- Oct 22, 2017 at 2:17 pm #3497843
I use a bivy but don’t put my head in it, thus air doesn’t blow in under the edges of the quiltOct 22, 2017 at 5:26 pm #3497871
“Question: if the problem is the air around my body, for using the quilt like a blanket instead of closing it around me, wouldn’t this happen also with a down quilt?”
Yes, of course. Really, the only difference between synthetic insulation and down insulation when you purchase it is the weight. Weight for a 20F Long/Wide Synthetic quilt at EE is ~34.08oz or 966.15g, for down it is 21.88oz or 620.29g, a full third less.
There are other differences that only show up during use and over long term.
1) Temperature range. Down has a much greater temperature range. Given two coverings that both work at say 30F/0C (all else being equal) the down plumes will trap a certain amount of moisture…this means bodily perspiration. Damp down will collapse a bit so you remain more comfortable than synthetic. It may have a comfort range of 10C-0C with no significant changes to your sleep system. However, with a synthetic, you will find that the insulation will *not* adjust to the higher temp leaving you hot and uncomfortable at 10C. At 10C you will start getting mosquitoes and other biting insects out, and, actively biting. Soo, a too warm synthetic bag can lead to a very uncomfortable night. As you suggested, you would be better to carry two blankets, but for the weight and bulk. A light 15-10C blanket, and a heavier 10-5C blanket. Both in the long/wide size. But, you pay in weight, bulk and complexity.
2) Durability IS an issue. Down will be reliable to within about 3C over the course of a year of use. Synthetic will start a relatively rapid decline of about 8-10C over the same conditions and time. At the end of a 1 year of continuous use, you will *need* a second blanket just to stay warm. You will likely just need a sweater under your down blanket.
3) Maintenance can be a problem with down, you can likely just wash it in a tub at a motel/hotel room somewhere, usually once every couple or three weeks. Synthetic is much more forgiving. It will perform nearly as well with three weeks of body oils as it does freshly laundered. And, you really don’t need special down washes. IFF you can stand the smell.
4) Compressability, to me, is simplistic. Because down can compress down to about 10:1 or more (20:1 for high loft 850+fp down) you will save about 12-15L in your pack. What you choose to do with this space is your choice, but generally this means you can use a 15L smaller pack. Generally packs weigh about 21.26g per liter. Soo, about a savings of around 320g. You might elect to fill this space with a weeks worth of food. Anyway, you have a higher degree of freedom, ie more options given the same parameters.
Anyway, at the end of a year out hiking, continuously, you will be damn near a professional (all except getting paid :( .) Let us know how you make out.Oct 22, 2017 at 6:04 pm #3497873
I think if you compress synthetic a lot, it reduces its lifetime. It starts losing loft when being used. Better to stuff it loosely but then it takes too much pack space like James said
You can compress down in your pack without it shortening its useful lifeOct 22, 2017 at 8:50 pm #3497889
Maintenance can be a problem with down, you can likely just wash it in a tub at a motel/hotel room somewhere, usually once every couple or three weeks.
Good Lord no!
We would wash our down quilts maybe once every 5 years, or longer. BUT! we always use a liner between our body and the quilt, and that does get washed very often (er, well, not on long trips …).
Ducks never wash their down: they just groom it.
CheersOct 22, 2017 at 8:59 pm #3497890
Edward John MBPL Member
Why not try adding in an UL down blanket to the inside of the existing synthetic? I echo what everybody else has said about a better base to sleep on, eating well, being fully hydrated and wearing a really high quality covering on the head that provides insulation for the neck and those huge blood vessels supplying the brain. Personally speaking I think you need a fully enclosed footbox when the air temperature drops below 12C.
Just a comment and a question tho on the general use of quilts. If you are telling people to wrap the quilt around the body why do all the instructions that come with quilts say to pin them under the mat with the supplied tapes and bits of string??Oct 22, 2017 at 9:59 pm #3497905
Mike BBPL Member
Just a comment and a question tho on the general use of quilts. If you are telling people to wrap the quilt around the body why do all the instructions that come with quilts say to pin them under the mat with the supplied tapes and bits of string??
The straps, tapes, strings are all ways to connect your quilt to the pad while still giving you the ability to adjust the quilt as tight around you as you want. You do not have to have the quilt on the outside of your pad and that is not how I use mine. Straps around the pad, clip quilt to straps on top of the pad, adjust straps so quilt is centered on the pad and tight up to the body. I will usually be laying on a couple of inches of the quilt so I do not get air movement under the edges. Also pull the drawstring tight at the top so you do not push out the warm air from next to your body when you turn over.
