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  1. #1
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    Default Opinions about Quilts

    Does anyone have any experience/input on quilts...here are the details...
    I currently have a Hammock Gear 20 degree Burrow quilt which keeps me warm June-Mid September in my hammock or tent.

    I sleep really cold and come late September-November I'm much too cold with the 20 degree quilt.

    I'd rather purchase a 0-5 degree quilt vs adding a liner and I feel I already have good, warm clothing to sleep in during September-November and don't want to add anymore clothing to my sleep system. I never feel cold underneath my body so I think my pad and underquilt(for hammock) are fine.

    I'm trying to decide between another Hammock Gear quilt vs a Nunatak or Jack's or other brand of quilt. There's a huge price difference and I'm wondering if some are better than others in anyones opinion? Is there a certain brand that's more comfortable, warmer, handles dampness better, etc.?

    Thanks for any opinions/experience you can share.

  2. #2
    Registered User Vegan Packer's Avatar
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    It's been years since I used a sleeping bag. Now that I am "mature," I want some room and comfort. I have an Enlightened Equipment Prodigy 50 Quilt, and I love everything about it, except . . .

    It doesn't seem to keep me warm enough at the lower end of the rated spectrum. At 60F, it is fine. At 55F, it still seems fine. When I was in Washington State last summer, once it got down to 48 inside my tent (by my watch thermometer), even with thick a thick fleece bottom and top over my thin long undies, I was still cold, and not just a little bit cold. I ended out running to REI and getting a puffy, and wearing that under the quilt did the trick.

    I am still trying to figure out what I am going to do about this coming season. If I go to a 40 degree version, that adds about 10 ounces to the weight. I've recently bought Patagonia Thermal Weight long undies, and a puffy vest. I am just not sure of which combination I should go use, or if I should just get the 40 degree quilt.

    I am leaning toward sticking with the lighter quilt, and then using various clothing options for colder conditions, because that allows the most flexibility, but I am not sure. I am not thrilled about wearing a bunch of restrictive clothing while trying to sleep.

  3. #3
    Rain Man's Avatar
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    Wearing a good cap? Got plenty of fuel in your belly?
    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35

    www.MeetUp.com/NashvilleBackpacker

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  4. #4
    Registered User Vegan Packer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
    Wearing a good cap? Got plenty of fuel in your belly?
    Yes, on both counts. At the time, I was wearing:

    Thin thermals base layer (Rohan Ultra Silver);
    Terramar TXO 3.0 Fleece top and bottom;
    Injinji liner socks;
    Montbell fleece cap, though the fleece was on the thinner side.

    It was only after adding a North Face Thermoball that I finally got warm enough.

    For next season, I got a vest version of the Thermoball, too. I am thinking that I can get rid of the fleece and lighter thermals, and instead wear the Patagonia thermals, use the vest and/or the puffy, and this only increases the weight by about 8.5 ounces, or I can remove items as it gets warmer. This also allows the vest and puffy for use on cool mornings and at night.

    If you've seen my video from the trip, you will see that I ate like a king. I cooked all of my meals in advance, and I dehydrated my food, and did freezer bag cooking, so I was eating all nutritious and high quality food. I also made sure to always have a hot beverage and warm meal before retiring.

    A contributing factor could be that I live in South Florida, and I am not used to the cold like I used to be when I lived up north, which was many years ago. In fact, since about 2003, I no longer even wore a wetsuit when diving, opting instead for a drysuit, even when the water temperature was 87F+, but this would allow me to comfortably dive for four hours without issue. I also hear that you become more easily affected by the cold as you "mature." I turn 56 at the end of this month.


  5. #5
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    What is your underquilt rated for? Infound that i can usually go 5 degrees lower than rated temps on EE quilts with base layers and a puffy, and thats about all I would want to push it and get a good nights sleep.

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    I think HG quilts are pretty much unbeatable. You can pay more, but you won't get better quality (or customer service!).
    Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. -Kahlil Gibran

  7. #7
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wi11ow View Post
    I'm trying to decide between another Hammock Gear quilt vs a Nunatak or Jack's or other brand of quilt. There's a huge price difference and I'm wondering if some are better than others in anyones opinion? Is there a certain brand that's more comfortable, warmer, handles dampness better, etc.?

