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Re: Quilt advise, please

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Quilt advise, please
June 20, 2016 11:34AM
I'm going to give a try to sleeping under a quilt instead of in a mummy bag. Reasons are complicated (and boring) but it stems from a bad back. Mummy bag keeps legs in a position that hurts. Also could use some more curve at the spine (back sleeper).

Searches showed several threads over the years. Manufacturers that were given good marks:
1) Jacks R Better
2) Montbell
3) Feathered Friends
4) Western Mountaineering (?)

I sleep from 7-10k' + elevation, generally between June-October. I have a hunch that I'll give snow excursions (solo, unfortunately) at try soon, but may or may not like it. (The brochures look inviting though...)
I sleep warm. Initially I generally struggle with being too hot in my Marmot Atom (40F mummy) and lay it over me. As the night progresses I get cold and have to climb in, but am always fussing to stay warm but not get sweaty.

The possible benefits of a quilt for me are:
1) I can use like a blanket at home: stick body parts under/out as needed to regulate temperature
2) I can splay legs to any position (that fits in the tent) for more options for comfortable back
3) When with wife, if two quilts can be zipped together on one side that could add some more warmth (sharing body heat)

I still do cinch up the mummy drawstrings occasionally when it gets cold. When I use the mummy bag without zipping it, the cold air seeping in seems to make a big difference. Concerns:
1) A quilt isn't warm enough, or air seeping in is a problem; having to lash it to a pad to keep the sides tucked in defeats the purpose of a quilt over a bag.
2) I know that compressed down doesn't provide warmth, but never really thought it through. Does that mean that other than being enclosed (from drafts) I'm wasting half the bag (the bottom) for no value?
3) I'm toying with using a full-length closed-foam (Z-rest?) pad and a half-length inflatable pad. The long foam to keep my heels/legs off the ground (warm) and the inflatable on top for even more insulation, and more comfort with greater flex/give.

I will buy all this and try it out before getting in the backcountry, of course. I may even look for a "down hat/hood" - if such a thing exists - to give the same head/neck/face warmth of a cinched mummy bag when using a quilt.

Finally, if anyone has suggestions on a light (inflatable?) item that I could use under my knees (flattening curvature of spine when on my back) that may help too. I've tried beach balls but the spherical shape makes it hard to keep in place. A cylindrical "roll" shape might work better. But it has to pack down small and light (can't be a typical foam physical therapist type of thing).

Am I missing something? Any particular advantages/disadvantages I've missed? Significant brand advantages? (I'd prefer to buy once - even at higher price - and enjoy the benefits and longer lifetime rather than replace).

Thanks in advance for any help.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/20/2016 11:59AM by ags.
avatar Re: Quilt advise, please
June 20, 2016 12:51PM
Enlightened Equipment is another brand you should put on your list (that's what I have and many on BPL do).

Attaching a quilt to straps around your pad does not defeat the purpose of a quilt over a bag. You don't connect the two sides together under you, even with the quilt attached to pad straps you can leave it open beneath you, letting the pad provide the bottom insulation and giving you more room (usually for less weight) than a bag.

Compressing the down insulation under you in a bag is one of main reasons backpacking quilts were invented in the first place. You are correct, the down you are lying on is compressed, so it's not insulating, so it's dead weight.

Many people use a combination air pad and foam pad, but some find the "drop" uncomfortable (the sudden height difference between say a 2" air pad and a 1/4" foam pad). You can supplement both the insulation value and the height disparity by putting your pack under your legs as well. Gossamer Gear torso air pads taper, they are taller at the head end than at the bottom end to minimize the drop.

Yes there are down hoodies and hats, for example Zpacks, Enlightened Equipment, Black Rock Gear, several others.

