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Tae Kim
(taegello) - F
Long on 08/12/2009 14:07:19 MDT Print View

Last week I returned my regular size and got Long in the mail. I am now liking this quilt A LOT better. I am 5.8 at 165lb and I feel that Long size gives me more room to move around without the possibility of gap opening between the quilt and the thermarest. It feels more versatile and I think this is worth the extra 3oz.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Conversely on 08/13/2009 00:43:58 MDT Print View

Just so potential buyers hear both sides, I'm a similar size as Tae (5'11, 165lbs) but I have no trouble with gaps opening up between the quilt and pad. That was actually one of two things that amazed me the first time I used this quilt (which is my first quilt ever).

The two things that amazed me were how easy avoid drafts was and also how handy it is to get in and out of. I hate worming out of a toasty sleeping bag in the morning...it's just too much exertion for my lazy self. A quilt is much easy because you can toss it off. If you have a top on then this isn't really cold.

Its funny that quilts are considered so 'hard core ultra light' by anyone I talk too (outside this site) but I actually find them much closer to my bed at home. If I gotta pee in the night, it's easy to toss off the quilt and go pee. If I need to reach out to grab something (alarm, headlamp...whatever) then it's much easier than half worming out of your sleeping bag. Even going to bed is way easier. I love quilts!

Kate Hoch
(digibling) - F

Locale: Pennsylvania
Sleeping pad with quilts on 08/13/2009 08:43:11 MDT Print View

Just wanted to start off with hello! I've been reading the forums here for a while, but this is my first post. Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge and experiences - I've already learned a ton!

I really like the idea of a quilt, and I’m thinking of getting a golite ultra 20. One thing I can’t quite grasp conceptually is how it’s used with a sleeping pad. I know the top can be tucked under a sleeping pad, but the footbox seems to be like a regular mummy bag (I think – correct me if that’s wrong). So can you use it with a full length sleeping pad? Does the foot end just lay on top of the pad?

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
My Ultra 20 Experience on 08/13/2009 10:04:20 MDT Print View

I wanted to update my findings and impressions with limited use of my new Ultra 20. First off I have to admit that I, like many others, was a bit disappointed with the loft given the specs. I have a Golite Feather Lite 40 that is a wider full zipperless sleeping bag with just 5 more grams of down and it has 1 inch more loft (in just the TOP layer) and weighs just 1.8 oz more. The footbox box in particular has twice the loft and feels very stuffed with down compared to the Ultra 20. Based on my calculations for volume (within the baffles of the bag), of the two bags, the Feather Lite has approximately 20% more space to be filled by the down than the Ultra 20. With this in mind, I can only surmise that the Feather Lite either has MUCH higher lofting down than the stated 800ci per oz OR the Ultra 20 has lower performing down than the stated 800 ci per oz. A third, and likely option, is that it is a little of both of these factors. My reg size Ultra 20 weighs in at 18.6 without the straps and 19.1oz with them. The Featherlite 40 weighs in at 20.4 oz - 0.4 higher than specs.

I haven't slept at any temps lower than about 35 - 40 degrees but it was very comfortable both in temp and space. I had no problems with drafts even though I did not use the straps - and I am a side sleeper that flips from side to side throughout the night. Over the years I have trained myself to turn inside the bag, so the switch to a quilt was not a problem. If I feel that straps are necessary, I will just use a little bungee cord and cordlocks as I don't anticipate strapping the bag to the pad. I particularly like the ease of entry and exit as well has venting options. It is also more comfortable than using a bag unzipped as I have not used the hood on a bag for years. For reference, I am 5'9" and 165lbs with a shoulder girth of 51" and found the regular length to be about perfect and don't feel the need for more length.

I have little doubt that I could take this down into the low 20's with the typical clothing I have with me. In temps colder than 40 degrees, I typically sleep in long silkweight terramar underwear with merino wool socks and a fleece cap atop an Exped Down Mat 7 short. The pad makes a HUGE difference in warmth and comfort. At 22oz with the pumpsack, it is the heaviest thing in my pack other than my food bag, but it is weight I am more than willing to carry. I also have a full length 7 but use it only in winter and find that the short leaves little to be desired in my side sleeping/fetal position. Below freezing, in the wee hours of early morning, I typically throw my FF Hyperion Vest (6.5oz) over the top of me as well. Not so much because I am cold, it just keeps me from having to get up and empty my bladder before I want too.

