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Help me get started with Quilts
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Rob E

Locale: Canada
Help me get started with Quilts on 03/18/2010 16:04:20 MDT Print View

Howdy folks,

Looking for some advice for a lightweight summer/3 season sleeping system. I tend to be a warm sleeper, and won't be doing much cold weather camping, so I think something rated to 0C/32F or higher is fine. I will be in a 2 person tarptent or double-walled tent and use a therm-a-rest Prolite sleeping Pad (460g/16oz).

Looking for something lightweight of course, but I really don't like mummy bags, too constricting. I am leaning towards just getting a +5C (41F) down barrel bag that weights 900g (32 oz) from Mountain Equipment Co-op for about $100 CAD.

I don't know anything about down quilts aside from what I have read a little bit on the web, but they seem like a good alternative for me. So let me get this straight: they have a foot pocket, no zipper, equal baffling distribution and you just wrap yourself in them? Does the footpocket feel constrictive like a mummy bag? I am not sure I understand the difference between a top and a bottom quilt?
Are they typically large enough to have it wrap all the way underneath you yet still feel roomy?

I am looking at the Nunateks and JRB's which look promising. Any recommendations for other brands to look at?

Also interested in something a little more economical if possible of course. For example, I can get a 690g/24oz mummy bag rated to -3C/27F at MEC for $240 CAD. Any other suggestions or advice for my sleep system or quilts?



Edited by eatSleepFish on 06/08/2013 19:30:25 MDT.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
quilts on 03/18/2010 16:35:48 MDT Print View

Try Tim Marshall at Enlightened Equipment. He is a regular on these forums.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Help me get started with Quilts on 03/18/2010 16:51:29 MDT Print View

Top quilt - goes over you

Bottom quilt - goes underneath a hammock. You can forget those unless you're using a hammock.

Nunatak makes great quilts in their Arc series but they're very spendy. As such, they may not the best choice for a first quilt. Your money; your call. If you don't like using a quilt, you can always sell it here in the gear swap. Nunataks are rarely offered for sale by their owners and will sell quickly.

Other options include the 25° F rated semi-rectangular bags made by Western Mountaineering - specifically the Sycamore MF ( and its hoodless twin, the Alder MF.

These bags have two full-length zippers - one down the side of your choice and the other across the foot. They unzip completely to make a blanket or quilt, or can be zipped up like a regular sleeping bag. Accordingly, they are wider and less confining than a mummy bag.

Edited by wandering_bob on 03/18/2010 16:59:01 MDT.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
re: Help me get started with Quilts on 03/18/2010 16:51:36 MDT Print View

Rob, You are looking in the right places. If you think lows of 40 degrees are more likely I would recommend you get a JRB stealth. This quilt is fairly priced it lies flat or uses a strip of velcro+draw cord to form the footbox. It also has a head hole so you can wear it like a poncho. When I hike in 40+ weather this is what I use. I dont even take an insulated jacket. The best thing is it weighs only weighs 16 oz. Because the footbox on this thing is 48" wide it has plenty of room. The only thing to watch out is the 48" width continues to the shoulders and can be a bit small for bigger guys. If you are going colder consider the No sniveller or the Sierra.

Here is a link to a quilt I made that is similar to the JRB quilts. It shows the footbox being formed.


Nunatak is considered the gold standard, but you pay for it and it can take months to get the quilt made (I have a custom ghost and its awesome). I would recommend it after you really know what you want in a quilt as Tom will custom make them to about any spec you want.

You might want to check out golites quilts. Unfortunately this years models gained some weight but they might be a great option for you. The golite ultra 20 (old design) was my first quilt and it was fantastic.


Edited by jshortt on 03/18/2010 16:55:28 MDT.

Bill Poett
( - F

Locale: Santa Barbara
Re: Help me get started with Quilts on 03/18/2010 17:47:53 MDT Print View


Check out the Mountain laurel Designs Spirit Quilts. Received my 30 degree model. Great workman ship and great design! Definitely worth a look see. In your price range and temp range and under 20 ounces!

One of my favorite pieces of kit!

