This is a gear review about the Sea to Summit Ember Quilt range in 2023.
The backpacking quilt review covers the whole Sea to Summit Ember Quilt Range. I have focused on the Sea to Summit Ember 25F also known as the Sea to Summit Ember EBIII which I have spent some time testing.
I have used and tested most of the Best Backpacking Quilts and recently took the Sea to Summit Ember Quilt on several nights of testing to see how it performed. Add to that the 1000s of nights I’ve spent sleeping in a quilt or sleeping bag and it all adds up to me being able to tell the difference between a good quilt and a bad quilt.
All the Sea to Summit Ember Quilts use 850+ UltraDry down. The ultralight 10D outer shell fabric is coated with a DWR finish. The 7D inner fabric is not only light but allows the Ember Quilt to pack to a very small size. All the Ember Quilts use the same style of straps to connect the quilt to the sleeping mat.
There have been a couple of upgrades to the quilts over the last couple of years. These upgrades improved the Ember quilt but the strap attachment system still needs a bit of work for the quilt to be the best quilt possible.
Keep reading to find out more about the Sea to Summit Ember quilts.
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Sea to Summit Ember Quilt Specifications
Weight: 14.8 oz / 420 grams
Down Fill: 7.1 oz / 200 grams
Sleeping Bag Fabric Weight (without down): 7.7 oz / 220 grams
Down Fill Power: 850+
Hyperdry Down: Yes
Total Down Loft in Cubic Inches: 6035 cubic inches of down loft
Foot Box: Cinch cord
Stuff Sack: Yes, a compression stuff sack
Stuff Sack: XXS
Stuff Sack Compressed Volume: 1.8L
Weight: 21.2 oz / 600 grams
Down Fill: 12.3 oz / 350 grams
Sleeping Bag Fabric Weight (without down): 8.9 oz / 250 grams
Down Fill Power: 850+
Hyperdry Down: Yes
Total Down Loft in Cubic Inches: 10455 cubic inches of down loft
Foot Box: Cinch Cord
Stuff Sack: Yes, a compression stuff sack
Stuff Sack: XS
Stuff Sack Compressed Volume: 3.7L
Weight: 25.6 oz / 725 grams
Down Fill: 17.6 oz / 500 grams
Sleeping Bag Fabric Weight (without down): 8 oz / 225 grams
Down fill power: 850+
Hyperdry Down: Yes
Total Down Loft in Cubic Inches: 14960 cubic inches of down loft
Foot Box: Enclosed sewn box baffles
Stuff Sack: Yes, a compression stuff sack
Stuff Sack: S
Stuff Sack Compressed Volume: 5.4L
Sea To Summit Ember Quilt – Overview
The Sea to Summit Ember has only been around a few short years. Since its introduction, the Ember Quilt has made several improvements including:
- increased the down loft to 850+ fill UltraDry down (2019 upgrade)
- reduced the denier weight of the fabric to 7D inner and 10D outer fabrics (2019 upgrade)
- increased the shoulder room a bit (2019 upgrade)
- improved the foot box closures to seal in the warmth better (2019 upgrade)
- use a new PFC free DWR finish (2022 upgrade)
- added the QuiltLock system to allow the Ember Quilt to attach to any and all of the Sea to Summit Sleeping bag range (2022 upgrade)
Over the years there has been a continuous improvement in the Ember Quilt from Sea to Summit.
Unlike all the Sea to Summit Sleeping Bag range, the Ember Quilts are not ISO or EN rated as the testing for quilts. But in my experience, the temperature ratings used by the company are quite accurate.
But have these upgrades done enough to improve the Sea to Summit Ember Quilt?
Best Backpacking Quilts 2023
Down type / fill power
The Sea to Summit Ember Quilt is filled with 850+ UltraDry Goose Down in 2023. This is the top-of-the-range down used on any Sea to Summit sleeping bag or quilt. It is not only lightweight but it also has good water resistance qualities as they use the water repellent down.
