by Kylie Torrence September 28, 2022 3 min read
We’re firm believers in comfort. You could say it’s our mission as a company. However, we also understand that lightweight gear is essential for backpackers. So, our quilts are light… but they’re not the lightest. Here’s what makes our quilts slightly heavier than other backpacking quilts on the market, and why those features are not only intentional, but worth the weight.
You'll find that most other ultralight quilt makers shed weight by making their fabrics an uncomfortably thin and tacky 10d nylon. That just didn’t appeal to us. We opted to find clever ways to ditch weight while keeping the fabric a very comfy and durable 20d. 20d fabrics are much softer than traditional ultralight technical fabrics while only being a bit heavier. Worth it? Definitely!
Most convertible quilts feature a vertical zipper to close the footbox and a drawstring along the bottom edge to cinch it shut. While it's a simple and cheap way to build a footbox, the design forces the footbox into an hourglass shape that constricts movement inside the quiltand creates a hole in the bottom that lets in cold air…
The Zenbivy Quilt features a semi-rectangular shape. This design makes for a much bigger quilt (and therefore a bit more weight) and when you close the footbox, our clips and intentionally-curved drawcord allow it to taper naturally, without pinching in around your knees. The bottom of the quilt creates a natural 2" baffle (the Origami Baffle™) that is then rolled inside, so that when you cinch the footbox shut, it blocks any and all possible drafts to keep your toes warm. It's a vast improvement to past footbox designs and is as secure and draft-free as a mummy bag.
Many quilts have long continuous baffles. They are cheap to build, but they allow down to shift around a lot. We designed our quilts for thermal efficiency, distributing the down fill to provide the most warmth where it's needed. We focus primarily on keeping the heat at both your core and your feet, but provide ample insulation in every chamber to keep you consistently warmer throughout the night.
Smaller baffles position the down precisely where it’s needed and minimize down-shift. Vertical baffles around the upper body prevent down from sliding off your shoulders while sleeping or turning over, and horizontal baffles on the top of the foot box keep down from shifting with foot movement.
Beware of sewn-through construction! Sewn-through baffles are a cheap way to make a quilt and, wow, are they cold... letting air seep through all in the name of ultralight?? We construct our quilts the right way: with box baffles. Quilts with box baffling are trickier to construct. A thin layer of material stands vertically between the shell and liner, creating "box" compartments for the down to sit in. They are more thermally efficient but of course add just a bit of weight due to the extra material. But we'll take the extra grams over a freezing night any day...
Sure, we could have filled our quilts with 900 fill-power down to lighten them up, but that would raise the price a considerable amount... To keep our Light Quilts affordable and as light and premium as possible, we chose to use 800 fill-power instead. It’s still top-shelf insulation, just not as pricey.
Most backpacking quilts have a strap system of sorts to keep the quilt attached around you and your mattress. These straps not only pin you to your mattress but they end up leaving drafty gaps between the attachment points… We’re not into that. Let us introduce you to our 3 oz Fast Sheet instead. By attaching the quilt to the hinged “wings”, you’re free to move around easily—without constriction and without fear of drafts.
Although slightly heavier than straps, at just 3 oz the half-size Fast Sheet offers some serious comfort and versatility that make those extra ounces in the pack a no-brainer. It protects you from drafts, keeps you (and your quilt) on the mattress without adding constriction, holds your pillow in place inside the integrated hood, and adds comfort to your mattress with its smooth 20d Nylon Taffeta body.
Want to add even MORE comfort? Check out our full-length Light Sheets with an insulated hood to keep your noggin warm on cold nights. Light Sheets start at just 8 oz.
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