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  1. #1
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    Default Climashield vs. Lamilite:

    Climashield sleeping bags and quilts are flooding into our world-big time. I am very interested in the new Mountain Laurel Designs ClimaShield XP quilts. But when I read their concise but very informative paragraph detailing the stuff, I thought; “Wait, I have been here before.”

    For years, I have been reading not concise, but very informative page after page of stuff saying the same things about Wiggy’s Lamilite sleeping bags. As I have been using two of their bags for almost twenty years-maybe I have already been there.

    And on the Wiggy’s web site they are using the term “Lamilite/Climashield (L/C). So I wonder, are they making Climashield as well as their own Lamilite and is there any difference between the two? If they are about the same, then I really want a MLD quilt as my Wiggy’s bags, while heavy, have served me well and maintained much of their loft since about 1989.

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    Default Climashield/Lamilite

    To answer my own question after digging deeper into the matter, I have found out the following: Western Nonwovens has made a constantly improving continuous filament fiberfill insulation for years that Wiggy’s laminates to their sleeping bag material without any quilting that they call Lamilite.

    Climashield is Western Nonwovens latest generation fiberfill product and it does not need to be quilted or laminated. So far, I have not found any good explanation of why it does not need to be secured. Mountain Laurel Designs claims that Climashield XP is much warmer than the same thickness/loft of down.

  3. #3

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    Ray Jardine says his insulation (climashield?) won't hold up without quilting loops.

  4. #4
    Registered User russb's Avatar
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    I wonder what adhesive is being used to attach the lamilite to the shell material and whether there is a DIY alternative?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by russb View Post
    I wonder what adhesive is being used to attach the lamilite to the shell material and whether there is a DIY alternative?
    Pieces of yarn (Jardine Loops) that go through the insulation and both shell and liner, tied off so as not to compress the insulation, installed on about a one foot grid.

  6. #6
    Registered User russb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by take-a-knee View Post
    Pieces of yarn (Jardine Loops) that go through the insulation and both shell and liner, tied off so as not to compress the insulation, installed on about a one foot grid.

    Perhaps I misunderstood the earlier post. I thought the lamilite was laminated to the shell without any quilting. I was wondering about the adhesive they used. I am familiar with quilting loops, I was wondering about an alternative. Sorry for being confusing.

  7. #7
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    My two Wiggy’s Lamilite bags are not quilted nor sewn thru, which makes for a simple neat design. The thinner summer weight bag, which seems to have one layer of Lamilite, has had some separation problems. As a summer bag, I could care less and have never complained about it. My latest summer bag is from Cabalas and it doesn’t have any insulation at all.

    The 20-degree bag seems to have two layers of Lamilite and I have never noticed any separation problems. Both bags are a little thinner than when I bought them about 1989. But I am still not complaining, as I have used them a lot. Wiggy’s is right about restoring loft by washing these bags. It does help. I consider my old 20-degree bag about a 35-degree bag now. Part of that is my age/metabolism not just the bag loft.

    Mountain Laurel Designs says that Climashield does not require through quilt stitching or a scrim stabilization layer. And Kifaru has stated that their Climashield bags are not quilted or glued or laminated. And they are built for hard-core military use. Time will tell. I wish I had one of their $553 twenty-degree MOB bags just so I could brag on how much I paid for it. It should last a lot of years, which makes it cheaper in the long run. Well-made gear always is.

  8. #8

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    Climashield, Lamilite, Polarguard, Polarguard HV, Polarguard 3D and Polarguard Delta are all variations on the same basic things. Namely, thin continuous polyester fibers coated with silicone, about 60" long each, that are laid on top of and side by side so as to form a continuous bat of insulation. It is very difficult to pull the insulation apart in the direction of the 60" fibers, but very easy to pull them apart in the opposite direction (the direction of the roll). If you secure all the 60" fibers at either end, then there is a limit to how far apart you can pull them, since they tend to snap back, the same way the strings on a guitar would snap back if you pull them apart. Of course, the fibers are not as tautly strung as the strings on a guitar.

    The differences in these insulations has to do with varying the following factors, most of which are tradeoffs:

    1) you can use more or less silicone. Silicone helps keep the fibers from matting together, but adds weight.
    2) you can make the fibers thicker or thinner. Thinner fibers conduct less heat through the fiber itself, but are less strong and so tend to mat more easily and hence don't give as much loft as thicker fibers for a given weight.
    3) you can make the fibers hollow, and then vary the ratio of hollow void to fiber. Hollow spaces add considerably to insulating value, and cut weight, but weaken the fiber somewhat, so that it tends to mat and lose loft more.
    4) you can change the shape of the fiber as seen in cross-section, from circular to triangular to something more complicated. The idea is that an irregular cross-section will cause more empty space when the fibers are pressed close to one another.

