Pad attachment straps – do they work?
May 3, 2022 at 8:24 am #3748201
I normally use a hammock to camp, so a pad is not in the picture. Recently I was out on a few day AT section hike and decided to stay in a shelter one night. With a quilt that was sufficient for the temps in a hammock (subsequent nights were fine), I was never really warm that night in the shelter. I realize that the pad could have been a little bit of a factor, but I believe my major problem was the quilt on top of the pad.
I am looking for opinions from anyone who may have used pad attachment straps with a quilt, and if they feel it works? Also, if they work, do you need to be a gymnast to extract yourself for the nightly “nature calls”. From what I see the straps run under the pad, and with the top cinched around your head, it seems like it would take some effort to get out.
TomMay 3, 2022 at 9:19 am #3748211
There are a number of variables at play all of which affect attachment systems: ambient temperatures, wind, pad and quilt ratings, quilt width, shoulder width, sleep position, and restlessness while sleeping. People often underestimate the importance of the pad and the conductive heat loss to a hard and cold surface, but one does so at one’s peril. Systems vary but the attachment straps on my E E Enigma 20F (-7C) work with a down jacket and top and bottom wool base layers only until 20F (I sleep cold), below which drafts wake me up and I long for an enclosed bag. Getting in and out should just be a one or two clip affair and with some practice becomes second nature.
All the best.May 3, 2022 at 10:56 am #3748228DanBPL Member
They work for me.May 3, 2022 at 12:01 pm #3748233
Atif – your experience with your EE Enigma makes sense to me. The temperatures each night were in the high 20F’s and I carried a 20D top quilt. Although I was not super cold, I was in/out of sleep, each cycle I think due to me getting a little chilled. I was on an older Thermarest Neo Air, which I thought would have been sufficient. I do not wear a jacket sleeping except in the late fall and winter, but that may have helped. The same quilt in a hammock with the same nightly temps and breezes worked fine, although an 20D underquilt replaced the Thermarest.May 3, 2022 at 4:38 pm #3748248Dustin VBPL Member
Pad attachments for quilts do not totally seal out drafts, but they can help a lot. I like the attachment clips on my Katabatic, which each have a tighter and a looser setting. I don’t know if there are other systems where you can lock a clip in position on the pad strap, but theirs works well.
I usually clip the side away from the door tight and the door side looser. The tight side stays shut pretty well. This leaves the looser side able to slide toward me when I turn which closes the gap at the top and I only have to tuck that side under. It also makes it a little easier to get in/out of the quilt.May 3, 2022 at 9:48 pm #3748272
One other thing: it takes some practice in a semi conscious state, but when you move around at night try to “lift and roll” rather than just roll, which causes the quilt to curl around and open up slits and pockets for drafts to get in. To lift and roll, just raise your hips while supporting yourself with a heel and shoulder and rotate your body.May 3, 2022 at 10:06 pm #3748273Shane S.BPL Member
For me, the straps are fiddly. I’m moving away from quilts. Quilts are too drafty for me (tossing and turning all night trying to get comfortable) and too much heat loss, especially under a tarp. I have recently went with a zpacks classic sleeping bag.May 3, 2022 at 10:12 pm #3748275
I vaguely recall reading that Ryan Jordan found the main advantage of quilts not to be the weight savings so much as the girth adjustment, a critical factor in warmer weather and for active sleepers. If you don’t mind the weight penalty, a full zipper is an option.May 3, 2022 at 10:57 pm #3748277Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Sleeping on board floors in shelters has always been colder for me than sleeping in a tent. There are possible explanations for this, but whatever the reasons, experience rules.
If anticipating board shelter floors, I bring a small tarp to cover the boards underneath the pad. The pad has chevron-shaped sil strips on the bottom that keep it from moving around. They do not work on the boards, but do on the small tarp. At one time the tarp snapped into the tent as a floor, so it could do double duty. Once the pad is immobilized, there is no problem with keeping the sleeping bag on the pad, so long as it is a thin pad, like a self-inflater. And there is less loss of heat through the boards. Have not had to tie the small tarp to keep it immobilized, but would if there were problems with it bunching up or sliding.
There is a lot of air moving around under those board floors, so they become a heat sink. We used to have floors in shelters made out of parallel wooden rods, called “baseball bats.” They would prevent slipping, but weren’t very comfortable.May 4, 2022 at 4:47 am #3748281
In regards to the flooring in the shelter, I do carry a old piece of tyvek that I put my sleeping mat down on. Not sure how much insulation value it provides, but should keep drafts from coming up through the floor boards.May 4, 2022 at 11:14 am #3748314HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: The West is (still) the Best
Quilts are too drafty
Recall a number of ultralight writers prefer quilts over a certain temperature (20°F according to one) to account for this. That said, I’ve been slightly chilled using a 30°F EE quilt at 10,000 ft a few days ago, but was kinda shocked when a younger hiker said they were using a 0°F quilt for the same trip. Thinking there may be other factors like sleeping in sweaty hiker clothes, not taking into account drafts, etc..
Becoming older, I’m probably looking at adding a 22°F Katabatic as my main 3-season quilt (and finding weight savings elsewhere) so maybe there’s many factors (draft collars, etc..). Actually looking into an alpha direct piece that can augment my quilt(s) plus a down hoody.
The struggle is real…May 5, 2022 at 12:03 am #3748398Rex SandersBPL Member
Tom – a few related thoughts that don’t directly answer your questions.
– EN/ISO sleeping bag temperature ratings are based on an R 4.8 sleeping pad. Charts from many sources that claim an R 3 pad is sufficient for “three-season” backpacking are blowing (cold) smoke.
– In the current NeoAir product line, only the XTherm and “Women’s” XLite meet or exceed R 4.8. All the others fall short, IMO.
– A drafty shelter floor is more like a hammock, except you can’t hang a bottom quilt underneath. Adding a ground cloth probably won’t help much.
– As others have written, there are so many variables in how warm you might sleep that one night’s experience shouldn’t drive your decisions. Fatigue, hunger, thirst, wind, humidity, cold night sky exposure, damp clothes, going to bed cold, and more, all play a part.
https://backpackinglight.com/standards-watch-hikes-into-the-sunset/May 5, 2022 at 5:01 am #3748405
Thanks Rex. I will take a look at the links you provided. I was not aware that temperature ratings of sleeping bags were based on a 4.8 R value pad. I am pretty sure my old NeoAir is not near that value, so that would have been a factor for sure in this case. I do carry dry clothes that only get used for sleeping, so at least that was not a factor. Since the pad attachment straps will not “break the bank”, maybe I should get a set and give them a try in warmer weather, where I can hopefully eliminate the pad R value as a factor.May 5, 2022 at 9:04 am #3748419Chris KBPL Member
The straps keep the quilt centered on the pad, mostly. The width of the quilt makes a difference. It can’t be too narrow or any movement will lift up the edge.
I would agree that the variable girth is the main selling point. If properly sized you can cinch the quilt up with the strap(s) and have a full wrap with less wiggle room, or widen the gap and have more room and airflow.
Getting in and out is different than using a zipper, for sure, but maybe not worse depending on what you’re used to. You un-snap the collar (if it’s even snapped in the first place) and fold / toss the top half of the quilt off.Jun 7, 2023 at 2:34 pm #3782836tkkn cBPL Member
@tkkncLocale: Desert Rat in the Southwest
A wider quilt to keep out the drafts is what worked for me. I have a quilt that works fine in a hammock for me, but on the ground I get cold from kicking it off.
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