Some quilts have a sewn footbox, in which case it cannot be opened fully to use as a "blanket" at home. Be sure you get a style that allows you to open it fully, for example the Enlightened Equipment Revelation but not the Enigma, if opening it flat like a blanket is important to you. That style weighs slightly more (an ounce or two) because of the hardware that allows you to open it (zippers, drawstrings, snaps, etc).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/20/2016 12:53PM by JRinGeorgia.
Re: Quilt advise, please
June 20, 2016 04:44PM
The EE Revelation looks very interesting. The lead time is very long, may be a deal-killer (for this season). Looks like nice stuff though. I will call to see if there is any ready-to-ship inventory that is not listed online. I don't care about color.
Re: Quilt advise, please
June 20, 2016 04:44PM
I like a rectangular mummy rather than form-fitting for the reasons you mention.
If really angular positions, or long-limbed, you might want to get the largest size possible. I have not looked lately at brands, etc.
The rectangular mummy solves the anatomy problem AND the air-creeping-under-the-edge-of-the-quilt issue.
I don't like the clammy feel of sleeping directly on an air or foam mattress, so having even "useless" compressed down under me is still. desireable..
Re: Quilt advise, please
June 20, 2016 06:08PM
You raise a good point. My wife was thinking of creating some type of silk cover for the inflatable for a better feel on skin. That doesn't address the air draft problem of course.
avatar Re: Quilt advise, please
June 20, 2016 08:09PM
I use an unzipped mummy that still has a toe box when unzipped as a quilt for all four seasons. The same bag. A z-rest under the tent and a long neo-air inside the tent. I wear silkies when it's not too cold and heavy thermals when it is. The main way to avoid the "clamies" is to be covered top and bottom. If it's really cold then my down pants and jacket are worn to bed also. I find that the unzipped mummy used as a quilt is large enough to drape over me without having cold drafts unless I toss and turn too much and displace the thing. It's easy to get under it again, just pull the top edge while your feet are in the toe box and it will center itself.

If in a one-man tent the quilt will stay centered and there will be no drafts. I use a two-man tent mostly so there is some displacement once or twice a night but it's no big deal. The freedom of movement is makes a draft or two a small price to pay.



Old Dude
Re: Quilt advise, please
June 20, 2016 09:07PM
I find it remarkable that the "things that everyone knows" - like use a down mummy bag - to be *the* way to do things, is not always so.
I'm not a gadget collector, but I will admit that I do enjoy thinking through all the gear and methods and strategies, and constantly improving (or trying, and learning a lesson along the way).

Is the TR Z Lite Sol something special? I understand it folds down nicely for strapping to the pack (the "z" part) and appears to have a (heat) reflective foil layer, but if its just glorified CCF, that's a lot of money for a name, folds and waffle texture (size regular $45 @ REI, syrup not included).

Is it worth getting regular length and having legs on inflatable and Z Lite, or just get the short length? Not looking to save money as much as avoid carrying something unnecessary. I'll have to pack this on top of my pack, underneath the top pack. The straps at the bottom/back of my pack hold fishing poles, camp chairs, (sometimes) machete.
Re: Quilt advise, please
June 21, 2016 02:06PM
Quote
ags
(sometimes) machete.

I missed this earlier..

a machete?

Why? Thats a lot of weight and well, even the trail crews leave the shrub, they worry about the logs..

I just push my way through the shrub. And trust me... between Basilbop and Chick-on, I've been led through shrub you have to walk on, and can't see through and can't see the sky. But you can still push your way through. Yah it's a pain, but... clearing a route in the wilderness, to me that's leaving a trace... You use this thing on trail? I'm seriously curious. And does it work on buckbrush?

Gotta say, on one hand I've sometimes thought Harden Gardens or Pate at overgrown lush times was a bit much, but I wouldn't want to deprive then next hiker of pushing their way through the flowers, either...
Re: Quilt advise, please
June 23, 2016 11:50AM
The machete isn't a joke, but it's seldom used. I agree with your sentiments about leave-no-trace and such.

It's actually the result of a bad experience in Hells Canyon NRA (Snake River between OR & ID; deeper than the Grand Canyon). Found myself & wife with the only way out (for many river miles) though a narrow, steep-walled side canyon. Maps showed a trail. BLM (or whoever administers the land) does not maintain trails any more (apparently - was designated wilderness in the past 20 years or so IIRC). It turns out that the only way out was through a stand of shoulder-high sticker bushes wrapped in poison ivy. It was a mess. We ended up wearing rain gear to keep the oils off us (it was 90+ degrees) and hacking through with hiking poles. From then on I decided that a machete is something that can be useful (and reasonable) in certain situations.

