Dec 29, 2012 at 9:42 am #1297462
@saraLocale: Southwestern Ontario, Canada
I'm in the process of upgrading almost all my gear and I'm ready to make the switch from a sleeping bag to a quilt.
I'll reluctantly swallow high prices to get good quality and long-lasting items that are right the first time.
I currently own a Asolo Cortina Sleeping Bag. It is 2.44lbs and rated to 32F.
I need a regular length quilt that can go slightly below freezing on occasion (23F max) with base layers, hooded down jacket and down socks.
I also have a Neoair XTherm on the way through the mail.
I've narrowed my choices to:
Katabatic Chisos 40F = 14.6oz
Katabatic Chisos 40F with 2 oz. overfill= 16.6oz
Katabatic Palisade 30F = 17.5oz
Katabatic Palisade 30F with 2 oz. overfill = 19.5oz
Zpacks 40F = 11.8oz
Zpacks 30F = 14.4oz
Zpacks 20F = 17.1oz
Or is there another option which would be more suitable?
I know warmth is subjective but I would appreciate any suggestions from the community.Dec 29, 2012 at 11:25 am #1939080
Ike JutkowitzBPL Member
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
For the temperatures you are describing (ie down to low 20s) I would personally go with the Palisade. Whether this choice would suit you depends on how warm or cold you personally sleep. I will say that Katabatic quilts are exquisitely made and have a feature set that is well suited to transitioning to quilts. Hope you enjoy the experience! As a restless sleeper, I'll never go back to bags.Dec 29, 2012 at 11:59 am #1939088
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
zpacks really are the best, the kata bic's have a small down fill weight.Dec 29, 2012 at 1:10 pm #1939105
I have a Blackwelder, which is a tad heavier than what you're looking at, but it served me well at 15,500 feet in Tanzania and also in the snow at around 0F. I think I'd have done fine in the snow if I'd had a warmer pad; every time I rolled onto my side, my hip pushed into the snow and I got a cold spot that woke me up. I now have an XTherm, but I haven't had a chance to try it in the snow yet.
It's well made though, and designed nicely to serve as a quilt. Drafts weren't a problem. I did get the warmer of the two hoods that Katabatic sells, which was also quite comfortable and warm.Dec 29, 2012 at 2:23 pm #1939126
Chris WBPL Member
Keep in mind those ratings are with a typical male in mind. On average, a typical female will sleep 10-12F colder. For what you're looking at (down to 23 F with layers) I'd suggest the Katabatic Alsek at minimum and I think you'd be better served by the Sawatch.
I've been quilting for several years, and tested a few 0 F quilts last winter. The Katabatic Blackwelder was the only true quilt I found to be accurately rated. In fairness, Joe (Zpacks) didn't want to be in the test since he didn't design his bags for such cold temps.
Having said that, I feel like bags make much more sense below about 20 F, so you're right at the line. I'd keep a healthy margin of error if you value a good night's sleep. I've personally spent more than a few nights shivering, grabbing mid-night snacks, doing mid-night exercises, and all together sleeping for $%#^ trying to prove something to myself in a fit of testosterone by pushing a quilt beyond its intended limits.Dec 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm #1939128
Randy MartinBPL Member
I would second the recommendation for Katabatic Gear Alsek or Sawatch. Always better to have a healthy margin for error. I have the Chisos Regular and it is true to its temp rating for me and I am neither hot or cold sleeper.
I also highly recommend Katabatic Gear in general. Simply top of the line design, materials and workmanship.Dec 29, 2012 at 4:43 pm #1939153
Dan DurstonBPL Member
Katabatic Palisade or Alsek. I'd go Palisade and wear my warm clothes to bed on the coldest nights, but if you're a cold sleeper then look at the Alsek.
If you toss and turn a lot, go with the wide version. The regular width quilts aren't that wide, so larger people and acrobatic sleepers prefer the wide ones.Dec 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm #1939155
Joe ClementBPL Member
What? No love for Enlightened Equipment w/ overstuff?Dec 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm #1939175
Buck NelsonBPL Member
Having said that, I feel like bags make much more sense below about 20 F, so you're right at the line.
