Pg 14: Questions and Answers
Question: "We are having trouble deciding if we should buy 2 x 1 person quilts or 1 x 2P quilt. Do you have any thoughts?"
Answer: We might recommend a two-person quilt for starters. Why? Because it is much warmer for a couple sleeping together than if they were using two single quilts or sleeping bags. They share their warmth - each person adding to the other person's warmth. This is how some species in nature stay warm in cold weather, snuggling together.
Also, under a quilt each person can regulate his or her warmth - if cold, by wearing more clothing - and if too warm by adjusting the quilt for a bit more ventilation.
What's more, a 2-person quilt is lighter in weight - by far - than two 1-P quilts or sleeping bags. If you sew a Spit-Zip to the 2P quilt, each of you carries only half. Remember that a 2P quilt does not weigh much more than a one-person sleeping bag. So in effect, each person carries only half of a sleeping bag. This is a tremendous weight savings.
Now for some Ray-Way philosophy: With most couples, one person might like camping more than the other. So it's the job of the motivated person to insure the creature comforts of the other person, to help him or her have a good time in the wilds. That means - more than just about anything else - that they sleep warm at night. And I think this is worth far more than the motivated person's desire to have more personal space.
To each his or her own; but this is what we would suggest for the average situation.
Question: "I currently have a 20 degree sleeping bag, but I am considering purchasing a 1-person quilt kit, and am looking for around 30 degrees for my summer trips in the Sierras. Would I be better off getting the Alpine upgrade, or going for the Woodland (.75") insulation?"
Answer: For use in the Sierras we recommend our Alpine upgrade. Granted, the nights are sometimes mild, depending on where you camp, but more often they can be frosty. If you find the Alpine quilt too warm, no problem. Remember that the quilt is open all around, or can be. So you simply let in a little more ventilation on one side. Or shift your feet temporarily out. On exceptionally warm nights you might even sleep with the quilt only partially covering you. Such is the quilt's versatility. The situation to avoid, especially in the mountains, is to have too little insulation when you need more.
Question: "My wife and I were wondering how the sizing for a 2-person quilt would work. She is 5'3'' and I am 6'0''. Would the foot box be out of reach for her, or force her to sleep low under the quilt?"
Answer: With the two-person quilt, the foot pocket is for the taller person only. The shorter person does not need it. As an example, Jenny is shorter than me, and since we sleep with heads even, her feet do not reach the foot pocket. This arrangement benefits us both. The quilt is more secure over my feet, but because of the quilt's taper in the legs area, the quilt offers her feet and legs even better coverage. As a result, the quilt keeps us both comfortably warm.
Question: "I'm a "belly sleeper" rather than a "back sleeper" or "side sleeper". As such, I'm wondering about the need for a foot pocket in the quilt and if there is any provision for minimizing or eliminating this feature. I may be using the quilt for those nights I sleep on the floor at home as well as on backpacking trips, and I recall your mentioning that you sleep with the quilt at home as well. Could I "tailor" the quilt to my circumstance?"
Answer: We recommend the foot pocket in all circumstances and sleeping positions. However, some people might prefer to omit this feature, for example should they want the quilt to lie flat on a bed.
In such case we would sew the quilt as per the instructions, but stop before sewing the foot pocket closed. That is actually the final step in the construction. Backing up even further, you could also omit the leg taper, and make your quilt rectangular.
In either case you could make a temporary foot pocket by following the instructions for sewing the pocket closed, but instead of sewing you could simply secure the pocket closed with safety pins. You could then use the quilt with the safety pinned foot pocket for as long as you like. Should a safety pin happen to open during the night and stab your foot, you would be the first to know
But we doubt that would happen.
Another idea is to sew in two cords, one on each side, in place of the gusset (see our instructions for sewing the gusset) and to tie the cords to close the foot pocket temporarily.
Yet another idea is to install a short zipper, such that when zipped it forms the foot pocket, yet when unzipped opens flat for drying. In fact, this was the way we built all our quits for many years. Eventually we realized, however, that the quilt dried nearly as fast without opening it flat, and of course the zipper added weight and sewing complexity.
Keep in mind, then, that when making your quilt you can customize it in any way that you like. Contrast that to a commercial sleeping bag, which you cannot custom fit to your dimensions, nor that you cannot modify at all. Our home-made Quilt Kit is the clear winner in terms of fit and versatility.
Question: "I want to buy your 2-Person Quit Kit and use it together with my partner, or each of us use it separately with the Spit-Zip."
Answer: We designed the Spit-Zip to divide the 2-Person Quilt Kit in half laterally, so that the zipper runs side-to-side. Our idea was to share each-other's warmth at night, but to divide the quilt for carrying by day, such that each person carries half, sharing the weight and bulk. Used this way the 2-Person Quilt is incredibly efficient.
In fact, our 2-Person Quilt is not much wider than our 1-Person Quilt. So it cannot be spit in half vertically, with the zipper running head to toe. If used separately, that would leave both people each with a narrow strip covering them, and we cannot imagine that arrangement would be warm or comfortable in any conditions.
