Aug 27, 2013 at 2:19 am #1306991
I'm hoping to get some design advice on making a two-person quilt (probably down) for my wife and I to use down to about 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Right now we use two Western Mountaineering Caribou MF sleeping bags zipped together and it works alright, but the open gap between us results in a lot of drafts. Also, I can't help but want to eliminate the all the compressed down being wasted below us (hence the desire for a quilt).
Also, both my wife and I like to snuggle up pretty close at night and we're often throwing a leg, or butt, or arm, etc. over into the other's space. This leads to the inevitable sleeping pad separation that we both HATE (I mean we absolutely LOATHE this. I can't overstate it). We currently use small (permanently tied-off) bungie cord interlocked loops at the head and the foot of the pads to keep them together… It works ok, but not great.
Because of this, I am seriously considering making a custom double sleeping pad sleeve to keep the two pads together. We use two Big Agnes Air-Core SL pads, which are truly rectangular, so I don't think the geometry would be all that hard to get right while sewing (i.e. it's all straight lines).
With this in mind, I'm also considering how the quilt would interface (or not) with the pad sleeve (assuming I go that route). Maybe I could just make more of a down comforter than a quilt, and have a snap or button interface with the perimeter of the sleeping pad sleeve? This might be heavier, but roomier too?
What do you all think? I'd appreciate any advice or insights that might be relevant to designing a sleeping system like this. I should say right off the bat that I'm not married to any one of these ideas, but with that said, I'd prefer to not just get the "leave it all behind" response because I'm not really looking for the lightest weight solution here. I'm looking for a reasonably light solution that is going to maximize the sleeping comfort and roominess of the setup. My wife and I both really like to be able to stretch out when we sleep, and put a very high premium on sleeping comfort (as evidenced by our 18oz, 3.75inch thick sleeping pad choice!).
I know a lot of you are perfectly comfortable finding the ideal piece of ground to sleep on and only using a very thin and light pad for insulation and comfort. My wife and I aren't like that, so please keep that in mind when you are making recommendations. I'm not looking for that kind of advice.
So in closing, I'd really appreciate the following:
1) Thoughts/advice on the general design of the two-person sleeping system.
2) Thoughts/advice on the sleeping pad sleeve idea, with suggestions for material to use to make such a thing.
3) Thoughts/advice on the dimensions of a sleeping quilt/blanket/comforter for us. We use 20" wide sleeping pads and are both of athletic builds and under 6' tall.
4) Advice on materials to use for a sleeping quilt/blanket/comforter.
5) Advice on what to do about the "draftiness" challenges inherent in a two-person sleeping system. I was thinking of designing an isthmus of quilt that goes in between the two of us at head level, sealing off the air gap, but maybe you have better ideas?
6) Thoughts on the potential for making this a modular (i.e. quilt separable) system versus a custom-tailored system that is inflexible but optimized for this one purpose (i.e. quilt and pad sleeve inseparable, only two-person use).
