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are straps necessary on a quilt?
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Frank Ramos
(frprovis) - F
Re: Re: quilts and drafts on 02/21/2007 10:54:28 MST Print View


A quilt with integrated hood like I use is most definitely lighter than a mummy bag. There is no zipper and less surface area. My most recent polarguard quilt weighs 800 grams (28 oz) while an equivalent mummy bag would probably weigh 1200 grams (42 oz). I should note that my quilt is 2 layers of 3 oz/sqyd Polarguard, which compressed to about 1.2" loft by the end of the hiking season. If you need a bag good down to sub-freezing temperatures, then I would suggest using 3 layers of 3 oz/sqyd Polarguard 3D. The other continuous fiber insulations will also lose substantial loft with use. The manufacturer specs need to be adjusted by 30%-40%. This does not affect the quilt versus bag comparison since synthethic bags lose loft as well. A 0°F Polarguard bag is thus good for perhaps 20°F for the average person.

A down quilt with integrated or with separate hood will likewise be substantially lighter than a down mummy bag. I'm having a down quilt made right now based on the design described in my earlier post. It should weigh about 700 grams (24 oz).

The reason I use a quilt is for comfort and ease of use rather than to save weight. It justs seems more natural to pull something over me rather than to zip myself up inside a bag. Even if quilts and mummy bags were the same weight, I would still use a quilt.

Roger B
(rogerb) - MLife

Locale: Here and there
Re: Re: Re: Quilts in cold weather (was are straps necessary on a quilt?) on 02/21/2007 11:17:22 MST Print View

>Do you find much unwanted cold air entry during the night in your quilt system?<

no, the straps can be tightened up when necessary and therefore turning into a sleeping bag (without a hood)

>Do you use an UL bivy as part of your quilt sleep system?<

Depends on the shelter in use, with a poncho tarp yes, with the TT Contrail no.

>How much does your 15F sleep system weigh (including the necessary extra clothing)?<

Good question, in my view I would take the clothing anyway if I knew it was going to get a bit cool.

>Do you think that you could put together a lighter 15F sleep system using a different quilt and/or clothing?<

There is clearly a limit here and it is related to the clo/tog/???? values,. In my view a Nunatak quilt combined with down or synthetic gear will work (for me at least)

>Did that MacPac top-bag lack a full-length zipper, hence greatly reducing the upper T-range that it could reasonably handle?<

The Neve may have been the first top bag, I am not sure about that, it had a half side zipper, not full zipper so in part it did limit the temp range. But it also had a sleeping pad sleeve, which in my view was okay, but the quilt provided more flexibility and " space" with the straps very loose.

You may not be missing anything, I think that sleeping bags, like footwear, is a personal thing and in my view it is very easy for us to rationalise why something is good or bad. In the end it will be what we decide is best for us.


paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Quilts in cold weather (was are straps necessary on a quilt?) on 02/21/2007 11:34:55 MST Print View

Roger and Frank,

Many thanks for your replies. Both very well written and understandable - even to me! I do like things white or black - at least for me. i do, however, understand that there are diff. "shades" of "white"(??!!) and diff. "shades" of "black"(??!!) when it comes to others - i.e, no right or wrong in a lot of things; personal pref. is impt.

I now have a much better understanding of quilts thanks to your responses. I hadn't gained all of your insights from my brief experiment in quilt use.

The m-bags work for me right now, so i'll stick with them, but i prob. could have saved a bunch of $$ if i had heard of quilts earlier and acquired a better understanding of some desirable modifications to them.

Perhaps it's a sub-human "denning" instinct, or a latent, sub-concious "womb" memory, but i sure do like being nicely ensconced and snug in a m-bag w/only my "snorkel" protruding - maybe that's why i also like bivies???

Like you both stressed, YMMV and HYOH.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: quilts and drafts on 02/21/2007 11:51:33 MST Print View

> quilt, since it has more area needs more down. [i'm
> assuming here that the underbody area of the m-bag is less > than the added widith/area of the quilt.]

Depends on the bag and the quilt. My quilt has less area than my bag does. The quilt doesn't need zipper.

> quilt, since it's cold needs 2-3 underbody straps

In cold weather I would use the word need. Mine has two straps which have been enough for me. They a very light.