When you purchase a Sea to Summit Quilt you will get a certificate from the International Down Feather Laboratory (IDFL). This certificate will state exactly what Responsibly Sourced Down was used in your Sea to Summit Ember quilt.
When I opened my new Ember Quilt the down was a slightly higher fill of UltraDry down. The stated 850+ down is the minimum standard that Sea to Summit has committed to putting in your Ember Quilt. Sometimes that batch of down may be a little higher but never lower. Not all companies provide this information.
Let’s take a look at how the Ember backpacking quilt is made with the features such as the Inner and Outer Shell fabrics, baffles, foot box, draft tubes, how it connects to the sleeping pad, and weather resistance.
Outer Shell fabric
The external face fabric of the Sea to Summit Ember Quilts is made from an ultralight 10 Denier Ripstop Nylon which is coated with an updated PFC-free DWR finish. The DWR coating prevents drops of water from entering the quilt by allowing them to bead and run off the face fabric. The fabric is very light but also very strong.
When testing the Ember quilt I poured quite a lot of water onto the quilt to test the quality of the fabric and DWR coating. It exceeded expectations on the weather resistance, but more on that later.
Overall, the fabric appears to be quite strong but I did have an issue with the buttons that attach to the mat straps. More on that later.
The Sea to Summit Ember quilt uses a 7D inner ripstop nylon fabric. It has a good feel and appears to be quite strong.
As mentioned before, I did pour a lot of water onto the quilt to simulate being caught in the rain or having a leaking tent. The amount of water I used in testing was significantly more than you would expect in normal use. In fact, more than you would expect in extreme situations.
During the testing, the fabric and DWR finish did an amazing job of keeping the down dry. A small amount got in through the stitching but it had absolutely no effect on the lofting ability of the UltraDry down which repelled the water.
Overall, this bag would be suitable to sleep outside on a damp night when the condensation comes down and makes everything damp. This quilt is at least equal to or better than any other backpacking quilt on the market for weather resistance.
Disclaimer: I do not recommend that you pour a couple of bottles of water over your backpacking quilt to test the water resistance, but if you did, you would find it does a good job.
The Ember EBII and Ember EB III use boxed baffles in a combination of vertical and horizontal baffles to prevent downshift while sleeping at night. The Ember EBI uses ultralight sewn-through baffles to keep weight to a minimum.
Overall, there is not much to fault with the baffles and down fill in the quilts. They work as they should. I would have liked a little more down-stuffed into each baffle but only because I personally like an overstuffed quilt. The hand warmer pockets and the neck collar are very well stuffed with down.
The Ember Quilt series features either a fully enclosed foot box or a drawcord cinch cord foot box. The cinch cord allows the foot box to open and close as needed. The Ember EB I and Ember EB II have the drawcord system and the Ember EB III has the fully enclosed baffled foot box.
I prefer the fully enclosed baffled foot box on quilts for use in colder temperatures. But when I want a quilt for use in warmer weather the cinch cord on the foot box is the preference. Thus, I like how the colder-rated Ember quilt has an enclosed foot box. And the warm-rated Ember for use in warmer weather has the drawcord closure.
The foot box can slip over the end of your sleeping mat or the whole of the foot box can sit above the sleeping pad. Both work well. But the bottom attachment straps are too small to use.
Overall, there is nothing to fault and the foot box system works well on all the Ember Range. It does the job of keeping your feet warm. The improvements made over the years ensure a much better closure system.
There is no hood on the Ember quilt which is normal on all backpacking quilts. Hoods do not do well on quilts and none of the top brands including Sea to Summit use a hood. But without a hood, you need a good system in place to prevent cold drafts from entering around the neck.
The Sea to Summit Ember passes the draft test by using hand warmers inside the top of the bag which can be used to place your hands in and pull the bag tight around your neck. The hand warmers are generous in size and appear to be overstuffed with down as they are very well packed. It also has a drawstring on the neck area to tighten the top of the bag to reduce the draft from entering. The neck collar also appears to be generous in size and well stuffed with down.
