Quilts: toebox or not?

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Blackhound
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Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by Blackhound » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:15 am

I have never used a quilt and have seen PHd have a sale on at the moment and am considering buying one for summer use on its own or as an extra on my summer bag for spring / autumn. There is an option for a toebox (+£32) and wondered how necessary they were. Do they move around a lot? I do sleep a bit cold and I already possess a thin half bag already that I could use and then put the quilt on top. Just wondering what the quilt users think.
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ScotRoutes
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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by ScotRoutes » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:20 am

I looked at both options this year and bought one with a proper foot box. I get that the flat type are, in theory, more flexible but just wanted that extra bit of warmth/comfort that a formed foot box seemed to offer.

FWIW the quilt has been great. I was very sceptical but used it right until last weeks trip.

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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by Blackhound » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:26 am

Thanks Colin. Have a week or so to make a decision.
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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:29 am

I like a footbox as it does help hold the quilt in place but if you want something that you can use to throw over you in the van or even at home, an open quilt might prove more versatile. I also still find it difficult to look beyond Cumulus for an off the shelf quilt option ... now with opening footbox.
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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by whitestone » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:35 am

Much as I like PHD kit their quilts seem somewhat targetless. I've not seen one in the flesh so the following is only from what I've seen on the web. They look more like something you'd use on your bed or as a cover for a couch bed or in a caravan rather than a technical piece like those sold by Cumulus (Polish) or Enlightened Equipment (American). The description of the footbox sounds like it's some form of pod sewn to the underside of the quilt.

I've a Cumulus 150, there's a lot of love for this model among ITTers, my wife has the 350. both these are the older model and have a sewn in footbox - the bottom third is more like a traditional sleeping bag. The new models from Cumulus have a zip up footbox and look like they are closer in design to the EE Revelation (also gets a bit of love on here) with its sleeping pad straps. I've not seen the newer models. I use the quilt on its own during summer and as an outer to a PHD summer rated sleeping bag during the winter months. The footbox does slightly restrict the foot area of the sleeping bag but it's only up to just below knee level. Stu did a review of the Cumulus on the blog section of the site.

Movement of the quilt does depend on how much you yourself move around, the mat straps can help with this. Not everyone gets on with quilts and it takes a while to adjust to them.

Edit: I took a while writing the above and there were a couple of replies in the interim :grin: I see Cumulus as the go-to value brand with EE being the high end, mostly due to the import duties and VAT, a bit like Alpkit vs PHD. I know there are other Stateside quilt manufacturers but EE seem to be the only one with an eye to the UK/European market which is why they get mentioned. Having seen both the 150 and 350 the only reason I'd go with EE is if I wanted to take advantage of their considerable bespoke options.
Last edited by whitestone on Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by ScotRoutes » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:00 am

FWIW I have the Cumulus 250. I reckoned that to be the best balance for the local climate 8-9 months of the year.

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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:22 am

the only reason I'd go with EE is if I wanted to take advantage of their considerable bespoke options.
I did that but my eyes were bigger than my belly and I have a quilt which is simply too warm for 95% of UK conditions :wink:
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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by whitestone » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:38 am

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
the only reason I'd go with EE is if I wanted to take advantage of their considerable bespoke options.
I did that but my eyes were bigger than my belly and I have a quilt which is simply too warm for 95% of UK conditions :wink:
I've a Rab 1100 Expedition sleeping bag that's of similar use in the UK :roll: Fine for winter alpine and Arctic use.
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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by middleagedmadness » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:53 am

As scotroutes I've got a 250 ,got it in April and the sleeping bag hasn't been out since , although I do think tonight may be the last time it's used for a couple of months ,I like the toe box seems to keep it in situ .but as Bob says it does compress the foot box of the bag a little when used in conjunction ,( not tried in anger yet just seeing if it would work for when the cold hits)

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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by benp1 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:19 pm

EE quilt here, I really like that the footbox opens up, however in reality I leave it closed up for the majority of the time. I open it up to air it when I get home, but that's usually it

I bought a 0 degree quilt and it weighs the same as my 0 degree western mountaineering sleeping bag, but in reality I do think it's slightly warmer and it has hydrophobic down

However the EE quilts are now so expensive that cumulus becomes a very good option. As Tucas is another european quilt manufacturer - synthetic and down options available

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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by Oli.vert » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:27 pm

If you're looking at the PHD Ultra, Mrs vert bought one last year in the sale and very nice it is too.

