How do you sleep with your quilt?

Discussion in 'Sleeping Bags & Quilts' started by Sue, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Another older menopausal female to add to the gathering …..

    My most used bag (-I count it as 3 season) is a Cumulus 450+ (880g) which is rated to -10C but as a female it only takes me to 0C - and then with baselayers and down troos/pullover.

    I decided long ago that I slept too cold to be comfortable with a quilt.
    Also too much risk of drafts and messing with "attachments" clips etc. :rolleyes: - getting up in the night is inevitable and a zip is simpler.
    I always wear base layers in bag - to keep bag cleaner + me warmer + dressed ready for those outside trips. I vary the warmth of the layers I wear depending on the temp.

    I would need to be out in much warmer climes before I'd be OK with a quilt. If I get too warm I just leave the zip open.

    Quilts are not for everyone.
  2. Sue

    Sue Trail Blazer

    Thanks Bob.
    We had temps below freezing on Wednesday... the last week of May!
    It's not bad since I have the luxury of being able to go when I want but once I start doing longer walks, I'll need to be prepared for any weather. I love Scotland :D
  3. Sue

    Sue Trail Blazer

    Thanks Cathy.
    To be honest, I'm not 100% sure of the temps I have been in... guess I need to carry a small thermometer. With the unregulated self heating ;), I need to be able to vent quickly but most of the time I want to be snug. I was thinking that a quilt was better for the first, but for most of the night, I want the second. A bag with a long zip seems like it will be the best all round. It seems that some of the bags are not much heavier than quilts and if it means I can use lighter thermals, I'll save weight there.
    Comfort and safety is my primary concern but with a troublesome back, I would like to keep the weight down.
    cathyjc likes this.
  4. Lamont-Cranston

    Lamont-Cranston Section Hiker

    For me, facing basically the same conundrum, last year there were a couple of things I had to consider. As we age the typical person will sleep colder and colder again with the passage of time. So you either need a warmer offering or be prepared to sleep in your clothes, or both. Five years of quilting for me is over.
    We will only begin to sleep colder over time :thumbsdown: as our metabolism slows-past 45-50ish seems to be the kick off point!:)
    I reckon if you can make a quilt work they are a possibility but, not the only answer. I am not a clothes sleeper (but could if needed with my bag) and don't have to give up anything in weight or space to use a bag.
    The colder it gets the more likely quits allow draughts, especially if you are an active sleeper, mitigated by many by wearing clothes. The hood is also a key factor in maintaining warmth. Mitigated by some with a (down) balaclava.
    Bags are not all heavier and if you frequently will encounter temps below 4-5 degrees for me now it's a bag. Lay it out and done. The bag you have is 'comfort' rated to 4, (not -2 degrees-male), this is the so called 'women's' rating as women typically sleep colder. So it sounds like you are getting exactly what is promises in warmth.
    I just sold a properly fitted highly reputable Nunatak (-7C) 680 grams quilt which weighed very close to what my new bag weighs! The new bag for me is far warmer and the bag is 'rated' as 4-5 degrees less. Only problem is the UL shells which is where the weight savings are may be more expensive-think WM bags. I bit the bullet and never happier.
    You also don't say what minimum temps are you hoping to cover? The meteo temps are never completely accurate where I am-get in a frosty low spot/gully and youch-you can take 3-4 degrees off!.
    I bought and use a digital thermometer (32 grams) and that really lets you know what you are experiencing. Temp nerding is fun!
    Maybe Enzo's suggestion to (keep what you are using but-cheaper solution?) get a synthetic over quilt is also worth exploring?
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
    Sue likes this.
  5. Sue

    Sue Trail Blazer

    Yes, I think I need to extend my nerdiness to thermometers (unbelievably, spell check just corrected "nerdiness" since I tried it with a "y" :D).
    We were down to -2C where I live last week and yes, a wee depression or a strong wind will easily reduce the temp. I'd like to be okay down to about 0C although I am unlikely to go out if it's likely to be that cold consistently.
    I don't think you say which bag you have now that you've replaced the Nunatak.
  6. Lamont-Cranston

