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  1. #1
    Trail Comic
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    Default Bags versus Quilts

    Can someone please clarify the difference between a bag and a quilt?

    I get that there are differences in design, but it seems that when it comes to quality and construction, there are plenty of top notch products.

    I'm a ground sleeper, no time for hammocks here. How do I learn if I'm to be better served by a bag vs a quilt?

    I ask, because for some reason I'm drawn to the JRB site, but I'm seriously not sure why.
    Life's hard. Wear a helmet.

    Learn to live in the moment, because it's already going away.

  2. #2
    the dreamer stars in her eyes's Avatar
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    To be honest, I haven't seen any ground sleeper use a quilt on the trail.

    Quilts (top quilts) are the top layer in a hammock setup. Some of them are simple rectangles, but a lot of them look like unzipped mummy bags. They are designed that way to allow easier access and movement in the hammock. There are underquilts as well, which provide relief from the cold air current under a hammock.

    If you really are interested in experimenting with quilts and you own a sleeping bag already, then unzip it and find out. I'm rather perplexed and intrigued by your inexplicable desire to do so.

    Perhaps your draw towards JRB is a deep-seated desire to come over to the dark side, where our gear has fun names like "whoopie sling" and getting into technical conversations about suspension and the benefits of using self-tensioning lines for sil-nylon tarps is part of the subculture. If any part of this paragraph has been like word porn to you, then it might be time to switch to a hammock.

  3. #3
    Trail Comic
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    I appreciate your candor, and will respectfully decline the art of sleeping like a sailor. I prefer Terra Firma when at all possible.

    I am enlightened none-the-less. Thank you!
    Life's hard. Wear a helmet.

    Learn to live in the moment, because it's already going away.

  4. #4
    Hike smarter, not harder.
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    Default

    I've seen a ton of ground sleepers use quilts. Anyone who wants to lose weight, and use something more like sleeping at home in bed will like a quilt. A quilt is less restrictive, and works in a wider range of temperatures, since it's easier to wear additional clothing. You might look up Andrew Skurka, he's a quilt user who has managed to become a moderatly successful hiker without using a hammock.

    And you can also go to the dark side, where the answer to every question, from food to boots to stoves, is a self-important "get a hammock". Yeah, like self-tensioning lines exist only in the realm of hammocking.
    Con men understand that their job is not to use facts to convince skeptics but to use words to help the gullible to believe what they want to believe - Thomas Sowell

  5. #5
    Registered User vamelungeon's Avatar
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    I've used a quilt in my tent as well. Not as confining as a bag, especially in hot weather. Yes, you can unzip a bag...
    "You're a nearsighted, bitter old fool."

  6. #6
    Registered User
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    I use a 20 degree Go Lite Quilt. I generally sleep under the stars or under a tarp, seldom in a tent. I find the quilt to be an excellent piece of gear. I mainly got into quilt use because my dog would hike with me and I was unzipping my regular bag to share with her anyway. Light weight, space saving, good construction, and quality material. I couldn't spring for a more expensive quilt and I'm pretty happy with the Golite model.

  7. #7
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    I use a Montbell Thermal Sheet summer sleeping bag as a quilt (thanks Tinker) in warmer weather on the ground and in a hammock. I toss and turn alot but in warm weather the quilt works fine for me. While on the ground in the summer this configuration works well with my SMD Meteor bivy. When it cools off, out comes my WM Caribou or Alpinlite.

  8. #8
    Registered User Bags4266's Avatar
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    Exactly what Skin said. I use a quilt for the mild season(synethic). I am going to be making a down one which should be good to around 25-30* and weigh in around 16oz give or take. Great way to save weight and pack down. Just make sure your mat or pad is well insulated and you should be fine. Check out Stormcrow at this web site if interested he makes some quality stuff. http://www.hammockgear.com/cart/inde...=index&cPath=2

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by stars in her eyes View Post
    ...


    If you really are interested in experimenting with quilts and you own a sleeping bag already, then unzip it and find out. I'm rather perplexed and intrigued by your inexplicable desire to do so.

    Perhaps your draw towards JRB is a deep-seated desire to come over to the dark side, where our gear has fun names like "whoopie sling" and getting into technical conversations about suspension and the benefits of using self-tensioning lines for sil-nylon tarps is part of the subculture. If any part of this paragraph has been like word porn to you, then it might be time to switch to a hammock.

    The good thing about getting a high quality quilt from JRB or similar places is that you can resell it for near full retail if you don't like it. So you wouldn't be losing that much money if you really wanted to find out. Also you should look at hammockgear.com, they make a variety of top notch quilts for very affordable rates. They also do custom work.


    Come to the dark side, we have whoopie pies!