Thanks in advance for all your help and ideas! :)Aug 27, 2013 at 3:51 am #2018931
@oiboyroiLocale: South West US
Instead of making a pad sleeve, how about anchoring the pads to the floor with a couple of velcro patches? Seems like it would be easier to use and lighter. This assumes you have tent or more permanent type groundsheet.Aug 27, 2013 at 4:07 am #2018932
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Well, I won't say leave it behind. ;)
You are simply missing one element. Some sort of good attachment for the pads. The wife and I have used sleeves. They tend not to work all that well. The problem comes in at night as you are sleeping. Often the pads will creep apart, anyway. Unless you blow them up very firm, they will crunch on the outside edges leaving a 2-4" gap in the center. We found that the therm-o-rest ties (one about 12" down the other just over half way down) work better. These are dual, individual "loops" around each pad. They are plenty large, soo, I am sure they work with the Exped pads, too. These do not spread to any real degree. Well, if they do, they simply spring back because each pad is mounted individually. The trick was that they do spring back together even when pushed apart. I simply arch my back for a couple seconds. With the sleeves they tend to have more friction and will stay crushed. Not sure about the Exped pads since they are quite a bit thicker than our NeoAirs. The sleeve may work fine. Big Agnes makes bags with this incorporated into the bag as lower insulation. I believe they use Nylon Taffeta or Pertex. Check https://www.bigagnes.com/Products/SleepingBags
The bags can be simply opened up and used like a quilt. Though some others may object, the two zip-together bags make a great quilt for two. We do this all the time, though the wife cannot hike anymore. She will often drop me somewhere, which means we spend a night together before I leave. We simply use the bags as quilts over us. I am not sure about the WM bags. Differential fill may be used, they don't say on their site. (Example: 2" loft on the bottom and 4" loft over you.) But, if they zip together, likely not. We don't have WM bags. Anyway, it leaves the individual foot boxes, but acts like a full quilt over you. Together, they are likely larger than needed. Each bag is 64" girth or 128" total. For anything down to about 32F, they work OK. For lower, it bleeds too much heat around the edges, pads and from draughts. We then zip them together and snuggle for warmth, down to about 20F. Pretty much we have been doing this for, well a LONG time. I forget when we started doing it, we used the old Therm-o-rest GuideLite pads when we started. Mostly for warmer weather, though. Down to about 40F is fine.Aug 27, 2013 at 5:12 am #2018943
Ken T.BPL Member
@hereAug 27, 2013 at 5:42 pm #2019224
Colin KrusorBPL Member
@ckrusorLocale: Northwest US
Derek, my wife and I share a Zpacks twin quilt and two Exped UL7 Synmats that I sewed together along the side seam allowance. On the UL7s, the side seams stick out about 1/2", leaving plenty of room for a straight stitch down the middle. I overlapped the seams and sewed through them. I used polyester thread and a long stitch length (6 per inch), and it has held up really well. The modification actually reduces sleep system weight by a tiny amount because it replaces two stuff sacks with one. I also made a light silk fitted sheet to go over the double-wide pad because my wife doesn't like to sleep directly on the plasticky surface of the pad.Aug 28, 2013 at 5:40 am #2019368
My advice — a reservation at the Ritz Carlton.Sep 4, 2013 at 2:54 pm #2021809
@el_jefeLocale: The Pacific Northwest
Have you considered gluing strips of hook-and-loop fastener (e.g., velcro) to the mating sides of the sleeping pads to keep them from drifting apart? Silicone adhesive would be, I think, unlikely to damage the pads.
As for the insulation, perhaps you could commission a jumbo-sized town topquilt from a cottage-industry company like Hammock Gear or Arrowhead Equipment? I think you could save a lot of weight by eschewing an integral sleeve for lengths shock cord passed underneath the pads attached to loops on either side of the quilt. Or, if you're worried that will lead to the quilt slipping from side to side, perhaps you could glue small loops of webbing to the outside edges/underside of your quilt, then use small lengths of shock cord — or even micro-biners — to attach the edges of the quilt to the edges of the conjoined pads.
My special lady friend and I went around and around trying to find a way to make this work, and in the end we just settled with pushing our sleeping pads together and using our unzipped sleeping bags for a top quilt and bottom quilt. Once we had finished our nightly scrog and subsequent post-coital cuddling, we just zipped our sleeping bags up and slept in separate envelopes whilst maintaining body contact. Admittedly this arrangement was a far cry from the romance movie cliche of "falling asleep in each other's arms," but after as extensive cost/benefit analysis which considered the high price of custom, one-off gear, this was the best solution for us. And really — even though she and I are both very, um, "touchy-feely" with one another — sleeping very close to one another yet separate bags wasn't really huge loss. Perhaps if we were doing the PCT or some similarly-epic trek, that might change, but for your average two, three, five-nighter, retreating to opposite sides of the (very small) tent after grinding gonopores really wasn't a huge sacrifice.
In the end, your biggest problem is that the products you seek don't exist on a production scale. As such, there's an old [albeit slightly modified] paradigm that I feel is extremely applicable here; your ultimate solution can be comfortable, lightweight, or inexpensive. Pick two.Sep 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm #2021827
@andrew-fLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Check out the Zpacks twin size quilts. My wife and I tried one out a few weeks ago and loved it, and have since ordered one.