    Thanks for any opinions/experience you can share.
    You need to define "better", then you can identify value.
    If you like your HG quilt- size, cut, weight, packability, water resistance... then bumping up to zero in the same model makes good sense.
    If you feel your HG quilt is lacking in some area- Identify what that is and then you can identify if another product solves it.

    Mostly- every brand listed is good.
    Mostly- they are all a 20d or lighter shell material filled with down.
    Mostly- cost rises exponentially with the FP of down... apples to apples quilts should be comparable in price. 700fp to 950fp though is not apples to apples.

    Often the only truly different thing is cut/design.
    A differential cut and shaped design like the Katabatic quilts is more like half of a well made mummy, which may not be ideal in a hammock or for other stuff.
    The baffle design on the EE quilts is different, probably the most efficient flat quilt around.
    A jacks, HG, or other straight cut quilts will be better in a hammock but not as efficient on the ground.
    They all have slightly different features that either provide value for you or don't.

    Some food for thought- below 20*... A mummy bag is often "better" ounce for ounce- though in a hammock it's not ideal for many as they are hard to use in a hammock.

    If you have two or three that all seem identical- post them and we can try to sort out why there is a huge price difference.

  8. #8
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vegan Packer View Post
    It's been years since I used a sleeping bag. Now that I am "mature," I want some room and comfort. I have an Enlightened Equipment Prodigy 50 Quilt, and I love everything about it, except . . .

    It doesn't seem to keep me warm enough at the lower end of the rated spectrum. At 60F, it is fine. At 55F, it still seems fine. When I was in Washington State last summer, once it got down to 48 inside my tent (by my watch thermometer), even with thick a thick fleece bottom and top over my thin long undies, I was still cold, and not just a little bit cold. I ended out running to REI and getting a puffy, and wearing that under the quilt did the trick.

    I am still trying to figure out what I am going to do about this coming season. If I go to a 40 degree version, that adds about 10 ounces to the weight. I've recently bought Patagonia Thermal Weight long undies, and a puffy vest. I am just not sure of which combination I should go use, or if I should just get the 40 degree quilt.

    I am leaning toward sticking with the lighter quilt, and then using various clothing options for colder conditions, because that allows the most flexibility, but I am not sure. I am not thrilled about wearing a bunch of restrictive clothing while trying to sleep.
    Now that you are mature... you may be a "cold sleeper". EN ratings are based on fit 20 somethings. It's a simple fact of life that as we age we could easily face a 5-15 degree ding in selecting a sleeping bag. Sounds like your main issue to be honest. If selling you a bag I'd recommend you add 10*.

    Depending on age of your prodigy- In my experience- Apex declines 5-10* after a good season of use.

    Quilts have a learning curve... and one somewhat fatal flaw... they can be drafty.
    If your quilt is undersized for you, even slightly, you will not see the intended rating in real life conditions... even if the real life condition is you tossing and turning.
    A bigger quilt may help bust drafts...
    Wearing more clothes will help stop drafts from robbing you of so much heat... giving you the illusion of sleeping warmer by preventing chills.

    Clothes won't add more than 5-10* in the real world (unless you're wearing a full down set).

    If you are looking at quilts that have a 10 ounce penalty going from 50* to 40*.... you're probably looking at the wrong quilts.

    Bringing clothing along to supplement a sleeping bag always weighs more than sizing a sleeping bag right in the first place.
    The rule of thumb I use- Pick the clothing you would wear anyway. Then pick the sleeping bag you need.
    If they can work together... great. But if you find you are adding clothing you wouldn't bring otherwise... time to look harder at the sleeping bag.

  9. #9

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    I too sometimes struggle when the weather is close to my bag's rated temperature. You probably know all of this, but it's nice to have a list- Things to check:

    - Keep it clean. Dirt & oil reduces loft.

    - Fluff & distribution of loft. Fluff it up after getting it out of the bag. Also, especially if it's down, the insulation can shift around inside the bag and result in cold spots.

    - Keep it snug to your body. A trim-fitting bag or well-snugged quilt will be warmer.

    - Cinch down the collar as close to you as you can bear. Don't let air in or out!

    - Think about your sleeping pad. What's the R-factor? Can you do better? An poorly insulating sleeping pad is a huge contributor to chilling you. If your pad feels at all cool to your body, it's not insulating enough.

    - Not only did you have enough food, but did you have enough fat in your food? I find I'm warmer when I had some fat in my dinner, and not just carbs.

