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Custom Nunatak Quilt or Bag? Need Advice
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Barnett Childress
(Barnett_Childress) - F - M

Locale: New England
Custom Nunatak Quilt or Bag? Need Advice on 08/05/2009 12:01:39 MDT Print View

I've searched the fourms and read the reviews on the Nunatak quilts. I'm looking to try and lighten up my 3 season sleep system. I always carry a synthetic insulating jacket, MB UL Thermawrap Jacket (or Parka shoulder seasons) so I thought there might be some weight / volume savings in my sleeping bag if I commit to wearing a jacket I'm already carrying.

Some background info:
I'm located & hike in New England. I'm 5'8" around 165lb. I've been comfortable in the system below down to 26F wearing the MB UL Thermawrap Jacket, Possum Down beenie, softshell pants, Smartwool LT hiker socks & a LW Merino base layer.

My current setup for extended 3 season:
MLD Grace Solo Cuben tarp
MLD LiteSoul Cuben/Momentum Bivy
WM Highlite Bag
GG 3/8" Torso Pad.

The WM Hilite is a 6' bag sized 59"/51"/38", 8oz fill, 3.5" total loft. I've got plenty of room in the bag even wearing a jacket. I've never owned a quilt before & I'm a side sleeper. I toss & turn all night. The quilts seem very narrow cinched up for cold? I'm currently looking at a custom Edge or Ghost? Possibly a Sub Alpinist bag if I chicken out on the quilt idea :>? My Highlite weighs in a 16.5oz & the edge's 11oz stated weight is calling to me...

Any insight much appreciated!
Barnett

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Custom Nunatak Quilt or Bag? Need Advice on 08/05/2009 14:40:29 MDT Print View

I know this is BPL, but...to spend that much money to save maybe 4oz on your total pack weight is not really the best idea. The Highlite can easily be used as a *quilt* by just leaving it unzipped. Or you can have the zipper (and hood) removed to save weight if you think a quilt is all you need.

Zack Karas
(iwillchopyou@hotmail.com) - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
nunatak on 08/05/2009 14:43:39 MDT Print View

I have to agree with Lynn here--my wife has a Nunatak arc alplinist and I lust over it constantly. I use a WM pod 30, and while it is very nice as are all WM products, her quilt seems superior to my bag in so many regards. However, I've used Lynn's logic to talk myself out of getting a 40 degree quilt from Nunatak. That is quite expensive for such a little gain when you already have a nice bag that works for you.

EDIT: Should you decide to get a Nunatak quilt, it is custom sizing so you can get it wider so that it isn't quite so confining when fully closed up. Also, as a previous thread here touched on, the continuous baffles of the quilt to allow shifting of loft (my wife can do this while laying in the tent by grabbing the edges of the quilt and 'pumping' the quilt to deposit the majority of the down on top (imagine 6 inches of loft on top and 2 or so on the sides). She loves it.

I'm not helping you in regard to not getting new gear, am I?

Edited by iwillchopyou@hotmail.com on 08/05/2009 14:47:46 MDT.

Barnett Childress
(Barnett_Childress) - F - M

Locale: New England
$$ vs. weight? on 08/05/2009 15:23:02 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies. I've been on (and off) the fence about this. It's not just the $$ or weight. I'm thinking more comfort over a wider temp range and better multi use of my clothing. Of course I admit I am an SUL hiker, so if I can save an ounce or two in the process that isn't bad either :>. I am also looking at a custom Arc AT as a possibility.

I have really got my gear in order lately (kept what works for me) & sold off a lot of stuff, so I'm a bit ahead of the game $$ wise.

Zack Karas
(iwillchopyou@hotmail.com) - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
nunatak on 08/05/2009 15:27:12 MDT Print View

in that case, I vote for you getting a custom Arc AT. I want one SO BAD.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: $$ vs. weight? on 08/05/2009 15:35:33 MDT Print View

"I'm thinking more comfort over a wider temp range and better multi use of my clothing."

As an ex-owner of a very fine custom Nunatak Arc Alpinist, my observations are that the above statement is simply not true. There is nothing you can do with an Arc that you can't do with your Highlite left unzipped (or zipper removed). So it really should just come down to weight savings. Now if you were comparing the Highlite to something like a backcountry blanket, then there ARE some things that you can do with a blanket but not with a bag or quilt with a footbox.

