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  1. #1
    Senior Member Buffalo Skipper's Avatar
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    Question What to expect from a Top Quilt

    I have a 20° Burrow Top Quilt enroute. I bought this to replace a 25° Kelty Lightyear down mummy, which I used in my hammock last winter. The LY is sewn 1/2 way up with a foot zipper for venting.

    Never having used a TQ, I am curious what I should expect? I mean, suposedly it is easier to get in and out of, and of course it is lighter, but what real differences will I experience with this vs. a sleeping bag?
    “Indian builds small fire and stays warm, white man builds big fire and stays warm collecting firewood”—unknown

    “The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea”—Karen Blixen

  2. #2
    kayak karl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffalo Skipper View Post
    it is easier to get in and out of, and of course it is lighter
    and no cold zippers to wake you up.
    "Tenting is equivalent to a bum crawling into a cardboard box, hammocking is an art" KK

  3. #3
    Senior Member Tendertoe's Avatar
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    The biggest advantage I noticed in my move from sleeping bag to UQ was the fact that you have a shock cord cinch at your neck compared to a floppy hood that gets in the way more than anything.

    Really keeps the drafts out.

  4. #4
    MAD777's Avatar
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    I think the most important difference is that the Burrow will actually take you to 20 degrees comfortably. Whereas, doubt that LY wuld ever take you near 25 degrees without wearing every piece of hiking clothes you own.

    If you're a very warm sleeper to the point that the LY got you to 25, then the Burrow should take you to the single digits.

    Enjoy that fine piece of gear!
    Mike
    "Life is a Project!"

  5. #5
    Senior Member Buffalo Skipper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAD777 View Post
    I think the most important difference is that the Burrow will actually take you to 20 degrees comfortably. Whereas, doubt that LY wuld ever take you near 25 degrees without wearing every piece of hiking clothes you own.

    If you're a very warm sleeper to the point that the LY got you to 25, then the Burrow should take you to the single digits.

    Enjoy that fine piece of gear!
    I sleep with a blanket on me in the summer (in the house). I do not like it cold. While hanging in the upper 70s, I have been known to sip into a fleece liner because I was chilled.

    That said, I have slept in the LY on the ground (b.h.--before hammock) down to at or below 10°. I survived, but was borderline hypothermic (something akin to BillyBob58's night of a thousand pees). Last January, I took the LY (supplement with a REI fleece liner and hot water bottle) down to 21° with a 20° Incubator under me; I was cool, but I did sleep through the night.

    I presume the Burrow will be easier to get in and out of. No?
    “Indian builds small fire and stays warm, white man builds big fire and stays warm collecting firewood”—unknown

    “The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea”—Karen Blixen

  6. #6
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tendertoe View Post
    The biggest advantage I noticed in my move from sleeping bag to UQ was the fact that you have a shock cord cinch at your neck compared to a floppy hood that gets in the way more than anything.

    Really keeps the drafts out.
    I agree, a cinch cord on the neck of a TQ can be a huge help for avoiding drafts, compared to a hooded SB being used as a quilt.

    But are you asking about using a hooded SB AS a quilt vs a dedicated quilt? Or about using the SB as an SB vs a quilt? That makes a dif in the answer.

    If using as a sb with hood, then the 2 biggest difs ( in my experience) are the bag being far less prone to drafts, and the quilt being far more comfortable and easier to use in a hammock, assuming you can control the drafts.

    You won't have any drafts zipped up in a hooded mummy bag, maybe not if even just mostly zipped up. Depending on the girth of a quilt vs your own girth, and your skills at the "roll and tuck" (so to speak) if you turn over in the night, you may or may not have big problems with drafts with a quilt.

    If you roll over in a quilt while half asleep, especially a somewhat narrow quilt, you can see where it won't be hard to have an edge flip up long enough to let a cold blast in. Even more likely, you can be well tucked say sound asleep on your back, and you move a leg in your sleep and break the "seal" just enough to let the warm air start rushing out. This does not happen inside a SB or a PeaPod, which is nothing but a SB big enough to easily surround the entire hammock.

    I used to have a lot of problems with this, both with SBs as a quilt or even when I got my TQ. But over time I seemed to develop the ability to turn while keeping things well tucked without waking up much. And being able to cinch my quilt around my neck is a big help compared to my bag as quilt. So I do quite well with quilts these days, especially if used with a Marmot sleeping bag hood that I have. To match a mummy bag with even a well tucked quilt, you will need head insulation equal to the hood of a mummy bag.

