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Trying to decide on a quilt...need advice
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Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
Trying to decide on a quilt...need advice on 12/16/2010 12:04:54 MST Print View

Hey all
So I am saving up to buy a quilt, but not sure which one I should go for.
I have always used a full mummy sleeping bag and it was worked great, but I want something a little lighter. I currently use a 20degree down North Face bag. I am a very warm sleeper...I normally just sleep in my boxers whether is 50 degrees out or 15....i manage to stay warm. I sleep mostly on my side or stomach and am 5'7'', 160lbs and have pretty broad shoulders. The majority of my backpacking is 3 season and either in the high sierra Nevada's or coastal California.

I was looking at the Jacks R Better quilts..either the Shenandoah or the Hudson River. What do you think of those? Other quilts you would recommend?

I am hoping with the information supplied I could get some good ideas of quilts you recommend? I figured since I am only 5'77 a regular length would be good.


Raul Perez
(WaterMonkey) - F
Re: Trying to decide on a quilt...need advice on 12/16/2010 12:13:23 MST Print View

Also check out: - (love it)3 season mamba goes down to 20*F - hear great things about their quilts.

Wait time is about 2-3 weeks

cathryn robertson
(chicken) - F
EnLIGHTened Equipment on 12/16/2010 12:18:31 MST Print View


Don't overlook the idea of a custom quilt from somebody like Tim Marshall at enLIGHTened Equipment. If you're looking to save weight and have something thats specifically built to your specs to maximize your comfort along with weight, you might want to check him out.

I just received a quilt that is Cuben (I don't mind the vapor barrier effect) and synthetic (will be climbing big walls with it) and it should rate to about 25 degrees. I was able to choose between many design options to balance my comfort and the weight of the quilt. I'm a curled-up side sleeper, so I chose a half-taper, where it doesn't taper too fast above the knee and had it built to my height of 5'4" to get the lightest quilt that would suit my frame.

I couldn't be happier because I have a nearly weather-proof quilt, likely good to 25 degrees, using synthetic insulation for about...get this...15 ounces!

Sure, I had to wait for about four weeks, but its worth it. A few days after it arrived I even got an email from the maker asking how it worked out and if I liked it!

Great customer service and a great product to boot!


Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Trying to decide on a quilt...need advice on 12/16/2010 12:25:24 MST Print View


Just this year I switched over to a JRB Sierra Snievler.

I am 5'6" and 145 lbs....cold sleeper...also hike the Sierras like you.

I looked at the Hudson River, but if memory serves me correctly, the Sierra is wider than the 48" of the regular quilts they make.

48" is barely cutting it in my opinion and I am a dead back sleeper that does not move an inch while sleeping.

The Sierra was made specifically with the "ground sleeper" in mind.

Just over Thanksgiving, I was in Iowa, and I slept outside in 22F and 17F weather with the JRB quilt, MLD bivy, GG thinlight and torso pad...wearing all of my regular three season clothing. (Thermawarp jacket, BPL merino long johns, BPL Hoody, gloves, hiking pants, Primalid Insulated hat, hiking socks)

The 25F rating seems true to feet got cold at 22F.

Adding ID Hot Socks and Montbell Thermawrap pants, I was able to stay out 4 hr til 4:45am, and my feet got cold and my back was getting chilled.

Anyway, my point is...look for something a little wider....especially if you are a side sleeper.

The Nanutak quilts are even wider, which would be ideal in my opinion, but the price of entry to play that game was a bit high for me...especially as I had never used a quilt before.

I love the quilt, but I can tell you that it is all about tucking the edges under your pad or your body to keep the draft out.

I did have to change my sleeping method from draping my jacket over my chest to wearing shoulders were getting cold at the top of the quilt really does not have a good way to seal off at the top.

Wish there was a snap like the Golite Quilts or something to help keep the top of the quilt around my neck or to simply close off the top area to prevent drafts.

Maybe this is worth looking at:

Hope this helps and good luck to you....let us know what you decide.


Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
custom quilt on 12/16/2010 12:26:30 MST Print View

I was looking at their website....there stuff looks bomber! but I think they are a little out of my price range. :-(

C g
(cgraf) - M

Locale: So Cal
"Trying to decide on a quilt...need advice" - Javan Dempsey on 12/16/2010 12:47:05 MST Print View

I highly recommend Javan Dempsey for a custom quilt. I'm a side/fetal position sleeper and like his unique variable taper design as well as the incorporation of other custom requests.
He is knowledgeable, a pleasure to work with, has a great reputation for quality craftsmanship among BPL members and will steer you in the right direction.
Do a quick search and you'll find pictures of his finished work....or go to as they have contracted him to produce a quilt line for them.


Edited by cgraf on 12/16/2010 12:51:30 MST.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Quilt width on 12/16/2010 12:48:29 MST Print View

In my opinion, 48" is pretty narrow for a side sleeper. Cut up an old bed sheet or something at 48" to make sure it is wide enough for you.
I have a 55" Nunatak, and a 51" Katabatic, and i wouldn't go any narrower than 51" as a side sleeper.

Scott Truong

Locale: Vancouver, BC
RE: Quilts. on 12/16/2010 12:58:46 MST Print View

Listen to Tony. He said it all.

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
Nunatak Arc Alpinist on 12/16/2010 13:12:04 MST Print View it sounds like a wider shoulder is important, and alot of you mentioned Nunatak. I took a look at there site and the quilt that stuck out to me was the Arc Alpinist. What do you all think of that bag?

