Ready to take your outdoor experiences to the next level? Alton, an Australian-owned technical outdoor equipment brand, has just released an Ultralight Top Quilt that’s engineered to enable you to push the limits of your next adventure.

 

Striking the optimal balance between ultralight and durable, Alton’s functional outdoor equipment lets you go further, sleep wild, and redefine the limits of your self-sufficiency.

For the past 12 months the Alton team has been developing one of their most exciting products yet – the Ultralight Top Quilt. This compact, lightweight RDS-certified goose down quilt reimagines cold weather camping.

 

The Alton Ultralight Top Quilt at a Glance

Unforgiving conditions are no match for the quilt’s impressive warmth-to-weight ratio, water-resistant HyperDRY™ down and a windproof and water-repellent ripstop nylon shell. Combined with a very reasonable price tag and a lifetime warranty, my bets are on this quilt having a cult following in no time. 

The quilt comes in three different warmth-to-weight ratios;

0°C warmth rating –  754g packed weight – $379 

-5°C warmth rating – 864g packed weight – $409

-10°C warmth rating  – 934g packed weight – $439

 

The Deets

  • 850FP responsibly-sourced and water-resistant HyperDRY™ RDS Certified goose down
  • Ripstop Nylon Shell with Durable Water Repellent (DWR) Coating
  • Versatile and efficient insulation system with warmth sealing, anti-draft collars
  • Anatomical contouring with spacious sewn footbox for maximum warmth
  • 15-20% overstuffed to prevent future down compression
  • Sleeping mat attachment system
  • Lifetime warranty

What’s so special about the Alton Ultralight Top Quilt?

I bet I know what you’re thinking. Can a quilt really stack up against a good old fashioned sleeping bag? The short answer is yes, 110%. 

It’s as though Alton has taken every complaint I’ve had about a sleeping bag and completely reworked it. Here’s how I imagine that conversation going down… 

Me: I avoid camping in bad weather because there was this one time when my sleeping bag got a bit wet and I was freezing for the rest of the trip! It honestly ruined the whole trip for me. 

Alton: We feel your pain – that’s why the Ultralight Top Quilt’s down fill is treated with HyperDRY water-repellent coating, making it 30-40 times more hydrophobic than untreated down and four times faster at drying. That’s a huge advantage if you’re camping in wet, cold weather. Plus, the Ripstop Nylon wind and water-resistant shell is there to help keep your quilt dry, no matter the conditions.

 

 

Me: Well, that is impressive! But, I’m still not quite convinced. I’m a side sleeper so I always feel like I’m uncomfortable and chilly.

Alton: We made a quilt for a reason. Sleeping bags decrease in thermal efficiency when they compress underneath you (and in other areas if they’re poorly fitted). The Ultralight Top Quilt gives you optimum insulation and maximum warmth no matter what position you’re sleeping in, thanks to the backless design. 

Me: This quilt sounds incredible. How about weight? Last time I tried cold-weather camping I had to carry two sleeping bags because I knew I’d be freezing. My pack weighed SO much! 

Alton: We hear you, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The Ultralight Top Quilt is designed to be attached to your sleeping mat, giving you 360º of insulation. That makes the quilt far more thermally efficient, super light, and far smaller than your regular sleeping bag. 

Me: But – 

Alton: Stop making excuses and get out there!

Fictional conversations aside, the Alton Ultralight Top Quilt has the goods when it comes to winter camping. However, just like any proper sleeping system, it’s essential that you combine the quilt with a quality insulated sleeping mat. Alton have you covered with their Ultralight Sleeping Mat, which works perfectly with the quilt to give you optimum insulation and warmth.

How does it perform in the wild?

I put Alton’s Ultralight Top Quilt to the test on a weekend camping trip in lutruwita / Tasmania.  After a night in the wild, I can say that the Alton Ultralight Top Quilt lived up to the hype. I won’t be going back to my sleeping bag any time soon! 