Overall, the Sea to Summit Ember Quilt does a good job of keeping you warm.
Ember Quilt Sleeping Pad Attachment System
If I can be critical of one thing about the Sea to Summit Ember Quilt it is the sleeping pad attachment straps and the system it uses. Let me explain.
The Ember quilt uses press studs to attach an adjustable strap to the quilt. The adjustable strap runs under the sleeping pad to keep the quilt in place and keep you warm if and when needed. The straps do a good job of preventing drafts and it does a good job of keeping the quilt in place. There are also several ways you can use the quilt and attach it to the sleeping pad. When the nights get colder and you need to use the attachment straps the system is not as good as some others on the market.
Firstly, let me say that if you are using the Ember quilt as a blanket on warmer nights with it just wrapped over you without using the attachment straps, the quilt excels as a backpacking quilt. But when you need to use the straps it runs into some potential issues that could be better but let’s understand how the attachment straps work.
To attach the straps you first need to lift the mat and quilt so the straps run under the mat. And if at any time during the night, you need to make any adjustments, you need to get out of the quilt, into the cold air, and adjust the straps underneath the mat. There just doesn’t seem to be any easy way to make adjustments during the night.
You could easily just undo the press stud to remove the strap if you need to vent some heat if you get warmer during the night. And maybe you could reach under the sleeping pad, find the adjustment buckle and loosen or tighten it, but because of where it is positioned it is not that simple. It is easier to get out of the quilt to do it.
The press studs can be used to attach together to use the quilt similar to a mummy-style sleeping bag. The quilt is big enough to be able to do this, however, I suggest you don’t use the quilt like this. When I did it, at some stage during testing I must have put pressure on the press stud and the fabric around the press stud broke. Was the stitching around the press stud not good enough or was I too rough with the quilt. Not sure. Either way, the press stud pulled off the fabric.
But not all is lost. As a quilt without the straps, the Ember Quilt excels as one of the best in the class of ultralight backpacking quilts. When it comes to warmth. it is also one of the best in class. When the straps are attached and you don’t need to make adjustments the quilt is also one of the best in class. If Sea to Summit can come up with better quilt attachment straps this bag would be the best on the market.
Stuff Sack – Compression And Packability
The standard Stuff Sack supplied with the Ember Quilt is good and there is no need for anyone to consider upgrading to anything else. It is lightweight and can be compressed very small with the side straps.
As mentioned above the stuff sack will compress the bag to a smaller size. Refer to the Specification chart for detailed comparisons.
The Sea to Summit Ember series is possibly the most packable of all the backpacking quilts in the ultralight class.
The internal sizing of the Ember Quilt increased a couple of years ago to give more shoulder room. When I tested the Ember Quilt I had plenty of wiggle room inside. During colder nights I was able to wear a winter grade Down Jacket and still had enough internal room.
When sleeping on my back or side the quilt was roomy and I had lots of room to toss and turn as needed.
When testing the bag I found the temperature rating to be true to those stated by Sea to Summit. Even though the quilt is not EN / ISO tested I found them accurate. As a cold sleeper, I was still able to stay warm.
The Ember quilt also has a new QuiltLock System to allow the quilt to be buttoned to any Sea to Summit Sleeping bag. This has the ability to increase the performance of a sleeping bag and backpacking quilt. It can even turn a 2/3 season sleeping bag into a winter sleeping bag. Just clip the top press stud onto the sleeping bag and wrap the quilt over the sleeping bag.
During gear testing of the Sea to Summit Sleeping Bags and Backpacking Quilts, I tried the QuiltLock System. I combined the Sea to Summit Spark SPII Sleeping Bag with the Sea to Summit EBIII quilt using the QuiltLock system.
The loft on this system was amazing. I’m not sure what temperature rating it would have been, but I suspect I would have been very comfortable in temperatures down to around 0F / -17C. I’m sure at those temps I would have had a good night’s sleep. Not sure if that is accurate, that is just my speculation. I was unable to test this system fully at the time of publishing as I haven’t been in regions with these extremely low temperatures yet.