What he said. Like all gear it's subjective but I agree that in the lower temps sleeping bags tend to be more dependably warm for a given weight. For most people. This is not a slam of quilts nor their enthusiasts.Dec 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm #1939184Dec 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm #1939191
I'm about to buy my first quilt as well and have noticed that there's quite a few nuanced details between the aforementioned quilts that warrants attention, at least for myself. Seeing as I'm going the value-for-money route I'm about 90% sure I'll end up with an Enlightened Equipment 20* quilt once the new designs are released come the first bit of January. However, here's some observations that come to mind after pouring over the specs and sites:
– Katabatic looks to have the highest build quality insofar as modern production techniques. Note their curved pattern to the opening on the bottom of the quilt, the piping around the edges, and things like the attachment system. Moreover, they seem (as far as I can tell, and someone correct me if I'm wrong) that they aren't meant to be drawn up completely sealed under you. That bottom opening simply doesn't look like it can be closed completely. They do however make a good case for their fancy attachment system. Also, they don't appear to open flat for blanket/quilt style use, which for me is a drag because that's how I prefer to sleep down to about 50*. They're also the most expensive which is obvious.
– ZPacks looks closest to a traditional sleeping bag, sans hood, given that it zips all the way up. They also claim superior down, best loft, and are customizable. Price is somewhere in the middle, but weight is quite low which is nice. They lack any sort of fancy attachment system for your pad.
– Enlightened Eqiupment opens flat, is coming out with a cord system to attach to the pad, and is far and away the cheapest with your choice of sizes and colors being quite nice. The baffles are obviously an interesting argument either for/against, and the loft is a good bit more substantial than the ZPacks but uses 850 down vs 900 and is therefore a bit heavier. I'm not entirely sold on the color system which looks to consist simply of a drawcord that my hiking companions will use as a garrote wire if I don't stop talking about my Caldera Cone or stuff I read online. They do however fold flat and can be used as a big ol' blanket in warmer temps which I appreciate.
I'm sure there's others but it's interesting to see the different finite details come together between the brands. I suspect a whole other bunch of variables come into play depending on your shelter and pad arrangement. For me inside a doublewall tent on a 3" air pad I'm hopeful that I won't catch my death moving away from a traditional mummy bag. I'm pretty confident the 30% overstuff on an EE 20* will be perfect for me. Guess I'll find out soon enough!Dec 29, 2012 at 7:37 pm #1939201
Steve MeierBPL Member
I have Montbell bags and Enlightened and Katabatic quilts and a big plus 1 on the Katabatic quilts. You pay for it but the craftsmanship and designs are absolutely fantastic. I also love the Katabatic pad attachment system and am still scratching my head how to best minimize drafts with my Enlightened quilt without doing some kind of modification. I got the Palasaides with 3 oz of overfill and couldn't be happier.Dec 29, 2012 at 7:51 pm #1939204
Dan DurstonBPL Member
I agree that for night temps of 20F and under bags are ideal, but the OP seems to be pretty far away from this being the norm. She is looking to go "slightly below freezing on occasion", with 23F being a coldest case scenario. Sounds like 40-50F is the norm, with 30F occasionally and maybe a rare night in the low 20's. Being from SW Ontario myself, this sounds like reasonable expectations for 3 season use.
If the OP is looking to trim ounces, I'd go with a 30F rated quilt and layer clothes on the odd cold night (and maybe do sit ups). However, since women sleep colder and the OP is new here and likely not gram obsessing, a 20-25F rated quilt would be a enjoyable and safe call.Dec 29, 2012 at 7:57 pm #1939206
Jennifer MitolBPL Member
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
I just made the switch this year to quilts, starting with a cheapo summer quilt from go lite, then after realizing how much I loved it going ahead and getting two EE from Tim. I have a revX 20 deg with overstuff for colder nights, then the uber nice Revelation 30 with overstuff as my main go-to for mountains, spring and fall.
Given the choice, I'd pay the teeny bit extra on the unbelievably soft feel of the pricier Revelation. I know everyone here raves about the X and the price point, but goodness gracious the Revelation was still super cheap and I can't stop hugging it. I nap with it draped over me on the couch. I want one for every temperature range.
I have slept in he 20 + overstuff and a down jacket (with hood on, over a hat) in temps to about 20 and have been just fine except for my pad. The coldness was seeping from under the pad, as I only have a synmat UL 7. Need more Rs…
Anyway, Alex (was it you Alex?) is right about the quilt not going around you completely – once the insulation is under you you crush it and it's worthless. So why bother? The xtherm will be great for bottom insulation, get a quilt wide enough to complement your sleeping style (back, stomach, side, toss n turn, etc) and just tuck it under you. Your feet go in the nice box at the bottom if it's cold (another reason why I like Tim's quilts…when it's warm you can just unzip it and lay it flat and you don't need your feet encased in down) and pull the quilt around you.
I can see in really cold temps (below 20) that I would want my bag, but honestly, here in the Midwest where there isn't all that much fun stuff to do when the temps go down (we don't seem to get snow much anymore…) except shiver, I don't do much camping when it drops into the teens.Dec 29, 2012 at 8:06 pm #1939210
Josh: "The problem with quilts in cold weather is your shoulders get cold, but your jacket will offset that."