    Lamont-Cranston Section Hiker

    No worries at all. This thermometer 2.5 cms X 2 cms X 1 cm works and dirt cheap Just avoid wetness. Meteo stations here are often 20 kms apart so variations are the norm.
    WM Megalite. Wider version of the Summerlite. I am 1.79m and 103 chest and could have gone the Summerlite. Got it wider to push under -2 degrees with some clothing if need be-and you can sit up in it!:thumbsup: The zip is like butter and just outstanding.:thumbsup::thumbsup: Has a stiffener on the zip for no snagging which really does work for those very quick egresses -my main gripe with bags. I believe as a woman you might be realistically looking at an WM Ultralight perhaps at about 800 grams but you pay $ for the UL overall (shell) weight. Full length zip will open both top and bottom. Used it as a quilt in around 15 degrees at 9pm recently and zipped up as change came through and temp dropped to about 3C by 3am. I know you pay huge import tax and the bag is already costly -there but a company there in the Eu sells them I think in Sweden(?) The Cumulus bags also look very good,(found them after my WM purchase) but don't know about the 'zipper snag' -this is absolutely a non-negotiable item for me-don't like being confined and stuck waiting for the bloody zip to stop snagging to get out.
    Remember you are, as a woman and based on the info you provided looking not just at the 'Comfort' rating (-Ignore the 'Limit' rating-that is for for men-however I add 5 degrees now to this as a male) but as Cathy said add at least 5 degrees, or more. I reckon you need 'Comfort' rating of minus 5 as your starting point.
    I bought the WM as a long term proposition-hoping to have a lot more time on my hands soon. Could recommend a cheaper (potentially -no affiliation) US seller if you go that route -bought two this way.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
    Sue likes this.
  7. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    I’ve used a WM summerlite. My ex had one. In my opinion it’s not enough. WM bags are very nice but I’d go for the next one up whatever it’s called. Lightwave bags also look very nice with the zip top side, easy for quick cooling but not much good for opening up as a faux quilt. ULOG sells both.
    Sue and edh like this.
  8. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    I'd say if quilts are not for you don't be tempted to follow the ul herd.
    We slept out last night, all 4 of us in a solid innered mid, I recon lowest temp of ~12 c?
    I lay on an xtherm without a quilt. My wife also xtherm but a mec -12 bag. She said she was just right. :o o:
    el manana, Sue and Dave V like this.
  9. Lamont-Cranston

    Lamont-Cranston Section Hiker

    Yes. I concur about the WM bags. The next one up (down?) is the one I recommended -it's called the Ultralight. Whoopsadaisy spelling- 'Ultralite'.
    Sue and Clare like this.
  10. Sue

    Sue Trail Blazer

    Thanks to everyone for all their helpful input. There's so much to consider and like with most things, everyone is different - wildly so, it appears.
    I think one downside (pun intended) of this search is that used quilts/bags seem rare and I would hesitate to buy 2nd hand since it's so important that they are cleaned and stored properly. So, I need to be reasonably certain before I spend big bucks.
    Thanks again.
    Enzo and Lamont-Cranston like this.
  11. allsquare

    allsquare Backpacker

    Another thing I didn't see mentioned yet is to remember that women (on average) require a bag/quilt rated 10° below men.
    Sue likes this.
  12. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    I bought a synthetic bag s/h. Never again. A reasonably new down bag I recon you'd be OK.
    cathyjc and Sue like this.
  13. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Been using a Katabatic gear flex 30f (547g) for a few years now
    I'd buy the same again tomorrow if it got damaged or nicked

    As with anything in life there are + and - with quilts

    • For me i tend to fidget a LOT when i sleep, with sleeping bags i get ravelled up
    • My feet are like furnaces, so i like to have my feet out at night
    • I'm not one for accumulating lots of gear, a warm quilt works well as a throw over in warmer weather, thus extending it's operating conditions, to the point where i've only used this quilt from a noggin above freezing to 20c
    • Comfort, it feels just like my home quilt
    • Weight, usually lighter unless you go soooooooooo wide

    • Drafts
    • Seeping cold, if the quilt touches the floor on cold nights i've found i feel the cold seeping, a wider mat helps with this
    • Most quilts don't have a hood, so you need a warm hat/balaclava

    Don't buy into the wider the better thinking
    I bought a wider sleeping bag (before the Flex) and no doubt it's colder due to the dead space
    Tried tucking in the extra width, but then it gets uncomfortable

    With quilts it gets even worse, as that extra width is often off the edge of the sleeping mat

    So i recon it's better to get the right width rather than wider the better
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
    Sue and Enzo like this.
  14. Bob-W

    Bob-W Summit Camper

    There are a lot of variables that determine how warm or cold you will sleep on any given night. I tend to view the "comfort" and "limit" ratings as for cold and warm sleepers respectfully rather than male/female ratings - gives a better starting point IMO.

