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Once I got my hands on the UGQ Bandit top quilt, it was a no-brainer for it to clinch our Editor’s Choice award.
Whether you’re into hammock camping or prefer sleeping on terra firma, the UGQ Bandit is a premium-quality hand-made quilt more than worthy of your hard-earned cash — if your budget calls for spending over $200 on a custom-made Bandit backpacking quilt.
As a custom-made product, UGQ gives you a huge amount of choices — think fill power and temperature rating, length, width, color and fabric selections, and more — allowing the user to tailor their quilt to their specific needs and preferences.
Customizability aside, this quilt also knocks it out of the park where it really counts. The Bandit is built from the highest quality materials, and built with incredible workmanship that few others can match, especially in the relatively-small hammock camping and ultra-light backpacking niches.
What We Dig
Premium goose down insulation (choice of 800, 850, or 950 fill power) offers plenty of warmth for relatively low weight and excellent packability
Temperature rating choices varying from 50 degrees to 0 degrees (Fahrenheit)
Hand-stitched construction with immaculate attention to detail
Isolated baffle chambers for torso and footbox basically eliminates the chance of cold spots
What We Don’t
Priced too high for backpackers on a tight budget (okay, we’re grasping at straws here)
The Specs (of the quilt tested)
Fill power: 20°F / – 6°C
Insulation: 850 fill power goose down
Width: 55″ / 140cm
Length: 78″ / 198cm
Weight: 13.75 oz / 6.23 kg
Inner Shell Color: M10T Charcoal Grey
Outer Shell Color: MRS20 Foliage Green
Taper Style: Full
Draft Collar: None
Footbox Style: Zipper and Draw Cord
Dynamic Tension Control: Yes
After field-testing the UGQ Bandit in Arizona’s West Clear Creek Wilderness over a long weekend in late-February (continue below for the details of the test), I have nothing but glowing remarks. Believe me, I’ve tried to come up with something critical to say — but the Bandit is as close to hammock quilt perfection as you can get.
While you can certainly find cheaper quilts on the market, you will not find better quality quilt for a cheaper price. With the Bandit, you get what you pay for: a top-tier top quilt that will keep you toasty warm, pack small while weighing little, and stand the test of time.Shop UGQ Now
I’ve been around the block when it comes to both backpacking and hammock camping. I started out with budget-priced (aka heavy with poor packability) gear and have slowly graduated to lighter-weight, more packable stuff. So let me tell ya, it was really nice to be impressed by the UGQ Bandit before I even got to the wilderness.
The custom-made Bandit I tested weighs a mere 13.75 ounces and packs down way smaller than any of the synthetic-insulation sleeping bags I used back in the day. In fact, because of its small size, I was able to fit my entire sleep and shelter system within the bottom one-third of my pack — maybe its time to invest in a smaller pack!
Armed with a pleasantly not-too-heavy pack, I embarked with the Bandit on two-night backpacking trip in the West Clear Creek Wilderness. This is Arizona, and I almost always plan backpacking trips along creeks for three main reasons:
There’s plenty of drinking water
Where there’s water, there’s trees
However, the trees aren’t always plentiful or arranged in a way where you can set up a hammock (especially if you end up camping at an unplanned location), so I usually bring a sleeping pad in in lieu of an underquilt just in case I have to go to the ground.
On this particular trip, I mistakenly went with a sleeping pad I’d never used before: a non-insulated narrow-width no-name brand inflatable that packs way smaller than the CCF pads I’d used previously. While it packed down like a dream, it didn’t keep my backside 100% warm, especially in the coldest overnight temps nearing sunrise. Fortunately, I had the Bandit to keep my top side nice and toasty.
At an elevation of about 4,000 feet, our creekside campsite was chilly, but not frigid compared to late-February in other parts of the country. While I didn’t bring a thermometer on the trip, the NWS spot forecast for our campsite registered at 38 degrees Fahrenheit for both nights.