    Then, there's always campsite selection too. Camping in any kind of depression and/or near water can be frigid relative to the nearby areas.

    But, in general everything has to go right for you to use a bag at its rated temperature without lots of extra clothing. So it can make sense to buy a bag with a rating on the warmer side, if only so that you don't have to get everything perfect.

  10. #10

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    Ah, and I forgot to mention, you can play "tricks" if you find yourself in a pinch despite taking care of everything else. An easy one is to sleep with a Nalgene full of hot water.

  11. #11
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    Willow,

    Are you sure the problem is with your quilt? You did not say what temperatures you were camping in, but if it was this September or November it may have been in the 40's? Even if you sleep cold, I would expect a 20 degree quilt to be warm enough at that temperature.

    I would suspect the problem is beneath you. Is the uunderquilt snug to the bottom of the hammock with no air gaps? I find the underquilt is the most critical piece when it comes to warmth in a hammock. You mentioned a pad too, sounds like you hit the ground sometime? Conduction through the ground can make your whole body feel cold in no time, make sure your pad is adequate. Why don't you borrow a higher rated pad or under quilt from a friend and see if that makes a difference first.

  12. #12
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    Hmmm, I'll try to better define "better" for me personally...

    Things I like about my current Hammock Gear 20 degree quilt: I love the feel of the material and the cut and size of the quilt. I love how easily it packs down and puffs back up. The lower cost is great. I know they have great customer service.

    Negatives: I have no idea how well this brand would hold up in wet conditions. As weird as it sounds in my total of about 2 months worth of section hiking over the past two years I've only seen three days of rain and I was at Upper Goose Pond Cabin for one and near a motel the other two.
    It's important to me that a new quilt would be able to resist water and dry easily.
    Also, during the colder months the bag feels almost too lightweight and the outer material too thin. Maybe this would change with a zero degree bag?
    The down smelled really awful when I got the bag and Hammock Gear restuffed it which was awesome but it still is smelly compared to my husbands WM down bag.

    Two of the quilts I've debated over are the Hammock Gear zero degree quilt. 850 Goose filled down, Argon material?, price $319
    and Nunatak arc expedition 1 pound of 800 goose down with epic shell fabric?, price $645.
    That's a huge price difference and I'm not sure if its worth it based on what seems "better" to me.
    I also have no idea if there are other quilts out there that would be even "better" than these two.

    It's been great reading everyones input. I appreciate the time taken to do it.
    I'll have to say that I know I don't take in enough calories because I never start to feel hungry until my sections are almost over lol. Maybe adding some more fat to my hiking diet during the colder months might help. I thought I had enough fat on my body to compensate haha.
    I also don't drink much after 6PM because I don't want to have to go outside at night to go to the bathroom. I could try to adjust those things.

  13. #13
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    I have an exped 7 with an R value of 4.9 I think. The past two falls its been between 30-50 degrees at night, I've been on the ground vs hammock during those months and I was too cold.
    My feet, hands, and head were ok after adding different layers but my middle torso just never got warm.
    Maybe I'll experiment with a tighter fitting top as a base layer at night. I just don't like sleeping with tight things around me but maybe thats another thing I could try.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by wi11ow View Post
    Also, during the colder months the bag feels almost too lightweight and the outer material too thin. Maybe this would change with a zero degree bag?
    The zero degree bags that I've shopped are often made of super flimsy fabric, partly to offset the added fill weight, partly because the sort of person who buys a zero degree down bag is probably really interested in weight. Mountain climbers, skiiers, etc

    The shell is just there to keep the down in and the water/wind out. The main concern with thinner materials is high cost & low durability.

    Quote Originally Posted by wi11ow View Post
    Two of the quilts I've debated over are the Hammock Gear zero degree quilt
    A zero degree quilt seems like an odd notion. You reach a point where a hood really does make sense IMO. A little fleece skullcap can only do so much.

  15. #15
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    you never answered what is underneath you.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    Now that you are mature... you may be a "cold sleeper". EN ratings are based on fit 20 somethings. It's a simple fact of life that as we age we could easily face a 5-15 degree ding in selecting a sleeping bag. Sounds like your main issue to be honest. If selling you a bag I'd recommend you add 10*.

    Quilts have a learning curve... and one somewhat fatal flaw... they can be drafty.
    If your quilt is undersized for you, even slightly, you will not see the intended rating in real life conditions... if the real life condition is you tossing and turning.

