1. David Allen
    David Allen October 13, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Hi Ray. I enjoy your posts– thanks!

    I tried the same quilt in the Sierra and was also a bit cold. I went to a similar 10 degree ZPack quilt/bag and am now quite comfortable in a range of temperatures. More expensive but lighter even for the lower temperature rating and in a wide.

  2. Russell Reinertson
    Russell Reinertson October 13, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I made my flat rectangular quilt out of 6oz Climashield Apex and the same uncoated nylon used in the GI poncho liner. The 6oz CS is rated for ~25°. The coldest I experienced on my 2014 hike was 27° on two nights. I was also using the same REI pad. My sleepwear included silk weight longjohns, UA Coldgear top, GI wool glove liners, wool socks, and my fleece beanie. On those colder nights where I camped at higher elevation, I also wore my 1/4zip fleece top. I really appreciated my quilt, and it performed exactly as I expected. I felt a few drafts, but they never bothered me too much. Unfortunately, my quilt is about 10oz heavier than your JRB…..a tradeoff I chose to ensure warmth when wet. On day 2, I set up camp by Echo Creek, and found my bag slightly wet from a bladder whose cap was loose. Granted, I wasn’t at lofty elevations, but I still slept warm, so I was happy for my choice of materials….Go back to a mummy bag??? No way!!!

  3. Steve
    Steve October 13, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Check out the Katabatic quilts, they have an ingenious system that clips the quilt to two cords you install around your sleeping pad that seals out drafts when it’s cold. They also sell a 1.5 oz down hood that is warmer and more comfortable than a hat and it protects your neck. My 6’6” bag weighs just over a pound. I used a thermorest neoair extralite for a pad and was really comfortable. I hiked the JMT with my daughter this past summer from 7/22 to 8/11 and was never cold even on nights with frost on the inside of our single wall tent!!!

    1. Steve
      Steve October 13, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      And by the way my quilt was the Palisade, rated at 30 degrees.

  4. Stephen Kundell
    Stephen Kundell October 13, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    I have a Katabatic 22 degree Quilt, just warm enough. It secures to strings around my neoair mattress, and that seems to help with the cold air coming in. I enjoy being able to wrap it snugly or loosly around me as the temperature dictates. Even so, it does not compare in warmth to my second hand WM Badger which weighs 38 oz vs 24 for the Katabatic. I also slept in a lightweight bivy which helps a bit with the wind while using the quilt.
    Love your articles Ray.

  5. Myra
    Myra October 13, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Hello Ray et al – I just have to add a note here. We are thrilled with our quilt from Enlightened Equipment (900 down tech fill, XL 10 degrees) It shaved off half of the weight from our previous sleeping system – we had been zipping together good quality REI bags. We sleep on Neo Air X-therm Max 20 inch pads from Thermarest – a bit expensive but really worth it. We started out using a pad cover/sheet from Nemo that fits over both pads to hold them together – really silky and soft – but in our quest to go ultralight (the sheet weighs 8.8 oz) – we don’t use it any more and just fasten the pads together with a 1/4 inch elastic looped in a figure 8 over the top and bottom of the pads. Add a down pillow from Ben at goosefeet stuffed with the the Exped UL large pillow and we sleep like royalty on the trail.
    Thanks Ray for all of the info you provide on the JMT

  6. Jim Payne
    Jim Payne October 13, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    A quilt isn’t for everyone, especially those (similar to you, Ray) that roll around quite a bit at night. A larger sized quilt could solve part of that problem (definitely try a larger quilt as you said you might) – plus with additional continued use you will eventually (hopefully!) learn to subconsciously manipulate the quilt as you move around so as to not have major “exposures”.
    I would also strongly suggest using a balaclava to keep your neck totally covered so that no skin is ever exposed – it only takes one tiny gap of exposed skin to defeat a “layer” system, or in this case using a quilt, which by design is hoodless, exposing the head and neck (you covered your head, but cover your neck, also!).
    Keep at it – the weight savings is worth it!! 😉

  7. Wyn
    Wyn October 13, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    I too had a new Jacks R Better Sniveler. I hiked the JMT from Sept 1-24. The first half was warm. Nights in the 40’s. Days in the 70’s. Then it rained for a day and a half. After that nights were 25-30. Days in the 50-60.

    I was completely toasty the first half of the trek. The second half, I had nights when I woke with parts of my body cold. It was always from drafts coming from a spot where the quilt was not sealed around me or the pad – a Thermarest X-lite. I’d seal the leak and be warm again. The one thing I didn’t try was using the loops on the quilt to tie a cord on one loop and a carabiner on the other loop pulling the cord under the pad. I thought about it on the trek and just never gave it a try.

    On the coldest nights I was wearing 3 layers. My very lite silk base layer, a layer of houdini wind shirt/pants and my Patagonia x-lite jacket, my hiking pants, a pair of possum down socks, possum down gloves and a beanie. The upper/lower layers were an attempt to beat the drafts, not the overall warmth of the quilt.

