2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW

A cold weather quilt that can be used in a cold weather hammock system, as a quilt for ground sleeping, or as a winter overbag.

Recommended

Overall Rating: Recommended

While it can be used as a top bag with an integrated pad or used as a quilt when ground sleeping, the Jacks 'R' Better Old Rag Mtn shows its real strength as part of a 4 season hammock system. In this setting, it can be used as a warm top quilt or as an under quilt that fits perfectly with a Hennessy A-Sym hammock. It is well constructed and is reasonably priced compared to quilts from JRB's primary competitor, Nunatak Gear.

About This Rating

M Find other top product reviews »

Print Jump to Reader Comments

by Doug Johnson |

2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW

Introduction

Like most Jacks ‘R’ Better quilts, the Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt can perform multiple functions. It can be used as a top quilt (a bag with no bottom insulation), as an under-quilt in a hammock system, or as a winter overbag. With the optional Down to Earth Converter, it can even be made into a top bag system (a open bottom bag with an attached foam pad). No matter how it’s used, the Old Rag Mtn provides excellent warmth for the weight and is a good value at under $300 for the regular length.

What’s Good

  • Versatile bag- usable as a top quilt, as an under quilt in a hammock system, as winter overbag, or even as a top bag with the optional Down to Earth Converter
  • DWR fabric sheds light condensation and spindrift
  • Closable Omni tape footbox with tie closure opens for extra ventilation and versatility
  • Generous long size is long enough to cover the face of a 6’4” tester when used as an overbag or stretches out in a Hennessy hammock nearly from end to end
  • Ability to attach the JRB Hood when used as a top quilt
  • $299.95 for the Old Rag Mtn is a good value when compared to other down quilts such as those from Nunatak
  • Also available as part of “The Ultimate 4 Season Hammock Quilt Set”, making deep winter hammock usage possible

What’s Not So Good

  • No included hood (the JRB Down Hood is an extra $59.95 and adds 2.5 oz (71 g);
  • Wide footbox is not as heat-efficient as more tapered quilts
  • Non-waterproof outer shell means that an additional rain cover is needed when used as an underquilt in a winter hammock setup
  • One color choice: Kelly green

Specifications

  Year/Model

2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn

  Style

Down quilt with closable footbox

  Fill

800+ fill goose down

  Loft

Measured top loft 3.4 in (8.6 cm); claimed loft 3.5 in (8.9 cm)

  Manufacturer Claimed Temperature Rating

Approx. 15 °F (-9.4 °C)

  Weight

Measured weight (long): 27.0 oz (765 g); manufacturer’s specification 27 oz (765 g)

  Sizes

Size (measured- long): 46 in x 81 in (117 cm x 206 cm); mfr claimed 48 in x 86 in (122 cm x 218 cm)

  Fabrics

1.1 ounce rip-stop nylon with DWR treatment, no-see-um netting used in box baffles

  Features

3 under quilt attachment points for use in a hammock system, neck drawstring with dual sliders, foot drawstring with dual sliders, Omni tape foot box closure with ties at top of footbox, included silnylon compression sack (1.3 oz/31 g) and cotton storage bag

  Included Accessories

Silnylon compression sack (1.3 oz (31 g), storage bag

  Optional Accessories

JRB Down Hood $59.95, JRB Suspension System available for hammock under-quilt use: 1.1 oz (37 g) $9.95, Down to Earth Converter (prices vary)

  MSRP

$269.95 (Reg), $299.95 (Long)

  MSRP- The Ultimate 4 Season Hammock Quilt Set
(includes the Old Rag Mtn, No Sniveller, and Nest quilts, attachment hardware, and stuff sacks)

$719.95

Performance

2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW - 1
With a Jacks ‘R’ Better quilt system, the range for hammocks is extended greatly.

The Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn is the bigger brother to the No Sniveler quilt that ranked first in the BackpackingLight Unconventional Sleep Systems Review Summary. Unlike the No Sniveller, the Old Rag Mtn focuses on efficient warmth when sleeping and it doesn’t have the neck opening for use as a poncho. It has 3.4 inches of loft from 800+ fill power down and is a rectangular shape.

2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW - 2
The Old Rag Mtn is a large quilt with 3.4 inches of loft.

Like most Jacks ‘R’ Better (JRB) quilts, the Old Rag Mtn can be used as a top quilt or as part of a hammock insulation system. It is available on its own or as a part of the Jacks ‘R’ Better Ultimate 4 Season Hammock Quilt Set. Also included in this set (and related to this review) are the JRB No Sniveller Universal Quilt, and the JRB Nest Down Under Quilt.

