As a side sleeper and someone who's never slept well in a mummy bag, I'm sold on using a quilt for camping and backpacking. I need conduct some more testing in cold weather before writing my full review, but here are some pics, opinions and info for now:
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I haven't any experience with Jacks R Better, but I know they have an excellent reputation. I personally am not "into" quilts--I toss and turn too much and can't stand cold drafts down my neck--but this is definitely a YMMV thing!
Enlightened Equipment is another quilt maker with an excellent reputation. ZPacks makes an item that can be either quilt or a hoodless sleeping bag, which has been praised to the skies by some thru-hiking friends. I've also heard good things about Katabatic Gear.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
If you wouldn't mind, please consider temperature range in your review. Everyone talks about lower temperature limits. Please also evaluate the upper temperature limits. That is, the temperature at which one is too warm to sleep comfortably. Like lower limits there will be some variations, but the overall temperature range, not just the lower limit, is something that has me curious.
For example, if all one has is a -40 degree sleeping bag and its +40 degrees F outside, the sleeping bag will be too warm but sleeping without the bag will be too cold (for me at least). I doubt that simply using it as a blanket or whatever will fix the problem.
Now if I have a 10 degree quilt, it might be good from 10 degrees all the way to 35 degrees, but maybe after that it gets too warm. Maybe not. This is what I hope you can help with.
I suppose I could test this myself but I live in Florida so seldom see the cool weather. Most of my current hikes are day hikes but hopefully that will change in a few years and I'd like to prepare.
Unlike sleeping bags quilts are easy to regulate your temperature when it gets warm. You simply cover yourself with the amount of material to match your weather. Stick an arm out... stick a leg out... stick arms and a leg out....
I've been thinking of the same thing for my wife. She needs a very wide, short sleeping pad. But we don't want to spend a fortune. And she sleeps warm. In addition to hot flashes. any thought to what sort of "sheet" you would place on the sleeping pad? Or would you just sleep right on the pad? How about minimizing drafts on the sides?
Loc: Washington State, King County
I have their (JRB) Sierra Stealth quilt, a 45F rated sort of summer unit.
JRB makes good stuff, or at least based on my one example. The flexibility of use is what drew me: head hole with velcro-like closure to allow the quilt to be used as a sort of serape. Draw-string footbox closure so that you can open it up to make a retangular quilt when that better fits your needs.
As hikinggeek said, shock cord can help to pull things in underneath you; I use this with a micro caribeener to easily attach/detach, and a sort of drawstring-adjuster on the other end so that I can tighten it up or loosen it in the dark. I much prefer to use the quilt without the shock cord, and only add it when I'm sort of pushing the temperature envelope with it.
What I think is particularly nice is that --- with the shock cord properly deployed --- I can layer this over my 30F rated sleeping bag to allow me to use that in significantly lower temps.