Forum Index » GEAR » New Down Quilt from Sierra Designs with built in hood and hand pockets


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Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Sierra Quilt on 09/21/2013 21:20:20 MDT Print View

Clever and unique. I prefer to keep things simple but some may like these ideas.

Edited by dandydan on 09/30/2013 06:29:20 MDT.

Daryl Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: New Down Quilt from Sierra Designs with built in hood and hand pockets on 09/22/2013 08:11:37 MDT Print View

I like the built in hood.

I've been using an MSR Haven (now discontinued) this year and it too has a built in hood but the bottom is open like a quilt. The hood adds a lot of warmth.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Quilt/Hood on 09/22/2013 08:29:30 MDT Print View

The hood on this SD quilt looks like it only works if you're laying on your back.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Quilt/Hood on 09/22/2013 09:34:26 MDT Print View

nm

Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/13/2013 15:51:26 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Quilt/Hood on 09/22/2013 09:48:26 MDT Print View

That's my question, what if you sleep on side or stomach or roll from one side to the other?

I think I'de rather wear a hat

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Like the hand pockets... on 09/22/2013 10:27:47 MDT Print View

I reckon they'd fit in with my sleeping style, but the I agree with those who think the hood is unnecessary.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Like the hand pockets... on 09/22/2013 11:29:40 MDT Print View

I've made a quilt with shoulder pockets. Each corner was sewn back about 10" so when you get in you just tuck your shoulders in and the entire side would follow.
The longer area made it much better as a side sleeper as you now had room for your arms and hands to be in that now empty space.

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: New Down Quilt on 09/23/2013 22:35:40 MDT Print View

I bet I make them crap their pants:). I don't think they're making quilts to protect sales from quilt guys. I think they just want a piece of the quilt market. That money is being spent why not grab some of it? They are not nervous, but this trend makes me nervous.

-Tim

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/25/2013 16:34:39 MDT Print View

I am the Vice President and brand manager for Sierra Designs. So I guess you could say that I am "affiliated"....;)

I see comments focused on the hood design and hand pockets of the Backcountry Quilt, but what makes this quilt truly special is the size.

First, I should say that our philosophy on lightweight is slightly different than many of the cottage brands. To us, the whole goal of going lighter and simpler is because lighter and simpler is MORE COMFORTABLE. When lighter is LESS comfortable, we think the goal is lost, and we stop. I understand that for some, hitting a certain number is important for performance or whatever reason. But for us, comfort is the goal. Light is the means to the end.

That said, in our opinion, most available quilts are simply too small to be comfortable, and specifically, way too short. Because of this, they almost always require additional clothing (usually a down hoodie) to address this, minimizing some of the weight advantages, and narrowing the usable temperature range. Mostly, this additional clothing is required to insulate the head and neck, which traditional short quilts fail to do.

We wanted to make a quilt that allowed comfortable side, stomach and back sleeping in a wider range of temperatures, without having to carry an extra garment (and associated weight) to extend the comfort range. A quilt that someone who was suffering in a traditional mummy would try and use, and transition to a more enlightened approach to their sleep system. And in order to do this, we needed to insulate the head.

When you sleep in a bed at home, and you get cold, you naturally (without waking) wrap your covers tightly around you. If it gets really cold, you naturally wrap the quilt around the back of your head too. So while the hood is indeed the head insulating solution for back sleeping, the solution for side and stomach is the long quilt itself, simply wrapped around your head like a bed at home. So if you NEVER sleep on your back, I agree that the hood is not a value added feature. (That said, some testers do use the hood in other sleeping positions.)

Way more important than the hood feature, is the "hand pocket" which creates a natural un-sewn baffle that folds the side of the bag inward, helping seal out side drafts. The hand pockets allow for very simple manipulation of the quilt, and natural wrapping of the quilt without having to grab. You don't need this at home because the quilt at home is so large, but on these narrower designs, it makes all the difference.

Finally, I find it funny that anyone would refer to Sierra Designs as a "big brand", because our new team rallies around our common disdain for the big brands, and the products that they make that we truly just don't like. We are getting into quilts and beds not because we want a piece of the action (there honestly currently is not enough business there to make it worthwhile), but because we believe they are simply better ideas than the tired old status quo. We certainly don't want to negatively impact the cottage industry, that is currently driving virtually all the new ideas and smart thinking in the market. If we have our way, new-better-different ideas, and the brands that drive them, "cottage" or otherwise, will flourish. Tired old big brands and the sea of sameness is where we want to take our marketshare.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 07:39:30 MDT Print View

NM

Edited by mtmnmark on 09/26/2013 10:39:29 MDT.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 09:39:20 MDT Print View

Michael, if it's cold enough, most are already going to be bringing something like a down jacket with a hood for hanging around at camp at night. So it's not really extra weight, because it's dual purpose weight.

I would rather have a lighter quilt with no hood, etc, and use my Stoic Hadron with same than have a heavier quilt with a hood, etc. I don't think it uncomfortable at all.

Edit: i should add the hand pocket idea does sound interesting and worth looking into more.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 09/26/2013 14:50:41 MDT.

Christopher *
(cfrey.0) - M

Locale: US East Coast
Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 12:43:44 MDT Print View

Ummmm ... did anyone else notice that the Sierra Designs VP of design became a BPL lifetime member moments after obviously hearing about this thread?

I feel naked.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 13:44:49 MDT Print View

Good point Christopher... now if Sierra Designs happens to soon come out with a woven Spectra or Dyneema wind jacket, I will definitely raise my eyebrows more than a tad.. Actually, I wouldn't mind as long as they don't charge an exorbitant amount of money for it.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 14:09:01 MDT Print View

Hi Christopher:

I have been a member of BPL since its inception (I was with MSR at the time and we were an advertiser on the original print magazine) , and a lifetime member for a couple of years. I just have never posted on any of the forums before yesterday.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 14:26:21 MDT Print View

Hi Justin:

I sure hope that nobody would mind if we come out with anything that is cool.

I do understand the skepticism from members about the intentions of a "big brand", especially since you are all unaware of who the new SD is, and what we are all about.

I don't see it as a traditional brand coming into the core backpacking space. I see it as core backpackers taking over one of the big brands.

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Re: Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 15:56:41 MDT Print View

Dude, I'm glad your here. One of the reasons my company even exists is because the common man never really had acess to influence decision makers of larger gear companies. You may not think of SD as large but people sew my stuff in their family rooms:).

I think you being here to consider the needs of common users in a very niche sport says good things about the future of the market and the products this groups of users may have a chance to influence. So from my perspective its a very good thing that you're here as part of this community hearing our voices.

Strictly thinking of my business its terrifying, this is my place go away:) take you're quilt too:)

Glad you're here

-Tim

Edited by MarshLaw303 on 09/26/2013 16:00:59 MDT.

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
Sierra Designs on 09/26/2013 16:21:26 MDT Print View

Thanks for chiming in Michael and talking to us about the work you guys have been up to. I've noticed that Sierra Designs lately has really started to make truly relevant stuff and it's exciting to have another player innovating. Awesome work all around.

I have a funny and completely unrelated story for you. I used to work for REI and the SD Microlight was our number one hated item in our store as employees. People would come in, ask about rain jackets, and then proceed to buy the SD Microlight while ignoring all of our advice how it isn't a true waterproof (because it was cheaper than all the WP/BR we sold, then return it later complaining it wasn't waterproof. On the other hand, all of us thought the SD Gnar Lite was the bees knees and drooled over it.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 16:39:07 MDT Print View

Its not just that Michael.. its the corporate mentality that almost invariably comes a long with a big business. Is Sierra Designs a for profit company that is beholden to share holders? Some of S.D.'s products are reasonably priced, but heck some of your stuff is friqqin ridiculous, like your Cuben tent.

There are cottage companies that make great quality Cuban tents at a fraction of what S.D. charges YET I bet a large company like yours can get better prices on Cuben than any cottage company could because you have the buying power to buy in mass bulk and have connections.

This is exactly why I hope a cottage company comes out with a woven, UHMWPE based fiber wind shirt or jacket because chances are your company would way over charge for it. I realize that SD has a lot more employees to pay, mainstream marketing to pay for, etc which in some ways makes it more expensive for you...

However again you can buy in mass bulk and pay much less for the basic materials, and no matter how you cut it, your Cuben tent should not cost 1800 dollars, that's borderline egregious.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 09/26/2013 16:43:40 MDT.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
enLIGHTened Equipment.....enLIGHTened Gear on 09/26/2013 16:50:19 MDT Print View

Tim:

Thanks for your kind message. I just looked at your profile, and it is really funny, because I know exactly who you are. Your brand anyway.

You are going to find this hilarious, especially given the "big guy / little guy" dialogue. But 10 years ago, I left Cascade Designs/MSR and started a start up brand (this was before the "cottage" industry began to really fourths) that was a response to what I believed (and still believe) is terrible gear being sold to backpackers. I was a one-man-show, working out of my attic (funny, because now I work in my basement). Eventually (wife being pregnant), I decided to stop and took a job with GSI Outdoors to pursue some of the ideas I had there (Dualist, Soloist, Minimalist, etc.)

The vision for this brand is EXACTLY the core of what you will begin seeing from Sierra Designs in 2014. I have been waiting for the opportunity to really do something special, and when SD came a knockin', I leapt. You have not seen it yet, but we DROPPED EVERY SINGLE ITEM IN THE 2013 LINE, and replaced it with a whole new collection for 2014, based upon the original vision for the brand I started in 2002.

But the part that will amuse you is the brand name. Check it:!

Enlightened Gear Logo

Enlightened Gear vision statement (now the Sierra Designs vision statement)

Regarding business: If I can beat North Face, Marmot and Mountain Hardware (I can and I will), you can win too. In today's world, it is no longer the big eating the small, or even the fast eating the slow. Passion, connection and authenticity finally matter. Even if SD and enlightened were going after the same customer, there are things that enLIGHTened Equipment can do things that Sierra Designs cannot. Plus, I think if Sierra Designs is successful in expanding the idea that better sleeping solutions exist, I would view that as a good thing for your business.

Thanks again for the kind words. And best of luck to you!

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 17:22:07 MDT Print View

Hi Justin:

Several thoughts:

1. Yes we are a for profit company, and yes I am beholden to ownership (not shareholders, but private equity), and yes, I need to make money for my owners, my company, my team, and myself.

2. I agree the Cuban tent is ridiculously priced. I honestly don't know the margin on that particular tent, but I know there are several reasons: Expensive USA-made carbon poles sent to Asia, then shipped back. A small-run tent being produced on a mass production line, with huge set up surcharges for less than MOQ (minimum order quantity). Cuban fibre (though I seriously doubt we are paying significantly less than anyone else, but that may be true, I just don't know). But I also think the fabric goes from the US to Taiwan and back too, which is costly. I really don't think that our pricing is the issue for the huge cost of this tent. I just posted a response to Tim from enLIGHTened, and this is a perfect example of something that his company can do better than Sierra Designs. Our model and production is not optimized for short-run, uber-premium products, with USA-sourced materials. So this tent is dropped for 2014, along with anything else where SD cannot be both different and better than anyone else.

3. The bigger issue with this tent, and I hope you appreciate the honesty, is that it sucks, regardless of how light it is. Using uber-lightweight materials in a freestanding design is simply poor design, in my opinion. It's disingenuous, even dishonest. Plus, any tent that you can't get in and out of while it is raining is simply defective. From now on, everything SD makes is going to work, and be designed around our core philosophy of simplicity and honesty in design. No more bullshit. Not while I am in charge.

