Aug 12, 2009 at 12:18 pm #1238533
Well, I am just going nuts on research and trying to figure out which way to go on this….help!!!
This would be my 1st quilt….I am currently using a 40 F Marmot Atom Down bags, a MLD Soul Side Zip with eVent top, and Gosssamer Gear Thin Light Pad & Torso Pad in the Sierras and I am a cold sleeper.
Layering clothing, I think that I can get my 40F bag to 32-35 F, but I would like to have a quilt that can take me down to 25F for three season usage…anything colder or for winter/snow and I want my 15 F sleeping bag.
I have narrowed my choices to:
1. Nunatak 20F Arc Alpinist at 21 oz total weight with 11 oz down fill. 2.5" high baffles $387.00
2. Jacks R' Better 25-30F No Snivelller at 21 oz total weight with 11 oz down fill. 2.0" baffles over stuffed to 2.5" loft $259.95
3. Jacks R' Better 25-30F Hudson River at 20 oz total weight with 11 oz down fill. 2.0" baffles over stuffed to 2.5" loft $249.95
All three seem to have similar stats, however I am reading that the Arc Alpinist should be ordered with 2 oz of extra down fill to achieve the 20F rating, which adds more cost onto what is a very expensive and well regarded quilt. (Adding differentiated baffles would add even more cost, but seems to be a commonly added feature).
The Jacks R' Better No Sniveller has steller user reviews on this site and is considerably cheaper.
I am not looking to replace my insulating layer by using the No Sniveller as a jacket, so that aspect of it does not have a lot of value…as such I am leaning towards the Hudson River quilt.
Cost is a factor, but I don't mind paying for good gear that last a long time.
My concern is that the Arc Alpinist might be overkill for my needs and that the Jacks R' Better Hudson River will be good enough for what I want it to do.
Any suggestions or thoughts from those who have any of these quilts on what might be the better choice for me?
Thank you for any comments and advice.
-TonyAug 12, 2009 at 12:54 pm #1520346
Does it matter to you if you have a sewn foot box, or do you really prefer a quilt that can open out completely flat??? The Alpinist is a lot wider at the shoulders, which makes for easier layering and protection from drafts. If none of that matters, then go for the cheaper option, otherwise you can't go wrong with an Alpinist with overfill. Also, the differential cut in the Alpinist helps the quilt to stay wrapped around your body when the straps aren't done, which also reduces drafts.Aug 12, 2009 at 12:56 pm #1520347
@lori999Locale: Central Valley
I have two JRB Hudson Rivers, one for an underquilt on the hammock and one for a top quilt. I have been very happy with the quilts – the Jacks are tops at customer service and the quilts are best quality. I have been down to the low 30s and been very warm consistently, with no doubt in my mind that they would serve well into the 20s especially with added layers. I tend to be a cold sleeper. I have also slept on the ground, which is a little harder if you are not used to quilts but still very manageable. The only thing with JRB quilts is the drawstring closure will leave a gap at the bottom of the footbox, but this is easily filled with an extra clothing item like a vest or jacket.
I had thought about the No Sniveler and sleeves but ultimately went with the HR – I don't really need a big bulky jacket and don't mind taking a down sweater; the windbreaker wouldn't fit over the No Sniveler. I do the majority of my hikes in the Sierras.Aug 12, 2009 at 1:06 pm #1520350
I think the Jacks will permanently sew up the footbox, if that's what you prefer. I think the wearable option of the No Sniveler is really nice. The JRB quilts are probably ready to ship instead of 8 weeks-o-waiting. The Jacks also have sales fairly often. I would buy a JRB, but I want something a little wider than what they offer, since I'm a little on the large side.Aug 12, 2009 at 1:29 pm #1520361
@funnymoLocale: Sunshine State
I have owned my JRB quilts (including the No Sniveller) for several years and am very happy.
I can't imagine you being unhappy with either, but having owned the JRB, I can say paying a lot more for the Nunatak wouldn't make me AS happy!