That's not necessarily the case. It depends a lot on how the quilt is designed, it's just that a lot of them aren't designed for truly cold weather. I have a Katabatic Blackwelder and an MLD Spirit 30, and I've not had that issue with either of them, because they both have drawcords that allow you to snug them up around your neck quite nicely. Being designed for colder weather, the Blackwelder is quite a bit puffier, so in addition to sealing your body in pretty well it also covers part of your neck.
Alec: " Moreover, they seem (as far as I can tell, and someone correct me if I'm wrong) that they aren't meant to be drawn up completely sealed under you. That bottom opening simply doesn't look like it can be closed completely."
You are correct, it doesn't seal up completely under you. It's not intended to, as you theorize. If you draw it up nice and snug, it will cover what your pad doesn't.
I haven't tried Katabatic's attachment system yet. I've just been using the webbing straps. I run them across the bottom of my pad, so the edges of the quilt wrap around the pad, then I snug up the draft tube around my neck. I can roll around without letting drafts in when I do that.
You're also correct that Katabatic's quilts don't open flat. That's really the only thing I wish were different about it; if it did open all the way I'd probably end up using my Blackwelder a lot more, mainly because it ends up being overkill in moderate conditions.
That said, it's been great when I've camped at high elevations and in snow.
The final decision is still going to be very personal, but some of the quilts out there will work impressively well in some pretty harsh conditions, so they're still worth a look.
That said, I'll probably be investing in a -40 bag for Arctic expeditions sooner or later. :)Dec 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm #1939215Dec 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm #1939216
I'm slightly worried that my switch to a SynMat UL 7 LW (from the ginormous but nicely R valued SynMat 9 DLX) will leave me a tad chilly on the bottom. I was delirious from the cold so can't say for sure, but I think at one point on my last trip where we froze in low 30's weather in 40* rated bags, that I may have felt a bit of chill through the pad. It also could have been that the drop from 75 during the day when I inflated the pad, to low 30's at night, compressed the air, and let me touch the ground momentarily on my side (side sleeper here).
Anyhow, being in texas we only camp 3 season and just go to places currently experiencing those 3 good seasons! Right now it's winter, sure, but this hardly qualifies even if it's dipping into the 30's at night and is 50 during the day. Come summer when it's too hot to camp here we'll head north. Kind of convenient really, but also means I should be okay with a 20* bag unless it's staying in the 60's at night. I'm looking forward to this whole new world of flopping around in my quilt and staying warm without feeling encased like a sausage!Dec 29, 2012 at 9:28 pm #1939226
Randy MartinBPL Member
"Moreover, they seem (as far as I can tell, and someone correct me if I'm wrong) that they aren't meant to be drawn up completely sealed under you. That bottom opening simply doesn't look like it can be closed completely."
Drawing up a quilt where it is completely under you defeats the purpose of the quilt in the first place. You don't want to sleep on your insulation. The Katabatic Gear system attaches to the pad so you can freely turn without having the quilt come off of the pad and release heat. Even if you don't use the attachment system I have found that the elastic binding around the perimeter of the opening on the bottom naturally gathers the quilt around you.Dec 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm #1939228
Right right. I should have pointed out that I understand the idea behind it, and wasn't drawing into question the validity of the approach, but rather simply pointing out the different takes on quilt design between those three oft-mentioned brands. ZPacks, with their zipper obviously believe in putting more insulation under the user, by comparison, and EE is somewhere in the middle between ZPacks and Katabatic.
Should also point out that the idea of encapsulating your sleeping pad by actually wrapping (or rather, tucking in) your quilt around the edges of it is different between the quilt manufacturers as well. With Katabatic the cord system affixes the quilt to the pad but not wrapping it; Zpacks just seems to sit on top like a traditional sleeping bag, and EE could theoretically be used either way depending on the width of your quilt and what cord options you want to use.
Lots of options and different takes. Hence why I said that quilts were rather nuanced in features. Sorry about any possibly confusion arising from my lack of articulation the first time around. :)Dec 29, 2012 at 10:10 pm #1939231Dec 29, 2012 at 10:56 pm #1939237
Michael CheifetzBPL Member
firstly just to point out that there are quite a few other options on the market (enlightened equipment, nunatak, jrb …to name a few) although no doubt the companies you mention make fine gear.
In continuation to what was said here (bags vs quilts and how to sleep with a quilt etc) A few notes:
1) temp – these are all male temp ratings. Female ratings are WAY WAY lower (take a look at a comp like Marmot that has EN rating and women specific and you will find out that there is about 10F diff) So if you REALLY intend to sleep @ low 20s you need to really be aware of this
2) take a look at Mammutsleepwell to learn a bit more about EN temp ratings. Although they have their drawbacks it really the only system that can be easily used when comparing diff bags from diff users.