Good Luck


James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
GoLite Ultra 20 on 03/18/2010 18:41:36 MDT Print View

I concur with Jamie that the "old" GoLite Ultra 20 quilt is excellent. You might want to try to pick one up on the gear swap as it will sometimes come up. Though I have no experience with the MLD Spirit Quilt as suggested by Bill, I can concur that MLD builds top notch equipment with flawless seams, thoughtful features, & much attention to detail.

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
GoLite Ultra 20... on 03/18/2010 18:48:20 MDT Print View

Is fairly affordable and nice (the 20 is for most extremely optimistic) quilt. A quick google product search reveals a few places still selling these.

Henry Blake
(Dragon) - F

Locale: Minnesota
Gain Experience Slowly on 03/18/2010 18:54:17 MDT Print View

Not knowing your particular situation, it's hard to give the best advice. If you've got lots of experience, perhaps a move to quilts is the way to go. Another option is to get a wide sleeping bag that is used most often entirely open as a quilt, except when the temps are low and close to the bag's limit.

That gives you a quilt feel most of the time, and a tighter mummy bag configuration when really needed due to lower temps.

I love my quilt, but have many bags as well. I'm still trying to learn when each is best used, and the limitations. Mostly my focus now is to determine how light and small a quilt I can use, and have it still accomplish the task for a particular trip given that trip's expected weather.

Good luck!

P.S.—A bag to consider, ranked at the top for value in the most recent "Ultralight Three-Season Down Mummy-Style Sleeping Bags: State of the Market Report 2010" article here on BPL, is the 19 oz. Montbell UL Spiral Down Hugger #3. Currently on sale at MoonTrail for $229. w/ 32 Bonus points good for free gear, it has the "wide" advantage. If the extra gear for points isn't worth $30 to you, you can get the same bag now at CampSaver for $199.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Gain Experience Slowly on 03/18/2010 19:01:03 MDT Print View

How does that bag come up at $199 at Campsaver? It says $249. The 20% off isn't valid on Montbell items.

That Moontrail deal is pretty good if you need some of the gear though...

Edited by T.L. on 03/18/2010 19:14:20 MDT.

Henry Blake
(Dragon) - F

Locale: Minnesota
Misleading Ad Copy on 03/18/2010 19:21:03 MDT Print View


I read the ad quickly. Directly above the description for the sleeping bag, their ad copy says, "Holy Shamrocks! 20% off everything." (in bold type) Then following, in regular type, "Get your coupon code and details here. Expires 3-31"

I didn't read any fine print at the "here" link to discover that Montbell items are exempted. Thanks for catching that.

Jarrett Lambright
(jlamb) - F

Locale: Western PA
JRB Summer bag on 03/18/2010 19:25:40 MDT Print View

So, this comment may not help you, but I will put it out there anyway. I just bought one of those JRB summer bags/quilt liner. It is made out of fleece and weighs in at 16oz. It only costs like $32.00. I plan on using this for the warmer months, cause like you I am also a warm sleeper. I figure that if I do start going when it is cold, I will look into a lightweight quilt then. But as from my personal experience I spend most of my nights in the woods March-Oct, and in western PA it is not usually all that cold then.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Ultra 20 on 03/18/2010 23:59:12 MDT Print View

As mentioned, the 2009 GoLite Ultra 20 is a great choice. It's 19oz and it should be plenty warm enough for your needs. It's also generously wide so it's not hard to wrap it around yourself. I started using a quilt last summer with the Ultra 20 and it was not hard to get used to. I was amazed how much I like sleeping in quilts. They're easier to get and out of and still easy to wrap around yourself to get warm. I can't imagine selling my Ultra 20.

The 2010 GoLite quilts are still nice but they've gained some weight due to more down and heavier fabrics. The 20F rated quilt is now more true to the 20F rating but it's a lot heavier (24-25oz?) and then they have a new 40F rated quilt that is 19oz. You could buy the 40F one, but the 2009 Ultra 20 is warmer for the same weight since it used lighter fabrics.

Here's a 2009 Ultra 20 for $225. That's full retail but maybe you can find a coupon code and even at full retail it's a lot cheaper than JRB and Nunatak.

Edited by dandydan on 03/19/2010 00:03:06 MDT.