You won't have to worry about drafts with either one, since you use a bivy (from what I recall from your trip reports). I love my quilt in a bivy or a hammock.
As for warmth, you won't need overfill with the JRB, and since you wear separate camp insulation, you'll have that layer to add on if needed, anyway.
As a side note, I know you're not interested in the wearable feature, but I do use mine that way from time to time, and it's been nice to have.
Let us know what you decide!
ToddAug 12, 2009 at 1:32 pm #1520363
"I would buy a JRB, but I want something a little wider than what they offer…"
DITTO that. Though truth be known, I would MYOG my own quilt to my specs, which would be about as wide as the Alpinist. But if your looking to buy a ready made one, then I would seriously consider weather 48" is wide enough for your uses (including any layering you may want to wear) and if not, go with an Alpinist.Aug 12, 2009 at 1:50 pm #1520369
I've never had a nunatak, but my wife and I love our jrB's, have you checked out the full length omni-tape and add on hood options? If you sleep cold more insulation from the ground might be worth the extra oz's. The Jrb pad is thick, I don't know the r-value off hand.Aug 12, 2009 at 1:57 pm #1520370
@lori999Locale: Central Valley
They make larger quilts that work very well on the ground, if you like being completely wrapped up….Aug 12, 2009 at 2:03 pm #1520371
"They make larger quilts that work very well on the ground, if you like being completely wrapped up…."
I tried one, it was not form fitting, just a big 60" wide rectangle The velcro wasn't very effective along the length of the quilt to use it as a bag, and it wouldn't have a draft collar, and you have to stuff something in the end hole You would be better off to just buy a regular sleeping bag for the weight and price.Aug 12, 2009 at 2:24 pm #1520375
"I tried one, it was not form fitting, just a big 60" wide rectangle "
Agreed. If you had a sewing machine you could cut it down into a tapered quilt, but you shouldn't have to do that to a new quilt. How about the GoLite Ultra 20, or similar? It's wider than the JRB, well priced and similar warmth.Aug 12, 2009 at 4:02 pm #1520401
@red_foxLocale: South Florida
Basically, if you want to be able to use your quilt as both your sleep system and your insulating layer, then go for a Jacks R Better quilt. This will be your lightest option because you no longer would have to carry an insulating layer. It is also the cheaper option if price is an issue.
If you are still going to be carrying an insulating layer, then I would go with Nunatak.
-SidAug 12, 2009 at 4:23 pm #1520405
@heyyouLocale: Cutting brush off of the Arizona Tr
My ebay No Sniveller is likely an unused older model(less fluffy down) since it weighs 19.5 not the current 20 oz. and seems underfilled. The fabric weight seems much heavier than on my BPL Gear Swap Nunatak Specialist, a 32* quilt sized like the Arc Alpinist. Due to either overfill or baffle size, the down barely moves in the Nunatak. The down slides so easily in the JRB that I have to re-shake it to the middle when I am up in the middle of the night. My point is the JRB is much less insulative than the Nunatak due to fabric weight instead of down fill, fill volume, and quilt size from the waist up. The extra cost bought a higher quality product.
The JRB sleeves are very warm and the JRB hood is half the price of a warmer designed Nunatak balaclava. I've found that keeping my extremities warm, allows for less trunk insulation. Just the opposite of carrying a vest. Your two gear choices are at the junction of cooler weather hiking gear and summer mountaineering gear.Aug 12, 2009 at 4:32 pm #1520406
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Hey Tony-Zup??? I used the the Alpinist with a center zip on the entire TRT with ya..With the center zip you have the option to mummy up if needed(cold) and also use it like a quilt unzipped..You get the best of both worlds with a built in foot pocket.. I feel if you are going shell out that much cash it should be multi-functional. I would rather to warm then to cold….You can always just take layers off!!!!