3)westernmoutaineering and featheredfriends are the golden standard in US bags and are known for being "conservative" – which just means they are true to their rating. From what i have garnered here most people think Katabatic and Enlightened are also rated well (see below how to compare).
4)zpacks and nunatak are NOT well rated – just looking at the down weight content will reveal this…most people buy them with overfill….and even Joe (and Tom) in private communications with me have admitted as much. To make it blunt – a healthy "normal" man can very well sleep NAKED in a WM 30F bag @ the rated temp while he will prob need some insulation (eg – socks, base, vest whatnot) to do the same in a zpacks)
This is not to say these are not fine bags (I personally have 2 Nunatak bags) – just need to be aware and fill accordingly
5)without getting everyone wound up again (emotions run high when down is discussed) it is now common wisdom to think that down weight…or rather effective down weight per surface area (since temp loss is proportional to area exposed to cold air) is the dominant factor determining bag warmth – so when comparing I would NOT really heed the mfg temp rating (unless its EN) but look at surface area (hood yes/no, girth and various places etc) and down quality and weight. If you do this trick you will quickly discern the conservative ones (WM, FF, Kata, Enlight) the normal ones (MB, MARMOT, TNF) and the "spartan' ones (zpacks, nunatak)
6)Secondary factors are loft (which basically is just the baffle height at the end of the day unless under filled) and design – eg cinch cords, draft control, efficiency of space inside bag and footbox etc
7)when you think about layering inside the bag – make sure you understand the relative effectiveness of your clothes. Take a look at Richard Nisley's "paradigm" post where you can see the relative CLO/TOG/R values of different arch-typical clothing systems. Unless your down jacket is super puffy it prob isnt much warmer than a 300 wt fleece. and thus will help…but not to the extent of giving you an extra 30F (think about it – you are looking at 40F MENS bags…..some of which are optimistically rated even for men…then you want to take them down to 20F….so in a WOMAN's terms thats like taking a 50F bag down to 10F almost!!!!!!
Take note of the down weight of your jacket…and assume say 50% of it is under you and you will soon realize that it probably wont cut it.
8)If you plan to use the quilt in moderate climes (say above freezing 99%) I would go with a TRUE MENS 20F quilt and assume your clothes will get you to 23~25F at a push
On the other hand if you plan to regularly go down to 20F I would go for a heavier quilt or as a compromise get a really warm jacket. Another thing to think of ($$ aside for a moment) I try to think of layering as using the clothes I already realistically take with me on that specific hike. so in hikes where night temps are 20~30F I would not normally take a full blown down parka…cause day temps are above freezing….so my light weight (eg MB EXLIGHT, PATA micropuff etc) puffy is all I will have. Taking much heavier clothes as a proxy to a warmer bag is less weight efficient. that is not to say of course its not a valid option if you are optimising $$ and cant afford more than one bag
MikeDec 30, 2012 at 5:16 am #1939262
@saraLocale: Southwestern Ontario, Canada
Thank you for the overwhelming responses!
I've read all the posts three times and will need to take time to process all information.
I would be using the quilt primarily in summer (some spring/fall) around southern Ontario. I'd rent a super warm sleeping bag if I go winter camping.
I also have a number of trips lined up in 2013 including the Grand Canyon in May, Chilkoot Trail in June and Everest Base Camp in October (although I'll be staying in teahouses rather than camping outdoors).
Right away I understand I should go with a wide model and much lower temperature rating than I initially expected.Dec 30, 2012 at 5:23 am #1939264
@flutingaroundLocale: Rocky Mtn. West
Hey there girl!
+ 1 for the Enlightened Equipment EE Rev X overstuff quilt. Get a wider size so you have plenty of room to tuck it around you. I'm a tall lady and a cold sleeper. I have a 10* EE overstuff, and it worked well for me in 5* temps up on a windy mountain with a goretex bivy and down jacket.Dec 30, 2012 at 10:09 am #1939313
Josh: "My thought is if you use the bungee system under your pad why not use a sleeping bag? just my thought."
Webbing straps weigh less than even lightweight fabrics like Pertex Quantum. I'm basically using my bad as the bottom of the sleeping bag and the quilt as the top, and hardly any of the quilt is under me. The result is that I have a 0 degree sleep system that weighs less than a conventional 15 degree sleep system, which made some of the Kilimanjaro climbers I was with a bit envious. :)Dec 30, 2012 at 10:37 am #1939322
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.