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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Quilts and Blankets > MontBell - Down Sleeping Wrap 2 Long > Test Report by Coy Ray StarnesMontBell Down Sleeping Wrap #2 Long
Test series by Coy Starnes
Initial Report: May 29, 2020
Field Report: August 13, 2020
Long Term Report: November 4, 2020
I live in Northeast Alabama. I enjoy biking, hunting, fishing, and kayaking. I hike throughout the year and actually hike less in the hot humid months of summer. My style is slow and steady and my gear is light. However, I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability. A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food or water.
Initial Report: May 29, 2020
I’ll call the MontBell Down Sleeping Wrap #2 Long a quilt throughout the review. With a 25 F to 35 F (-4 C to 2 C) rating the quilt is what would be considered a 3-season quilt. Of course this depends on the individual as some sleep cold while others sleep hot under similar conditions. The website indicates that there are three ways to use the quilt. As a blanket it is just left fully open. As a sleeping bag it is snapped together to mimic a zippered sleeping bag, only the snaps don’t even come halfway up the bag and the straps are much further apart. I tried using it like a mummy bag and there was no way it would have snapped around my body, not even close. This clearly demonstrates how much material is saved vs a normal mummy bag by not having the quilt wide enough to wrap completely around the person. Honestly, if I wanted to use it as a sleeping bag I would just get a zippered model. And finally over a pad. This is basically how I will use it except not on a pad since I am a certified hammock junkie. Interestingly, there is no mention of using it in a hammock. Here is how the quilt looks the way I will use it, only upside down.
The quilt is the same width at the head and foot ends, in other words, it is fully rectangular. The quilt utilizes box baffle construction and each quilted square is approximately 8 x 10 in (20 x 25 cm). There are nine total snaps on the quilt. One snap is at the head end. There are seven snaps along the sides near the lower end of the quilt. There is an extra snap at the foot end that is very close to the last side snap but along the bottom edge. I think this is just there to help keep the foot end closed. The snaps along the sides are approximately 6 in (15 cm) apart and come up the side approximately 34 in (86 cm) from the foot end. Approximately 17 in (43 cm) above that is the lower strap. The top strap is approximately 16 in (41 cm) on up the side which leaves it approximately 15 in (38 cm) from the top of the quilt. The straps can be tucked out of the way when not needed. In a hammock I only need to fasten the snaps up as far as my knees so for me the top two snaps are not needed. The foot box is formed by using the lower snaps and cinching the foot end drawstring tight.
I just tuck the rest of the quilt around but not really under my body and around my shoulders. This leaves my head exposed. This is pretty typical of quilts so some form of head covering is needed depending on temperatures expected. Technically, this long version is long enough to cover my face but this is not ideal as it potentially wets the down. The down in the bag is described as EX down but as far as I can tell it is not treated to be water resistant. The outer shell has a DWR coating (they call it POLKATEX DWR) but I’m not sure if the underside is treated, probably not. The underside is a grey color but the materials on either side feels about the same to me. The stuff sack appears to made of the same material as the quilt. For some reason it has a secondary drawstring just below the one at the open end. The bag comes with a storage sack that looks like a pillow case with a drawstring top.
Care and warranty
The care instructions are printed on a tag inside the stuff sack. They basically say to hand wash the bag in a tub or large sink using an appropriate down cleaning product. Rinse several times and then carefully push down on the bag to remove excess water. Next, place in a large capacity dryer and dry on the lowest setting. Then hang and air dry for several more days to assure it is complete dry.
The warranty basically says that MontBell will repair any product due to faulty materials or workmanship. Normal wear and tear, accidental damage etc are not covered but the product can be repaired by MontBell for a reasonable charge.
Without sounding too corny, this quilt is SWEEEET! But more specifically, having owned a couple of MontBell jackets, the construction is impeccable, exactly what I was expecting. The lightweight fabrics and 800 fill power down make the quilt feel feathery, so much so that it seems to defy its ability to keep me warm (subject to verification through testing). After leaving the quilt spread out a few hours I tried to measure the loft and came up with approximately 2.75 in (7 cm). Keep in mind that when most bags state loft they are counting both top and bottom layers. I am really curious to see how the 10-denier Ballistic Airlight nylon is in terms of keeping any down from poking through. It is said to be more abrasion resistant and having greater tear strength than similar weight materials.
