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Bag mode/quilt mode comparison
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Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Bag mode/quilt mode comparison on 11/28/2013 08:38:41 MST Print View

Did some back yard tenting last night. It was a still, foggy night with temps hanging around 30 degrees F.

Quilt Mode
I partially unzipped a sleeping bag and used it as a quilt. Had a fleece hood and balaclava for my head. Gave up after about an hour. I just couldn't get warm enough to go to sleep.

Bag Mode
Zipped up same sleeping bag and used it as one would use a typical hooded sleeping bag. Much warmer. Was able to warm up and go to sleep in about a half hour.

I've done this experiment several times while backpacking also. Results always come out the same with temps around 30 or lower. With warmer temps I don't notice much difference because both modes are more than warm enough.

My tentative conclusion is that, for me, I get more warmth per ounce from a fully enclosed sleeping bag than I do from a quilt. I have a large bulbous hairless head and I'm guessing that it is best to keep it within the bag where its heat can be shared with the heat generated by the rest of my body. If I had a small tick-like head the quilt might work better for me.

Edited by lyrad1 on 11/28/2013 08:47:37 MST.

James Klein
(jnklein21) - M

Locale: Southeast
relative warmth on 11/28/2013 10:24:01 MST Print View

A couple of considerations that I think may tip the conclusion of your test in favor of bag:

• you didn't have equal insulation on your head vs the balance of your body in quilt mode.

• when using a bag in quilt mode you have extra insulation not put to good use (a blanket or quilt generally requires less fabric to cover you up).

• bag has a zipper that could be exchanged for lofty insulation.

The conclusion I draw from your test is: with equal fabric/insulation a quilt will be cooler than a hooded bag with equal loft. But I also know the quilt (if properly sized) would be lighter.

Adding a down balcalava and enough insulation to make the quilt equal in weight and I pretty sure the quilt would tend to be warmer - down to some temperature. The temp an equal weight bag will start to come out ahead will IMO depend largely on restless you are in you sleep.

Thanks for posting your results.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: relative warmth on 11/28/2013 12:40:22 MST Print View

James,

Good points. Hard to get a real life apples to apples comparison of things.