[pct-l] Lightweight Quilt
pctl at marcusschwartz.com
Fri Dec 9 00:57:13 CST 2016
I can't help you with a comparison of lots of different quilts, but I
did use an Enlightened Equipment Revelation for a PCT thru-hike this
year. I'd always used sleeping bags in the past (the EN32 Montbell
Super Spiral Down Hugger and an older GoLite 20 degree half-zip bag,
mostly). Quilts sounded like a good idea to me, so I thought it was
time to switch to a quilt for my thru-hike. Mine was the 800-fill
DownTek regular-length quilt, Massdrop edition (I think the Massdrop
edition has a 7-denier shell rather than the standard 10-denier).
I was actually quite disappointed with the Revelation, however, and
often found myself wishing I'd brought one of my old mummy bags. For a
number of reasons:
1. The chambers that hold the down are very large -- each one makes a
"U" shape around the entire quilt. This means that the down clumps up
very badly when you pack it, leaving you with huge cold spots. It's
possible to shift the down around with your hands to get it evenly
distributed, but you need a lot of space, a fair bit of time, and
preferably some backlighting to do this. It's not practical to do on
the trail. So, expect to have a lot of the down clumped up around your
neck and feet, and virtually no insulation at various spots around the
middle. If you spend a couple minutes beating up the quilt in your tent
before you go to bed, it can help, but it won't be perfect, and I didn't
find that extra chore very nice.
2. With the quilt "opened", that is, lying flat across you, lots of air
escapes around your neck, leaving your shoulders cold. Some nights, I'd
wake up from cold shoulders, even though my feet were uncomfortably hot.
In the end, I couldn't keep warm on a cold night unless I wore my down
jacket -- the extra loft would help to "plug" the hole around my neck.
With the quilt "closed", that is, buttoned up underneath me, it was just
like a sleeping bag, except that whenever my body shifted at night,
there was a risk I'd let in lots of cold air. Which was not very
pleasant when I was dead tired.
3. Using the elastic straps that hold the quilt to your sleeping pad
makes the above problem much worse. I shipped the straps home. I never
had trouble with rolling off my sleeping pad, so I didn't really need
them any way. Though it's worth noting that I was using a Therm-a-Rest
ProLite Plus Large, which was almost the size of my tent's entire floor
(a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1). I have back problems that keep me awake
on most any other sleeping pad.
4. EE does not use standard EN temperature ratings. The "20 degree"
rating is just their opinion. My quilt was rated 20 degrees, but I
would say they exaggerated by about 10 degrees. Maybe if they
meticulously shifted all the down around with the quilt laid out on a
backlit glass table, they could get it to perform comparably to an EN20
sleeping bag. But that's not exactly practical on the trail.
5. Using the quilt "open", it rubs against my tent walls. Since my tent
has a bathtub floor, and the sides of the bathtub floor often developed
condensation, that meant the quilt absorbed water from the walls.
There were a couple things I liked about it, however:
1. Despite the very thin fabric, it showed basically no wear at the end
of the hike. I wasn't particularly gentle to it (e.g. I hung it out to
dry on fir saplings and the like). I never washed it, and it smelled
quite bad, but when I washed it after returning home, the smell was
immediately gone. I just used a front-loading washing machine on Hand
Wash with a bit of baby shampoo -- no special treatment was necessary.
2. My feet were very warm at night. I only needed sleeping socks north
of Snoqualmie Pass. Though, this might be a side-effect of the
poorly-distributed down getting caught at the bottom of the quilt.
3. It weighed about 22 ounces, if I recall, which is lighter than most
thru-hike-capable mummy bags. Though, I often found myself too cold, so
IMO that really just means it wasn't warm enough.
Some of the above downsides apply to all quilts, of course, so I think
quilts are just not for me. But the Revelation seems unusual in flaw
#1, the giant down compartments, so I think it's uniquely flawed.
Intellectually, quilts sounded like a good idea to me before this hike,
since there's no point in paying for and carrying down that will be
compressed underneath my body. But, I now think they have too many
practical problems to be the best choice. I wish I'd brought my 32
degree Montbell bag for most of the hike, and the 20-degree GoLite for
the colder bits.
On 12/08/2016 08:02 PM, Lucky Man wrote:
> Enlightened Equipment makes excellent down quilts. Yes, there's nothing
> like a nice toasty down quilt. I think my model is the Revelation 900-fill
> Downtek extra long, extra wide 20-degree model - only 24 ounces, made in
> America. It is lighter, less expensive, warmer and far better made than my
> costly but crappy Chinese-made Montbell Superspiral 20-degree bag, which
> weighed more than 2 pounds in extra long. The only EE sale I know of though
> is right after Thanksgiving.
> I have also heard good things about katabatic down quilts, but they seem to
> cost a lot more.
> On Thursday, December 8, 2016, John Papini <jtpapini at icloud.com
>> Hello! I am looking to make the jump from mummy bag to quilt, and was
>> wondering if anybody would care to correspond privately about quilt
>> brands/styles. As I said, I know I want a quilt, but I’m not sure which
>> brand I’d like to buy. I’ve no doubt that there are plenty of quilt owners
>> out there who have researched this to death, so to those folks I am
>> extending my humble request. I’m hoping to wrangle a Christmas gift out of
>> this, so I am looking for the best/lightest quilt option, not necessarily
>> the most economical…
>> Thank you!
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