5. One area where SD CAN do things that the cottage industry cannot is make top-end, expertly fit apparel that actually works. That is EXTREMELY difficult to make in your living room. Our new creative director, Martin Flora, is a French educated designer and tailor, and while we were necessarily more conservative in our 2014 collection, when you see 2015 I think you will be blown away by what modern thinking, fearless bucking of status quo, and uncommon skill can produce. Even the BPL crowd, which is a bit beyond our core target, will have to take notice. Stay tuned.....

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Sierra Designs on 09/26/2013 17:26:38 MDT Print View

Stephen:

Thanks for your comments.

The Microlight is a tough one for us, because it is the best selling item in our line-up. In fact, we just met today to discuss what to do with that item, because nobody on our team likes this item. Is it a leaky rainjacket, or a sweaty wind jacket? Either way, it does not belong in the backcountry, and thus cannot survive in the new SD line.

I am not sure what we are going to do about it, but rest assured we will make it great, or it will be out the door like the rest of the stuff we just dropped. We just need a little more time on this one.

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: enLIGHTened Equipment.....enLIGHTened Gear on 09/26/2013 17:32:31 MDT Print View

I saw that on your blog today (yes I was checking you out ;). In 2002 I was finishing college!

I hadn't heard of your brand as I came around this world in 2006 or 2007 so hopefully the name similarity is a result of great minds thinking alike and not seen as me trying to steal your brand.

I totally agree that there is plenty of room and I'm in no way seriously concerned nor should it matter if I was. Good design is what we need. The more good designs being made the better it is for the community as a whole.

Being small comes with its advantages for sure and ill gladly focus on those. I can change faster, make adjustments easier, respond to new products in the same season and sleep in my hammock and call it work! I'm good:)

Like I said, glad you're here

-Tim

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 19:39:38 MDT Print View

Michael,
I appreciate your candor and promises of a better future. SD has made some great stuff over the years...my first shelter was a SD Clip Flashlight, which was one of the lighter 2-man tents at the time (6.6 lbs...yikes!). I still have it and have lots of great memories with it.
Tom

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 19:42:05 MDT Print View

nm

Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/13/2013 15:52:17 MST.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 19:57:56 MDT Print View

I appreciate your honesty and directness Michael. I hope it didn't appear that i'm anti Sierra Designs. I have a sleeping bag made by your company and all in all i like it and think it was a good value and reasonably priced (the Zissou Dri down model). I'm probably going to sell it, but only because i'm more interested in quilt designs overall (and bought an EE quilt to replace same).

I brought up the Cuben tent thing because stuff like that does kind of irk me sometimes. I'm not a fan of greed, and i see that is so pervasive and dominant in the corporate world. It's one thing making some money and a living but greed and being only concerned with profit (and always having to have more, more, more) is another thing and unfortunately the latter is the quintessential corporate mindset.

Well, baby steps eh, some things are starting to change for the better and hopefully the company you work for will be part of that. I like a lot of Patagonia's principles for example, but they're another company that i think sometimes charges way too much.

Christopher *
(cfrey.0) - M

Locale: US East Coast
Re: Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 20:08:24 MDT Print View

Hello Michael.

I have to say I find it encouraging that there are members of more "established" enterprise like yourself involved here at BPL. Despite my tongue-in-cheek "naked" comment, I think it helps balance the equation. And while Tim may be hyperventilating momentarily, competition is ultimately the best driving force for innovation.

Good on you.

Edited by cfrey.0 on 09/26/2013 20:14:47 MDT.

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Re: Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 20:43:44 MDT Print View

Is that how I came off?

-Tim

Christopher *
(cfrey.0) - M

Locale: US East Coast
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/26/2013 21:02:55 MDT Print View

LOL. I apologize Tim. I didn't mean to emasculate you. I think you were gracious and inviting.

Honestly I think, particularly here on BPL, SD would be on the under-dog card. Although, now that we know who was the original EnLIGHTened ....

Edited by cfrey.0 on 09/26/2013 21:04:16 MDT.

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
Re: Re: Sierra Designs on 09/26/2013 21:43:08 MDT Print View

>The Microlight is a tough one for us, because it is the best selling item in our line-up. In fact, we just met today to discuss what to do with that item, because nobody on our team likes this item. Is it a leaky rainjacket, or a sweaty wind jacket? Either way, it does not belong in the backcountry, and thus cannot survive in the new SD line.

>I am not sure what we are going to do about it, but rest assured we will make it great, or it will be out the door like the rest of the stuff we just dropped. We just need a little more time on this one.

Michael,
Thank you for the response. I am not sure I expected one as thorough as this!

I obviously don't know anything about running a brand but I think it's pretty important to maintain the price point that the Microlight fulfills, despite not liking the jacket as it is currently.

There are lots of people who can not or will not spend what it takes to get a "good" rain or wind jacket whatever that means these days, and it would be a shame to give up that segment. Obviously upgrading the Microlight while maintaining its price point is a challenge, and I look forward to seeing the result! You probably would not be surprised to know that the Microlight tainted the SD brand at our store among those who never had exposure to other, better SD stuff, but it could be a key player in bringing the SD image up to new heights.

You've really set the bar high for yourself by coming and talking to us about your plans to take SD in a new direction. I hope you will be able to continue to share morsels of knowledge from time to time with us as I really appreciate getting some insider insight.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: New Down Quilt from Sierra Designs with built in hood and hand pockets on 09/27/2013 06:42:03 MDT Print View

It looks to me as the quilt is flawed in design. The area above the foot box widens out to quickly in a big u. Don't most come out more gradually in a v. The prolite video makes it look like it is going to be tough to get it and keep it tucked at the knees. I may be wrong just calling it as I see it.

Ben Wortman
(bwortman)

Locale: Nebraska
Tents on 09/27/2013 07:13:14 MDT Print View

Michael
Is SD changing all of their tent line also, or just their apparel?

Ben

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Re: Sierra Designs on 09/27/2013 07:44:03 MDT Print View

Count me as one of the folks initially skeptical about the motives of a for-profit company (I'm completely with Justin on this one...couldn't have said it better myself about the relentless worshipping of greater and greater profit), but I am very excited to see what SD comes up with. My first high-end sleeping bag was a SD and I loved it...

Glad to see you are here, and I hope to see you involved in the forums a bit. One of the reasons I am happy to spend my cash at the cottage companies is because it's nice to see them as people...and not these faceless corporate entities. Even the ones who crucify themselves on the forums...they know who they are...still give an actual face to their product; for me that helps me decide who deserves my money.

Good luck on the product launch.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/27/2013 08:44:45 MDT Print View

"I'm not a fan of greed, and i see that is so pervasive and dominant in the corporate world..."

If you want to make more, more, more, don't create a backpacking gear company

create a big bank, oil company or pharmaceutical company : )

Peter G
(BuddyJ) - F

Locale: Western Oklahoma
More info on the quilt on 09/27/2013 10:56:38 MDT Print View

I'm really really interested in the SD quilt. What temp rating are you going for with it and what's the MSRP going to be (or ballpark?).

I have a Sierra Designs dual-temp sleeping bag currently that I'm looking to replace with a quilt. The bag is probably close to 20 years old now. One side of the bag is rated for 30F and the other 50F, or something like that. I used it all through Scouting, and now that I'm back as an ASM for the local troop I'm looking to update my gear with something a bit lighter and warmer. As a side sleeper, my biggest concern with moving to a quilt is how I'm gonna keep covered.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Backcountry Quilt design criteria on 09/27/2013 17:27:43 MDT Print View

Hey Tim,

"Is that how I came off?"

No

But that's how I do.
So I'll be the first to step on corporate company's crap they sell and force me to make my own stuff.

"To us, the whole goal of going lighter and simpler is because lighter and simpler is MORE COMFORTABLE. When lighter is LESS comfortable."

You know, that just nails the big company motto to the tee.
I don't even see this being the attitude they have though, I just see it as building an item to be able to have the least complaints or the best reviews from the likes of people who will never get their base down to U/L (well maybe on paper they do).


All this is is an advertisement for the product.

However, most people at this site are only U/L on paper as well, so this is more than welcome on this site.

Man do I love my homemade 19 ounce quilt with 12 ounces of down even more now.

Of course this is just how I come off and I'm just kidding.
As a maker of 10 quilts, all of them each a lot different than the other, I love items that are not just plain and don't fill much of a niche. I love the built in hood and how it works. Genius... All this for 3 ounces over an 850 fill with 10D fabric is awesome.
I would like to know if that weight is accurate?
I've seen a lot of bags that are no where near the claimed weight.

Edited by awsorensen on 09/28/2013 14:56:50 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: New Down Quilt from Sierra Designs with built in hood and hand pockets on 09/27/2013 19:23:34 MDT Print View

http://www.utahoutside.com/2013/08/sierra-designs-at-outdoor-retailer-summer-market-2013/

Looks like the backcountry quilt is sub 2 pounds and rated to 30 degrees F.

Edited by jshann on 09/27/2013 19:29:33 MDT.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: New Down Quilt from Sierra Designs with built in hood and hand pockets on 09/27/2013 19:41:08 MDT Print View

Prolite Gear video says it's 1 pound 7 ounces.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Re: New Down Quilt from Sierra Designs with built in hood and hand pockets on 09/27/2013 19:45:31 MDT Print View

Thanks Aaron. I had watched it a few days ago, but forgot the weight ; ).

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
More comments on 09/27/2013 20:33:10 MDT Print View

Lots of comments and answers to questions above:

Someone mentioned the logo:

SD Logo Evolution, with new 2014 logo

Mark: Regarding the "non v" shape of the quilt footbox: I thought the same thing. I tried it, it worked for me and all our testers. I have one here I will send you to try if you will send it back. Let me know.

Quilt specs: The quilt has been EN rated (yes you can do that with quilts) at 28 degrees. It weighs 1 pound 7 ounces, has 11 ounces of 800 fill dridown, has a 20d nylon ripstop shell and costs $259.

There is a lot of talk here about this quilt, but the coolest item in the new SD line is not a quilt, its a bed. You can catch a glimpse if you go to sierradesigns.com and type "backcountry bed" in the search field. Since I know I will get asked the 30 degree version of that is a flat 2.0 pounds and costs $349. There is a 600 fill version at $249 that weighs more.

ALL SD tents in 2014 are new. There are no double wall tents and no traditional vestibules in the line. All are single/hybrid walls. Gear storage is external, but does not block the door and is accessible from inside and out. You can get in and out of all the tents through a single door, you can leave the door open in all but the worst weather due to a unique door that is more of a wall/door/vent/window. You can cook safely while you are in the tent (though I won't be able to promote that due to CPAI-84). There are two freestanding versions, but the coolest and most applicable to this crowd is the new Flashlight (mentioned above) which is 2 lbs 15oz minimum weight (trekking pole set up), 2 door, 2 awning, 2 gear closet and BIG! It's $359, but there is a $259 version that is exactly the same except for less expensive heavier materials. If we made it out of really light fabric, It could probably be 2lbs 5, but for now the lightest is 30d with PU coating and 40d floors, taped. Here is a pic:

Flashlight at Ross Lake

Aaron: I make my own stuff too: its really the only way to get EXACTLY what you want when you are particular. It IS an advertisement! I LOVE this stuff!