2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW - 3
The Jacks ‘R’ Better Ultimate 4 Season Hammock Quilt Set in action (used with a Hennessy Hyperlight Backpacker A-Sym hammock- note the Old Rag Mtn layered outside of a JRB Nest Quilt).

2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW - 4
To reduce the warmth when used as an underquilt, the quilt sliders and attachment hardware can be loosened.

When used with a hammock, the Old Rag Mtn can be used as a warm under quilt with the optional JRB Suspension System and it has attachment points that are perfectly aligned for use with Hennessy A-Sym hammocks. However, unlike the Jacks ‘R’ Better Nest, you have to slide the quilt to the side when entering a hammock with a bottom entry. It also has a foot box that is formed with Omni tape (imagine softer asexual Velcro) and ties (new for 2007) to keep the Omni tape closed. Drawcords at the foot and neck and generous width allow for tucking underneath and keep the Old Rag Mtn secure when using it as a top quilt in a hammock.

2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW - 5
The footbox is formed with Omni tape and simple ties keep the soft Velcro-like closure from opening.

2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW - 6
Dual sliders slip into fabric loops to close both the hood opening and footbox. When used as a hammock underquilt, these sliders adjust how tightly the quilt sits against the hammock, which helps to adjust the warmth.

For use on the ground, an adjustable cord run through the hammock attachments creates an adjustable variable-girth quilt. Set up this way, the Old Rag Mtn can be used on its own as a cold weather quilt or as an overbag to push a three season bag into the deep winter. It can also be converted into a top bag system using the JRB Down to Earth Pad Converter.

2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW - 7
Besides being usable in a hammock system, the Old Rag Mtn also makes an excellent quilt or overbag for ground sleeping. Here, it was used by a 6 foot 4 inch hiker to extend the use of a summer bag into winter months.

While the extra girth in the footbox makes it excellent for use as an overbag, the extra width is not as efficient when used as a standalone top quilt. For those who like a little extra roominess in their bags, this will be a welcome change from most quilts on the market. However, I would have preferred a tighter fit when using the Old Rag Mtn as a top quilt in a non-hammock sleep system.

The JRB Down Hood is an excellent addition to the Old Rag Mtn when using it as a top bag. You may want to consider spending the extra $59.95 if you plan to use this bag in that configuration.

At $269.95 for a size regular and $299.95 for a long, the JRB Old Rag Mtn is inexpensive for a high-loft down quilt made with high quality materials. Despite months of use, I experience virtually no loss of loft. This bag is handmade in the U.S.A. (Virginia to be exact) and excellent craftsmanship is seen throughout.

2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW - 8
By selecting protected sites like this one just down from an exposed ridge in the Washington Cascades, I found that I was able to comfortably push the Ultimate 4 Season Hammock Quilt Set into the lower teens.

At $719.95, the price of the Ultimate 4 Season Hammock Quilt Set is certainly steep. However, when you consider that you’re getting the wearable No Sniveller Quilt, the just-right for a Hennessy Nest Quilt, and the Old Rag Mtn for less than $240 each, it’s a pretty good deal. The total weight for the three quilts is a chunky 4 pounds 6.1 ounces. However, when you consider that you can trade a 4season tent for a lightweight hammock, the extra insulation weight starts to seem like a pretty good idea.

For me, sliding into a hammock surround by a warm cocoon of insulation in the dead of winter was a joy. I learned quickly that even with wind covers, a strong breeze can quickly strip the warmth of a hammock. But when I chose sites out of the wind, I had the best nights of sleep I’ve ever had in the backcountry.

As a side note, when using the system in deep winter, I often carried a Gossamer Gear ThinLight Wide pad and occasionally used it to eliminate cold spots, particularly on my butt. This was the only addition I made to the Hennessy/Jacks ‘R’ Better system.

What’s Unique

Jacks ‘R’ Better quilts are famous for their modular versatility and the Old Rag Mtn is a great example of that. It is a roomy quilt, a warm top quilt in a hammock system, and a great hammock underquilt in colder temperatures. As a part of a winter quilt set, though, it is truly unique. By combining the Old Rag Mtn with other quilts, you can make hammocking a true 4-season venture.

2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW - 9
The author waking up warm in his cocoon of Jacks ‘R’ Better insulation. This image was taken in January in the Washington Cascades while I hung in my hammock above 5 feet of snow.

