The Sierra Designs Nitro Quilt is a 22 oz / 624 g, 800 fill power down, three-season backpacking quilt with a 37°F / 3°C comfort rating and 27°F / -3°C limit rating. If you’re looking for something warmer, Sierra Designs also makes a 20°F / -6°C version of this quilt.
The Nitro has a sewn footbox (i.e. you can’t lay it flat) and lacks any closure mechanism for the top half of the quilt. However, Sierra Designs has added hand/arm pockets at the top two corners of the quilt that are designed to be used to seal out drafts. It’s an interesting design but not one I’m completely sold on – more on this below.
- Weight: 22 oz / 624 g
- Fill Weight: 10.2 oz / 289 g
- Temperature Rating: 37°F / 3°C
- Fill Power: 800-fill goose down
- Shape: Mummy
- Bag Length: 75 in / 191 cm
- Shoulder Girth: 56 in / 142 cm
- Hip Girth: 56 in / 142 cm
- Foot Girth: 40 in / 102 cm
- Shell Fabric: 15D nylon
- Liner Fabric: 15D nylon
- Closure: None
- Hood: Integrated
- Country of Origin: Imported
- Sizes: Regular
- Color: Blue/Yellow/Black
- MSRP: $250
- 800 Fill Power fluoro-carbon free DriDown &
- 15d nylon ripstop fabric
- Oversized design and a larger size for more coverage and more comfort
- Full-length, insulated hand/arm pockets help to seal out drafts and seal in warmth
- Hide-away hood provides insulation for your head when temps drop
Notes on the Nitro 800
- Remember that the Nitro Quilt is, as the name may suggest, a quilt. This means that it is not a fully enclosed sack of feathers and you will need to depend on your sleeping pad for insulation beneath you.
- The Nitro is unisex and comes in only one size.
- There are no straps or mechanisms to attach the Nitro to your sleeping pad.
Nitro 800 Photo Gallery
The Packability: The compressibility and packability of the Sierra Designs Nitro is typically the most compelling reason for me including it on any given trip. It packs down very small (see photos above) and you’ll never find yourself wishing it was smaller. It’s impressive that it offers the warmth that it does with how small you can get it. If you use a compression sack for your sleeping bag/quilt, I would imagine that you could get the Nitro 35 absurdly small (although I would not recommend using a compression sack as it can cause the down fill to break down more quickly).
The Warmth: I wouldn’t go as far as to call the Nitro 35 a solid three-season bag, but it can hold its own in the summer months. I tested this bag on one trip in the Sierra Nevada with temperatures approaching freezing and was a little concerned that I was going to freeze at night. However, I ended up being able to sleep through the night without issue and was impressed each morning with the quilt’s performance. Full disclosure, during this trip I was using a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite and sharing a double-walled tent (but I slept without any extra clothing on).
The Price: Something great about the Nitro Quilt? The price. For a down quilt, $250 is on the lower end of the price distribution among similar quilts. For its weight, it’s certainly a fair price point, and if you’re not entirely sure you’re ready to jump into the world of quilts with a $400+ purchase, the Nitro can be a good first quilt option. That said, you’re not going to be able to use this in colder environments, so if you’re looking to purchase just one quilt/bag, you’ll want to consider the conditions you’ll be out in before pulling the trigger on the Nitro.
The Hood: The hood on the Sierra Designs Nitro Quilt is interesting. At the top of the upper side of the quilt, there is an interior hole you can stick your head into. This is the hood. The hood is closed on top (the top of your head will be covered) and there’s an opening in the front for your eyes/mouth/face. It’s unique, but I don’t know if I’m sold on it. Using it means your head is locked in a fixed position relative to the quilt, and if you move around a lot while sleeping or you aren’t sleeping on your back, then the hood can be more an annoyance than an asset. It’s strange because it would seem that the only way to use both the hood and the hand pockets at the same time would be to lay on your back and make a sort of “W” with your hands, laying your arms flat on the ground out to the sides of your head. Like I said, interesting.
The Weight: The Nitro Quilt 35 weighs in at 22 oz / 620 g with a fill weight of 10.2 oz / 289 g (that’s how much of the weight is insulation inside the bag). It’s certainly lightweight, but there are several other quilts on the market that are both warmer and still lighter than the Nitro. The extra weight of the Nitro is partially thanks to the hood and the hand pockets which may or may not be things you value having (it depends on how you sleep and where you’ll be using this quilt). It’s certainly not heavy, but there are many (more expensive) lighter options available for quilts in this temperature range. See popular alternatives below.
The Closure: I have seen some varying opinions on this topic, but I’m not a fan of how the Sierra Designs Nitro Quilt is designed to be closed. That is, how to prevent drafts from getting into the quilt and making your night’s sleep miserable. There aren’t any straps to attach it to your sleeping pad – maybe the thought is that since this quilt has a 37°F / -3°C comfort rating, you shouldn’t be using it in temperatures requiring you to close up your quilt? Anyway, the solution with this quilt is to stick your hands in the pockets at the top corners and then wrap them around yourself. Unfortunately, this only works if you’re sleeping on your stomach.
