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  1. #1
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    Just to offer a contrarion position re: non sewn footboxes.....

    I've often read here where folks say that having the snap/zip footbox is useless because nobody ever has undone the snaps or zipper so you may as well have the footbox sewn up to seal out all gaps (that quarter sized hole in my UGQ footbox that I have to stuff a sock into to keep drafts on a really cold night). Well on my last trip, I found a great reason to unsnap my footbox. We did a three week SOBO of the Benton Mackaye Trail and the first night we hiked to Mt. Sterling NC which is just under 6000 feet. Coincidentally, this was the coldest night of the trip, getting down into the thirties. On seeing this forecast, I packed my 20 degree quilt thinking there was a better than even chance for colder temps over the next three weeks. Well, it got considerably warmer instead-up to the mid 60s. I was burning up in the 20 degree TQ but finally unsnapped the footbox, leaving the bottom still cinched. This opened up the quilt a lot which allowed me to very easily vent it to keep from overheating. I know this is an unusual circumstance that most will never face, but it is one good example of needing to open up the footbox.

  2. #2
    Senior Member WV's Avatar
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    The weather changed? Go figure. "Contrarian" experiences like this provide the bits of information that close the gaps in our hammock knowledge (or open our minds to adaptation). Well done.

  3. #3
    Member Pop_Eye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clisbyclark View Post
    I've often read here where folks say that having the snap/zip footbox is useless because nobody ever has undone the snaps or zipper so you may as well have the footbox sewn up to seal out all gaps (that quarter sized hole in my UGQ footbox that I have to stuff a sock into to keep drafts on a really cold night). Well on my last trip, I found a great reason to unsnap my footbox. We did a three week SOBO of the Benton Mackaye Trail and the first night we hiked to Mt. Sterling NC which is just under 6000 feet. Coincidentally, this was the coldest night of the trip, getting down into the thirties. On seeing this forecast, I packed my 20 degree quilt thinking there was a better than even chance for colder temps over the next three weeks. Well, it got considerably warmer instead-up to the mid 60s. I was burning up in the 20 degree TQ but finally unsnapped the footbox, leaving the bottom still cinched. This opened up the quilt a lot which allowed me to very easily vent it to keep from overheating. I know this is an unusual circumstance that most will never face, but it is one good example of needing to open up the footbox.
    You just convinced me to take another look at the zippered and snapped foot box now that Im shopping for a new TQ.

    Friday morning I woke up in 36DegF temps as I rolled out of my hammock. Had the foot box of my TQ not been sewn, maybe it could have functioned better as a cover while I waited for my water to heat up for breakfast and coffee.

    I tried using my TQ to cover my shoulders and back, but it just didnt fit one side of me with the sewn end of the foot box.

  4. #4
    Member blackmagic's Avatar
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    This is like arguing that sleeping pads are better than underquilts because you were forced to go to ground one time.

    In your circumstance, you could have pulled your feet out of the footbox, to the same effect.

  5. #5

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    Personally:

    I like a drawcord footbox for my warmer weather quilts, though I tend to prefer the footbox side sewn shut in a hammock. Even on the ground I rarely found the need to fully open the footbox though it is handy for converting a summer quilt to a camp puffy.

    I prefer a sewn footbox for my three season quilts. I can always hang a foot out, but I rarely wish I could vent... so not a valuable feature for me.


    That said... a big reason quilts got popular (outside hammock community) was for long distance hiking as the versatility and range of ventilation options allows a much wider range of comfort over the long term.
    So... while mildly contrarian in hammock land... many in the ground dwelling/long distance hiking world prefer the fully vented footboxes so they can stretch that 20* top quilt as high as 65*. This is doubly true when there is some elevation involved.

  6. #6

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    Was just thinking about this the other day. I’m leaning towards getting a warm weather quilt, and like you mention, it seems like a good idea to not have a sewn foot box for that. I’m also leaning toward synthetic.

    Probably go 40 degree. Synthetic because I like to camp on the coast and oftentimes it can feel like you are camping in a cloud. It may not even be raining, but the air is so heavy with moisture that you can feel it in your lungs when you breathe. Everything the air touches gets damp.

  7. #7
    cougarmeat's Avatar
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    It’s not just for the outdoors, The TQ makes a nice “throw” as the house is warming up in the morning or cooling down at night. The times I unsnap the TQ are few, but it’s nice to have the feature. I have one UGQ with a sewn end footbox, the others are HG with draw cord (bungee). The UGQ is warmer - for when I want it warmer (sleeping outside in the winter). But I keep that stuff sack attached to the HG TQ with a micro-biner (those stuff sacks sure like to blow away) and that stuff sack can also block the foot opening if I want. I’m short enough that my feet never reach the end of the quilt, but I can tell a difference between sewn and not sewn.
    In order to see what few have seen, you must go where few have gone. And DO what few have done.

