Arklight Design Walden 400

Posted on 28 Mai 2015

Going new ways and trying something new. At the beginning of October 2013 I received a nice package from an Ultralight Outdoor Shop called Arklight Design. This is a French based shop with excellent sorted ultralight gear of many well known brands and they have a small range of own made equipment. In that package there was a quilt which should be tested during late autumn and winter.


Test Time

The Arklight Walden 400 was my companion on several overnighter during the winter 2013/14 and had his endurance test in the Swiss Alps in November 2013 on my trip with Jotaro from Locus Gear.


Technical Details

Size: M
Length: 180cm
Width: 85 /58cm
Fill Weight: 400g
Total Weight: 659g (on my scale at home)
Weight with compressive bag 675g
Filling: 850 cuin goose down
Outer Shell: Pertex Quantum 29g /m²
Inner Shell: Pertex Quantum 29g /m²
Comfort Temp: -5°C
Limit Temp: -8°C




Features and Function

A bit special was the first thing I thought when I unpacked the Arklight Design Walden 400. It is not a normal quilt like you normally know it. Rather I would say it is a sleeping bag without a filling on the back and without a hood. That means you cannot spread the quilt when you wanna slip in. So it is a bit tricky to get in the bag especially when you use a bivy without a zipper.



The quality of the Arklight Designs Walden 400 is solid and good. All seams are clean and with the Pertex Quantum they use an excellent fabric for the inner and outer shell. European goose down is used for the filling with a mixture of 93/7. You get a storage bag (55g) and a compression stuff sack (16g) with the quilt.



Field Impressions

The recommended temperature rating is a good guideline, but from person to person extremly different. I have used the quilt on some overnighter before we went to Switzerland in November. In that time we had temps during the night around 0°C and that was definitely to warm for that quilt. You could not open up the quilt for better venting while it is sewn together on the back.

But then we travelled to Switzerland and the Arklight Walden 400 was able to show its strengths. From temperatures -6°C to -15° it was pleasure to sleep in that bag. Of course I have worn some extra clothes when we expected temps below -10°C, but there was no point during the night that I was freezing or felt cold. With a small cord on top of the quilt you can draw the quilt together that he encloses your neck so that no heat escapes.
The only thing I have missed in the sleeping bag is the down collar. A down collar adds a bit more comfort to a quilt and you can contract the sleeping bag more loosely.

On the back of the quilt there are to straps where you can fix the quilt on your sleeping mat that nothing can slip away during the night. As already mentioned it is not easy to get into the quilt when it is fixed on a sleeping mat and also still in a bivy with no zipper, but with some practice it is no problem.

The red color of the bivy is not really stealthy, but I was surprised that the quilt did not need much more longer time to dry in the sun like for example a black or dark colored quilt.

Coming now to the things I do not like at this quilt. Like all quilts I have used until now the biggest minus point is the compressive bag. The one which was delivered with the quilt is in my opinion a bit to tiny. It is hard work to get the quilt into especially when the quilt is a bit wet after a night. Another problem is that the filled compressive bag is like a chunk in your backpack and you cannot form it. A simple roll top stuff bag is my opinion the best solution. You can plug the quilt loosely when you have enough space in your backpack in the end of a trip or compress it to get a small pack size at the beginning of a trip.


Where to buy?

You can buy the Arklight Design Walden 400 on the Arklight Design website. For 285€ you get an excellent bivy which keeps you warm and cozy in colder seasons.


Last but not least

I really can recommend this quilt for colder seasons. It has a good price-performance ratio and with some small modifications (down collar) it would be an awesome quilt. But also without this modifications it is perfect. I think that is whining at a high level from my side. The Walden 400 is also a perfect entry-level model for those who wanna switch from a sleeping bag to a quilt, but are still undecided.

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