I have been using a quilt instead of a sleeping bag for bout 3 years. I have used my 30 degree quilt down to 10 and up to 50 comfortably, with the proper layers. Its really contributed to a lower base weight, all while being cheaper and more versatile than my mummy bag. People always seem to be wary of quilt conversion so I am asking you guys what your biggest question are about quilts. Happy trails Matt
I would worry about the air draft. If I turn over with a sleeping bag, I can have it cinched so that no air gets in. If I turn on my side, the sleeping bag goes with me: it hugs around my body, whereas I think a quilt would be like what I have on my bed: something that separates from my back. How do you get around this?
If I could try it, and not have to deal with the time/expense if I didn't like it, then I would. I just don't have experience with it so it's too much a risk for me to try.
The draft issue is also my biggest problem with using quilts. In warmer weather I prefer to use my quilt but, since I am a restless sleeper, in cold weather my moving lets the cold air get in. I've tried draft flaps and under straps without much help. When temperatures get below freezing, I prefer my mummy bag. I also don't like wearing a lot of clothes when I sleep and that seems to be part of using a quilt in cold weather. Sleeping well is important to me.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I toss and turn a lot. I also get fortunately rare bursitis in my shoulders, which is brought on by chilling. At home, with a quilt over my bed, I often end up with my shoulders out of the covers, not a big deal when the room is 65*F, but it certainly would be at 35*F. The sleeping bag goes with me when I toss and turn, so when the draft collar is cinched up tight, there are no drafts down my neck or around my shoulders.
I use my unzipped bag as a quilt on warm nights, but as the temp cools down (which it always does in the mountains), I first crawl inside and then usually do up the zipper by 2-3 am.
Edited by OregonMouse (12/07/1402:01 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Like most of the others, I prefer the sleeping bag because it moves with me. I've tried a quilt, and it worked great in the summer. But I found that as the temperature fell, I would end up with gaps as I moved, or if not an actual gap, then I'd lift it just enough as I moved that all the nice warm air escaped, and I had to re-heat that spot. Also, the lack of a draft collar seemed to matter to me; I couldn't replicate that with a quilt.
My wife and I have some older bags that we've been using for 25 years. One set that is good down to 30 degrees or so, the other set , for winter use. I've discovered as I've gotten older that I sleep a little colder and have to zip up the bag on occasion. Only problem is I can't! I've discovered that most bags (I've tried numbers in stores) don't have a wide enough girth to allow me to zip up the bag over my shoulders. Broad shoulders seem to be not factored into design. I've been seriously considering a quilt purchase, as I use my bag as one the vast majority of the time anyway. I just purchased a down coat to wear while sleeping to replace or augment my usual cold weather fleece layers. The coat is very windproof, as I tried it on a hike yesterday with the temps in the low teens and the wind at 10-20 mph. I always have a hat on for sleeping in the cold. I'm hoping this will allow me to keep my bag unzipped, yet still not feel drafts. Last winter, we experimented with some quick pitch fly/footprint set-ups and some tarp configurations, this winter we're going back to the full tent. I certainly am interested in hearing more winter quilt experiences.
Right on guys, I had some of these issues to so here are my strategies to deal with them
To try quilting I converted a ten dollar garage sale bag into a quilt. Just using it unzippied draped over you would be an easier option. I found it was very nice for warm weather but it diddnt have all the nice cold weather features to deal with drafts so a bought a golite ultra 20
Drafts took me a while to to over come but as Rick said having a snap at the neck and pad straps does help a lot. When the temps dip bellow 40 I toss a super breathable myog bivy over it The combo works really well and I havent had any issues with condensation. Wearing cloths to bed is something you have to get used to if you want to use a quilt in cold weather. I found this easier than trying to get dressed on a cold morning
The creepy crawlies a sate of mind I have tried to make friends with but I like to think that they can easily find there way out with out having to crawl over my face.
Sleeping on my back very still is a skill I am always working on. I find its the best way to sleep in the back country but often very challenging if I don't do it at home it won't work on the trail. A few things that help me do this are a soft bed of pine needles to lay my ccfp on. A hole that my but can rest slightly in. A slight incline on for my legs. Using my shoes to elevate my elbows (A Mike C! Tip) and some neck support.