For keeping your pads together, I agree that the sleeping pad gap sucks. My wife and I both have NeoAirs which are tapered so on the first night it was pretty annoying. However, the second night I figured out a solution that works perfectly and makes the pads almost feel like a single double-wide sleeping pad. I took four pieces of thin cord (Kelty Triptease), about 4' long each. I tied two cords around each sleeping pad, one cord at about shoulder level and the other down near the bottom below knee level. I then took two mini carabiners and clipped the loops to each other. This held the pads together, and also was a tight enough connection that the pads bent inwards towards each other and closed the gap even though they are mummy shaped. You can fine-tune the separation by controlling how taut the loop is around the sleeping pad… the best way to do this is to tie a fixed loop in one end, pass the other end through it, cinch it down, and then tie it off with a slippery half hitch. The four pieces of cord and two mini-biners can't weigh more than an ounce, and if you need a more secure connection, just add a third set of cords and carabiner.
Here is a photo, it doesn't show much but gives you the idea.Sep 4, 2013 at 4:15 pm #2021832
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> a custom double sleeping pad sleeve to keep the two pads together.
We find that a few fabric loops (eg silnylon) threaded over the two mats is usually enough – with silicone stripes on the underside as well.
Air gaps between – yeah, big hassle. A single cover rarely works in the field. Two quilts of generous width works well. They must have large hoods to block the drafts. The hoodless style is only suited for mid-summer.
If it is getting cold, we snuggle together. If it is still cold I will overlap one quilt over the other. We used two 600 g summer quilts (MYOG, with walls though) at -7 C and were fine. (It was autumn and was not meant to get that cold, but …)
In the snow we use the same summer quilts with a wider winter over-quilt thrown over the top. All are UL fabric (eg Pertex microlight) with 800-fill down. Plenty of warmth, just block the drafts with good hoods. Any moisture condensation stays in the top quilt.
Peak flexibility is several nice quilts plus good mat-loops, imho.
CheersSep 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm #2021837
Anthony HuhnBPL Member
@anthonyjhuhnLocale: Mid West
You could also install a zipper along the sides of each pad if you really wanted them to be usable individually. Just make sure to use a zipper made to be separated.
AnthonySep 4, 2013 at 5:22 pm #2021851
For twenty years my wife and I used the old "Thermanest" sleep system.
This was composed of two old fashioned full size rectangular thermarest pads, an extra long 20 degree rectangular synthetic sleeping bag and a special joiner sheet.
This system got us used to using one sleeping bag over the top of us long before I heard the word "quilt" used in a backpackery sense, and I used to boast how we were using 0only one sleeping bag for the two of us.
Anyway, the bottom sheet is probably polyester or possibly a poly/cotton blend. It isn't nylon and feels very nice against the skin. The underside has pockets for the top and bottom of the pads, about 12 inches deep. Across the middle is a wide elastic band, sewn down in the very middle.
The bottom sheet is rather longer than it needs to be and has pockets for pillows at the top. These can be stuffed with whatever clothing is handy.
Around the perimeter is a zipper that matches the sleeping bag zipper.
The whole thing is amazingly comfortable and warm. The pads have never, not once, shifted during the night.
The big rectangular sleeping bag provides plenty of space. Drafts have never been an issue with us, probably because we were wise enough to get the extra long sleeping bag. I'm 5'7" and change, my wife is a little taller than I, so we certainly didn't need the extra length, but it provides plenty to wrap yer head or fill any gaps between you.
In cold weather ( about 35F and down ) I will wear a hat of some type to bed though, my thinning-to-non-existent hair doesn't provide much insulation up top.
My wife never wears hats much and is fond of just pulling the bag up over her head. The synthetic bag isn't bothered by the moisture, especially with the heat of two bodies.
This system is so amazingly comfortable we stuck with it as long as we could.
We sleep as good in this thing as we do in our bed at home, and have logged more nights in it than I could count.