And Zack...don't be jealous. the POD 30 is very much superior to the Arc in warmth to weight ratin. Maybe not as comfy, but very warm! BTW, if you look closely at the bottom of your POD, you will find that they have left a double layer of fabric there. I cut this away to shave another 40g from my POD30...that's a solid 30 degree bag for 15oz.

Edited by retropump on 08/05/2009 15:36:12 MDT.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
re: Custom Nunatak Quilt or Bag? Need Advice on 08/05/2009 16:40:33 MDT Print View

Barnett, Sounds like we have similiar tastes.

My setup is...

MLD grace solo cuben tarp
MLD superlight bivy
3/8" GG thinlight (trimmed to 38" long)
and...
Nunatak Ghost (custom)

Ok here is the funny part. I purchased my ghost for warm weather, but I have yet to use it since the weather is too warm. This quilt is crazy. After many discussion with Tom I finally decided to do...

I increased width to 50", increase the footbox to 38", and went with a tapered top to 46". I added 1" to length of regular and I added 2 oz of down. I used the quantum .8 fabric. The final weight was an unbelievable 15.55 oz. I believe it to be a solid 20 degree quilt for under a pound. I don't believe I could approach the warmth of this quilt with anything else on the market. The footbox lofts to 8"!

For size comparison I am 5' 9.5" tall and weigh 160 lbs.

Tom was great to work with, but the wait is a pain. I am really ready for some cooler temps to get this thing onto the trails.

Jamie

Zack Karas
(iwillchopyou@hotmail.com) - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Pod 30 vs arc alpinist--thread hijack! on 08/05/2009 17:41:49 MDT Print View

Lynn--I cut that pad sleeve off my Pod 30 about 30 seconds after I pulled it out of the box (I think that is where they get the '30' from in the name). Mine comes in at 17 ounces for a size regular. My wife's Arc weighs 16 ounces and is comfortably rated at 20 degrees, though her's is a size small and might have a 2 oz overfill?

The only thing I don't like about the Pod's top bag design is that the hood is a real hassle when trying to use it cinched up while side-sleeping. Unless I can learn how to breathe out of my ear, I'm considering cutting it off (realistically, I only use the hood about 5% of the time anyway when the temps are in the teens). Also, the Arc doesn't have sewn through baffles like the Pod does, so I think that the warmth to weight ratio may still favor the Arc.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Pod 30 vs arc alpinist--thread hijack! on 08/05/2009 18:04:44 MDT Print View

Sewn thru baffles on the POD??? Mine are definitely NOT sewn through. According to the BPL review of this bag..."the baffle compartments are a series of simple rectangles that keep the down in place effectively. The compartments are well filled with down and the bag has a good 4 inches of loft over the chest and legs." If your bag doesn't live up to these specs then I think it must be defective in a major way.

RE: hood. You could just ignore the hood and use a hat as if in a quilt.

RE: extra fabric. The fabric I'm talking about is not the silnylon pad sleeve, it's actually the bottom Quantum fabric that's been doubled up. It looks like WM just used their regular sleeping bag pattern and didn't bother to remove the extra layer of un-needed fabric. This is easily removed to save another ounce. My size regular comes in at 15oz.

RE: Removal of pad sleeve. I have kept the top half of the pad attachment, but removed the bungy cord and replaced it with velcro to mate with velcro on the bottom of my pad. This allows the POD to fit any pad, and keeps me warmer as there is NO draft along the edges of the bag if I move in the night.

RE: Arc. You wife's Arc sounds exactly like mine was (even the 2oz overfill). Unless your POD is defective (ie sewn thru baffles), it should be warmer than the ARC when fully deployed with zipper and hood cinched.

RE: side sleeping. You should really try and break that habit!!!!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: down oz/sqaure foot on 08/05/2009 18:52:45 MDT Print View

To try and bring this post back to the origianl ??? as well as add some objective info to the discussion, I have worked out the approximate amount of down in a few of the bags under discussion (based on a size regular or medium), and extrapolated the amount of down, in ounces, per sqaure foot. This is a much more fair way of comparing guesstimated bag warmth (not taking into account added warmth from zippers, hoods etc...

The Arce edge at 11oz has 0.34oz/ft down, and is manufacturer rated to 40 F

The WM Highlite comes in at 0.42 oz/ft, and is 16 oz rated to 35 F

The Arc Alpinist (without overfill) is 0.52 oz/ft, 18 oz and rated to 20 F.

