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Quilts: Katabatic vs Enlightened
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(blatargh) - F
Quilts: Katabatic vs Enlightened on 02/05/2012 12:35:52 MST Print View

The first down quilt I purchased didn't work for me as advertised, the result being that the quilt does not maintain loft throughout the night. I contacted the manufacturer and was told they could not resell returns and it was suggested that I sell it on the Internet.
To add insult to injury, the quilt had gone on sale at a huge discount only days before I realized I needed something else. The quilts started showing up in gear swap, in unused condition, for at least a $100 less than I had paid for my quilt, which had been used only a few times.

The quilt was bought based on Backpackinglight reader reviews of a similar product ( same manufacturer) and rave reviews of the company in question. I am creating this thread hoping to get as many responses from people with actual real world experiences with either or both company's products as I can, in order to save myself from more cold nights, hassle and wasted money.

Katabatic ( more money and features ) and Enlightened are the two quilt manufacturers I am interested in.

I have two primary concerns.

1. Loft. The Alsek uses a continuous baffle. This turned out to be an unwanted feature in my current quilt, the down does not stay put over the top of me in the middle of the night, especially when used inside a bivy. The Enlightened quilts use a square baffle which looks promising, but as far as I can tell they do not use a differential cut, which I have learned from recent experience is important when tucking the quilt tightly to seal drafts. Does the down stay where you put it in these quilts? Do you crush the down and compromise loft when tucking your quilt?

2. Shell material. I want to cowboy camp and use fairly small tarps while leaving the bivy at home or under the quilt as a ground sheet. Katabatic uses Pertex Quantum Ripstop, Enlightened uses inptrepid 20d. What are your experiences with these shell materials on windy nights and with occasional splash under a tarp?

Katabatic seems like the safe bet, but it is expensive, and I would like to save some money and put it towards a Trailstar... however, when I bought my first quilt, I thought the price and specs were too good to be true, and was correct. Enlightened quilts of a similar rating are even less expensive than my first purchase.

Please help me get my next purchase right!

Edited by blatargh on 02/05/2012 12:38:36 MST.

Matthew Perry
(bigfoot2) - F

Locale: Oregon
Quilts: Katabatic vs Enlightened on 02/05/2012 12:57:41 MST Print View

I own some Enlightened Equipment quilts and can attest that Tim's work is up there with the best in terms of materials and workmanship. In fact, i think i have one of his first quilts from 2007 and it's still going strong after some hard use. His temp. ratings have been spot on for me. Tim is always willing to work with you and get the product you need for the price you need it at. I don't think you can go wrong with any of his quilts and his prices are some of the best values around.


P. Larson
(reacttocontact) - F
Re: Quilts: Katabatic vs Enlightened on 02/05/2012 13:11:38 MST Print View

I'm interested in what company made the first quilt.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Quilts: Katabatic vs Enlightened on 02/05/2012 13:46:52 MST Print View

I'm interested in what company that was, too. I'm also curious about loss of loft during the night. The only thing that would cause a degradation of loft that quickly would be water vapor--assuming nothing was put on top of the quilt.

Could you be more specific about the circumstances when you experienced such a poor performance?

Mike Hensel
(mike220) - M

Locale: Northwest
Katabatic vs Enlightened on 02/05/2012 13:58:06 MST Print View

I am interested in this topic as well. I am on the verge of puchasing a quilt also. Katabatic, Enlightened and also Zpacks are my top choices. I would be ordering one this minute if I could only decide which one.

Note: to be used in a MLD Superlight Bivy under a tarp.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
zpacks and hammockgear on 02/05/2012 14:10:25 MST Print View

i'd add both of those to your list of possible companies. both owners will work w/ whatever materials you want to create the perfect quilt for you. i have a few customs from both guys. excellent

In Active
(blatargh) - F
Re: Re: Re: Quilts: Katabatic vs Enlightened on 02/05/2012 14:15:31 MST Print View

The down moves to the edges of the quilt and I need to shake the down back to the center a few times a night. When the middle of the quilt feels like it has lost its down, the edges of the quilt look like an overstuffed bag. I created another thread about the quilt and found that other people have had similar experiences with it. One person I met on the trail said he also found that the down kept moving away from where he needed it, and he ended up getting a Western Moutaineering Bag that he didn't have the same problem with.

I hope to keep this thread focused on my search for a quilt to meet my needs, but after rereading my post I guess I was asking for thread drift.

Michael Cheifetz
(mike_hefetz) - MLife

Locale: Israel
hmmm on 02/05/2012 14:21:36 MST Print View


Apart for waiting like the rest here for you to name names ...:)

I only have an MLD synthetic quilt but have conversed with Tim from enlightened and at quite some length with Joe form zpacks and can say they are both very pleasant people that were very patient with me as we swung emails back an forth (i almost pulled the trigger on a zapacks30F but conflicted vs regular lw mummy)

At any rate just wanted to comment that everyone uses continuous baffles on the milder bags - Katabatic, zpacks, WM, FF, Marmot on most bags - and i have such bags and use them with no issue - indeed if you side sleep and put alot of pressure on the top down can shift - but with care that can be rectified easily.

you cant go super ultralight with too much down control - you pay a penalty in weight for the baffeling.

I havent used the Epiphany but from the looks and specs - the only reason they achieve light weight despite the down control is the cuben...which has other issues (its a VBL which means it could be too balmy above 20F and you prob cant layer inside which contradicts the multi use gear thingi ) also the Karo baffles seem large enough that you could still get cold spots if you really wanted


John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Katabatic on 02/05/2012 14:44:49 MST Print View

I have purchased 3 quilts from Aaron at Katabatic and love them. Impeccable workmanship and design with materials of the highest quality. They are beyond reproach. I have not seen Tim's work but it comes highly recommended and I would suspect better than your first quilt.

