Quilt style sleeping bags have been around for more than a decade but just haven’t caught fire in the hunting market. If you are not familiar with quilt style sleeping bags, they are essentially a large synthetic or down blanket sleeping bag with a button system for closure. Like most folks, I assumed that they were a gimmick and couldn’t be as warm a traditional mummy bag.
But my wife is a seriously cold sleeper. When we planned a 50-mile hike through the Superstition Wilderness, knowing we would have nights down into the low 20’s I packed a Zenbivy quilt as an extra layer for her. The scant 1 pound 6 ounces was an easy weight to pack for a good night’s sleep. The added flexibility to wrap up in the quilt around a morning campfire while sipping coffee sealed the deal. She fell in love with the Zenbivy Light and I think she loves me just a little bit more as well.
Why a quilt
Traditional quilts do not have a hood and all the insulation is on top where it matters, not underneath the sleeper where it is crushed into ineffectiveness. This puts all the pressure on your sleeping pad (no pun intended) to provide insulation from the ground.
This is the point where the Zenbivy system has bridged the gap, and in my opinion, eliminated the potential drawbacks of four-season use. As I mentioned, traditional quilts do not have a hood. Zenbivy offers a two-piece system, the bottom layer is a sheet that wraps around your ground pad of choice and has a down-filled hood. The colder it is outside, the higher insulation value you will need from your pad. The top quilt buttons to the bottom sheet so you cannot slide off your pad. If it sounds simple, well it is…simply genius!
My fellow side sleepers should be jumping for joy. This sleeping system allows for greater freedom of movement. The bottom sheet keeps you from sticking to the pad and the top quilt just floats above you as you roll while retaining the warm air.
Though I cannot measure this, I feel that the quilt allows moisture to escape more efficiently than in a zippered mummy bag. I just don’t get that muggy feeling in the middle of the night.
Last but not least, by eliminating the zipper a quilt system does away with the most probable point of failure. Stuck zippers suck.
If you are looking for a new sleep system and you hunt from the warm late summer months into early winter, you really should consider the Zenbivy system. The bottom sheet and quilts can be purchased separately so you can mix and match. So far I have used the 25-degree system on 50 degree nights down to 25 degrees with joyous satisfaction.