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blankets vs sleeping bags?

Old 01-19-16, 08:34 PM
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blankets vs sleeping bags?

I'm trying to shave some weight and volume from my sleeping setup, because it is by far my heaviest luggage category. i use a bivy, air pad, sleeping pad, and air pillow. I'm wondering if there exists a blanket that's warm and light that I can use in place of my sleeping bag. my reason for doing so is because the air pad provides me adequate insulation from the earth. so i don't see much of a need to be protected from underneath. if I could cut my sleeping bag in half and just use the top part to stay warm from the air, that would be just fine. anyone know of a blanket I could use for this?

btw. I'm trying to have something rated for the low 40s at the coldest. I was able to be comfortable in the mid 30s with my existing setup. I'd like to think I'm not sacrificing anything by going with blanket vs sleeping bag.
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Old 01-19-16, 08:38 PM
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Google quilts; that's what the ultra lightweight crowd uses. Here's one, Corus? HD Quilt | Lightweight Backpacking Quilt | Therm-a-Rest®

There are plenty more mainly from small companies.

I thought about buying one but opted for a down bag. Still the weights on quilts are very attractive.
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Old 01-19-16, 08:46 PM
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those are kind of expensive
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Old 01-19-16, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
those are kind of expensive
You could make your own or buy one used off one one of the backpacking sites like backpacking light. Your other option would be a Big Agnes bag in which the pad slides in a sleeve and there is no down on the underside but this won't be cheap either.

I don't think a blanket is going to keep you warm down to 40.
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Old 01-19-16, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
those are kind of expensive
Down tends to be expensive and so are quilts since they are niche items. Best bet is to find a sleeping bag on sale and use it as a quilt when the weather allows.
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Old 01-19-16, 08:58 PM
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Thanks for the link. I have heard the term quilt used here before but always assumed it was my grandmas version of a fluffy blanket

I don't know if I would buy one of those but I have toyed with the idea of sowing my own bedroll before, like the cowboys had, adding a slot for the mattress pad. I pictured just rolling it up and fastening it to the front handle bars instead of packing it away. For a lighter set up now I have a gortex bivy sac and thinsulite overbag that I use in unison with my down or polyester puff jacket plus one pair of wool sleeping socks. This works until I get cold enough to warrant a full on sleeping bag.
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Old 01-19-16, 09:01 PM
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I've been thinking of picking one of these up, Ultralight Down Quilts Sleeping Bags Backpacking Camping Bikepacking Paddling Hammock Under Quilts

I still might; those are some very light weight quilts and you can get them in different sizes and material.
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Old 01-19-16, 09:31 PM
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dude, I might just buy another klymit air pad, put it on top of me, and become a air pad sandwich hehehehe. I'd like to think that the air pad will expand to enough volume inside the bivy to adequately cover my body without leaving the sides exposed.
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Old 01-19-16, 09:46 PM
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actually it doesn't even have to be a good air pad. it could be bubble wraps and still do the trick, but even I'm not THAT ghetto. all it has to do is hold air. it doesn't have to withstand pressure exerted by the body weight. right?
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Old 01-19-16, 10:06 PM
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Nicest thing I know of are the bag/pad combos that Big Agnes has. You have to look for them. For some reason they don't push them. It's a pad on the bottom with half a bag zipped to it. Kinds stupid to lie on your 800 loft down bag. Better to just have it on top of you. I think that's the quilt idea. So even better to zip it to your pad. My wife and I have a double rig like that built by Feathered Friends, two NeoAir pads on the bottom in pockets in a ground cloth and a rectangular down bag on top, zipped to the ground sheet. Very light, incredibly comfortable and stuffs small. Yes, costs money.
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Old 01-19-16, 10:25 PM
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When my good down sleeping bag wears out (which probably won't happen for some time), my plan is to get a good down quilt. I really don't need the zipper.

I also use a sarong as a light blanket for warm nights.
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Old 01-19-16, 10:30 PM
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I messed around with quilts for a while and I found that draughts were a big problem. I needed the quilt to be very large to tuck in underneath and in the end I just got a good ultralight sleeping bag with a long zip and a hood.
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Old 01-19-16, 10:38 PM
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no love for the air pad sandwich idea? ok i guess i'll play guinea pig
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Old 01-19-16, 10:39 PM
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Just cut the zipper off the sleeping bag and re-sew...BOOOOOM homemade quilt!

However me I would just go with just one sleeping pad save weight right there. If you go with something comfortable like the Sea To Summit mats you might not need two as you listed above. The Ultralight Insulated is 480 grams which is on par with similar stuff from Big Agnes and Therm-A-Rest but I think more comfortable.
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Old 01-19-16, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
I messed around with quilts for a while and I found that draughts were a big problem. I needed the quilt to be very large to tuck in underneath and in the end I just got a good ultralight sleeping bag with a long zip and a hood.
+1

I have a lightweight synthetic bag that weighs 2 lb., and is rated at 25 F. However, I think the rating is a little optimistic.
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Old 01-19-16, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Just cut the zipper off the sleeping bag and re-sew...BOOOOOM homemade quilt!

