Mar 17, 2010 at 6:20 am #1256585
Just looking at the Montbell sale, it's hard not to jump at some items I've been considering. I just bought a JRB No Sniveller (was considering a Summerlite, but found the JRB used for a good price). It will be my first experience with a quilt. I am now considering getting a MB UL inner jacket at 30% off.
My question is, with a quilt, should I really be looking at a parka (or will I want a balaclava added) to take things down to 20F? I'm pretty sure the jacket + quilt will be fine for torso warmth, but am worried about my head.
Just for reference, I am 5'7", so I can probably pull the quilt up over my head a bit if need be, but I am gathering this is not an optimal seal for keeping heat in. Any thoughts are welcome.
EDIT: Forgot to add, I normally use an OR Ninjaclava. My pad is an older Prolite 3/4 pad.Mar 17, 2010 at 6:28 am #1587421
You should be fine with a balaclava at 20, I've been ok with a Balaclava and fleece hat down to 5. I got a Montbell inner just recently with the hood so I've been leaving the balaclava at home recently.Mar 17, 2010 at 6:34 am #1587424
Gary, do you mean fine with the Ninjaclava?
I should have clarified in my first post, I meant to ask, will I want a DOWN balaclava added? In the past at that temp, I have appreciated having a bag with a hood (even with a fleece hat or bala), but the bag I was using (MEC Nomad) was substantially less warm than the JRB + down inner combo. Do you find the hood on the MB inner is really worth holding out for?Mar 17, 2010 at 6:49 am #1587431
@trevor83Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
I can't comment on the No Sniv but I have a Golite Ultra 20 quilt and use a MB UL Parka + fleece hat or balaclava as part of my sleep system. I have been very happy with the warmth the Parka provides for the negligible weight gain. But a UL Jacket + high loft balaclava might be more versatile and allow you to leave the balaclava at home on warmer trips and save you a couple of ounces. At 20F if I did not have the parka I would definitely want a high loft balaclava like a JRB Down Hood or BPL UL 60 or 90 balaclava. If you are really warm sleeper you might not need it but 20F can get pretty cold without anything substantial over your dome. The No Sniv looks like an awesome quilt though. Enjoy.Mar 17, 2010 at 7:26 am #1587447
@gordontowneLocale: New England
I have found that for me, the combination of the JRB Sierra Sniveller (same loft as the No Sniveller, with a different cut) and Montbell ExLight jacket over a light baselayer is plenty comfortable to about 25 or so, with only a thin balaclava for head insulation. I recently spent a night out where it got down to 14dF with my Sierra Sniveller, and wearing a Patagonia R1 hoody and Montbell ExLight jacket underneath. On my head I was wearing both an OR Ninjaclava and the hood from the R1. I made it through the night comfortably. With a down hood or balaclava you could probably extend this further. I tend to sleep warm, however, so your mileage may vary.Mar 17, 2010 at 7:33 am #1587450
@pa_hikerLocale: Orwigsburg PA
you could always get the JRB down hood….Mar 17, 2010 at 8:44 am #1587468
I have the Hudson River (No Sniv minus head hole) – was warm in the low 20s and I am no warm sleeper by any means. But that was in a hammock. Ground sleeping is made easier by having the quilt wings to better tuck in around you. (I am also 5'7")
I take either a thermawrap parka or marmot down jacket (not one of the heavy box baffle type, just a spring type jacket) and have only needed to put on the jacket once.Mar 17, 2010 at 8:48 am #1587471
Lori (or other JRB users), do you find the quilt wings help enough to keep the quilt tucked around you that I should consider them? Just wondering – the quilt is still in the mail so I have not had the chance to test it out.Mar 17, 2010 at 8:56 am #1587474
One added thought while this forum is going – a lot of people have talked in the past about MB sizing being a little screwy. I am 5'7", chest 39", torso length 17". From the sizing chart it seems a medium would fit me (I normally take a small in other companies e.g. Marmot, Patagonia, Icebreaker, etc.). Would want this to fit over baselayer + windshirt, possibly with an R1 hoody or 200 weight fleece vest thrown in under certain conditions. Are these estimates accurate?Mar 17, 2010 at 9:07 am #1587475
I quilt and use a fleece beanie down to freezing. Once it dips I pull out the drop-down built-in face cover. That works to the lower-mid 20s for me. At 20 and below I use a down bala.