-JayAug 12, 2009 at 4:45 pm #1520408
te – waParticipant
Tony wrote: "I have narrowed my choices to:"
Im just curious, you have narrowed your choices from what?
what else were you considering?
basically what i mean to say is have you heard of my quilts? or Tim's? I think Tim is the only dude making quilts in Cuben and momentum, kinda cool!
both of us make quilts custom, that is to fit your specific body/needs.Aug 12, 2009 at 4:47 pm #1520409
@jshorttLocale: North Carolina
Hey Tony, Sounds like you and I have gone down the same tuff road with the quilt thing. Here is what I ended up doing. First I bought a golite ultra 20 quilt…used it on 4 trips. From this I learned I really like quilts as a diverse piece of gear which is rather light.
Then I decided to push the extreme with a Nunatak. Like you I was looking for a 25 degree'ish quilt that I could push to 15-20 with layers, but would also serve me well in warmer weather. I ended up going with a Ghost, but sized it to in between a ghost and alpinist. I added 2 oz of down and used the .8 oz quantam fabric. What I got was a quilt that fits me like a glove, weighs 15.55 oz and appears to be extremely warm….too warm for my summer hiking. Also I had to wait over 8 weeks to get it.
So I also purchased a JRB stealth for summer. My stealth is stock but does weigh 16.5 oz which is significantly over spec by 1.5 oz. For warmer weather I really like the ability to lay this quilt out flat and I can wear it which eliminates my need for an insulating garmet….saving 7 oz. I got the quilt 3 DAYS after my order.
I do have experience with both quilts. As far as customer service both companies were great to work with. I spoke to owners of both on the phone. I will say that the wait and price from Nunatak are hard to swallow. The wait and price for JRB is fantastic. For customer sizing, adding down, fabrics, etc….Nunatak is top notch. If you want an exact product that excels like none other I'd say it is nunatak. But If you want a versatile product for the best price it is JRB all the way.
On your question of overfill and differential cut…I dont think you need to get the alpinist overfilled to match the JRB quilts. If you overfill I think you will get a warmer quilt then the JRB's. As far as the diff cut I did not get it and dont think I lost anything…this was based on Tom's advice. Best thing to do is email or call Tom with these.
Some last points to consider…moving to a quilt takes a bit of adjustment learning to deal with the bottom and gapping. A wider quilt will make this easier. The JRB quilts are only 48" at the widests. You will find the Arc Alpinist easier to keep sealed in the bottom gaps and the footbox…not a huge issue but something to consider. Also I find the quantum material to be much nicer agaisnt my skin then the 1.1 ripstop used by JRB…but the JRB fabric feels much sturdier. As far the the Hudson vs Shenandoah…I can feel the head hole in my stealth when sleeping in it and it adds weigh so if you are not going to wear it as a poncho then I would recommend getting the quilt without the head hole.
Bottom line is I really think you can't go wrong with either.
JamieAug 12, 2009 at 5:11 pm #1520410
I got my No Sniveller earlier this summer and can't tell you how stoked I am =).I got the No Sniv. because I wanted to take advantage of the poncho mode, to further drop my BPW. If you get the FLOT option like I did, you can create your own desired length foot box, rather than having a fixed one. My quilt can be used as a comforter, an arc quilt with footbox, or a sealed up bomber bag ready for freezing and below. Although I haven't got the use the hood yet, it seems to funtion perfectly to make the hood for the poncho, or quilt. The Hudson River is 1 oz lighter and 20 bucks cheaper than the No Sniv., but you lose that dual functionig beauty.
I'll be using mine on my TRT hike that begins 8/20. It's so versitile that it's going to be hard to get back in a mummy again.Aug 12, 2009 at 5:13 pm #1520411
I had a JRB Hudson River quilt which I liked, other than it being slightly narrow for me. I believe the JRB quilts are 48" wide where many of the Nunataks are 55". This makes a Big difference in warmth and cutting side drafts for me anyway.
IMO, The sewn in foot box of the Nunataks are warmer too. If I didn't have my JRB quilts footbox cinched tightly, I could feel cold air come into the foot area. Also, you have to assume the small cinched area is devoid of down, and can be a cold spot as well.
