Apr 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm #1301682
I'm looking to buy a warmer bag (20f/-7c) for a trip to iceland later in the year. I think this temp rating should also suffice for any winter activity here in Australia, even in the Victorian alps, which are my closest mountains. I've not camped in the snow before, but it's something I'd like to get into.
As such, I plan to spend the right money once, and am looking at WM, Nunatak and Katabatic. Obviously one of these makes bags, and the other two make quilts (with some exceptions at N). Enlightened Equipment is also a maybe, but I think I want a sewn in foot at these temps.
In summer I use a JRB quilt, which does the job. However, as a broad shouldered 6'3" side sleeper (knees up foetal a lot of the time) I frequently roll over and expose large parts of my back to the open air. No biggy when it's still >40f/5c, but I expect less awesome when it's down to freezing. Below are my rationale with the 3 brands I'm considering:
Katabatic (Alsek) – cool attachment system should stop sides coming up, but narrowness of bag sounds like it may cause problems for my knees up sleeping position.
Nunatak (Arc Alpinist) – Attachment system similar to JRB (which I don't use because I don't like it), but *seems* to have the upper body girth for this not to matter. I think I could keep one of their larger bags wrapped around me, and keep some cord handy if it's really cold.
WM (Aplinlite) – basically a 100-200g penalty to be fully cocooned and have no concerns about drafts because bag can move with me. Still opens right up for warmer nights, although hood is attached so it's less versatile in that way.
Anyone in a similar boat make a similar decision?Apr 13, 2013 at 3:45 pm #1976306
I'm 6-4, broad-shouldered, tossing-and-turning side sleeper, and have faced the same choices as you. I ruled out the Alpinlite as too constraining, besides I'm mildly claustrophobic and don't like hoods. I have a couple of Nunatak quilts that I can recommend – the Arc Alpinist and Back Country Blanket, both with some extra down that I ordered. (I sleep very cold.) I do think Nunatak's quilts need more room at the shoulders, but Tom will oblige you there, probably at no extra charge. I can also recommend Valandre as a very high end manufacturer, though the only one that I've owned (Mirage) is probably not enough insulation. Haven't tried Katabatic but have heard great things about them. Good luck.
RichardApr 13, 2013 at 4:59 pm #1976318
When I was looking for a bag/quilt, I considered the exact same options. I also looked at the Feathered Friends Verio (http://featheredfriends.com/vireo-25-45-sleeping-bag-1900.html). I live near Seattle so I drove over there and rented one for a weekend, then realized it was perfect for me. You can toss and turn, sleep on your side, etc, and you don't have the draftiness issue you have with a quilt. It's simple; crawl in, cinch it up around your neck when it gets cold, or pull it off your core when you get warm. Bought one with 2oz overfill and have used it on summer backpacks and paired with a belay jacket on Rainier and other climbing trips.
If you're not comfortable sleeping with a jacket on, I'd recommend getting 4 oz of overfill in the torso to make it a true ~25 degree bag at 20oz (with 4oz of overfill, approx 13oz of fill total). Then pair with a down jacket for even more flexibility.Apr 13, 2013 at 6:48 pm #1976342
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
I have used an Alpinelite on a few cold weather trips and really like it. I really appreciate the room inside, I was able to push it to -13f with a decent down parka, trousers and botties and was fine.
One thing though is the shell can get a bit damp from condensation I definitley notice the difference between my Phd winter bag which has a waterproof shell.Apr 15, 2013 at 4:22 am #1976735
I've been reading a bit more closely, and realise now that the wide katabatic quilts are listed as 58" wide – so in theory wider than the 3 season nunataks… however I've been reading that differential cuts etc make measurements vary widely. Has anyone tried a wide katabatic and can compare the space inside to the 55" nunataks or the wider cut WM bags?
I think a bag might be advantageous, but I'll be using a bivy, so I don't think I'll have huge problems with drafts and there's no getting away from the fact that an equivalently warm quilt (+ hood) is almost 200g lighter :sApr 15, 2013 at 8:50 am #1976795
Quilts for my money are inherently more flexible with the ability to vent more freely if needed to take extend your bag in warmer than spec temperatures. The differential cut on the Katabatic Gear bags certainly means the actual useable space you have under the quilt should be even greater.Apr 15, 2013 at 9:54 pm #1977135
@heyyouLocale: Cutting brush off of the Arizona Tr
At some lower temperature, I want the heat efficiency and lack of drafts that a bag offers, instead of a quilt. I'm not sure that a quilt plus adequate head wear is always lighter than a hooded bag. The exceptions will be at lower temperatures. My opinion is the bag may share some of your torso heat with your head area. A low temperture quilt and hood may need more insulation than the bag rated to the same temp.
Recently a 5* F. Nunatak quilt was in Gear Swap. If it is that cold, why would I need to be able to expose a hand or foot to the outside air?Apr 16, 2013 at 2:30 am #1977173
I use the katabatic blackwelder 0 degree wide for winter camping. This excellent design has a draft tube that cinches at the neck and more than ample room to tuck the quilt around you, sealing out drafts. I dont personally use the pad clip system, but the double set of clips allows the quilt to really lock out drafts if needed. On a trip where temperatures fluctuated from 30 F to -11F, the versatility of the quilt was most appreciated. I don't see going back to mummy bags. I much prefer the freedom of movement that a quilt provides.Apr 16, 2013 at 4:18 am #1977181
That's what I'm thinking… necessarily, even with the most well wrapped quilt and hood there's necessarily a gap right above the mattress, and potentially around the collar.. you'd need a pretty tightly drawn collar on a quilt to match a bag
Edit: that was a delayed response to the earlier post.. but I'm curious, how tall/broad shouldered are you Ike?Apr 16, 2013 at 4:48 am #1977183
@rayestrellaLocale: Northern Minnesota
I am a 6' 3" side sleeper and use quilts down to 0 F. Of all the quilts I have owned the Arc Alpinist is still my favorite. Here is an old review of it.Apr 16, 2013 at 5:59 am #1977209
I've winter camped in quilts and mummy bags (and sometimes one inside the other!). The advantage of mummy bags is that they are foolproof, require no set-up and are pretty much guaranteed to cover every last inch of you if need be.