As far as MontBell's sizing I have found all of their stuff to run small.Mar 17, 2010 at 9:12 am #1587477
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
Another option for JRB quilts is to get their Full-Length OmniTape option, and use their Down-to-Earth sleeping pad. The omnitape seals to a similar line of tape on the pad, so there is no need to "tuck" anything. Even without the wings I feel that this makes the whole setup a little more roomy, too, for us side-sleepers and nocturnal gymnasts. it adds a couple of ounces, though.
I have a Montbell UL down inner jacket- no hood- and when it arrived I was a little taken aback by how thin it was. (I'm now a better judge of equating ounces of down fill with jacket loft.) It works fine for summer use in the mountains, for instance, but I've come to the conclusion that there are better compromises out there for a down top. Will Rietveld liked the Eddie Bauer First Ascent and the WM hooded Flash. Patagonia makes a decent Down Sweater. Etc.
EDITED for spelling.Mar 17, 2010 at 9:44 am #1587494
Ray, you use Nunatak quilts, right? I don't think the JRB has a face cover. From what I am reading, I guess it depends on how I sleep (hot or cold). From experience I'm guessing I am in the middle … meaning some kind of insulated hood or balaclava may be a good idea at temps below 25F.
Dean, omni taping the quilt to the pad is worth looking into. I sleep on my back at the beginning of the night, but migrate to my side for most of the night, so having some way to cinch the quilt to the pad would definitely be nice.
About the Montbell Jackets, I was thinking of the UL inner because so many people seem to like it. But at only 2 oz of fill, I agree it is not the best value out there (though the sale price makes it tempting!). Also, it seems it would only be really useful in summer (though with the JRB I could push that by wearing the quilt). The EB jacket looks good for the price. Even in the Montbell line from what I can see, the Alpine Light parka at 4.2 oz fill for $170 seems to be far and away the best value 3-season piece they offer (at regular price, anyway). The Alpine Light also seems to be a much more versatile garment … but I am afraid it would be too heavy to take in summer. I can only afford one three-season jacket right now, so want to get this right (I will get a heavier down parka for next winter, but it is not a priority at the moment).
Perhaps I should let this deal slide, and wait for Will's next article to come out before making any decisions? (Then I could spend my money on something else – like a new pack! :)Mar 17, 2010 at 9:59 am #1587503
RE: quilt wings – I also have a Ray Way with a draft stopper. The quilt wings would help. The draft stopper makes it easier to tuck in (I made the Ray Way back when I was still on the ground, it is only a couple inches wider than the JRB quilts).Mar 17, 2010 at 12:16 pm #1587561
Just playing devil's advocate here, but if you're are gonna need wings or use omnitape to anchor yourself to your pad, then bring a down balaclava so you can sleep warm to 20F, why not just use a sleeping bag? Seems a lot simpler than fiddling with all those separate components, and a good WM bag can be used as a quilt when it's warmer.
I personally would not be warm to 20F with just a no-sniveller and MB UL jacket, but I'm female….Mar 17, 2010 at 1:05 pm #1587576
Good point. Bear in mind the quilt is still in the mail – so at this point I have not yet actually tried it out, and am just fishing for ideas. I am actually hoping it will fit fine as is, since I am a pretty small guy and that length will wrap around me pretty well. I am also hoping it will be fine with just a fleece balaclava for most uses. But I won't know till I try it.
Actually, I WAS initially considering getting a Summerlite (or rather, two – one for me and one for my wife – in fact I think you commented on that thread). What surprised me was that after talking it over with my wife, she really liked Roger Caffin's idea of trying using two quilts for better draft control (I was not expecting she would be so enthusiastic about the quilt idea). Anyway, I was thinking about all this and not sure what to do when a day later, I found the JRB on gear swap for a really good price – about half the price of a WM bag. I thought we could both try it out, and then if it doesn't work, I know that at least it will have good resale value here, and I can look at bags again. :)
I am not concerned about the quilt + UL inner keeping me warm (it will be way warmer than my current setup) – only about whether I will want a hood. My understanding is that the JRB + MB inner parka would be about 4 oz heavier than the Summerlite + MB inner jacket (2 oz in the quilt and 2 in the hood), but good to slightly lower temps than the Summerlite, given that 2.5 of those extra oz would be down. Given I am in Canada, I figure that warmth generally trumps weight here, as I would want the warmth primarily for shoulder season trips.Mar 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm #1587584
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
Actually, I kind of agree that if you're camping in conditions where you would want a hood for your quilt, then maybe you should just get a bag. (In fact, I have a 0F rated bag for that reason.) But otherwise I think they work well. The FLOT on a JRB quilt still weighs less than adding a back to the quilt to turn it into a bag, per se. The FLOT is more to stop drafts in merely 'cool' weather than anything else. Well, excepting that I do like the extra room it gives me.