The Options: Unfortunately for some, the Nitro Quilt 35 comes in just one version. There’s no short, no long, no wide, and no options available. That said, there is the Nitro Quilt 20 which is the same quilt but with more fill and rated to lower temperatures. The Nitro Quilt will fit users up to 6’3″ (190 cm). I’m 5’10” (173 cm) and I would consider the Nitro a good fit for me. I don’t have any complaints with the width, but since the quilt can’t really be closed at the top, I guess the width should just be considered infinite.
Who is it for?
BEGINNER BACKPACKERS | The Nitro 800 is a nice introductory quilt because of its attractive price point. However, it’s not the most versatile quilt and the lack of a closure/attachment system could be a reason to potentially look elsewhere. It’s not that these features are a reason not to get the Nitro, but they’re certainly divisive features.
WEEKEND WARRIORS | If you’re already a quilt user and are looking for something lighter for warmer temperatures, the Nitro 800 could be a nice second quilt for you to use when the weather is appropriate. But, if you’re looking to upgrade your quilt, then you’ll probably want to go with something a little more versatile and lighter.
THRU-HIKERS | Would it be possible to use the Nitro 800 for a thru-hike? Sure. Would you want to? Probably not. That said, if you already have and love a Nitro 800, don’t let me stop you. However, if you’re going to be spending months out on the trail, it’s probably worth investing in something a bit warmer and lighter.
|QUILT||PRICE||WEIGHT||TEMP||SHELL FABRIC||FILL||FILL WEIGHT|
|El Coyote AlphaLite 900||$329||22.15 oz / 628 g||20°F / -6°C||15D Nylon w/ DWR||900 goose||15.13 oz / 429 g|
|Enlightened Equipment APEX Convert||$290||35.56 oz / 1.008 kg||20°F / -6°C||7 or 10D Nylon||CLIMASHIELD APEX||---|
|Enlightened Equipment APEX Enigma||$230||28.64 oz / 812 g||20°F / -6°C||7 or 10D Nylon||CLIMASHIELD APEX||---|
|Enlightened Equipment APEX Revelation||$220||30.14 oz / 855 g||20°F / -6°C||7 or 10D Nylon||CLIMASHIELD APEX||---|
|Enlightened Equipment Convert||$510||24.64 oz / 699 g||20°F / -6°C||7 or 10D Nylon||950 duck||16.05 oz / 455 g|
|Enlightened Equipment Enigma||$315||19.3 oz / 547 g||20°F / -6°C||7 or 10D Nylon||950 duck||13.8 oz / 392 g|
|Enlightened Equipment Revelation||$280||20.9 oz / 593 g||20°F / -6°C||7 or 10D Nylon||950 duck||14.4 oz / 408 g|
|Feathered Friends Flicker UL||$489||25.2 oz / 715 g||20°F / -6°C||Pertex Endurance UL||950 goose||14.7 oz / 417 g|
|Feathered Friends Flicker YF||$409||27.2 oz / 771 g||27.2 oz / 771 g||Pertex YFuse||900 goose||14.7 oz / 417 g|
|Hammock Gear Economy Burrow||$190||24 oz / 680 g||20°F / -6°C||20D Nylon||800 duck||14.5 oz / 411 g|
|Hyperlite Mountain Gear 20-Degree||$599||20.1 oz / 570 g||20°F / -6°C||7D Nylon w/ DWR||1000 goose||14 oz / 397 g|
|Katabatic Alsek||$430||21.9 oz / 621 g||22°F / -5.6°C||Pertex Quantum Eco||900 goose||13.4 oz / 380 g|
|Katabatic Flex||$410||22.8 oz / 646 g||22°F / -5.6°C||Pertex Quantum Eco||900 goose||14.3 oz / 405g|
|Nunatak Arc UL 20F||$450||22.4 oz / 635 g||20°F / -6°C||10D+7D Nylon||900 goose||15.3 oz / 434 g|
|Sierra Designs Nitro 20||$280||27 oz / 765 g||21°F / -6°C||15D Nylon||800 duck||14.8 oz / 420 g|
|Therm-a-Rest Corus 20||$300||26 oz / 737 g||20°F / -6°C||20D Polyester w/ DWR||650 duck||19 oz / 539 g|
|Therm-a-Rest Vesper 20||$430||19 oz / 539 g||20°F / -6°C||10D Nylon w/ DWR||900 goose||12.5 oz / 354 g|
|UGQ Bandit||$365||19.4 oz / 550 g||20°F / -6°C||5 Options||950 goose||13 oz / 369 g|
|Western Mountaineering AstraLite||$465||17.1 oz / 485 g||26°F / -3°C||12D Nylon||850 goose||10.5 oz / 298 g|
|Zpacks 20F Solo||$429||18.7 oz / 529 g||20°F / -6°C||7D Nylon w/ DWR||900 goose||13.7 oz / 387 g|
For an inexpensive lightweight summer quilt, the Sierra Designs Nitro Quilt 35 is a solid piece of gear. I’ve certainly never been upset when I’ve had it along on trips. However, it’s more an introductory quilt and is not going to be suitable outside warmer weather trips.
The hood and the hand pockets are interesting features, but I think I would forgo both of them in favor of a way to secure the quilt to my sleeping pad. Without a way to do this, I will continue to reserve the Nitro Quilt for warmer weather trips where weight is not at a premium.
Questions, comments, or personal experience with the Sierra Designs Nitro Quilt? Leave a comment below and let me know!
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