The POD 30 is 0.84 oz/ft, 420 gram (with my mods) and rated to 30F.

It shows that the Highlite, should really be warmer than the Edge, which jives better with the manufcturer's ratings.

It also shows that the numbers (based on down density) support my personal experience that the Arc Alpinist is not a 20 F bag, and that the POD 30 is warmer than the Alpinist, despite Nunatak's rating. It makes me wonder if Nunatak is rating their quilts as if the owner was going to be wearing full insulated clothing and hats with the quilt to make the rating, whereas the POD 30 is fine down to 30 with just a thin base layer (again based on personal experience). I'm not bashing Nunatak here, as they make great stuff (I love my Skaha Hoody and down boots), but there is something fishy about the ratings of their Arc line of quilts IMHO.

Edited by retropump on 08/05/2009 20:41:30 MDT.

Zack Karas
(iwillchopyou@hotmail.com) - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Pod 30 Hijack on 08/05/2009 18:54:48 MDT Print View

Lynn--get out! While my Pod 30 has 4" of loft in the middle of those 'squares', the baffles offer 1" max when I grab both sides and pull them apart (so maybe they aren't totally sewn through?). If you wouldn't mind, could you look at yours and grab the seam both inside and outside the bag and pull apart to estimate the maximum loft allowed at the baffle? I always thought it was a shortcoming but I never had any trouble going below 30 degrees with the bag, however I'm now very curious about this.

Regarding the double layer bottom--I had never even given any thought to checking that. Interesting possibility to lighten up--have you noticed ANY loss in durability? I've been known to go overboard in the past with trimming un-needed items that I've later discovered were in fact needed.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Pod 30 Hijack on 08/05/2009 19:05:45 MDT Print View

Zack, I'll measure my bag when I get home. I am certainly comfortale at 30 F/-1 C with the POD 30, and comfortable down to 20 F/-7C when wearing all my insulated clothing in the bag. Having said that, if I anticipate it will get down into the below freezing temps, I tend to take my POD 15 instead (with a whopping 1.6 oz of down per square foot, rated to 15F/-9C). With extra insulated clothing, this 700g/25oz bag is amazingingly warm down to very low temps.

As for durability, it hasn't been a problem since it's just the bottom of the bag which is always attached to a pad for protection. It's basically turning a double layer piece of Quantum into a single layer, which is plenty. I honestly think the double layer is there just to cut manufacturing cost...easier to just cut two whole bag shells and sew them together, but you take scissors to your gear at your own risk ;)

Edited by retropump on 08/05/2009 20:46:27 MDT.

Barnett Childress
(Barnett_Childress) - F - M

Locale: New England
Nunatak Quilt Inputs on 08/05/2009 20:09:40 MDT Print View

Thanks so much for the replies. I need to give this a bit more thought...

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Nunatak Quilt Inputs on 08/06/2009 08:36:31 MDT Print View

The only reason I switched to a quilt is because, I'm a side sleeper and toss and turn all night as well. A quilt, when used with staps under your pad, will not move at all, even when its strapped down tight. On the other hand, if you place the straps tightly around your body, then it will move with you more so, like a mummy bag. You only need to strap the quilt around the body to achieve maximum thermo efficency.
I have a Arc Alpinist (1.0 Quantum) and a Arc Specialist, in Epic.
The Specialist in Epic has less loft because of the heavier fabric, but is much more durable and water resistant.
If I were to purchase another Nunatak quilt, I would choose the Epic fabric, mainly for its durability, but also for its water resistance.
For myself, If I'm going to spend this amount of money on a quilt, I want it to last, so I feel Epic is a better choice of fabric's.
Tom (Nunatak) also metioned that Epic is a good choice for person's that use a tarp. I have not tested to see just how water resistant Epic is, but think you could possibly omit your bivy altogether, except for when needing bug protection. Although, a bivy really helps with wind protection/side drafts.