    Also, if your bag is synthetic, you will get some extra degrees of BACK warmth when inside it. Sense it won't compress as much as a down bag, and a TQ will have nothing under your back.

    Recently, I have actually got to where I like my bag used as a quilt, except for it's weight. Most bags are much wider than most quilts, making it easier to stay tucked along the sides. If you can deal with the leaks around the neck and keep the hood out of your way. And I have found that if I lay on my side, I can drape that hood over my head and rig up a little side vent, for super warmth. And finally, it dawned on me that I could leave the zip open except for a foot box, and leave the neck collar closed, and slip in from the side with my head actually in the hood. Then I can arrange the open side so it is just underneath me, and now I have the grand benefit of a hood/collar, no more chance of a draft on the side than with a TQ ( maybe less, because it is bigger and only open on one side which I can get under me) and pretty much all of the comfort of a quilt in a hammock.

    But that bag, being much wider, will always weigh a good bit more.

    So another benefit of the TQ is- assuming you can control drafts, is weight. (and the drafts will always be easier to control in a hammock than on the ground) You don't have the area that would normally be squashed under your back. That will be a big weight advantage for a given temp rating.

    For example, if your burrow weighs 21 oz, a Kelty 20F lightyear long weighs 3 lb 2 oz(50 oz) and a Marmot 15F Pinnacle long weighs 2 lb 12 oz.(44 oz). Even after adding 3-6 oz worth of hood, those are some pretty stout weight difs! And of course volume also.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  7. #7
    Senior Member WV's Avatar
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    Great summary, Billy Bob. Lots of wisdom there. The only thing I would add is that a hood on a SB used as a TQ need not be a nuisance. I've posted about this before, so apologies if you're re-reading. I cut the hood off my Sierra Designs sleeping bag (also removed the zipper and some of the width, but that's not essential - just helps reduce the weight). Then I sewed the hood to the middle of the top edge of the sleeping bag, but attached it only at the two ends of the bottom edge of the hood, so I could pull the bag up to my chin and put my head through the hole in the middle (between the bag and the hood). Essentially, you're using the bag upside down and the hood backwards. If it's warm, instead of pulling the hood over your head, leave it bunched under your neck as a pillow. If you also added a drawstring to the top edge of the bag like a regular TQ you'd get better shoulder coverage. The best places to sew the hood to the bag should be determined by experimentation - use two safety pins.

  8. #8
    MAD777's Avatar
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    I'll comment with my experience as to drafts.

    The Burrow is 50" wide. The quilts I make are 40" wide. I am 6'-1" and barely shy of 200#. I sleep only on my sides and switch back & forth often. I never have a problem with drafts.

    Yes, I have to make sure the edges are tucked in when I turn, but it's second nature. Rest assured, the Burrow will keep you warm, at least until that midnight run to the bushes.

    I also wear a fleece cap or down balaclava on my head as appropriate for the temps.
    Last edited by MAD777; 09-20-2011 at 13:52. Reason: Sp
    Mike
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Buffalo Skipper's Avatar
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    BB & WV, thanks to you both for your feedback. Let me add a few tidbits of info to give your variables a little more perspective.

    First, I generally sleep on my back in the hammock. Occasionally, (estimate one night in four) I will at some point in the night flip over on my side for a couple of hours then migrate again to my back. Second, when I used the LY/SB, I tried to use it like a TQ, that is the unzipped part went under my back. But as I said before, I don't like to be cold, so I would end up twisting the bag around my shoulders just enough to put the hood over my head, even if I was wearing a hat. Even in when I was sleeping this past weekend in 63°, I put the hood of the fleece liner over me. I am 6'1", and I ordered my Burrow long, just so it could cover my head, at least a little. Never having slept with a TQ, I guess I will find out how this works (or not).

    MAD777, sounds as if we are built about the same, as I also claim to be just shy of 200.
    “Indian builds small fire and stays warm, white man builds big fire and stays warm collecting firewood”—unknown

    “The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea”—Karen Blixen

  10. #10
    Senior Member Buffalo Skipper's Avatar
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    Too warm?

    I am going out this weekend. Lows Friday and Saturday are predicted to be around 53° and 50°. I intend to set up with my Jarbridge River (3 oz) underneath, which should be fine in those temps, but I don't have a good fair weather top quilt. I am thinking of taking my 3 Season Burrow (20° with 1 oz of overstuff). I can always vent the TQ, but should I expect to be too warm in these conditions?
    “Indian builds small fire and stays warm, white man builds big fire and stays warm collecting firewood”—unknown

    “The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea”—Karen Blixen

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