Ammon Bruce
(AmmonBruce) - M

Locale: South Eastern Washington State
Re: More comments on 09/27/2013 21:10:00 MDT Print View

Michael,

What are the floor specs of your tents? LxWxH please? All your old one were about 84" or less long. Too small for us 6'4 guy. I hope you have a 90" plus long!?
Thanks for your time.
Ammon

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Re: More comments on 09/27/2013 22:23:00 MDT Print View

The Flashlight shown is 90" long!

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Re: More comments on 09/27/2013 22:32:24 MDT Print View

90" long
50" wide at head
46" wide at foot
46" peak height
32" triangular gear closets (3.3 feet squared each)
39 square feet interior
Included vertical poles add 6 ounces
2 pounds 15 ounces minimum
3 pound 5 ounce packed

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: New Down Quilt from Sierra Designs with built in hood and hand pockets on 09/27/2013 22:50:39 MDT Print View

Michael,

You have my attention. I look forward to seeing what else you come up with for the 2014 line.

Andrew

J Mole
(MoleJ) - F

Locale: UK
quilt on 09/28/2013 02:12:03 MDT Print View

some great features on that quilt. Love the hood. But ,as already pointed out, the footbox entry looks too wide to not allow draughts in easily .

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
SD Backcountry Quilt footbox on 09/28/2013 10:43:24 MDT Print View

I have a sample available for testing and comment by any user if this forum who will actually use the bag soon (like next weekend, my window for any changes is almost closed), who is legitimately concerned about the footbox, and will send it back to me quickly with thoughtful comments based on your experience. Again, I have not experienced or heard about any issue with the footbox design, most testers were not as experienced with quilts as many of you. But if there are improvements to discover.......

I'll sleep in it again tonight and focus on this area and let you know what I think. It's cold here is Spokane, so it should be a good testing night.....

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: SD Backcountry Quilt footbox on 09/28/2013 11:05:26 MDT Print View

My problem is that I find many foot boxes to be too small to accommodate a pair of size 15 feet without crushing the insulation.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
SD Backcountry Quilt footbox design on 09/28/2013 11:31:38 MDT Print View

All:

Based on the comments above, I just spent some time looking at all the various quilts in my gear closet, specifically focusing on the "closure" of the underside of the footbox. First, some of the footboxes are deeper than others, the BCQ is about "medium" in its length, and on the large side of girth. In terms of closure, the V shape footboxes attempt to roll the quilt under you, and are effective at the footbox but obviously flop open towards the top. The BCQ is different in that the handpockets create a full-length fold under of the edge of the bag, show here:BCQ Underside

This folds the edge of the quilt under for the entire length of the bag, especially for stomach and side sleepers like me who will tend to keep their hands in the pockets most of the time, tensioning the edge and folding the side under. Now, if it twists at the foot, you will get drafts right at the top of the footboy, but no more so than quilts with a shorter footboy and a V shape. We could, of course, add more material to make it a V shape, or lengthen the footbox, but this would add weight. Or the term we use in our team of corporate greed: "It's a dollar and an ounce".

My conclusion continues to be that it's good to go as-is, but the offer for additional perspective still stands...

Christopher *
(cfrey.0) - M

Locale: US East Coast
Re: SD Backcountry Quilt footbox design on 09/28/2013 12:03:42 MDT Print View

Hard to have a viable opinion without actually seeing or using the thing, but in the video it really looks like the bottom end of the quilt flops open exposing the underside of the foot-box quite a bit as he adjusts. I am an "active" sleeper so for a quilt meant to go below freezing that would be a big concern for me.

The underside of a Katabatic quilt comes to a "V" on its way to the foot-box (and BTW is shaped to not flop open at the top), but an additional feature is an slightly elastic adjustable strap with flat hardware placed a few inches above the joining of the "V". I always thought that was a smart low-weight design feature to address a similar concern.

quilt

(I took this photo from Hendrik for illustration)

Also, looking at the underside of your quilt I cannot make out how your neck closure works. Does the system rely on just the hand pockets to cinch the top?

Edited by cfrey.0 on 09/28/2013 12:25:23 MDT.

Ammon Bruce
(AmmonBruce) - M

Locale: South Eastern Washington State
Re: SD Backcountry Quilt footbox on 09/28/2013 12:13:52 MDT Print View

Michael ,

I live in Richland Washington and I would love to test this out and also my brother; both from the Tri cities we are going to Lake Roosevelt next weekend at my brothers property.
We both use the Exped Dream Walkers 250 and would love to review and compare them. We are both 6 foot one guys. I will sent you a pm with more info
Ammon Bruce

Also this is a cool way to advertise,but if we could get the 2014 Dealer Workbook sent to us with all the specs. If you have so many new items; let us Christmas shop the catalog. Most smaller retailers will not carry everything you will sell. That way we can compare notes! I have my fingers crossed!

Edited by AmmonBruce on 09/28/2013 12:32:22 MDT.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Re: SD Backcountry Quilt footbox on 09/28/2013 12:40:16 MDT Print View

Got your message. Coming your way on Monday.....

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
new SD stuff on 09/28/2013 18:23:21 MDT Print View

Looked at the SD site for tents.
When will the new tents be posted?
Thanks.

Lance Stalnaker
(Katangi)
SD on 09/28/2013 21:09:46 MDT Print View

I get just about everything I can from the cottage gear maker. I stopped getting Backpacker a few years back since they don not cover much that is relative to those with experience or those who are truly UL, or looking for functional high quality gear. As you pointed out, most of it just sucks. I have several Hammockgear quilts (under and over) and they are great, plus Adam has retro improved items for me at no cost. The designs are simple and practical and I deal with good folks, with great personal service, and I can support someone here in central Ohio. That is just one example, I could go on and on (hammocks, backpacks, cuben tarps, etc.). To me it is clear that the folks at Gossamer Gear actually use the backpacks they design as compared to a UL commercial product like Golite, not that they do not all have there place.

It is good to hear of the new direction of SD, hope it works out for you. Your new tent looks like some cottage gear makers (see Tarptent) designs we have seen for years, but nice to see it making it mainstream I suppose. The quilt looks a bit gimmicky to me, most here want practical and no frills. The hand pockets just do not make sense to me at all, you can't grab a regular quilt and move around with it? What quilts have you tested that are too small to do this? I can get the Hammockgear and other cottage makers to make it whatever specs I want for minimal charge, I have never had a problem moving around with my quilt as opposed to a bag (which is why I use a quilt) and as for a hood, why? the reason most of us do not like them is that they are confining and are always there, I like to be able to wear a fleece, down, both or none at all, the hood takes that versatility away from me.

The backpacking quilt should be like the quilt at home and move with you, with no pockets or hood IMO. I can also see hands getting a bit too sweaty in those pockets. Anyway, nice to see what is going on at SD, keep sharpening the pencil, I doubt many that use Cottage makers will switch, but the newbs and others out there reading the Backpacker gear guide in March may be the better for it.

Lance Stalnaker
(Katangi)
SD new products (UL vs SD) on 09/29/2013 07:39:02 MDT Print View

After rereading your post with specs, I am assuming your en rating is lower extreme and not the comfort rating, am I right? Also just a few more observations, particularly how they relate to the UL crowd. If I compare my HG Burrow 20 quilt with the SD one, this is what I find: SD is 24 oz, HG is 17.3, 6 oz difference, HG has 12 oz down in an Argon shell (1 oz more) and is rated to what I consider a conservative 20 degrees, with a price of $263. So that is a 28% weight savings for a warmer bag?

The shelter could be similarly compared to the TT Scarp, SMD Lunar Duo, etc.

I guess my question is who is your clientele? Are you going after what you perceive as a gap between the commercial and the cottage gear maker? What I am seeing is something in the middle. You are never going to sell a heavier, same price or more expensive item to the UL crowd, and most newbs are going to stick with the straight forward sleeping bag, tent, pack, etc. when they first start out? People seek out UL, they don't go to REI to find it at least not in my experience, we only shop there for sporks.

I think it is great to see a different approach to it all, I just don't quite get your market segment? Those truly looking for UL gear will find it and you will still always be a quite a bit behind the cottage gear makers, right? I mean you are saying this is coming out in 2014, HG switched to the lighter Argon fabric with one quick announcement on the HG forums, by 2014, there will most likely be something lighter still and you will be looking at fabrics like Argon for 2016.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Clipflashlight 2 on 09/29/2013 08:28:44 MDT Print View

Looks like a walrus or MSR Zoid, might be interesting

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: Like the hand pockets... on 09/29/2013 10:05:34 MDT Print View

Those would drive me nuts. Like sleeping with mittens on.

So all the two person tents will only have a single door?

Edited by kthompson on 09/29/2013 10:08:29 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Like the hand pockets... on 09/29/2013 10:06:16 MDT Print View

nm

Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/13/2013 15:53:15 MST.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
More comments and responses on 09/29/2013 12:54:36 MDT Print View

Hi All:


*New tents will be posted on the site in January when the 2014 models arrive for delivery.

*For those wanting the inside scoop sooner, I posed the relevant pages of the workbook on a new sierra designs page at zenbivy.com Note: I crossed out the wholesale price, which is what retailers pay before any discounts we give them. For some insight into the corporate greed, we charge the retailer about half of the retail price, so I am selling them a $300 tent for a smidge over $150.

*only one of our 2 person tents has a single door. The Flashlight, our lightest tent, has two doors. When I was talking about a single door, I was referring to getting in and out of the tent. Tents with vestibules require you to open and close 2 doors, plus crawl over your gear, plus they crush ventilation. Vestibules, IMO, are just about the worst thing you can do to a 3S tent. The first vestibule was done by TNF when they converted the venerable VE24 to the VE25. They were used to eliminate snow tunnels, so that a person could get into a vestibule, then shut the inner tent before opening the next door. Sort of a storm chamber that eliminated shimming through a storm tunnel in bad weather. Then people figured out you could cook and store there, and most tents have been ruined following this model ever since. Gear stored in the door is not smart. Two doors on a 3S tent is not smart. Killing ventilation on 3S tents is not smart. Vestibules do all these things, which is why you won't find any on SD tents anymore.

*The new flashlight is reminiscent of the Zoid (I used to be the S&M Director at MSR, and I was the one who started MSR tents from the remains of Moss and Walrus. Unlike the Zoid, the front poles are vertical, and can be replaced with trekking poles. Plus, there is no vestibule blocking the door and hindering ventilation, the gear storage is moved away from the door, and the door creates a huge vent that you can open in bad weather, and a nice window that you can always see out of. I live in the Northwest, and nearly every shelter on the market (except for the MSR Missing Link/Faststash) require you to close the tent up in bad weather. In most cases, you can't even get in and out without water coming into the tent interior. To be truly comfortable, a tent has to both vent in worst case conditions, and you MUST be able to see outside in poor weather, so you avoid that cooped up feeling, and you MUST be able to cook. ALL SD tents allow all three, because the door is no longer a door, it is a wall that can be height customized (drop door can be zipped up part way to block lower wind, but still get over it to cook (and see), it is a HUGE vent (really the best part, which allows us to get away from double walls and use it like a real tarp. The key is the awning over the door. When I named the Missing Link in 2002, that is what saw. Most people saw a funky ugly trekking pole single wall freak show (which is was), I saw the future: awnings over doorways fundamentally redefine the experience. Every SD tent is descendant from the MSR Missing Link, the shelter I use in most conditions to this day. We even have mostly double wall (they are all exoskeleton/hybrids) freestanding versions, but they all have awnings and drop doors, and are dramatically more livable as a result. Think about it: isn't this freedom why most of us love tarps? Is it really all about weight?

