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What are you thrashing, tossn' and turn'n sleepers sleeping in?
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ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: What are you thrashing, tossn' and turn'n sleepers sleeping in? on 09/28/2011 15:39:39 MDT Print View

Definitely a quilt!!
I am a tosser and turner, and using a quilt was like a revelation to me. The quilt offers all the room you want and all the warmth you want. I have a JRB hudson quilt and it is narrower than most quilts but has a roomy footbox. some people are pretty sure they need a wide shoulder area to keep out drafts, I however don't. If I get cold I just adjust and fall right back asleep, no biggie for me.
The reason I like the JRB so much is the roomy footbox that can be opened flat if desired. It has lots of room in the leg and foot area.

just my 0.02

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Quilts and drafts? on 09/29/2011 09:28:09 MDT Print View

Thanks, everyone.

Seems the quilts are popular...and, they are the option my mind has been gravitating to. However, for the restless, tossn' and turn'n sleeper, I don't understand how the cold drafts are kept at bay. I could see how they wouldn't be that big of an issue in warmer temps but at the freezing mark and below, I envision myself creating a problem draft with every shift in body position. I have two sleep issues: restlessness and an increasing cold intolerance. Both problems seem to feed the other. Are you quilt users using them in freezing temps? If so, what's your take on drafts?

Re the hammocks, I think they are fun but I've personally found them awkward feeling...and I sometimes camp in areas with few or no trees.

Re the rectangular bags, that would surely help to some degree. However, at this point, I'm not willing to carry the extra weight.

Looking forward to hearing more thoughts/experiences/ides/etc.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
cold weather and quilts on 09/29/2011 12:24:32 MDT Print View


I'm one who tends to err on the chilly side, especially when the temps dip below 32f, doesn't matter if I'm properly layered or not I will at some point feel "chilled", but that's just me and often its all in my head. Switching to an insulated pad has helped with warmth tremendously, as does using a bivy with my quilt and being wise in my camp selection ( obvious one). Many people use quilts well below freezing, but it does require some planning and additional steps to keep warmth locked in ( ie. bivy, balaclava, down hood). The bellows effect is an area with quilts that can be problematic, more than a sleeping bag, if you make lots of adjustments or move around ridiculously at night, its possible to expel warm air through the head end of the quilt or underside. The same can occur in a bag, particlarly through the top in this case, but is less likely, especially with a solid draft collar which most mummy bags have.

Personally, if I got out more frequently in sustained cold weather <20f, I'd use a mummy bag with a full collar, but again, I tend to run on the chilly side of the spectrum and the slightest draft gets under my skin. I won't go much below 20f in a quilt, but that's about the limits of what I currently own and rarely a low temp I see during the year.

ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: Quilts and drafts? on 09/29/2011 12:56:33 MDT Print View

i don't know man, I"ve used that hudson quilt below freezing a few times. and when I toss and turn its pretty common for me to "open up" a side of the quilt and let in cold air. It doesn't seem to bother me that much and I just reposition as necessary. A bivy definitely does help with that. But in my mind, a bivy is getting similar to using a sleeping bag.

"oh man this quilt is 6oz lighter than my bag! I just gotta add this 6oz bivy to keep out drafts!"

I guess alot depends on your shelter system as well. If you are using a bivy and tarp, the bivy should help with the drafts. If you are using a more enclosed shelter you may be pretty draft free without a bivy. I know in my squall classic (if pitched correctly) the drafts are pretty much eliminated by the shelter.

If I were you I'd try to pick up a used quilt cheap or see if there are any BPLers nearby that might let you borrow a quilt to try out. I was very apprehensive about using a quilt, but once I did I was really pumped about it. Another plus for me as a tosser and turner is that if i am hunkered down in a sleeping bag my exhalation will eventually be expelled into the bag. I once woke up with a bag soaked through from interior condensation. SUCK! With a quilt this doesn't happen and keeping head warmth is a job for a hat. It works really well for me.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Hmmmmmm...... on 09/30/2011 09:03:57 MDT Print View

Thanks, guys. You've all given some good points for which I'll have to ponder more. Though my mind has leaned towards a quilt, I'm wondering if it's for the wrong reasons...which, in my case, would be the weight savings. Been trying to get my already light load even lighter, however, outside of buying a GG Murmur pack....and a lighter bag/quilt...there's nothing I can do, or am willing to do, to drop 1/2 - 3/4 pound. That said, I'm already on the edge of my current bags warmth....a tad over actually.