I won't name names but I too had a similar experience with another maker that is most likely the same as yours. There has been much discussion regarding their lack of fill. I can assure you that Katabatic does not have this problem. I added a bit of overfill to my two lighter quilts (Chisos), but none to my Sawatch which was very plump. No problems with shifting down an I know the Alsek has the same down density as the Sawatch.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Quilts: Katabatic vs Enlightened on 02/05/2012 15:13:15 MST Print View

I think the problems you are encountering have more to do with baffle width than they do with the continuous nature of the baffle. The JRB quilts have less baffled sections in their length than some other quilts, because each baffle is wider. This allows the down to shift more easily. I have a JRB No-Sniveller and have been pleased with it down to its stated temp rating, but I do need to give it a bit of a shake to get the down back on top some times. I also have two quilts from Tim coming my way and the JRB which is a little narrow for me will be passed on to my son. I don't think you will be disappointed with a Katabatic or Enlightened Equipment quilt.

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: Quilts on 02/05/2012 15:26:37 MST Print View

His description sounds like a GoLite Ultra.

I use the Katabatic Palisade and I love it. I bought mine before he raised his prices so at the time it was a steal. Now they're more accurately priced considering the quality and materials used.

Continuous baffles are a fairly standard feature with a very specific purpose-- you can shift the down around to suite the current temps. If you're talking about your original quilt being the GoLite, you really can't compare the baffling or the down to quality products like, either, katabatic or enlightened.

The Pertex does breathe a little more than I'd like in strong wind but I guess that comes with the territory of light fabrics -- the one time I really got soaked in the bag this was pretty helpful in it drying out after the blowing rain stopped and I just had wind.

Heath Pitts
(heathpitts) - F

Locale: Nashville
RE:Quilts: Katabatic vs Enlightened on 02/05/2012 15:29:03 MST Print View

I like that Enlightened uses the Karo baffles to stop shifting of down. This was one of the reasons that I just purchased a quilt from Tim.

Edited by heathpitts on 02/05/2012 15:30:10 MST.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Katabatic on 02/05/2012 15:30:50 MST Print View

I'm currently playing with a Katabatic Blackwelder. I've also purchased a couple of quilts from Tim in the past (some of his first products). I'd call Katabatic the WM of quilts. They're production models made with top quality materials and construction, and you get the typical accessories you'd get with a production bag. What you get from someone like Tim is also high quality but much more custom in nature.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
RE: on 02/05/2012 15:37:23 MST Print View

"His description sounds like a GoLite Ultra."

I believe if you check his posting history, you'll see that it was "another" quilt maker...

Anywho, if you can swallow the price, Katabatic offers high quality products that you won't be disappointed with. I've also been extremely satisfied with the updated golite 3 season quilt. Regardless of weight, the price (with the discount) and quality of the bag are fantastic.

P. Larson
(reacttocontact) - F
Re: RE: on 02/05/2012 15:43:50 MST Print View

Did research, moved said quilt maker to the "do not buy" list.

Keep the info coming. I am contemplating on going with a quilt and Enlightened at the moment is my top choice.

Edited by reacttocontact on 02/05/2012 15:45:18 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Quilts: Katabatic vs Enlightened on 02/05/2012 15:48:21 MST Print View

"I think the problems you are encountering have more to do with baffle width than they do with the continuous nature of the baffle."

I think maybe the more down you have, the wider your baffles can be.

I wonder if anyone else has any opinion about that.

Stephan Doyle
Re: Quilts: Katabatic vs Enlightened on 02/05/2012 17:44:07 MST Print View

I have a Katabatic and Enlightened quilt.

The Katabatic is my 3-season go-to bag for the vast majority of my trips. Aaron's work is impeccable (yes, I moved from WM to Katabatic and feel like the luxury of my experience increased).

My Enlightened quilt is a 0ยบ (30% overstuffed, so much warmer) quilt that was measured out just the way I wanted. The price was an absolute steal - it is a very well made quilt that is custom made. I cannot say a bad thing about it.

Katabatic doesn't give you all the options, but what they do offer is immaculate. If you're looking for something else, Tim is fantastic to work with and will make you a SUL bag that exceeds all your expectations.

In Active
(blatargh) - F
Re: Re: Quilts on 02/05/2012 21:40:31 MST Print View

Matthew Z: Thank you for your comment regarding Pertex, this will help me in making a decision.
John V: Ditto... your experience regarding the down in the Sawatch versus the other brand is exactly what I was hoping the hear about.

The down collar, differential cut, and attachment system in the Katabatic quilts look to me like great features. The footbox appears to be sewn. Does anyone here have any experience with the different morning drying times of quilts which open along their full length versus quilts which don't?

Mark Hudson
(vesteroid) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Sierras
tims quilts on 02/05/2012 21:49:04 MST Print View

I have 3 of them, and would not trade them for any quilt on the market.

Rakesh Malik

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: Quilts: Katabatic vs Enlightened on 02/05/2012 21:50:27 MST Print View

I have a Katabatic Blackwelder myself. I haven't used it that much yet, because it's usually been overkill, but I used it on Kilimanjaro and also the last two nights out at Mt. Rainier, one of those nights in the snow. I think mine is one of the first production models of the Blackwelder, based on what Aaron told me when I inquired about it, but also he made sure that I got my quilt in time for my Kilimanjaro summit.

The shell is pretty draft-proof, based on my experience sleeping under it on Mt. Rainier in September, when I ended up not using a tent or tarp (no rain, and just enough of a chill to drive off the bugs). Drafts weren't a problem, but then the Blackwelder's shell is made of Pertex Endurance, which might be more robust than what you're looking at.

Yes, Katabatic's quilts are expensive, but in my experience so far they're great quilts.