Yep, I said fit. Any sleeping arrangement needs to fit the intended user. Note: I used a pad for my photos because it is much easier to show the quilt in use on a pad as opposed to in a hammock. My body dimensions are in my bio above. but it’s no secret, I’m not a skinny guy. Anyways, a quilt that is too narrow or too short will leave the user experiencing cold drafts. A sleeping bag that is too big can be cooler because there is extra space inside to heat but this is not really the case with a quilt, however, it is extra weight to carry. This quilt is just about perfect in size for my body but I could probably make do with the regular length. I wouldn’t want it any narrower. In the photo at the beginning of my report I was lying flat on my back and could easily tuck the sides under myself. Side sleeping can be a little more challenge if the quilt isn’t wide enough but I have already experimented with it and can roll on my side without any gaps on either side of my body. From personal experience I find a quilt used in a hammock can be slightly narrower than one used on a pad but I like that this one is wide enough for use on a pad if needed. Here is a photo of me on my side.
For anyone not familiar with using quilts for backpacking, they have been around a long time. I’m pretty sure nomadic caveman (and women) sewed fur pelts into quilts, but I’m not sure what term they used to describe them. Once mankind learned to make yarn, wool blankets were often used. However, when "modern" sleeping bags became popular, quilts seem to have disappeared from the backpacking scene. Ray (and Jenny) Jardine can probably be credited with bringing the idea of making quilts with modern lightweight materials back into the limelight. Quilts are still not as popular as mummy bags but have seen a great resurgence in the past several years. A big part of this is the booming popularity of using hammocks for backpacking. I know personally from using both mummy bags and quilts in a hammock, the quilt is worlds better. And for the record, most hammockers refer to them as top quilts. Of course under quilts are a big part of the equation but beyond the scope of this review. This concludes my Initial Report.
Field Report: August 13, 2020
Testing Locations and Conditions
All testing so far has been on local trails near my home in Northeast Alabama. I used the MontBell Down Sleeping Wrap #2 Long on two overnight hikes and both nights were in a hammock using an underquilt. The weather was decent for testing a quilt on the June 1st overnighter. The high was 66 F (19 C) and the low was 54 F (12 C). I hiked approximately 4 miles (6 km) total with about 600 ft (183 m) elevation gain during the hike. This turned out to be the coolest night I would have an opportunity to test the thermal effectiveness of the quilt even though I never really needed to fully wrap myself under the quilt. My second overnighter on August 11th was much warmer. The high was 88 F (31 C) and the low was 71 F (22 C). It was also very humid at around 90% humidity. I ended up just placing the quilt under my legs for the entire night. I hiked approximately 7 miles (11 km) and gained about 1200 ft (366 m) altitude during this hike.
Field Test Results
There is no way around the fact that MontBell Down Sleeping Wrap #2 is more suited for cool weather sleeping. And by cool, I mean at least under 50 F (10 C). MontBell makes an almost identical quilt (the # 5) that would have been much more suited for the temperatures I have encountered so far during this test. Having said that, I’d rather have a quilt that was too warm than one that isn’t warm enough. The first scenario can be a little uncomfortable and aggravating but the second could be dangerous, even deadly.
On my June 1st overnighter I placed my feet inside the footbox long enough to get a photo. However, this was way warmer than I could stand so I started the night off by placing the quilt partially under my knees with the rest of the quilt placed beside me. It was fairly windy but I was actually hot for the first several hours during the night. I was awakened by some deer at around 3 AM. This startled me but after I realized what the noise was, I was able to go back to sleep. But before doing so I took a minute to assess how I was feeling, and while not chilly, I was cool enough that I pulled the quilt over my bare legs, but not with my feet inside the footbox. I should have unsnapped the footbox area but was able to cover my legs enough just draping the lower end over them. My feet were partially sticking out but I often sleep with my feet uncovered at home. I was sleeping in gym shorts and a light cotton t-shirt. About an hour later I woke up again and pulled the top part of the quilt over my chest area. I did not tuck the quilt at all. My feet were still outside the footbox and my arms were outside the quilt, resting over my chest. I woke up about an hour later and was feeling pretty warm, warmer than I prefer, but not unbearably hot.
