best synthetic fill for a quilt

Posted by: thecook

best synthetic fill for a quilt - 11/20/08 06:55 AM

I'm thinking of trying my hand at quilt making for my kids and myself and want to start with synthetic fill to get a good idea of how I want a quilt sized and because of the duribilty issue with kids. What fill does everyone think I should start with? I live in Minnesota so three season camping can get as high as 80F+ on summer nights and as low as 15 or 20F in the spring and fall. I am thinking that 2" of insulation would be the best starting spot but would welcome comments on that as well.
Posted by: Heber

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt - 11/20/08 07:44 AM

I made a quilt for myself (okay it was mostly my wife doing the work) for warmer weather use. I used the 2.5 oz climashield XP from thru-hiker. That is what they call a 40 degree quilt. I've been warm at 50 using this quilt but cold in the 30s so I guess that's about right. At any rate it took 2 yards of insulation and 4 yards of ripstop for the shell. Including shipping that was less than $50.

I'd recommend making summer quilts like this and then another set of quilts for the colder temperatures. No need to carry heavy quilts in warm weather.

Climashield is probably the best thing to use for a quilt for two reasons. First it's very nearly the warmest per unit weight (Primaloft is SLIGHTLY warmer). Second (and perhaps more importantly) it is a continuous filament insulation. That means that it is relatively robust as is and it doesn't need to be stabilized by quilting to a scrim layer like Primaloft does.

Now some people will tell you that this means that a climashield quilt doesn't need to have any quilting loops. You'll notice I don't have any in my quilt. Neither the Bozeman Mountain Works quilts nor the Mountain Laurel Designs quilt seem to have them. But now I'm beginning to think that some quilting loops might help. As you stuff and unstuff the quilt you can end up tearing that internal insulation and creating a cold spot. Quilting loops won't totally prevent this but it keeps the insulation connected to the shell and since the shell is not that stretchy it keeps the insulation from trying to stretch (which it doesn't do well -- that's what leads to tearing the insulation).
Posted by: thecook

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt - 11/20/08 08:40 AM

So you just used a single layer of the .6" thickness climashield? I saw Thru-Hikers clo info and temp rating but was confused as that thickness does not jive with the temp rating by thickness charts I have seen.
Posted by: Heber

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt - 11/20/08 09:35 AM

Yes that is what I used. The thickness/temperature rating relation is a strange one. For a given insulation material thicker is better but you can't use thickness when comparing across types of insulation.

For instance a lot of people are familiar with how much loft of down it takes to get to a certain temperature rating and they can't believe synthetic can do it with less loft because they know that down is a better insulator. What they are missing is that down is better PER OUNCE, not PER INCH of loft. Synthetics are warmer for a given loft but they are heavier. So a thin synthetic quilt can be quite warm but it will weigh more than a similar down quilt that is loftier and has the same temperature rating..
Posted by: lori

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt - 11/22/08 12:56 PM

Have you looked at Ray Way quilt kits? I couldn't get the components for less shopping on my own, and the instructions come with. My quilt has the alpine upgrade and draft stoppers - was warm all the way to freezing. Also made my own stuff sack. Depending on the size of the kids, you could probably get two kits, and use one kit to cut in half to make two kid quilts.
Posted by: thecook

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt - 11/22/08 01:24 PM

I've looked at them and like what the Jardine's have done. However, their weights seem heavy for what I want. It looks like I can get the materials for a quilt for around $60 from Thru-Hiker and make a quilt that weighs right around a pound as compared to closer to 2 lbs from Ray.
Posted by: Spock

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt - 11/24/08 05:34 PM

I vote for Climashield - I have 2 quilts made with it, a 40F from the 2.5 oz/yd (thinner) (15 oz complete) and a sub 30F from the 5 oz/yd grade (24 oz complete, if I remember right). The continuous filiament makes construction easy, but like others, I put a few quilting loops in. They make packing easier and I feel more secure with them.
Posted by: thecook

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt - 11/24/08 07:36 PM

The quilt weights I see posted by many MYOGers seem heavy for the weight of the materials. 2 yards of 5 oz climashield is 10oz plus 2 yards of 1.1 oz ripstop is 5.2 oz (according to the weights from thru-hiker). That is only 15.2oz so why is your 5oz quilt 24oz? What am I missing? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />
Posted by: lori

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt - 11/24/08 08:45 PM

FWIW, my Ray Way with Alpine upgrade is lighter than a smaller quilt I made to go under my hammock with Climashield. Not sure what Ray uses but it compresses better and feels loftier/softer than Climashield.
Posted by: Heber

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt - 11/25/08 07:11 AM

Remember that you need double the yardage of shell material (the ripstop 1.1) that you use for the insulation because the quilt needs a top and a bottom.

Also the weights are for square yards but the material and insulation is sold in linear yards (60" widths). Since most quilts are about 6 feet long (2 linear yards) and more than 36 inches wide (1 linear yard) there is more than 2 quare yards of insulation and more than 4 square yards of shell material in a quilt.

The other thing is that some people put snaps and drawcords at the top to snug the quilt around their necks. That weighs something.
Posted by: thecook

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt - 11/25/08 12:52 PM

Duh! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> I never even thought of the fact that the weight listed was fro square yards and the fabric was 60" wide. Boy am I embarassed <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />
Posted by: Heber

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt - 11/25/08 02:13 PM

Don't feel embarrassed. This board is an "embarassment free zone". If we can't ask dumb questions here where can we ask them? I've asked some pretty dumb things. I remember once when I asked whether I should be wearing gaitors (rather than gaiters). Sounds like Florida football eh? Got some good natured ribbing from board members but they answered my question anyway.
Posted by: Spock

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt - 11/25/08 06:53 PM

Heber nailed it. We all have made spectacular bloopers. My quilt weight is partly from being extra long - I'm 6'2" - and a little wider than some - 58" - because I side sleep and turn a lot. The weight also includes a 36" #3 zipper, an elastic band that goes under the sleeping pad, and a top drawcord and cord lock. All the little things add up.
Posted by: thecook

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt - 11/25/08 08:35 PM

Thanks to everyone for the sympathy! So redoing my math, a quilt using 1.1 ripstop and 5oz climashield that is 6' long and tapers from 54" to 36" ought to have 19oz of material plus an allowance for thread, yarn, snap or velcro etc.. (each layer will have 2 1/2 square yards of material - 36" wide by 6' is 2 yards and the 2 triangles on the outside are 9" by 6' which is the same as one rectangle 9" by 6' which is the same as a rectangle 18" by 36" which = 1/2 square yard. whew!) That's still as light or lighter than anything I currently own. I'm really looking at quilts not for weight but for comfort as I like to wrap myself up, even at home in bed, but the weight is a nice bonus.
Posted by: 300winmag

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt - 12/13/08 05:11 PM

I second Spock's vote for Climashield. That stuff has (IMHO) more lasting loft after repeated compressions than Prima(loft). Hee, hee

Posted by: CamperMom

Re: best synthetic fill for a quilt/semi-related ? - 12/14/08 10:10 AM

Somewhere buried in my "stash" is a package of Thinsulate batting. Jo-Ann Fabrics carried it very briefly and I snatched up some when it was marked 50% off. Is the bargain that I couldn't reisist worth using for a backpacking purpose, or should I use it for a home/around town purpose?