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Debate: Quilt vs. Bag
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John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
More Quilt Options on 06/13/2010 07:48:00 MDT Print View


The good news is that there are more quilt options now than ever before. Nunatak, Jacks r Better, Katabatic, Golite, and a number of individuals that on these forums like Tim Marshall, that can make you a custom quilt.

Another couple of options are purchasing a kit from Thru-Hiker or sourcing the materials and building your own. Another option is converting a sleeping bag. I have turned a WM Highlite to a summer quilt that weighs 14oz and is warm to 40f and a bit lower with clothing. Believe me, it took me a while to cut into such a nice new bag, but I got it during the MooseJaw sale and it seemed to be made for the conversion. I have also purchased a Golite Adrenaline 40f with the top zip for my son that will be converted as well. Converting the right bag can be much easier and cheaper than a kit, and less expensive than a ready made quilt.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
@ John, Sawatch dimensions on 06/13/2010 13:31:34 MDT Print View

What are the actual opened out dimensions of your Sawatch? The info on the website has me confused. The shoulder girth is given at 61". This is measured 4" in from both sides of a 20" pad, and includes 12" of pad. So i would guess the actual measurement would be 61" minus the 12" of pad. So 49".
Yet the opened out shoulder dimension is also given as 54" on the site.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Debate: Quilt vs. Bag on 06/13/2010 13:38:57 MDT Print View

Hi Mark-

Great articles here as well as many good reviews on the site including several Jacks R Better bags and many others (but you have to be a member):

A second vote for Lighten Up! too- great book!


Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Debate: Quilt vs. Bag on 06/13/2010 13:45:55 MDT Print View

I agree with many comments above.

Quilts- lighter, more efficient warmth vs. weight, sleeping pad insulation on bottom is smarter, best for those who don't roll around a lot. Some quilts are wider and better for those who move around or side sleep (like me) while narrow ones are great for non-moving back or stomach sleepers. Also, quilts are great in combination with a bivy and ESPECIALLY with a hammock. Oh- and they are GREAT when it's warm out and you can open them up.

I have a few quilts and a few bags. I sometimes roll around at night which allows heat to exit a quilt. I've learned to move less and now it's automatic to put my hand on the edge of the quilt when rolling. But I still sometimes have gaps.

Love quilts. Wish I were a calm back sleeper so they worked better for me in all conditions.


Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
No-sniveller on 06/13/2010 16:13:16 MDT Print View

I find the JRB Ns to be too narrow for me as a side sleeper. However, JRB do a wider quilt now.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Physical Dimensions of Sawatch on 06/13/2010 16:43:04 MDT Print View

It's a bit hard to measure once the footbox has been sewn up but it is about identical to my Golite Ultra 20 and measures 52" when stretched. I would agree with the 54" shoulder and 44" hip width that is posted on the Katabatic website.

As a side sleeper that flip-flops back and forth between sides during the night, I have found that the width covers me. For reference I am 5' 9" 170lbs and my shoulder girth is 51" and my hip girth is 40". I had no draft or coverage problems and did not use the cords to strap the quilt down to the pad.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: No-sniveller on 06/13/2010 16:59:43 MDT Print View

I'm a moving side sleeper and I've found the No Sniveler to be fine for me, but I'm a pretty skinny guy. However I found the Nunatak Arc Ghost to be too narrow for side sleeping for me.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Re: No-sniveller on 06/13/2010 19:58:10 MDT Print View

The ghost is extremely narrow, I can't see a situation where I'd recommend a quilt 46" wide to anything but the skinniest stone dead mummy sleeper of a customer myself.

Even 48(no sniveler width), seems narrow for most non hammock users.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Debate: Quilt vs. Bag on 06/13/2010 20:56:56 MDT Print View

The best/cheapest way to find out if quilting is for you is to take a traditional mummy bag and open the zipper all the way and throw it over you like it is a quilt. Try it in cold weather and see what you think. A quilt is, after all, just a bag without a zipper or hood (or is that a bag is just a quilt with a zipper and hood???)?

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Thanks John on 06/13/2010 22:50:49 MDT Print View

I'm a restless side sleeper, and the 55" width of my Arc Specialist is just about perfect for me.
The Sawatch looks tempting for colder weather if it is 54" wide.
The strap arrangement is a non-issue for me, as i don't use them. One of the attractions of a quilt for me is the freedom to move under it. I often curl up in a foetal position if it starts to get chilly. The straps would turn the quilt into a restrictive (for me) top bag in my opinion.

Edited by MikefaeDundee on 06/13/2010 22:55:08 MDT.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
No-sniveller on 06/13/2010 22:58:25 MDT Print View

Even 48(no sniveler width), seems narrow for most non hammock users.