However me I would just go with just one sleeping pad save weight right there. If you go with something comfortable like the Sea To Summit mats you might not need two as you listed above. The Ultralight Insulated is 480 grams which is on par with similar stuff from Big Agnes and Therm-A-Rest but I think more comfortable.
i tried no sleeping bag and air pad only. froze my ass off one time. never again
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Old 01-19-16, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
+1

I have a lightweight synthetic bag that weighs 2 lb., and is rated at 25 F. However, I think the rating is a little optimistic.
I tried quilts because I had bad memories of 1980s mummy bags and I hate being constricted. But I found the Montbell UL Super Spiral Down Hugger #3 and it's stretchy so it hugs the body while letting you move the legs around a lot. There's a two way zipper too so you can stick a foot out if it gets too warm. 21oz and good to 30F and it compresses really small.

MontBell Ultra Light Super Spiral Down Hugger #3 Sleeping Bag Review - Backpacking Light
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Old 01-19-16, 11:54 PM
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I'll vouch for Enlightened Quilts being awesome. My 30 degree quilt is under two pounds (substantially, I believe, but don't know the weight off the top of my head), it's extremely comfortable to sleep in and just all around rocks.

Although if you're looking for cheap and don't mind a bit of leg work and sewing, Costco has down blankets for $20. They weigh about a pound and are good to abotu 45 degrees or so. The shape is a bit off, but you could reshape it if you're handy.
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Old 01-20-16, 12:02 AM
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I already use my sleeping bag like a quilt. I don't do it up because I don't like the idea of being zipped into something. So I just sort of drape it over me.
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Old 01-20-16, 12:15 AM
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+1 omn that. I use bags as bag only in really cold weather, otherwise they are quilts. So a purpose built quilt is a better deal.

If you are large then quilts end up large also, and as Nun says they have little advantage over sleeping bags, but that is because there is virtually no sizing in most bags, so if one is large the bags don't fit, but seem comparatively efficient compared to quilts. Same idea as buying shoes a few sizes too small for a weight saving.

There are ways of dealing with drafts, basically a perimeter of rip stop that seals out the draft along with the edges of the quilt.

Quilts are extremely easy and cheap to make, you can just tape the edges together and then use tags to stabilize the synthetic insulation. Since I sew, that is how I get my quilts. Rayjardine.com sells kits. And his Beyond backpacking book, and doubtless other sources have instructions on how to make them. One reason to make one's own is that the insulation does loose effectiveness over time, so it is a bit disposable by nature, might as well start out with that in mind.
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Old 01-20-16, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
no love for the air pad sandwich idea? ok i guess i'll play guinea pig
Be sure to report back!

Otherwise just wrap yourself in an aluminium survival blanket (space blanket).
I met a guy who did that: mini- hammock, all his clothes on, space blanket. About as lightweight as it gets
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Old 01-20-16, 08:45 AM
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For me the whole quilt thing doesn't work, I figure it's from moving around a bit at night and ending up with a foot sticking out or your back exposed which then wakes you up, disturbing your nights sleep.
Valuing a really good nights sleep is for me a much more important thing than saving the weight of a zipper. Sure unzipping will have a zipper always there, but staying warm zipped up is much more of a priority to me.
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Old 01-20-16, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by MassiveD View Post
There are ways of dealing with drafts, basically a perimeter of rip stop that seals out the draft along with the edges of the quilt.
That's what I ended up getting; a "Jacks R Better" quilt with rip stop nylon "wings" that tuck in to stop night time draughts. It works to some extent, but when I rolled over there would always be a lot of adjusting and I'd get cold. The wings could be tied together to approximate a sleeping bag.......but I realized why not just get a decent bag? A bag can be unzipped to function like a quilt, zipped up to stop draughts for the side sleeper and over night "roller" and has a hood to keep the head and neck warm. Expense is the only down side....{I intended the pun), but some quilts are expensive too.
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Old 01-20-16, 08:56 AM
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Here's a reasonably priced alternative. You can use this as a mummy bag or quilt. Probably only warm enough for summer touring.


REI Travel Down Sleeping Bag - REI.com
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Old 01-20-16, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
That's what I ended up getting; a "Jacks R Better" quilt with rip stop nylon "wings" that tuck in to stop night time draughts. It works to some extent, but when I rolled over there would always be a lot of adjusting and I'd get cold. The wings could be tied together to approximate a sleeping bag.......but I realized why not just get a decent bag? A bag can be unzipped to function like a quilt, zipped up to stop draughts for the side sleeper and over night "roller" and has a hood to keep the head and neck warm. Expense is the only down side....{I intended the pun), but some quilts are expensive too.
This is why I avoided getting a quilt. I know I like to roll around and if I want the quilt, I just unzip the bag. You save weight with a quilt but there are trade-offs.
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