    Micro-climates: just because the forecast says X degrees doesn't mean that this is consistent across a given area, pitch up in a hollow or next to water and you might be a couple of degrees colder. Conversely pitching up under trees can be a degree or two warmer. Being in a windy spot can also cool things down but in Scotland and other midgy areas you might want to consider finding somewhere with a breeze to keep the winged teeth at bay: last week we spent a couple of nights on Jura camped in front of the hotel. During the second night the wind backed round 90degs or so and our partially sheltered pitch that did have a slight breeze then became completely sheltered and a midge magnet :( It's not just temperature you need to consider, high relative humidity can make a given temperature feel colder since the moisture in the air is better at heat absorption - the "the air's sucking the heat out of me" syndrome. Even the type of soil can have an effect on how cold a particular spot is.

    How tired, well fed, even your mental state, can also have an effect on how warm or cold you feel.

    As @cathyjc says, quilts aren't for everyone. They do take a bit of getting used to, I persevered for about a month or so before things "jelled". This tends to mean quilts are either sold on very quickly or become keepers. It's a bit like moving from sheets and blankets to a bed quilt. In cooler months I use my Cumulus 150 as an over bag/quilt to a PHD Minimus 200 bag. There's a temperature (yet to be personally determined) below which a bag is definitely better than a quilt, currently for cooler temperatures I'll wear a buff but am considering getting one of those quilt specific down hood/balaclavas. Précising @gixer - match your body size to that of the bag/quilt: too small and you'll feel constricted; too big and you are heating up dead space.

    Before getting a quilt my wife had a zipped bag with a two way zip and she'd often have the bottom half open to create a chimney effect to cool down.

    I'd look at getting your requirements sorted before weight - there's no point in getting a lightweight bag/quilt that doesn't do what you want. Unfortunately the only way to find if a bag/quilt works at its claimed rating for you is to try it out then adjust your expectations accordingly.
    Enzo, Sue and gixer like this.
  15. Sue

    Sue Trail Blazer

    Thanks Bob,
    Lots of good info to consider.
    At the end of the day, the quilt/bag that suits me is the "best". I know it may take a few iterations to get it right. I hope to get close... but know that I may not.
  16. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Thermometer - I don't bother - if it's frosty in the morning it got below 0C in the night :biggrin:.
    Other than that a thermometer isn't going to measure wind chill, or moisture, or your level of tiredness - which will also affect how cold you feel.
    Up to you tho' - I can see the fun in "knowing" :).

    My Cumulus bag has differential fill - lots more down on the top/less underneath - so get some of the benefits that a quilt bestows ie. not wasting down that is crushed beneath you and not "doing anything".

    Western Mountaineering - "The Best" :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:.
    I got my Cumulus before I knew of WM. If I was buying a "3 season" bag again I'd get a WM.
    I do have a WM Summerlite - but have only used it once - just never go out in UK in temps that it would suit. I should sell it but keep thinking "what if" :rolleyes:.
    I've also got an WM Antelope which is fabby warm for winter :inlove:.
    I've also bought a couple WM bags for my hubby as he's a bit "broad" and WM bags actually fit him - other bags have been tried and found wanting :(.
    I bought them 2ndhand (apart from the summerlite) from folks on BPL - all bags have turned up "as described".
    I couldn't have justified buying new and paying import duties etc. (- thanks to one TL member who acted as "mule' bring one back from US for me :thumbsup:).
    Sue likes this.
  17. Micksjoiner

    Micksjoiner Summit Camper

    Been looking for a sleeping system myself and at the moment I think I'm going with thermarest neoair xtherm and cumulus quilt 450.
    As this will be my first time camping in the modern era as such ,I hope it will be sufficient for the Scottish weather.
    Sue likes this.
  18. Sue