*I will do a quick video of the Flashlight 2 and post it to the SD page on zenbivy.com; I'll try to do it today but priority is to get off this computer and outside before the rain comes this afternoon....

*EN ratings are not in the workbook, since they were still being tested at print. But yes, the 28 degree number is the Limit (not extreme, that is something else), the comfort rating is 38 degrees.

*Regarding Lance's questions comparing the SD quilt to the HG Burrow 20. I am not familiar with that bag, but I can tell you there is no rocket science to the weight of any of these bags. Ounces of down (given the same fill power) is probably your best comparison tool for judging relative warmth of bags that are not EN rated. Beyond that, weight is a simple factor of size and material weight. So, though I admit I have no idea, I doubt that bag would rate at 20 degrees on the EN test (In fact I know it wouldn't, since it does not insulate the head, but just speaking relatively). But with super high fill power down, and an uber light shell, it is certainly conceivable.

*Lance: you nailed it: "Are you going after what you perceive as a gap between the commercial and the cottage gear maker? What I am seeing is something in the middle." I even have this funky chart in my business plan that shows the "gap" you refer to, with the following caption:

"In general, our competitors are not providing much that is very interesting. Since our objective is to produce products that fundamentally change the customer dialogue so that we change the state of the marketplace, in total defiance of anything that could be considered status quo, it is pointless to review them in detail.

Competitively, all the “big brands” are nicely piled on top of one another, each fighting for the same space using the same “aspirational” marketing model. Meanwhile, when it comes to Sierra Design’s core activities of backpacking and hiking, the big brands are doing nothing innovative. As a result, many of the enthusiast level backpacking and hiking customers have deserted the traditional outdoor marketplace, and a small but dedicated cottage industry has grown to fulfill the need created by simply being ignored by the big brands.

And there exists a void, a white space, and a key opportunity for Sierra Designs."

Then I have a big arrow that shows are vision of customers moving from the traditional toward the dedicated enthusiast. As has been stated in this thread over and over, there is not much that Sierra Designs can bring to the enthusiast crowd that you are not already getting (but there is some). Our real mission is to provide real ways to turn casual backpackers into dedicated backpackers, by making the experience light and comfortable. Right now, if you want to go backpacking, and you walk in to an REI, what you walk out with is generally crap that is both heavy AND uncomfortable. But that is what people do all the time, and I hate it, because many people who have that experience simply stop participating, which is a shame. More backpackers means more emphasis on resource protection, and more people who share our passion for the wild places. If I have my way, Sierra Designs will actually GROW the cottage industry by introducing more people to new and better thinking.

I showed this slide to the buyer of a major retailer, and no kidding, the buyer said "what is this cottage industry you are talking about?" He had no clue that you guys even existed, or that people were so passionate about backpacking.

Now, some of you may not want the average Joe to become more involved in backpacking. For me, just about the last thing I want to see on my trips is another backpacker. But I think that more backpackers is a good thing, because more backpackers means more voices, and hopefully more protected wild places for us to wander. Readers of this forum may need to wander farther to obtain solitude, but keep making those packs lighter and you can do just that!

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: More comments and responses on 09/29/2013 14:18:11 MDT Print View

Thank you for your response.

Lance Stalnaker
(Katangi)
SD on 09/29/2013 16:02:51 MDT Print View

Thanks for the reply. I can see where you are going now, I hope there is indeed a market for SD in that gap, somewhere between where we are and the commercial companies, if you get these new lines in the big box stores, maybe the newb can start out a "E" and then get to "H" from there, rather than starting at "A" like most of us did. I can remember hauling some heavy, not so functional packs with heavy underrated gear as most others have experienced.

I think the en ratings are a good idea, just not always apples to apples. For the adventurer that caries a down hood, fleece hood, or balaclava, and wants to use that there is no real answer to "no hood" I do know my HG products are 900 fill and way warm. If you are interested head over to Hammockforums.net there are a ton of do it yourselfers and cottage gear makers making some really forward thinking, quilts, hammocks, tarps, etc.

Most of us who have been at it a while can look at the loft and cut of the bag and tell how warm it is...just lay a Western Mountaineering 20 bag next to NF Cat's Meow and it is obvious someone is fibbing about temp rating.

Thanks for your input and best of luck with your new product launch, good to see someone cares about the consumer and product.

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
"Vestibules, IMO, are just about the worst thing you can do to a 3S tent. " on 09/29/2013 16:56:28 MDT Print View

Michael,
Forgive me. I did read all your earlier posts, but had to stop here.
You probably personify the comment I posted recently suggesting that the larger tent makers, before they make any new tents, should be required to spend a month every summer trekking in the Pacific NW, with only their own tents for shelter I would add.

The posts identifying the new SD tent with older designs hit the nail on the head.

For innovation, look at the tents designed and built by two of our Scottish posters on MYOG. Only experience trekking will provide the knowledge required to move tentmaking forward. The rest is fluff. We can always use less of that.

Ammon Bruce
(AmmonBruce) - M

Locale: South Eastern Washington State
Re: More comments and responses on 09/29/2013 17:37:37 MDT Print View

I could not find the Sierra Designs link on zenbivy.com on my IPhone. So, I went to my desktop to find your 2014 workbook and on the homepage between Family and About was the link Sierra Designs. FYI for all you mobel users. Thanks Michael for the workbook!
Ammon

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
half pyramid on 09/29/2013 17:41:04 MDT Print View

I see you use a pyramid.

A "half pyramid" would be good for solo. No one makes it so you have to make it yourself.

Basically, just take one half of the floor area of a pyramid to sleep in. Then make the other half a triangle floor rather than rectangle and it weighs a little less. Some room to put gear and get in and out. You can leave door open for better ventilation if it's not windy/rainy.

base

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: More comments and responses on 09/29/2013 21:23:34 MDT Print View

"Vestibules, IMO, are just about the worst thing you can do to a 3S tent."

Hi Michael,

I'm curious if you can elaborate on this.

I still remember when TNF dropped the snow tunnels for the vestibule(s) in the VE series, which may have been a useful thing for 4s tents. But I'm not sure I understand why having a vestibule vs awning creates such a difference in ventilation. A "good" vestibule can remain open when it rains, and still provide ventilation. It seems to me that "cross ventilation" is still crucial no matter what, vestibule or otherwise. I also appreciate the vestibule where I can take off my rain gear without getting the inside of the tent wet. Of course a BIG awning can do this as well.

Like our houses, some like their porches & porticos, and some like their vestibules.

Matt

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Sierra Designs on 09/29/2013 22:04:34 MDT Print View

And to think I'd been not reading this thread for over a week in no small part because it had "Sierra Designs" in the title.

Michael, I wish you the best. The company name has a lot of history behind it. It'd be nice to see that done credit to.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
More SD on 09/29/2013 22:30:23 MDT Print View

All:

I made a video of the new flashlight 2 can be viewed on the SD page at zenbivy.com, or more specifically: http://www.zenbivy.com/ZenBivy/Sierra_Designs.html

Matt: regarding vestibules, here are my issues:

1. Vestibules place gear in the doorway, where you have to crawl open it to get in and out of the tent
2. You have to open two doors every time you want to get in or out
3. Generally, they inhibit ventilation when deployed for poor weather. It is true that some vestibules do allow you to keep them open in the rain, with an otherwise positive drip line, but this is almost never the case.
4. When closed for weather protection, ventilation is USUALLY reduced dramatically, and I can't think of a single design that allows you to continue to look outside and enjoy the views, regardless of weather. I have hiked a LOT in the rain, and being cooped up in a steamy tent without air or a window is not fun, especially when you can have all this while going even lighter.
5. You can absolutely use the doorway of a awning/door combo to transition from wet hiking to dry camping. In fact it is one of the main benefits. I demonstrate this on one of my blog entries in a video called "Glavin boot camp" that I sometimes use to convince folks that going a little lighter can be way more comfortable. The drop door is used to sit down inside the tent, while sitting on the OUTSIDE of the tent wall. Then, out of the rain, you can make your transition. Of course, there are other ways to accomplish this, but we at SD believe the awning/drop door/separate gear storage is the lightest and most elegant. The link is below and you can scan to about 11 minutes in the video to see this.

http://www.zenbivy.com/ZenBivy/Blog/Entries/2013/4/14_Glavin_Boot_Camp_1.html

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Re: More comments and responses on 09/29/2013 22:32:18 MDT Print View

Love that Moss tent in your photo.....!

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: More SD on 09/29/2013 22:57:28 MDT Print View

The only thing bad about that tent, is the overhanging roof will catch the wind. Better to have all sides staked to the ground and smoothly go up to the peak or ridge.

That's sort of like a Whelen lean to.

I made something like that and it blew around a lot.

Not that it won't work - I'm sure you've tested it a lot in the wind - maybe the benefit of an overhang to keep dry while getting in makes up for any tendancy to blow around more, always design trade-offs

Derek Musashe
(dmusashe) - F - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Why not a lighter Flashlight tent? on 09/29/2013 23:24:35 MDT Print View

In reference to the new Flashlight tent:

"It could probably be 2lbs 5, but for now the lightest is 30d with PU coating and 40d floors, taped."

Michael,
I have to say, a 2lb 5oz Flashlight tent seems moderately intriguing to me, but a 2lb 15oz (3lb 5oz with poles?) version seems completely pedestrian.

I just don't see buying a new Flashlight over a Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo (2lb 9oz) or a TarpTent Double Rainbow (2lb 9oz) when both of those shelters are lighter, and (I'm guessing) cheaper, not to mention trail-tested.

So I'm wondering why Sierra Designs won't pull the trigger on a 2lb 5oz version of this tent? Is there some supply, construction, or design constraint that is keeping you all from making a lighter version?

My feeling is that if you all at Sierra Designs are really trying to shake things up in the "mainstream" outdoor industry, then you might as well go all the way.

Of course, that's just my two cents. I hope you guys do succeed in your business makeover. The "ultralight" shelters that the mainstream outdoor industry has been churning out are an embarrassment to the UL moniker.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
More SD on 09/30/2013 01:08:37 MDT Print View

Jerry:

Its counter-intuitive, but awnings on tents make them considerably STRONGER in the wind. The wind blows the tent up, not down. The Sierra Designs Hercules is the only tent to ever wind tunnel test over 100mph at sea level, and it utilized awnings to create vertical support for the shelter.

Every SD tent for 2013 has been wind tunnel tested to 30 MPH steady wind at sea level on all aspects. I believe that we are the first company to ever test in the wind this rigorously. All the tents perform better with the awnings into the wind.


Derek:

I agree, we should go all the way. The one constraint that keeps us from pulling the trigger is CPAI-84, which is a standard required in several states relating to the fire resistance of the fabrics. Based on their web specs, neither of the tents you mention pass the standard, and are thus illegal to sell in states that have adopted CPAI-84. Because the cottage industry generally does not work through retailers, they are able to fly under the radar (even though most are breaking the law when they ship to adopted states, probably unknowingly in most cases). The standard is really frustrating.

The urethane coating on tents is generally what allows the fabrics to test. They also allow the tents to be factory seam taped. But as you know, urethane adds weight, and decreases the durability of the fabric. If you look at some of the bivy pictures on my website, you will see a lot of pics of my MSR Missing Link that was made in 30d sil nylon, and hand seam taped. It saved about half a pound vs. the production version with 30 sil/PU 1500mm. Half a pound of urethane and seam tape!