    When I got home I looked at Jacks R Better website for suggestions and found that I was using the quilt wrong. I was wrapping it too tightly around my body. What I “should’ have done was take the time to setup the cord/carabiner system on the loops so that the quilt was “sealed” at the pad and not under my sides. By pulling it tight I was compressing the loft of the down, which defeats the way down works.

    As for the neck, there is a snap and pull-cord to tighten the quilt around the neck. I couldn’t quite bring myself to try that one… I did manually tighten the quilt around my neck and didn’t have any cold issues there.

    I’m headed for a 4-5 day hike in a few weeks and will test the loop/cord system.

    Overall I loved the quilt better than a bag. Just needs some tuning.

  8. Betty
    Betty October 13, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    It’s true for me that I won’t go back to a mummy bag, except perhaps for ultra-cold conditions. I have a Nunatak Arc Alpinist quilt (purchased secondhand on eBay), and at 19.5 oz. (on my scale), it it 9.5 oz. lighter than my Western Mountaineering mummy bag. Both are rated at 20 degrees. I definitely have to take a little extra care to manage the quilt to avoid unwanted drafts — it has two stretchy cords that can go either around your sleeping pad, or around your body — but so far, my experience has been good with the quilt. And the weight savings more than makes up for my choice of a slightly heavier sleeping pad (Xtherm, medium, 14 oz, R-value 5.7), which is a big factor in my staying warm enough, which was a regular problem for me when I tried to use a pad with lower R-value.

  9. Dave
    Dave October 14, 2015 at 3:10 am

    I’ve gone through this process myself. I used a Nunatak Arc Specialist inside a lightweight bivy and slept very well when the temperatures were above the 32 degrees rating. When it got cold or very windy, I could easily put on my lightweight down jacket, long john bottoms… and sleep pretty well, but never as warm as I sleep in my Marmot Plasma 15. Sure the Marmot bag weighs more, but I don’t need to bring the long johns or the bivy and I can get by with a lighter jacket so I am pretty close in weight. I did like the ability to stretch out more.

    I do think there is a big difference between quilt makers. If I were to do it again (I sold my Arc Specialist), I would try the Katabatic because of their unique attachment system. If I could use the quilt without a bivy sack, I think I would truly have a lighter system. However, I think I would go with the ZPacks bag before returning to a quilt. Best weight to warmth ratio out there, but a little more restrictive than a quilt. Maybe there is no “perfect” answer since everyone sleeps differently.

  10. Byron Nevins
    Byron Nevins October 14, 2015 at 5:35 am

    Ray –

    The down Hat from Zpacks is incredible. I couldn’t even keep it on most nights on my thru-hike in AUgust. I think it will improve things a lot. Warmest hat I’ve ever had and SUPER light.

  11. Ravi
    Ravi October 15, 2015 at 4:54 am

    I recently replaced my 36 ounce Marmot Helium Long sleeping bag with a 21.9 ounce zPacks 20 degree x-long/wide quilt/bag. I have used the zPacks bag a number of times but the temperatures were too high to determine whether it is a good choice down to the rating. I’m leaving on a AT section hike on Saturday and a few of the nights are forecast to get into the high 20s so I’ll have a better chance to see how the bag performs closer to its rating. One thing about the zPacks product is that it does have a zipper along the bottom of the bag so it can be closed up. There is also a drawstring that should keep out drafts from the top of the bag. Since I ordered x-Long (I’m 6’1″), there is enough material to bring the bag up to my ears if needed. I also have a warm zPacks fleece hat that I wear at night. If you decide on the zPacks bag, keep in mind that the “regular” width must be intended for extremely skinny people. At 6’1″ and 165 pounds, I felt claustrophobic in the regular width when zipped up and I exchanged it for a wide which is about right for me. There is also an x-wide option that would provide even more room.

  12. Tom Kennefick
    Tom Kennefick October 17, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    I use a bivy and put my sleeping pad and quilt inside. No drafts. I slept comfortably down to 25 degrees while hiking the JMT this September using a sleep system similar to yours. I also use a down hood.

  13. Rudy Turk
    Rudy Turk February 17, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    I went with the Enlightened Equipment extra wide, 20 degree, 800 fill. Much less money than the other quilt manufacturers. Saved almost enough money to pay for a Lukes ultralight down jacket with hood, one size larger than I normally wear. The combo is warm well below 20 degrees. The quilt is wide enough for both my wife and I. 24 oz quilt, 8 oz jacket.

  14. David Terrie
    David Terrie February 18, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    Regarding drafts and attaching your quilt to your pad, you should look at quilts made by Mid-Atlantic MountainWorks. They feature shock cords running down the sides that you can tension as desired to keep the quilt down and gently pulled around you as you toss and turn. Mine arrived today. Very clever design. Simply a better mousetrap. High quality materials, down and workmanship. Made in the USA. See http://www.mid-atlanticmountainworks.com.

    After freezing my butt off last September in the Vogelsang area with a tour supplied mummy bag, I decided to sleep warm next time around. Mission accomplished.

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