We have seen our 2-Person Quilt spit in half vertically, with the zipper running head to toe but way over to one side. This enables the quilt to be used as double or a single. That is: with it zipped, a couple would camp together; or with it unzipped, one person would camp and the other person would stay home. In our opinion, a much better arrangement in terms of weight, bulk, and warmth, would be to use a 2-Person Quilt if camping together, and a 1-Person Quilt when camping solo.
Question: "I would like your recommendation on how to pack the quilt in the stowbag. For the tarp, you provided a fairly detailed description of how to fold and roll it so that it will fit. I am more concerned about the quilt in order to preserve loft and protect against the shifting of insulation within the quilt when packing/unpacking. Thank You!"
Answer: We see no reason to fold and roll a quilt, as you would the net-tent. We recommend simply stuffing the quilt in its stowbag. And remember that the stressful part of a quilt's life is not stowing it, or using it, but pulling it out of its stowbag. Never grab a handful of quilt and pull it mightily from it's stowbag, as this can rip or deform the insulation. A properly cared-for quilt should last a lifetime. So when removing your quilt from it's stowbag, pull gently. If you find yourself pulling too hard, release your grip, and grab a different part of the quilt somewhere else - then make a larger stowbag.
Question: "Is the quilt reversible"
Answer: Yes it is. And while making the quilt, it does not matter which is the outside and which is the inside. Even after you have sewn the foot pocket together, you can still use the quilt either way. It is fully reversible by simply inverting the foot pocket and flipping the quilt over. If you have installed the SplitZip, we recommend the quilt be used with the zipper on the outside and the baffle on the inside, against your bodies. The quilt might be more comfortable this way, with the baffle against you rather than the zipper. Either way, the quilt is just as warm.
One layer of insulation
Question: "Hi Ray and Jenny, A couple of weeks ago my husband ordered a quilt kit and I put it together. It was a two person kit with the alpine upgrade. We love it! It was a fun challenge putting it together and we have already put it to good use. We are very pleased with it and are excited to use it more, but as always, we are thinking ahead for our future hiking. I would like to make a quilt for this summer on the AT. Would it be possible to order a two person quilt kit with just one layer of the alpine insulation? And if so, would I need to order the whole alpine upgrade or is there a way to specify only one layer?" -Betsy B., GA
Answer: Nice photo! Many people have hiked the AT in the summer with only one layer of insulation in their Ray-Way quilts. We offer single-layer Quilt Kits with Alpine insulation. See our Order Form. Another idea is to order the quilt kit, then use only one layer for the quilt, and the other layer for something else. That something else might be a comforter for use on chilly nights at home, or as a blanket. This arrangement works surprisingly well, and the advantages are that this extra piece of insulation is top quality and something very hard to find in a store or online. And for the comforter you need quality insulation, but the fabric itself does not matter too much. On the other hand, on a journey you need top quality fabric also.
Question: "Would your 2 person quilt be large enough to fit a 3 year old in addition to 2 adults? If not, do you have any sizing recommendations for kid sized quilts?"
Answer: This would be a matter of personal preferences. In general, though, we might suggest a two-person quilt, and a one-person quilt. One adult could sleep under the 2P with the child, and the other adult could use the 1-P. And remember that you're sleeping together, but under separate quits. Then as the child gets old enough to have his or her own quilt, the adults could use the 2P. Or if you want to make a youngster sized quilt, the instructions included with the kit show how to customize the quilt for a perfect fit, regardless of the person's size. But we would plan ahead for future growth and make the youngster's quilt larger.
Question: "I've been reading beyond backpacking for years, and it finally clicked after I took my family on an all day hike with "kids backpacks"- we need to trade those in for your systems if we ever want to do that again and still have fun (without me becoming the pack mule for five little kids). Are all of the pics and stories about youth making or carrying their own RW packs, are those all 2200s, or 2400s? Ideally, I plan to get the quilts for them next, which since we run a little cold at night will probably be the 1P double alpines- does that only fit in the 2400 or larger? I appreciate any advice you can offer, and look forward to getting this order going." -Kirt
Answer: We have had several 10 and 11 year olds sewing backpack kits by themselves. But it greatly helps if dad or mom has sewn a kit for themselves first, so the kid has someone to ask if/when they run into questions. And watching dad or mom sewing is great inspiration for them.
We also suggest giving them a timeline, like working on the kit for an hour each day, or a few hours each weekend day. Sewing a kit is not instant gratification; it's takes time, but this is quality time invested in learning new skills and making a better able person.
Spring, summer, and fall in Florida would be much too warm at night for a double layer Alpine quilt. Sweating under too much insulation is not enjoyable, and neither is carrying too much insulation when hiking.
Woodland 2 layers=40°F
Woodland 1 layers=70°F
Quilt Kit Temp Ratings
Our quilt kits are tailored for a custom fit. So a quilt for a younger person would be much smaller. Of course you would make it larger so it would still fit after a few years of growth. But a Backpack Vol 2,200 in3 would still work just fine.
Finally, we don't accept returns. So we recommend ordering only one kit to start with. When you have sewn that, you would be much more confident in your success, and feel comfortable ordering as many other kits as you want.
Hope this info helps, and we thank you for your interest in our kits.
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