Aug 13, 2009 at 1:09 pm #1238561
I can't take it any more. There have been too many thread lately that verge on quilt fanatacism! From a current thread or two in the gear forum:
"A quilt is much easy because you can toss it off. If you have a top on then this isn't really cold."
"the top half of the quilt is on the neoair with the 2 quilt straps wrapped around it"
For those that may be tempted by the quilt fans to spend more money, both the above comments reflect the faulty logic of thinking a "quilt" is more comfortable than a "bag". A bag is just a quilt with a zipper and hood, nothing more. You can use it unzipped on top of you just like a quilt, and throw it off easily to get in and out of bed. But when things get cold and drafty, you will likely want to use the straps to keep the quilt in place, and maybe throw a bivy bag over as well. This nullifies the convenience of using a quilt as you can no longer just 'throw it off', as you have to either unbuckle the straps first (not much more convenient than unzipping a bag), and/or worm out of a bivy bag. The only advantage to carrying a quilt is that there is some weight savings as long as you don't also need to carry a bivy bag or extra headwear to make low temps and drafts bearable.
We used a WM Versalite as a two person quilt for many years before I made an MYOG quilt. I just added a couple of velcro straps to the zipper edges that mated with the velcro I glued to the bottom of our mats. It worked brilliantly. I also used my WM Ultralite as 'quilt' most of the time when temps were not cold enough to want to zip it up. Both systems performed better than the Arc Alpinist I was tempted to try, as they were wider, had more loft, a differential cut, and could be securely sealed at the edges when things turned bad.
This is not trolling, just pointing out there is an elephant in the room, and the emperor has no clothes!Aug 13, 2009 at 1:56 pm #1520642
I love quilts and I will never return to sleeping bags.
I am warmer in the quilt, ie, I can afford a warm enough quilt, whereas I can't afford the nice Montbell that I would need to get. I don't get a stuck zipper and have a full on anxiety attack. I don't have any of the problems you're talking about with cold spots because I'm used to using the quilt without straps, wings, velcro or any other such add on. No, I'm not petite. Granted I am spending 9 out of 10 nights in my hammock and quilts function differently in one, but I've had no difficulty tarping on the ground with one, either. I like having my head free of the #$@% mummy bag hood that smothered me. I like packing my quilt into half the space of the cold synthetic bag I used to have. I sleep on my back or side without difficulty.
I'm claustrophobic, don't go out into the arctic (25F and above for me, thanks), and don't really feel the need to have a full on bag. I would have stopped backpacking if I had to use a bag and tent. Quilts and hammocks saved me from that fate. So they don't work for you – well, okay, fine. Good thing you can afford Western Mountaineering.Aug 13, 2009 at 1:59 pm #1520643
te – waParticipant
dont like whats on the radio?
a)change the channel
b)turn the radio off
rip, george.Aug 13, 2009 at 2:13 pm #1520648
"Good thing you can afford Western Mountaineering."
Well, this is kinda what staretd this thread for me. In other threads, they are discussing purchases such as a Nunatak Arc Alpinist…I'm trying to point out to anyone salivating over such a purchase (and many folks have wanted to "upgrade" from their WM bag to a Nunatak), that it is not an upgrade, just a bag without a zipper or hood. Can't comment on hammocks as they suck for me, but I know for a fact that even in a hammock you can use and unzipped bag just like a quilt. Just because the zipper is there it doesn't mean you have to use it. And obviously this doesn't apply to Lori, as you are not in the Nunatak/WM income bracket, you don't do cold weather and you don't use the quilt straps or a bivy bag to keep you warm. A lot of quilt users seem to depend on straps, bivies etc…to keep warm in a quilt. Methinks these folks would be just as well off with bag. Imagine spending hundreds of dollars just to get rid of a zipper and hood. It would be a 10 minute MYOG project for someone with a sewing machine and a decent down bag.Aug 13, 2009 at 3:13 pm #1520659
I'm with you, Lynn. They're the exact same thing, except one has a zipper and another has understraps. Maybe a little less material and less weight for some quilts, but in trade you might have to carry a bivy sack.
Doesn't have anything to do with cost, either. Like you pointed out, quilts can easily rival the best bags for price.
As it happens, I built a 14-ounce bag a while ago. It's good for about freezing. I use it like a quilt with the zipper opened up, or if it gets cold I can zip myself well into it, no drafts, no need for a bivy sack. Gotta say, I haven't come across many quilts as light as my bag for the same temp rating (but yes, there are definitely some, and even some lighter).
