Backpacking quilts

1:35 p.m. on March 6, 2015 (EST)
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I'm very interested in switching from a bag to a quilt for my backpacking trips but I'm having a hard time finding info and reviews for them. Doing a google search brings up very little concerning them. I'm even having a hard time finding the companies that make and sell them. It's a pretty significant investment and I'd like to do my research before making a possibly inferior purchase. The only one that I can find any reviews on is the Therm-a-rest quilt that was reviewed in last years  Backpacker Magazine Gear Guide. Anyone that is knowledgable about these sleep systems, please help!

3:29 p.m. on March 6, 2015 (EST)
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Jeff 

here are Cottage companies that make quilts..There are I believe 4 members here who use quilts..But I know alot of users.

Price point Enlightened Equiptment useally runs good deals from what I understand

jacks R Better.com

WWW.Warbonnet Outdoors.com

Nunatakusa.com

Zpacks.com

Enlighten Equiptment.com

9:21 p.m. on March 6, 2015 (EST)
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Denis gave you some good research material, Jeff. I'll throw in something else to consider. Do you plan on using it as part of a hammock or ground sleep system?  Perhaps both?

I've just switched to using a quilt for ground use, so my knowledge would be limited, but one thing I'd recommend would be to get pad with a decent R-Value since you'll just be having insulation on your sides and top (of course it all depends on when and where you'll be using it...summer vs. winter).

One more thing think about is that some quilts have a sewn-in footbox while other only cinch down. A cinch may work if you're in a hammock and sewn-in while on the ground (less likely for a breeze to come through than while open on the ground).

Keep in mind too that you're head will be exposed, so keeping a tuque or some head cover would be important too.

Like Denis said, I'm sure other members will be able to give you additional pointers. Good luck and keep us posted on your decision!

1:35 a.m. on March 7, 2015 (EST)
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Go to www.backpackgeartest.com you'll find reviews of 19 quilts from several different manufacturers. This site has in depth reviews that are far better than many of the so-called reviews you find elsewhere and I would rely on what I read there. www.backpackingLight.net may have reviews, but it is a subscription site.  www.hammockforums.net  is another good source for info on quilts, including info from manufacturers. www.backpacking.net another site I belong to and also moderate, has forums where you can ask about quilts. I've been a member there for many years and there are a lot of experienced members there whose opinions I trust.

The last 3 links don't work from here but the urls are correct.

9:59 a.m. on March 7, 2015 (EST)
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I just noticed Jacks R Better was mentioned.  I have a 900fp JRB/Titanium Goat I bought from Pillowthread on this site.  Great option over a full sleeping bag.  It packs down very small.

10:47 a.m. on March 7, 2015 (EST)
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Tom you noticed that to? I tried to link but they were not working when I tried it...Thats why I just named the companies...Also if you have social Media Facebook for instance their a page Gear talk..You'll find a tone of people use quilts as well..

@Rob good score I looked at that..Pillow thread always has good gear and advise on UL items...

12:17 p.m. on March 7, 2015 (EST)
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Denis, I think the link issue is due to the site software. The first link may work because it is a .com not .net but that's just a guess.

Ray Jardine sells kits for quilts on his RayWay website. If you don't sew, you might find a local tailor to assemble it for you and still save a few bucks. He uses a synthetic fill of some type and offers different temp ratings.

3:01 p.m. on March 7, 2015 (EST)
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Hey Jeff, 

I'm not sure exactly the specifications you are looking for, but I think the Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt is worth checking out. 

http://www.sierradesigns.com/mobileshowproduct.aspx?ProductID=650&SEName=backcountry-quilt-800-2-season

 

9:47 p.m. on March 8, 2015 (EDT)
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http://www.outdoortrailgear.com/

This is a coop site for cottage industry manufacturers. Worth a look.

1:52 a.m. on March 9, 2015 (EDT)
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I like the price point for quilts made by HammockGear.com.  I use and reviewed their Burrow 50 quilt here, and use their Incubator 40°. (It just occurred to me I should review it ...) 

I originally bought the Burrow for summer tent camping.  The owner, Adam talked me through some options for that use (I got it wider, with snap closure footboy, and with loads sewed into the sides so I could run a line under my pad to keep it tucked in.)  Great service, great product, great price. Made in Lancaster, OH.

8:26 p.m. on March 10, 2015 (EDT)
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I'm planning on using this on the ground in or out of a tent.  I roll around a lot when I sleep and I sleep really warm.  I've had my bag (TNF Wasatch 40degree) since 2006 and I've only zipped it up once.  We were at 9600' in a meadow with no wind breaks, it was 35degrees and the winds were ripping across the mountain at about 40mph.  at home i'll sleep with no clothes on and even with the thermostat set at 65, if I fall asleep covered up with a synthetic comforter, I wake up sweaty.  I have to sleep with both arms out from under the covers and at least one leg from the knee down.  My pad is a NEMO Astro Lite 20R, the R rating is 0 but if I'm going to do something in cold weather i'll pair it with a Z-rest pad on top.  The Therm-a-rest Auriga is the quilt that keeps showing up on most of the searches that I do.  the price is competitive, it's made in the USA, they sell it at REI so I know and trust the return policy.  I've looked at some of the others that Dennis Daly mentioned  above.  the Jacks R Better seemed to be the most memorable.  the Therm-a-rest is at the lower end of the price spectrum and I'm curious why?  are they just a bigger company? is their product inferior?

8:18 a.m. on March 11, 2015 (EDT)
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Regarding Therm-a-Rest quality; I have been using a 40°f down Ventra for the last few years and the quality of the quilt is amazing. Having only seen their newer models online I can't speak to whether they have kept that up, but the only reason I can think they had to discontinue the Ventra was that it was just too good.

