Dec 10, 2009 at 1:13 pm #1252343
Are Nunatak quilts really all that great, or is there not anyone competing against them in the production of bottomless quilts? Sure you have the GoLite Ultra and Jacks R Better, but they aren't anything special. Is there even a large enough lightweight market, NOW, for a larger manufacturer to make quilts?
I know this is an older picture, but WHY would anyone build a bag like this?
Lumpy NunatakDec 10, 2009 at 1:28 pm #1552411
To the second part of your question: I don't know a thing about the bag in your picture. No idea if there's even something in it. But it might even be as simple as needing a good washing or two. If body oils get built up enough on down, even washing it once might not work, and until washed well-enough the bag will be lumpy… I doubt that the bag came out of the shop looking like that…Dec 10, 2009 at 1:32 pm #1552416
It was new. Like I said, it's an older article, but WHY would someone build a bag like that?Dec 10, 2009 at 1:36 pm #1552420
"Are Nunatak quilts really all that great"
Hi Tom. This is, of course, a question without a definitive answer. To me, yes, they are that great. They're well made, I can have it tailored to my specs, and I do like supporting cottage manufacturers here in the States. I currently own 3 of them, and will be ordering another in the early spring. Of course, I also like my JacksRBetter underquilt quite a bit. And I love my enLIGHTened quilt a lot (and have used it more than any other since getting it).Dec 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm #1552422
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Well, that was in 2002. It looks nothing like the Alpinist now offered from Nunatak, and their current products are 100% top-notch, so maybe they had some initial design problems that have been sorted.Dec 10, 2009 at 1:48 pm #1552428
The review you linked was 7 years old and showed a bag using 9.5 inch baffle spacing, which they no longer use. My guess is they were experimenting with loft:warmth:weight. But their bags are even better now, since they fixed the only complaint that reviewer had…Dec 10, 2009 at 1:57 pm #1552434
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
I don’t have one of their quilts, but I did recently buy a used Skaha Plus and it is a very puffy work of art. Whether or not they are worth the price is debatable, and I wish there was a more economical option. I think that one of the reasons they are expensive is that each one is built to order and semi custom. I wish someone would make a standard quilt that could be more mass produced and thus more economical. There will always be a place for custom jobs though, and custom gets pricey.
I have a Golite Ultra 20 and do like it, but it could use a little more down, and personally, I could probably do without the Endurance end panels as my shelter, a GG Spinnshelter gives complete coverage. They had the opportunity to fix it in 2010, by just adding a few ounces of down, but instead they also added heavier fabric and baffle material.Dec 10, 2009 at 2:29 pm #1552441
I'll bite, what's an enLIGHTened quilt? And some day I'm going to figure out how to open my Ultra 20 and add down.
As far as Nunatak, Ray Estrella has tested a lot of gear, and it looks like he's going to them for everything, which is a pretty good vote of confidence to me.Dec 10, 2009 at 2:30 pm #1552445
Jolly Green GiantParticipant
I held off buying anything from Nunatak for the concern that I was paying for something simply overhyped. Eventually I purchased a pair of their booties and then returned them after they were twice the weight listed which followed extremely poor communication. To say the least, I was not happy.
After over a year, I ordered an Arc Alpinist when Tom advertised having one on sale from someone who was 6'8" who decided he didn't want it after it was made. At 6'6", I figured it was worth the discount to give it another shot even though the color (red) wasn't my first choice. It arrived in an 8.5" x 11" envelop which quickly made me think that I made a pretty big mistake as I didn't think there was any way that anything in the envelope could keep me warm to 20*. I pulled it out, put it on a table, and walked away for an hour. When I came back, it was amazingly puffed up even more than my Western Mountaineering quilt. Over the course of the next two weeks, I used it and it was true to temperature and extremely well made. I was so impressed that I recently ordered a Skaha pullover which I'm waiting on now.
In short, I had a bad experience and ultimately came back and the product delivered was top notch. JRB and others didn't have the high tech fabric or the custom size, so Nunatak got my money. But, everything is expensive. With that said though, there is a lot of gear on the market that is plenty "good enough". It's whether you honestly feel you "must have it" and have the money.Dec 10, 2009 at 2:48 pm #1552452
Joe, enLIGHTened equipment is the cottage in a start-up mode of Tim Marshall, who is also very active on these forums. He makes top notch cuben down quilts, which should be perfect for winter use as they are quilt & VBL in one! I am currently interviewing him for an article on my blog which should go online next week.
Bradford, I'd like the Ultra 20 with all Pertex Quantum and 800+ Cuin down, a slight overfill maybe, and it would be perfect. Not too excited about the new, heavier model.Dec 10, 2009 at 3:08 pm #1552459
@drongobirdLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I bought a customized blanket in 2002 and made minor modifications to turn it into a double top quilt. Jim and I have slept in it for a total of ~400 nights so far; amortized at about a buck a night, which seems like a fair value. It weighs 32 oz, keeps us warm down below freezing, is spacious and comfy, has never been washed, and has retained its loft as good as new. I can't think of anything that would make it better, and we couldn't have tuned it to our needs without being able to order a custom product.
Is it better than other options? I can't answer that directly, but I will say that if this one gets damaged we would go straight back to Tom for a replacement, without even looking to see what alternatives exist.
(Compared to ~$100 for a pair of shoes that invariably wears out after 15-25 days on the trail, Nunatak is a bargain.)Dec 10, 2009 at 3:11 pm #1552460
Ah, J.G.Giant, and Hendrik.