    Lamilite additionally glues the insulation to the shell fabric. This adds weight and doesn't completely eliminate the possibility of insulation pulling apart, since they only glue the top layer of fiber and the other fibers can pull apart from these, but it might help somewhat. Personally, I think the effect of Lamilite is mainly cosmetic as compared with not quilting the insulation at all.

    Yarn loop quilting is like reducing the length of the guitar strings in the analogy I mentioned above. The shorter the strings, the less you are able to pull them apart.

    There is nothing about Climashield XP that makes it have less need for quilting than Polarguard. Neither of these really needs quilting, at least for a top quilt, however I would recommend yarn-loop quilting for those making their own quilt. Quilting is more important for a bag, due to how the hips and shoulders tend to grind at the insulation underneath.

    The most effective way to quilt continuous fiber insulation is by shingling. That is, you cut those 60" fibers down to 12" or so, then sew one ends of these 12" long pieces onto the top shell and the o ther to the bottom shell. Then you overlap the next piece. The North Face uses shingling. This is a very expensive manufacturing method and so must be done in China. US made bags (military requires US manufacturing for milspec gear) cannot be made economically using the shingling technique.

    In my opinion and experience, the highest quality insulations are Climashield XP, Polarguard 3D and Polarguard Delta and all of these are essentially equal quality. That is, for a given weight per sqyd, they give the same insulating power. Be ware that the weights given by the manufacturers and the vendors are often very misleading. They may advertise 3oz/sqyd when it is really 4 oz/sqyd, for example. I am not sure what Wiggy is using as the basis for Lamilite, but I do know that his construction methods are very heavyweight. I would advise getting a North Face bag (Cat's Meow) over anything of Wiggy's. I make my own quilts of Climashield XP, only because that is what the vendors are selling these days. I wouldn't hesitate to use 3D or Delta as an alternative.

    All of the high-quality continuous fiber polyester insulations are greatly inferior to the short-staple insulations, at least for sleepign gear. That would include Primaloft, Thermolite, Thermoloft, LiteLoft, etc, etc.

  9. #9

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    Oops, I meant to say that all of the high-quality continuous fiber polyester insulations are greatly SUPERIOR to the short-staple insulations, at least for sleepign gear. That would include Primaloft, Thermolite, Thermoloft, LiteLoft, etc, etc. The reason is that the short staple insulations are either heavier per sqyd for a given amount of insulating power, or else are less durable. For clothing, it is a different story, since clothign has to be tightly quilted and there is so much shell fabric, zippers, etc that the weight and durability advantages of continuous fiber insulation tend to swamped by other factors.

  10. #10
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    Good stuff! Many thanks, RenoRoamer for all the information. I kinda figured that if anyone has it all sorted out it would be someone who is building his own sleeping gear. I was wondering what you think of Mountain Laurel Designs claim that Climashield XP is much warmer than the same thickness/loft of down.

  11. #11

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    That is true, but you need to read that claim very carefully. 1" of Climashield XP IS warmer than 1" of Polarguard Delta and also warmer than 1" of down. But 1" of Climashield also weighs more than 1" of Polarguard Delta and 1" of down. In the list of tradeoffs above, Climashield has chosen to use the microfiber approach. The fibers are thinner than those of Polarguard Delta and so they get less loft per unit weight (and hence less dead air spaces), but these thin fibers conduct heat less readily than those of Polarguard. From their web site, Climashield claims a 3% or 7% (they give their results twice, with conflicting data) improvement over the best competitor, which is obviously Polarguard Delta, and I believe that. So there was evidently room to tweak a small improvement over Delta (which was itself a minor improvement over 3D) but nothing huge.

    For a backpacker, the real question is this: which insulation gives the maximum warmth per unit weight, regardless of loft. Weight is what backpackers want to minimize. And the answer is clearly down. Climashield XP, like I noted above, is at most 7% better than Polarguard Delta with regards to weight, and much worse than down.

    Of course, these are laboratory conditions. I have used down in the past and my experience is that the weight advantages versus Polarguard 3D or Climashield XP disappear under field conditions. I am a side sleeper (on the ground, not in a hammock) and that makes a big difference, because down tends to fall off to the sides if using side-to-side baffles and you hip and shoulders are pushed way up into the air, leavign a cold spot on top. Down works better for back sleepers, I think. Also, down tends to mildew and stink unless you are careful to dry it frequently and that isn't always possible (especially on the AT). I've never had mildew in a 3D or XP quilt. Finally, down loses loft when it gets wet and thus doesn't offer the safety advantages of synthetics. For example, if you break a leg on a steep hillside and then have to spent the night there in the cold rain while waiting for help, you would be much better off with a synthetic than a down bag. I wouldn't worry too much about getting a down bag wet under normal conditions, however.

