FEATHERTAIL -12°C QUILT
(This review originally featured in Wild #189, Spring 2023)
By Ryan Hansen.
As part of the ultralight (UL) revolution, backpacking quilts have become increasingly popular among adventurers seeking light and roomy alternatives to sleeping bags. That’s especially so in the US, where the massive UL thru-hiking scene means there are loads of quilt manufacturers to choose from. In Australia, though, that’s not the case, but a rising number of Aussie-owned small businesses are entering the fray: Neve Gear, based in NSW’s Port Macquarie, is one such company.
Having recently relocated to Victoria, and hungry for winter explorations in the alps, I needed a warmer sleeping bag. Neve’s Feathertail Quilt caught my attention. Weighing in at 870g and boasting a -12°C comfort rating, on paper the Feathertail ticked all the boxes: light, warm, and affordable. On delivery, my initial impression was that the Feathertail’s build quality looked exceptional. Slick, no threads, and the 10D shell felt surprisingly tough. My second thought was: 900 fill power is seriously lofty!
Since then, I’ve taken the Feathertail on two trips, in -2°C and -4°C temps respectively. While neither would be considered frigid by Vic Alps’ standards, both myself and my wife are cold frogs; nonetheless, we’ve slept soundly using the Feathertail. I believe four main features are to thank for this: the two included pad straps, which effectively wrap the sides around you, reducing the escape of warm air, and helping maintain its position on your sleeping mat; the comfy neck collar and associated drawcord that limit cold draughts from entering; the sewn foot box to keep your tootsies toasty; and the 640g of RDS-certified 900 fill goose-down is quite respectable, especially for a quilt.
The Neve Feathertail’s pros don’t end there, though: It’s super compressible for its weight; it comes with a dry stuffsack; it’s also available in 0°C and -6°C comfort ratings; the price, at just $550, is great; and to cap it off, it’s made by a small Aussie business!
While I’ve been thoroughly impressed with my -12°C Neve Feathertail so far, I’m healthily sceptical of its claimed comfort rating, as I am with most manufacturers. Numerous factors contribute to a cosy night’s sleep, and I’d warn against blindly expecting to be comfy in this quilt (or any similarly rated bag, for that matter) at -12°C. Look, you might be fine,