Gear Review: Sierra Sniveller quilt

My friend Cam and I were having one of our frequent discussions by email.

He saw my gear pick of the year and wrote me the following email:

Aaaahhh, Moonlight [1] , i do an in-depth review on a primo goose down quilt and you do a post on some beat-up Costco coffee mug!!!!

We then went on to say, all kidding aside, there is value to people who actually use the gear (as opposed to being gear collectors) and then occasionally writing a longer term review of the gear they use.

Cam is right of course.  Though my review was sincerely accurate (I am sipping from the mug now as I type!), it was a bit tongue-in-cheek.

I know if I was looking for a review of a product, a person who has used it for many days and nights in the backcountry would be a trusted source. More so  than someone who just received a piece of gear in the mail, set it up in a local park and then posted a YouTube video of it.

So with that in mind, I am going to write a longer term review of the Jacks ‘R’ Better Sierra Sniveller.  


From Jacks ‘R’ Better

I bought this quilt back in spring 2012.  I mainly bought it because I found positive reviews of it online, was a good value for the money and I was ready to transition to a quilt.  The version I have is a little different from what is currently sold. I opted for some overfill ounces and 900 FP down. At the time, I paid $300 for it.  The current quilt for sale is rated 25F to 30F for its effective temperature. Perhaps because I have the loftier down and some overfill, I feel thee version I own is effective perhaps to 25F or even a touch lower.

So why a quilt versus a sleeping bag?

At least for three-season backpacking, and even into shoulder season, I find the versatility of the quilt to be wonderful.  (Deep winter is another I am still experimenting with..)

A quilt was what transitioned me to start thinking of a sleep system. Meaning the pad, quilt and even mid-layers are all part of a holistic approach to staying warm at night in various conditions.  Rather than take one sleeping bag that is constricting and limited in use, I can take a thicker sleeping pad with a higher R value or perhaps a heavier puffy for the colder conditions.   As any experienced person knows, too many layers in a sleeping bag can be counter-productive. Your extra insulation can become squashed and even constrictive. The sleeping bag can become less effective at keeping you warm.  A quilt, for the most part, does not have this issue.

Warmer out? A quilt allows easy venting. It is more adaptable.

Over the past four seasons, I’ve grown to love my quilt and think it is superior for three-season use versus a sleeping bag. At least for me.  Cam Honan sums up the differences well in my opinion.

So…how do I like the Sierra Sniveller itself?

What I like

As mentioned, I’ve been using it since 2012 on a reasonably regular basis.

The quality is very good, it is made in the USA and has been a constant workhorse for much of my backpacking.

At 24 oz, it is not quite as light as other quilts, but it is less expensive.  It still lighter than a comparable sleeping bag of course.

If you want the absolute lightest quilt, there are others. But if you want a good, solid and well-made quilt with a few ounces weight penalty that won’t break the bank as much, the Jacks ‘R’ Better one is working very well for me.

What I don’t like

One part of the quilt I think is rather goofy is that it can become essentially a down serape. Some may find this feature useful, but in the real world, I do not see the real utility of it. The velcro used to snap/unsnap the quilt into a down poncho will eventually wear out. Plus it adds a little extra complexity, and weight, that is not needed in my opinion.

I already have a down puffy as well.

Personally, I’d rather have Sierra Sniveller without this, for me, un-needed feature.


OK..maybe it’s just me who is goofy??? PCO: Mark T. From the Pecos Wilderness, NM

What some may not like:  As far as I can tell, only comes in the “ugly army green” color as my someone puts it.  I like old-school OD green, however. 🙂

Overall:  A good, solid, well-made quilt, the Sierra Sniveller will work well for those who want a high-quality piece of down gear without necessarily spending a huge amount.

Normally, the Sierra Sniveller retails for $340 – $380.  Currently (November 2015), it is on sale for $270-$300 so now is a great time to purchase it.

And, remember, if you buy the Sniveller…there is still NO SNIVELLING!!! 😉

Disclosure: The Sierra Sniveller was purchased with my own funds. This review was done because I think four seasons of use is a good amount of time to put a product through its paces…and perhaps it would be more useful than a coffee mug review. But damn it, the coffee mug DOES rock…

[1] An inside joke about my past activities. A beer or two or three may need to be purchased for me to reveal the humor behind the Moonlight Mags sobriquet. 


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Cam Honan
8 years ago

“……..good, solid, well made………..will work well for those who want a high quality piece of gear without necessarily spending a huge amount.”

Dare I say it, the Costco Contigo Pinnacle Coffee Mug of backpacking quilts?!

8 years ago

Do you use the same 25 degree quilt for the three seasons (spring, summer, fall)? I recently got a MLD quilt to try transitioning to quilts. I originally ordered a 38 degree for use as a summer bag, but as it’s fall and I wanted to use the thing right away, I opted for a 28 degree instead. I’d like to limit the total number of bags that I have, so I’m considering just using it in the summer as well, but it seems like it would be a bit overkill, especially in east coast temps (although I am a… Read more »

8 years ago

I agree with your comments about jacks r better quilts. I own a Hudson River top quilt 20 degree bag and used it on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia in January 2012 down to a low of 19 degrees and it was fine. Have used it for three years, it’s a well made product and as you said it’s generally less expensive. Hammock Gear also makes some high quality quilts.

8 years ago

You look like a homeless fellow who crawled into a large green garbage bag and stuck your head out through the bottom. Paul, you do know it’s the leaves and the garbage that goes into the bag not you?