The advantage of quilts is that they are customizable to the conditions and the gear you have with you. For instance, it becomes impossible to add extra layers of clothing in a mummy bag because there simply isn't room; the bag won't loft efficiently if it is stretched to the max with you and your clothes. A well-cut quilt accommodates more layers if you want to stretch the temperature rating beyond its lower limit.
I find I really like combining a quilt and a hooded down jacket for cold nights. I find a jacket hood far more effective than the hood on a sleeping bag, simply because your jacket hood is designed to move with you. If you sleep on your side or stomach at all, you will probably end up breathing into the mummy bag's hood at some point during the night which leads to a lot of moisture condensing in the hood. If you sleep like a mummy (motionless and on your back), then the hood on a sleeping bag should work fine.
To some, if you're already carrying a hooded insulating layer for the purpose of wearing in camp, then carrying a hood on your sleeping bag is redundant.Apr 16, 2013 at 6:12 am #1977211
Not tall (5'8). Shoulder-wise, I wear a size 40 jacket.
As a tossing and turning side sleeper, I always found my face mashing into the hood at some point in the night. Like Kate, I much prefer a separate hood.Apr 16, 2013 at 6:41 am #1977217
"Recently a 5* F. Nunatak quilt was in Gear Swap. If it is that cold, why would I need to be able to expose a hand or foot to the outside air?"
Still is. :-) I'm also a quilt user in winter. As a tosser and turner I have no interest in ever going back to a bag. I also don't expose my hand or foot when it's really cold, and I stay toasty.
On a recent trip, overnight temps got into the teens. I was so warm in my quilt I didn't even have any head covering until about 3 am. I woke up then to do another bit of tossing and turning (as I had throughout the night), my head felt cool (not cold), put on my down balaclava and went back to sleep until morning.Apr 16, 2013 at 6:46 am #1977218
"I've been reading a bit more closely, and realise now that the wide katabatic quilts are listed as 58" wide – so in theory wider than the 3 season nunataks… however I've been reading that differential cuts etc make measurements vary widely. Has anyone tried a wide katabatic and can compare the space inside to the 55" nunataks or the wider cut WM bags?"
I have two of the wide Katabatics, and have had various Nunataks. The wide Katabatics are wider than anything else I've ever had with the exception of the Nunatak Expedition (which is sized to go over another bag/quilt if you want it to). I can easily wrap a wide Katabatic around my fat little body to keep drafts at bay.Apr 16, 2013 at 6:46 am #1977220
How do you like the Pertex Endurance shell for the Blackwelder? Does it get clammy or does it breathe ok? I've been thinking about getting one for colder weather. I know you can vent easily because it's a quilt, but I don't know how much venting I want to do at Blackwelder temperatures.
I had a Feathered Friends bag with their Nano shell fabric and I felt that it was not very breathable… I felt clammy in the bag. I switched to WM microfiber shelled bag and the clamminess disappeared. If the Pertex Endurance fabric performs anywhere close to WM Microfiber I'd be very tempted to get one…Apr 16, 2013 at 7:47 am #1977234
@packmanpeteLocale: Rainy Portland
I use a Nunatak most of the time, but when it's colder or windy I like a wide WM bag. I have a Ponderosa (I think) and it's plenty warm and spacious, and I sometimes wear a down jacket inside. It's very wide, so I can use it like a double quilt (when zipped open) for me and my lady when we go out together. I honestly like the freedom in a quilt better, so the 5* offered may be a viable solution for you. One great thing about Nunatak is that they are custom made-mine has no straps. You can choose the fabric, the cut, the overstuff amount, and other options. Just call Tom. Sure, the delivery times are long, but I got just what I wanted, down to the colors!Apr 16, 2013 at 10:19 am #1977286
Until this past winter I did as Pete did – if the temperature was forecast below 15 F I switched to my WM Sequoia. This past winter I've been experimenting with a Nunatak hybrid Arc Alpinist-Arc Expedition. Arc Alpinist with 4 oz overfill, differential cut, wider at the shoulders than a standard Large Arc Alpinist. It has worked quite well down to 0-5 F with a down- or synthetic-filled pad. Not sure if I'd take it below that.Apr 16, 2013 at 7:50 pm #1977489
I think I'm pretty well sold on quilts, even in winter – based on the comments in this thread…
Now the hard decision – The katabatic seems like the all round roomier quilt, has more down, even at a warmer rating (22 Alsek vs 20 Arc Alpinist), the more advanced pad attachment system for when I want it… Aside from the fact there's only one colour choice and it's ugly is there anything I'm missing??
I guess there's also the question of whether I need overfill to get down to the magic number of 20f, but based on fill weight I doubt I really do…Apr 16, 2013 at 8:03 pm #1977497
There is this screaming deal on a Nunatak Expedition quilt: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=70640Apr 17, 2013 at 6:15 am #1977584
Doug is right – that's a terrific price for the Arc Ex.Apr 17, 2013 at 7:07 am #1977595
"How do you like the Pertex Endurance shell for the Blackwelder? Does it get clammy or does it breathe ok?"
I like it fine. It seems perfectly breathable and the inner shell is snuggly soft. I don't think I can really comment on clamminess though. In subzero temps I'm usually wearing a VBL jacket and pants which will far overshadow the quilt in terms of any breathability issues.
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