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Saturday, August 18, 2018

New Gear - Sleeping System

After 28 years of a lot of use, my North Face Cat's Meow sleeping bag really is too worn out to be a three-season bag any more. It used to keep me warm at temps below freezing. Not so much any more.

I did a LOT of looking around for its replacement. Not an easy choice. If I must buy new gear I want to get rid of some weight. I have no interest in going truly ultra-light. It costs too much, and I think the whole philosophy leaves out some things. But that's not the point of this post.

Long story short... the new thinking on sleeping bags is that you should use a quilt, not a bag. The only things I could find in the weight/price range I wanted were quilts. Here's what I got. I'll let you know if I like it.

First of all, ignore the old comforter on the deck floor. That's just to prevent abrasion against my sleeping mat. That's the one I've had for a long time. No changes there. (It's a 3/4 length, 1" Thermarest.) You can just see the corner with the valve sticking out below my new Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 degree quilt.

Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt

It comes with elastic straps that go around your pad. You can use one or two. I think this feature will be nice. I often wake up to discover I've slid off my mat. (No directions came with this. Not even a URL to watch a youtube video. If I hadn't previously watched a couple, I would have had no clue how you were supposed to use it.)

Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt

But the zipper does not go the full length of the side. It's only about 18" inches long to enclose the foot box. See it on the top side?

Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt

The bottom has two options. You can leave it open for ventilation, as seen above, or you can pull in the drawstrings to close it.

Not sure how I feel about this. I like my feet out most of the time, but when it's really cold I don't think you can close the bottom up tight enough to keep out a draft.

Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt

Truth is, I don't like drafts when I want to be warm, and I think the whole quilt idea is stupid. Also, you are supposed to just sleep on the mat and tuck the quilt around you. I don't like the way the mat feels. So I ordered one more thing, which I also agonized over. I finally decided to get a sleeping bag liner. The best ones are silk, but I don't like the way that feels all that much either, and I can't can imagine what a white liner would look like at the end of a hike.

So I found this one, which is a cotton-silk blend.

Fivejoy Travel Liner

It's very roomy; in fact I may cut it down just a little bit. It also has a pillow pocket. I don't carry a pillow backpacking, but I do use a sweatshirt for a pillow and I think the pocket will help keep that from sliding all over.

Sorry there isn't much contrast between the liner and that background, but you can see that it's plenty long. It's all wrinkly because it was jammed in the stuff sack. I'll just keep it loose inside the quilt for hiking. I think if I cut and taper the foot end a little, and leave a side slit so I can get my feet out, it will be perfect. The gray color is much better.

Fivejoy Travel Liner

I should also mention that I ordered the regular length quilt instead of the short one, even though I am small. With the quilt you give up the sleeping hood, and although my feet like to be out, my shoulders and neck want to be covered, so I gave myself the extra length so I can put it over my head. I could also slip that pillow pocket over my head.

The liner came in time for me to try it on my hike this week. I liked how it felt against my skin, and in fact, the night was so warm I slept in it without my sleeping bag at all for most of the night.

Since I've already spread all this gear out on the deck, I think I'll sleep out there tonight. I'll let you know if I am won over, but I won't really know until I've slept out in some colder weather.

The really good part is that the old sleeping bag weighed 3 pounds 7 ounces. This quilt with the liner weighs 1 pound 8 ounces. Weight loss one ounce shy of 2 pounds. That is good.

In other news: I went to Saugatuck Art Fair to sell books today. Made a little profit (after cost of registration and cost of gas), but I'm not sure I made enough to make me happy about four hours in the car on a nice day. Ask me tomorrow how I feel about it.

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Ann Thompson said...

Well hopefully it passes the test. Sure is a nice difference in weight

Sharkbytes said...

Ann- It is! was really light to sleep under. That was strange and will take a bit of getting used to.