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Couples gear
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Ben Smith

Locale: Epping Forest
Couples gear on 05/07/2013 13:27:53 MDT Print View

So my girlfriend and I love backpacking together but I'm getting frustrated at the gear made for 2 to share.

Companies have made double sleeping bags/quilts, 2 person tents, 2 person size pots....the list goes on.

Where are the 2 person sleep pads which would fit into the 2 man tents/hybrids which are too narrow for 2 regular width pads?

Also any good options for a double bag/quilt? We have a double bag for car camping and love it but obviously it weighs a ton. I'm in the UK so our options for such gear is limited or horrendously priced.

Please help, I hate when gear makers dont make what I want :(

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Sleeping pad on 05/07/2013 14:07:35 MDT Print View

Just wondering.... but how small is your tent/sleep setup that it can't fit two 20" wide pads? Most tents/tarps can still fit two 25" pads.
Most people strap the two pads together somehow. Amy's lovebird quilt is a good way:

For double wide pads, I don't think any company makes them in any kind of light weight version.

I've never tried double quilts with my girlfriend, as I am a very warm person and she is a cold person so needs lots of warmth and to be tucked in really well. But, I believe people have very good things to say about Enlightened Equipment and Zpacks. You should be able to find reviews here if you do a quick search.

You can also make a quilt yourself, it's a lot of fun!

Ben Smith

Locale: Epping Forest
Couples gear on 05/07/2013 14:21:21 MDT Print View

Terra Nova tents often get nowhere near that size for a two man tent! I'm looking at the zephyros 2 lite in particular. I think it max's out at 92cm so that's like 36inch....!
However we currently use the SMD Lunar Duo so space is no problem.

Naomi sleeps cold but kicks out a lotta heat and I sleep ok but what's the point in camping if you can't snuggle?

I'd love to try making a quilt but I'm scared of wasting the money and ending up with a pile of insulation sewn to the carpet and a load of ripped up pertex!

It's always nice to hear from other couples, many here seem to hike alone or with buddies instead. I get jealous complaints if I try to head off to the lake district or snowdonia alone!

Thanks for the reply, I'll take your ideas into account :)


Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
Shelter on 05/07/2013 14:34:55 MDT Print View

It sounds like your issue is your shelter not your pads. Find a new shelter that fits normal size pads and then attach them

Do you want a full tent? will a tarp work?

There are plenty of options in two person tents out there that fit two normal size pads.

and as for the sleeping bag I think nunatak makes a double person one but I would contact Enlightened equipment and see if he can make(or does make) two quilts that attach together that way you can use them seperately also.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Couples gear on 05/07/2013 15:10:52 MDT Print View

My wife and I have always zippered our two sleeping bags together, and strapped our therm-a-rest pads together. Her Sierra Designs bag and my TNF bags all mate together quite well, regardless of what the manufacturer's say.

Now, fifteen years and three kids later, we tend to open up a semi rectangular bag overtop of us as a quilt, and bring along a fitted sheet for going over the numerous pads that we strap together. There is always one kid sandwiched in-between us these days. Of course we are not doing anything too rugged.

I was also on the verge of getting a double quilt about a year ago (Enlightened Equipment or Jacks-R-Better, if I recall), but I found a good deal on a Feathered Friends 40 degree semi-bag instead. I went that way because the semi-bag seemed more versatile, and I have been using it more than my old bags ever since (oh so light and comfy!)

I concluded that a double quilt is kind of a waste for one person.

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
Thermarest Down Coupler or Ray Way on 05/07/2013 15:25:24 MDT Print View

Heh, I know what you mean, its hard for me to sneak out without my wife! She insists on tagging along.

For a long time we used the old “Thermanest” sleep system which was a single long, rectangular, synthetic bag as a top quilt zipped to a sheet that held two full sized pads in place and had a zipper that matched the bag.
This system worked very well indeed! Never any trouble about the quilt moving off ya at night, surprisingly roomy inside ( we snuggle anyway ) and very warm because of shared body heat.

It isn’t made anymore, but Thermarest still has something similar, the “Down Coupler”. Looks about the same but has snaps instead of a zipper to connect it to the quilt.

I bet it is very comfy indeed!

Recently, my wife sewed together a Ray Way quilt kit –

And that will probably be our new quilt. Sewing synthetic quilts is actually kinda fun! I’ve even started making some!
For starters, you may wish to do as I did, and make a simple quilt out of ordinary off-the-shelf stuff, instead of expensive mail order material.
I used 1.9 once nylon ( the lightest the local fabric store had ) for the top, fleece for the inside lining ( heavy but oh so warm and we had it laying around ) and ordinary 6 ounce polyester quilt batting for the insulation. Yeah it is a tad heavy and bulky, but so what? It is a useful quilt and it was a fun learning project.
The Ray Way kit showed how to tie the quilt using a mandrel and I think that is a key point, so you don’t create cold spots by tightening the ties tight as you would on an ordinary “inside” quilt.

Another possibility is to simply buy a nice single ordinary rectangular synthetic sleeping bag and use that for the top. It should be plenty big for two. Make a bottom sheet out of whatever strikes your fancy with a zipper that matches the bag. Turn the sheet over and sew in a short pockets on the bottom and top of the back to hold the foot and top of the pads in place, and an elastic band across the middle to hold the middle of the pads in place.

The sheet-on-the-bottom-that-matches-the-sleepingbag-on-top method is a little heavier but probably a little more comfy and certainly stays in place better than the loose-quilt-over-just-a-pad method.