So, though common sense doesn't always provide my mind with "fun", it seems to be telling me that a warmer sleeping bag would take care of some of my sleeping woes (mostly use a 32 deg WM Summerlite. Perhaps I should trade it for a 20 deg WM Ultralite or FF Hummingbird). Additional meditative practice would undoubtedly help too.


Thanks again. If anyone has additional input to give, I'd appreciate hearing it.

Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
Try your bag as a quilt on 09/30/2011 09:20:17 MDT Print View

Your Summerlight bag has continuous baffles, so you can just unzip it 3/4 of the way down, flip it so the open zipper is under the bottom, and use it like a quilt. The lowest 1/4 of the bag can stay zipped like a quilt's footbox.
See how you like it before you buy a quilt.

Jordan Clymer
(jordanclymer) - F

Locale: The Columbia Gorge
SUL sleeping on 09/30/2011 11:13:40 MDT Print View

So, my normal car camping bag is a mummy bag that is rated for -0 degree weather. It has a lot of loft, and packs up pretty large, but is comfy and warm.
However, when I am going hiking in fairer weather and will only be out for a day or two, I just bring my neoair mattress and roll up in a survival blanket in my wool thermals and a jacket if it is colder weather. Can't beat the weight/space savings. Although I am currently in the process of designing an improved sleep system that will have a bag liner and better moisture wicking without sacrificing any weight from extra/heavier materials. Don't want to give too many details until I have a finished product, but so far the prototypes are showing promise. =D

sheila o
(bumpass) - F

Locale: The Far Left Coast? : /
tossing on 10/17/2011 22:25:23 MDT Print View

MB UL SS #2 as a quilt in warmer weather and as a bag in colder. Pad #7 Exped down pad, Exped pillow and something over my head.Ibuprofen, benedryl and ear plugs if needed for groups??...I'm a better sleeper now.

Edited by bumpass on 10/17/2011 22:27:50 MDT.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: What are you thrashing, tossn' and turn'n sleepers sleeping in? on 10/17/2011 23:01:47 MDT Print View

A quilt would be great most of the time. It helps if it has straps and a little extra material on the edges to prevent drafts. When the temperature drops into the 20's, drafts become very noticable, and I think a mummy bag starts to become the better choice. I've only taken my quilt into the high teens, and while I was warm, the occasional draft really made me wish I could lay absolutely still. Also, I switch from a Rayway bomber hat to a down balaclava when it's that cold. I've also been finding that an air mattress is better than a pad because it is easier to feel if you're on it right away instead of waiting to get cold from touching the ground. My current air mattress is my first, and is mummy shaped with bigger outer baffles. I like the bigger outer baffles, but like Raymond, I'm thinking that a bigger pad would be much better so that I don't have to contort myself to stay fully on the pad in each of the many positions I flop into.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: Quilts and drafts? on 10/18/2011 17:48:28 MDT Print View

>Seems quilts are popular...I don't understand how drafts are kept at bay

They're not. People need to wear substantial insulated clothing underneath their quilts to minimize the chilling effect of the drafts that seep in every time you move. This can add so much weight sometimes so as to end up with a sleep system that is much heavier and bulkier in total than a mummy bag, while still being prone to those minor drafts, as the insulated clothing compounds the problem by making you less sensitive to knowing when something is untucked (so instead of being able to correct an untucked quilt-end right away, you wake up in an hour when you realize your jacket isn't enough by itself).

