The REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 is a lightweight alternative to a mummy sleeping bag, weighing just 19 oz. It’s insulated with 850 fill power goose down and rated for temperatures down to 30 degrees. The Magma Trail Quilt 30 saves weight because it doesn’t have a hood, a zipper, or a back like a sleeping bag, chopping 10 or more ounces of weight compared to a similarly rated sleeping bag.
Specs at a Glance
- Temperature Rating 30F / -1C
- Weight: 19 oz
- Gender: Unisex
- Insulation: 850 fill power grey goose down
- Water-Resistant Down: Yes
- Insulation weight: 10.5 oz
- Baffle construction: Sewn-thru
- Sizes: Regular (Short and Long, also available)
- Fits up to: 72″
- Shoulder / Hip/ Footbox Girth: 56″ / 52″ / 44″
- Stuffed volume: 3L
- Exterior shell: 15d Pertex Quantum
- Lining: 15d ripstop nylon
Besides reduced weight, many people find sleeping under a quilt to be more comfortable than a sleeping bag, because it’s less confining and more easily vented. It’s easier to sleep on your side because you’re not constrained by a mummy hood and you can pull a quilt back like a blanket if you’re too hot at night. You can also get in and out on the right or left sides, since the quilt doesn’t have a zipper.
The REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 isn’t fully enclosed in back but hugs the sides of your sleeping bag to prevent drafts from blowing up under the sides and chilling you. It’s held in place by a pair of sleeping pad cords that attach to the quilt’s sides with plastic dowels that slip through loops sewn in the quilt. It takes a little practice getting used to these cords (called a pad attachment system), getting into the quilt or detaching one side so you can get in and out at night.
There are three positions on the quilt where you can attach the sleeping pad cords: the two shown above and or at the top of the quilt, just below the collar. The collar closes with a snap in the back. This pulls the sides of the quilt together, so you don’t need a cord there. But it’s something you may want to experiment with. Quilts do require practice and some adjustment to get used to, unlike sleeping bags which are pretty idiot-proof. Do yourself a favor and take the REI Magma Trail 30 Quilt on a shakedown test trip close to home before you bet the farm on it.
In warm weather, you can often just drape the quilt over your pad like a blanket and ignore the pad attachment system. But when it gets cooler, you’ll want the quilt’s sides locked in place over the sides of your sleeping pad. I find this is easier to do with a reasonably thick inflatable sleeping pad like a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir but quilts are compatible with self-inflating and foam sleeping pads as well, provided they have solid backs for insulation.
The Magma Trail 30 has a trapezoidal footbox like most sleeping bags to keep your feet warm. It’s not vented at the end with a drawstring but fully enclosed. It can be used in two ways: you can slide your sleeping pad into the foot box if you have enough room under it for your feet to fit, or you can put your feet in the footbox and lay them on top of the quilt. If you do the latter, the weight of your legs will keep the top sides of the footbox flush with your sleeping pad so drafts can’t sneak in. Whichever way you choose is a matter of personal preference. I normally keep mine on top, for what it’s worth.
While you can buy a quilt with a vented footbox that closes with a drawstring, it’s a nice-to-have in warm weather but not a necessity. It’s just as easy to kick your feet out the sides if you’re too warm. Using a quilt is similar to sleeping under a blanket or a duvet in this respect.
The REI Magma Trail Quilt has a feature called a draft collar, which I consider far more important on a quilt than a vented foot box. This is a down-filled collar that wraps around your neck, insulating the blood flow there, and blocking any heat from escaping out the top. It’s the puffy orange tube, wrapped around my neck above. The collar is tightened using a drawstring at the top of your chest, which makes it very easy to adjust while you’re in/under the quilt.
While the Magma Trail 30 is lighter weight than a comparable sleeping bag, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Sleeping with a backpacking quilt is less fool-proof than using a sleeping because you’re not fully enclosed by draft-proof fabric. The quilt’s 30 degree temperature rating requires that you use a warm sleeping pad (an R-value of 4 or more is recommended), you wear long underwear, socks. and a fleece hat or down hood (See backpacking quilt temperature ratings). I’ve slept with the Magma Trail 30 Quilt down to 25 degrees this way and believe its temperature rating is conservatively rated by REI.
The REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 is available in three lengths that fit people up to 66″ (short), regular (72″), or long (78″) in height. When sizing the quilt, it’s best to pick the length that corresponds best to your height, sizing up if you fall in between two sizes. Don’t try to size down to save gear weight.
The Magma Trail Quilt is generously sized with shoulder / hip / footbox dimensions of 56″ / 52″ / 44″. The 56″ shoulder girth will fit most adults with a regular sized torso or those packing a few extra pounds. The footbox is sized for large feet up to about size 13-14, although how much room you experience will depend on whether you insert your sleeping pad into the footbox or on top of it instead. The footbox is also large enough to work with both 25″ and 20″ wide sleeping pads.
Comparable Backpacking Quilts
|Make / Model||Weight||Draft Collar||Footbox Vent|
|REI Magma Trail Quilt 30||19 oz||Y||-|
|Therm-a-Rest Vesper 32||15 oz||Y||-|
|Therm-a-Rest Vesper 20||19 oz||Y||-|
|MassDrop UL Quilt 20||22.1 oz||-||Y|
|Katabatic Gear Palisade 30||18.2 oz||Y||-|
|Enlightened Equipment Enigma 30||17.9 oz||-||-|
|Nunatak Arc UL 30||19.3 oz||Y||-|
|Zpacks Solo Quilt||19.5 oz||-||-|
The REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 is a quality backpacking quilt insulated with 850 fill power water-resistant goose down, a silky liner fabric, and a Pertex Quantum exterior shell. It has an easy-to-use pad attachment system if you’re sleeping on the ground, which can also be easily removed if you want to use it as a hammock top quilt. I think the Magma Trail Quilt 30 is a great value and it’s nice to see REI getting behind quilts to educate the market and provide more options for their members.
Of course, the nice thing about buying a quilt from REI is that you can try it and return it if you decide that a quilt is not for you. If that’s the case, I’d encourage you to consider a quilt-style sleeping bag instead. These are hoodless sleeping bags with a full-length zipper that provide the same venting and the weight savings of a quilt, but provide the draft protection of a regular sleeping bag. They’re quite comparable in weight to backpacking quilts, but easier to use. (See Quilt-Style Sleeping Bags: Pros and Cons for more information.)
Disclosure: The author purchased this product with his own funds.