As mentioned above the Ember quilt is comfortable and designed as an expedition size and the new QuiltLock system allows it to be paired with any Sea to Summit sleeping bag. There is also plenty of room in warmer temps to open up the quilt and use it like a blanket.
The Ember Range of Quilts also comes in long sizes for tall people and there is also a double version if you want one quilt to share with another, or maybe with your dog when overnight hiking.
Caring for your Ember Quilt
When you have a high-quality backpacking quilt it is worth taking care to look after it. One of the best things you can do is wear clean backpacking base layers to bed to prevent sweat, dirt, and body oil from penetrating the liner of the quilt. You could use a sleeping bag liner to keep it clean but most backpackers don’t do this when using a quilt.
How to store your Ember Quilt
The Sea to Summit Ember comes with a Lofting bag included with your quilt. The lofting bag is not as large as I would like. When I purchased my first Sea to Summit Sleeping Bags many years ago it came with a very large cotton lofting bag. I would have liked to see a larger lofting bag at least twice the size of the one supplied with the quilt. It’s not much but it could be a very small improvement that could change in the future.
How to wash your Ember Quilt
Over time the Ember quilt will lose a bit of its loft. This is normal and will tell you that it is time to wash your quilt. I wrote an article on how to do this so take a look at How to Wash a Down Sleeping Bag, for further details on how to wash your quilt.
The Sea to Summit Ember is a premium backpacking quilt with a price that is neither the cheapest nor most expensive.
Edit – As of August 2022 there are still some supply issues and not all Ember models are available.
Sea to Summit Ember Quilt Vs The Rest
How does the Sea to Summit Ember compare to other Backpacking Quilts in the ultralight class in 2023. Check out my full comparison review of the Sea to Summit Ember and all the Best Ultralight Backpacking Quilts 2023.
best suited for
The Sea to Summit Ember Quilt is best suited for ultralight hikers or someone wanting a very compact quilt that will work in temps above freezing.
When it gets below freezing all quilts are not as efficient as mummy sleeping bags when it comes to the warmth to weight ratio. The Ember quilt can also be used in conjunction with a sleeping bag to increase the warmth when needed.
The Sea to Summit Ember is best suited to anyone wanting a high-quality ultralight backpacking quilt. The temperature rating for this bag is true to the specification in my opinion.
If you want a quilt for the warmer summer months and into the shoulder season for warmer climates then this is for you. And as mentioned earlier, combine it with your sleeping bag to increase the cold weather performance.
When it comes to improvements, I would like to see a better system for attaching the quilt to mats. Other lightweight quilts use a much better system. And a larger lofting bag would be good but really that is only a very small thing to add to the wish list.
Overall, the Sea to Summit Ember range of backpacking quilts is improving all the time. As part of a quality lightweight sleep system, this quilt would be great, especially in the warmer months. When it is colder, it might be better to look at a mummy sleeping bag.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Are Sea to Summit Ember Quilt any good?
Sea to Summit Ember Quilts are some of the best quality and lightest weight available. The Ember Quilt has good weather resistance and a very good warmth-to-weight ratio.
Do Sea to Summit Ember Quilts use Responsibly Sourced Down?
Yes, All the down used in the Ember Quilts from Sea to Summit is ethically sourced down that can be traced as responsibly sourced.
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The author, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small independent adventurer and outdoor gear tester who owns and runs BikeHikeSafari.com.
BikeHikeSafari is not part of a large blog network like many other outdoor gear review sites and all reviews on this site are independent and honest reviews of outdoor products by the author.
The author, Brad McCartney is a very experienced triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Read more). He also used to manage an outdoor retail store and is very experienced in what is important when using and testing gear for reviews like this.
BikeHikeSafari will never receive any money for reviews and does not accept sponsored reviews on this website. All the comments in this review are from the author based on his testing and years of experience. Hope this independent review was helpful for you.