The quilt is super compact and lightweight when packed. The backless and zipless design makes a noticeable difference in how small the quilt packs down. I’m not a hardcore ultralight hiker by any means, but who doesn’t appreciate carrying a little less weight on a multi-day hike? 

Out of the stuff sack the quilt starts filling out to that lavish 850FP fluffiness and expands to its full loft within a few minutes. 

Did you know? Down is rated by ‘fill power’, which refers to the fluffiness and quality of the down. The greater the fill power, the higher the loft, which means more trapped air and ultimately more insulation to keep you cosy all night long. 

The Alton Ultralight Top Quilt is 850FP RDS certified down, right up there as one of the best ratings for insulation and quality that you can get. 

 

 

I cannot overstate how much roomier the Alton Ultralight Top Quilt is compared to my sleeping bag. It felt like a palace in contrast to my usual claustrophobic mummy bag. The quilt features a sewn footbox with anatomical contouring, which is a fancy way of saying that there’s a bit of extra space for your feet at the end. The sewn footbox transitions to the open quilt at about the height of my knees, allowing enough for me to comfortably lie on my side with one leg bent up – my go-to sleeping position.

 

 

The sleeping mat attachment straps are nifty but I’ll admit that I struggled to figure out how to attach them. 

Hot tip: Watch the video and save yourself the confusion. 

I figured it out in the end and appreciated the extra security that the straps give, although I don’t see myself using them every time. I tend not to move around much when I’m asleep, but the straps would be good at keeping the quilt in place if you toss and turn during the night.

I fell asleep faster and slept better because I was able to lie in my preferred sleeping position. The quilt was definitely warm enough for the conditions on my trip (a low of 7º at night), but I would lean towards getting the -10ºC for camping in winter or alpine areas where the temperature can vary dramatically all year. The 0ºC or -5ºC would be well suited to lower altitudes in the shoulder seasons. 

 

 

All in all, the quilt was a winner! My old sleeping mat, not so much. It does the job but I will tell you, it definitely lets the team down on the comfort front. I’ve got my eye on the Alton Ultralight Sleeping Mat as a sound replacement.

The Story Behind Alton Goods

Founded by Sam Schumann in 2015, Alton has earned a rep for high quality gear that’s crafted for a lifetime of adventure. Plus, the brand origin story is fit for a podcast, if you ask me.

Pre-Alton, Sam was, as he puts it, a ‘regular guy who didn’t enjoy sitting in an office all day doing boring work with little fulfilment’. Unsatisfied with the status quo, Sam decided it was time to make a change. Starting Alton enabled Sam to create his own job, combining his skills in sales with his lifelong passion for the outdoors. 

Sam left the security of his full-time accounting job and started Alton from his own savings. Although this first step was incredibly daunting, Sam pushed through his fears. Within weeks of leaving his job and working for Alton full-time, Sam felt a joy for work that he’d never experienced before.

‘It got to the point where I couldn’t wait for Monday morning to go back to work. In fact, it’s still like this. I just love it!’

One of Alton’s biggest initial challenges was raising capital to grow the business. With growth dependent on the revenue from sales, progress seemed painfully slow at times, due to manufacturing costs paid well in advance and long lead times. Despite these hurdles, Sam’s always felt grateful to be doing something he loves every day. 

As Sam tells it, ‘You don’t need to be special or super talented to start your own business, you just need to have a passion for what you’re doing and be prepared to work hard at it’. 

Starting with one design, Sam’s painstakingly tested, researched, and optimised, gradually building Alton up to where it is today, with 20+ products across five categories. With a solid base of loyal customers and dedicated team on board, the Alton team’s drive to make innovative outdoor equipment only continues to grow. 

 

Photography by @harrisoncandlin

 

Lily was given an Alton Ultralight Top Quilt for free and was so impressed with the product she wanted to write about it. Lily was not paid to write this article.