  12. #12

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    One more thing. Since we have now reopened the infamous down vs synthetics argument, I better clarify a few things. I said that, in my experience, the theoretical weight advantages of down over Polarguard 3D/Delta/Climashield XP tend to disappear in field conditions, especially for side sleepers (not using a hammock) when the down bag or quilt has side-to-side baffles, and when you take the other disadvantages of down into account. I was assuming a typical 30degF quilt/bag, meaning about 2" loft for the down and about 6 oz/sqyd of Polarguard 3D/Delta or Climashield XP. For bags intended for colder condition, down clearly overwhelms synthetics. But there is another approach to dealing with colder conditions. Namely, add some down pants and a down vest. Together with your fleece or other synethics top (which you would be carrying anyway in cold weather) and long underwear, these down clothes will easily take a 30degF bag/quilt down into single digits. The ultralite montbell down pants and inner snap vest weigh something like 12 oz total for a men's large. Because the down compartments are very small and the down is worn next to skin, it is much less prone to the disadvantages I mentioned in my previous post with regards to down. These montbell down pants and inner snap vest pack down very small, which is another reason to consider them as a way to supplement a synthetic bag in cold conditions, since cold weather synthetic bags are very bulky.

    So to summarize, what I use is a synthetic quilt (so-called 5 oz/sqyd which really weighs 6.5 oz/sqyd Climashield XP currently), fleece top and lightweight thermal bottoms for temperatures down to 20degF, then supplement with the Montbell down clothes and a fleece balaclava for anything colder than that. My quilt includes a hood, incidentally, and that makes a huge difference.

  13. #13
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    So in terms of a sleeping bag...considering the same brand (TNF). A bag with Polarguard Delta is better than a more expensive (yet same 0 degree temp rating) than a bag with PrimaLoft?

  14. #14

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    When you get to bags, there are other factors, like the design. Polarguad Delta in the shingled construction is almost certainly going to be more durable than primaloft. There is simply no easy way to stop the primaloft under your hips and shoulders (especially if you are a side sleeper) from being ground up, whereas this is less of a factor with polarguard in the shingle consturction method.

    I assume you are comparing the Pyxis (primaloft) and Snowshoe (polarguard). Note that the Pyxis weighs 2 oz LESS than the Snowshoe but the fill weight for the Pyxis is 5 oz MORE than for the Snowshoe. That means the shell/zipper/etc of the Snowshoe weighs 7 oz more than for the Pyxis, so we are comparing apples and oranges here. If the Snowshoe had been constructed using the same lightweight fabric/zipper/etc as the Pyxis, it would weigh 5 oz less.

    They don't say whether the Snowshoe is constructed with the shingle method (the 20degF Cat's Meow is), but I assume so since that is a North Face specialty. That is important, since I wouldn't buy a Polarguard bag (as opposed to a quilt) that didn't use shingling.

    Personally, I would buy a Polarguard Cat's Meow on sale from Campmor, and supplement with down pants and down snap inner vest from Montbell plus whatever top insulation such as a fleece that you would be carrying anyway. The total weight would then be about 3 lbs 6 oz, which is similar to the Pyxis, but more flexible, more compact, more durable, and warmer.

  15. #15

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    that 3 lbs 6 oz figure I gave doesn't count the fleece, since you would be carrying that anyway. It only counts a regular size men's Cat's Meow plus a size large montbell down pants and down inner snap vest. If you buy the Cat's Meow from Campmor for $120, and the Montbell pants and vest cost $230 together, for a total of $360. The Pyxis lists for $249. So the combination I suggest IS considerably more expensive, but it is also much more flexible and more durable. You might someday decide to replace the Cat's Meow with a quilt, and then you would only lose the $120 for that while the down pants and vest would still be usable.

  16. #16
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    Roamer,
    You would be correct about the Pyxis and the Snowshoe. I'm certainly not stuck to TNF either, I am just searching for the best (and right) buy. I'll give you a bit more info. I will be using a clark UL hammock. I WILL be bringing along a foam pad. I also have a snap down vest (lands end) that seems to work well, however I have not slept in it yet. I am leaving March 26 of this year. I have been told I don't need a 0 degree bag, I'm just worried about the bottom being cold (due to the hammock). With that in mind, any other suggestions (while still trying to keep cost down. I'm a soon-to-be college grad with little money)?

  17. #17

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    Bobcat13: Hammocks are unknown territory for me. But my impression is that even a 0 deg bag will do little for you on the bottom of a hammock because of compression and exposure to the air. So my recommendation now would be to get an inexpensive 20 deg bag, then open it up and use it as a quilt. As I understand, hammocks tend to push everything together on top of you so the effect would be to increase loft and warmth (I think), so I see no reason for going to a 0 deg bag with respect to the top of you.