Loc: Portland, OR
My biggest concern about using a quilt is that I don't own one, so that I would need to spend money to buy one if I wanted to use one. Since I already have more than one sleeping bag, I use them and like them, that does not seem like a very sensible way to spend my money. If someone were to give me a really nice quilt for free, I'd at least try it out to see how I liked it.
If I had a quilt, I'd want a zipper on it to keep it from coming open.
Seriously, one of the things I don't like about mummy bags is the possibility the zipper can get stuck when I need to get out in a hurry in the middle of the night. So I don't pull the zipper all the way up.
Maybe I should sew some velcro on the top so I can close the bag all the way.
Loc: Central Illinois near Springfi...
Under a tarp, I may use a MYOG bivy. In a tent, I don't. Either way, I haven't had a problem with drafts under my quilt. I've got bags that I can open up and use like a quilt and that works, too. My bivy is more like a fitted ground sheet. Its purpose is mostly to keep my quilt from spilling onto the (damp or wet) ground. It is coffin shaped and has a 40d PU coated bottom and a 30d DWR top with a center zipper to about 5/8ths of the way up.
My wife and I use quilts in tents in any weather, but alone in chilly weather tarp or under the stars camping a quilt is not acceptable, even with clothes pins. A sleeping bag that fits is the way to go in chilly or cold weather. Sleeping in a sleeping bag that doesn't fit or you are not used to, on the other hand, means a bad night.
+1 on the quilt/bivy combo. The bivy does help a lot with drafts, as well as mosquitos and other bugs if they are a problem in that area. I happened upon a Golite on sale and haven't used a bag since then. It just works for me, better than I expected.
The only thing I would look for in a new quilt is more girth. I am a side sleeper so having that extra width at the top would be awesome. Katabatic Gear happens to be about 3 miles from my house, so I'm saving up. And saving. And saving...
We all backpack in different locations. It would be great if you would define "cold". For me, 40-degrees is warm! 20-degrees expected, particularly shoulder seasons. 0-10 is cold. I have a 5-10 degree bag (but it is a men's bag which makes it a 20-degree bag for me). I get cold in it at about 20-degrees, and that is with the hood all cinched up. Really helps to wrap my down sweater around my neck.
Using a quilt is really not in my future.
My next move for warmer sleeping is a better sleeping pad, probably an R-5 one.
Loc: Tacoma, Washington
Fwiw- if drafts are a concern, Feathered Friends make a combination quilt/bag. The product line is called "Flicker". If you do go this route a review would be appreciated, since I've been on the fence for the last year. I have no connection with FF , financial or other wise
Interesting topic as I owned a quilt for 3 years before I actually used it. I was always worried that it wouldn't keep me warm enough. However, one day I bit the bullet and packed it for a 2 night hike and I've never looked back. I've used mine in temps from anywhere between about 25 to the 60's.
A lot of people have mentioned cold drafts when moving during the night. I don't remember this being an issue but I'm gonna try to notice next time. Either it doesn't bother me or I haven't had this issue. I'm guessing that maybe it's just one of the things I've learned to live with.
I’ve been using a zpack 20F quilt since 2010. I’ve never had a problem with drafts. But that’s because Joe cleverly sewed a zipper in it. Below 35F I zip it up. The zipper lies under me and I don’t feel it. And I don’t need a draft collar when the zipper is underneath. Entering and exiting a zipped up quilt was easier than I thought. And it has been great carrying a 17oz quilt vs a 32oz bag.
I do not like the idea of cinching a quilt around a sleeping pad. That leaves too much air to warm up. With the zpack quilt (and all quilts) I pull the neck string tight. That keeps the shoulders warm. Then I wear a beanie down to 30F or a balaclava down to 15F. I always put a pack towel over my face and breathe into it. This keeps frozen breath off the down AND keeps my head real warm. Frost will form on the other side (of the towel). Cheap towels don’t work.
The only layer I wear to bed is my black synthetic long underwear. But at 20F (the quilt extreme), I add my montbel synthetic jacket and WM booties.
I’ll sleep on my back most of the time. I miss sleeping on my side. I tried but my neoair gave me numb arms. And then I discovered Sea To Summit insulated pads. Their bubbles/pockets are amazing. Now I can sleep on my side w/o numbing shoulders!