  8. #8
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    When I was ordering my first topquilt from HG, they asked me if I wanted a sewn footbox or a drawstring footbox. "Why would I want a drawstring footbox?" I asked. None of their reasons made any sense to me, and still don't. If I need to vent, I'll just kick my feet out of the footbox.
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by SilvrSurfr View Post
    When I was ordering my first topquilt from HG, they asked me if I wanted a sewn footbox or a drawstring footbox. "Why would I want a drawstring footbox?" I asked. None of their reasons made any sense to me, and still don't. If I need to vent, I'll just kick my feet out of the footbox.
    The only compelling reason I am aware of is to extend the versatility of a single piece of gear to it's maximum potential.

    Basically the old: "IF YOU HAD TO OWN ONLY ONE!" argument

    If I was on a long distance hiking trip with no opportunity to swap out gear...
    Then a 20* fully opening footbox is typically the ideal piece of gear. (with a bump of 10-20* in either direction depending on if you're a cold or hot sleeper).
    It would not be ideal at 20*, nor would it be ideal at 65*... but it could be made to work well enough for either and satisfies the 80% rule of thumb.

    The key here is ONE PIECE, over a long duration of time with variable conditions.

    In reality: the vast majority of us rarely get out for more than a week at a time and own more than one piece of gear.
    The vast majority of our trips are a few days in duration and typically fall within a reasonable range of predictability if we are experienced enough to balance the weatherman's predictions against real life in the terrain we plan to visit.

    Ever since I was a wee-lad and all the way back to Nessmuk and Kephart... the general rule of thumb was to build up the quiver of gear for summer, three season, and winter trips.
    That could have been as simple as owning three wool blankets and bringing one, two or three or as complicated as bringing one but chopping up half the woods to build a long fire and heat stones.

    So still just simply comes down to you, the trips you take, and how you prefer to take them.
    There is no 'best' gear.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pop_Eye View Post
    You just convinced me to take another look at the zippered and snapped foot box now that I’m shopping for a new TQ.

    Friday morning I woke up in 36DegF temps as I rolled out of my hammock. Had the foot box of my TQ not been sewn, maybe it could have functioned better as a cover while I waited for my water to heat up for breakfast and coffee.

    I tried using my TQ to cover my shoulders and back, but it just didn’t fit one side of me with the sewn end of the foot box.
    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Apygyt54yYPwg5A0...pdQBA?e=KfPhYW

    Here is a link to a folder with some information on 'the quilt trick'. Which is a mildly compelling argument for having a drawcord footbox in your warmer weather quilts.

    The two keys being:
    The footbox needs to be wide enough to fit your torso.
    It is preferable (but not required) to have an oversized shell jacket handy.

    As you'll see in the pictures- you can put the quilt around you to function as a camp puffy of sorts.
    However it works even better when paired with a shell jacket big enough to do the job.

    This is also quite handy for stacking quilts in colder weather when going light.
    Or as an emergency puffy jacket when going super ultra light.

    If there is a 'One size fits all' system out there I still feel this is one of the better ones.
    A high quality 45* synthetic serves you as a good summer piece.
    A high quality 20* down with a sewn footbox serves you as a solid three season piece.
    In winter- combining the two gets you to about zero degrees.

    This allows a backpacker to wear the synthetic as a camp puffy to stay warm while puttering around... which also preheats the quilt for sleep.
    The camp puffy also puts a double layer on your back, and a single layer on your front (good for around a small fire so you don't overheat).
    The shell jacket (wind in summer, or WPB in winter) protects the quilt from damage, but if you catch a spark or snag the SYNTHETIC quilt... you won't fart geese feather all over either.

    When you go to bed (stack the quilts)- the drawcord footbox makes it easier to reach in, align the quilts, and get the whole mess situated properly. (with down quilt inside the synthetic)
    This puts your synthetic quilt outside your down quilt... putting the dewpoint outside the down and reducing humidity creep losses in the down as the trip progresses.
    If it's 'snowing' inside your tarp... you have less worries about your synthetic getting damp from your breath or the frost.

    Right when you get up- you can pack up your down quickly (while it's still warm) to drive out any potential moisture rich air you produced before it has a chance to condense/freeze inside the quilt, again... reducing humidity creep or loss of loft common on longer cold weather trips. There will always be some... but you can force most of it out before it settles by simply packing quickly.

    If your synthetic does get frost on it... you just camp puffy it up while you pack up to drive any moisture out with your body heat.
    It is also easier to 'sun' this piece of gear as it can take a little more abuse than your down gear. So keeping the synthetic towards the top of the pack makes it easier to whip it out for a quick bit of warmth when stopped or to sun it out to keep it fresh.

    It's not one magic piece of gear... but about as reasonably close as you can get in my opinion.
    Also- these two quilts typically cost less than a single premium zero degree quilt. Unless you winter camp often... investing in a high end winter quilt is usually out of reach for many budgets. But a good $200 summer quilt and $300 three season can do the job for the occasional winter weekend.

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