Apr 20, 2013 at 12:11 pm #1301966
I ordered a twin quilt from Joe at Zpacks several weeks ago and it arrived today. My wife and I decided to go with the 10F version because she sleeps very cold and we'd like to be able to use it for snow camping in the Sierras. This will be our winter/shoulder season quilt. We also chose the 6'2" length, 10D fabric for both the inner and outer shell, and water resistant down.
It is very lofty (3-3.5") and the weight according to my scale comes in right at the published specs (33 oz).
Overall, I think it will be a big improvement over our old cuben quilt, and I expect that it will be comfortable over a wide enough temperature range (with redistribution of down in the continuous baffles) to serve us beautifully for most of the year. I'll post an update about the footbox, the length and width, the design of the dual adjustments at the head end, and the pad attachments once we have used it a couple of times.
I do have one initial concern. It is a (maybe trivial) concern about comfort. Very coarse, stiff, heavy thread was used for all of the stitching, and, consequently, the inside of the quilt is abrasive. It feels as though it was sewn with heavy monofilament fishing line. My home sewing machine would not be able to use thread this heavy. It is stiffer, harder, and heavier than any thread I see on any other gear I own (packs and shoes included). I don't understand the reason for that. I've never seen this before in a sleeping bag or quilt. I think it will probably only be possible to sleep in this quilt while wearing long-sleeve base layers, leggings, and socks as a barrier against the abrasive lines of stitching. This is a disappointment to me because this quilt was a considerable investment ($625), and I think my wife will find it difficult to sleep comfortably under it.
I might discover that my initial concern about the stitching is not warranted after we have used the quilt several times. I'll post updates.
Also, I'd like to mention that my interactions with Zpacks were excellent. I enjoyed working with Joe. He seems like an exceptionally nice guy and he was very helpful and attentive.Apr 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm #1978780
I would be interested in any observations that other owners of Zpacks quilts have about the stitching on theirs. I wonder if mine might be an anomaly.Apr 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm #1978789
Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
Is it supposed to be inside out to hide the stitches?Apr 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm #1978793
Jeff, I'm not sure what you mean. The stitching appears to be the same on both the inner and outer shell.Apr 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm #1978795
todd harperBPL Member
@funnymoLocale: Sunshine State
Looks really good…except that stitching! If you haven't, I would ask Joe about that one. The weight is impressive for that loft!Apr 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm #1978798
Not that it should be necessary with something this expensive, but I wonder if you got yourself a piece of momentum, cut it to the same shape/dimension as the inside of the quilt, and then kinda glued it in (or some other form of attachment), if that wouldn't solve the rough seam issue. Don't know what that would do to the breathability, though.Apr 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm #1978821
Bob BankheadBPL Member
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
I don't know if Joe is home yet from his New Zealand backpacking trek. However. I would definitely call Zpacks and inquire about the stitching.Apr 20, 2013 at 4:27 pm #1978824
Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
I'm thinking that maybe the liner is sewen on upside down
Not talking about the shell, just the liner…
A lot of times they will put the stitched seams on the inside of the quilt (touching the insulation, as opposed to the person) and yours was put on backwards so that the stitches are against the person instead of "inside" the baffleApr 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm #1978838
Dustin ShortBPL Member
While the boss's away, the employees will play? I had an old bed quilt from my childhood that used Nylon thread (basically fishing line) that was scratching and stiff. But it was never particularly bothersome to sleep in so it may not be terrible long term. The warmth will probably out weigh the roughness.
Still I would definitely inquire with Joe directly to make sure that's normal. If it's normal then no recourse available and be wary with the next purchase. If it's a manufacturing flaw he should take care of you.Apr 20, 2013 at 6:58 pm #1978858
Jeff, I see what you mean, I think. Yes, I guess it's possible that it was just sewn with the stack of material (the liner and the cuben baffle material) upside down so the wrong side of the stitch ended up on the outside.
Dustin, I actually still have a bed quilt like that. The quilted pattern is sewn in with nylon monofilament (fishing line). It is a bit scratchy, but not so much that it is a problem. The stitching on the Zpacks quilt is quite a bit worse. It resembles the beads-on-a-string result that I get on my home sewing machine when the thread tension is too low. The problem is compounded by the fact that the thread itself is so heavy and coarse. It seems as though the seams were sewn with the wrong sewing machine settings using thread meant for pack reinforcement.Apr 20, 2013 at 8:16 pm #1978872
@rosierabbitLocale: Pacific Northwest
Colin – I have the same reaction as you to my quilt from Zpacks. The thread is as you say – abrasive and uncomfortable. I was very surprised, because otherwise it is an excellent quilt as are the other Zpacks products I've bought. I used the quilt last summer and fall and will continue to use it, but I do have to make sure I wear a long-sleeved shirt.
If you get any comments from Zpacks about the abrasive thread, please post them here. It didn't occur to me to ask about it.Apr 20, 2013 at 9:27 pm #1978892
Kathleen, I'm sorry to hear that yours was the same way. On every other sleeping bag and quilt I have owned (and the few quilts I have made), the lines of stitching attaching the shell to the baffle material were almost imperceptible. When I run my hand across the surface of my old North Face sleeping bag, I can hardly detect the stitch lines, and they are difficult to see. With light fabrics, there is no reason to use heavy thread. I don't understand it.Apr 20, 2013 at 9:33 pm #1978895
@rosierabbitLocale: Pacific Northwest
It never occurred to me it might be a mistake. If it is, you should be able to get it taken care of. Not sure about me. I just checked paypal, and I actually bought it in early September, but it still got at least a dozen nights' use. It is a lovely, warm quilt, but drat that scratchy stitching!
