bags vs quilts

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McKee80

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Joined
Feb 9, 2017
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148
Does anyone on here use quilts on the ground? I want to upgrade my long/wide REI Lumen that is a couple years old. I love it, but it takes a lot of room (doesn't compress well) and I got a smaller pack. REI has their Magma series at 30% off, but I got in one at the store and it is just too constricting. And they don't sell a wide version. So, I'm thinking about quilts, but I've never used one.
 

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Mike K

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Jul 6, 2012
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804
I've been toying with getting a quilt as well. So far I've just been watching youtube videos on "quilts vs bags". I'll be curious to see what the bcp community has to say about them.
 

b.stark

Forever Wandering
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Joined
Apr 8, 2015
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539
I sleep cold, so love quilts when its warmer, say 35-40 or above at night. Prefer a bag for below freezing, wrapping up fully in one holds heat in a bit better for me. But if it's not too cold, quilt all the way.
 

Dan_85

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Jul 25, 2013
Messages
219
I made the switch to a quilt this year and picked up a Katabatic Alsek. Along with Nunatak, Katabatic are considered the "gold standard" of quilts, so they're not the cheapest but you definitely get what you pay for. Their pad attachment system is also regarded as the best out there. Man, I love that thing. It's rated at 22F, although their ratings are widely considered to be conservative and many folks believe the Alsek to be more like a 15F quilt. I'd pretty much agree, I had several nights in the mid-lower 20s in New Mexico back in the spring and I was toasty.
 

Dwm

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Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
30
Switched to a quilt 4 years ago. Won't go back to a bag. We have been in single digit temps and with a good pad and pajamas we
did not get cold.
 

regehr

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Mar 28, 2012
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982
Great, my moratorium on buying gear just ended early, I ordered one of those REI quilts.
 

McKee80

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Feb 9, 2017
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@Mike K - that is literally what I spent the morning doing.
@regehr - sorry (but everyone knows those never last anyway :))

I ordered one, so we'll see how it works high up in the sierras in a couple weeks. I'll report back.
 

wsp_scott

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May 16, 2016
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586
I'm a sometime hammock, sometimes tent backpacker, so a quilt is great for me. I have a very light summer quilt and a 30 degree quilt from Underground Quilts (https://ugqoutdoor.com/). From a space point of view, it is hard to argue with a down quilt, especially if it is combined with a warm pad or warm underquilt if in a hammock.
 

tflaris

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Aug 27, 2017
Messages
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Been using quilts for several years. I’m using EE’s with their pad strap system. Just finished the CT this year with their 20 degree quilt.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

OwenM

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Aug 6, 2019
Messages
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This will be quite long, but I'm going to copy/paste a couple of posts I've previously made elsewhere in similar discussions to lend some perspective. It's very easy to get the wrong quilt for the wrong reasons. Based on comments I've seen repeatedly online, I think people's experiences, particularly first time quilt users, could have been better than they were had they made wiser choices.

------------
I'm not one to try steering someone else toward one or the other, but I'll give you my "bag vs. quilt" perspective, because I like a lot of room, too, even though I'm more of a back sleeper lately.
I currently(and for >5yrs now) use a size 6' Wide Katabatic Palisade quilt. If I had to replace it tomorrow with a bag, it'd be either a Feathered Friends Kestrel UL($469) or Western Mountaineering Megalite($470).
At today's pricing, a 900 fill 6' Wide Palisade + my Goosefeet hood is going to total $485, or $490 with optional 900 fill Hyperdry.
So while there's no real price difference with a premium bag of comparable quality, in this case the quilt actually costs a bit more when you add in the price of the hood.

The quilt + hood is going to weigh 21.5oz. The bags are listed at 27 and 24oz, respectively(Kestrel shown as 3oz heavier than the Megalite, but with 3.7oz more fill).
So there's no major weight difference, either.