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: More SD on 09/30/2013 06:18:45 MDT Print View

"Every SD tent for 2013 has been wind tunnel tested to 30 MPH steady wind at sea level on all aspects."

That's not much wind at all.

"I believe that we are the first company to ever test in the wind this rigorously."

Hilleberg? Look here. http://hilleberg.se/product-testing-wind-machine

"All the tents perform better with the awnings into the wind."

But my stuff will still get soaked with dew/fog not being closed up in a tent.

Edited by kthompson on 09/30/2013 06:56:54 MDT.

TJ Wharton
(Thadjw)
I'm glad an exec from a company is here... on 09/30/2013 07:55:17 MDT Print View

This is the spirit of investigating what the people on the ground are saying and asking for. I hope we have some more innovations out of SD and look forward to seeing their new products. Please feel free to post links to reviews here. The cottage industries will thrive if big companies help grow this sport / hobby a bit.

Clayton Black
(Jivaro) - MLife
Re: New Down Quilt from Sierra Designs with built in hood and hand pockets on 09/30/2013 07:57:39 MDT Print View

I like this design. I start out sleeping on my back contemplating the day and then flip on my side to sleep and then flip to the other side and then flip and then flip....etc etc. Having those corner mitts to help snuggle in and hold my arms in place sounds like a nice innovation though I'm not sure they need to be quilted pockets.

The hood is also quite nice. I love my naps. At home and in the mountains. My naps are always on my back with something to cover my eyes.

Thanks to BPL I went to quilts and will never go back to claustrophobic sleeping bags that's for sure and I think this hybrid quilt has its place. I'm sure some myog peeps that don't like 'the man' are busy figuring out how they are going to add corner pockets to their quilts.

Since I like the idea I guess I have to say I have no affiliation with Sierra Designs.

Question: Will the quilt stuff into the hood pocket?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: More SD on 09/30/2013 08:35:19 MDT Print View

"Its counter-intuitive, but awnings on tents make them considerably STRONGER in the wind."

Interesting. I would think it would be better to have the wind deflected around the tent. I can see how with the awning it would blow the tent up if it was blowing into that side. You'de want good tent stakes : )

Wind tunnel testing at 30 MPH seems like a good thing. I usually sleep in more sheltered locations so 30 MPH is probably sufficient. If you were camping on an exposed location like mountaineering then you'de want a stronger tent.

Clayton Black
(Jivaro) - MLife
Re: Flashlight UL 2 on 09/30/2013 08:52:04 MDT Print View

Here in the Ecuadorian highlands I big flapping wall (guy lines or no) inches from your head raining down condensation just wouldn't do. I'd end up putting my head down at the other end.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
CPAI-84 on 09/30/2013 09:44:31 MDT Print View

Michael wrote:
"The one constraint that keeps us from pulling the trigger is CPAI-84, which is a standard required in several states relating to the fire resistance of the fabrics."

I've long thought CPAI-84 helped kill the mainstream lightweight backpacking market that started in the late 1970s and vanished in the late 1980s.

Can be amazing to read the specs of old gear which used much heavier fabrics, etc, compared to today. Back then I used sub two-pound packs (Alpenlite), sub three-pound 2 person tents (Moss), two-pound down sleeping bags (WM), and light running-shoe style hiking footwear (Nike), all purchased through backpacking shops.

National name brand manufacturers work under different constraints from the cottage makers. I hope the new Sierra Designs can fill the gap Michael found.

-- Rex

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Bells and Whistles on 09/30/2013 10:29:13 MDT Print View

Rarely add to the quality of a product. Usually they help sell a inferior product at a high price. I am automatically sceptical of salesmen. Does the fake plastic cheese trigger on a victor mouse trap look like cheese to a mouse? Does a mouse know what cheese is? Will future generations of mouse traps put a plastic peanut on the trigger? Now that's a great idea. If the SD make over doesn't pan out Michael you can have that idea. But actually I see some backpacker editor choice awards coming your way. If not I think there is a discussion forum called building a better mouse trap that you can sell your plastic nuts on. :) ;^) 8^) :-) 8-0 I'm in a weird mood this morning. Awnings blow up I love it. "Help me help you"

Jason Johnson
(etex9799)
Re: Down Quilt on 09/30/2013 15:46:00 MDT Print View

Could you send a pic of your EE quilt..I was thinking about getting the royal blue and would love to see what how it looks.

THANKS

Jim Klazek
(Klazek) - M
Flashlight 1 2014 on 09/30/2013 21:15:34 MDT Print View

Michael G. you are to be applauded for the new direction of SD. I presently have a Tarptent Scarp 1 which I am relegating to my winter tent using the cross poles. I was about to get a Moment DW for my 3 season tent but am intrigued with the new Flashlight 1. Watched the video and downloaded the workbook. A question, why the yellow floor in the UL? Why not grey, black or the SD blue. All would contrast nicely with the yellow walls. Worst case I would have to go with the regular fabric model.

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
vestibules and stuff on 09/30/2013 21:31:26 MDT Print View

Several larger US companies are using well under 30 denier PU coated nylon: MH and GL to name two. Yah, I know - it costs more.

Re the vestibules:

"1. Vestibules place gear in the doorway, where you have to crawl open it to get in and out of the tent"
A straw man. Well designed vestibules are large enough to hold the gear under the covered and closed side, leaving plenty of space for entry and exit on the side that opens. Another vestibule at the rear of the tent can also be used. My modified One Planet Goondie holds enough under the fixed side of the cover up front, that the vestibule under the rear cover was replaced with more floor space. BTW, the fly is 15 denier PU coated nylon, trail weight & guys < 2.5 lbs, floor area > 23.5 sf.
GNDY-flyFrontOpen

"2. You have to open two doors every time you want to get in or out"
If the tent has a canopy or fly, it must be opened to get in or out. If you also want bug protection, a netting door must also be opened. That's par for the course.

"3. Generally, they inhibit ventilation when deployed for poor weather. It is true that some vestibules do allow you to keep them open in the rain, with an otherwise positive drip line, but this is almost never the case."
It may be almost never the case among the larger US companies. But among the better tentmakers, it is almost always the case. Vestibules are not the issue. Competent tentmaking is the issue. Have you looked at the TarpTents?

"4. When closed for weather protection, ventilation is USUALLY reduced dramatically, and I can't think of a single design that allows you to continue to look outside and enjoy the views, regardless of weather. I have hiked a LOT in the rain, and being cooped up in a steamy tent without air or a window is not fun, especially when you can have all this while going even lighter."
If this is an argument for tarps, please say so. They definitely have their place. As for tents, you must button up in high winds else the canopy or fly will balloon, be subjected to great stress, and place the anchoring at risk. So the answer to steamy is good vent design, or in the alternative, awnings that allow the wind to pass right through, which is problematic because rain may be coming right along with it, and gusts can be totally unpredictable. I camped in a modified two-awning WE Bug Dome for several years, and greatly enjoyed the full view out the front and cooking and eating under the front awning in the pouring rain. But wouldn't dream of taking it well above timberline in exposed locations.
BDfly
The tent weighs 3 lbs complete, in the bags, and the floor area is 30 sf.

"5. You can absolutely use the doorway of a awning/door combo to transition from wet hiking to dry camping. In fact it is one of the main benefits. ... . The drop door is used to sit down inside the tent, while sitting on the OUTSIDE of the tent wall. Then, out of the rain, you can make your transition. Of course, there are other ways to accomplish this, but we at SD believe the awning/drop door/separate gear storage is the lightest and most elegant."
Yes, there are other ways. Like unzipping the vestibule and net doors, stepping into the tent, and rezipping the outer door after you. You have to stoop, but if you have to crawl, it is more of that poor tent design at work again. The one thing I do agree with is the value of awnings that can be locked down to create a closed vestibule in extreme weather, and opened up for ventilation in unblown rain and good weather. Hope we see much more development along those lines. Still, a zipper in the awning is needed for easy entry and exit sans the low crawl.

Will look in January to see what's up at SD when the new tents are posted. But as already noted by some others, lighter materials will be needed to attract light packers, and more functional designs as well.

Scott, please accept my apology for going off-thread.

Edited by scfhome on 09/30/2013 21:45:49 MDT.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife
Re: Flashlight 1 2014 on 09/30/2013 22:19:51 MDT Print View

Thanks for the Flashlight video. I await others comments on a few things.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Flashlight 1 2014 on 09/30/2013 22:39:24 MDT Print View

Tent color: yellow was chosen simply because we liked the color and due to its historical significance with Sierra Designs. Most of the energy went into the fly color, since we wanted something "natural" that would blend in to many environments, but has a flesh tone element to avoid the green depressing interior. It needed to shade in the hot, but not be too dark. The final color "aluminum" met all the objectives, and was a nice update of classic SD beige. Note that the yellow has a lot of green in it that is not coming through on the video. It looks much richer in person, and the inside of the tent is very cheerful.

Wind testing: this is an area of personal interest for me, since I learn something new in nearly every test. There is so much that is counter intuitive. If you look at some of the photos in my blog, you will see my sil/nylon missing link in some sites where most would not think to take such a shelter. Trekking pole tents are very strong in the wind for a variety of reasons; awnings are another wild card. Designs where a pole extends to a corner to make a tent freestanding are a weak point. The other factor is that people generally dramatically over-estimate how hard the wind is blowing. 30mph sustained wind at sea level is a very hard wind. Most people who felt this wind would guess it at about 50mph. Plus, the higher the elevation, the more speed is required to generate the same force due to the lower density of the air.

We could have a whole thread on wind and tents what would be very interesting. It's one of those funky mysteries with very few real experts, myself included. Until recently, you had to rely on big fans (like Hilleburg) or very small wind tunnels (like U of WA). I have seen many wind tests for tents (including the flatbed truck I-5 system that MSR started in the early 70's) I can tell you that every tent I have seen fail in the wind is from three causes: 1. It just blows down flat; some would not call this failure since nothing breaks, though poles can bend. 2. A pole breaks; mostly this is what I have seen, and why trekking pole tents, which operate under direct compression with a stout pole, are so good. 3. The tent flaps to a point where the fabric can rip.

The final point relates to the discussion regarding lighter weight PU coated fabrics/CPIA-84 comments from earlier. Because the PU locks down the fibers on a woven fabric it significantly reduces tear strength, and lightweight fabrics can suffer durability issues as a result. Not just abrasion, but tear. Sil/PU fabrics, which not only allow the yarns to float but lubricate them with water shedding silicone goodness, are both light and strong, and resistant to abrasion. These are really good tent fabrics for tents, so long as you accept that they currently cannot be effectively factory seam taped, and do not currently pass fire standards. So, yes SD could have made some expensive lighter versions of our tents with one of these fabrics, and we still may, but instead we are looking for a better and different solution that is strong in both abrasion and tear, and is light. Or, we could just ignore CPAI-84 and build the best tents we can make, then sell them only in non CPAI-84 states. What do you folks think we should do?