Raul Perez
(WaterMonkey) - F
wait time on 12/16/2010 13:22:00 MST Print View

I suggest you pick a few vendors and contact them. You will be surprised that many cottage industries will modify their product for you to give you what you are looking for. Also if you need the quilt in a specific time period let them know to see what the wait time is. For example I ordered booties from nunatak but due to the order load I had to wait 2 months for the product.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Trying to decide on a quilt...need advice on 12/16/2010 14:09:02 MST Print View

I love my Arc Alpinist.

I have three Nunatak quilts and they are very nice in quality and workmanship.

My fourth quilt was made for me by Javan Dempsey and it turned out great. It is worth talking to him first.

Andy Anderson
(ianders) - F

Locale: Southeast
I 2nd Javan Dempsey on 12/16/2010 14:31:38 MST Print View

I haven't bought a quilt from Javan yet, but have discussed it with him several times. He is a super cool guy, send him a PM. Seems more than willing to discuss ith with you. When I make the switch to a quilt, I will definately go for one of his. There is currently a JDempsey quilt for sale on Gear Swap, check it out, I think it was posted around the end of November or first of December.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: I 2nd Javan Dempsey on 12/16/2010 14:44:31 MST Print View

Thanks for all the endorsement guys.

I will say that I can't honestly recommend that quilt on the gear swap for a side-sleeping ground dweller. It is around 50" wide and a half-taper which does provide more room in the torso, but it was made for a hammocker. Personally the difference between a half or straight taper and the variable taper, which provides more like 54-55" usable width in the torso area, along with extra knee/hip space, is night and day. It also does this without costing significant wt.

A 30deg variable taper for your size would come out ~16oz finished.

Everything I make is custom, so there is a waiting period, although since I moved into my new shop(and significantly more productive now) I'm opening up a couple of slots for late Jan, early Feb delivery. My prices aren't entry level, but I feel they're competitive with the other top tier options.

Feel free to PM me or email me directly, or

Regardless, 50" width is your minimum if you want to actually get more than 20 minutes sleep. Just my opinion, YMMV.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Nunatak Arc Alpinist on 12/16/2010 14:59:13 MST Print View


Just a comment on Nunatak.

When I was researching them, two things that are options seemed to be recommended across the board- 2 oz of overfill and differentiated baffles.

You might want to factor that in the pricing of their quilts.

That said, Nunatak seems to have an excellent reputation for quality of build from everyone that I have talk to on the forums.

Down side is that they still may have long wait times to fill orders.

Definitely a lot more options out there from just a year ago when I bought mine, so check them all out.

P.S. You might want to check out the Special version of the JRB Sierra Snievler, which for $20 more is lighter, more down fill?, and lighter fabric shell. I can not remember which company was selling it, but I do recall that it was an exclusive being made for an online company. There was a posting on it on the forums with in the past week or so.


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
goheavy on 12/16/2010 15:06:04 MST Print View

arent go(something) quilts like 40% off right now with the right code? ... never used a quilt myself ... but 40% off is always attractive

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Nunatak Arc Alpinist on 12/16/2010 15:14:16 MST Print View

I've spoken with Tom Halpin, owner of Nunatak, several times about this for a custom Arc Specialist.

1) Overfill is a personal thing and depends on several factors. (1) how warm/cold you sleep, (2)what makes up your personal "sleep system", and (3)how far you are trying to "push" the lower temperature limit of that system. Four to five inches is the max he'll go, unless you're heading for the deep freeze and need an Arc Expedition.

2) Differential cuts add $50 to the quilt and are not recommended (unnecessary expense for very little practical return) until you reach at least 4 inches of loft), but he'll do it if you insist and want to pay for it.

3) Top width: "I'd say the stock measurements would be within reason, however to be sure that you have the ability to cover and layer completely, we could cut the shoulder top end to the maximum fabric width. This can be 57-60" and is outer shell fabric dependent." Tom said that 58 inches is the max width with Pertex Microlite, but any width beyond that is possible if you don't mind the shell seaming.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
"Trying to decide on a quilt...need advice" on 12/16/2010 17:30:36 MST Print View

I love my old style GoLite Ultra 20. They show up for sale here now and then. It's my favorite piece of kit that I've bought over the last year or so (along with my DuoMid).

Have a look at Katabatic quilts.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Wider quilts on 12/16/2010 18:04:16 MST Print View

For a couple of years now JRB has been supplying quilts at the request of the ground community...The Sierra Sniveller Series of quilts is a full 52 inches wide though the body to include the hip area then tapers to 42 inch bottom for closer leg and feet fit...side loops on the body portion, if you wand to secure around the pad...and the iconic resealable head hole or serape design...

The three season model A JRB Sierra Sniviller Special in 20D and 900fp down, 20 oz is available exclusively at Ti Goat...Very reasonably priced too... Check Ti Goat out...

These quilts are in stock and ready to ship for Christmas delivery.


Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Wider quilts on 12/16/2010 19:05:10 MST Print View

I would also recommend a wider quilt. Can't go wrong with Nunatak, or Tim Marshall if you think you can handle cuben. The Katabatics also look pretty nice to me if they make them wide enough...

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
cuben? on 12/16/2010 19:17:18 MST Print View

You said "if I can handle cuben" What do u mean by that? Is there a problem with cuben?