Video from EE’s website explaining pads and straps https://youtu.be/mHznRpNJpxU
Instructions from Katabatic Gear http://katabaticgear.com/product-manual.pdf
Hope this helps.Oct 22, 2017 at 10:27 pm #3497915
We have tried the laces under the mat thing with quilts, but found them unhelpful. But that must be seen in context: there are two of us snuggled up together, and sometimes I will have part of my (wide) quilt thrown over my wife as well. Laces can’t work there.
Thing is, I find that in cold conditions I manage to keep my quilt over me properly all the time. Perhaps as soon as there is any cold draft I adjust the quilt while I am still 90% asleep? Very possible.
Mat, hat, fat. (fat = food)
CheersOct 22, 2017 at 10:29 pm #3497916
Roger, all birds preen. Ducks do it in conjunction with oils to soften, make more flexable, their feathers among other things. Dust/dirt, parasites (body lice) and the like are removed as part of the preening. Lacking that, since I am not a bird, though I am accused of having a bird sized brain, I just rinse out my bedding rather regularly…same as I would at home. I am not exactly what you would term effete, but I don’t care to be more than a week dirty, mostly. My bedding, even with sleeping cloths (a base layer of some sort, light, medium or heavy) usually gets fairly grubby after two or three weeks, though. It just makes me feel better, though I know it is generally not dangerous, to also wash out my quilt or bag.
“If you are telling people to wrap the quilt around the body why do all the instructions that come with quilts say to pin them under the mat with the supplied tapes and bits of string??”
I don’t think you are reading the instructions correctly. For example EE:
Note the pics and instructions.
It is not mandatory to sleep with the pad inside or outside, but it is generally not done to have it inside the foot box. While I have pushed my 10F bag on a couple late fall/early spring hikes by placing a NeoAir inside and inflating it, you have to be fairly sure of your ground so there is no water or moisture coming up (at 10F this is not a problem.) I did it in a couple lean-tos in the ADK’s of NY. The NeoAirs bleed heat out the edges, as do many air mattresses. Klymit X-frame does. It is warmer to stuff it in the bag with you. (It would have been warmer to sleep on some snow, but there wasn’t enough around.) So, it is a good idea to prevent this and be a couple degrees warmer. But a self inflating pad (basically open cell foam,) or a down insulated pad doesn’t suffer from this problem, so it can be ignored. I don’t think the Xtherm suffers from this problem, either, but I don’t have one of those.Oct 22, 2017 at 11:15 pm #3497923
We generally try to wash every day when walking. In European Refuges there are often hot showers (paying); in hotels the showers are free. That covers most of our several-month-long walks.
Here in Oz we usually wash in a creek after pitching the tent nearby. At the very least this gets our feet clean, but we do try to wash all over. If the creek is really snow melt … a wet washer suffices – rather briefly. Comes of walking with my wife: she is rather hardline about it. Yes, we also carry a small towel.
In the snow – harder. But we still wash most days – inside the tent with slightly warmed water and a washer. Hey – it’s a great life!
CheersOct 23, 2017 at 1:02 am #3497935
Roger, yeah washing up at the end of a day is SOP. Not really the same thing though.Oct 24, 2017 at 4:56 am #3498137
So, I’m about to order the new quilts.
I’m pretty sure I’d like 2 quilts, one 40F Apex, one 20F Down.
1) which would be better as first layer? I’m thinking the Apex would be better, as it’s still working when wet. The first layer I’d order it in full zip, so I can be wrapped well in colder nights.2) can I trust that 950fp is really as warm as 850 using less amount of Down? I understand the concept but somehow I still don’t feel it.
3) would the 950 be more compressible? Noticeably? I mean, it’s less quantity at same F, so it will be more compressible. But supposing you put the same quantity of 950 and 850 (so, different F). Would the 950 be more compressible?
Anyway the difference in price is much more than the difference in weight. For a 20F EE Revelation it’s 75 euro more for 46.5 grams less.
If I will gain also reasonably enough space I may do it.Oct 24, 2017 at 5:33 am #3498138
Paul S.BPL Member
Oct 24, 2017 at 11:23 am #3498154
- Apex as the outer. Moisture will be pushed out by your body heat to the outer layer. You want the outer to be more resistant to moisture.
- Hardly any difference for 850 vs 950. It’s for those who want to save every gram possible. Arguably higher fill powers are less resistant to moisture.