> quilt needs an extra nice, large, thick down hood, not
> normally counted in the quilt wt.

If you are a stomach or side sleeper, it is possible to tuck you head under the quilt and not need a thick down hood. I have done this at times when I was starting to get chilled.

I don't have a thick down hood, but I do bring a golite snow cap. It does get used when I am sleeping. I also use it as a a warm-up piece, e.g. it is part of my clothing system.

> quit req. that the Quilt-er carry a tad more food

What food I bring doesn't change.

> quilter needs to carry a 4.6-7.5 oz bivy

Depends on the shelter being used and conditions faced. I typically don't use a bivy because my shelter can be rigged to block enough wind that just the quick works well enough.

> in cold weather m-bagger might get a better night's sleep > than quilt-er due to unwanted cold air entry during
> sleepy-time nocturnal motions.

That has been my experience which is why I sometimes switch from my quilt to be sleeping bag when the temp drops below 20F. If I had more insulation on my legs like the Micro Puff pants that have tempted me time to time I don't think this would be an issue.

> What's the practical lower limit for a quilt system?

About the same as a sleep bag :-) Seriously though, when you are getting into serious cold weather, you are already going to have seriously warm clothing which have to be adaquate to keep you warm when cooking, etc (e.g. enough insulation for low activity). Once you are wearing those cloths, drafts have a much smaller effect. In fact, in really cold conditions I would bet that a quilt might be ideal (though I haven't tried it).

What's the lowest I have gone? 10-15F depending on the trip. I was warm enough to sleep. I was using a ghost quilt and a BA insulated air core mat. Clothing was ultralight tights and a featherweight powerdry base, hiking pants and light hiking wool socks. On one one trip I was wearing a 100wt fleece (my thermawrap vest was being borrowed by a friend and my jacket was layered over my daughter)... I slept but was slightly chilled. On other trips I was warm enough with the 100wt fleece replaced by either a patagonia r.5 base + thermawrap vest or a thermawrap jacket.

I believe that that quilt based system would be a few ounces lighter that a sleeping bag based system if both were carefully designed. I think that the weight difference between equiv. systems is in the noise once you are facing really cold temps. Selection should be based on preference and camplife style.


Edited by verber on 02/21/2007 12:03:28 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: quilts and drafts on 02/21/2007 12:23:27 MST Print View

Mark, Many thanks for the very articulate, detailed, and informative reply. Good info. I'm saving your Post as well as Frank's and Roger's in a file that i have of UL B.P. info.

This has been a very good Thread for me. Learned some good things here.

Many thanks to you and to all who took the time to educate me.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Quilts in cold weather (was are straps necessary on a quilt?) on 02/21/2007 13:13:14 MST Print View

PJ, I wanted to respectfully challenge some of your assumptions. This, of course, only applies to my gear. You may be correct in other cases. I usually sleep in a hammock where I find the quilt clearly superior. When on the ground the case is less clear but still compelling, in my opinion. I, like Mark, use a bag when it is cold (below 30° F) but for 3 season use in the Rockies I favor my quilt.

"quilt, since it has more area needs more down. [i'm assuming here that the underbody area of the m-bag is less than the added widith/area of the quilt.]"
"quilt, since it has more area needs more lt. wt. fabric. "
This morning I measured my WM Versalite Super bag (long ≈ 36 oz) and at its widest it's 60 inches. My No Sniveller (long ≈ 22 oz) is 48 inches wide. The girth at the feet of my bag is probably less then 48 inches. In my case, there is definitely less down and less fabric used in my quilt. The single layer loft of my quilt is 2.5 inches and the bag is 3 inches. The weight of the draft tube and collar, zipper and hood count against the bag. My bag has 2 draw cords just like my quilt. The quilt has the weight of the Omni Tape.

"quilt, since it's cold needs 2-3 underbody straps (needs is too strong a word here, but many seem to say that they're needed when it's cold - unless i totally misunderstand other's Posts on this issue)"
I don't count the weight of my strap (hat clip) because it's counted with my hat. I have not yet needed more than one strap but another one or two would weight less than an ounce.

