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Quilt or top bag versus reg. bag
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George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Quilt or top bag versus reg. bag on 03/29/2007 06:18:50 MDT Print View

For 3 season use, how many of you have gone to a quilt or top bag instead of reg bag? Reasons for and against.

Also, does a quilt or top bag work well with a torso sized pad?

I'm not planning to use a bivy. Probably will try a Tarptent Contrail and GG Torso using a pack like a Z1 (or similar).

Edwin Lamberth
(ALFisher) - F
Re: Quilt or top bag versus reg. bag on 03/29/2007 06:52:03 MDT Print View

I am interested in this as well. I am looking at a new bag for temps down around 30 degrees and am considering a quilt or top bag. Hope this thread pans out.

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: Quilt or top bag versus reg. bag on 03/29/2007 07:16:59 MDT Print View

See BPL's
2006 Unconventional Sleep Systems Manifesto

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Quilt or top bag versus reg. bag on 03/29/2007 07:49:58 MDT Print View


Easy to turn inside the quilt rather than turning the bag,
Wear clothes inside the bag without compressing the down.

When it is windy or when temperature is approaching the quilt's rating I use a tent or bivy.

I will never buy another sleeping bag.

Diana L
(mysticmoose) - F

Locale: Great Lakes region
Re: Quilt or top bag versus reg. bag on 03/29/2007 08:09:22 MDT Print View

I made a quilt from's kit, and I don't think I'll ever use a sleeping bag for three-season camping again. It's lighter for comparable warmth, doesn't restrict sleeping positions, and is more versatile in warmer weather. It can get drafty in temps below 25°, especially if you use anything but a full-length pad. It is doable with some practice. I use a bivy year-round for protection against bugs and dirt, so I can't really comment on that part...

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Re: Quilt or top bag versus reg. bag on 03/29/2007 10:34:25 MDT Print View

I've switched and I'm not going back. If you are a large person, you may need a wider quilt (the JacksRBetter 48-inch quilts aren't quite wide enough for me; I'm sure their 64-inch quilts would be fine) or to have straps, wings or some other method to keep out drafts. (My Ray-Way DraftStopper wings work great.) Other than drafts (which are stoppable), I haven't missed having a thin layer of compressed insulation under me. When I ground sleep, I use a Gossamer Gear ThinLight 1/8" pad (2.5 oz) with a torso pad. That has been sufficient insulation for temps down to freezing (I haven't tried this ground combo at lower temps yet, but generally ground doesn't get much colder than that anyway without having snow on it.) I recommend having at least a minimal full-length pad to prevent conductive heat loss.

Quilts are wonderful in a hammock. The under-insulation is even more likely to be compressed against the hammock, and simply draping the quilt over you is much easier than trying to get into a sleeping bag, zipper or no zipper. You can also tuck the quilt around you to eliminate drafts. My JRB Nest fits fine as a top-quilt (no drafts) as well as an under-quilt.

Edited by Otter on 03/29/2007 10:48:50 MDT.

Erik Sund
(sundek) - F
Feathered Friends Vireo! on 03/29/2007 13:34:14 MDT Print View

I use a Feathered Friends Vireo. It's a zipperless, hoodless bag with a fairly narrow, well insulated foot section and a relatively loose fitting, less insulated upper section. Mine's made of Pertex Quantum and filled with 800+ FP down. I love it. It's designed to be used with a poofy jacket and a hat/balaclava/etc, both of which I'd be carrying anyways. It's easy to adapt to different temperature expectations by choosing a different jacket or hat. I use a Montbell Thermawrap UL, Patagonia Micropuff, or down FF jacket depending on how cold I expect conditions to be. My hat choices range from a simple watch cap to the Jacks R Better down hood. I prefer to carry a synthetic jacket for "insurance" purposes.

In a lot of ways, using a Vireo is similar to using a down quilt with a jacket. Both have plenty of room to fit a nice warm jacket underneath without compromising the loft of either the jacket or the bag/quilt. Both options can save a chunk of weight. The main difference that I can see is the matter of draftiness. Quilts are draftier, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Lacking a zipper, you have to be a bit more creative if you're feeling hot. I have been able to manage fine just by loosening the drawcord on the Vireo and maybe sliding up a bit to reduce the jacket/bag overlap (and move my feet closer to the less insulated portion of the bag. But if you have a hot foot condition, this isn't the bag for you.