Edited by mfog1 on 08/06/2009 10:23:03 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Nunatak Quilt Inputs on 08/06/2009 13:58:53 MDT Print View

Michael

I (and many of us on these forums) have been using 0.8-0.9oz downproof bags for many years, without any real durability issues. In fact, my Quantum windshirt is one of the toughest pieces of gear I've used...it has survuved many insults that I thought would shred it. So I personally wouldn't choose Epic on that alone. As for the water resistance, well yes, there is a big difference, and if you are not carrying a bivy and sleep in a tarp, then this may affect your decision on which fabric to go with. However, as you aslo oberved, zipperless quilts (could also be called a zipperless, hoodless mummy) are also prone to drafts, making a bivy often handy. So if carrying a bivy, the Epic becomes less useful. You kinda have to decide upfront if you are gonna be a bivy/quilt carrier or not. Adding a zipper and Epic to your quilt (ie carrying an Epic mummy bag, may end up weighing more than carrying some of the more cutting edge bivy bags (cuben/Epic?), but certainly less than carrying a standard silnylon style bivy. Both options work well, but I am not fond of packing away a damp sleeping bag...if I use a bivy bag I can pack that away separately in an outside pocket and dry it through the day, so it's my preference.

Zack: POD 30 baffles are 2" high, centre of baffle height is 4+ inches, the whole thing averaging ~3" when I'm actually inside the bag and pushing the baffles outward. So actual baffle height is less than an Alpinist, but down density is higher. In previous posts I know that someone (Richard N??) has said that down density is a better predictor of warmth than baffle height or total down fill, and that pretty much all commercial bags are underfilled in terms of optimum down density. So although Nunatak uses the 2.5" baffle height as a measure or predicted warmth, this is most likely a red herring as the density is less than other bags with smaller baffle heights. I'm learning that, without a proper thermal test dummy, it is difficult to predict the warmth of a sleeping bag based on baffle height or even loft alone. Along those lines, I have a Hungarian down duvet that has a mere 1" box baffle (same as the POD 30), yet lofts to over 6" in the rest of the boxes. It is by far the warmest thing on this planet in spite of it's piddly baffle height. Combo of high quality down, high density of down, and box design to keep the down in place is what makes it so warm. I notice the Highlite also has some sewn thru baffles, but in a box design, and yet it is still very warm for it's weight...from a MYOG point of view I have been trying for several years to figure out how to make a box baffled bag/quilt (not sewn thru). Does anyone know how???

Zack Karas
(iwillchopyou@hotmail.com) - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
pod 30 on 08/06/2009 14:46:56 MDT Print View

Lynn, thanks for checking your baffle height for me. I'm jealous that you got the Pod 15 as WM seems to have discontinued all Pod designs. I have the Versalite (used as a couples quilt but was a bit too narrow resulting in tug-of-war matches) and could always make that into a solo quilt, though.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: pod 30 on 08/06/2009 15:22:26 MDT Print View

Zack, we were lucky and got two POD 15s and two POD 30s, so we can still zip together as a couple (opposite zipper sides). Before that, we also, like you, used a Versalite as a quilt. For summer we now have an MYOG quilt that mates with the same velcro that the PODs have, ie it wraps the edges of the quilt under the pads to completely block out side drafts. But it's still pretty drafty down the middle, which is why it's a summer only quilt.

You could try adding straps to your Versalite to keep it in place and try it for couple use, or maybe even add some fabric *wings* to it?? Seems a shame to chop up such a fine piece of gear!

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
First hand experience with both. on 08/06/2009 15:30:59 MDT Print View

Well, I have first hand experience with both WM bags and Nunatak quilts. The WM ExtremeLite fabric seems more durable and downproof than Nunatak's 1.0 Quantum fabric.
I've seen more down leakage in a shorter period of time with my Nunatak quilt, than I have had with my WM bags. (Puma,Versalite, and Megalite)
I have also noticed that my Nunatak Arc Specialist quilt in Epic, sheds less down than my Arc Alpinist, in (1.0oz Quantum)

Edited by mfog1 on 08/06/2009 15:32:28 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: First hand experience with both. on 08/06/2009 15:35:39 MDT Print View

Michael, I have noticed the exact same thing. We have the older WM bags with the extremelite fabric, the PODS with Quantum, as well as an MYOG quilt out of 0.8oz fabric from Thru-Hiker. My Arc Alpinist that I no longer have was in the same 0.8oz fabric as the Thru-Hiker stuff. I also have a Skaha in Quantum. The Quantum definitely sheds more feathers than the other fabrics.

jim jessop
(LuckyJim) - F
Down quality? on 08/06/2009 16:36:20 MDT Print View

Perhaps the 'shedding feathers' issue is due to inferior down quality that actually contains some feathers?

There really shouldn't be any stalks/feathers to pierce the quantum with top quality down.