    As for insulating the bottom, ask the hammock hangers about that. Probably the best thing is to bring along some extra pads (especially the wider pads) at first and then discard them if you don't need them. I wouldn't spend much money on anything until you really understand the in's and out's of hammocks, since I can easily see how you might want to change everything after some field experience.

    A 20 deg bag plus foam pad and a basic headnet is a good idea even with the hammock, since you might be forced to use the shelters in case of problems with the hammock.

  18. #18
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    bobcat13 go and check out http://hammockforums.net.
    all the hangers will answer your questions..
    Peanuts (aka i.j.)
    "A womans place its on the trail"

  19. #19
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    RenoRoamer, I am with you-a side sleeper-on the ground. I once shared a tent with a back sleeper who didn’t move all night and sometimes slept with his eyes open. I couldn’t stand it and moved out. Solo shelters solve a lot of social problems.

    So if increased insulation density equals greater warmth at a cost of greater weight that is how over filling down baffles without increasing baffle height makes for a warmer bag. I have been told that down overfill helps decrease the problem of the down falling away and shifting when you don’t want it to.

    Using my down LuxuryLite V Bag as a sleeping bag, I tend to get cold spots where my top shoulder is pressing up against and compressing the down fill. The bag when zipped up is just a touch too snug for me. Used as a quilt every thing is looser and no cold spot on top. I have laid a light synthetic quilt over my down bag/quilt without very much loss of loft, but you have to keep things loose.

    The rest of this post is more about sleeping quilts so I will repost it later as a new topic and hopefully you and some of the other quilt builders will respond to the new “Hooded Quilts and other Neat Stuff,” thread.

    My LuxuryLite V Bag has become my 2-inch single layer top loft/60-inch wide at the shoulders/30.2 ounce/$125 down sleeping quilt. With its full-length center zipper, the hood is at top dead center and I can pull it over my top shoulder and tuck around my neck or cover my ear and the side of my head.

    So I am very curious about the details on your quilt hood. And what cover and lining material you prefer to sandwich your Climashield between. What loft and overall weight are you looking for to handle all the different conditions? And what size quilt in relation to your own physical size?

    My next project is to take two summer weight synthetic quilts and lay one over the other for colder weather. I would offset the quilts by about a foot. That will give me two layers over me but only one layer on each side where the now wider quilt drapes around me or I tuck it under. I intend to experiment with two cheap poncho liners and a handful of safety pins and build in some sort of a footbox. Then if it all works out, build two lighter quilts, hopefully, about a pound apiece. Or buy two different sized quilts to do the same thing.

  20. #20

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    <i>So if increased insulation density equals greater warmth at a cost of greater weight that is how over filling down baffles without increasing baffle height makes for a warmer bag.</i>

    This may be true in the case of down, but I wouldn't say that increased density ALWAYS gurantees greater warmth. It does in the case of Climashield XP versus Polarguard 3D, but those are very similar insulations, so only one variable is being changed. Solid copper is very dense and very heavy but makes a very poor insulator, to take an extreme example.

    My quilt hood is really very simple. Let's suppose the quilt measures 54" inch wide at the top. Then fold in half, so that the folded width is 27". Sew up the first 16" towards the side. That leaves a breathing hole of 20" circumference towards the center, or about 6.5" diameter. This breathing hole works great when lying on your back, and works okay when lying on your side (you have to pull the hole down near to your face).

    To avoid drafts around the edges and hood, I added a 7" wide draft skirt.

    I used 5 oz/sqyd Climashield XP (which actually weighs 6.5 oz/sqyd) and Momentum from Thru-hiker.com. I am a 71" tall male, weighing 165 lbs. The quilt is 88" long total, consisting of 42" tapering from 54" at the head to 52" at the middle, following by 46" tapering from 52" at the middle to 37" at the foot. Total weight is about 30oz. I like my quilts large enough that I don't have to worry about draft, even that means heavierweight. I spend a lot of time in bed, after all, so I want to be comfortable.

    I hesitate to give temperature ratings and loft ratings are misleading when comparing different types of insulation. But based on my experiences with Polarguard 3D quilts over the years, I see no reason why this Climashield XP quilt won't be comfortable down to near freezing for me, with just shorts and a light nylon shirt. I'm pretty accustomed to cold. To get to 20 degF, I would supplement with my polarguard pullover (Patagonia Micropull) and thermal bottoms. To go below 20 degF, I would add down pants and a down vest (Montbell inner pants and snap inner vest). I'm not too keen on temperatures below 20degF however.

    I happen to have a custom-made hooded down quilt from Nunatak which is loftier than the Climashield XP quilt and lighterweight too, but it is something of a nuisance to keep dry and without drying, it tends to mildew. There is also the problem of the down falling off to the side when it gets damp and loses loft. So that's why I'm going back to synthetic, even if it weighs more and is less warm.

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