Last three items I purchased were due to your reviews. Shug Avery from Hammockforums.net keeps my eye on those half-sleeve Montbell jackets.
Thank you for your detailed reviews on tall people gear(I am also 6'4") and Hendrik for reviewing everything that comes out in black.
I enjoy looking at Nunatak's website, and still might purchase their half-pants, and down mukluks, or maybe I'll finally get around to making my own gear. Ah, the terror.Dec 10, 2009 at 3:19 pm #1552463Dec 10, 2009 at 3:51 pm #1552470
William, that's really a honor for me, thank you – and I hope you'll be happy!
btw, I am getting an all black SUL backpack made, which hopefully arrives in January…
Ah, and Shug is the best, I love his videos!Dec 10, 2009 at 4:38 pm #1552491
Jolly Green GiantParticipant
I'll say thanks too William. I think everyone on this forum has a lot of insight. There is nothing more valuable than experience and science, both of which can be found here in greater number than anywhere else. Best of luck in finding gear that betters your backpacking adventures.Dec 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm #1552519
"Skaha pullover which I'm waiting on now"
Forgot about those. In addition to the quilts (well, one's a Raku, not a quilt) I also own a Skaha sweater with hood and a Skaha vest with hood. And the Chugach booties. Yeah, as I said, I think Nunatak is that good… ;-)Dec 11, 2009 at 6:32 am #1552646
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
If "that good" refers to quality – yes, Nunatak is that good. Same answer if it refers to functionality of gear: My Skaha Plus and Back Country Blanket are the best down sweater and sleeping bag, respectively, that I've ever owned. But the best thing about this company is the ability to get exactly what you want. Customization is encouraged, even invited, and the only extra charge for custom work is for adding down. A sleeping bag is not a place to skimp on quality, and spread over the life of a bag the price premium is negligible.Dec 11, 2009 at 7:21 am #1552657
@quoddyLocale: New York/Vermont Border
I've been happy with Nunatak's gear. Just make sure that you order at least 3 months before you actually need it.Dec 11, 2009 at 7:52 am #1552663
What I'm wondering, is will cottage competition finally come from the hammock people? There are at LEAST three different makers coming out with topquilts in the near future. There are no really "good" ones out now, but what if others come out with products made out of high fill-power down and high-tech fabrics like Momentum and Pertex? I guess that's what I was getting at, is that nobody else (Tim Marshall's 2 month wait list excluded) is making off-the-shelf down quilts, other than Jacks R Better with their 1.1 ripstop and wide 7" baffles and the mass-produced Chinese GoLite underfilled wonders.Dec 11, 2009 at 7:58 am #1552665
Te-wa on this forum makes down quilts and he'll use momentum if you want it.Dec 11, 2009 at 8:08 am #1552668
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
Competition in Europe may come from PHD. Rumour has it they will be producing top quality quilts some time next year.Dec 11, 2009 at 9:41 am #1552708
"What I'm wondering, is will cottage competition finally come from the hammock people? There are at LEAST three different makers coming out with topquilts in the near future. There are no really "good" ones out now, but what if others come out with products made out of high fill-power down and high-tech fabrics like Momentum and Pertex?
I assume you mean other than Nunatak, per your original post (great topquilts made with Momentum and Pertex). I don't think you'll necessarily ever see 'off the shelf' lightweight topquilts. I'm not sure the audience is quite big enough. And when you do get 'off the shelf' stuff, it will be much like what GoLite makes now. The moment you move away from cottage manufacturers (generalization, I know, but true in most cases) you get producers that want to maximize profits, which generally means cutting one corner of another.Dec 11, 2009 at 2:28 pm #1552826
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
And better yet, they are often custom made. I called not knowing what would be best. Tom asked a lot of questions, then offered a solution, explaining why he thought it was the best option.
This is what the cottage industries often do best. There are small manufacturers of packs and shelters that also offer customization of their products. And they stand behind their products.Dec 11, 2009 at 4:45 pm #1552870
@rayestrellaLocale: Northern Minnesota
I really liked the comfort of quilts after I got my GoLite Ultra 20, but as it did not perform to my expectations I decided to try An Arc Alpinist from Nunatak. It is everything that I was hoping for. Extremely well made, lighter and smaller packing than the Ultra 20 and much warmer.
I like it so much that I sold all my warm rated bags and ordered two more quilts from Tom. I really like that I can customize them to fit me. I ordered a Specialist with an extra ounce of fill in the top section of the bag as I am always coldest at my arms/shoulders. I ordered an Expedition with a black Epic shell to fight condensation and facilitate drying should it get wet. I had two ounces of extra fill added to it. For the Alpinist I had him do the footbox in Epic as I often get my bags wet from hitting the end of short tents
I should be getting them in a couple weeks. I am going to try pairing the Alpinist with the Expedition and see if I can handle -20 with it.
So I guess I am saying, yes, I think they are worth it.Dec 12, 2009 at 5:13 am #1552987
@quoddyLocale: New York/Vermont Border
"Competition in Europe may come from PHD. Rumour has it they will be producing top quality quilts some time next year."
Mike… Even the rumour is good to hear. The gear I already have from PHD is as good as it gets, and includes some with the newly offered 900 down. Since their bags are super quality, I wrote them earlier this year and inquired about the possibility of a quilt.
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