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Sierra Sniveler: shivering and sniveling
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(blatargh) - F
Sierra Sniveler: shivering and sniveling on 08/08/2011 22:36:38 MDT Print View

I am sleeping in a Sierra Sniveler inside an Equinox bivy. When the temps drop into the low 40's, I awake cold, and discover that the down at the middle of the quilt has moved to the edges. I shake and massage the down back to the middle of the quilt, but wake another hour or two later to find the down has moved back to the edges of the quilt. This occurs three to four times a night.

The Sierra Sniveler is my first experience with down sleeping gear. I sleep on my sides and turn a lot during the night, sometimes turning from side to side multiple times in an attempt to get comfortable enough to fall back to sleep. The equinox bivy needs to be re-positioned, as it gets bound up sometimes as I am turning. The bivy is probably pushing on the quilt from one side as my shoulders press on the the other as I am turning over. This is my best guess as to what the problem is, but any time I attempt to distribute the down, I can still find spots that feel like they have little to no down.

I cowboy camp, and the bivy seems to be pretty essential protection from the wind when using the Jacks r Better quilt. My only ultralight shelter currently is a Golite poncho tarp. Sleeping on my back through the night probably won't happen.

Can I get my current gear to work with the Sierra Sniveler? Is a lack of skill preventing me from getting the down to distribute evenly?

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Oversized on 08/08/2011 23:42:15 MDT Print View

I like an over-sized bivy, like a Katabatic Gear Bristlecone,6'6"wide, gives me enough room to use a Neo-Air pad inside the bivy and wrap the straps of my Nunatak Arc Specialist around the pad, I can toss and turn and the quilt stays put, rock solid. Katabatic Gear quilts cord-lock pad system works well too. You don't want a tight fitting bivy that will compress the down of your quilt either, which may be your case.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Sierra Sniveler: shivering and sniveling on 08/09/2011 08:15:36 MDT Print View

I love JRB gear (I use a Nest UQ for my JRB Bridge hammock when I hang), but had the same exact issue using my No Sniveller w/ down "falling" down from my shoulder when on my side. Never could prevent it.

Not sure why some quilts have this issue and others don't. That said, my golite Ultra20 (no longer in production) has Longitudinal (?) baffles as well as horizontal and the down stays put much better. Perhaps try one of the new (albeit heavier) Golite's?

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Loose pack on 08/09/2011 08:48:03 MDT Print View

I have seen this on older, soiled sleeping bags. A good washing fixed it in that case.

If the quilt is new and/or recently cleaned, you could maybe pay to have it overfilled with an ounce or two of more down.

This would even it out and probably add several degrees of warmth.

Oh, and you could try suspending the top of the bivy with some line tied to a tree or bush. The bivy may be adding some down compression from the movement in the night.

Edited by brooklynkayak on 08/09/2011 08:50:01 MDT.

In Active
(blatargh) - F
Overstuff? on 08/09/2011 10:03:45 MDT Print View

Thank you for all your quick and helpful suggestions! The quilt is new, slept in five nights. I was re-positioning down on the first night in the quilt. Todd mentioned the down "falling" off his shoulder. Just draping the quilt over my arm after it has been free to loft for a few days causes the down to "fall" to the edges. I do like the quilt, so I will probably have the extra down added before I give up on it.

I have intended to replace the bivy since spending the first night in it. Suspending the top of the bivy is one suggestion I'll have to try, because I won't be replacing gear before I leave for the Sierras or Trinities at the end of the week. The exact destination will depend on how favorable the five day forecast is right before departure- I definitely don't want to test my gear below 40 degrees.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Supplement on 08/09/2011 10:20:23 MDT Print View

If you feel you are going to have more cold nights, supplement with more clothing.

I'm assuming you already do that and still were cold. Maybe bring an extra down vest or jacket if available?

Another thing to consider is that cold sleepers often become warm sleepers after a few cold nights. The body sort of adapts and kicks in with extra heat generation when needed after some time outdoors.

I know this made me a warm sleeper. I had to adjust as I couldn't afford a warm sleeping bag when I was a kid.

Also eat a big meal before you go to bed and don't scrimp on the fat. Carbs will get you warm at first, but fat is what produces the heat when you need it most in the early AM.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Sierra Sniveler: shivering and sniveling on 08/09/2011 17:30:16 MDT Print View

I am familiar with what you describe.
First try this at home.
Open the quilt up and give it a good shake. Let it stand for 15 minutes or so and then give it another few good shakes.
By now the baffles should look and feel a lot puffier so that the down will tend to stay in place.
At the same time they can be a bit underfilled causing that migration.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Sierra Sniveler: shivering and sniveling on 08/09/2011 18:54:53 MDT Print View

I have never used those quilts personally, but I have always been skeptical of the large baffle spacing they use. I make my own down quilts and the key to controlling the migration of the down is the baffle spacing.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: Re: Sierra Sniveler: shivering and sniveling on 08/09/2011 19:01:58 MDT Print View

I don't believe the Sierra Stealth uses baffles...only their 3-4 season quilts do.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Sierra Sniveler: shivering and sniveling on 08/09/2011 19:22:05 MDT Print View

The Stealth is sewn through, the Sniveller does have baffles.
As Michael points out the baffles are widely spaced at 7", compared with the WM 5" , for example.
I have the No Sniveller, a narrower version of the one Eric has.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
another idea on 08/09/2011 19:38:32 MDT Print View

there are other quilt manufacturers out there. 4 that i can think of...

if you're not happy w/ the performance of the jacks quilt simply send it back and try an different manufacturer. i have a warbonnet top quilt, and a hammockgear and leighlo underquilt. all top notch. saw te-wa's in person and they are nice and stuffed too...

