Gryphon Gear

Discussion in 'Shopping' started by Lempo, Dec 17, 2019.

  1. Lempo

    Lempo Thru Hiker

    Copied from r/Ultralight

    Hey everyone!

    My name is Gary Benninger and I would like to introduce you to Gryphon Gear, an outdoor company located near Detroit, Michigan. Gryphon Gear designs and manufactures premium ultralight quilts and sleeping bags in the USA. The foundation for Gryphon Gear was laid years ago when I was a research scientist at NASA. It so happened that I was also a backpacker and mountaineer too. After seeing the gear that I made for myself everyone in my mountaineering club wanted me to make gear for them, and so I did. I even started a small company called Arete Mountaineering.

    I have revived that company from those early days and renamed it Gryphon Gear. At Gryphon Gear we bring together what we feel to be the best materials, designs, and technology and combine these things with years of four season trail and mountain experience to bring you the best products we know how to make.

    Currently Gryphon Gear offer three different types of products. Traditional mummy style sleeping bags (Gemini), hoodless side zip sleeping bags (Taurus), and ultralight backpacking quilts (Aries.)

    You may ask what makes Gryphon Gear different from all the other guys in the quilt and sleeping bag market? Everyone uses similar light-weight materials, 800-950 fill power down, pad-strap systems, and light-weight hardware. At the end of the day it is what you create when you put those materials together that matters. Our designs and use of technology as demonstrated by our VRB DCF lined sleeping bags makes us different. Another key difference is that we know that more down means more loft and more loft means more warmth. We over-stuff our quilts and bags by 80%. This ensures a couple of different things. 1 - Our products exceed our stated temperature ratings and 2 - Cold spots as a result of shifting down are much less likely in a Gryphon Gear quilt or sleeping bag than it is with other makers.

    So as we prepare for the 2020 thru-hiking season, we would like to extend and offer to our reddit ultralight community: until January 31st 2020, receive 10% off your order at using code: “MOREWARMTH”

    If anyone has any questions I’d be happy to answer them in the comments.

    This post was approved by the moderators.


    Instagram: @gryphongear


    -Gary Benninger, Gryphon Gear
    Marco likes this.
  2. Marco

    Marco Ultralighter

    What do you think about the "80% overfill" thing? Down shifting is a real issue in UL quilts / bags, which tend to be a bit underfilled.

    Certainly some "overfill" prevents down shifting, as well as prevents it when down loft degrades over time or due to humidity. But a 80% overfill? That's almost as twice as down as it's supposed to be. Besides the extra weight, I see the problem that you get a bag (much) warmer than expected.

    This is not a critique, but genuine curiosity since I've been working on this area for a long time. I took a different approach on the Foratata Quilt: use the estimated amount of down required for a given temp rating and then stuffing it a bit compressed. To a certain amount of compression, down keeps its insulation properties. Pairing this with a more efficient chamber design, shifting is greatly minimized, at almost no weight penalty.
    Raul likes this.
  3. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Too much overfill doesn't help - I know I tried it.
    How much is too much ????
    Marco likes this.
  4. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    I think the overfill of 80% is more gimmick than fact. Not much difference in their fill weights at 20f than most of the competition. More like 15% which would be a sensible amount of overfill. Just trying to differentiate themselves from the many similar items. A feeling I know well but I try not to lie to do it
    Marco likes this.
  5. Marco

    Marco Ultralighter

    I only made a quick comparison of their Gemini 20 sleeping bag vs. the well-known and proven WM UltraLite. Both have very similar design and sizing, rated to 20 ºF. Quoted fillings are 24.70 oz. vs. 16 oz. So about a 50% overfill.

    Anyhow, I also agree than a smaller overfill is more sensible.
  6. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    I don't think wm use super high fill power though. I was comparing to my hammock quilts but then width and length etc come into play too. I'm sure they have a statistic to back it up when compared to something but let's be kind and say it's like recent numbers banded around in an election by all sides :biggrin::biggrin:
    Marco likes this.
  7. Robin

    Robin Moderator Staff Member

    The fill in my Foratata quilt seems to retain its position and I don’t get cold spots.
    Marco likes this.
  8. Pala2

    Pala2 Backpacker

    I'm not sure we all understand this overfill value the same way.
    For me, it's the difference between the nominal volume of the down (fill weight * fill power) and the nominal volume of the envelope of the sleeping bag or quilt.

    Quick and easy example (simple shape): My EE Enigma Short/regular 950 cuin
    72" length by 54" width and 1" thickness (let's pretend it's a rectangle) that's 3888 cubic inches for the envelope
    Manufacturer states 10.67 oz of 950 cuin down, that's 10136 cubic inches for the down

    This comes to at least 160% overfill (since the envelope is actually smaller than that with the tapered end for the footox)
    I have never met anyone thinking that Enlightened Equipement quilts are filled with too much down.

    I don't think that Gryphon Gear mean that their bags contain 80% more down than other bags with the same temperature rating, as some comments would suggest.

    An 80% overfill is used in a few MYOG projects on, and people (including myself) seem generally happy with this.
    Marco likes this.
  9. Marco

    Marco Ultralighter

    I agree, that's my definition too.

    Looking at their specs, this quilt has a 5.12 oz fill. That gives a theoretical 4864 cuin volume, which is within the 30% overfill EE offers since 2019. That's a reasonable value for me, especially considering the long history of EE for offering underfilled bags.

    A bit of overfill is good because all those figures are just theoric values. Fabric shapes are much convoluted, fill powers are just correct in a lab, down degrades over time, there is moisture which affects loft... So adding some down is a good investment. A better chamber design, is an even better investment.
    WilliamC and cathyjc like this.
  10. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Overfill... Why not just boast abaht 'correct fill'?
  11. Pala2

    Pala2 Backpacker

    Oops, just noticed I didn't say that it was the 30° version (probably pre-2019). I missed the "target loft: 2 inches" in the specs and measured the walls of the chambers, which are 1 inch.

    I guess my example wasn't as straightforward as I thought :rolleyeses:

    Slow day at work, quick doodle:
  12. Marco

    Marco Ultralighter

    Certainly, this is not as straightforward as it seems ;)

    The actual volume of down chambers is pretty complex, so trying to work solely on calculations is too simplistic. We prefer to start with a base estimation, and then experiment with different combinations of baffle height, chamber size... That's a lot of work, but you end with a better product. Those tests look as simple as this:


    As a side note, I like that you noticed the real width of chambers (i.e. the effective length of the quilt) is shorter when you stuff them with down. I've never understand why most manufacturers provide the dimensions of their quilts based on the empty fabric shell. That's crazy because you should figure out how much the fabric shortens when they fill it with down. Nunatak is a notable exception of this common, but bad, practice.
    cathyjc likes this.

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