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Why a quilt?
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Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
Why a quilt? on 05/03/2009 17:58:15 MDT Print View

I'm in need of a new sleeping bag and am interested in the Western Mountaineering Summerlite. However, so many of you seem to be strong proponents of lightweight quilts like Golite's Ultra 20 and the Jacks R Better quilts.
The Golite Ultra 20, obviously rated to 20 degrees, and one of the JRB quilts is very comparable. Both around 20 oz.
The Summerlite is also about 20 oz.

As far as I know the quilts are rated to these temperatures, only given that you are wearing a baclavaca and probably a down jacket or some other insulation. And the sleeping bag is rated with the understanding that all you're wearing is some simple capilene.
So what I don't understand is how is using a quilt saving weight and an advantage? The quilts are about the same weight as the Summerlite, but with lower temperature ratings. But to even reach their temperatures ratings you must bring along an additional ~10oz of clothing.
I just assume get the sleeping bag and use it as a quilt in the summer, seeing that I toss and turn some. In the winter I can bring it down to the 30s with some capilene.
This just sounds like a better deal to me. Is there something I'm not understanding? Let me know...

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Why a quilt? on 05/03/2009 18:06:29 MDT Print View

Hey Dan. Users report that the Golite 20 is very optimistically rated... most seem to think it should be rated at 30-35F instead (wearing only baselayers).

Sleeping bags are getting very light these days, and often there is very little weight gain to be had by going with a quilt (perhaps a couple of ounces depending on the manufacturer).

However, most quilt users are quilt users because of their sleeping style... they find quilts much more comfortable because they allow tossing and turning.

I've got a WM ultralite at the moment and have been considering a summerlite or a golite ultra 20 for summer (depending on the region I'm going to). They weigh pretty much the same, but the golite is about half the price of the summerlite... quite a difference. So I'm thinking of giving a quilt a go.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Quilt ratings on 05/03/2009 18:11:18 MDT Print View

Dan, et al,

JRB ratings assume you are in a protected shelter of some type(Tarp, tent,hammock) out of the wind and in seasonal base layer...Appropriate head gear is required... you should have it with you anyway.


Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Why a quilt? on 05/03/2009 18:24:26 MDT Print View

Quilts can be warmer and lighter because they eliminate the bottom of the bag, where the down is compressed underneath you and does very little good. Look at the fill level of a Hudson River quilt (comparable in overall weight to the summerlite). It has 11oz of fill vs 10oz, but in the quilt, it's only on top of you vs being spread thru more area. JRB offers a chart with loft/warmth estimates, and the Hudson River comes in at 20 degrees, so for the same weight, you get a warmer bag than the summerlite, if it works for you.

There's no real reason you'd have to wear a jacket with a quilt any more than with a sleeping. But since quilts are hoodless, you might want at least a fleece beanie. Depending on the weather, you might already be bringing one along anyways.

I think people like quilts because there's more freedom of movement, they're more flexible because it's so easy to vent. It's just like sleeping with your comforter at home.

The main potential drawback with a quilt is the potential for draftiness if you toss and turn a lot.

Dan Briggs
(dbriggs9) - F

Locale: Southeast
quilt on 05/04/2009 12:01:24 MDT Print View

Good points.
What are the opinions on the JRB quilts? Sewn in foot box or no sewn in foot box?

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: quilt on 05/04/2009 12:19:41 MDT Print View

Here's two other things to read: The Unconventional Sleep Systems Manifesto and the Review of Unconventional Sleep Systems."

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
My experience on 05/04/2009 12:40:19 MDT Print View

I have and use both down bags and quilts. IMHO, A down mummy bag with the same amount of fill will keep you warmer than a quilt. Why, pretty simple really, a mummy bag will seal in more body heat.

I have a WM Megalite that I've slept into the mid-20's, with no additional clothing.
I mostly use quilts now, because of me being a side/stomach sleeper, and a tosser/turner as well.

I've used a down quilt rated to 32 deg, where I needed to wear a Capiline 3 top, bottom,socks and a Montbell Thermawrap parka, at, near, and slightly below the rated temp. of 32deg.

Note: that this was with the pad straps around my air matress and not around my body, which seals off more body heat, and is how the quilts are probably rated.

But, with the staps around the body, then you're limiting the quilt in regards to staying stationary and not moving with you, which is the best feature for me, this and the lower weight.

Edited by mfog1 on 05/04/2009 12:44:15 MDT.

Lance Marshall
(Lancem) - F - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Why a Quilt on 05/04/2009 12:56:37 MDT Print View


Here are a few of my thoughts on bag vs. quilt:

A quilt can be lighter. To compare apples to apples, take the lightest bag, remove the zipper and a few inches of material and fill from both sides of the zipper and you have a quilt and footbox lighter than the original bag with theoretically equal insulating loft around you. A balaclava or down hoody (which you might have in your gear anyway) replaces the bag hood.

A quilt can be more versatile. It can be usable over a wider range of temperatures (hot and cold) compared to a bag. Because it has variable girth, it can be worn over insulated clothing with less restriction and compression. Many can be used as overbags for winter conditions. I warmer weather, a quilt can be used like a blanket more easily than many bags.

Drafts are a disadvantage for quilts, but inside a tent drafts aren’t as much of an issue.

Under the stars, a quilt/bivy combination provides protection from drafts, dew and bugs. Under a tarp, add protection from mist, rain splash and snow drift to the list. I have childhood memories of alternately sweating inside a bag and being eaten alive by mosquitos outside the bag. In hot, buggy weather you can sleep on top of your quilt inside your bivy.

To provide the same versatility and protection in a bag you would also have to use a bivy with the bag. The weight advantage goes to the quilt/bivy.

I still enjoy the cozy comfort of a bag, so depending on conditions I switch back a forth between a bag and a quilt.

Thanks for listening!

Edited by Lancem on 05/04/2009 12:58:28 MDT.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : Why a quilt? on 05/04/2009 14:02:19 MDT Print View

Comfort and warmth.
Comfort. I'm a side sleeper who likes to sprawl, and mummy bags are too restrictive for me. I never use the hood either, because i always seem to end up with a face full of down bag.
Warmth. I have a Nunatak Arc Specialist quilt and a Rab Quantum 250 bag. They both have a similar amount of down (the Rab bag has slightly more) but i find the Specialist much warmer. Why? All the down is above me and insulating me. In a bag, the down i'm lying on is being compressed (and thus offering little insulation) or wasted in the hood i'm not using.