The bag is pretty much trashed now, the victim of to hot a dryer and a wife enthusiastic about cleanliness but unfamiliar with synthetic insulation.
The old thermarest full size pads are also heavy, and I've been trying to come up with a system as comfortable but lighter.
So far we have made a Ray Way two person quilt, and quite like it. It's very large and light. It is bulky, but that's OK as it fills much of my wifes pack and prevents her from filling it up with heavier stuff!
I made it to the dimensions Rays says the one he uses is, and I feel it's rather to big for us. Still, with plenty to spare, one of us never gets pushed out from under!
Our Ray Way quilt uses two layers of his Alpine insulation which I reckon makes it about a 20 degree quilt. In the summer it's nice to be able to simply push it off or stick an arm or leg out to regulate temp.
I thought I'd mind not having a zipper to solidly hold it in place but so far it hasn't been an issue for us. Maybe in colder weather it would be.
It would be easy to replicate our original thermnest bottom sheet, and I do miss having that sheet below us. Sleeping nude ( as I often do in warmer weather )on a thermrest pad isn't very comfy. The poly sheet adds a surprising amount of comfort and warmth.
To simplify it I'd probably use snaps around the edge instead of a zipper, and mount snaps in the "draft stopper" of our Ray Way quilt.
By the by, I strongly recommend a sysnthetic quilt, very easy to make. Putting together the Ray Way kit was easy and the materials are top notch. Then again, my wife is a quilter so she knows how to go about this kind of project.
Our arrangement for years has been that she carries the bed – Sleeping bag, both pads and sheet, and I carry all the food and our shelter.
Anyway, our new pads are Thermarest Prolite pads. These are much lighter and plenty comfy, but not as warm as the old pads. For winter camping we go back to our old heavy pads.
Right now I'm simply inflating our prolite pads firmly and tying them together tightly with string, top and bottom. Works surprisingly well!
I'd make a sheet to join them but they are tapered towards the bottom, which I quite do not like. I want a similar pad, just not tapered, at least on one side, so they mate well.
Or a big 35 inch rectangular pad. That would work well for us.
I can't imagine why any couple would want to sleep separately, or want to carry two sleeping bags or quilts. Drafts aren't an issue if the quilt is simply long enough to collapse around/between you as needed, and if necessary, wear a hat.
The Ray Way "bomber hat" is amazingly warm ( I use mine on only the coldest trips ) and only about two ounces weight. It is more difficult to sew than a quilt though.
If anyone is interested I can post pictures of our old thermnest sheet. One photo and a handy feller could probably figure out how to make one.
Edited to add photos simply because I could –
Ray way quilt over tied together pads. I think that orange pad is an early 80s vintage "regular" thermrest pad, but I'm not sure.
That quilt is BIG – That's a three man tent! ( yes, those are life jackets. That was a canoe trip. )
One can see that this is a tied quilt, probably properly called a comforter, making it very easy to make.
Old photo of "thermanest" system inside Clip Flashlight –Sep 6, 2013 at 12:20 am #2022335
Thanks for all the responses so far. Very helpful.
I just got back from a 2 night trip with my wife and I just wanted to report on a new advancement in our current sleeping technique… I had mentioned in my first post that we are currently using two WM Caribou MF bags zipped together as our summer sleeping insulation system.
Well, on this last trip, we tried using the bags as a quilt: so we zipped the top two zippers together and partially zipped the bottom zippers together to form two separate footboxes. Importantly, I we tried a new configuration where we zipped the two bags together so that the unused hoods were situated in between us (as opposed to on our outside shoulders). This actually allowed us to more effectively seal off the space in between our two necks at the head of the bags and made the whole set up a lot warmer and less drafty than before.
I'd highly recommend this configuration to others who are joining two mummy bags together to form a large quilt.
With that said, I'm still considering a custom double quilt for us. Not sure if we'd go synthetic or down. Synthetic seems like it would be much easier to make, but I'm afraid of the bulk when packed. Down, of course, would be more expensive and a bit harder to work with, but maybe worth the extra effort in the end due to the greater weight savings and packability. If we made a synthetic 20-degree Fahrenheit two-person quilt I'm still not clear if it would be better to make it separable into two pieces or not (which would allow us to split up the weight and the bulk, but would complicate the construction).