Yep - I would go wider than this if I had to do it again. At the time I got it I didn't know much about quilts and there weren't a lot of alternatives. Also the BPL review didn't mention it as an issue. Luckily I am skinny, so it is usable, but wider would make it so much better. Also my back injury seems to be getting better so I may be able to switch back to my preferred stomach sleeping position. I have also added some straps to my No-sniveller which helps keep it wrapped round me better.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: No-sniveller on 06/13/2010 23:41:45 MDT Print View

Hi Jason,

I wrote the No Sniveler review and you're right- I never saw the width as an issue. I'm a medium build guy- size large shirts at 6'1" tall. I'm a side sleeper too. I always found the No Sniveler's width to be great, as did other reviewers for the site who used it. I guess it's a preference thing- I could wrap the sides well under my body. But I'm definitely not a linebacker. :-)

My guess is that most average users would find the width of a No Sniveler, Nest, or Old Rag Mtn. to be fine...but that's just a guess!


john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Wider sniveller quilts on 06/14/2010 10:43:42 MDT Print View

Doug, jason, et al,

About a year ago Jacks 'R' Better brought out the JRB Sierra Snivellers specifically oriented to ground sleepers...A full 52 inches wide on the body portion and tapering to 42 inches at the foot box... Still featuring the iconic JRB resealable hidden head hole feature...Same price a regular No Snivellers.

Watch for the debute of the High Sierra Snivellers a wider alternative to the Rocky Mountain Sniveller used by Francis Tapon on his record setting CDT YOYO...Expect a June release.


Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Sierra Sniveller on 06/14/2010 14:25:07 MDT Print View

@Pan. I think the Sierra Snivellers came out a few months after I got my no-sniveller. I do now usually recommend people look at the Sierra Sniveller if they are ground sleepers.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Quilts on 06/14/2010 16:44:08 MDT Print View

Any sleeping bag can be a quilt. Just don't zip it. If you have never tried a quilt before, try your current sleeping bag unzipped. It'll be a lot bigger than a regular quilt, but you'll get an idea how it feels to sleep right on the pad and have to tuck everything around you again whenever you roll over.

I have a Golite Ultra 20 and sleep on my back, my sides and my stomach and I toss and turn a lot. I sleep fine, but it can be pretty drafty when it's cold, so I usually drape a down jacket over me inside like an extra blanket.

Richard Brownkatz
(Rbrownkatz) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Debate: Quilt vs. Bag on 07/21/2011 12:18:36 MDT Print View

"For my money though the US Army poncho liner I bought as an ROTC cadet has been one of the best pieces of outdoor gear I've ever had and it is my go to once again for spring/summer/early fall sleeping gear."

I'd appreciate hearing some more about your experience with this, John, especially in the spring and fall. Last week I was on the AT in north Georgia and wish I'd left the sleeping bag home and brought my liner instead. Down to what temps have you been comfortable with just a liner? Do you pair it with a particular pad or bunch of clothes for more warmth? If you were headed (as I was) to a place where the nite tempos were exp\ected to be in the 60's, but have dipped as far down as 39 F, would you feel confident with your liner and whatever you might augment it with, like a down jacket?


Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Debate: Quilt vs. Bag on 07/21/2011 14:06:03 MDT Print View

I having been using the poncho liner as a summer blanket. With long underwear bottoms, a light sweater shirt and no socks, I was plenty warm at 50 in the Big Sur mountains. 40 is a bit low for this, but it's possible. A bivvy would add a lot of heat. Historically it has been used as a sleep system for the jungle.
It's very light, packs small, and is very roomy. I throw it over my head and have enough room that even when rolling over, the drafts aren't too bad.
Avoid the cheap china ones. Buy one off of ebay that's specifically labeled USGI and has the proper label on it.

Francis DeRoos

Locale: Mid Atlantic
cottage quilt on 07/22/2011 12:41:33 MDT Print View

since you asked for a recommendation, what about a cyanocitta bag? it's made by one of our members, Javan (who posted on this thread already) and it's now on sale I got one at the beginning of the summer after having this same debate "quilt or bag" for 6 months. I couldn't be happier with the quilt. The nice thing about javan's design is that it has a fabric flap that closes the bottom of the quilt minimizing the drafts if your roll a bit. I couldn't be happier. also I'm 6 ft, 180 and this quilt fits me as if custom made.

Rowan Wood
Re: Quilt vs. Bag on 12/18/2012 22:50:24 MST Print View

hey Raymond, that's a great looking tent. Is that a tarptent..what is that?
sorry for going off topic.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Quilt vs. Bag on 12/19/2012 08:34:50 MST Print View

this is Raymond's tent.

Edited by annapurna on 12/19/2012 08:36:08 MST.