When hiking, my wife carried the one sleeping bag, the two pads and the joining sheet. This made for a bulky but light load for her, which was good because it prevented her from filling her pack with tons of heavy “Stuff”.

I’d carry the tent, stove and all our food for the trip. This way we cheated – Each of us had to carry only two of the usual “Big Three” heavy items ( shelter, sleep system and backpack itself ).

Shawn Peyton
(alifeoutdoors) - F - MLife

Locale: Iron River, WI
Couples Gear on 05/07/2013 16:28:13 MDT Print View

My wife and I have used western mountaineering's summer coupler for years and with insulated air cores, pushed it into 3 season use without being uncomfortable. We use it with one of their rectangular bags that zips open fully use the be the Alder MF or is now can't remember. For some reason they've changed the name several times.

Summer Coupler

Sara Dhooma
(Sara) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ontario, Canada
Quilt on 05/07/2013 17:11:40 MDT Print View

I highly recommend the Enlightened Equipment double quilt.

My husband and I use two women's Thermarest Prolite pads and they stay put with the quilt straps around them.
I had planned on sewing my own coupler for the pads but it turned out it was unnecessary,

joseph peterson
(sparky) - F

Locale: Southern California
Couples quilts on 05/07/2013 18:28:21 MDT Print View

I just got a WM Alder, and I like it a lot as a solo bag and unzipped as a couples quilt.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Couples quilts on 05/07/2013 18:52:25 MDT Print View

I had a custom double pad. I believe two pads connected works the best. The double pad would inevitably loose pressure and become somewhat of a 'lake blob'. The big air filled toys for lakes where one person gets launched into the lake when another jumps onto the blob.

I, being way heavier than my wife, threw her all over the place when i moved. It wasn't terrible, but two pads does not do that at all. We just velcro ours together.

Less than an ounce?

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Connecting pads on 05/07/2013 20:20:02 MDT Print View

What do you guys use to strap pads together?

John Martin
(snapyjohn) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
Exped DREAM WALKER 400 DUO on 05/07/2013 20:24:12 MDT Print View

Sierra Trading Post has these in stock. The system has a double quilt and a sheet that ties to mats together. I have used it down to its 45 degree rating and it works great.

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Couples gear on 05/07/2013 22:06:38 MDT Print View

My wife and I have been using a Big Agnes King Solomon for several years. It's pad pockets keep our pads together. Recently ordered a Zpacks double quilt, but have yet to receive it, so I can't comment yet. Also bought Exped coupler straps to keep our pads together when using this quilt.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Couples gear on 05/07/2013 22:26:40 MDT Print View

My GF is almost done with out Bilgy 2 person tarptent from Quest outfitters.. 2lb claimed weight for full coverage tarp tent. (got some of Lawson's ti stakes for it. so nice). i should get a strap to tie our pads together.

in the past we've used 2 REI sleeping bags zipped together.. but i've gone to quilts so Memorial day weekend will be our first trip combining the quilt with bag. she sleeps warm and i sleep cold so it should be fine.

Ben Smith

Locale: Epping Forest
Couples gear on 05/09/2013 05:21:43 MDT Print View

@BER - isn't the king Solomon a bit heavy and bulky? It's also really expensive here in the UK

@John - that looks like a nice piece of kit but I can't see it for sale here in Europe. I hate that about a lot of gear; exped are American or Canadian right?

I'll edit this with replies to the others but I can't remember who said what all at once ^_^ some great tips here! Naomi and I are thinking about trying to make a quilt this summer (im not creative but she's a design grad luckily for me!)

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
@Ben on 05/09/2013 05:50:35 MDT Print View

Yes and yes. Both bulky and heavier than desired (though not terrible when comparing to two full sleeping bags). Both reasons why we decided to make a switch and order a double quilt from Zpacks.

I know where you can get a good condition, used one cheap! :)

Edited by BER on 05/09/2013 05:51:37 MDT.

Ben Smith

Locale: Epping Forest
@BER on 05/09/2013 08:39:02 MDT Print View

Ah but does it have a way to get to Europe while remaining cheap?


Colin Krusor

Locale: Northwest US
Double quilt on 05/09/2013 10:15:23 MDT Print View

Like BER, I recently ordered a double quilt from Zpacks. My wife and I have been using a MYOG down quilt with a cuben shell. Our sleeping pads are two Synmat UL7s sewn together. The UL7s have a 1/2" wide seam sticking out along the perimeter, and these can be overlapped and carefully sewn together without affecting the seal. This gives us one double-wide pad with two chambers.

robert v
(mtnbob123) - F

Locale: Upstate South Carolina
Cheap Coupler on 05/09/2013 10:31:46 MDT Print View

The easiest way to link two pads is to use ultralight spectra line to make two connected loops that will snugly fit our Neo air pads. One placed about one foot from each end works great and weighs and costs very little. One Enlightened Equipment 20degree RevX Quilt works great for both of us as a top quilt in the summer and our Marmot semi-rectangular down bags zip together for comfort into zero degree weather. Also if you use mummy shaped pads, they will fit into tents that taper at the foot end.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Cheap Coupler on 05/09/2013 11:02:25 MDT Print View

I tried string to keep pads together. It was fiddly. Worked ok, but i had to untangle the line and it was just fiddly.
(Me kinda being a baby)

So we use velcro. Never failed. Doesn't weigh much at all. Deploys in about 10seconds. Free.