Edit: I'll say you've prompted me to re-think this. I've been through Tiltill Valley when the ferns are thick and about eye level. I'd never think of hacking that back - just push through and enjoy. I've been through the southern end of Y-Meadow in Emigrant fields of lupine chest-high and wouldn't think of hacking that back - just push through and enjoy. I suppose I've given myself a waiver for "leave no trace" when it comes to really nasty stuff. I am very prone to poison ivy/oak. I prefer not be ooze blood walking through brambles. But I'd not kill a rattler in the path, even though it could hurt me. On the other hand, a rattler will eventually leave. Once dead it's dead. A bush won't leave, and it will grow back. But it does leave a scar for the next person until it does. Yet they wouldn't be able to get through either... No easy answer, but you make a good point.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/25/2016 08:38PM by ags.
Re: Quilt advise, please
June 20, 2016 09:01PM
I have the 20 degree Enlightened Equipment Revelation and I love it. I've taken it down to the 20s and did not have issues with drafts - the straps kept it in place and I still had at least as much room as I did in the Big Agnes semi-rectangular bag it replaced. This was important to me since I am a tossing & turning stomach sleeper. Also, I thought I would be uncomfortable in direct contact with my pad (Thermarest Neoair Xlite) but it turns out that this doesn't bother me at all. I'm 5'-2" and got the 5'-6" so I could tuck the extra length around my neck and the lower part of my face. Paired with a beanie this works well for me.

I'm not sure if there are many quilts that would feature a long enough zipper to be able to connect two (zippers add weight). The Revelation just has one short length of zipper (maybe 2 feet) to form a footbox.

If you do get one, I would suggest that you not use it at home like a blanket. But then, I have a toddler at home who doesn't mix well with delicate ultralight things.
Re: Quilt advise, please
June 20, 2016 09:13PM
The only time I plan to use at home is on the trial run in the back yard before getting out for the real thing. I hate to learn (the hard way) when using things on the trail for the first time.

The down hood ("Hoodlum"winking smiley may be a good idea too. I just don't know.

The Jacks R Better quilts look good, and are in stock. The EE may be even better (I can't tell until I try) but it looks like they have a very long lead time (beyond the end of this summer season).

Can anyone comment from first-hand experience (separately) on the differences between
a) design features/usabiliy/comfort
and
b) build quality/durability?
avatar Re: Quilt advise, please
June 21, 2016 04:33AM
One key difference is the baffle design, which may matter depending on your sleep style. JRB has horizontal baffles, which might not be the best choice for a toss-and-turn sleeper because your body movements during the night could shift down within the baffles from the center (over your body) down to the sides, leaving you cold and needing to shift the down during the night. EE has "shiftless" baffles, which are mostly vertically oriented over you. If the baffles are overstuffed or if you don't move around much during the night this shouldn't matter much.

I haven't actually used a JRB but have camped with someone who does, build quality on both brands is excellent. "Durability" isn't really an issue since with typical use you aren't treating your quilt roughly.

You can often find used quilts for sale on backpackinglight.com's Gear Swap. Caveat Emptor, but most sellers and buyers on there are trustworthy.
Re: Quilt advise, please
June 21, 2016 01:18PM
Quote
JRinGeorgia
One key difference is the baffle design, which may matter depending on your sleep style. JRB has horizontal baffles, which might not be the best choice for a toss-and-turn sleeper because your body movements during the night could shift down within the baffles from the center (over your body) down to the sides, leaving you cold and needing to shift the down during the night. EE has "shiftless" baffles, which are mostly vertically oriented over you. If the baffles are overstuffed or if you don't move around much during the night this shouldn't matter much.

I haven't actually used a JRB but have camped with someone who does, build quality on both brands is excellent. "Durability" isn't really an issue since with typical use you aren't treating your quilt roughly.

I have the JRB High Sierra Sniveler and have never noticed a down shifting issue and I sleep on my side and rotate every so often through the night. My quilt is very lofty and i haven't experienced any cold spots unless I accidentally pulled the quilt down over my hip too tightly. Rare.

I wear clothes to sleep, so sleeping on the Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm is not a problem for me.

I think the HEAD HOLE in the JRB Sniveler is AMAZING. It allows me to use it in very cold temps over my regular down jacket and pants when eating meals or otherwise lounging and it's very cold. I run cold however.. so YMMV. BUT I LOVE it. I may look silly in it, but suffice to say on Whitney one morning, I was the only one who was super comfy and could just sit and watch for sunrise. Others had to keep moving about because they were cold.