    Sue Trail Blazer

    Thanks again Cathy.
    I'm a geek at heart so a thermometer would give me a baseline...
    I need to go back and read all the posts again since there is so much good info. I don't know anything about Western Engineering so am off to read their website. I've not looked at BPL much except when it comes up in a specific search for gear or a walk. Is there an easy way to filter out 2nd hand goods in the UK? If you buy from the US, do you still have to pay duty and VAT on 2nd hand imports?
    I spent a lot of time in North America a few years back (that's how I sourced the Micro III) but unfortunately was not aware of all the "goodies" from the smaller manufacturers back then. Now that I am not travelling, I have found lots of things that could "accidentally" fall into a suitcase!
  19. Sue

    Sue Trail Blazer

    Sounds like you are a step ahead of me, Mick. It will be interesting to hear how you get along with your system.
    The Scottish weather today/this week is mostly shi** so have fun. :cool:
    Micksjoiner likes this.
  20. Sue

    Sue Trail Blazer

    @cathyjc and @Lamont-Cranston
    After a quick scan of the I see that Mountain Engineering (like PHD) use a single temp rating. Do you find that these single temp ratings are closer to the higher Comfort Temp (Male/warm sleeper) or the lower Comfort Limit (female/cold sleeper)? Yes, there are lots of things that contribute but it would help to understand the starting point for comparison with other bags/quilts.
  21. Charlie83

    Charlie83 Trail Blazer

    Using a (Cumulus) quilt has totally changed my sleeping comfort this year (29 nights usage, so far), wish I'd taken the plunge (or expensive gamble) years ago.

    I hated being constricted in a sleeping bag and constantly sliding off the mat, but I thought I might miss the hood, turns out I dont.

    1st time I used it I wore, socks, icebreaker 175 bottoms, a base layer top, a soft shell with a down jacket on standby. Within 20 minutes I was stripped naked and pretty much every night since then, the most I've worn has been a pair of exofficio boxers a light ss t shirt and a montane down hat.

    I did debate putting my NeoAir Xlite inside a silk liner but have since found no drama with the mat against naked flesh. I use the attachment straps and clips and there's absolutely no constriction like in a bag, they just hold the quilt edges down, allowing me to rumble :o o: about underneath.

    I haven't actually used it completely open yet, I really like the footbox idea which was something I wasn't sure about prior to ordering.

    Im not clued up (and dont particularly care :)) in the slightest about down and fill weights etc, I was using a rab ascent 700 (really grew to hate it) and a ME 450 something prior to the Cumulus and they're not a patch on the warmth and comfort of the quilt for me
    Sue likes this.
  22. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    I have 35yr old Rab which is every bit as good now as it was then.
    But having bought and returned a "modern" Rab I just don't think they live up to their reputation.
    I've (family) have had and sold on ME bags - they are OK'ish but I'd spend my money elswhere now I know better.
  23. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Search engine on BPL is a bit of a faff - I just seached "FS Western Mountaineering" and then did a trawl thru' so find likely items. After that it's a discussion with the seller - and a request to label the parcel with a low value so the import taxes/duties are kept to a minimum. Private sellers are usually more likely to do this than a business - there can be repercussions for a business if investigated. Very few WM gear comes up 2ndhand in UK IME.
    If you've spent time in US - do you have friends who would ship for you ??. - stock WM. I bought my Summerlite from them and various Exped mats. Their service is good and they have (did have) a discount scheme - for if you are a member of various mountaineering organisation (BMA, MCoS etc.) - worth joining just to get the price reduction :thumbsup::).

    PS. WM ratings ?? - I don't know ….. I just look at how much down they are using in the bag and the "loft" it gives. Loft is a very good indicator of likely warmth. Measure the
    loft of the bag you are already using for something to gauge against.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
  24. Micksjoiner

    Micksjoiner Summit Camper

    What cumulus quilt do you use and generally where do you camp thanks.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
  25. Bob-W

    Bob-W Summit Camper

    @cathyjc - I think that's true of a lot of the "traditional" outdoor gear manufacturers. Many have been bought up by holding companies who simply see the brand not the quality. Shortly after purchase profit becomes the overriding criterion and production is moved overseas "to reduce costs". I've a Mountain Equipment hooded fleece that is at least twenty five years old (I know I was using it for particular trips in the 1990s) and gets almost daily use. There's one small hole in a pocket caused by a set of keys. I was in an outdoor shop last year and one of the assistants recognised the model - "they don't make them anything like as good as that now" was the comment.

    @Sue - Not sure why PHD don't use the EN13537 ratings but IME their ratings are close to the "limit" rating.
    Sue likes this.

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