But, when using the JRB quilts in warmer conditions you have the option of leaving the foot end open to vent, where as with the Nunatak, I just pull me feet out, and either lay my feet over the top, or under, but not inside, depending on temps.
You also have the option of a sewn foot-box with the JRB, at no additional cost too, which is probably a better option for a ground sleeper, that never intends to use it with a Hammock.
Some nights I have to start out with the quilt just draped over me, then later as it gets colder, I need to get my feet inside, and wrap the quilt tighter around me.
But for the money, I think the JRB quilts are a better value, without the long wait as well. The width difference can be made up with the optional, add on wings they offer.
The only improvement I can see here, would for JRB to offer down filled wings.
You could leave the wings at home for warm trips, and bring them on trips, where you expect temps to be at or even slightly below the quilts rating.
Get busy guys!Aug 12, 2009 at 7:29 pm #1520446
@petembwestnet-com-auLocale: South East Queensland
I decided on a JRB quilt (Hudson River). Great quality and excellent customer service and price.
I too was concerned about the draft issue so in colder weather I couple with an equinox bivy (6-7 ounces) – adds 2-5c, decreases drafts and lofts extremely well. In warmer weather the quilt by itself is obviously easy to vent.Aug 13, 2009 at 6:45 am #1520510
@peter_panLocale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
A note or two of detail for your discussions here.
First JRB is not a custom shop. We have a specific policy of not doing custom work, please see web site. We will do several modification which some folk may consider custom. These are listed under the modification button, top left of our products page. For quilts, they include 1 or 2 oz over stuff, envelope style sewn in foot box, full length omni tape.
Currently, there are 20 models and lengths of JRB quilts, covering summer, three season and winter. All JRB quilts come with 15-22 percent, depending on the model, overstuff as standard. All models are in stock at all time and ship in 24 to 72 hours or our web site will show them as "temporarily out of stock".
Last year all of our standard 48 inch wide quilts were modified to make them reversible for hammock under quilt users…I know that most of you are not hammockers, but this change added two more side ladder loops, opposite the existing LL, thus you can easily provide shock cord lacing if so desired now.
A note about the draw cord and omni tape foot box. Once the cords are drawn closed the closure is readily made absolutely draft free, Simply take the ends of the cords, wrapping them around the end, in opposite direction and tying off with a bow and lock, just as you do your trail runners.
HYOH, hyoh, and Enjoy!
PanAug 13, 2009 at 7:47 am #1520526
I have a JRB Shenandoah and a Nunatak Arc Specialist (Quantum), both purchased used from BPL members, so I can't comment on customer service.
Both bags are excellent quality. I've used the JRB right down to it's 40 degree rating and been comfortable and the Specialist (rated 32 degrees) down into the mid-to-low 20s just last week with the help of a MB UL Down Inner Parka. So I'd say neither exaggerate their warmth.
I really love the Quantum fabric on the Specialist.
My only probably with the JRB is the width. As a side sleeper who turns over at least twice during the night, the 48" width can get drafty. Now, for the Shenandoah, which I'm only using above 45 degrees, that's not a big problem (for me). But for colder temps, I think I'd have to add a bivy, as a blast of 30 degree air is not want I want in the middle of the night.
But if you're narrow enough to fit the JRB, I'd buy it over the Nunatak, unless you are absolutely determined to save those few extra ounces for the significant extra money.Aug 13, 2009 at 2:28 pm #1520651
Again, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for your thoughts, observations, and advice.
I love this forum enough that I would pay my membership money just to access the wealth of knowledge and experience that is so generously given.
Special thanks to Lynn for pointing out that the JRB is 48" wide.
I went home last night and measured out 48" on a fleece blanket that my wife made and laid down on my bed with my thermawrap jacket to see if I would have enough room inside for layering and tucking the sides in under my body.
I am lucky that I am one skinny "butt" guy….I had plenty of room and I am a back sleeper who sleeps like a dead log.
Pan…thank you for posting up your observations and the options available. I was at your website until 3 am last night reading everything that I could. Amazing history for your company and your personal life.
