The Sestrals is the odd one out here in more ways than one. It’s from a small, independent retailer based in the Pyrenees, it’s made of synthetic Climashield rather than down… and it’s a quilt not a sleeping bag. Climashield is an amazing fabric, offering possibly the most warmth for weight of any synthetic insulation, and the shell fabric is Shoeller; lightweight, water resistant and PFC free. Synthetics generally compress less well but are much more resistant to moisture than even hydrophobic down, and that’s the case with the Sestrals too. The Sestrals is not a completely open ‘blanket’ – it has a closed footbox, but otherwise the fabric is left open, or can be closed shut with a series of poppers. There’s a wide range of lengths, colours, weights and widths to choose from. I went with ‘Apex 200’, rated for comfort at -5 and weighing about 800g in a medium and wide – plenty of fabric to wrap around me when cooking and enough not to roll out from under when sleeping. The -5 rating is conservative, although it’s worth pointing out that with a quilt you need to think a more about your mat as well as other clothing as part of a complete ‘sleep system’. For me, the Sestrals is nigh on perfect as both a 3 season stand alone, and in winter as an outer to protect more a fragile down bag from the inevitable damp and condensation that can build up over a few days out.
► Verdict: A bespoke and versatile synthetic quilt, made to order by a cottage retailer.
► Best for: 3 season stand alone, and as a booster to a down bag in winter.
Review by David Lintern @davidjlintern