While the temps certainly didn’t push into the lower temperature range of the 20-degree Bandit, but considering my sub-par sleeping pad situation, I was damned happy to have the extra warmth. And for my most typical uses (winter, spring, and fall in the Arizona desert), a 20-degree quilt is 99% guaranteed to keep me warm without being overkill.
This particular UGQ Bandit uses 850 fill power UltimaDOWN. All of the down used by UGQ is meets the specifications of the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), meaning it is ethically sourced from humanely treat animals.
I chose the zippered footbox instead of a sewn footbox because I almost never push my quilt to its temperature limits. Zippered footboxes let in more cold than sewn ones, but the zipper gives the flexibility to open up the footbox if it gets too hot inside.
I’m 6’1″ and almost 200 pounds, and I used the sizing recommendations on UGQ’s Bandit product page to select a 78″ length and 55″ width — matching my size with my preference for side-sleeping in a hammock.
I selected 850 fill power down save a couple ounces of weight vs. an 800 fill power quilt of the same size. The 20 degree temperature rating means this is a “three-season” quilt that is viable in most typical spring, summer, and fall conditions, although my Arizona location makes it more of a spring, fall, and winter quilt, unless I backpack in the Grand Canyon State’s high elevation forests (or venture out of state).
The added-in Dynamic Tension Control system is a pair of draw strings on running along the edge of both sides of the quilt, allowing the quilt to be snugged up tight in cold weather.
UGQ’s Bandit product page really does do a great job of explaining each option and how it should relate to your needs. I’ve also found the UGQ customer support team to be a pleasure to work with, and highly recommend reaching out to them if you have questions. UGQ’s YouTube channel is also an excellent resource for how-to videos about their products.
Normally I’m a side-sleeper, but during the field-test I spent most of my time on my back, mainly because of my narrow sleeping pad. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy for me to get comfortable in a hammock in multiple sleeping positions.
My Bandit’s 78″ length and 55″ width offered more than enough coverage for back-sleeping on my 6’1″ frame. During the coldest part of the night nearing sunrise, I was even able to pull the Bandit fully over my head with my feet still comfortably in the footbox.
During the little bit of side-sleeping I did, it took a bit of adjusting to get my torso fulling covered. My tendency is to pull on the quilt with my hands as I roll over, pulling the quilt away from my back.
Believe me, this also creates problems at home when I accidentally pull the covers off of my wife, but I digress. Once I paid closer attention, I was able to achieve full-coverage while side-sleeping, albeit with a smaller margin of error.
I didn’t notice any cold spots from the Bandit, so the isolated baffle chambers for the torso and footbox seem to work as advertised. I didn’t have any problems with the zippered footbox letting in the cold either, but I was admittedly using a full-length sleeping pad. I’ll be interested to try it with a shorter pad or underquilt in the future.
At some point I’d like to see how this particular Bandit works for ground sleeping as well. If I test the Bandit in future and experience new or different results, I’ll be sure to come back and update this review.
Our Recommendation: Buy It
Having used sleeping bags and quilts of both the cheap and expensive varieties, I can tell you that the UGQ Bandit is well-worth the price.
Do consider, a “barebones” Bandit —with the lowest fill power down (800 fp), poorest temperature rating (50 degrees), smallest length and width, and no extras — costs about $175. But it’s quite unlikely the barebones model will fit your needs. The custom-built quilt that I tested retails for about $250.
However, for its price point, the Bandit offers similar quality and custom features as quilts like Warbonnet’s Diamondback Custom, Enlightened Equipment’s Enigma Custom, and Kabatic Gear’s offerings, but for a lower price (substantially lower compared to the Kabatic’s Elite series, in fact). From that perspective, the UGQ Bandit is a great value compared to its competition, while maintaining excellent quality.
Budget is likely the biggest consideration for anyone looking at quilts in this price range. But if you can get comfortable with the price, the UGQ Bandit will not disappoint you. In fact, I feel so strongly about the quality of the Bandit, it gets the Territory Supply seal of approval with an Editor’s Choice award.Shop UGQ Now
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