Designed to be the example of lightweight minimalism, the Kings Canyon UL Quilt from Big Agnes is a fully synthetic warm weather quilt built for those looking for light pack weight and tiny pack size.
The Kings Canyon UL is built from a combination of Nylon rip-stop for the outer shell and polyester taffeta for the inner lining, coated with a sturdy DWR to add protection from moisture. The pad includes 10 clips that allow the quilt to be cinched up like a mummy bag or it be attached to a sleeping pad directly. There are also two small hand pockets, a minimalist footbox, and it includes a stuff sack and storage sack. The quilt weighs 15 ounces, is filled with 8 ounces of PrimaLoft Silver synthetic insulation., and retails for $149.95.
In milder weather, I have found the Kings Canyon to be rather enjoyable to use. It is warm, but not particularly hot, making it adequate for temperatures ranging between 45 and 70 degrees F. In this range, I’ve been comfortably warm without getting cold or feeling the cold seeping around the edges. It breathes rather well, which helps prevent a build up of heat and moisture, and the fact that it is a quilt means you can cover up with just a portion of the quilt, say the feet, or the entire body on chillier nights. The materials generally feel rather nice against the skin, with a soft, smooth texture providing a good next to skin feel. However, due to the DWR coating that is applied, it can come across as a bit plasticy to the touch, at least at first. At temperatures above 75 F the same DWR finish can make the fabric feel a little clammy if the humidity is high enough, but generally I don’t completely cover up at these temperatures anyway, so it hasn’t been an issue for me.
I loved the weight and packability of the quilt, with it compressing down to just 4″ x 6″ in size, making it one of the smallest packed quilts I’ve ever tested. It is small enough that I can toss it into a low volume day pack, drop it into any overnight bag , or even slip it into an accessory pack for use around camp, in the back yard or even in the house. There really isn’t a competitive option out there that is appreciably lighter weight, making it an easy choice for any warm weather scenario. In a pinch, it is even small and light enough to be justifiable as a supplemental layer, tossed on top of another sleeping bag or quilt for a little extra warmth.
The build quality quality as a whole is great, with the materials coming across as far more durable than expected given the weight. The materials are thick enough that I’m not worried about them tearing, the stitching is superb, and there are no zippers or accessories to fail, so reliability is intrinsically elevated by the simplicity of it.
I liked the ability to cinch the quilt up into a makeshift mummy bag. This provides more coverage around the body while minimizing warmth leakage that could otherwise occur. I’ve found that this configuration provides a little more warmth than simply using it as an over the body quilt. The process only takes a few seconds and noticeably boosts the thermal performance, which is handy if the temperatures take a sudden and unexpected fall. Attaching the quilt directly to the sleeping pad is also an option, which provides similar benefits as the mummy tuck, but with the added benefits of providing more space inside and allowing for easier tossing and turning, without the bag twisting up around the camper. This does require semi-permanently attaching small clips to the pad via included adhesive patches, so I recommend making sure it is a pad that you plan on keeping for a while. I would prefer to see an alternative attachment method that involves webbing or string to avoid the permanence of adhesion, but clips do work rather well so it is hard to really complain.
The Big Agnes Kings Canyon is an excellent ultralight/ minimalist option for anyone looking to cut weight while simultaneously improving comfort and reducing weight. I’ve always preferred a quilt over a full sleeping bag, as they can provide similar warmth at lower weights while also allowing more freedom of movement. Quilts also completely eliminate zippers, a common fail point and potentially a source of frustration if they ever start to seize up. The Kings Canyon provides an excellent amount of space inside for the average sized camper, making it rather comfortable for camping, hammocking or just lounging around the campfire. The sewn in hand and foot pockets are greatly appreciated when tossing and turning as it helps keep the quilt in place, and it allows the quilt to be closely wrapped around the body in most sleep positions, which is rather comforting. I do wish the interior fabric was perhaps a little less plasticy to the touch, but it really didn’t bother me in actual use. It is an incredibly light piece of equipment, affordably priced, and is sure to last a very long time given the quality construction and lack of fail points, making it rather easy to recommend.
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