What temp rated quilt do you use in the Sierra?

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ericZ
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What temp rated quilt do you use in the Sierra?

Post by ericZ » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:10 am

I bought a 35 degree rated quilt offered on Massdrop made by Enlightened Equipment earlier this year. It worked great on summer trips around 8,000-9,000 feet, so comfortable and never noticed an issue with the cold, but i was really cold on a simple solo hike to George Lake in Kaiser back in August (9,100 feet?). Granted, it rained and hailed with thunder and lightning the day before, so there was a bit of a temperature drop from earlier summer trips. I wore my typical base layers while sleeping, plus a wool knit cap and fingerless gloves and a 650 down REI jacket. I usually sleep warm. Surprisingly, not that night.

As some of you may know Massdrop is offering a 20 degree EE quilt. In the past I've used my 15 degree Marmot Sawtooth down sleeping bag and was generally fine. I was considering a 10 degree EE quilt. But this drop is hard to bypass.

This season was a bit shorter than usual (arrrgh) due to high snow levels (yay), so i hope to get out more next season. I'm picturing 9,000-10,000 camp sites. I know the right temp rating for bags and quilts is highly subjective and camp locations and conditions, your body weight, plus preparing for sleep (eating the right foods) are huge factors. Since this is a Sierra-centric forum, i'd thought i'd ask in general, what temp rating for a quilt do you find is good for Sierra sleeping, say 8-11,000 foot elevations? I don't use a hammock. And now use a Thermarest XTherm pad with an R-value of 5.7. just curious. thanks!

eric
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austex
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Re: What temp rated quilt do you use in the Sierra?

Post by austex » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:09 pm

I have a WM Ultralight Bag 20* And an EE 20* quilt. I sleep cold usually, so nice to have a buffer. Was in 26 and 24* mornings this last Sept. I was fine in the quilt with a hooded down puffy. My bro-in-law was in the WM and toasty...YMMV

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Re: What temp rated quilt do you use in the Sierra?

Post by steiny98 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:37 pm

I use a 20 degree jacks r better quilt and still find myself having to layer up with down jacket long johns etc at elevations of 10k+. The issue I have with my quilt is that is utilizes horizontal baffles so the down does not stay on top but moves to the sides. 20 degree is a safe bet with the EE. My friend uses it and loves it.

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Re: What temp rated quilt do you use in the Sierra?

Post by freestone » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:49 pm

I have an EE 10 degree rated quilt and the WM Versalite 10 degree rated bag. Last year, I took the EE, this year I took the Versalite, both trips to the same alpine location, the fall season, and was much more comfortable in the WM so I have retired the EE from alpine Sierra use. I sleep cold, hate to be cold, and found the quilt needing adjustment everytime I moved to block out drafts. EE is a quality product, just not warm enough given the rating so I try to make up the weight penalty of the down bag somewhere else.
Fram...

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Re: What temp rated quilt do you use in the Sierra?

Post by markskor » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:24 pm

Depends on where you are going - how high and what time of year.
Maybe not the norm but usually roam Sierra somewhere around 10,000 feet, sometimes lower but mostly above...have developed a affinity for fishing the big granite up high. As we all know, at that elevation, especially in shoulder seasons, it can drop major snow anytime. Additionally, as our major hikes (w/ the OldRanger) often extend over a two week period, accurate weather reports beforehand are, at best, a crapshoot.

All this talk about the "lightest, smallest, minimum weight, etc" bag or quilt confuses/bothers me. When going high and long Sierra, I want enough (more than enough?) bag to insure a warm nights sleep under any conditions encountered. I remember our campfire conversation about just this...both glad to carry proven WM bags - Mike a 20º, mine 15º. Quilts may have their place mid-summer, below 10,000, but not taking any chances up high after Labor day...do not like gambling on what the Sierra might bring, especially 20 miles in.

Last month had the opportunity to accompany my long-time hiking buddy Mike on a 14-day, No. Yosemite, fishing trip...Benson, Rogers, Tallulah, Peeler - other lakes too. Usually late September is great hiking weather...normally a 30º quilt might make it, but not this time. Having a zip-up bag saved my ass as temps at night got south of 20º. Having better gear, we were able to hunker down (warm and snug) a few extra days, waiting for the fresh snow at Benson to burn off. BTW, it didn't. Having a WM Badger sleeping bag made everything (well, except Mike) tolerable, proving once again, if you are warm and dry at night, you can put up with anything.

I would never go high and deep Sierra without, at a minimum, a 20º bag (or quilt). Additionally, I do not trust some of the stated ratings on many of today's down products. Just because the ad says "good to Xº" that does not make it true.
Mountainman who swims with trout

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ericZ
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Re: What temp rated quilt do you use in the Sierra?

Post by ericZ » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:53 am

Thanks everyone. Good stuff. Keep it coming if there's more.

-eric

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longri
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Re: What temp rated quilt do you use in the Sierra?

Post by longri » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:52 am

As markskor posted, it depends.
Not just on anticipated conditions but also on you.
Take the bag/quilt/clothing that keeps you as warm as you want to be.

No offense but it's kind of dumb question.

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ericZ
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Re: What temp rated quilt do you use in the Sierra?

Post by ericZ » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:51 am

longri wrote: No offense but it's kind of dumb question.
Oh, now that kinda hurts my feelings. i think i'm going to go weep

eric
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maverick
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Re: What temp rated quilt do you use in the Sierra?

Post by maverick » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:46 pm

No offense but it's kind of dumb question.
No question is a dumb question, especially if it helps the OP make a decision, we here at HST are here to share our experiences and share advice, so please continue to ask questions.
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Re: What temp rated quilt do you use in the Sierra?

Post by longri » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:30 pm

You're right, of course. I apologize if I caused any harm. I'm old and get unnecessarily cranky sometimes. That's not an excuse, just an explanation.

To answer the question directly, my summer quilt is homemade but I believe (based on loft calculations) that it was originally a 35°F quilt, give or take. I've slept in it cowboy camping when the temperature dropped to 32°F and I was warm... that night, at least. Truth be told, I often end up choosing to sleep lower if I just have a simple tarp instead of a tent, even in mid-summer, because I've felt the bite of cold a time or two. Part of it is because my quilt is nearly 7 years old and has lost some loft. Part of it is because it is the nature of quilts to leak warm air. Even brand new I suspect that some of the time I'd be a bit chilly in my quilt at 12K in the summer.

So I take a tent and/or my Western Ultralight when I'm worried about that. Both of those are heavier options than a tarp and my quilt. So there's a choice between weight and comfort. I know I'm not going to die in a quilt that isn't warm enough; I'll just sleep poorly. I've spent nights at 14K in a 40°F bag with all my clothes on, in a minimal bivy sack, a bar of chocolate at 3am, and kind of chilly. It made perfect sense for the circumstances, but it wasn't comfy. I've endured unplanned bivies multiple times. I was okay, just not comfy.

You have to decide. And that comes down to experience -- your experience. People are different.

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