What tents are strongest? Pyramid tents, similar to the design suggested above, are super strong. Volume is focused lower (wind is slower at the ground) Solid pole or poles under compression=good thing. Plus, the seams create built in guy lines directly to the stake outs. The other tents that are really good are tunnels. The bent poles generally do not go to a corner, so they are supported by fabric to keep them from inverting, and the ends are protected by seam guy lines and focus the force in equally all around the circumference of the pole. The weakest designs involve poles that go to a corner to make tents freestanding. It's one big reason why I am NOT a big fan of freestanding tents personally.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: vestibules and stuff on 09/30/2013 23:00:57 MDT Print View

Samuel:

Like I said, every time I think I can guess which tents will be strong in the wind, I prove myself wrong in testing. That said, I would guess that that fish pole (moss) structure and dual awning tent you showed would be a VERY strong. I am surprised that tent weighs three pounds with all those poles...

To your point #2, note that the rain door and the bug door on the flashlight are the same door, so there is indeed only one door to open to exit and enter, same with all the new SD tents.

I am very familiar with Tarptent, and REALLY like some of their design elements and am a fan of their shelters in general. Smart, fresh thinking. Love it.

I'm not arguing for tarps or for tents. In fact I separating them prevents design evolution of either. If you look at the new SD tents, you will see that they really are just tarps with built in bug netting and floors. There is not body and fly. That's what inspired me in 2001 with the Missing Link (and why I named it that), and it's what I love about Tarptent, Six Moon Designs, and others. I do think that the new SD tents nail ventilation and livability like nothing that has come before, simply because most others still protect the inner tent with an external fly, and the SD tents combine these crucial elements.

Your comments in #5 are very interesting. Though the tent was never produced, you should look at the Malcontent that I made in 2002. Your request for further development just gave me a great idea that I struggled to achieve all those years ago. Thanks!

K C
(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
RE: tent and quilt on 09/30/2013 23:04:49 MDT Print View

Marketing Sierra Designs to BPL members is like marketing Scion vehicles to Lamborghini owners. We're a bunch of gear snobs, 5 pound base weights- cuben, carbon fiber and titanium everything.

You have a great place in the middle, anything to help the general public lighten up will help.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Sheletr nostalgia on 09/30/2013 23:22:55 MDT Print View

You can see the Malcontent here, along with some other classics. I still love the Robert Suander's tents, especially my old Backpacker GC2 Plus.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=29220

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Flashlight 1 2014 on 10/01/2013 08:02:32 MDT Print View

"30mph sustained wind at sea level is a very hard wind. Most people who felt this wind would guess it at about 50mph"

When I've measured wind speed with my wind meter, it's just like you say, 30 MPH is very strong.

If you're on the side of a mountain then you get higher wind speeds, but most people don't need that.

If a tent is designed for higher wind speeds than you'll ever need, it will probably be heavier than necesary.

Jim Klazek
(Klazek) - M
Flashlight 1 on 10/01/2013 14:01:45 MDT Print View

Michael; Thank you for the yellow floor reasoning. As you indicate seeing the yellow in person may change my mind. A couple of more questions and then no more till I actually see one. In the workbook (I realize it may not be totally accurate) it seems there is a back window and the fly appears to be to the ground from the overhead view. Ia there an outside upper vent cover in the fly so air can flow through the window, or could the fly be cut higher in an arc shape to encourage air flow. Having used many one person tents over 40 years, they can get pretty stuffy more so than 2 person models and the new line is all aboout air flow.. Also the gear closet is listed as 7.5. The 2 man version lists 2 closets at 3.3 each. What is the actual size of the one man closet? Thanks again for where you are taking this company.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Flashlight 1 on 10/01/2013 14:30:22 MDT Print View

Sorry all, I should have mentioned that the Flashlight 1 design has changed significantly from what is depicted in the workbook. The depicted design utilized a full coverage awning with a gear port to access the gear storage. And, just like the full coverage vestibules I have been arguing against in this thread, this one ventilated poorly on one side of the tent, where the configuration mimicked a traditional vestibule. We conduct ventilation tests with humidifiers that simulate the vapor produced by a person, then measure interior humidity of the tent over time. The current design failed both the lab test and concurrent field tests with regards to ventilation.

So, even though we had already introduced the item, we canned it and went back to the drawing board.

The updated version is being prototyped and tested as we speak. Only testing can tell for sure, but I am feeling confident in the ventilation of the new design, since it allows full cross ventilation in the rain, just like all the other SD tents. Plus, I think it may get even lighter.

So stand by for revisions to this item.....

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Flashlight 1 on 10/01/2013 14:33:54 MDT Print View

For a sneak preview of the updates to the Flashlight 1, you can see a screen capture I used to share an idea for the update with the team in Boulder. It is the shot used on my profile. Since we work remotely from one another, there is a lot of video and photography going back and forth.....

Jim Klazek
(Klazek) - M
Re: Re: Flashlight 1 on 10/01/2013 16:45:04 MDT Print View

Thank you Michael. I'm not going senile after all. I just couldn't see the new innovative and functional features of the 2 man were being applied to the 1 man based on the current workbook diagrams. Will follow your updates on this. As I said earlier, my buget for next year is for a new 1 man tent and this one really has my attention.

Derek Musashe
(dmusashe) - F - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
So many good comments here on 10/01/2013 20:03:36 MDT Print View

+1 on basically everything Samuel Farrington said above, especially the part about the utility of tent vestibules that can be turned into breezy awnings at a moment's notice (the TarpTent Double Rainbow's "porch mode" is an excellent example of this).

Also, I think KC is right that the BPL forum crowd is not exactly the target market for Sierra Designs. Still, I think it's an encouraging sign that Michael Glavin is soliciting us all for feedback and interacting with the BPL community in the first place.

How many other non-cottage industry Senior VPs have done this?

Obviously, just because we aren't the target audience for Sierra Designs doesn't mean our ideas and experience can't make the products better. Clearly Michael Glavin sees that, or else he wouldn't be spending his time discussing his upcoming products with us.

And lastly, my apologies to the OP, Scott. We have totally jacked up your thread. Hope you don't mind ;)

Edited by dmusashe on 10/01/2013 20:05:48 MDT.

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
more jacked thread on 10/01/2013 22:10:19 MDT Print View

Michael,
Thank you for your comments. Very gracious of you.

I appreciate that my comments were not gracious, though. So will attempt some helpful, if not positive comments.

The wall under the awning goes back to the original Eureka Crescent, if not well before that. First thing I did with the Crescent was to remove the fabric portion of the door/wall entirely, leaving just the netting, and put 'beaks' on the awning that zipped shut to make a closed vestibule with the front slightly open at the bottom for ventilation:
Crescent
In its prime, before the PU coat degraded, this tent handled some serious gales in unprotected areas. And all the benefits of the awning were kept when the beaks were rolled up out of the way.

The beaks, from 1.6 oz (with coat)PU coated nylon from Warmlite, were lighter than the 2.7 oz coated door that was removed from the tent. The elevation of the vestibule bottom did not create a serious wind problem, because as Franco points out, the wind is usually quite less just above ground level, and as always, we at least try to keep the entrance facing away from the prevailing wind.

Why not just leave the vertical wall under the awning as is? Well, in addition to the usefulness of the vestibule, there is nothing wind hates more than a vertical wall, especially if there is an awning around it to catch the wind. You may think that the guylines will resist the wind. Yes, but the tent will shake like the dickens. So why fight the wind if you can channel it around a pointy vestibule. So long story short, you may need to add some yardgoods to those awnings to make the tent windworthy. Then you won't need the weight of the coated nylon on the doors, just the netting, or a light DWR fabric. And the improved air circulation will help with condensation under the roof.

Although I think you are going to have a problem with condensation on the single wall at the head end, where it will be annoying. A way must be found to shield the head from the wet wall. Maybe a pullout vent that will place netting next to the head, and ventilate at the point of exhalation, where we most need it.

Adding fabric, even if weight neutral, raises the flame retardency standards issue.
There is the implication that the lighter nylon is not sturdy enough, especially with the required PU coat. That's why I am trying out the 15 denier Goondie, to see if it's so. My feeling is that if Snow Peak can market a PU coated 20 denier Lago tent, using polyester that is weaker than Dupont 6.6 nylon, and market it as a winter tent, then the real issue is not the inherent strength of the material; rather it is the quality of the material and the coating. If SD cannot profitably market tents of these lighter materials, then that, alas, seems to end the discussion right there. But Mountain Hardwear and GoLite are doing it, and I'd think they'd have just as much interest in a profitable product.

Also, a few companies are using fabric coated with silicone on one side, and PU on the other. That could yield a lighter floor, and meet the CPAI standards. I've found that silcoated nylon with a high HH makes great floors because the elasticity of the material improves the resistance to abrasion and pointy objects. The catch is that the floor has to be well tensioned at the corners to keep it from sliding about.

That rear wicket could also use lighter carbon, albeit with elbows of Easton 7075-T9.

With lighter materials, hence lighter weight, and some windworthiness, I think you might have a winner for the many who hike with two trekking poles these days.

Good luck to you!

P.S. Your IT guys should make the videos viewable by those of us who live in the boonies without broadband.

Edited by scfhome on 10/02/2013 07:24:43 MDT.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Wind, awnings, tunnels and testing. on 10/02/2013 01:53:11 MDT Print View

Sorry, Samuel. There is no IT guy, this is just me in my basement. Sorry, I do like the high def videos. I think if you view them directly at my vimeo site (all of this is my personal site and vimeo site, not part of SD) you can view in lower definition. www.vimeo.com/michaelglavin

For all the tent geeks, I just made a movie showing some testing done in the DAC wind tunnel which shows what I am talking about regarding wind, awnings and what not. The final video shows the new Lightning and how the awning supports the tent in the wind, even with that nearly vertical wall/door right behind it. I made that clip pretty long, so you could kinda get a feel of the difference between a 25 and 35mph wind. In one of the videos I stood in a 25mph wind (some of the tests show the wind in M/S, so I converted). Sustained 25mph wind is HARD. I was worried about slipping on that metal floor.

Note also that there are two kinds of wind tunnel (I forget the name). In one kind, the wind is consistent throughout the entire width of the tunnel. These need to be much narrower, like the one in Seattle at the UW. Jake built this one that does not have the consistency of wind across the whole tunnel, but has a much wider wind path and for the first time is allowing us to test larger shelters AND facing multiple configurations in the wind.

Sorry if I broke the thread. I think that was my fault. I have never posted on any forum like this before, and am clearly addicted. My wife thinks I am crazy, and thinks I should stop working on backpacking, stop talking about backpacking, and just go backpacking. I like that idea.

The video is on the SD page at my personal site (not affiliated with Sierra Designs) at www.zenbivy.com

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: more jacked thread on 10/02/2013 02:37:00 MDT Print View

Samuel:

I am curious about your opinions on nylons vs. polyesters on the rainflys, specifically your comment about polyester and nylon 66.

Also, noted your idea about the "head vent" on the flashlight. We prototyped that exact thing, then killed it; like I said before: "a dollar and an ounce" (though in this case it was more than one of each). Instead, focused on trying to keep air moving through there. Ironically, in my own testing (I personally have about half a dozen nights in this particular model), I never had really bad condensation conditions, and never experienced any condensation inside. Other testers who tested 1p and 2p on the same trip ripped the 1p for condensation (as detailed earlier), but reported good results with the 2p. We are getting more test results all the time so we will see what develops there.

Note: we are using Sil/PU IN 30d for our 2014 UL versions. Note this is a bit tricky because the silicone migrates and if the PU is not cured properly, you get nasty sticky over time. I just really personally hate the PU, since it just seems to cause all kinds of issues, including delam and degradation as you noted. Would love to figure out a way around it altogether. Am working on it......