At this point, I have decided to get the JRB Hudson River Quilt with the FLOT and I am likely go to with the sewn foot box based on value for money and meeting my needs.
Nothing against the Nuntak quilts….they are well made, but with two very nice Marmot sleeping bags in my closet, my wife is going to kill me if I spend my child's college fund on new gear. :)
Two last questions for everyone:
Does the FLOT/Full Length Omni Tape allow for the top two ends of the quilt to be "snapped" together behind the user's neck to help close off the top portion of the quilt to prevent drafts and loss of heat? (Or is there a built in draw string or snap that is standard on the quilt to achieve the same thing?).
Does having the footbox sewn up vs. using the standard drawcord to close off the footbox add or save weight?
-TonyAug 13, 2009 at 5:33 pm #1520706
There is only one way to settle this.
Cage match! Cage Match!
Have you called the Jack's yet, I called before i got my No Sniv and they were very helpful. I got the flot, it's pretty wide up at the top, but I wear a parka (mont bell therma wrap, very nice) and I can't feel a draft. I sleep in a tarp tent so if you're more exposed… The sewn in footbox loses an oz but also looses versatility. I use my sniv year round so the ability to lay it flat is bueno.
Happy trails.Feb 2, 2010 at 10:26 am #1568891
I just wanted to give everyone an update, as a few people wanted to know what I ultimately decided.
Given the current sale at Jacks 'R' Better and my wanting not only a quilt for myself, but something light weight that I can use for my family of three, I have opted to order tonight 2 Sierra Snivellers with 1 optional FLOT (Full Length Omni Tape), which will be used to be able to join both of them together to create a queen sized quilt that measure approximately 102 inches wide at the top and 82 inches wide at the foot end.
A few months after I started this thread to ask everyone for their suggestions, the Sierra Sniveller came out and addressed the common point mentioned about Jacks R Better quilts being a bit narrow.
I also have decided to try out using the Sierra Sniveller in fair weather to replace my Montbell Thermawrap Jacket.
Excited at the prospect of using this as a 2 lb 12 oz solution for three people to help lighten my load when traveling with the family.
With the buy 1 and get the second one off at 50%, this is a great value and a light weight solution for myself and family…win, win as they say!
Also, I wanted to express my gratitude to Pan/Jack at Jack's R Better for his prompt replies to my emails and for thoughtful insights/suggestions about things that I had not even thought of.
Below is a bit of what he emailed me, which others might find useful, if considering getting two quilts for family use:
Thanks for your consideration of JRB quilt.
I reviewed the thread you referenced and your sizes… IMHO you would be fine with No Snivellers, or Hudson Rivers your original desire…For either of these we can do a single FLOT applying half to each quilt so that they can be joined… FWIW, when doing this mod we also add three 12 inch flat braid ties facing to the inside… These ties when tied take any tension of a blanket tug of war before the omni tape, thus helping to prevent separation…Two of these quilts so joined will be nominally 94 inches wide by 78 inches long (This is a nice queen or even King bed cover as well)… These combined quilts can be formed with two separate foot boxes or one large footbox… Forming two foots is probably the best and most effective when used for the two of you… one large one would be better for the “family approach”.
The Sierra Snivellers have a taper to the foot end that while not prohibiting joining may cause some irregularity in joining… ie… They may not lay flat and will have a slight pucker in the center… They will still drape fine…The body area will be nominally 102 inches wide with a foot width of nominially 82 inches… I’m sure they will function quite well.
You may order which ever set you decide upon… Also add one FLOT mod to the order and we will set it up as discussed above… As you note, the current BOGO makes this a great time to order such a quilt set."
"FWIW when being used single the one side can be attached to you pad (if you attach Omni tape to the bottom edge of one side of pad) thus leaving only one side to tuck…. A nice plus in cold weather… yet still usable flat or open in warm weather… It this idea appeals then add one FLOT kit that you can then contact cement to your respective pads."
-Jack & Jack
Again, thank you everyone months ago for your thoughts to help me and for Pan/Jack at providing excellent advice!
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