Brad PBPL Member
I’d have a difficult time justifying 75 euros to go from 850 to 950 fill. But it’s a HYOH situation, so only you can decide if cutting the small amount of grams and cubic cm is worth it. (I hope you appreciate me sticking to metric. :) )Oct 24, 2017 at 11:43 am #3498156
Thank you. I didn’t think that. I had in mind that if I put the down first, the body humidity would be trapped by the down making it wet.
Another question. At the moment of opting for two apex quilts, I felt that a safe choice for me as a cold sleeper to be warm was one 4 and one 8 Oz per square yard.
8 Oz apex is rated to 20F, 4 to 40F. We know that these ratings are not working on me.
You all say, down is more reliable.
May I assume that if I have a 4 Oz apex i could be ok adding a 30F instead of a 20F down, because a 30 (maybe even a 40?) F down warms like a 20F Apex?
Edit: didn’t see your reply, Brad. Yes I do appreciate. It saves me from opening the unit converter once more :)
Guys, I’m stuck. I admit I’m overwhelmed.
The tent, the quilt, now the mat failing. For none of them I know if I’ll get a refund. For the quilt I don’t care, it just doesn’t fit my needs, so it must go. But if i change mat maybe I need less warmth from the quilt, so I should better wait before deciding which quilt or quilts to buy. But on the other hand I must decide quick.
And the tent… It seems I’ll not get a refund. So I must decide if keeping the replacement or sell it.
I find it difficult to keep the inner peace. It’s just too much all together in a vulnerable moment.
I’ll try to consider it as an emotional training.
I suppose it’s normal that after the first month you see all what doesn’t work in your gear setup.
Oct 24, 2017 at 1:48 pm #3498166
- This reply was modified 11 months, 4 weeks ago by Ugo 7.
Ugo, Generally speaking, you always want the Apex (or synthetic bag/quilt generally) on the outside. Any water vapour, from inside, will need to cool off before it will condense. (Not strictly accurate, but close enough. The rate of water vapour <-> water during condensation is statistical. Soo, the rates determine how much water we actually see for the given ambient atmospheric conditions…another variable…) And, generally, the warm layer (on the inside) will not generate much condensation. Most of it ends up at the exchange point between hot and cold. While this seemingly violates the statistical rule, condensation/water, also entails a certain amount of evaporation, cooling it despite condensation trying to warm it. The immediate area around a condensation droplet will be dryer once the water molecules have been condensed out. The air molecules will disburse rapidly (or escape more readily) into the surrounding atmosphere (heat/dry.) So, new moisture will tend to gravitate *to* a condensation droplet. Also, water molecules have an affinity for other water molecules. We call this surface tension in a glass, for example. This means that condensation will attract more water. Both effects are slight, but noticeable. Generally, we just think of these as meaning it tends to form at the coldest boundary, but this is only a generalization. (Example: your tent will bleed large water droplets, wetting anything touching it, yet your bag may only be slightly damp.) Skip it if you don’t understand…just use the apex on the outside, since down doesn’t handle condensation well.
There is no difference between fills except for weight. A larger number fill power simply means you need less to fill a certain volume. However, dampness/water will cause it to collapse. Lower fill downs are more resistant to this. Even your own perspiration can effect this as was discussed. The optimum trade-off between the two, is around 700-800FP down. Of course, environmental variables such as large amounts of humidity, wet ground, dry desert conditions, very cold conditions, etc can effect this trade-off a lot. Hence, the controversy. I personally choose 800-850 0ver 900-950. The cost savings vs temp control vs humidity control while sleeping vs comfort level vs (all the other things I can do to adjust temperature under a tent) equation is an individual choice. The difference between two long/wide quilts(850/950fp) is about 1.6oz/45g. The cost is about 85USD, but the dampness correlations mean I do care about 80% of the time since I use the quilt 50-32F/(above 0C) and *want* the collapse. The 20F/7C rating is only for the occasional snow storm I stumble across in early spring/late fall.
I think I would suggest:
1) Upgrade your padding system. IFF you plan on being out over the winter months, a better pad will help. Better would be two pads, but, lacking a place to store one, you will have trouble carrying both in summer. Start at R5.5-6.0 But, you didn’t say where you would be hiking.
