View Full Version : Quilt vs. Bag: Worth the cost?

Old Hiker
04-28-2015, 20:02
I currently have an EMS 20* Down Under sleeping bag - 600 fill, 46 oz.

I'm looking at:
EE Revelation 20 - 800 fill downtek, long/extra wide - 26 oz
EE Enigma 20 - 800 fill downtek, long/extra wide - 26 oz

Hammock Gear Burrow 20 - 850 fill, long/wide, snaps - 1 oz overfill - 22 oz

I just bought an Osprey Volt backpack with is almost 2 pounds lighter than my JanSport, but slightly smaller, which is causing me to look at packing more efficiently.

Opinions, please, on:

1. Worth the 20-23 oz weight savings? Price is sort of no problem right now. Need to decide fairly quickly as life will probably throw me a curve ball somehow.

2. Any difference in just unzipping my bag and using like a quilt?

3. Compressing any of the above quilts rather small for packing? My bag is loosely stored in the mesh bag.

4. Lower weight of a quilt, but factoring in things like hats and/or balaclavas for warmth where my bag hood does the job?

Appreciate any and all replies.

Mountain Bluebird
04-28-2015, 20:22
Tell us when you are starting out! Doing your next sectional starting in March is different from starting in mid-May--
Starting time might help resolve what kind of bag to take.


Old Hiker
04-28-2015, 20:30
Starting for the 2nd attempt on 29 Feb 2016. Should have plugged that in.

Nope - Hungarian daughter-in-law. Saw that on one of her friends FB page - translated and liked it.

Just Bill
04-28-2015, 21:30
What other bags you got?
Personally around 30* is when I think things tip in favor of a regular sleeping bag over a quilt. The weight savings can be minimal assuming that all other things are equal (construction, fill, rating, ect.) Especially if you consider hats and a bit of fiddle factor with a quilt to bust drafts. Hard to beat that nice mummy feeling when it's below 30.

That said, if you mean to use the bag for much longer into your hike (you won't be swapping bags) then a 20* quilt makes more sense, and a nice piece of down gear like any you mentioned is worth it long term.

While that trick works well enough for western folks, the "one quilt" thing is a bit of bust I think out east...
:-? Maybe instead of dropping $300 bucks on a 20* quilt (seeing as you own a 20* bag), maybe you deal with that one for first few weeks and put the money towards a nice 35* quilt that you will use for the bulk of your trip.

Actually for about $300 you could pick up a 50* and a 30* synthetic and have a full three season set too...

Why the rush... Tax refund burning a hole in the Old Hiker's pocket? :D

If'n you ain't in a huge hurry, I may have those synthetic quilts to sell ya soon enough...

04-28-2015, 21:30
If you are starting in February I would take a true 20 deg bag/ quilt. Have you used your EMS bag comfortably at 20 deg? Otherwise it's a bit tougher to compare. That said my little brother started this year with a Cats Meow 20 deg synthetic bag March 6 and I know that things was not still 20 deg as it has been packed for months at a time compressed for a total of years (he has had it for 10 years) so it can be done. I will say that $255 for a true (per reviews) 20 deg quilt is a damn good price in my opinion. I just received a 40 deg quilt from EE that I ordered in March so I can't comment on the temp rating yet (I unfortunately won't be able to use it for a few weeks). The quilt is awesome though. Factor in the weight savings which could help with an injury if that is what happened last attempt (I don't know what your weight was or what happened). I have also never thru hiked so take this with a grain of salt. If it were me, I would pull the trigger on it and do it soon (im frugal as can be a know what it means when "other things could come up". Just to tempt you a bit, here are a few pics of mine. 3064930650

04-29-2015, 09:15
I've only brought my Hammock Gear 20 quilt down to 35 or so but I was nice and toasty, and that was with a questionable 1.3 R-Value sleeping mat (which I would have normally used a 3+ if I knew it was going to get into the 30's that night).

I got the wide and long version like you're looking at and it's 24.48 ounces with stuffsack and 2 ounces of overstuff. Keep in mind HG's wide is as wide as the EE regular width if my memory serves. And it fits this very large guy (6'1" 280 pound, very wide shoulders) perfectly.

It was replacing's a high-end 15 montbell super spiral down hugger which weighed 15 ounces more, and was even a full $150 more than the HG quilt it was superseded by. It's all going to come down to temperature range like Just Bill mentioned. See what you want then go from there. I would also keep in mind that I've never had a sleeping bag that kept me warm down to anywhere near its rating, but these HG quilts seem to be a lot more accurate with their ratings (for me at least).

04-29-2015, 12:01
I have a Revelation 20*. The small packed size and light weight are what attracted me, but the ability to sleep on my side is what sold me on it. There is definitely a bit of learning curve to getting it setup properly (marking my pad with a Sharpie where the straps should go, for example), but well worth it.

I do have a down hoodie to go with it - http://katabaticgear.com/shop/windom/ but at 1.5oz, the weight penalty is not too bad. The combination is still a bit less than a comparable down mummy bag. I have had the combination down into the mid-20's and was plenty warm. The other weight penalty with a quilt will be a pillow. You can either use a stuff sack with clothes (basically no penalty there, since you would be carrying it anyway), or a dedicated pillow.

I do not have a dedicated price per ounce budget, but figure about $275 for the EE quilt and a savings of almost 20 oz. That is $13 per ounce saved. You will be hard pressed to find that cheap of a way to lower your pack weight elsewhere in your gear, especially in that large of a quantity.

04-29-2015, 13:30
March 1, 2016? Starting where?
A little historical weather data. Mid-February, 2015. Boone, NC at an elevation of 3,200 feet. Several consecutive days of below zero temperatures, like -10F and 20-30 mph winds. Much of the AT through NC-TN is above 5,000 feet. In other words, colder and windier than lower elevations.
Your 20F quilt might only be good enough to get you in trouble during March.
As for the quilts: Weight of down? Inches of loft? Total weight doesn't mean much in the function of down gear except to give you a rough idea of the weight of the shell.
Have fun! Stay warm.