There is a secret to using a mummy bag successfully when tossing and turning through the night, though, so you don't need to use a quilt if you don't want to. Instead of acting like a dunce trying to poke your nose out of a little hole that dangles zippers and drawcords onto your eyelids at night, rotating the entire bag with your body when you turn, you just need to orient the bag so the hole is DOWN, underneath you, and keep it that way. Tossing and turning is a snap. Just don't move the bag with you. Keep the hole side pressed firmly down, rotate your body, and you're done. No quilt-ends to worry about coming un-tucked, and no extra insulated clothing to compensate for a fundamentally broken sleep system. You don't need to completely seal your head inside your bag either; just keep your head inside the bag and the hole on a lower level than your face and you can still rotate the bag a little bit as you toss and turn.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Quilts and drafts? on 10/18/2011 17:51:07 MDT Print View

This hasn't been my experience at all with using a quilt. In fact, I have had no issue with drafts at all. Why? Because my quilt is both long and wide (58") and allows me to turn and thrash without losing any heat. I think many of the issues come from folks employing quilts that are very narrow with the intention of minimizing weight. I tried one that was 48" wide and it did not work for me.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
After sitting on this for a while..... on 10/19/2011 09:49:38 MDT Print View

Based on what I'm reading here, and having sat on this for a bit, my current thought is that I'd be barking up the wrong tree with the quilt idea. Something I failed to mention earlier is an observation I've made: I believe I sleep better when my head is facing east. This coincides with old Chinese tradition too. But, I still think it's a combination of things for me that careful camp selection, more affective ways of quieting my mind and some additional warmth will help.

Thanks for the additional thoughts, everyone!

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Drafts? on 10/19/2011 09:59:40 MDT Print View

If you get drafts using your quilt, then you have bought a quilt that is too narrow for your sleeping style.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Unconventional Sleep Systems Manifesto on 10/19/2011 10:08:31 MDT Print View

For thrashers, quilt users, shoppers:

Backpacking Light's Unconventional Sleep Systems Manifesto

10,000 words of detailed and organized education about this topic.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Drafts? on 10/19/2011 12:44:04 MDT Print View

+1 what Mike said.

I'd add that in my opinion (which is admittedly biased) if you feel your quilt is at all a compromise in functionality or comfort compared to whatever traditional bag you were previously using, then you don't have the correct quilt for your size and sleep style. The exception to this is the case where you find comfort in the cocooning of a bag, for whatever psychological reasons, which is pretty difficult to duplicate in a quilt.

I personally consider the primary advantages of a quilt over a bag to be comfort first, versatility second, and lastly, the weight savings is just a big bonus.

The massive variability of user preferences, sizes, sleep quirks, etc, are why I think it's very difficult to translate the "classic" quilt profiles in to an off-the-shelf product, that doesn't end up making quilts look full of compromises. Bear in mind at their core, the vast majority of offerings are very simple in design, which is in stark comparison to the highly shaped designs of the much bigger "sleeping bag" market. There are however, exceptions to this rule, and with new manufacturers/makers entering the market daily, this is rapidly changing due to the simple economics of it.

Still, just like buying a mattress, you should really shouldn't compromise, remember, it's a third of your life, and a much more important third when you're out on the trail beating yourself up.

Gerry Volpe

Locale: Vermont
thrashin sleep on 10/19/2011 13:41:23 MDT Print View

My most recent sleep gear is a MB ss 3. It works great for me thrashing around even when fully zipped and cinched. Most of the time I use it as a quilt though until it gets really cold. My only quilt is an original golite fuzz(or fur whichever was 40 degree). It is way to narrow, never worked well, and is relatively heavy. I know a wider quilt would make me happy but for now i am happy with the versatility and relatively light weight of my bag.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Drafts? on 11/12/2011 10:21:11 MST Print View

Thanks for the additional info, guys! You are all most helpful.

Having sat on this for a bit, I'm now wondering if a 20 deg Zpack bag (wide version) combined with a Katabatic Windom hood would be a good option for me. Compared to my Western Mountaineering Summerlite, this combo would be slightly lighter, more versatile, roomier, easier to thrash around in, and.....presumably warmer.

Logical behind my keyboard but out in the field.... I don't know. Thoughts welcome.

Edited by rustyb on 11/12/2011 11:16:39 MST.

Matthew Perry
(bigfoot2) - F

Locale: Oregon
Re: What are you thrashing, tossn' and turn'n sleepers sleeping in? on 11/12/2011 21:35:10 MST Print View