Keep researching what folks have to say about them today by all means. My comment is based on a product they stopped making years ago but since I can never say enough nice things about that quilt I had to mention it.

3:38 a.m. on March 12, 2015 (EDT)
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Larger manufacturers can offer a lower price. If it's down what fill weight are they using 650. Most cottage use 800 or better for R value to save weight...just like high priced sleeping bags...

1:31 p.m. on March 12, 2015 (EDT)
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I am a big fan of Climashield synthetic insulation.  If you are looking for a synthetic quilt, consider www.mountainlaureldesigns.com

10:48 a.m. on March 18, 2015 (EDT)
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denis daly said:

Price point Enlightened Equiptment useally runs good deals from what I understand

I agree that EE's "bang for the buck" value is right up there at the top. Actually, most of the cottage quilt manufacturers make great quality and offer a decent value (except maybe premium brands Nunatak and Katabatic). To add to Denis' list of manufacturers, Underground Quilts and HammockGear.

Quilts are becoming more popular, just look at bigger brands like Sierra Designs and Nemo dipping a toe in. And many of the quilt cottage shops offer a much better value compared to top-end sleeping bags.

Jeff, I think the biggest decision is simply quilt vs. bag. FWIW, it seems to my observation that about 80-90% of people who try a quilt like it, but there are 10-20% or so who don't and go back to their bag. Typical reasons I've seen them give is they find a quilt to be drafty, too fiddly with straps and attachments, don't like the feeling of lying directly on the pad, and no hood. Quilt lovers disagree, of course.

Once you're in the quilt camp I think the decision falls to a lot of details -- important details, but really most if not all of these manufacturers make a great product and offer responsive customer service, including customization. Look at things like baffle construction - horizontal, vertical, or some other orientation, open or closed, etc. Attachment system -- can you cinch it around you well, attach to the pad well, adjust easily in the middle of the night, fiddle factor, etc. Fabric choices. And so on. To me these are the factors on which you will decide between quilt makers.

I have an Enlightened Equipment Enigma Pro and love it. I'm a side and rotisserie sleeper. I had an older EE quilt with the Karo baffles and was only so-so about it, because the Karo baffle design didn't work well for me. They have since dropped away from Karo baffles and have a closed vertical baffle design that works well.

1:37 p.m. on March 19, 2015 (EDT)
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My main considerations for this switch are weight and size.  I want my sleep system to weigh under 2 lbs. and with the summer heat that we always get (add in crazy humidity and my tendency to sleep warm) I figured that this quilt idea was right up my alley.  I want to thank everybody that has chimed in (and those that will do so in the future). 

At the moment I'm leaning toward the Therm-a-rest Auriga Blanket.  I'll be honest, the main reason I'm leaning this direction is that I can get it at REI and with their return policy I have a year to decide if the quilt works for me or not.  If I decide that a quilt, but just not that one is what I need then I can return it and continue shopping for the right one.  I will also have had the experience to know what about specific quilts I do and don't want. 

To be perfectly honest, I've gotten so much information from you guys that I'm still trying to go through all the sights that you've suggested.  I have to say that I'm a little overwhelmed with how many options there are. 

I'll keep y'all posted on where it goes from here! 

12:15 p.m. on March 24, 2015 (EDT)
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I switched to a quilt a couple of years ago.

I bought my quilt from Enlightened Equipment.  I purchased the Revelation model, rated down to 20 degrees.  I liked the fact that this company made the quilt in a size that would fit me (I'm 6'6" 235lbs.) --  length and width.

I've had nothing but a positive experience with this company and its product.  Highly recommend.

11:08 p.m. on April 1, 2015 (EDT)
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I am a hammock camper and am 6ft 2 and 275+lbs.  I have two EE RevX Top Quilts ( a  0 and a 30 degree ) and the quality is excellent.  Have used them to 9 degrees.

 

1:05 a.m. on June 2, 2015 (EDT)
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There are several potential drawbacks of using backpacking quilts that you should be aware of. The first is that  there's the chance of something coming loose and your warm cocoon of a sleeping bag springing a leak, letting cold air in and hot air out. But this really depends on what kind of a sleeper you are. If you could be mistaken for being dead while sleeping, then this probably wont be a problem, but if you thrash, it might be worth trying to test a backpacking quilt before you commit to buying one. The second drawback, though you might not see it that way, is that backpacking quilts don't come with hoods. A toque or some other head warming device works as a replacement, but I personally keep my hair short and have always appreciated the extra warmth that a hood provides for my head.

7:21 a.m. on June 2, 2015 (EDT)
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Actually as a bouncey, spinning sleeper I find quilt use a boon. A bag eventually ends up wound around in me in a tight spiral and allows little room for bouncing or spinning. To me it seems bags are better suited for those who sleep like the dead since mobility isn't a concern for them. Quilts are made for folks who need room to move while they sleep.

Having used my quilts well below 0°F I agree that doing so requires using your head to keep it warm. For me a polypropylene balaclava with my rabbit fur lined Mad Bomber on top works fine. When it gets so cold it feels like ice is forming in my eyes I unsnap the brim and flip the fur over them.

Sleep systems, like the rest of our gear choices, are very personal. It is great that there are options so that everyone can hopefully find things that work for them. The best way to find out is to try, so I totally agree with you about testing things out first if you can.

12:42 a.m. on June 26, 2015 (EDT)
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Update:  Well my Enlightened Equipment quilt came, and man am I impressed.  I got the Revelation Pro, with 850 DownTek rated to 10 degrees, regular width, long, red outside black inside and black stripes.  It looks great!  The quality is top notch, and it lofts up real nice.  I can't wait to try it out.  Thanks for all your suggestions.  This is my first quilt and I am keeping my fingers crossed that sleeping with a quilt will be for me.  

October 23, 2019
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