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
sil/PU on 10/02/2013 08:25:02 MDT Print View

Michael,
Wilderness Equipment of Australia has been using a sil/PU coat on its tents for some time now. Their site has a "fabric mojo" that goes into some detail.

Sea to Summit has a couple 'Specialist' tents that share some design approaches with the new Flashlight. The fabric is Pertex Endurance. I have a nice letter several years old from a designer at SD explaining quite well why they were not partial to waterproof/breathable fabrics such as Endurance for tents.

The person most knowledgeable about outdoor fabrics that I know of is Roger Caffin, an editor right here at BPL, who lives in Australia, but can be reached through BPL.

Polyesters are nice because they usually sag much less than nylon, which is great, particularly on a partially single wall tent. But not all polyesters are equal, which may explain why Snow Peak uses fabric manufactured locally in Japan for the Lago. I've noted that the higher HH silnylons out of the Far East sag a bit less. Have looked at the low denier PU coated nylon tents form Mountain Hardwear and GoLite, but haven't had them out backpacking to see how they sag. Did not like the inside space limitations of the designs even without sagging. But there was very little sag in the 15 denier PU coated nylon Goondie that I took out this past summer. Time will tell how durable it is. Have already noted that the netting they use is not particularly durable compared to the .8 oz polyester netting sold by Bear Paw Wilderness Designs here in the USA.

Porcher Sport of France treats Dupont 6.6 nylon to make several weights of paragliding fabric. Some of the fabrics in the 45-50 gram range are dubbed 'aquatic' and are specially treated for water as well as sag resistance, but I've not been able to get ahold of enough to test for HH and make a tent. I did obtain some of the 27 gram, but tests by Roger showed a low HH. I'm planning on experimenting with some PU sprays from 3M, Johnson Kiwi and others to see if they raise the HH on the 27 gram. It wouldn't be so bad to have to spray your tent before each trek if it were made out of a tough nylon that weighed only around .9 oz per square yard total and didn't sag much.

Single wall tents that do reasonably well with limiting condensation when pitched on the back lot, can be a disaster in mountain weather. SD had one called the 'Baku' which may have suffered this fate. Last I saw, they were selling them dirt cheap at the outlets. The North Face suffered a similar fate a few years ago with a knock-off of TarpTent's Scarp, but with one of the PU waterproof/breathable treatments. They should have read that letter I got from that SD design associate.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: sil/PU on 10/02/2013 09:02:36 MDT Print View

nm

Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/13/2013 15:49:13 MST.

Jim Klazek
(Klazek) - M
Re: Re: sil/PU on 10/02/2013 10:01:46 MDT Print View

Good clip. Could use a few tweaks, some as suggested. Why not make the i identical to the 2 only narrower. Excellent ventilation, 2 gear closets, eliminate one door zipper or even leave it in. My personal preference for a one man tent is 2 doors. Have even added an extra door to single door versions in the past. Also why not a 1 person version of the newly designed Lightening tent. Great design based on the wind tunnel testing shown on 'zenbivy.com'.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Re: Re: sil/PU on 10/02/2013 12:09:41 MDT Print View

Hey Jim:

We have lots of stuff in the product pipleine. Both lots of new ideas, and versions of existing as you suggested. I agree a 1P version of the lightning is very interesting.

Big question: Why 2 doors on a one person tent? Seems an odd suggestion given this forum with the obvious weight implications....

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
SD on 10/02/2013 12:54:31 MDT Print View

I've had a few items of SD gear in my day, including 15+ year old Meteor Light I finally had to retire after years of use (and occasional abuse). And a SD sleeping bag that still gets used when car camping (slept in it a couple days ago).

Props to you for being here and soliciting input. God knows you'll hear it from the BPLers. And best of luck with innovation and products going forward.

Jim Klazek
(Klazek) - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: sil/PU on 10/02/2013 12:56:59 MDT Print View

Big question, small answer 'personal quirks'. we all have them. Big answer, wind,snow ,rain,sleet etc.,etc., as you well know is dynamic always changing direction, swirling etc. My personal experiences re sheltered ingress/egress, sheltered cooking conditions in inclement weather, limitations of site (slope, rocks, bush, etc.) led me down the road to the flexibility of 2 doors and to the calmer (leeward) side of the tent in most cases, not all. I am willing to pay the weight penalty, most are not. I understand that and will make my own changes if needed. Back in the 70's,80's,90's,I was dealing with 4 1/2 to 5 lb.+ tents and now it's 2 1/2 to 3 and change with 2 doors, I'm happy. My pack weights are now 20lbs +/-, back then 35lbs+/-. You are well aware most hikers (yourself included)) like to tinker with gear, it's part of the experience. This site is about light hiking, not uber or ultralight. They have their own sites and mfrs. Functional, light gear is where SD is headed, good for them. l

David Mandrella
(thedavil) - M

Locale: Independence Lake
A few comments on 10/02/2013 19:12:13 MDT Print View

Michael,

I sense that you get the impression that everyone on BPL is a "gram weenie" (not that there's anything wrong with that), which is by far not the case necessarily. Most of us take other things such as comfort and safety into consideration as well. The one thing we all have in common though, is the desire to "lighten our load" and shave down pack weight. I first joined BPL with just that goal, back when my 'Kit' (if you could call it that) included 2 Blue Walmart Tarps, an Osprey Atmos 65 Pack, 100 yards of ParaCord, a "lightweight" synthetic 20* bag that was comfy down to about 45* before freezing my nether regions, and a cheap parachute hammock. Needless to say, my "lightweight" strategy at the time ended up just being me coaxing my way into someone's tent when the temp dropped below 40 (which could have it's advantages from time to time). Nowadays my pack weighs a lot less, AND can get me down to the 20s comfortably. But I'm getting a bit off track here.

Point being, most of us started as brand name dayhikers or campers and slowly transitioned our way into ultralight backpackers. Usually there were many stops along the way, small gear tweaks, lots of ditched gear, "Big 3" Upgrades, lots more ditched gear. I think at one point or another during out backpacking lives we would have been drooling over this quilt to replace our REI clearance sale sleeping bag. A friend in advertising once told me this: "You can sell anything, absolutely anything, but first you have to find your market and show it to them...you could discover the cure for cancer and not sell a single dose if you didn't get out there and find the people with cancer." (His actual explanation was a bit more explicit, but I've paraphrased and changed some verbage to protect the innocent).

As a side note, I'm not sure how keen you are on hammock camping, but I will tell you that there are few (if any) hammockers that are buying sleeping bags over quilts.

It's cool to see you down here "talking shop" with all us BPLers, you're in good company, a lot of us have learned to make our own gear here mostly because commercial companies were not offering what we were envisioning. There is no doubt we have some common roots here.

Good to have you here.

-Dave

diego dean
(cfionthefly) - M
sd tent on 10/02/2013 20:37:47 MDT Print View

Thanks Michael for showing us your design and the dialog behind it. Ill definitely be checking it out when its ready...I see some very tempting features!

Derek Musashe
(dmusashe) - F - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Welcome to the crazy club on 10/02/2013 21:33:37 MDT Print View

"I have never posted on any forum like this before, and am clearly addicted. My wife thinks I am crazy, and thinks I should stop working on backpacking, stop talking about backpacking, and just go backpacking. I like that idea."

Michael,
Welcome to the club! You are in good company. I think if we could all "just go backpacking" as much as we wanted, then the forum would be a ghost town!

After all, how much do we hear from thru-hikers while they are on the move? Not much, of course, because they are backpacking as much as they want (probably more!).

When I'm out on a trip, I certainly don't daydream about posting on the forum :), but very few of us get out as much as we'd like, so interacting with other BPL members on the forum is the best we can do while we're not on the out in the backcountry.

Anyway, glad you have joined the club. The toothpaste is most certainly out of the tube my friend...

Edited by dmusashe on 10/02/2013 21:34:58 MDT.

Daryl Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Why so much mosquito netting on 10/02/2013 21:51:24 MDT Print View

Michael,

You have been very patient with us so feel free to ignore this non-essential question.

Why have the inner tents under flys gone to mostly mosquito netting instead of solid fabric, as was common in the past? the lighter solid nylons are now the same weight or lighter than mosquito netting.

I'm looking for warmth in a tent and solid inner tents are much better at providing warmth than mosquito netting. I've never been too warm in a tent while backpacking (mostly upper elevations of Washington State).


Is this a sign of global warming?

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Welcome to the crazy club on 10/02/2013 21:59:52 MDT Print View

"...but very few of us get out as much as we'd like, so interacting with other BPL members on the forum is the best we can do while we're not on the out in the backcountry..."

Grrr, unfortunately true for this member. I started a new job (well back in April) that requires me to work every other weekend, and the week i don't have a weekend off, i don't get two days off in a row. Double grrr.

And it's a field/type of job where you are really discouraged to take off any time (and even if you're sick it can be hard to do because you have to find coverage yourself). Only reason why i was able to get off time for my AK trip was because i had made these plans before getting hired there, and told them even in the interview about the trip, and so i was reluctantly given time off.

With my last job, especially during the cooler periods, about 3 weekends out of the month, on average, i was going out. Now very little, even though it's cooling down.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Breathable fabric and weight weenies on 10/07/2013 20:14:52 MDT Print View

David:

I do tend to think everyone on this site is a weight weenie, even though I know that is not the case. I have been a member for a long time, and have not explored "the limit" since the I went under 10 pounds in the mid-90's and came back from the trip wishing I had a better mattress, more food, and some gloves. Now I still try to go light, but don't use a scale. I am also mostly a climber, and cutting too much weight on the climbing gear gets pretty dangerous pretty quickly....

Daryl:

Regarding mesh vs. breathable: That's a real good question. When we made the MSR Hubba Hubba in 2002, it was one of the very first tents to use exclusively (almost) mesh for the interior. Now, it is pretty much standard. While it is true that there are fabrics that weigh the same as mesh, they are dramatically more expensive (Hubba Hubba XP). Plus, most folks are wanting more and more ventilation (other than in Great Britain, where they still seem to really love their steamy shelters that keep out exterior moisture at all costs). But anyone who has hiked in dry desert conditions has learned that mesh filters blowing sand so that you get covered in silty nastiness in windy conditions. And there are lots of other conditions where breathable panels are better than mesh.

So I don't have a good answer. Folks just are not doing it. Maybe we should......

Ammon Bruce
(AmmonBruce) - M

Locale: South Eastern Washington State
Review on the New Down Quilt from Sierra Designs with built in hood and hand pockets on 10/07/2013 21:18:12 MDT Print View

Review by Ammon Bruce

I took Michael's offer to test out the New Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt. This thread started out about a quilt and now it is on tents. Michael sent me the quilt and I recieved it on October 3rd. I tested it for 2 nights and my brother one night. For those that saw the so called gaps on the Prolite video and wanted to know more. This review is for you and all the people that read it.
Specs
Produce info from the workbook
SD Backcountry Quilt 800
2-Season. (30 degree f/-1c)
Size Regular
MSRP $259.95
Trail Weight 1lb 9oz
Fits Up To 6'4"
Fill Weight 11 oz
Stuff Size (WxL) 7"x14"

Fill 800 fill duck Dridown
Shell 20D Nylon Ripstop
Liner 20D Nylon Taffeta
To see this workbook specs go to http://www.zenbivy.com/ZenBivy/Sierra_Designs_files/SD14%20Workbook.pdf
Part I

Edited by AmmonBruce on 10/07/2013 22:54:26 MDT.