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: Sierra Sniveler: shivering and sniveling on 08/09/2011 19:51:54 MDT Print View

Doh, Franco is right, I read it wrong. When I saw "40s" I thought he was referring to JRB's summer quilt called the Sierra Stealth which is rated to 40F. I'm puzzled how the OP is getting cold with a bag rated to 25-30F, even if some down is shifting. GL.

Mat Tallman
(wehtaM) - F

Locale: Midwest
the important (for me at least) question... on 08/09/2011 20:47:01 MDT Print View what was underneath you?

I've had plenty of struggles some nights getting cold from what I thought was an insufficient bag, only to finally come to the conclusion that the sleeping mat underneath me was more culpable than the bag itself.

It really does sound as if down migration is a substantial concern for your situation, but just for kicks, what were you sleeping on top of?

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Sierra Sniveler: shivering and sniveling on 08/09/2011 23:02:28 MDT Print View

OK, let me try again with a picture.
JRB quilt

I cut off from my quilt 1.5 baffles , so about 10".
(I purposely ordered one longer than I needed to do some experiments and then changed my mind...)
The down that was in the cut off section I transfer ed into some of the other baffles and that is why they are uneven in this picture
(some some of my baffles are in theory overfilled)
However as you can see about half of the quilt has almost no down , and that is similar to what happens when you lay on your side and wiggle a bit.


Edited by Franco on 08/09/2011 23:16:15 MDT.

In Active
(blatargh) - F
Cold Spots on 08/10/2011 00:40:47 MDT Print View

I am sleeping on a department store closed cell pad, close to 3/4 length, on top of which I put a x-small prolite for comfort, with the prolite inside the bivy.
Camping spots have been exposed to 5 to 10 mph winds through the night, with the bivy as my main wind protection. There has been some condensation at the foot of the bivy, and even under the upper end of the bivy on the last night. I wondered if the down had become damp enough that night to lose some loft, because the down seemed more difficult to fluff than on previous nights. I did not have the drawstring at the top of the quilt adjusted properly until the end of the last night. And my head felt cold- I will bring a hat to add to the balaclava on the next trip. So the quilt hasn't been given an absolutely fair test. But..

I go to sleep feeling perfectly comfortable, with a nice squishy layer of down above me, but a few hours later I wake up *really* feeling the cold through the top of the quilt in the upper torso/shoulder area and around my hip, and where the head slit in the quilt resides. Pushing my hand down on top of the cold spots, I can't feel any down, just two layers of nylon, and I can't really get the down as perfectly re-situated from inside the bivy as I can when I am setting up camp, and the cold spots return more quickly.

The picture of the quilt with the light shining through the top is quite familiar- I create spots that let the light shine through every time I move the quilt.

I'm not exactly shivering, but loosing sleep and afraid to take it down into the 30s.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Cold Spots on 08/10/2011 01:07:12 MDT Print View

Some manufactures have better quality control than others. With some smaller companies, they might not be measuring or watching or testing the down that gets into individual bags and quilts. If the individual down pieces got clumped together, then the buyer ends up with something that is a little weak in the warmth department, since the down pieces are too loose and move away from where they are needed. One lot of raw down might have been prepared incorrectly.

I have a 30-year-old down sleeping bag that had been used to the point where this condition was happening, so I washed and dried it incorrectly. Same condition. Then I washed and dried it correctly, then dried it and fluffed it more. VOILA! The thing returned to its original loft and warmth.

When the down is shifted improperly, then the down pieces are clumped. When the down is evenly distributed, the down pieces are not clumped.


In Active
(blatargh) - F
A few good shakes on 08/10/2011 01:29:34 MDT Print View

Franco: I tried repeatedly shaking the quilt this evening, with a good rest between shakes. Up until now I have absolutely babied the quilt, so these are the first few "good shakes" it has seen. There are still thin spots along the edges, but most of each baffle feels overstuffed now, and the down doesn't suddenly move away when I support the quilt with my hand. This feels like progress. Thanks for the tip.

Edited by blatargh on 08/10/2011 01:58:05 MDT.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
"Sierra Sniveler: shivering and sniveling" on 08/10/2011 02:52:26 MDT Print View

I believe it is lacking some down. Likely through quality countrol or other problems at the manufacturer. Maybe it was made on a very humid day? I would return it and quit fiddling with it. There is just so much you can do with what you have. Ask that they ship you a replacement since you are not real satisfied with the performance.

Just to test this, run it through a dryer for 15 minutes and weigh it. If it is under weight at all, I would guess they would correct it at no charge. If correction is not needed by weight, perhaps they could add 2-3 ounces of down to the replacement?

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: "Sierra Sniveler: shivering and sniveling" on 08/10/2011 12:02:13 MDT Print View

Yeah, either underfilled or the down tubes aren't correctly sized to control the down provided. While that sounds like two ways of saying the same thing, the tubes should be sized to provide the loft spec and no more so they can hold the down in place at the correct thickness. If instead they open wider than the needed thickness, it could be a design problem.

Either way, the resolution for this quilt is to stuff in more down. No amount of fluffing, washing, etc. will add loft that was never there to begin with.



In Active
(blatargh) - F
Contacting Jacks R Better on 08/10/2011 12:10:11 MDT Print View

O.k., I'll contact the manufacturer about an exchange or adding some down.