2) A second blanket would be nice. but again, I hesitate to order a synthetic one. A second 32F/0C down blanket will work, I am guessing. The combination should take you to around -10C to -20C depending on how you sleep over the winter. Note that your pad may influence this a LOT.Oct 24, 2017 at 2:30 pm #3498172
Matt DirksenBPL Member
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
Don’t forget, we’ve all been there before in our own ways. You are truly not alone, and I trust you will make peace with this. We’ve probably all had those cold nights where we shivered all night. My “nights” were 35+ years ago when I was a young scout, dragging my Hillary bag & blue pad out of a frozen canvas tent to take shelter around the fire which I and a few others kept burning all night and all weekend. That “freezing” taught me a lot back then, and I trust all the VERY experienced folks on this list have all felt “frozen” once or twice along the way as well.
But only you will ultimately know what will work best for you. Knowledge is the greatest thing to bring with you when in the wilderness, and always lightens your load. Here are some of my thoughts:
- (As others have said) if you find your pad to be comfortable – great! That’s half the equation. Just supplement your mat with at least a 1/2″ of ccf pad and you might be good to go. Or sandwich your existing pad with two 1/8″ pads. I do this often to an X-Lite, and it makes a HUGE difference.
- (As others have said) a hat – or down hood works wonders.
- (Works for me), I sleep in a Cap-4 Hoodie. I love the thing. I throw the hood up if it’s “chilly”, It zips up almost like a balaclava, covering my mouth. When I don’t wear the hood, I’ve never felt annoyed by it behind my neck.
- (As others have said several times) Have an insulated jacket on standby. Insulated pants & booties will certainly help as well. As much as you don’t like wearing extra layers to bed, if it’s cold – be prepared to wear everything you must. Have the extra energy bars on standby as well.
- The 850 20d quilt could be a good investment. And if not – Gear Swap is a great way to pass it on.
- It’s times like this when I think of Grandma Gatewood, and what a 67 year old can do with a rain cape, Keds tennis shoes, and Vienna sausages.
Good luck, friend. You’re getting there.
MattOct 24, 2017 at 2:57 pm #3498179
typical quilt – 8 ounces of down would provide about the same warmth as 16 ounces of synthetic – big difference
plus, down compresses more in the pack so you can use a smaller pack which saves some more weight
8 ounces of 850 down would provide the same warmth as 7.2 ounces of 950 down, except maybe you should use a little more 950 down to compensate for humidity – small differenceOct 25, 2017 at 12:13 am #3498244
Thank you thank you thank you!
I’m better now. I’ve surrendered and that feels good. Too much energy wasted fighting with this situation.
I’m surely write about the “professional service” received by Astucas.
In the while, I just accept the lost and the loss.
I’ll sell this quilt. It’s over.
I’m going to buy an EE Down.
Second quilt probably also EE to be more combinable (for example 2 Convert can be zipped together). But could be GramXpert (I can’t imagine who would like to have an Astucas if there is GramXpert in EU).
I’m pretty sure that the second quilt will be Apex. If something happens and all gets wet, at least apex will work. Besides, the concept of 2 quilts is that one is for summer.
Although I’ve understood the collapsing thing of high fp on down (btw James, why do you prefer 800 over 900 if you want collapse?), I’ve the impression that a 4 Oz Apex will be very fresh.
Anyway. Not yet sure. Emergency is gone. Spanish mountains are over. Now cities and in one week Australian spring. No getting for a while.
Ah, James, I did say where I’ll hike. If not here, in the other thread. I’ve said, I’ve no idea.
I’m more into a nomadic long term backpacking journey of at least one year, than into a shortv term precisely targeted hiking journey. I know only that this first year will be Australia and New Zealand. And that I’m not equipped for extreme cold and snow, so I’ll avoid that for now.
The rest, no idea where life can bring me.
I must be prepared to a variegated range of events.
I want to thank you all once again for the incredible help. I’ve learnt a lot and I hope this thread can be of reference for future.
UgoOct 25, 2017 at 1:17 am #3498253
Brad PBPL Member
I hope it all works well for you!Oct 25, 2017 at 1:34 am #3498258
Analysis paralysis? : )
The reason higher fill power down is more susceptible to humidity is it contains few feathers
Lower full power down contains more feathers which compress less with humidity
I don’t know how much this is theory and how much it’s proven by experience. A couple years ago Ryan claimed this and said he was going to study it further.
Either 850 or 950 down will collapse when it gets wet.
Synthetic does not collapse when wet.
There’s this video of Navy Seals. They get totally wet in ice water. Then either wear synthetic clothes and walk for a while, or get into synthetic sleeping bag, with all their wet clothes, in arctic conditions. After a while they dry off. No one dies : )
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