Ammon Bruce
(AmmonBruce) - M

Locale: South Eastern Washington State
Review part II on the New Down Quilt from Sierra Designs with built in hood and hand pockets on 10/07/2013 22:32:08 MDT Print View

Part II
My profile
6' 3"
255 lbs
49" Shoulders
Top size XL
Bottom size 36
Shoe size 12
I test in a long sleeve merino 1 Patagonia shirt. Shorts and running socks

The quilt's specs according to me: Remember this is prototype and sizes my change. When the Quilt comes out in April 2014, it my have had some changes. So go try it, I know I will.
Quilt weight 1lb 7.5 oz
Top 50" wide
Length 76"
Hood 12"x14" fits a size 8 head comfortably
Foot Box 12" wide mummy
Foot box size 21"x21"
True 30 degree quilt. I feel that it couple easily have gone 5 degrees lower with bag liner. I woke up at 30 degrees feeling no cool spot anywhere. I slept on my back, side and stomach. Warm and comfortable at all sleeping styles. Tested at 30-37 degrees over the three nights
I made sure to wake up early to see how I felt at the coldest time of the night.

Fits up to 6'1" I found that I stretched it out in some areas, but found no cool spot where the loft had been streched tight. Right now they have a "one size fits all". (Regular size). No long size.
I am hoping the final product is a inch or two longer.
Part III.....

Edited by AmmonBruce on 10/07/2013 22:58:56 MDT.

Daryl Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Breathable fabric and weight weenies on 10/07/2013 22:54:03 MDT Print View

Michael,

I own a Hubba Hubba HP and the fabric does look expensive. Did you help with that design too?

I think it was a great idea to make a light tent with mostly fabric. I must be in the minority, however, because they discontinued it.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Re: Breathable fabric and weight weenies on 10/07/2013 22:59:00 MDT Print View

No, that one came after me. I left MSR/Cascade in 2003, then worked at various other places like Mointainsmith, OR, Stanley thermos, PAC Outdoors as an independent contractor. Then GSI Outdoors for 5 years, then another independent contact period with MSR again (BPL readers will be VERY interested in that project when they move on it), GSI, and Stanley again. Then to SD. Typing this makes me feel old.

Jim Klazek
(Klazek) - M
Quilt thread on 10/08/2013 07:29:09 MDT Print View

Michael, this thread has gone off on a bit of a tangent re the Flashlight tents. I think there will be a lot more posting re the quilt before it ends. For that reason maybe the Flashlights should have their own thread as there will be considerable posting on it also. Hopefully you can get a video up on the redesigned 1 or get one to Philip at Sectionhiker. I think I have pretty well decided to get one to 'mess around' with.

Jim Klazek
(Klazek) - M
Flashlight 1 on 10/08/2013 17:36:28 MDT Print View

Michael; Something I would add if not final design. Add 2 clips/hooks to each vertical wall and attach/clip to each vertical pole. It would prevent the walls buffeting inwards/outwards and making a lot of noise in driving wind/rain etc. By nature of the tent configuration it will gather a lot of wind under the awnings, which is what we really want. The wind tunnel testing on your site was quite interesting.

Jeffrey Wong
(kayak4water) - MLife

Locale: Pacific NW
Saw the video on the flashlight on 10/13/2013 01:57:44 MDT Print View

And I saw the tent's mesh pocket for stuff, and heard you specifically mention eyeglasses. That's a dumb place to put my specs, because they'll get cold after a few minutes and condense moisture as soon as I put them on my fool face. To keep my specs warm, I tuck one of the temples behind the front collar of my t shirt, while my zip turtle neck keeps them from flopping around too much. One day maybe soon, I'll sew an eyeglass pocket into my quilt, so if I start belly sleeping one day, I won't destroy my specs.

Put that into your quilt or sleeping bags, my four eyed friends.

Edited by kayak4water on 10/13/2013 22:58:23 MDT.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Saw the video on the flashlight on 10/13/2013 10:22:30 MDT Print View

I am too afraid to keep my glasses near or on my body. I wrap them in my hankie and put them in a pocket. When I sleep in a bivy sack (my usual method), I won't even put them inside. I wrap them in a hankie then put them in my hat (baseball style cap) with my headlamp. I just flail around too much to have that hard stuff near me. I don't even like zippers in my bed at night. I'm kind of a softie.....

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - M

Locale: Western Washington
size for a 2 man tent on 10/13/2013 11:16:11 MDT Print View

Just saw the video on the Flashlight 2. Like some of the concepts, will be interesting to see how they play out. The size is an issue for me, as someone who regularly hikes with my boyfriend. One of the reasons I haven't been able to get him to make the jump away from our REI Quarterdome T2 Plus is floor space. The Plus seems to be unique in the 2 person tent department with its dimensions of 54" x 94". Having the footbox narrow to 46" makes it difficult to put 2 25" wide pads side to side. We are both short people, but we like the extra length because we don't use vestibules for gear storage, we put our packs at the foot of our sleeping pads, laid on their backs. The narrowing also restricts this option. The folded-back "gear locker" outside doesn't look like an easy space to put a pack, and it would be leaning against the tent wall, or possibly having the hip belt poke out from under the awning, getting wet. I could be wrong, it's sometimes hard to get an impression of size on a video.

I'm sure that the narrower footbox is a weight-saving strategy; I've never understood it though in terms of livability of the tent. 3 pound weight isn't quite enough for me to switch tents. Our current tent is split between the 2 of us; the Flashlight one of us would end up carrying the whole thing. The pitch looked really easy, though. The other reason I haven't been able to get Bill to switch is that he likes how easy it is to set up a free-standing tent. The few times we tried a tarp tent he didn't want to have to practice setting it up; having to fiddle with the stake settings to get the tent to work right just was not something he was willing to do.

Warning: we are not ultralight hikers, we are lightweight hikers who will not sacrifice comfort for a lower weight on a gear sheet. So, in a way, we are sort of your target market.

Mark Rash
(markrvp) - M

Locale: North Texas
Thanks Michael on 11/13/2013 15:11:50 MST Print View

Thanks to Michael for taking the time to discuss his thinking and strategies. As a Scoutmaster, it's really hard for me to get parents of 12-14 year-old boy scouts to even consider something like a tarptent or hexamid shelter. I can, however, convince them that a Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 at 3.5 lbs. is better than a Wal-Mart tent that weighs 7 lbs. I'm sorry to see that the Clip Flashlight 2 is going away as that was about the most expensive lightweight tent I could get scouts to go for. I am, however, stoked to see WHY the designs have changed.

Michael, please keep us in the conversation.

Michael Glavin
(gmontlake) - MLife

Locale: Cascades and Selkirks
Re: Thanks Michael on 11/13/2013 15:46:35 MST Print View

Will do! Note that the new Flashlight 2 comes in two builds, with the standard build at $259 /3lb, 6oz. and the UL version at $359/ 3 lb, 0 oz.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Review part II on the New Down Quilt from Sierra Designs with built in hood and hand pockets on 11/15/2013 01:10:39 MST Print View

AmmonBruce,

Thanks for taking the time to give us a review of your experience with the SD quilt.

Eagerly waiting for Part III.

Even though the thread has turned mostly into a tent discussion, I am sure that I am not alone in wanting to hear about this innovative quilt design.

I think that the hand pockets and the built in hood are brilliant and innovative concepts that we have not seen before.

Your report will help shed light to see how well these ideas work in the field.

@ Michael,

It really is a treat to see you hear to engage the community with your insider's perspective and to solicit feedback....definitely can see your passion for what you are doing and what direction you are taking SD into the future.

I am also really happy to see that the BPL community has welcomed you vs. being negatively critical as opposed to constructively critical.

Going into this thread, page by page, I was cringing at the thought that I might see comments attacking you for being part of "big business".

Anyway, really enjoying reading this great discussion.

Tony

Ammon Bruce
(AmmonBruce) - M

Locale: South Eastern Washington State
Review part IIl on the New Down Quilt from Sierra Designs with built in hood and hand pockets on 11/16/2013 19:45:35 MST Print View

Part lll

Positions and Performance

On your back:
Well on my back I was unable to use the hand pockets do to how high they were. So, I pulled the quilt up to my neck and the hand pockets keep the warmth in like baffles.
Rated 10/10

The hood worked great well on my back. Head and face stayed warm all night and fit great for a size 8 head. I found no moister in the morning anywhere around the mouth opening. I thought I would, but due to a great designer the quilt remained dry. The hood felt soft against my face. My brother has claustrophobia and the hood bothered him.

Rated 10/10 for back sleepers.

On your Side:
I tried using both pockets and found that it did not wrap well around me. It left gaps for air lose(like in the Prolite video on YouTube)down by the knees. Both he and I are big guys and had to adjust to MAKE it fit. Solution: only use one hand pocket. Sleeped on my side with the top pocket and some air lose when I moved to switch sides. Sleeped warm and cozy over all.
Rated 8/10

You can us the Hood with a little adjustment , but works better for a back sleeper.
Rated 9/10

On your Stomach:
Hand pockets are your two best friends well sleeping on your stomach. Works great!! Wraps you warm and tightly. Here is where the hand pockets features shines.
Rates 10/10

Well you can't use the hood well on your stomach, the opening is designed to let no air out. So it acts like a extra layer to keep your head warm, bonus!
Rated 10/10

Remember that I am at the big and tall side of the scale. I believe that a smaller person would not have the side sleeper draft problems like I did. You would find it more like a 10/10 rating.

My rating is based on Features, Warmth, Comfort and overall Quality of sleep.

Conclusion......

Ammon Bruce
(AmmonBruce) - M

Locale: South Eastern Washington State
Review Conclusion on the New Down Quilt from Sierra Designs with built in hood and hand pockets on 11/16/2013 20:59:37 MST Print View

Conclusion:

This is not a ultralight Quilt. The Backcountry Quilt is more like the missing link between Ultralight and light hiking. No cuben fiber here,but take the ZPacks quilt and you have to wear a separate down hood with that; which is the way you want it. Now look at this Quilt for whom its' target audience is, every one else.

Going to REI or MooseJaw you don't find quilts with these helpful features. So for everyone else this brings them one step closer to Ultralight hiking and that is a good thing. Also you don't find $250 6'2" 32* degrees hypo phobic down quilts anywhere.

So come April 2014, go try one out and see how it fits you. I had three warm and comfortable night sleep in 30* degree weather.

This is your Big and Tall review. If it works for me, it should work for you!

Tester:
Ammon Bruce

Side note: I have no affiliations with Sierra Designs or Michael Galvin. I was given nothing to try this quilt or write this review. Just a thank you message from Michael. I payed to ship it back to Michael. Thanks for your time.

Jim Klazek
(Klazek) - M
Re: Re: Thanks Michael on 01/10/2014 11:59:12 MST Print View

Just saw the revised Flashlight 1P on the REI site. I think you pretty well nailed it this time (see Section Hikers review of a prototye which was subject to change); of course tinkerers and moders like myself will always do our thing with it.


I'll have to get a few outings with it, but I'm thinking of moding the door flap ( 2 anchoring points) to the gear shed door. I would add another panel which could open up to about 1/2 the center distance of the main door. This would allow more protection in blowing rain, wind, etc., to allow getting the pack in and out without getting everything wet and also for cooking. For normal use the panel would fold back under the original flap (original closure position) until needed again.

This will be my new 3-season tent. My Tarptent Scarp 1P (solid interior & crossing poles) will now only be my winter and severe weather tent.

Well done Mike G, well done.