I've rambled on about my JRB quilt in other posts. I'm short on time, so i'm not going to go on too long here.

Full quilt, can make it square and drape it over tent if sun is too hot and you are in tent for whatever reason. I've run into this scenario last couple of months while my back was bad. Last summer, used when eating in tent in morning because bugs were too bad outside, but sun made tent HOT. That's a very handy thing. Draping the mummies, don't get as much coverage.

Can attach two JRBs if you want - the website mentions this.

JRB and others sell down hoods and stuff, though I rarely find I need the full insulated hood/balaclava.

I use all year round. This past winter, experienced coldest night I've had in Sierra - around 0 F. I used quilt, had to keep it tucked, but I have quilt wings to make this easier. and wore my down jacket and pants (Western Mountaineering). Was cold, but made it through. many times 20s, ice on quilt inside bivy sack, ice on bevy sack, toasty warm.

I have several back issues (can explain offline if you really want to know), so quilt is much more comfy for me to get my legs and back into proper position. I use an oblong Granite Gear event dry bag with extra clothes in it between my legs. No added weight to base gear to have my leg pillow!

The NeoAir is on the TR Zrest sol short (I'm 5'5"winking smiley. I don't inflate the NeoAir too much so my hip and shoulder can conform so I don't get sore. The Zrest is also used in the boat and sitting around camp/during breaks.

Past bags include a number of Western Mountaineering bags. And they were warm, but too restrictive for me. WM makes great gear. Wish they made a great quilt, but they don't.

Katabatic Gear makes very high quality quilts too. Friends of ours have theirs. But I love my head hole. And ability to go full open quilt!

Have fun finding what works for you!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/26/2016 09:58PM by JustKeepWalking.
Re: Quilt advise, please
June 24, 2016 11:07AM
Quote
JustKeepWalking
I used quilt, had to keep it tucked, but I have quilt wings to make this easier.

What are "quilt wings"?
Re: Quilt advise, please
June 24, 2016 12:41PM
Quote
ags
Quote
JustKeepWalking
I used quilt, had to keep it tucked, but I have quilt wings to make this easier.

What are "quilt wings"?

Small extensions of nylon (no insulation) attached to the sides of the quilt that can be tucked in/under to keep drafts out. With JRB these are attached using the "Omni-tape" ("Velcro"winking smiley that is along the sides of the quilt:
Re: Quilt advise, please
June 25, 2016 07:17PM
Quote
basilbop
Quote
ags
Quote
JustKeepWalking
I used quilt, had to keep it tucked, but I have quilt wings to make this easier.

What are "quilt wings"?

Small extensions of nylon (no insulation) attached to the sides of the quilt that can be tucked in/under to keep drafts out. With JRB these are attached using the "Omni-tape" ("Velcro"winking smiley that is along the sides of the quilt:

The omni-tape only runs the length of the footbox, correct (about 20"winking smiley?
Re: Quilt advise, please
June 26, 2016 09:57PM
Quote
ags
Quote
basilbop
Quote
ags
Quote
JustKeepWalking
I used quilt, had to keep it tucked, but I have quilt wings to make this easier.

What are "quilt wings"?

Small extensions of nylon (no insulation) attached to the sides of the quilt that can be tucked in/under to keep drafts out. With JRB these are attached using the "Omni-tape" ("Velcro"winking smiley that is along the sides of the quilt:

The omni-tape only runs the length of the footbox, correct (about 20"winking smiley?

I had mine done especially for the quilt wings, so the Omni-tape runs the entire length. Also helps if I ever plan to connect two for double wide.
Re: Quilt advise, please
June 23, 2016 12:25PM
As others have mentioned, EE is a great option. They're an incredible value for what you get. I bought an EE Enigma 20 a few years ago when I first was interested in a quilt.

Last year, I ponied up and bought a Katabaic Palisade and it's amazing. They've very expensive, but the craftsmanship is second to none and the pad attachment system is the best around.

I haven't gone back to bags since trying quilts--big fan.

Here's a great overview on many of the quilts on the market...

http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Ultralight-Sleeping-Bag-Reviews
avatar Re: Quilt advise, please
June 27, 2016 02:37PM
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