Anyway, I'm always appreciative of everyone's input!Sep 6, 2013 at 3:28 am #2022346
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
How did you handle the pads?Sep 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm #2022475
We handled the pad coupling the same way we have in the past, which is to use the interlocking tied bungie cord loops system that I outlined above. It is serviceable at best. Even though we're using relatively stiff bungie cords, the stretch is still too great and allows a gap to be created between the pads. It's really annoying. In the meantime, I think we'd be better off just tying the pads together with some lengths of inelastic cord while we try to find a long-term solution.Sep 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm #2022478
Simply tying 'em together with string works surprisingly well for us.
Yep, simply having the extra material between your heads is sufficient to stop any drafts, which is why we were smart to get the extra long version of our old thermanest system years back.
Don't make yer new quilt short to save minimal weight, make sure you got lots to play with at the top.
A two person synthetic 20 degree quilt is bulky, but fits in the same stuff sack our old one person synthetic sleeping bag did, the one that was the top quilt for our old thermanest system.
We were going to use a zipper to separate our Ray Way quilt into two bits, but decided against it because of the added complication and besides –
The way we have evolved things, my wife caries all the bedding anyway. Traditionally this was both pads, the sleeping bag and the joiner sheet. Now she just carries the quilt and two pads. It's a bulky load, but the total bulk is the same whether split in half or not, and it probably weighs more and is potentially a bit less warm with the zipper.
Not to mention, I don't care for stuck zippers. A one piece quilt is the ultimate in simplicity and reliability, nothing to snag or go wrong at all.
I can carry weight better than my wife can, so we don't mind doing things this way. She has issues with her knees and back whereas a little extra weight is not a big deal for me. So I carry our shelter ( which is actually quite light these days ) our cook kit and all the food, or at least most of it. We each carry our own clothes bag, I carry our first aid and repair kit, and my wife carries our dopp kit.
Our base loads are actually pretty close to each others. By the end of a trip after we've eaten up all our food my pack is deflated but my wifes is as bulky as when we started. It's kinda funny to us.
We can pack for a trip the night before we go, it's just a matter of grabbing "the usual suspects" as we put it.
Now that I think about it, our old rectangular bag may have been a little less bulky than our new quilt because it had no foot pocket to mess with. It was just a rectangular quilt when opened up. It connected to the joiner sheet so well and the old thermarest pads are such good insulation that no foot well is needed.
Of course, with a quilt that is not connected to the pads, preferably with a draft proof bottom sheet, you must have that foot box in the quilt. It's the only thing that keeps the quilt in place over you and prevents yer toes from freezing!
I'll get some photos of our two systems, the old thermanest and the new Ray Way quilt, and post them Monday when I get back to civilization ( we live off grid and I can only post at work ).
I'll have to weight both setups as well, I don't remember what they are off hand. The Ray Way quilt is pretty light.
I'm not sure a down quilt would be worth the minimal weight savings.
The Ray Way quilts are simplicity itself, no extra material anywhere.
Down would be more compact but I prefer not to overly compress such things anyway, and I'd worry a bit about the double moisture load from two bodies in a double down quilt.Sep 6, 2013 at 3:35 pm #2022481
I've been thinking ( yes, it hurt…) Are you sure you need a 20 degree quilt?
With a Ray Way quilt, this used to be two layers of his "Alpine" insulation. On his site he has recently written that the new insulation is so warm that his "woodland" insulation is nearly as warm as his old "alpine" insulation, and you may be able to save some bulk with the "woodland" insulation, if you use a Ray Way kit anyway.
Do you typically sleep in any clothing?Sep 6, 2013 at 4:22 pm #2022496
Have you looked into Amy's Lovebird?
Amy also designed a system that couples two pads together AND allows to attach the quilt to the pads.