Recommendations for Improvement

  • The Old Rag Mtn is best used as the outer under quilt in a hammock quilt system. However, the fabric shell is merely lightweight nylon with a DWR coating. This necessitates the use of an outer wind/rain cover, adding complexity and weight to the system. If the outer fabric were made of a highly breathable waterproof/breathable fabric, an outer cover wouldn’t be necessary. I think the system would approach perfection if this bag had waterproof breathable shell (such as eVENT or Pertex Endurance) with sealed seams.
  • When using the Old Rag Mtn as a quilt on the ground, I wished for a smaller footbox. However, the extra width was critical when using the quilt in a hammock system.
  • The Old Rag Mtn is available in kelly green only. I rather like it but others may not.


Citation

"2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW," by Doug Johnson . BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/2007_jacks_r_better_old_rag_mtn_down_quilt_review.html, 2007-08-01 21:00:00-06.

Print

Reader Comments

You must login to post comments.

New Visitors: Create a new account
Username:
Password:
Remember my login info.

Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » 2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW


Display Avatars
Sort By:
Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
2007 Jacks ‘R’ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW on 08/01/2007 06:35:07 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

2007 Jacks '€˜R'€™ Better Old Rag Mtn Down Quilt REVIEW

Edited by bugbomb on 08/01/2007 06:35:34 MDT.

Andrew King
(drewboy) - F

Locale: Arizona
Jacks R Better winter quilt set on 08/02/2007 10:06:40 MDT Print View

Hi Doug, I enjoyed your review. I noticed that you recommend using the Old Rag Mtn as an additional underquilt (to supplement the Nest) instead of the No Sniveler. On the JRB web site they seem to describe the opposite approach. Could you elaborate on your rationale for this choice? Presumably additional underneath insulation was needed. Perhaps to extend the temp range for which you did not need to carry the additional foam pad? And in that case, you were using only the No Sniveler as a top quilt and supplementing with clothing to get down to the mid teens? I would be interested to hear what other clothing choices you made with this system to stay warm down to those temps. Also, any suggestions on how to dial in the performance of the quilt system is appreciated. Thanks.

Joseph O'Leary
(jmoleary) - F
More questions on 08/02/2007 13:35:04 MDT Print View

Let me add to Andrew's questions. I am 6 feet tall. I was planning on buying two of these - one as an inside-the-hammock quilt and one as an outside-the-hammock quilt. I don't know how tall you are Doug but I'm guessing (hoping) its over 6 feet since I don't want to have to buy a down hood.

I thought I would get a long for the inside and a regular for the outside. Do you think a long for the inside would be enough for someone my height? Do you think a long for the outside would improve warmth? Would you consider it a good idea?

I already own the JRB Weather shield so waterproofness isn't much of an issue for me.

Edited by jmoleary on 08/02/2007 13:36:15 MDT.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: More questions on 08/02/2007 14:35:12 MDT Print View

Joseph,
I've used a Hennessy hammock with 2 No Sniveller Long quilts for several years now. I spent all last week in the Indian Peaks of the Colorado rockies with this set up. I'm 6'4", so I would say that a JRB quilt in long will be ample for your height. I hadn't considered using a regular size quilt on the outside. It might just work if you have some insulation for your head and maybe your feet. A fleece hat and socks might do the trick. A shorter under quilt might allow more drafts from the ends, however. Hanging the under quilt takes a little skill. If you leave a gap between you and the quilt you might get cold. If I get cold it's usually from underneath, and the butt and lower back tend to feel it first. I use a fleece hat and a Montbell inflatable pillow even with the long quilt underneath. Some hat is required if it's at all cool out.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Winter quilt set use on 08/02/2007 20:13:29 MDT Print View

Andrew, et al,

At JRB we routinely uses the ORM as the top quilt for top and bottom balance and because one quilt is easiest to manage in a hammock.... IE.... the Nest and No Sniveller quilts properly hung , gently touching the weighted hammock, easilly provide 4+ to 5 inches of bottom insulation.... The Old Rag Mtn is 3+ inches of top insulation... Good to zero or below.

The only negative of that approach is that the wearing of the No Sniveller quilt requires that you clip it into the four micro biner and thread the two side ladder loops with the tie out cords when using a HH.... with experiance, this is a 30-40 second drill...Really , no big deal... whereas if the NS is the top quilt, there is no extra drill when turning in for the evening.

Pan

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Old Rag Mtn- JRB on 08/02/2007 21:27:34 MDT Print View

I can totally see where Jack is coming from. The reason I used the No Sniveler on top was that I found it warmer to have the additional insulation beneath me. It also made an easy transition from using the No Sniveler as a poncho to using it as the top quilt.

But what's wonderful about the system is its versatility. You can choose more insulation on top or more underneath...whatever you like best!

Doug