Anyone else with a Zpacks quilt that has soft stitching?Apr 20, 2013 at 9:45 pm #1978898
I wrote to Dan Durston to ask about his (I believe he has one). I'd like to know, too, if this is a problem with all of the Zpacks quilts.Apr 20, 2013 at 10:32 pm #1978904
Dan Durston replied that his Zpacks quilt is the same. I think it is very unlikely that Joe will offer to accept a return of this quilt, given that it is a custom item. If he did, I would feel reluctant (a bit guilty) asking him to take it back. This leaves me with two options, I think: make an entire MYOG quilt and fill it with the down from the Zpacks quilt, or hand sew new stitching (with normal thread) where the baffles meet the inner shell and then rip out the heavy thread.Apr 20, 2013 at 10:54 pm #1978909
William ChiltonBPL Member
I'm pretty sure that Joe will accept a return. From Zpack's website: "Do you accept returns on custom built backpacks and other items?
Yes. You can return any item in new or lightly used condition for up to 30 days after you receive the item for a full refund, minus the shipping fee. …
If there is something that you don't like, or if you have an idea on how to improve an item, please let us know!"
We have the double quilt and have used it for 7 nights. It is stitched with black thread (not sure if yours is from the photo). The thread is a little stiff but my wife and I haven't noticed any problem with it in practice. We do sleep in clothes, though, to keep the quilt clean. With a 10 degree quilt, wouldn't you be wearing clothes anyway?Apr 21, 2013 at 10:21 am #1979013
William, thanks for locating that bit about the Zpacks return policy. I hadn't run across that, for some reason. Joe sent me an email this morning confirming what you found. He said that he would be happy to do an exchange or accept a return. I will probably return the quilt. I don't know how many quilts he sells, but it seems that there are others who don't find the heavy thread to be as much of a problem, so hopefully he will be able to sell this one to another customer.
He said that they have a selection of heavy thread that they have always used for packs and tents, and they have been using those same threads for their quilts. He also said that the stitching on my quilt looks like the sewing machine was not properly adjusted, and he volunteered that it might be a good idea to begin using lighter thread for quilts.
I'll still be in need of a quilt if I return this one, and my good experiences with Joe make me inclined to stick with Zpacks. I have a large spool of hydrophobic polyester thread that I have used for MYOG quilts that I could send to him, and I might just ask if he would be willing to take an order for a new quilt made with this lighter thread.Apr 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm #1979043
The thread is actually standard 45 Tex bonded polyester. It is very strong, and we use it on everything from backpacks to sleeping bags.
It looks like in your case the sewing machine tension wasn't adjusted perfectly, so it feels a little rougher than normal.
The thick thread has never bothered me personally, and no one has mentioned it before, but thank you for pointing it out. I will get some softer thread for the sleeping bags asap.
As others have mentioned, we are always happy to do a return, a repair, or an exchange if you aren't happy with something.
Thanks for the report.
JoeApr 21, 2013 at 1:03 pm #1979055
I exchanged a few more emails with Joe this morning, and made arrangements to have a new quilt made. I'm providing him with a large (2lb) spool of hydrophobic Dacron thread and 10 linear yards (at 58" wide) Nobul1 fabric for the new quilt. I'll post photos and impressions once I've received and used it.
Thanks, Joe.Apr 21, 2013 at 2:27 pm #1979075
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
great customer service from joe. I had a look at my quilt last night and yes the thread is a bit stiffer than on other quilts I have had. I almost always wear sleep clothes so it won't be a problem for me. even without sleep clothes I don't think it would be a problem for me.Apr 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm #1979093
Dustin ShortBPL Member
Can't argue with that kind of customer service or his willingness to modify/improve a design based on customer feedback. Kudos to Joe and Zpacks.Apr 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm #1979143
Jim SweeneyBPL Member
@swimjayLocale: Northern California
Just compared a ZPacks 20 deg quilt with a quilt from another cottage quilt maker, and the thread in the zpacks quilt that attaches the baffles to the liner does seem to be larger (maybe that works better with the cuben fiber baffles), but that doesn't translate into any greater feeling of roughness.
Looking at your photo, it does look as if the thread stands prouder of the liner fabric than it does in mine, which would be consistent with a lower thread tension in the sewing machine. This is something you'd probably want to have fixed, even if it didn't feel uncomfortable, because it seems as if the connection between the baffles and the liner might "loosen" over time.Apr 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm #1979156
Michael KBPL Member
The customer service and honesty (admitting to a possible mistake and being open to adjustments) makes this company sound like a "class act".Sep 27, 2013 at 10:12 pm #2029044
Derek M.BPL Member
@dmusasheLocale: Pacific Northwest
I'm curious to know how the new quilt that Joe made you turned out? Has the new thread made a difference?Sep 28, 2013 at 8:11 pm #2029237
Brian MixBPL Member
@aggroLocale: Western slope, Sierra Nevada
The thread on my Zpacks sleeping bag is thicker and stiffer than my Western Mountaineering bag and I mentioned it in an email to Joe. In practice, I sleep in a silk liner and can't feel the stiffer thread so for me it turned out to not be an issue.
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