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  1. #1

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    Difference between sleeping bag and quilt?

    I have just gotten into hammock camping and am learning about all the new gear I want/need. One thing I am not sure I understand is what is the difference between a sleeping bag and a quilt? It can't just be that a bag has a zipper can it? My sleeping bag is relatively new and is working fine for my as a top cover. is there any real reason I should consider replacing it with a quilt or should I wait until the bag really needs replacing? What benefits will a quilt give me that a bag wont?

    I know I am going to get an under quilt. Right now I am using an old blanket that I tied some line and loops to and that is working for now, but that will be the first real upgrade I make to what I have now. It is just the top quilt that has me confused.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Mostly, it is about weight.

    A sleeping bag has two sides; top and bottom. A quilt only uses the top half, so the weight is much less. Then add a zipper like on a sleeping bag and the weight advantage increases. There's also the phobia that some (myself included) have with putting hardware like a zipper into our hammocks. One nick in the fabric from the zipper and it might turn into a tear. At least, those are my reasons for choosing quilts over bags.
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  3. #3
    craige's Avatar
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    Re: Difference between sleeping bag and quilt?

    Cannibal: he may eat people, but he knows what he's talking about

  4. #4

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    Awesome, thanks. That all makes perfect sense. I hadn't even thought of the zipper causing a tear. Thanks for pointing that out!

  5. #5
    True, true
    Quote Originally Posted by craige View Post
    Cannibal: he may eat people, but he knows what he's talking about

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raos View Post
    I hadn't even thought of the zipper causing a tear.
    I hadn't considered it either...until I put a nick in my most favorite hammock when I climbed in it with a ballcap that had a metal latch for the adjustment band. I think I might have actually shed a tear when it happened.

    Happily, the patch that fixed it held and is still holding. I nicked it in 2007 and still use the hammock.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cannibal View Post
    Mostly, it is about weight.

    A sleeping bag has two sides; top and bottom. A quilt only uses the top half, so the weight is much less. Then add a zipper like on a sleeping bag and the weight advantage increases. There's also the phobia that some (myself included) have with putting hardware like a zipper into our hammocks. One nick in the fabric from the zipper and it might turn into a tear. At least, those are my reasons for choosing quilts over bags.
    Silly question on my part...are top quilts actually made and cut smaller on the width (as compared to a standard mummy bag) to leave out that "top part", or are they really the same size and really the difference becomes zipper vs no zipper?

    Honest question on my part, since I don't have a TQ. Just seems to me that you couldn't make a normal mummy bag much skinnier at the top and still be able to wrap it under your shoulders.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Just the first mummy bag I looked at, so it may be an exception.

    The Marmot Plasma has a shoulder girth of: 60, or 62" depending on the model.
    The range for the JRB quilts is from: 48-52" depending on the model.

    I'm a fairly broad shouldered guy and have never had a problem getting my shoulders covered by any of my quilts from the Jacks, or any of the other vendors. Gotta keep in mind that in a hammock, the quilt doesn't need to go as far as it would on the ground because your underquilt (or...glup...pads) come up from below, so you don't have as much of a need to wrap your shoulders with the top quilt. The stuff below you is helping out a little.
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  9. #9
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    Makes sense...thanks Cannibal! And FWIW...I'm just now delving into the concept of "downy goodness". My O.W.L. full-length UQ should be here tomorrow or Monday. (Go figure on why I had to go with Marty! ). After that, I'll be saving up for a TQ.

  10. #10
    Senior Member backpackingZombie's Avatar
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    I've been using a Marmot Arroyo for the past two years as a TQ without issue.
    When it seems like the night will last forever
    And there's nothing left to do but count the years
    When the strings of my heart start to sever
    And stones fall from my eyes instead of tears
    I will walk alone by the black muddy river
    And dream me a dream of my own
    -Jerry

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