Both of those bags are wide models with a shoulder girth of 64" vs the standard versions' 59-60".
My Wide Palisade has a width of 58" at the shoulder. With the edges secured 4" apart underneath me, it has the same girth as my 62" mummy bags, which is about as small as I'd want to use.
But the distance between the outermost baffles of both my Exped mats, and where I actually attach the quilt most often, is 14.5". I'll usually draw the sides in more in sub-freezing temps, but that's a girth of 72.5".
And that is a big difference. Very roomy.

On the quilt questions:
No, I don't miss a bag, and because I went "oversized"(I'm >50" at the shoulder, but just under 5'7") and got a quilt with a list of performance-enhancing features that include an effective pad attachment system, I do not feel it has any disadvantages.

I think the problems most people have with quilts is that they bought the wrong one for their needs. Like getting a quilt that is too small for the sake of minimizing weight. Or one that isn't as warm. Yeah, my 30F quilt weighs 3oz more than some competitors. Probably something to do with being 3" wider and having 2oz more down.
I could use Katabatic's size Small(5'6") quilts in their regular width, and know this because I have a 50F summer quilt with similar measurements. But I also knew when I bought my Palisade that I couldn't stand drafts, wanted room to move around, and that it was going to be used at temps much lower than its rating with a down hoody and other layers.
So I bought the 6' Wide instead.
The weight difference between those sizes in a current Palisade is 3.8oz.

The second night I used my Palisade in the field it was with supplemental layers at -2F, and I was fine. Obviously, a 30F quilt is not intended to be used at that temp, but I did the same kind of thing with a sleeping bag before, and the point is that the fact it was a quilt was not a limiting factor.

All that to say if you decide to get a quilt, make sure to get one that has the features and sizing appropriate to your expectations, so you don't become one of the people who were disappointed because they didn't. I read some of this stuff on the internet, and often wonder if the quilt isn't getting blamed for operator deficiency.

‐-----------
If you do try a quilt for low temps, a good pad attachment system, and enough width to completely encircle you, aid in eliminating drafts. Some people are of the opinion that a quilt gives up warmth relative to a bag of equal loft, etc. That may be true due to inadequate sizing and setup, or just inferior design, but it doesn't have to be.
There's going to be some fiddle factor with a quilt, and you'll probably want a separate down hood to go with it. Quilts attached to the pad really shine for active sleepers who twist around a lot plus end up breathing into their bag since those same "compromises" become advantages. That's one of the main reasons I decided to try quilts, and they worked out great for me. Now that I've become more of a back sleeper, it doesn't make that much difference as far as comfort, but still saves a little weight.
 

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RyanP

Formerly bob32
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
96
I made the switch to quilts a few years ago and will probably never go back. I got a hammockgear Econ Burrow, and as of a few years ago when I researched it, I was convinced that was the best value you could find anywhere for a bag or quilt. Under $200 for a long/wide version with a couple of ounces of overstuff (note: for sleeping on the ground, you will want the wide version, since the standard width from hammockgear is narrower for hammock usage). Great quality and customer service from that company as well. I personally sleep better under a quilt because it is more like my blankets that I use at home, and I can more easily regulate my temperature by sticking a leg out or whatever. I don't toss or turn much, though, so I'm not sure how a quilt would work for someone who does. Perhaps they would need to use a pad attachment system; I have never used mine. Because I don't toss and turn much, drafts haven't been much of an issue. I also usually use a water-resistant (not waterproof) bivy (sometimes along with a tarp shelter for rain protection if needed) for the nights that I'm not in a tent, so these help eliminate drafts. And I always bring my balaclava backpacking, which is typically enough warmth for my head. I don't think a quilt is necessarily for everyone, but I do think everyone should try it out for themselves, as I think most will never go back! The bottom line is that for a given price, you can get a higher-quality, warmer-for-the weight quilt than you can get from a bag, since quilts are simpler and easier to make. There are a number of quality quilt companies out there, but as a starting point I would look into HammockGear for the budget (under $200) option, Enlightened Equipment for a middle-of-the-range option (~$300), and Kabatic for the "absolute Gold standard" more expensive option.
 

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