One of those top-bags is probably the ideal solution for such cold conditions- if we're arguing UL, that is. I think if I were doing real mountaineering I'd want a full bag.Mar 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm #1587589
And going back the other way – the fact that a quilt requires a hat means I have a hat to wear around camp, and continue to wear in bed. Since the hood doesn't detach from the sleeping bag, I'd still be carrying a hat, which only means extra weight. Because I'm female, and I really like a warm hat when I stop hiking.Mar 17, 2010 at 1:54 pm #1587594
That is only true if you either sleep on your back (in the case of bags hooked to the pad or that use less fill on the bottom to cut weight) or can turn the entire bag with you.
It was my tossing and turning all night long side-sleeper style that brought me to quilts in the first place. (Thank you folks here and GolIte Ultra 20)
But I totally agree that a quilt can never be as efficient as a hooded bag. It is more a trade-off for comfort,weight and volume for me.
You guys did make me do an experiment by the way with all you talk of using your clothes as part of the total sleep system. I used the Arc Alpinist down to 13 F wearing my TEK jacket and some medium weight fleece pants to bed. It worked very well.
And yes Derek, I do use Nunatak quilts. They have no hood, hence the hat or bala.Mar 17, 2010 at 2:02 pm #1587595
@jamespatsalides-comLocale: New England
So, like Raymond, I'm a restless side-sleeper, so sleeping bags with hoods have always been an issue for me.
I now use a BPL quilt (PRO-90) and one of their coccoon balaclavas (UL-90) with the elastic removed (worried about strangling myself in the night). It works great, since it always covers my head and is super toasty on a normal 3-season night, regardless of which way I toss & turn under the quilt. If it is extra cold, I'd wear a puffa coat & pants and add a fleece or wool beanie under the balaclava.Mar 18, 2010 at 6:43 am #1587819
@peter_panLocale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
I use a JRB Down Hood attached or detached to a Montbell Vest, as I desire….trail hat at rests, Hooded vest/jacket when needed… Sleep hood that moves with me, not fixed to the bag back when under a quilt…Win Win win… all for two oz.
Remember that I'm biased on this subject… But these are simple facts that add up to flexibility and weight savings .
PanMar 18, 2010 at 10:53 am #1587891
I totally agree John,
Since “discovering” the down bala I am rethinking my need for my hooded parkas. Better to just bring a jacket and add the bala if I need it.
I have a mountaineering trip in 8 days that will quite different from last year due to all the new practices I have put into play since “meeting” the BPL folks.Mar 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm #1587933
"One of those top-bags is probably the ideal solution for such cold conditions- if we're arguing UL, that is"
You'll get no argument from me on that, as I use a top-bag all year round.
"The FLOT on a JRB quilt still weighs less than adding a back to the quilt to turn it into a bag, per se"
Flot, or wings, or whatever, just seems to me to defeat the purpose of carrying a quilt in the first place, as you are now strapped to your pad and thus lose the flexibility that quilt lovers so adore. Ditto using a bivy bag to reduce drafts. To me, if it's cold enough I want to stop drafts, then a quilt is not what I want, nor do I want to mess around with velcro when a zipper is so much simpler. At 59" a Summerlite makes a great quilt that is wide enough you can get away without wings or FLOT, yet can still zip up if things get really cold or drafty. Anyway, the OPs plan of trying th JRB and flicking it on if it doesn't perform well enough is a sound one, and I'm all for saving money.
A balaclava is a good idea for those of you who toss and turn and sleep in funny positions, whether or not your sleep system has a hood already built in. I'm all for balaclavas, as in this MYOG thread here (cuben/down balaclava):
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=30079Mar 18, 2010 at 1:58 pm #1587965
Needed to delete some of those Re:'s before posting …
Thanks everyone for the helpful advice so far, and for the encouraging words about my strategy. Everyone around here talks so much about quilts that I figure it is worth at least trying the idea out.
Just for interest sake, Lynn, I know you use WM POD15 and 30s, which are no longer made. Any top bags on the market that are worth considering if for some reason I don't like the quilt thing? Or should I just look at the Summerlite, which was my original idea?Mar 18, 2010 at 4:31 pm #1588014
I don't know of anyone at the moment who makes a decent top-bag. I guess there's a reason they never caught on, but those of us who like them tend to like them a LOT, everyone else kinda hates them.
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