    A bigger quilt may help bust drafts...
    Wearing more clothes will help stop drafts from robbing you of so much heat... giving you the illusion of sleeping warmer by preventing chills.
    Quote Originally Posted by wi11ow View Post
    I have an exped 7 with an R value of 4.9 I think. The past two falls its been between 30-50 degrees at night, I've been on the ground vs hammock during those months and I was too cold.
    My feet, hands, and head were ok after adding different layers but my middle torso just never got warm.
    Maybe I'll experiment with a tighter fitting top as a base layer at night. I just don't like sleeping with tight things around me but maybe thats another thing I could try.
    All this! Just Bill almost had it with the older getting colder but there are some other things also vitally important that have NOT been mentioned.
    *Quilts are almost universally designed as non gender specific. That is, they are almost always considered unisex in design. Compare that to sleeping bags that are almost universally designed as gender specific. Woman sleep different as a result of physiological differences than their male counterparts. Hence, a WOMEN'S SPECIFIC SLEEPING BAG might solve your cold sleeping issues in and of itself! If you don't like tight fitting sleep systems find a FEMALE bag that gives, stretches, perhaps has a bit more inches where you feel restricted, etc and enjoy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    ...Some food for thought- below 20*... A mummy bag is often "better" ounce for ounce- though in a hammock it's not ideal for many as they are hard to use in a hammock...
    Have to agree with JB and Silverstorm: there's a pt where a hood or a sleeping bag makes sense to give greater consideration over a quilt. One of those times could be in temps where you specifically start feeling cold.

    One more pt. All things being equal, I and many others, tend to sleep colder in a hammock verse in a tent. These are two different sheltering/sleep systems that should wisely be considered as somewhat separate having distinct characteristics/differences in the sleeping warmth equation. And, if a hammock sheltering system does in general offer a greater risk of sleeping cold PERHAPS tenting in colder weather should be you choice of shelter?

  17. #17
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    I'm not quite ready to give up hope on a quilt just yet
    Anyone have any idea/experience with why the nunatak quilts of the same temp rating are pretty much $300 more than most other quilts?
    I repeatedly read about how WM bags are the best quality and "star" of the sleeping bag family and their prices reflect that.
    Is Nunatak to quilts what Western Mountaineering is to bags?

  18. #18
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    egilbe,

    I have a torso length yeti for my hammock and an exped 7 for my tent. I've used both systems but am pretty set on sticking with my tent set up for AT hiking, for now.

  19. #19
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    You have the answer at home. Try your husband's WM bag. Find out for yourself if his bag keeps you warmer. Also find out exactly what bag he has and the temperature rating.
    I have 3 words that should solve your problem: Xtherm and either a Versalite or Antelope.
    I own an Alpinlite and an Antelope. I'm old, not sure about cold. I was in the Alpinlite recently on the Xtherm in a tent. Lightweight wool long underwear and socks. No hat, gloves, puffy thingy. Warm as toast, bordering on hot at 26 F. I would have cooked in the Antelope. Western Mountaineering bags really are as good as you've heard. Tell your husband you want one or give you his bag.

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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by wi11ow View Post
    I'm not quite ready to give up hope on a quilt just yet
    Anyone have any idea/experience with why the nunatak quilts of the same temp rating are pretty much $300 more than most other quilts?
    I repeatedly read about how WM bags are the best quality and "star" of the sleeping bag family and their prices reflect that.
    Is Nunatak to quilts what Western Mountaineering is to bags?
    Opinions will vary for sure. So, keep that in mind when I'm offering mine. Several super great HIGH End, I MEAN very high end, sleeping bags available with excellent design, construction, temp ratings, and materials considerations. Western Mountaineering being one of them. I could blah, blah, blah about other companies I recognize in the same category but it starts getting dubious for purposes I list further on.

    Likewise IMO Nunatak, who was one of the first I knew of that offered High End UL quilts, offers a great product. Maybe, I was largely ignorant of a wider range of available quilt companies though when that happened. For sure though, we've seen a rise in UL high end quilt interest over the past 30 yrs possibly longer.

    But, when we go down the superlative adjective labeling road we run into different definitions of what's great, super great, HIGH end, etc. FWIW, IMO, possibly the most versatile, featured, accurately temp rated quilt with a strikingly GREAT balance of characteristics are those made by Katabatic.

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