Rating: 3 / 5
I hike primarily in IN and MI; hot, muggy summers and fairly cold winters. This is not alpine country but there is a wide variation in conditions. This year I have been using a Montbell UL SS Down Hugger #3 (last year's 725 fill-power version) and so far, always as a quilt; I've yet to sleep with it zipped up. My pad is a Thermarest ProLite 4 short.
Two areas where my sleep options must be improved:
1- a lighter summer bag (the Montbell #3 is warmer and heavier than necessary)
2- I'll need more than the #3 for late fall and winter cold
I've been thinking that a synthetic quilt would be just the ticket; it would serve as a lighter summer bag and, when used as a cold weather over-bag, would not only provide additional insulation but allow body moisture to condense in the synthetic outer layer, not the down of the Montbell.
So, when the sale of selected Cocoon products was announced, I jumped on the Pro 90 quilt. The PRO 90 Quilt is marketed as "aimed mainly at summer users in wetter climates or as an overbag for winter excursions". Although virtually no specs are provided on the product pages of BPL or Bozeman Mountain, I figured I could always send it back.
I ordered on Tuesday 10/23 and received the quilt Monday 10/29. It came in a stuff sack but it appears to be a generic sack, probably also used for the Pro 180, as it's definitely large for this quilt.
The quilt is well made, workmanship very good. I got the long version. Although temperature ratings are not available, it looks like it would serve well for summer sleeping.
Some dimensions & specifications (LONG size):
Overall length: 76" (from top edge to seam of bottom foot panel)
Total length of top edge: 52"
Panel at foot end: Oval shape approximately 12" high by 10" wide (measured on the outside from seam to seam)
Enclosed footbox length: 32"
Width at top end of footbox: 22 1/2" (outside measurement across folded bag)
Distance to connecting cord: 57 1/2" (from foot end panel seam)
Distance from connecting cord to top edge: 18 1/2"
Total insulated width at connecting cord: 50"
Thickness (loft): approx. 1" (double thickness)
Weight: 393g (13.9 oz) (including two tags I've not removed)
Weight of stuff sack: 25g (.9 oz)
Dimensions packed: approximately 12" by 7" dia.
Stuff sack Dimensions: 7 1/2" square bottom by 14"
The top corners of the quilt are fastened with a small plastic snap which was hard to snap together. The top edge has a shockcord draw string with a small toggle to permit snugging the bag around your shoulders.
The connecting tie near the upper end is a fixed cord with toggle; as furnished, there is no way to disconnect this cord from either side of the quilt. Maximun opening between quilt edges at this point is 13 1/2" and , of course, can be snugged up so that the edges almost touch.
Now my evaluation of the Pro 90's suitability for me as a summer quilt and winter overbag. Keep in mind that this review is based on handling and measuring this bag but does not reflect any actual use in the field.
First, for the intended use as a summer bag, a major design problem FOR ME was immediately obvious: this quilt does not have a "footbox", it has a "leg tube". The girth of the closed foot end is tight and the sewn tube comes midway between knee and hip (roughly my inseam). This makes turning from side to side as difficult as in a narrow sleeping bag.
When using my Montbell as a quilt, I unzip it all the way, pull it over me, stick my feet into the bottom of the bag, and relax. I sleep on my side and turn over occasionally, laying on my back to relax but not to sleep. The Montbell #3 handles this very well; it is more than large enough unzipped, feet are contained (the remaining footbox is about 14" deep) but can also easily be pulled out if too warm, and the rest of my body is not confined. It's important for me to have freedom of movement in the knees and legs as well as the upper body.
This long, narrow, sewn lower portion of the bag rules out the Pro 90 FOR ME as a summer quilt.
Second, the choice of upper body connector using a relatively short fixed cord and toggle for width adjustment makes getting into, and out of, the quilt a nuisance. It's position near the top of the quilt means you have to "enter" the quilt from the top much as you would a sleeping bag or pull it over your head while sitting up with your legs in the box. I am 6'1" and 200# and the cord is at chest level. There is no draping the quilt over your body; you somehow have to get the cord under you. The result, in combination with the long sewed lower portion, has more the feel of a trim girth sleeping bag than an open quilt.
Obviously this cord can be replaced but for this price, I would expect something a little more user-friendly. A thin webbing or strap, adjustable to a longer length (and possibly even all or partially elasticized) with a quick-release buckle or a longer cord with a mitten hook on one side would make much more sense. Being able to disconnect it from one side of the quilt is a no-brainer.
Last, the other touted use: as a winter overbag. I think it's fair to say that winter means temperatures well below 30 degrees (unless maybe you're talking Florida, not where most of us live). This means that a winter overbag should work over another sleeping bag to lower the combined temperature "rating" at least into the teens or below. Since a typical 3-season bag is usually rated around 30 degrees (and the Montbell is about perfect), then it would follow that a bag of that loft should be the basis for a winter system and an overbag must be cut generously enough to fit without compressing the inner bag's loft.
As you can see in the pictures below, there is no way the Montbell #3 will fit inside the "leg tube" without compressing the insulation, even with no person inside. The #3 is rated at 32 degrees and, from everything I've read on BPL and elsewhere, Montbell's ratings are fairly accurate (recognizing that all ratings in practice are subjective and vary by individual and conditions).
Keep in mind that this comparison is even worse than it looks. The quilt looks almost as wide as the Montbell but it is flat with nothing in it; put anything inside and it becomes narrower. The Montbell is fluffed but has no feet and legs inside; it will get larger.
The Pro 90 quilt looks OK as a summer bag if you can tolerate the feeling of being in what amounts to a half-bag and are willing to put up with the nuisance of the connecting cord (or modify it so the quilt can be draped over without the need to "enter" the quilt from the top). The actual temperature range will remain a mystery; whatever about 1/2" of Delta will give you.
As a winter overbag the Pro 90 looks to be entirely unsuitable. I'm not sure what sleeping bag will fit inside without reduction in loft, but I am very confident that the combination of this quilt and whatever thin bag will actually fit inside will not handle temperatures that I recognize as winter cold. There also is obviously not room inside for additional insulated clothing unless used by itself without an inner bag, in which case of course, it can no longer be described as an overBAG, just a quilt.
Since this quilt is too restrictive for me as a summer quilt (and I don't feel like rebuilding the footbox on a new, expensive piece of gear) and way too small to function as a winter overbag, I'll be selling or returning this quilt.
I am going to give this a 3 rating. Quality is good and as a summer quilt it looks OK; it doesn't deserve a 5 because of the very inconvenient tie cord. A winter overbag it is not and probably doesn't even deserve a 1.
Suggestions for Improvement (added after I realized I'd left this out):
1- BPL should not tout this as a winter overbag; it's too small as configured.
2- Replace the fixed cord with something else (as discussed above) that detaches from at least one side. This is an easy fix.
3- Modify the design to eliminate the long "leg tube". Make a true footbox 12" to 15" (at most) deep with the same triangular-shaped connecting piece so the quilt will be much more open.
4- Provide a properly-sized stuff sack.