It boils down to a personal preference. If someone prefers a quilt to a bag, fine. I don't see how it's possible to argue that a quilt is more versatile since it is inherently more limited (open winter bivy in a quilt, no bivy sack anyone?). I just wish that some people could be a little more objective. When we make recommendations for people, nothing's an "all or nothing" decision, really. Quilts are not necessarily the promised land. Then again, bags might not be, either. It all depends. Ya know?Aug 13, 2009 at 3:17 pm #1520660
For me, I just flat out like gear. I also, like to buy, try, and will sell what I'm not thrilled with, to buy and try another piece of gear.
I only do this, because I can afford to, but for many years, I could not.
If I could only pick one, either a bag or quilt, I would probably choose a bag. There really isn't anyway that a quilt will hold and trap heat, as well as a good down mummy bag will.
For 99% of my trips, my WM Megalite would be my choice, "If" I didn't have my quilts or could only afford to choose one.Aug 13, 2009 at 3:53 pm #1520668
"For me, I just flat out like gear. I also, like to buy, try, and will sell what I'm not thrilled with, to buy and try another piece of gear."
Yeah, ditto that. That's why I tried an Alpinist (but quickly traded it for a WM POD which I have been delighted with, thanks a million Pedro). I guess I've tried them all, and can't see much appreciable benfit to a quilt other than a couple of ounces saved at the expense of needing to wear a hat and bivy to bed if you're in a drafty cold sleeping situation. But hey, if you've got the money and the urge, there's no harm in giving all the options a try. With any luck, another BPL member may benefit from your 'trade-up' and score a nice bag on the gear swap forum…Aug 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm #1520674
@arichardson6Locale: North East
I've been really thinking about quilts lately! I wouldn't get one until next season at the earliest, but I would like to try it. Since I sleep under a solo tarp now (Thanks Mike Fogarty!) and I plan on getting a bivy to cope with rain and such, I feel like a quilt would just make sense. I do have a WM ultralight which I've been using in quilt mode and I was having the same thoughts that you expressed in this thread, so I would only get a quilt if it popped up in gear swap for a good price.
I sleep really hot which is why I would consider getting a warmer weather bag than my ultralight. I dunno though..I have to decide how late into the season I want to camp and get my thoughts together. I think a quilt is up my alley though..Aug 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm #1520677
Whats a WM POD? Also, you keep mentioned the lack of needing a bivy, when not choosing a quilt. Well, I sleep under a tarp, and even when using a bag, I would still use my bivy. Same with any single wall silnylon or Sil impregnated shelter, as you can experience mist-through, under heavy prolonged rain and need the extra protection, be it a bag or a quilt.Aug 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm #1520679
Define "cold weather." There are some Canadian and Minnesotan quilt using folk who have a different idea of it than me.
"Can't comment on hammocks as they suck for me, but I know for a fact that even in a hammock you can use and unzipped bag just like a quilt."
You can, if you want to rip the nylon in the hammock.
Bags are bulky, I don't like unnecessary bulk. You have to get a high quality down bag to avoid bulk and keep warmth; you have to buy more high quality down to get a bag, and less of it to get a quilt. Jacks R Better has four season quilts for far less than the four season high quality down sleeping bags.
I didn't use a bivy under my tarp, and didn't see any difference in warmth. Comfortable at 30F in midweights and socks.
Also, I might add — I am totally aware that quilts and bags are the same; the materials are the same after all. Hammocks and tents are essentially the same as well, though you will find rabid people in both camps who insist their way is better, for me it's just a matter of what works. Rather than replace the insufficient bag I first purchased with a good quality bag which then I would have had to butcher with scissors, I'm very happy that I simply purchased quilts. I didn't have to chase down around the living room, didn't have to worry about the zipper or the extra bulk in the hammock, didn't have to fuss with a mummy hood, didn't have to sell the bag to buy a quilt….
It's a matter of getting what you need instead of buying things you don't need and then wasting time, money and materials. Why do I need a bag when I can get exactly the amount of warmth and comfort in a quilt? If I do go four season, it'll still be a quilt for me. I'll probably just double up the two 2.5" loft quilts I already have and take two pads. I'll put on that too-warm bomber hat I can't use yet. I'll use what I have because it works.Aug 13, 2009 at 4:29 pm #1520681
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I agree with you that there may be a number of misunderstandings of the value of a quilt and maybe spending money to spend money.
However, it should be pointed out that what a quilt offers is the opportunity/chance to provide comfort/warmth at a lower temperature than a sleeping bag of the same weight as a quilt.
I currently use a bivy and tarp configuration and I am hoping that a quilt of 20-21 oz will give me the same comfort/warmth as a down sleeping bag of 800+ plus fill that could weight between 25 oz to 29 oz.
This due to the higher loft of having all the down above me vs. "wasting" down being under me in a sleeping bag.
