Katabatic Sawatch 15 Quilt and Crestone Hood Review
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Feb 22, 2011 at 1:12 pm #1269572Addie BedfordBPL Member
Companion forum thread to:Feb 22, 2011 at 1:38 pm #1700092Levon JensenBPL Member
@levonjensenLocale: Canadian Rockies
Mines in the mail, great article, now i'm even more excited.Feb 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm #1700099James MoughanMember
Interesting stuff Roger. In might be useful to readers to know your chest size and perhaps shoulder width.Feb 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm #1700124John Castro-RapplBPL Member
Great review, though I'm sorry your trips didn't work out!
Definitely looks like a nice quilt, and I actually am glad they chose to make it functional with CCF pads as well; one of the more attractive features of quilts are that they can be opened up for use at higher than rated temperatures. For someone trying to backpack on a budget, being able to just slide some light foam under the quilt helps it keep from sweltering in summer and can help drop base weight.
Still, with the 40% off deal at GoLite, I have yet to see any quilt that offers a better return than the 3 Season (20F) Quilt at $165.Feb 22, 2011 at 2:40 pm #1700126Jason ElsworthSpectator
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
There was a rumour of a wider version of the Katabatic quilts. I would certainly be interested in one. I agree with Roger that a bit of extra width can potentially do away with all the add ons needed to avoid drafts. Sometimes I think there comes a point when shaving off a few extra ounces really starts to impact functionality. Howvere, quilt width does seem to be a bit of a personally thing and I was glad to hear from Roger that quilt width wasn't an issue in practice.Feb 22, 2011 at 2:43 pm #1700128Diplomatic MikeMember
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
Good report Roger, but i'll disagree with you on there not being much difference between the 55" width of the Nunatak, and the 52" (i measure mine more at 51") of the Sawatch. The Sawatch was advertised originaly at 54". If i had known it was so narrow, i wouldn't have bought it.
I'm a side sleeper, and 55" gives me enough tuck. 51"/52" is too narrow, and both sides of the quilt don't touch the ground when i'm on my side, unless i use the cords. I don't use the straps on my Arc Specialist, but need to use the cords on the Sawatch. It just works ok, but i prefer the freedom of more room. I love quilts for their non-restrictiveness, as well as the weight savings. As a side sleeper, i find the Sawatch is more like a restrictive sleeping bag for me.
And yes, that single snap won't stay closed! I'll try to figure out a way of adding another snap, without damaging the thin shell material. I'll maybe get a seamstress to do it, and add a few inches of material to the sides at the same time.
It's a top quality quilt, but too narrow for comfort for this side sleeper.
I'm 5'10", 42" chest, and around 170lbs.
Edit. I've just emailed Aaron to see if he will update my quilt. Apart from the single snap, the elastic edgeing may give a better seal.Feb 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm #1700173
My chest size 99 cm (39"), fully inflated …
Mike – what's yours?
CheersFeb 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm #1700176
> I was geld to hear from Roger
I do hope you weren't …
CheersFeb 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm #1700187Jason ElsworthSpectator
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
Now that would be taking weight saving just a bit too far :)Feb 22, 2011 at 5:52 pm #1700204Michael LBPL Member
I think the wider is more than a rumor. I have a newsletter stating it! I'm going to hold em to it. ;)Feb 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm #1700209Dave .BPL Member
Is that right? They're making a wider version?
If so, that's great news for me. If Katabatic makes one of their quilts in a width like that of the Golite UltraLite 3-Season (or better yet with Roger's suggested 6 inches), that'd be enough to get me to buy one and give a quilt a try.
Up to now, I've always been dissuaded by something when it comes to getting a quilt: too narrow, too expensive, not enough down fill, etc. I've stayed loyal to my sleeping bag so far.
One question about the review: perhaps I'm not understanding the pad attachment system, but I wonder if it would work okay for all sorts of pads (closed cell foam, thin inflatables, thick down-filled inflatables)? You'd just need longer or shorter line wrapped around the pad depending on its thickness, right? Are you limited to using the clip system, or can you still tuck it under your pad as is more traditionally done with quilts? What about using the Katabatic in a hammock?Feb 22, 2011 at 7:25 pm #1700237Michael LBPL Member
Yeah. Saying 58 inch at shoulders. Adding some more quilts to cover greater temp range.Feb 22, 2011 at 9:54 pm #1700299
> I wonder if it would work okay for all sorts of pads (closed cell foam, thin inflatables, thick
> down-filled inflatables)? You'd just need longer or shorter line wrapped around the pad depending on its
> thickness, right? Are you limited to using the clip system, or can you still tuck it under your pad as is
> more traditionally done with quilts?