"quilt needs an extra nice, large, thick down hood, not normally counted in the quilt wt."
Any clothing I wear to stay warm around camp is what I typically wear to bed. My base layer is hooded as is my windshirt which keeps my neck warm. I use a Thermawrap vest (≈5 oz) with a high collar. I would carry the Seirus Quick Draw hat I use, (2 oz) regardless. A recent Christmas present was the JRB Down Hood (2 oz) that I will use to push my quilt lower. I haven't tried it in the real world yet. I would probably count that as part of my sleep system.

"quit req. that the Quilt-er carry a tad more food"
My food requirements aren't that dialed in.

"quilter needs to carry a 4.6-7.5 oz bivy to also minimize cold air entry upon movement. m-bagger may carry such, but doesn't need to (unless in an ice cave???) or sleeping in a floorless shelter & not using a gnd cloth or sufficient pad & gear to keep bag off of the snow floor."
I have an Equinox bivy (6 oz) that I haven't had to use with my quilt yet. If I were really pushing things I might use it. I t is interesting to note that the useable loft of a quilt is never compressed. When I roll over the quilt stays put. When I roll over in my bag, the bag goes with me and the down that was once compressed under me needs to loft to keep me warm.

"in cold weather m-bagger might get a better night's sleep than quilt-er due to unwanted cold air entry during sleepy-time nocturnal motions."
As it get colder this may be the case. I have to admit to not really testing the lower limit of my quilt sleep system yet.

What's the practical lower limit for a quilt system? In other words, what do the die-hard cold weather quilt users on the Forums take their quilt systems down to and what do their systems weigh?
Hopefully one of the die-hard cold weather quilt users will chime in. In my case I need to push the limits and see. The difference in weight between the two systems is not huge. For me it is about the versatility of the quilt and in particular the No Sniveller. Everything is multi-use. The quilt takes me from the upper 60s to the lower 30s in total comfort.

EDIT:I see Mark and I were composing at about the same time.

Edited by ericnoble on 02/21/2007 13:15:16 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Quilts in cold weather (was are straps necessary on a quilt?) on 02/21/2007 14:55:46 MST Print View

Eric, many thanks for your reply. only getting around to both notice and read it now.

Great that both you & Mark have relayed similar experiences to me. If I were ever going to doubt either of you (which i don't), I would have to reconsider and give great credence to two such similar testimonies.

I'm surprised that the ground (in contra-distinction to hammock) quilts are so narrow. Are they wide enough for side-sleeper - not just to cover up, but also wide enough during cold, windy conditions? Is 48" wide enough for a side-sleeper, let's say with a 44" chest (not me, but a larger person)? We need to add in one arm and lose half of the portion of the chest circumference related to the depth of the chest, keeping about the other half due to the arm. We'll skip the lower arm of the side sleeper as its scrunched under the body in some fashion. So, I would think 48" is cutting it close to have much on the ground on either side of a man w/a 44" chest, but maybe i'm mistaken again. I used a sleeping bag as a quilt (in a somewhat OLD post, Dr. Caffin made mention of this as a somewhat reasonable "quilt-like" [my word] approach to experiment with quilts) - 60" or 62" (i'm forgettin now - was over a yr ago) circumference at the shoulders for the sleeping bag (quite a bit more than the 48" you mentioned). Folded the hood back out of the way and tucked it all in around me. Since i'm so short, the sleeping bag "quilt" was plenty long enough to even cover my entire head too. No bivy used. Still in the wind and with movement, some cold air could get in (Frank Ramos's uninsulated fabric extensions and hood sound like they would have solved this problem though). I, personally, didn't like feeling that on a couple of occasions during the night.

Speaking of cold, windy conditions, I'm surprised that the bivy isn't used just in case the wind kicks up during the cold nights. Being an "insurance" (just-in-case) kind of guy, i'd probably use the bivy in all but the warmest weather.

You both are clearly right about the clothing. I was thinking you might want warmer clothing than a m-bagger might carry, but clearly that was another poor assumption on my part. I don't mind cutting clothing a little closer since when i'm up and about i can always warm up by moving, but also rely on it to possibly keep me warm when sleeping as i try to select my sleeping bag for the expected nighttime temps & then plan for the hi-loft garments to add another +5F (or is it -5?) to the lower range - just in case. So, i thought a quilt user might want just a little more clothing just in case cold air entered the quilt. Wrong again was I!!

