Cumulus 150 or 250 to go with my 350?

Discussion in 'Sleeping Bags & Quilts' started by Helen E, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. Helen E

    Helen E Summit Camper

    Hi all

    I'm new to backpacking and new to quilts but delighted with my 2018 cumulus 350 and would welcome advice from you more knowledgeable folk here on which cumulus quilt I might buy to accompany it:

    a) in summer on its own (the primary use) in the highlands and lowlands of Southern England ;)

    b) potentially layered with the 350, with a silk base layer and down jacket etc as needed, for temperatures down to about -5 deg C.

    Can any cumulus quilt 150/250/350 users offer me advice from their experience?

    (I'm a 5ft 5in cold side sleeper with a women's neoair xlite and a good but very heavy synthetic mummy bag for really cold temperatures. I prefer down to synthetic for the usual weight/compressibility issues.)

    I've read the threads on layering and on the 350 and what I understand is that:
    - putting the two down quilts together can reduce the comfort/extreme temperatures significantly
    - it's good for the top quilt to be lighter and larger and water resistant to deal with condensation (I'd be in a double-walled shelter) and to avoid compressing the lower quilt
    - a winter sleeping mat might be needed (if so, recommendations?)

    I'm planning to customise the quilt with more water-resistant pertex on the upper layer and with hydrophobic down, so I could potentially get it made wider as well for some weight and cost penalty. Any thoughts on how much bigger the 150/250 might ideally be for use on top of the 350 in cooler conditions?

    Finally, I considered the cumulus Magic but the comfort temperature is high and I don't like sleeping bags much - prefer the wiggle room of quilts. However, what isn't clear is whether the zipped magic will unzip all the way round the foot and could therefore be used as a very lightweight quilt. Any magic owners out there who can let me know if it does, and how they get on with it generally?

    Many thanks in advance for any thoughts you can offer and for being such a friendly forum!

    tom, Teepee and Mole like this.
  2. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    Had a magic for a week. Thinking it might be of use in summer/indoor dossing.

    For me itwas very restrictive and not very warm indoors in a cool house.

    I'd go for a larger synthetic ( climashield apex) overquilt for layering.
    Helen E likes this.
  3. dovidola

    dovidola Thru Hiker

    I use a Cumulus Quantum 350 bag (no longer made) unzipped in quilt mode most of the time, and I'm also looking at boosting it with a quilt to extend it into colder temperature use. I've not made a final choice yet, but decided a while ago to take @Mole 's approach and go for synthetic. I'm not convinced that hydrophobic down will perform as well as synthetic if things get too damp, so it makes sense to 'hedge one's bets' and have a synthetic backup to the down.

    Ditto regarding sleeping mat. I too have the NeoAir Xlite, but rather that get an Xtherm for use at colder temperatures, I got a CCF mat instead to use in conjunction with the Xlite, so that if the air mat fails there's still something left. Much cheaper too!
    Helen E likes this.
  4. ClimbingUke

    ClimbingUke Backpacker

    I have had only down sleeping bags in the past and have just acquired an As Tucas synthetic quilt. Must say I was very surprised by the good tactile feeling and an immediate sensation of warmth. I had always thought that could only be achieved by down. Looking forward to using it the upcoming season and I am very happy to have chosen Apex over down. Just my two cents (pennies) on a controversial subject.
    Helen E likes this.
  5. Helen E

    Helen E Summit Camper

    Thanks @ClimbingUke and @dovidola re synthetic - I see where you're coming from and am not ruling it out entirely - but packed bulk and weight still put me off.

    Looking back through the threads on synthetic quilts, if I want a European or UK climashield quilt, the options are As Tucas and GramXpert. Any others? Or any recent feedback on these? I'm not quite up to MYOG :)

    @Mole - that's very helpful, confirms my suspicions about the magic.

    Whether down or synthetic, does anyone who layers two quilt have a view on how much larger the second one needs to be than the first?
  6. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    i layered my 30 degree down quilt inside my 20 degree down quilt with an apex 67 overquilt on top. I was worried about cold :dude:

    anyway definitely good having the apex on top as it got soaked from condensation. As to size, use the enlightened equipment page on layering as a guide. Ie. Difference in width between their regular and their wide should do it.

    Personally if I was buying an apex overquilt I would chose one with a full zip so as to have the option to keep the whole bundle closed up when needs be.
    tom and Helen E like this.
  7. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

  8. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    Further thought. As I've been thinking about this quite a bit too. By the time you have spent money on a second down quilt or apex quilt to layer over your existing quilt, you will be carrying a lot of extra weight as much of the weight is in the fabric covering. @Enzo provided the details at one point. I just wonder if it's not better in the end to just bite the bullet and buy a -10 down quilt with zip option and put a tyvek cover over the foot end for condensation. And stop messing around with multiple layers.
    Helen E and cathyjc like this.
  9. dovidola

    dovidola Thru Hiker

    It's a sound question. I suppose it depends on how often/long you intend to use the colder weather setup. Unless money's no issue of course.
    Helen E likes this.
  10. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    My take, get a separate sleep system for every 5 degree temp your likely to sleep in :o o:
    I think Apex comes into its own at low full weights where it's extra bulk isn't an issue and in wet enviroments, so British summer use....
    I have a cumulus 150 and like it for summer, but I know for UK use itd be of no use to my misses. She just sleeps too cold. Apex overbag works for me but I'd choose a dedicated bag if available, light shells are 150-250g so light fill bags are intrinsically inefficient.i
    My apex over bag is very oversize and a bag. Quilts I think are difficult to use in very cold condition.
    FOX160, Helen E, Clare and 1 other person like this.
  11. Helen E

    Helen E Summit Camper

    Thanks - @Clare - I hadn't thought of the quilt cover option and for some reason hadn't picked up on sizes in the EE chart. doh! As @dovidola says, depends on the primary purpose. Sounds like you're thinking specifically of layering for cold-temperature use, while I'm thinking of that plus something that's part of the cold-weather layering system but is primarily my summer quilt... so quilt cover plus down quilt is something else for me to think about.