The string provided is a long length adaptable to all sorts of pads, with some to spare. You just tie it around the mat to suit.
You don't have to use the clip system: some nights I didn't bother. With a little experience or practice, you find you can turn over under a quilt without disturbing the edges. Well, I can, anyhow.
Tucking the edge of the quilt under the mat seems very wasteful to me! I might tuck it under ME, but never under my pad. It could easily get damp between the groundsheet and the mat as well. Bit of a no-no in my book.
CheersFeb 22, 2011 at 11:15 pm #1700318Diplomatic MikeMember
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
I added my chest size (42") at the end of my post. I'm about 51/52" around the shoulders. This is with my arms at my side. It's more in my normal sleeping position.
Don't get me wrong. It's a beautifully made quilt, just a bit too narrow for comfort for this side/stomach sleeper.Feb 23, 2011 at 6:15 am #1700376Dana MortonMember
Roger, nice review.
I just wanted to add clarification around your comment "None of the companies state on their websites how the temperature rating for their quilts have been tested: to the reliable EN13537 standard or to some other standard."
This is because, as of yet, there are no "approved"/common test procedures defined for non-mummy bags. EN13537 only covers mummy bags therefore quilts, and rectangulars (with no hood) are unable to be rated under the current methodology.
If you haven't seen it already, Mammut has a very comprehensive look at Temperature ratings and the history of sleep systems:
http://www.mammut.ch/images/Mammut_Sleep_well_pt1_E.pdfFeb 23, 2011 at 10:58 am #1700475Nico .BPL Member
@nickbLocale: Los Padres National Forest
I've been very happy with my Sawatch and Palisade quilts so far (got the Palisade for Christmas from my GF. Score!).
They're really well made and in my opinion, conservatively rated for warmth. Roger's comparison to the Nunatak and GoLite quilts seems to confirm this based on the claimed temp ratings and fill quantities.
I really like the material of the shell, it's very soft and smooth, almost like silk.
I haven't had too much trouble with the width of the quilt. I use the 6' quilts and I'm 5'10", 200 lbs with a 43" chest and broad shoulders. But I also use the clips to hold the quilt down to my pad and keep it in place and this seems to keep the quilt wrapped around me pretty well. No draft issues yet. Of course, I don't have any other quilt experience to compare it to.
The neck baffle, drawcord and snap collar are great ideas. In practice though, I've had trouble fastening the snap collar while I'm in the bag and equal trouble keeping the snap collar shut. It likes to pop open. However, the neck baffle is pretty cozy and I usually like to sleep with an arm out of the quilt and under my head, so I don't find the need for the snap collar to be buttoned up too often anyway.
Getting in and out of the quilt when using the clips is a little fiddly, but I'm getting better at it with use.
All in all, I'm pleased with these quilts. The improved snap collar seems like a good idea. The option for wider quilts sounds interesting too. Both of these items should make these quilts even better.Feb 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm #1700508Martin RyeBPL Member
Great review Roger. Used my Sawatch for several trips now camping high and out in very bad weather. Been down to -4 and its been fine. Nice and warm. I am 6'2 and use the long version. No issues for me with width as I can sleep side or on my back fine. I have no issues with the single snap adjustment on the collar but the new design seems a good idea. I so like this quilt it is my number one sleeping cover now. I cant fault it.Feb 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm #1700588
> as of yet, there are no "approved"/common test procedures defined for non-mummy bags. EN13537
> only covers mummy bags therefore quilts, and rectangulars (with no hood) are unable to be
> rated under the current methodology.
A good point for a lawyer, but it leaves me dissatisfied.
I cannot see any reason why you could not test a quilt using the EN13537 protocol. For both sleeping bags and quilts you need an adequate mat underneath, as any down underneath the test body gets squashed to the point of being useless for warmth. So, use a good mat and just do the test.
Sure, you would have to add a note to your brochure (sales screed, whatever) explaining how you adapted the EN standard to handle a quilt. As long as you are completely up front about what was done the reader is not deceived and may even be impressed. And maybe the Standards body will be inspired to upgrade the Standard to handle quilts.