I think that the shell of the Ultra 20 is very well made, more so than the Feather Lite or Golite's past bags, and I really appreciate the "tuck stitching" on the baffle attachment as well as the Pertex Endurance on the footbox and top baffle and I like the feel of the lining in particular. IMO the Ultra 20 would be perfect as is with 2oz more down and/or higher quality/fill power down and while I am considering adding more down, it would be a shame to cut the bag open and then patch it. Based on the construction of the quilt I think that the best way would be to make a small slit on the inside of the bag on each top baffle near where it joins the side baffle, with a hot fine tipped soldering iron, and then stitch it back up. Adding more down to the two side baffles would be an easy job of undoing the seam along the edge. If anyone has opened up the center baffles I would be very interested in what they found.

Other than these two Golite Bags that were basically impulse purchases at 40% off sales events, I have used some 12-15 bags over the years from Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends. The Ultra 20's shell construction is IMO about 90% of the quality of FF or WM's work - nothing to fault Golite over concerning functionality and durability, just a little less attention to detail. I have tried to get WM or FF to make me a quilt but both declined, although I think FF was close to doing it. While I have not seen any of Nunatak's products, I was going to pull the trigger on an ARC Alpinist last summer, but Tom's timing didn't work for my trip. At the $135 I paid for the Ultra 20 at the Golite sale last month, at this point it's hard to justify $400 or more for a custom Alpinist.

If Golite decides to dump more Ultra 20's as they introduce the two newer quilts, I will jump on at least two more, a spare one for me (in long to use as an overquilt), and one for my 11 year old son. I will be taking the Ultra 20 on a 10 day trip to the Winds in Sept and report back on how it worked.

Kathleen Whalen-Burns
(rosierabbit) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Golite Ultra and sleeping pad on 08/13/2009 10:31:49 MDT Print View

Kate - take a look at Raymond's photo on the first page of this thread. The bottom half of the quilt is lying on top of the neoair (the part that wouldn't fit under it), and the top half of the quilt is on the neoair with the 2 quilt straps wrapped around it. It really does work. As an aside, consider replacing those flapping, annoying straps with thin stretch cord, a la Mike Clelland!. It makes life much simpler.

Dennis Hiorns
(hanson)

Locale: Michigan
Re: Sleeping pad with quilts on 08/13/2009 19:16:38 MDT Print View

Kate,

I have a Golite Ultra 20 (as a side note, I love it - I'm sure there are better quilts, but this one works great for my camping in Michigan).

I use 2 pads: a Ridgerest which I cut the bottom corners off of to fit into the footbox, and a Z-Lite that I cut to end at my knees. Depending on the pack and other supplies, I will take either pad (the Ridgerest is rolled and stored on top of the pack, the Z-Lite is folded and placed inside my pack as support).

Hope this provides some insight.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Final Update on 10/22/2009 13:56:40 MDT Print View

Just my final update on the Ultra 20. I returned last month from an 11 day trip in the Winds with this quilt and was quite impressed with the comfort and performance. I slept on a Exped downmat 7 short in a single wall tent in long silk underwear, wool socks, and a fleece cap. The lowest temp experienced was 26 degrees Fahrenheit (in tent) with most nights in the mid to high 30's. In addition, I removed the factory straps and replaced them with DIY 3/8" elastic and velcro.