    Having said that, @Enzo's comment about a wet environment and the British summer does strike home. Useful to hear your view, @Enzo, on the 150, too, thank you, and on the Apex overbag - that ties in with what Clare's saying about a full-lenght zip. Is your APEX overbag MYOG, @Enzo or commercial available?
  12. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    It's myog. It's pretty huge, an insulated bivvy. I can get my boots etc and mat in there which stops me sliding off. But it's over 400g. Saved bringing an inner though.
    Helen E likes this.
  13. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    I was pleasantly surprised at how well my Apex 200 quilt packs, given the dimensions of it I was concerned it would be a pack filler when I ordered it, I’d say it’s only marginally bigger than my down quilts and bags of the same rating.
    FOX160, Helen E and Arne L. like this.
  14. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    The size that the outer quilt needs to be is quite simple; the inner of the outer quilt must be just bigger than the outer of the inner. :) As long as the insulation is not compressed, and no large voids are left between the 2 layers, then the insulation is cumulative.

    I have 3 dedicated nesting systems, all are sized like this and they include bought and made gear They range from a 10F, down to a stupid cold -65F.

    Both the modular, and single approach have their merits. For a 10F predicted lowest temp though, I'd usually take a single 10F quilt.
    jack4allfriends and Helen E like this.
  15. Helen E

    Helen E Summit Camper

    This is all really helpful - thank you @Enzo

    @Shewie - maybe I'll have to rethink on the down...

    @Teepee - the inner of the outer and the outer of the inner - love the way you put it! Makes sense :)
    Teepee likes this.
  16. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    You could also add down trousers to your down jacket as part of your sleep system - my jacket and trousers add about 5 degree celsius to my quilt. And handy for cold evenings and mornings too... My down pants weigh 133gr. Jacket I'm carrying anyway so its just 133gr extra for a 5 degree gain.

    From a fellow side sleeper - a small piece of 2mm closed cell foam mat under my hips can extend the air mat temperature range - hip is where I first feel cold from the ground...
    WilliamC and dovidola like this.
  17. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    I made a couple of Tyvek (the light kite variety) biwies a few years ago ( one is in use with another member here). Very light (around 140gr) but quite bulky to pack compared to pertex etc which didn't suit me. But very breathable and wind proof. Tyvek takes a bit longer to dry compared to pertex and similar materials.
  18. Ally

    Ally Ultralighter

    What does the -65F system consist of ?
  19. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    Mountain Hardwear Ghost -40F, or a Wiggys's Ultima Thule with a Wiggy's Superlite overbag and an Event or Pertex bivy to go over them.
    The Wiggy's stuff is heavy and big, but Climashield rocks when damp can be a problem. I love it when I don't have to carry it.
  20. FOX160

    FOX160 Thru Hiker

    Question, what is the permeability of Tyvek being so close to an heat source ?
    I am aware of its uses within construction, which is very different to laying within/over you.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  21. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    Tyvek 1443R or similar (the lite 44gr/sqm grades used for kite making or screen printing or protective clothing) is ok to sleep in, e.g. as an improvised hut sleeping bag for an unplanned hut overnight. Similar properties to goretex and feels less plasticy than other biwi bags when used directly IMO. The two issues that limit the use of tyvek are abrasion and bulk. I tried lite tyvek for rain pants years ago. Worked well for rain protection and breathability but virtually falls apart in places where it rubs as you move. Abrasion is not much of an issue for wind and spray/drip biwi bags and the ones I made have lasted well.
    FOX160 likes this.
  22. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    As always refer to Shug :)

    Helen E and Tartanferret like this.
  23. Helen E

    Helen E Summit Camper

    So many helpful replies I don't know where to start!

    Thanks @dovidola and @tom re the CCF mat tips (and for the down trousers suggestion, Tom, will research that. What brand are yours?).

    And thanks to @Enzo and @Clare for suggesting an Apex overquilt/bag, indeed to all of you recommending apex, and @MartinK9 for introducing me to Shug.

    Because I already have a synthetic bag (1.64kg, eek) for winter conditions, I decided to prioritise summer use and have ordered myself a Cumulus 250 with hydrophobic down, 36g pertex quantam outer, with an extra 22cm width for possible layering.

    But having read some of the myog quilt threads I might also try making a very oversized apex 67 overquilt/bag for possible winter outer layer use (a la @Clare) and the very rare wet British summer day, sourcing from The only thing I haven't got my head round is the different qualities I'm looking for in inner/outer fabric - both breathable, presumably, but DWR on the outer?

    Ta again all :finger:
    FOX160, paul, edh and 1 other person like this.
  24. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    Helen E likes this.
  25. Helen E

    Helen E Summit Camper

    @tom - those look fantastic. Might have to wait a wee while after just shelling out for a quilt but definitely one for the birthday/Christmas list.

    I'm really enjoying the Canaries pix btw
    tom likes this.

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