My wife and I have this quilt and love it. Ours has one modification (based on Amy's suggestion). My wife is a cold sleeper, while I'm a warm sleeper. Amy suggested to have a different baffle height on each side to address that. So now my side has 2" baffles while my wife's side has 2.5" baffles. This double quilt with 900 down weighs only 4 oz more than my wife's Western Mountaineering sleeping bag. So we basically save the weight of my sleeping bag and since I carry the quilt my wife has all of a sudden a lot of space in her backpack :)
ManfredSep 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm #2022501
just Justin WhitsonMember
My partner Becky and i have found that putting silicone glue dots on the bottoms of our pads help, and yes tying some cord around them (as well as elastic waist band material). I've used elastic stuff and very strong, non elastic stuff. With the latter, i tie a Farrimond hitch knots to tighten things up (quick and easy to tie, and quick and easy to untie), just like i would with guying out a tarp.Sep 6, 2013 at 5:51 pm #2022529
You ask a good question about our exact warmth needs for the two person quilt. My initial answer would be that I think my wife needs the extra warmth, though I do not.
We do usually sleep with our warm clothes on. Usually we've got our merino wool sleeping socks on with Capilene 2 long underwear and an R2 fleece or puffy, adding on our windshells if it's very cold. This is what we've been doing with the 35 degree rated Western Mountaineering Caribou MF bags in the summertime here in the Oregon Cascades at least.
I am always warm but my wife is not. On our most recent trip she was shivering one night and the low temps couldn't have been worse than 40 degrees fahrenheit.
We also have two very nice REI 25 degree rated Sub Kilo's (his and hers) and she has never been cold in that, but it's substantially more bag than the WM Caribou MF's. I was hoping to get away with using the lighter summer bags during the warm season but I'm beginning to think it won't be enough for her even though it's plenty for me.
The other reason I'm considering a 20 degree two person quilt is because it looks like my main choices for synthetic insulation would the the 2.5oz/sq yard Climashield Apex from Thru-hiker.com or the 5.0oz/sq yard Climashield Apex. Seems like everyone says the 2.5oz stuff makes a 50 degree quilt which I know won't be warm enough for us. So I guess the 5.0oz/sq yard Climashield Apex is our best option, and that would yield a (roughly) 20 degree quilt from what I can tell. If there is some readily available insulation in between these two options I'd love to know about it.
I have seem Amy's handiwork and indeed it looks pretty great. Alas, I think it's far beyond what I have the time and skill to make :(Sep 8, 2013 at 1:07 am #2022894
Does anyone have any suggestions for how to attach a zipper to two pads as Anthony suggested above? This seems like it would be the most foolproof yet flexible option, and also probably wouldn't add more than an ounce to the setup.
Our pads right now probably only have about 1/4 inch of trim along the outside edge, so I'm afraid that there might not be enough of a substrate to attach the zipper to in the first place.
But assuming that there is, how would I even do this? Would I sew it? Would I glue it?
If anyone has any recommendations please be as specific as possible since I'm totally out of my depth at this point. Thanks!Sep 9, 2013 at 2:11 pm #2023428
I'm thinking a hot glue gun…
But with only a 1/4 inch to spare I'd be afraid to do it.
Maybe contact the manufacturer and see what they say?
Otherwise, a coupler sheet might be a good idea. I find they are more comfortable than sleeping on the bare pad and they do the best job of holding stuff where it needs to be.
This is the underside of the Therm-a-nest coupler we've used for a very long time, showing how it is made. That's a circa 1980s vintage thermarest pad in there.
The sheet is 65/35 poly/cotton and black rip stop nylon.
It carries a matching zipper to mate with our old thermarest sleeping bag and weighs exactly one pound.
The bottom has a 12" pocket for the pad and the top a 12" sleeve, and they are connected by a 5" band on the side. In the middle is a now-defunct 1" elastic band.
Above the pad is a 10" pocket for stuffing and use as a pillow. The sleeping bag is about 82 inches long.
The sleeping bag itself –
Is an ordinary mildly tapered rectangular bag. It has a rounded bottom which surprisingly doesn't interfere with mating with the coupler sheet, which is cut square –
Note one side of the coupler sheet has a zipper pull that matches the bags zipper. On the other side the slider is on the bag. In use as a top quilt, one side of the bag has a draft tube and the other does not, but in practice there is no noticeable difference in comfort between the two sides.