I really enjoyed the freedom of movement that the quilt offered over a slim bag, especially for my arms. Only on the coldest night did I snap the neck closure and use the drawcord. Overall I would say that I was warm enough to sleep but certainly not "cozy." In the early hours of the morning on the coldest night, I pulled my down vest (FF Hyperion @ 6.5oz) under the quilt and draped it over me and was then quite "cozy." However, I would typically deem myself a slightly warm sleeper and find this quilt to be more of a 30 degree quilt than the 20 Golite states. You will most likely survive at 20 degrees but there won't be much sleep unless you have on some additional insulation layers or a full stomach and the metabolism of a 16 year old. I will be the first to admit that the quilt/variable girth bag concept should include the clothing that you have with you, however manufacturers should not incorporate that into their temp ratings. I should point out that this trip was more strenuous than normal and I had only allocated 2,200 calories per day. I wasn't particularly hungry but did come back 5lbs lighter even after a HUGE steak dinner and nearly 6 quarts of POWERade on the ride home.

As a tossing and turning semi fetal position side sleeper, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't too drafty and after a few nights I was able to keep things closed while I turned, minimizing the drafts. It is definitely more drafty than a bag and I was much warmer when laying flat on my back with the quilt tucked and cinched up around me. Coverage was about perfect for my 5'9" 165 frame but if I was any taller I would opt for the long length version. My size 11.5 extra wide feet have something to do with this, but when laying on my back with the neck snugged up there isn't any extra room and I am beginning to compromise the loft by stretching the shell, particularly in the footbox.

As I have stated earlier, I am at a bit of a loss concerning this item. The Featherlite 40 zipperless Golite bag (discontinued but still available from some retailers) is a little over one ounce heavier but it much warmer with more loft and more room when compared to the cinched up Ultra 20. On the other hand I appreciated the Pertex Endurance footbox and top end of the bag and the higher shell quality.

The Ultra 20 is a keeper and will be my primary sleep system for temps from 30 and up. I will also be using it as either an overbag or liner bag for winter trips as well. At this point I don't think I will add more down to this bag or cut up the Featherlite and make a quilt out of it. With any luck quilts will gain market share and Western Mountaineering or others will take notice and make one that fits my need perfectly.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
GoLite Ultra 20 (brief review) on 10/23/2009 06:59:28 MDT Print View

John,

You have done a very nice job of tracking your findings with the Ultra 20 and sharing them with us. I thank you heartily.

Your findings seem to match mine spot on. I have come to the same conclusion that you alluded to as far as the loft. (This after I got my Nunatak Arc Alpinist quilt to compare it with.) I think that the Ultra 20 does not have 800 fill down, or that it has too many feathers mixed in too.

I loved the comfort of mine and think if they would stay with it (which they are not as they have introduced new models) with better down it would be a major winner for them.

I sold mine and ordered two more Nunatak quilts. You may want to check them out.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Final Update on 10/25/2009 18:36:04 MDT Print View

"The Featherlite 40 zipperless Golite bag...is much warmer with more loft and more room when compared to the....Ultra 20"

Really? The Ultra 20 may not be a true 20 degree quilt but it's hard to believe that a 40 degree bag is "much warmer"....especially one that uses heavier face fabrics (20 denier vs. 15 denier). The Ultra 20 seems to be widely accepted as being warm to 30F, so are you suggesting the Featherlite 40 is actually good to well below this?

Golite seems to use about the same amount of down in their 40F bags as they do in their 20 degree quilts. The difference is that it's all on top of you with the quilt. So while the total loft of the bag might be similar (or even a bit more if they used to use better down as you theorize), when you look at how much down is on top of you the quilt should win by a large margin.

Edited by dandydan on 10/25/2009 20:45:56 MDT.

John Gilbert
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
30 deg quilt vs 40 deg bag on 10/25/2009 19:17:38 MDT Print View

I sleep on my side, and move around a "medium" amount while sleeping. I find using my sleeping bag as a quilt makes it comfortable to about 15-20 degrees higher temps - even without trying to vent by sticking a knee out, etc. Or conversely, when I zip up the bag instead of using it as a quilt, it seems about 15-20 degrees warmer. The zipped bag is only 10 degrees warmer than the quilt-mode bag if I tuck the edges under me, and move around a lot less. (This only works for me until a little while after I fall asleep).

Still, I prefer the quilt. I find it hard to sleep in a confining mummy bag, and prefer to carry a little extra insulation weight.