There's no baffles as in the Cumulus or EE offerings, the cells are just sewn through. It's very light. It's nothing like as warm as my Cumulus 250, and unlikely to be used much on it's own but is great as an extra layer or as a throw over of an evening. It's been used more on the bed when it got really cold back in February than it has out in the wild.

If you're hoping for a quilt to use on it's own for 3 seasons the PHD Ultra might not be it, unless you sleep very warm.

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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by ZeroDarkBivi » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:21 pm

Got a very light synthetic quilt from EE. It's OK, but once customs and DHL have shafted you, it ain't great value. Glad I went for the footbox, but, tbh, whilst a bit more flexible in warm, humid conditions, I still prefer a sleeping bag for cooler conditions.

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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by jameso » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:00 am

Yes to the toe box for bivi use, imo/ime. I have a custom PHD quilt / half bag-half quilt and the toebox is part of what makes it work well.

As Stu says, helps keeps it in place and makes it easier to use as an inner bag with the Minim Ultra outer bag - that aspect is what gets more value out of both bags. Warmth for weight, OK it's not as efficient as 1 single bag, but with such light outer fabric it's a small weight gain for a more flexible set up ie Alps in summer where valleys are warm but >2000m up can be cold.

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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by Blackhound » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:37 pm

Thanks all for the thoughtful replies. Now I am more confused! A quick look at Cumulus and they are similar to PHD in the sale or perhaps cheaper. Had not heard of As Tucas before but don't look cheap. My summer bag is probably the same WM one as benp1 as it is 0 degree rated. A quilt is not a massive saving on weight (The WM is advertised around 550gm). I was after a warm summer use quilt and not a direct replacement for the sleeping bag but the option to use both together when temps dropped being a bonus. More thinking to do but suspect will go for a toebox if going down that route. Thanks again.
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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by Oli.vert » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:48 pm

For warm summer use or an extra to your main bag the PHD Ultra should be fine.

If you're anywhere around London and want to see one and the Cumulus you're welcome to give me a shout.

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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:59 pm

I was after a warm summer use quilt
I use a Cumulus 150 for around 6-8 months of the year Kevin. I generally sleep cold and I find it's great.
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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by Alpinum » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:47 pm

Toe box me too.

For my first quilt I made it up to the top of the calves, which was a bit too high. Though at first it was open at the bottom which could be closed with a drawstring. Newer used the quilt as a completely open blanket, so sewed a proper box.

For my slightly warmer quilt I made the toe box a bit shorter, mid way of calves, and it's perfect.

I've used the same quilt on long trips in temperatures ranging from +20 °C to -6 °C. I don't think I would 've gained anything with an open foot area. Especially when pushing the temperature rating of the quilt, the drawstring is a weakness and will let you be with colder feet. Unless... unless you use some sort of a puff ball to stuff the bottom, but then the quilt will start to feel small, or will have to be a bit oversized, thus adding unnecessary weight.

I tend to go with a light quilt for not so cold temps and sleep with little clothing and when I get a cold night high up, I add all clothing I have with me. I hardly leave home (Switzerland, so riding is mostly in the Alps) without lighweight fleece socks and an über light, hooded Montbell down jumper I use when arriving at a bivy spot in the high Alpine. This works superbly if you're also the kind of rider who doesn't always feel the urge/get into serious risks to ride into the dark and as James suggests, if you spend nights down in the valley and up a summit during the same trip.