Unfortunately, from this point on, the weather rapidly turned much warmer. Due to the hot weather and spider webs along the trail, even my dayhiking trips in the woods were limited. I spent more time riding my bike and walking the road with my wife, usually early in the morning. However, I decided I would try the quilt one more time during the Field Test. I would check the forecast often but kept seeing predictions of lows of around 70 F (21 C). I finally just bit the bullet and planned an overnight hike on August the 11th. I actually planned to go on the 10th but there were severe storms in the overnight forecast. We lost power for a few hours at home and a tornado did touch down in Claysville, only a few miles from me. Anyways, on the 11th the forecast was for clear weather and a low of 71F (22 C). I left the house around 5 PM which gave me plenty of time to hike the 2 miles (3 km) down to the creek behind my house. I set up camp with plenty of daylight left so hiked up the other side of the mountain wearing a small running pack I carried just for this type use. I got back to camp all sweaty and cooled off by holding my head under a small waterfall. I then waded into the swimming hole up to my waist. This made my clothes wet enough that I actually was quite comfortable despite the warm temperatures and high humidity. I ate my beef jerky and a couple of pears I had brought and just relaxed listening to the sound of the small waterfalls right below my campsite. By the time I turned in for the night my clothes were almost completely dry and it felt pretty good but there was no way I was getting under my quilt. I spent the entire night with the quilt under my knees because it was too hot to even have it beside me. I slept OK considering the oppressive heat, but honestly, I missed not having a little cover over me. In the past, under similar conditions, I have used a 55 F (13 C) rated quilt, but even it is too warm for nights this warm. So basically, my findings on this particular trip were of no value in evaluating the performance of the MontBell Down Sleeping Wrap #2 Long.
Thoughts so far
I can’t wait for cooler weather so I can actually use the quilt in more appropriate conditions. All I can really say for now is that the size is great for a big guy like me and the quilt is definitely good down to 54 F (12 C). Too good in fact. I expect several more weeks of hot weather but with a little luck it will cool down quite a bit by mid September. This concludes my Field Report.
Long Term Report: November 4, 2020
Testing Locations and Conditions
Due to continued warm weather I’ve only had a couple of opportunitys to test the quilt in conditions anywhere close to the lower limits of the quilt. The first was on October 16th when the low hit 39 F (4 C). Unfortunately, my knee was giving me fits and I had to work the next day. I did the next best thing I could which was testing it in my back yard with an alarm set for 4:30 AM. The skies were clear and there was a slight breeze blowing. I think the slight breeze kept any frost from forming as I witnessed no frost the next morning on the grass and then a little later on my truck windows. My next overnighter was on November 1. My knee was no better but I managed to hike about a quarter of a mile (.4 km) into some woods near home. The low this night dropped to 34 F (1 C) Again, very little wind but this time there was a heavy frost which I noticed on the grass in my yard and then on the car window when we left the house at 6:45 AM to go vote. I did set up camp one other time. On October 7th my son-in-law and his 4-year old decided to camp out. Unfortunately, at about 10 PM the coyotes started howling and the 4-year old decided we should go home. We did explain to him that we were actually safe but it was natural to get scared at times. After he started crying we decided it was best to go home instead of forcing him to stay out all night. It was only going to drop down to around 60 F (16 C) so I didn’t lose a good testing opportunity.
Long Term Test Results
The Long Term Report due date came and went without any weather colder than the 54 F (12 C) I had already experienced. However, a few days later we had our first real cold snap with a low of 39 F (4 C). As already mentioned, I tested the bag out in my back yard. Since I have no good hammock trees handy and there was no rain in the forecast I decided to use a cot and not set up a tent. My cot is thinly padded so I carried a self-inflating mattress out with me but started the night on just the cot. I decided to wear some thin sweat pants and a tee-shirt. I also wore a balaclava but no socks. My phone said the temperature was 48 F (9 C) at around 10 PM when I tuned in for the night. The cot felt slightly cool on my backside but I was warm enough to go to sleep. I woke up at around 1:30 AM and felt slightly cooler than earlier on my backside. I got up and answered nature’s call and then placed the mattress on the cot. It felt cold for a few seconds but quickly warmed up. I soon felt warm all over. I went back to sleep and slept warmly until my alarm rudely awakened me at 4:30 AM. I looked at my phone and it was now saying the temperature was 40 F (4 C). It dropped another degree about 30 minutes later but the official low for my testing this night was 40 F (4 C).