    Happy Hangin'
    Ben

  10. #10
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    Default

    I love my Golite 20* quilt. In 3-season weather, I use it, a short Prolite Plus and a Jam2 under my feet - comfy, warm, light. I'll swap the Prolite for a DM Exped 9 for the colder times.

    As suggested, JRB quilts and a few others are really top notch and hold their value well - the GoLite, too, to a degree, as GL is usually out of stock.

    It's not quite the same, but to get a feel for it--sleeping, at least--you can, assuming you have a full-zip bag, unzip most of it while leaving a little box for your feet, and sleep with it right on top of you, with you right on top of your pad.

  11. #11
    Flip flop, flip flopping' LASHin' 2000 miler
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by iReact View Post
    Can someone please clarify the difference between a bag and a quilt?
    A quilt provides significant weight savings over traditional mummy bags or top bags by eliminating zippers, and by reducing the amount of fabric and insulation used. Some find them less restraining and more comfortable. The downside is that they are, by nature, drafty, and don't retain heat as well as a fully enclosed mummy or top bag - less of an issue in warmer than colder temps. Quilt users are more likely to consider their clothing as part of their sleep system.

    Here's maybe more info than you ever needed to know on the subject:

    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/2006_unconventional_sleep_systems_manifesto.html

    L Dog
    AT 2000 Miler
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    https://lighterpack.com/r/38fgjt
    "The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness." - John Muir

  12. #12

    Default

    I have two JRB quilts - hudson river and old rag mountain. Very happy with those purchases. Although I bought them to use with my JRB hammock, I have also used a quilt on the ground under a tarp and on the ground in a tent.

    My comments are based on using quilts on the ground in place of a sleeping bag:
    - Quilts are really excellent in the summer because it is so easy to ventilate.
    - Quilts save a lot of weight and volume since there is no bottom insulation.
    - I didn't like using my quilt on a ground cloth under a tarp because I was always concerned about the quilt getting dirty or wet.
    - Quilts lose their advantage as the temp go below freezing beause construction features like intergrated hoods and chest baffles become important as you approach seriously cold temps
    - Big Agnes Sleeping bags provide the low weight advantages of a quilt while still wrapping around you but IMO Big Agnes overstates the temp ratings on their bags.

  13. #13
    Registered User Nutbrown's Avatar
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    Default

    and the quilts don't have that weird head hood bit that the bags do.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nutbrown View Post
    and the quilts don't have that weird head hood bit that the bags do.
    Good point. Yes - for the colder weather while in a quilt, a beanie or balaclava is something you probably don't want to leave behind (especially if you shave your head or have little hair!).
    "Why confuse the issue with facts when you can just holler that the sky is falling? #OMGawdWereAllGonnaDie!" -Rocket Jones

  15. #15
    Stir Fry
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    Default

    I use my quil down to 20*. Used it on the ground, and now in my hammock. Used a spllping bag for years without zipping it up. So I changed to the Quilt.
    If it do'nt eat you or kill you it makes you stronger
    'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

  16. #16
    Registered User Raul Perez's Avatar
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    Here's a visual for you from my Hiking 101 series:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhkYhlZ1LCg

  17. #17

    Default

    I made our quilt, and wrote it up on Sectionhiker.com. It is a 2 person down quilt and we are comfortable with it down to 30 degrees. the reason we switched to a quilt was 100% weight savings. our 2 person quilt weighs 1lbs 15oz.

    We sleep in a tent.
    ~Christy

  18. #18
    Registered User jesse's Avatar
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    I have a ray-way quilt, and sleep on the ground.

    Advantages:
    1. Significant reduction in condensation, hence, stay warmer/less funk.
    2. Marginal weight reduction.

    Disadvantages:
    1.

  19. #19
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    I've used quilts on my past 5 thru hikes and love 'em, both in a hammock and directly on the ground. On my '06 PCT and '07 CDT thrus I used a homemade synthetic quilt (tho I carried a 15 degree bag in the San Juans), and then switched to a GoLite down quilt for my CT '08, PCT '09 and AT' 10 thrus. Currently using a Nunatak Arc Alpinist, which is the best quilt I have ever used. They are expensive, but made in the USA with top notch materials and attention to detail. They even asked me what size shoe I wear to get a perfect sized footbox! Nunatak is the way to go if you're looking for a down quilt.

  20. #20
    NOBO toBennington, VT plus 187 mi in MH & ME
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    I have a 25 degree down bag that I use unzipped most of the time. I go back and forth between hammock and Ground. Somewhere around freezing, I wouldn't want to be without the zipper. (I'm kind of cold blooded, so 40ish degrees F is probably the number for me). I flip and flop all night and the heat loss would leave me uncomfortable cool.

    The pull of the ultralite faction has me considering trying it out though. Certainly in August it should be safe. But---the thing about hiking is "You never know about the weather"
    Grinder
    AT hiker : It's the journey, not the destination

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