Zipped up the bottom looks like this –
With two pads installed, a walmart blue foam pad and the 1980s thermarest pad –
Note the limp elastic band in the middle. Granted this coupler is twenty years old, but I find elastic a bad idea in general. I'm thinking a 1" flat webbing strap and a buckle to tighten it would be ideal!
I'm thinking such a sheet would be reasonably easy to construct and could be made to match any pad and quilt.
It would work fine with any long rectangular bag, so long as the zippers matched, so finding a rectangular down sleeping bag might be a way to get around making a complicated down quilt. Much easier to make a coupler sheet that matches the bag.
Made entirely of nylon it might be lighter but probably not as comfortable. We've used this setup on trips up to two very rainy weeks long with no problems from the minimal cotton content.
Mind you, the inside of the sleeping bag is also probably a poly/cotton mix, or at least it certainly isn't nylon. So this is was a very luxurious and warm sleep system that severed us very well for a long time.
Why retire it? The bag is worn out and no longer insulates nearly as well as it should, and it is heavy.
Are you sitting down? The total weight of this system was 9.3 pounds!
Each of the two thermarest pads are 37.8 ounces.
The sleeping bag is 67.7 ounces.
The coupler sheet is 18 ounces.
The massively built Lowe Alpine Systems compression stuff sack we carried the sleeping bag and coupler in is 7.7 ounces.
Back in the day my wife carried the sleep system and I carried a 6-1/2 pound tent, an MSR Whisperlight stove and all the food. On the heavy side by BPL standards but we certainly slept comfortably through some very nasty conditions.
To lighten our loads we first tried different pads with this system. A five day backpacking trip using ridgerest pads was terrible –
We froze our butts of every night on that trip and learned that the pads below us is more important than the quilt over us!
We tried walmart blue foam pads and they work OK for me but not my wife and on this trip last October –
We had the system set up as show above with an old thermarest on the wifes side and a walmart foam pad under me, and boy, could I tell the difference in warmth!
I wound up putting a down jacket under me for the added insulation.
Since then we've used a Ray Way quilt and in desperation I've been simply tying our pads together. I'm sure I don't need to go into much detail about the Ray Way quilts as I bet they are familiar to most folk here.
Ours weighs 41.7 ounces and fits in the same stuff sack our old thermanest sleeping bag does.
With two prolite pads our new system weighs only 73.7 ounces ( not counting the string!) but it certainly isn't as comfortable. My main issue is still with the pads –
The prolite pads are light enough but not warm enough, and they are tapered, which hasn't caused problems yet ( because of the sewn up foot on the quilt) but is still rather annoying.
So, my quest is for two decently warm and comfortable rectangular pads ( or tapered on one side only – yeah, I'm dreaming..) that weigh no more than a pound each. Once I settle on the pads I'm sure I can made a decent system.
A quilt made just for such a system would be lighter than the Raw Way quilt above because it would not have the sewn up foot portion so the quilt could be made a bit smaller.Sep 15, 2013 at 7:34 pm #2025004
Jason SchaferBPL Member
I have a 15 degree semi-rectangular sierra design bag that is plenty wide when zipped open and weighs 2 lb 14 oz. I'm hoping to buy #5 zipper coil that will match and pair up with the bags zipper. I plan to attach the zipper to a ground cloth (light tyvek or ripstop nylon) that is just wide enough for our pads. The sleeping bag zips to the ground cloth and the pads (ccf or inflatable) go on top of the ground sheet. The pads won't shift because the ground cloth just wide enough for them and zipped to the bag. I toyed with the idea of a coupler sheet zipped in the bag with pad sleeves built in but find this concept much easier to execute.Sep 16, 2013 at 9:50 am #2025142
That sounds like it would work just fine, and if the pads do shift in practice it would certainly be easy enough to modify it.
I think I'd go with ripstop nylon because I trust it to last longer than tyvek. I gather this would be coated nylon and you'd use this setup without a separate groundsheet under it?
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