The only think I really noticed during the night was that I pulled the quilt away from my back when I tried lying on my side. I wasn’t really sleepy so I tossed and turned a bit before settling in for good. Anyways, I could feel the cool air creeping in. I was able to tuck it back into position and went to sleep on my side for the first part of the night without any more incidents. When I woke up at 1:30 I was on my back, so apparently I moved while asleep. I laid back down on my back and went right back to sleep for 3 more hours and as far as I know, I didn’t get any drafts. I was nice and warm when I woke up to my alarm. I was especially pleased that my feet stayed warm without any socks on. In weather this cool I typically wear long underwear and socks (or even booties), but this was all while trying to push my summer quilt into service. It worked but it was nice to see the MontBell Down Sleeping Wrap was up to the challenge without having to add additional layers. One thing I did was tie the footbox really snug. I’ve heard people complain about drafts coming in at the footbox of this style quilt as opposed to a sewn footbox. I pulled the drawstring very tight and secured it with a double wrapped shoe tying bow. There was nowhere for air to enter or exit the way I had it tied.
It warmed back up slightly for the next couple of weeks but on November 1 the forecast called for 32 F (0 C). My knee was still giving me fits but I decided I could hike about a quarter of a mile (.4 km) over to some nearby woods if I took it easy. I set up my hammock shortly before sundown at a temperature of 48 F (9 C). I was using my 10 F (-12 C) underquilt so there should be no issue with a cold back. The forecast was for clear skies so I did not put up my tarp. I was wearing Crocs with no socks so by the time I got everything set up my feet were actually cold. I had already eaten supper at home so I settled into my hammock shorty after setting it up and killed a few hours on my phone. The first thing I noticed was that my feet took awhile to warm up, just guessing, but somewhere around 30 minutes. I wore the exact same clothing I did on the October 16th overnighter, so again, no socks. When I decided the go to sleep the temperature had dropped to 40 F (4 C). I woke up around 2 AM to pee and the temperature was 37 F (3 C). While I was up I got a drink from my water bottle that had been resting on the ground and it was like drinking ice-water. My feet did get cold again but this time they warmed up much quicker. I was very warm under the quilt the entire night. My head was warm in the balaclava. I don’t toss and turn in my hammock and never noticed any drafts during the night. I woke up at 5:40 AM for good and the temperature was now reading 34 F (1 C). There was no frost on my bag but there was a small damp area at my chin, probably from my breathing during the night. There was a heavy frost on the grass in my yard which I crossed shorty after packing up.
With only 4 complete nights use I would not expect to see any signs of wear and tear on the quilt. I am also pleased that the snaps which form the footbox appear to be durable and did not come unsnapped when in use. I carefully examined the quilt after every trip and the only thing I noticed was one small feather starting to poke through after the third overnighter. The feather was on the outside and about midway down the quilt so about where my waist is. This is in no way a bad thing unless it were happening regularly and in several places. I will also mention, I normally wear socks even in warm weather. Mainly to protect my sleeping gear from sharp toenails. Now that I’ve used the bag two nights sock-less I will go back to using them year-round.
The MontBell Down Sleeping Wrap # 2 Long is a great 3-season quilt for my normal hiking areas, meaning the mountainous southeastern United States. Quilts in general are just so much easier to get in and out of compared to a mummy sleeping bag, and in a hammock this is amplified many times over. I try not to say I’ll never do something, but I can honestly say, I hope I never have to use a mummy bag again, whether in a hammock or with a pad on the ground, but especially in a hammock. The term "game changer" is often overused, but for a hammock, a quilt truly is a GAME CHANGER!
This concludes my testing of the Montbell Down Sleeping Wrap #2 Long. I would like to thank BackpackGearTest and MontBell for this testing opportunity.
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