I've been tinkering with the idea of getting a Jacks R Better No Sniveller quilt to try out. It's very flexible and reasonably priced (not mention that it was the only "bag" in the article referenced above that rated higher than the Vireo) plus I already have the matching hood. I also think that the quilt would work reasonably well as an overbag for the Viero in cold weather.

Anyways, to make an overlong story longer, I like my Vireo a lot.

Richard Nelridge
(naturephoto1) - M

Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
Feathered Friends Vireo! on 03/29/2007 14:55:16 MDT Print View

Like Eric, I too have a FF Vireo that I like very much. I had FF make a Vireo, Hyperion Jacket, and Volant Hood all with eVENT fabric and 800+ down. Additionally, I had 2oz of overfill added to my Vireo. I had the snaps added to the Hyperion Jacket and the Vireo so that the Volant Hood could be used alone or attached either to the Hyperion jacket or the Vireo sleeping bag.

I too have an assortment of jackets and pants that can be used to supplement the Vireo Sleeping bag. These include the FF Hyperion Jacket, Patagonia Micro Puff Vest, Pullover, and Jacket as well as the BMW Cocoon pants. As Eric said it is a very flexible system. Also, as Eric indicates by sliding up in the Vireo Sleeping Bag you can can extend the warmer weather range of the bag.


George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
will go with a quilt on 03/29/2007 18:51:30 MDT Print View

Ok - I'm a believer in the power of the quilt now. Thanks for your feedback.

My list:
JRB Sniveller $239 20 oz
FF Vireo $229 17 oz
Nunatuk Ghost $307 16 oz

Will probably drop the Ghost based on reviews about its narrowness

So it will be Sniveller or Vireo for my decision

Gordon Dunn
(Egads) - F

Locale: South East
JRB Quilts on 03/31/2007 05:19:33 MDT Print View

I have a JRB nest. I use it as an underquilt when I hang, a quilt when on the ground, or to extend my 20* bag. It is a high quality product & you get great service from the Jacks.

The 48" width is noticeable if you are an active ground sleeper. This is not a problem in a hammock, or bivy, or if a down jacket is part of your ground sleep system. I believe that JRB is alone in offering a "Down to Earth" pad converter and a hood in their line. These should be effective at stopping drafts.

JRB offers two 64" wide (1.5" & 2-2.5" loft) quilts, and will be adding a third 64" wide winter quilt (>3"loft) in the fall.

The best arsenal is to have both a bag & quilt for the flexibility in your sleep system to match any conditions or whichever shelter system that you choose.

Edited by Egads on 03/31/2007 05:27:28 MDT.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: JRB Quilts on 04/03/2007 16:08:16 MDT Print View

Went with the JRB No Sniveller. Got it today. It's a beauty! Good fit for me. I will use it with the GG torso + the 1/8 thinlight.

Just maybe. I'm thinking this might the year to try a hammock, too.

Edited by gmatthews on 04/03/2007 16:08:56 MDT.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: JRB Quilts on 04/03/2007 16:25:09 MDT Print View

Congrats George! I think you will be very happy. I use 2 No Snivellers with my hammock and I'm very happy with the setup. I can't wait to see what kind of hammock the Jacks come up with. I have a Hennessy hammock now.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Re: JRB Quilts on 04/03/2007 18:40:22 MDT Print View

>I'm thinking this might the year to try a hammock, too.

I use a Hennessy Hammock with a JRB Nest as my under-quilt (or as top-quilt with the HH UnderPad/UnderCover insulation system). The Nest's slit is designed to fit the Hennessy hammocks, but I haven't ever mated the slits together--I use the Nest like a No Sniveler. (It's a bit warmer when it's cold out.) The JRB Weather Shield bottom cover makes a good under-quilt cover with any hammock if you are worried about blown rain.