The "draftiness" issue could be fixed with a bivy, but then I'd give up the easy entry / exit & ability to ventilate when needed.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
At 25 oz. for a 20 degree quilt... on 10/26/2009 19:40:25 MDT Print View

there really is no benefit over a WM Ultralight wich weighs a tiny 29 oz. Unless of course you want the UL hiker credit :P

-Jace

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
25oz??? on 10/26/2009 19:42:13 MDT Print View

The Ultra 20 weighs 19 oz, not 25 oz.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: 25oz??? on 10/26/2009 19:43:07 MDT Print View

Probably referring to the new model.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
new Quilts on 10/26/2009 20:51:30 MDT Print View

I wish we had more info on the new Golite quilts. 6oz is a big jump given the explanation ('packed with a little more down'). The current Ultra 20 has 9.5oz of down. I highly doubt that it's been bumped all the way to 15.5oz. I wonder if they are using heavier face fabrics as well?

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
I was talking about the new models on 10/26/2009 20:54:22 MDT Print View

Sorry for the confusion. And ya 6 oz of down would definatly change the rating... a lot... it has to be new fabrics.

-Jace

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"GoLite Ultra 20 (brief review)" on 11/16/2009 13:20:39 MST Print View

I got an Ultra 20 in the summer and have really enjoyed it. I have been curious as to how low I can take it in the winter. From reading the charts provided by Richard Nisley, I'm confident I'll be OK down to 20 degrees with supplemental gear, but I would like to know for sure!

Last night I slept out on the sofa in the backyard with a low temp of 29 and I was fine. I wore a cotton t-shirt, sweat pants and cotton socks.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: "GoLite Ultra 20 (brief review)" on 11/16/2009 13:40:09 MST Print View

Given the thickness of the foam used in most sofa cushions, you'd probably have to stack a couple of down air mattresses to get something similar in the backcountry. I wouldn't consider that a fair test of warmth for anything unless you plan on carrying a sofa in to the woods with you.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"GoLite Ultra 20 (brief review)" on 11/16/2009 14:24:43 MST Print View

I know, it's cheating a little bit!

I'm just trying to get a feel for the bag in different conditions so I can make sort of an informed decision later.....

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F - M

Locale: SoCAL
Re: "GoLite Ultra 20 (brief review)" on 11/24/2009 20:45:03 MST Print View

I'm not a cold sleeper; I just wanted to get that out of the way since not everyone is the same. The loft does seem thin for a 20F bag. However, I just finished thru-hiking the PCT and used the 2008 version of the Ultra 20 quilt and had no issues with it including the last 4 days where I was hiking in snow.

The coldest weather that I encountered on the PCT was the last 1.5 weeks in Northern Washington (I finished on Oct.2) when I had several nights in the 20's (F). My quilt hadn't been washed the entire trip and after 5 months of daily use it had definitely lost some loft and my body had also lost alot of fat. Normally I would just wear lightweight thermal bottoms and top along with my balaclava. However, by the end of the trip in that weather, I had to wear my hiking pants to bed too and I was still slept warm. However, in all fairness, my quilt was in my MLD superlight bivysack which definitely helped, but I was either cowboy camping (sleeping out) or was under an opened tarp, not in a tent.

I'm personally quite happy with this quilt for 3 weather use and it did hold up well over my PCT trip. I'd use it again to do the PCT without a thought.

-Miner

Edited by Miner on 11/24/2009 20:46:25 MST.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"GoLite Ultra 20 (brief review)" on 12/07/2009 14:38:07 MST Print View

I had my GoLite Ultra 20 out Saturday for a test run in the cold and came away very satisfied. My cheapie digital thermometer read 14 degrees at around 3am and I was very comfortable.

I had, from the bottom up, a 1/2" full-length Ridgerest CCF pad, full-length Neo-Air pad, Capilene 2 top, Capilene 3 equivalent bottom, REI down booties, Marmot Zeus jacket, fleece beanie and the Ultra 20. Also, I was in a tent.

My experience matches closely my expectations based on Richard Nisley's chart.

Cameron.....you want to weigh in?