The key issue that I see for a quilt user is how they are able to retain warmth from preventing drafts entering under the quilt edges.
The issue of flexibility of moment and venting excess warmth with a quilt better than a sleeping bag is not a convincing arguement to me as a sleeping bag can be unzipped to function like a quilt.
My hope is that the quilt will simply allow me to stay comfortable at any temperature for less weight than an equivant sleeping bag.
Basically, the quilt offers the possibility of more loft on top of you to retain warmth vs. a sleeping bag of the same weight as a quilt.
To me, what is often neglected and might possiblity decrease the weight savings of a quilt is that it may require additional weight for a warm hat/balaclava that you would not normally carry, since the quilt does not have a head covering like a mummy bag.
-TonyAug 13, 2009 at 4:47 pm #1520685
"Whats a WM POD? Also, you keep mentioned the lack of needing a bivy, when not choosing a quilt. Well, I sleep under a tarp, and even when using a bag, I would still use my bivy. Same with any single wall silnylon or Sil impregnated shelter, as you can experience mist-through, under heavy prolonged rain and need the extra protection, be it a bag or a quilt."
A Western Mountaineering POD is a (discontinued) sleeping bag that has dwon only on the top. My POD 30 is warm down to 30F/-1C, and weighs 15oz. Ditto my POD 15 (15F/-9C, 25oz ) bag. These bags keep me warm down to their rated temps with nothing more than a base merino layer on. So really, I don't need the extra flexibility of either a quilt or full bag, so save even more weight while retaining a hood and zipper. It's the best of all worlds if you are not a restless side sleeper. The MYOG quilt is for two person purposes only, and is not as warm as carrying two POD 30s for the same weight, but has a better snuggle factor :-)
In terms of 'wasted' down in a bag, that's simply not (necessarily) the case with a bag such as many of the WM bags since you can shake all the down away from the edges of the bag for increased loft on the top of you when used as a quilt. It's just a bit of wasted fabric and hood that you end up carrying. But when it turns unexpectedly cold (as it can do any time of year here), it sure is nice to have that hood and zipper as a backup!
I also carry a 3oz bivy for tarptent camping, but it's not to increase the warmth of my bag, merely to keep water off.Aug 13, 2009 at 5:06 pm #1520693
i use a bivy anyways and like having a hat around so a quilt works fine for me
i would like to mention how i think its funny that a slightly controversial post gets this many hits so fast lol
what is your opinion on half bags?Aug 13, 2009 at 5:20 pm #1520696
Rick like quilt, he pee alot. Rick hate zipper, zipper bad. No carry zipper!!!
However Rick do that Lynn have point.Aug 13, 2009 at 5:26 pm #1520700
"what is your opinion on half bags?"
About the same as my opinion on Nunatak's Raku…too many compromises for my taste, but if it works for you then enjoy!
"i would like to mention how i think its funny that a slightly controversial post gets this many hits so fast"
I think it's funny that it is controversial ;)Aug 13, 2009 at 5:37 pm #1520707
There's a war on, chose a side. You go innov8's with a quilt or montrail's with a bag!!!Aug 13, 2009 at 5:43 pm #1520710
I think we need to be careful to compare apples to apples, as the tired phrase goes ;P
In other words, if you're comparing the weight savings of quilts "vs." bags, then the fair and reasonable thing to do is compare quilts and bags of similar sizes. Nunatak's Arc Specialist is about the same size (ie dimensions) as the bag I made, but the Nunatak is 3 ounces heavier than my bag. And I used a zipper and draft collar! (Same temp rating for both.) Similar-sized quilts and bags only have the weight difference of a zipper… and a #3 YKK with two sliders weighs about an ounce, give or take. Now, to be fair, the bag I made is more snug than I'd really like when using it as a bag. But I do use it as a quilt, and have zipped myself in if it gets drafty or cold. (Headed out for a couple weeks soon, we'll find out just how much snugness I can deal with!)
EDIT: Just wanted to add a "real world" comparison: Nunatak's Arc Specialist is 4 inches narrower in girth than the Western Summerlite. The Arc Specialist weighs 17 ounces, the Summerlite 19 ounces. For two ounces you get the extra girth, a full length zipper, a hood, and a draft tube. The Summerlite is even $50 cheaper!Aug 13, 2009 at 5:44 pm #1520711
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
Me pee lot too. Also must sleep on side – back bad. Also can do giant turtle impression when wearing no-sniveler.
Also think Lynn have point – quilts not magic – no matter how many dollars you spend and how groovy name is. Also wear Inovs.Aug 13, 2009 at 5:50 pm #1520713
Giant turtle…good stuff. Me side sleeper too. Hate to lay on unzipped zipper.Aug 13, 2009 at 5:51 pm #1520714
"There's a war on, chose a side. You go innov8's with a quilt or montrail's with a bag!!!"
