are the channels into which the cords fit pretty sturdy? And is there distortion and what are its effects? Also, how well does the quilt stay on top of the pad without straps underneath securing it?

    • Very sturdy. No big distortion. When you roll over in a quilt, you turn inside it. Check out Jared’s video. The system actually works even though its a little counterintuitive.

      • I will look at the video. Even if I never have one of the MAMW quilts, it will probably teach me a lot about using the quilts I do have.

  5. I own a Marcy 20 and it’s great. The shock cords work like a charm. If it’s cold you just increase the tension; if it’s warm you just release the tension and use the quilt like a blanket. The Argon 67 shell feels wonderful.

  6. Looks like a very good price–$300 for the features and size I selected.

  7. Wonder how this shock cord system compares with the cord lock systems on my katabatic gear flex?

  8. I own this quilt and have used it both in my Warbonnet Blackbird and in shelters. In all cases it does what it was designed to do and it does it very well. I rarely had to adjust it during the nights but, if I did, the adjustments were quick and easy due to the innovative design.

  9. Just curious what the advantage is seen to be in a quilt like this… I have a Brooks Range sleeping bag rated to 30 degrees that comes in at less than 24 ounces. If a quilt will lose you ten degrees off it’s rating…. it’s not even saving you weight to lose the zipper. Is the versatility of going blanket mode the main difference?

  10. Interesting, but I have questions after watching the video.
    1) Don’t you need a good hood for cold weather? Or is wearing a balaclava an ok replacement for the hood? When the temp is ~10F, I use both a hat and cinch my bag around my face with just an opening to breathe.
    2) Why doesn’t the bag turn with you, when you go from your back to your side? When he rolls off the mat, the bag rolls too, but not when he turns to his side. Is there some special technique?

  11. Does the down plug stay in place/work well??? Thanks, nice review. Tim

  12. Thanks a lot for the review! Do you have experience with the Seneca 35? It is basically the same model, isn’t it?
    I’m in the market for a warmer temps (40s) quilt, and am now choosing between FF Flicker Ul 40 quilt and the Seneca, which I wouldn’t have thought about without your post. The Flicker uses higher-fill down, but otherwise they seem to be quite similar to me.

    I don’t hammock, though may consider it in the future.

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