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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by Alpinum » Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:54 pm

Blackhound wrote:Thanks all for the thoughtful replies. Now I am more confused! A quick look at Cumulus and they are similar to PHD in the sale or perhaps cheaper. Had not heard of As Tucas before but don't look cheap. My summer bag is probably the same WM one as benp1 as it is 0 degree rated. A quilt is not a massive saving on weight (The WM is advertised around 550gm). I was after a warm summer use quilt and not a direct replacement for the sleeping bag but the option to use both together when temps dropped being a bonus. More thinking to do but suspect will go for a toebox if going down that route. Thanks again.
Assuming you're talking about the WM Summerlite bag, you have a great bag for 3 season trips to northern Europe (Scandes, Iceland's interior), Alps etc.
In this case I'd go with a 150 quilt from Cumulus to cover 3 season UK, summer only Alps etc.
Both combined will be good for shoulder season in the Alps or northern Europe. It also may be worth asking Cumulus to customise the quilt with the lightest fabric available (not sure what they're using as a standard for the quilts - it may already be the lightest fabric nowadays, but quite sure this wasn't the case with the previous quilts they offered) and hydrophobic down. Drop them an email. I did that with a winter bag and was surprised how little more it cost and got one of the most amazing pieces of gear.

My girlfriend uses a Rab Infinity 500 with my 3 season quilt for those not so cold winter nights in the Alps (those nights round about -10 °C give or take 5 °). Seems that combining a bag with a quilt works quite well.

My 3 season quilt has 220 g fillweight and is at least as warm as a 300 g fillweight Cumulus LiteLine (girlfriend used to use it alot), but also more flexible and packs down smaller. This given, I'm convinced the 250 Cumulus quilt we be about as warm as your WM.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by psling » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:03 pm

Kevin, the PHD quilts are a flat rectangle of stitch-through down (rather like an eiderdown on the bed). They have small loops around the edges so a lace up cord could be attached. I think the footbox offered is a sewn 'pillow case' type rectangle to the centre of one end, sewn on three edges. I have a plain (single) one which I use as a throw when van camping or summer camping and I double it over around my upper body with a pied-a-elephant in the winter. It's lightweight and takes up very little space. (I was probably using it when I saw you at WRT this year).
I believe the Cumulus ones are more technical in the sense that the foot end is more like a sleeping bag, shaped to surround the lower legs although may be opened up/fastened depending on type while the upper part is open like a quilt but can be laced around a sleep mat. As far as I'm aware (and I'm sure I'll soon be corrected) these don't lie out as a flat rectangle like the PHD ones.
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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by Oli.vert » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:03 pm

[As far as I'm aware (and I'm sure I'll soon be corrected) these don't lie out as a flat rectangle like the PHD ones.[/quote]

Er......so......yeah, not quite..... the current Cumulus Quilt does have a zipped toebox, this is finished with 3 sections of elastic that can each be tightened to close the footbox, or left as open as you prefer. The top has cam-clips and strips of broad adjustable elastic that can be removed completely, or looped around or under a mat. With the zip and the top cams undone completely, the quilt opens out flat to a more or less rectangle shape, slightly tapered towards the toe end, but not by much.

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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by Blackhound » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:38 am

Thanks for further responses which are confirming my thoughts over last few days.

As Alpinum says the Cumulus 250 is to similar to my WM Summerlite to be worth the outlay, the 150 I could use in warmer conditions and double up with my WM bag early and late season.

As psling says the PHD is flat and the option to use in my 'van helps giving me an extra use for the expenditure. I had picked up as oli says that later versions of the bags will go flat but good to be confirmed. Think I will let the phd offer pass and have a look at the Cumulus a bit more closely. Or the As Tucas blanket
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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by ianfitz » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:53 am

Blackhound wrote:Thanks for further responses which are confirming my thoughts over last few days.

As Alpinum says the Cumulus 250 is to similar to my WM Summerlite to be worth the outlay, the 150 I could use in warmer conditions and double up with my WM bag early and late season.

As psling says the PHD is flat and the option to use in my 'van helps giving me an extra use for the expenditure. I had picked up as oli says that later versions of the bags will go flat but good to be confirmed. Think I will let the phd offer pass and have a look at the Cumulus a bit more closely. Or the As Tucas blanket
Hi Kevin, I have an Enlightened quilt, bought before the pound tanked! it has drawcord, zip and poppers to form an effective and draft-free footbox. it can also be used flat and many variations between depending on temperature. We also have one of the original cumulus quilts with a sew-in footbox. I understand that cumulus now use a similiar system which would make them more adaptable.
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Re: Quilts: toebox or not?

Post by FLV » Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:03 pm

I have a UK hammocks top quilt. It works fine on the ground too.
It has a toe box which I like.
It's very good.

I havnt tried any other quilts though.

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