Oh dear, I am really an outlier…I wear Adidas and use a top bag.Aug 13, 2009 at 5:53 pm #1520715
The first 'quilt fanatacism' quote is mine although I hardly feel it is 'fanatacism'. I was simply mentioning one thing I like about my quilt vs a traditional bag.
Since Lynn brought it up, I figure I'll expand upon it, even though it is fairly trivial and I feel silly even writing about this.
My Comment "A quilt is much easier because you can toss it off".
Obviously this benefit is minor, although it does make getting out of bed easier on morning when I'm feeling lazy. It's just a nice little perk that I noticed when I first used my quilt.
Could you do this with a bag? Sure. I think its pretty obvious to everyone that I'm comparing using a quilt to using a bag normally. I don't see why you needed to start a new thread to inform people they can unzip their sleeping bags and sleep under them instead. I'm sure we've all done this on a hot night. I don't think my comment left anyone thinking 'Whoa! I gotta sell my bag and get me a quilt so I can get out of it easily!"
With that said, there is still advantages to sleeping in a quilt vs. an unzipped bag. A sleeping bag is NOT "just a quilt with a zipper and hood" as Lynn asserts.
With a sleeping bag you have a zipper on the side, whereas a quilt opens on the bottom. So if you use a bag like a quilt then you are able to toss it on/off easily, but it doesn't work as well as a quilt for this usage for two reasons:
1) Bags typically have less insulation in the bottom. So because the bag unzips on the side, when you use a bag as a quilt you'll have less insulation on one side of your body where the bottom of the bag covers. This might work fine in warm weather but in anything close to the rating of the bag the side of your body covered by the bottom of the bag is going to be cold. This is inefficient use of the insulation.
2) The footbox of the bag will be sideways if you position the bag like a quilt. This is okay with loose fitting bags but if your bag has a tight footbox then you feet may be crammed together. This is also problematic with the footbox insulation because the down that used to be on top is now on one side and you are left with a smaller amount of down on top. Again, it's inefficient use of the down.Aug 13, 2009 at 6:01 pm #1520719
"Oh dear, I am really an outlier…I wear Adidas and use a top bag."
And your toilet flushes backwards and you have weirdo, aussie, wooly possums!!!Aug 13, 2009 at 6:07 pm #1520720
@rayestrellaLocale: Northern Minnesota
“A Western Mountaineering POD is a (discontinued) sleeping bag that has dwon only on the top. My POD 30 is warm down to 30F/-1C, and weighs 15oz. Ditto my POD 15 (15F/-9C, 25oz ) bag. These bags keep me warm down to their rated temps with nothing more than a base merino layer on.”
Maybe like these lynn?
I am finding this thread interesting. I have been using my first quilt this past late spring and summer and love it. As a flip-flopping side-sleeper it is working better than anything since I used to use Big Agnes’ heavy semi-rectangular bags years ago. Since I am at altitudes that require a beanie anyway as the weather can go north in a minute I have a hat along so that is not a weight hit for me.
I just ordered an Alpinist and am looking forward to using it in the northern Sierra this fall. I will be in a tent though. No hammock for me L! ;-)Aug 13, 2009 at 6:13 pm #1520723
"1) Bags typically have less insulation in the bottom. So because the bag unzips on the side, when you use a bag as a quilt you'll have less insulation on one side of your body where the bottom of the bag covers. This might work fine in warm weather but in anything close to the rating of the bag the side of your body covered by the bottom of the bag is going to be cold. This is inefficient use of the insulation.
I have never (since my first down bag in the 70s) owned a bag that has more down on one side than the other, so it's a moot point to me. A continuous baffled bag is identical to a quilt, but with a hood and zipper added.
2) The footbox of the bag will be sideways if you position the bag like a quilt. This is okay with loose fitting bags but if your bag has a tight footbox then you feet may be crammed together. This is also problematic with the footbox insulation because the down that used to be on top is now on one side and you are left with a smaller amount of down on top. Again, it's inefficient use of the down."
Again, I can't picture what you are referring to. All my bags have had round footboxes-they fit the same no matter how you position the bag. Are you suggesting there are bags out there where the footboxes are wider than they are tall? I guess it's possible…maybe you had bad experiences with bags because of the design of the bags you chose. They sound pretty inflexible.Aug 13, 2009 at 6:15 pm #1520724
"I just ordered an Alpinist and am looking forward to using it in the northern Sierra this fall. I will be in a tent though. No hammock for me L! ;-)"
Do you think the Alpinist will be more faithful to rating than the GoLite?
No hammock, no problem. More trees for me!
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