PS: yes, I downloaded the PDF many years ago.Feb 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm #1700599Bob GrossBPL Member
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"And maybe the Standards body will be inspired to upgrade the Standard to handle quilts."
Yes, and then when the new standards document has incorporated your improvements, you will be invited to purchase that new document.
I've been down this road before.
–B.G.–Feb 23, 2011 at 3:50 pm #1700681John GiesemannBPL Member
Just mu insight into the quilt and its system. I have the long Palisade quilt, rated at 30 degrees. I have used it for approximately 10 nights ranging from roughly 20 degrees to 60 degrees. 4 of those nights were in the low 20 degree range.
I am 5' 10", weight 250 ( pretty heavy for an ultralight guy), my chest is 48" and my shoulders are about 58". I sleep mostly on my side and stomach. I sleep very warm. A 30'degree bag for me will generally work to at least 30 degrees with only a pair of briefs on.
How has the quit worked for me? I am very pleased with it. Since this is my first quilt, I have had to learn to use it and this has been an adventure. But it has worked very wellthe last few times I used the quilt.
Things I like. The weight is excellent. The material is very nice to the touch and drapes well. The fill weight is better than any other quilt I could find. The workmanship is excellent. The clip system is ingenious.
Things i don't like. The footbox comes up too high for me. i like to sleep pn my stomach and cannot bring my leg up because of the height of the footbox. I cut off the grosgrain strap and buckle. If was simply too far down the quilt to be of any use to me. It was useless weight. I also cut off the secondary clips. Because of my size, they were useless for keeping the quilt on the straps. I only need the regular clips. Finally, the top clips seem to come unattached when I sit up because of thier orientation to theh strap. If they were reversed so that the line came in from the bottom, they would not release the line. The bottom clips have this orientation and never come undone.
Due to my size, the clip system is imperative for me. I still sometimes get a draft when I turn over and have to pull the clips under me a little. If the weather is warm, I only attach one side of the clips and the pull the other side over me holding it in place. If it is near 30' F, I fasten one side, get in and then fasten the other clips. Yes, it is a little hassle at first, but I have learned to fasten them pretty efficiently.
What would I change? I would reverse the orientation of the top clips to keep them attached. I would add 2 inches to the bag width (maybe). I have used the bag very successfully and do like the light weight. I would do away with the adjusting strap. I would reduce the height of the footbox from 30" to 20".
I highly recommend this quilt.Feb 23, 2011 at 5:32 pm #1700726Al ShaverBPL Member
@al_t-tudeLocale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
Thanks for the great review, Roger. I have no experience with the Crestone Hood which you recommend only for very cold environments. I have much experience with the Nunatak Down Balaclava which is comparable to the Crestone except for having more down and a fully separating chin opening which I agree is a very valuable feature. The following opinions relate to Ridiculously Warm Hoods in general.
The greatest surface area of the body with a high concentration of blood vessels near the skin is the head/face/neck. As the old outdoorsman saw states: If your feet get cold, put on a hat[and a face balaclava and a neck muffler].
Ironically, the last area that outdoors people typically apply insulation to is that very same area. I often see backpackers wearing heavy, poofy jackets and pants while sporting a bare head, neck and face.
It is true that I would never wear my down balaclava while exercising at moderate temps (above freezing). However, much of my outdoors time is spent in sub 50 degree temps resting or waiting during the hiking day and physically inactive in camp performing camp chores, relaxing and sleeping. This is where the RWH comes into it's own.
3 oz strategically placed on ones' noggin provides far more warmth than 3 lbs of insulation on the torso and legs. I'm the weird looking guy in camp wearing inappropriately slim pants and jacket and a head covering that would appear more at home on an AMA Superbike racer.
Go with the warmer Crestone hood. Wear a fleece peruvian style hat when you're active, and slip on the RWH magic Calorie saver when you're in camp. And leave the warm jacket and pants at home. You won't need them until it get really cold anymore.Feb 23, 2011 at 7:17 pm #1700786
The University of Kansas Lab. started testing comforters in 2005. Their protocol uses the same basic test procedure that they use for sleeping bags. It didn't require a new standard and the comforter test cost is the same as a sleeping bag test cost.Feb 23, 2011 at 7:22 pm #1700791Greg MihalikSpectator
Do I recall correctly that such a test is about $600?Feb 23, 2011 at 7:43 pm #1700801
That was the approximate cost the last time I checked.Feb 23, 2011 at 8:06 pm #1700814
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