Anyways, thanks for correcting my erroneous assumptions. Clearly, i didn't think this through too thoroughly.

Thanks again, Eric. Appreciate you takin' the time to reply and set me straight.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Quilts in cold weather (was are straps necessary on a quilt?) on 02/21/2007 16:09:23 MST Print View

PJ, I have to admit to having much more experience using a quilt in a hammock than on the ground. You are right to question the strengths and weaknesses of a quilt. I hope I didn't sound dogmatic. Draft management is largely a non-issue with sleeping bags and a major issue with quilts. It is part of what makes them work so well when it's warmer. It has taken some experimentation and perseverance to deal with drafts. I still end up with my posterior hanging out on occasion. Another downside to using a quilt on the ground is that it is easier for something to join you in bed than it is with a bag. I haven't had this problem, just speaking theoretically.

I think you can get by with a narrower quilt in a hammock. I'm 6'4", 210 lbs and a side sleeper and the 48" width is the limit for me. I've considered the benefit that an extra few inches would provide. I think the idea of flaps that Frank mentioned is good. When on the ground, I need the strap under my hip to make the quilt work for me. The strap also keeps the quilt from moving when you do. Keeping the top closed around the neck and pulled up tight is important also. I've tied the ends of the draw cords together to help in this. What you wear to bed is also very important. The drafts that get past the quilt are handled by the clothing I wear to bed. I may indeed wear more to bed than I would with a mummy bag. I haven't done any objective comparisons. I haven't thought about it because I needed to bring that clothing anyway.

In cold and windy conditions the wind is blocked by the shelter I'm in. I haven't slept out in just the quilt and if I did a bivy would be tempting. I do need to experiment more on the ground. I should be out a couple of times in March. I'll report back.

Thanks for stoking a great discussion, PJ and to Stephen who started this. There's a lot of great feedback here.

Edited by ericnoble on 02/21/2007 16:16:14 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Quilts in cold weather (was are straps necessary on a quilt?) on 02/21/2007 16:31:24 MST Print View

Eric, thanks again. with every Post, i'm gettin' more and more knowledge to file away for possible future use. Nothin' like learnin' from the experiences of others - sure helps with the Learning Curve. Appreciate all of your input.

Stephen Nelson
(stephenn6289) - F

Locale: Sunshine State
thanks on 02/21/2007 19:30:09 MST Print View

I am learning a lot too, thanks. Right now I am leaning toward the jacks r better stealth for it weight, price,usefulness as a jacket/vest, and temperature range for summer. any experience with this quilt?

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Quilts in cold weather (was are straps necessary on a quilt?) on 02/22/2007 10:28:52 MST Print View

A few comments based on my personal experience and size (6'2", too fat, 60" chest/shoulder girth). I have a Jacks R Better Nest down quilt (20.4 oz) which is fine for use in a hammock as-is (no drafts) but just a bit narrow for the ground without straps or equivalent. I'm going to add Quilt Wings or a Pad Converter, either of which adds less than one ounce to my sleep system since I'm using the same ground pad now (and don't add much weight in the hammock). I find the Nest to be warm enough down to +32F (a bit lower in the hammock) with appropriate clothing.

I have a Ray-Way Deluxe 1-Person Quilt with Extra Layer 3D (including DraftStoppers) cut an extra couple inches wider and made with three layers of 0.75" Polarguard 3D (36.9 oz). I haven't found found a lower temperature for ground sleeping (well below freezing), but the DraftStoppers do exactly that. It only took one night to figure out how to roll over inside it while asleep without losing warm air. I have used the Ray-Way as a top-quilt and the JRB Nest as a bottom-quilt in my Hennessy Hammock down to around -15F (with clothing), although I consider 0F to be its comfortable lower limit. I'm considering buying a JRB Old Rag Mtn for a bottom-quilt and adding the Nest as a second top-quilt for lower temps. (This thread has the details of my initial hammock cold-weather trials.)

Edited by Otter on 02/22/2007 10:37:43 MST.