Considering getting a Cumulus quilt or comforter

Discussion in 'Sleeping Bags & Quilts' started by Jon, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. Jon

    Jon Trekker

    Hi all, I've been looking at upgrading some of my camping equipment that mostly hails back from when I was in the scouts in the early 90s. Found that I'm going camping more recently and I also like getting out with my camera gear. My bag at the moment is probably over 20 years old and a cheapish synthetic one which has no signs of brand model etc as the print on the label has worn off, so I've no idea what its rated for.

    I nearly got a down bag from cumulus just before the brexit vote (would have been cheaper!) but I was a bit skint at the time. I've got an xtherm sleeping pad which I've used once in September and I was amazed how comfortable it was compared to a cheap roll mat. Whilst I was doing research I stumbled upon quilts though I'd dismissed them at the time. A few months on though and given how much I move about the freedom does seem desirable and waking up with the hood of my bag being on top of my face is annoying.

    Experience tells me that I do sleep fairly hot though and I was wondering how comfortable a sleeping pad will be against bare skin? I plan on trying it next time I go but was curious if others already have experience and how they found it.

    My other concern would be about in colder weather if I ended up using an attachment system? They seem to involve having some cords or straps running under you, this again strikes me as something that may be an irritation to lie on.


    Lastly what are peoples thoughts on the quilts vs the comforter? Is the sewn footbox much better than cinching up the end of the comforters? I'm often putting my feet out the bottom zip on my sleeping bag to cool down. I'm leaning towards the comforter as I like the flexibility though they seem to be far less popular.

    I'm also on the fence as to which one to get, I'm pretty short at 5'6" so don't think the L ones are necessary. Price between the M350 or M400 is negligible. I'd like to put my money towards something that's going to offer use for most of it not all year. Would the M400 (or the even theM350) be workable in winter given my xtherm and the use of layered up clothing? I've not got any experience of winter camping usually Easter through to end of October, but if the option is there in the future I don't want to rule it out. Saving over a litre of pack space and 50g of weight between the two leaves me undecided...

    If it matters I live on the south coast and more often than not end up camping around Dorset, tends to be a bit warmer down here than further up north! Thanks!
  2. Arne L.

    Arne L. Section Hiker

    I own a Comforter M350, so...

    I own an Xlite and I don't like the fabric against the bare skin. I'm a fairly warm sleeper and it feels clammy for me. I reckon a Xtherm will even feel warmer...

    At the moment I use an Exped-pad, which feels far more comfortable against the skin.

    Do you own a bivy or a double wall shelter? I don't really bother with attachments-system (I don't think they are efficient), but my quilt is fairly wide. A bivy or a shelter with a (semi)solid-inner wil eliminate drafts.

    If necessary, I can close up my quilt and use it as a (narrow) sleeping bag. But I've never used that option.

    I bought the comforter because of the flexibility. My experience is you can't close it up ALL the way; there's always a very tiny hole where drafts could enter. But it never bothered me, to be honest.

    I sewed in a short zipper in order to be able to close up the footbox more easily. A very easy mod at a small weight penalty.

    A sewn footbox should be more suited for colder climates. I took the M350 to below freezing point (wearing light wool baselayers) and was never cold, on the contrary. Footbox was closed. Once again: warm sleeper. If you are a warm sleeper, the M350 would suffice, but... it will never be a true winter bag. Might be better to combine the M350 with a light Climashield Apex-quilt in winter for a more versatile setup.

    BUT... I don't use the M350 anymore. Most of my hiking is in relatively damp environments. During a trip in France (late autumn, temps around freezing) the bag lost a huge amount of loft in just two nights. To be honest, I'm not sure anything would have worked in those circumstances since it was foggy and raining the whole time, but it made me lose my faith in down. Or maybe I was just clumsy :rolleyes:

    One other disadvantage (for me) was that the down tends to shift completely to the sides during the night. I move a lot during the night and that resulted in absolutely no down on top of me...

    I use a synthetic quilt now (As Tucas Sestrals Blanket). While it's not as warm for it's weight as down or as compact, it has no cold spots, dries extremely fast and just works better... for me. :)

    But: you can't go wrong with Cumulus. They're extremely good value. Also, check out their top quilts:

    They are made for hammocking but I'm sure they work for 'ground dwellers' as well. The vertical baffle system should make sure the down stays in place.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
    Lady Grey, Mole, edh and 1 other person like this.
  3. Jon

    Jon Trekker

    Thanks Arne, great helpful feedback. I've got a double wall tent (naturehike hubba hubba copy).

    Interesting regarding the down not staying on top, I'll check out the top quilts. Anyone else had the same problem?

    I'm in no rush to buy as I want to try my bag opened up as a quilt first.
    Arne L. likes this.
  4. liamarchie

    liamarchie Ultralighter

    Well i went through a similar process to you. I wanted to try out a quilt after weighing things up, and went and bought the 450 quilt. The closed footbox of the quilt just seemed easier than the comforter, and i couldnt think of a time i'd want such a warm comforter, but completely opened up like a duvet. My shelter would never afford me that much room to spread it completely out like i was in bed at home.

    Tried it once and decided very quickly nope, not for me. I move too much when sleeping and takes me a while to fall asleep, so i just found it to be too much faffing around to get insulated each time i moved around a bit. I'm a side sleeper, and tend to sleep cold as well which isnt ideal with a quilt i found. Having to cinch things down, each time i moved to stop drafts was annoying and detrimental to my rest.

    I sold that, and bought a Panyam sleeping bag instead. Used it a few times now and i'm a lot more pleased with it and sleeping more soundly than ever. Really warm for the weight, and i get it and forget about trying to keep warm.

    quality on both items is great, so cant really go wrong with the company.
    el manana likes this.
  5. Noltae

    Noltae Summit Camper

    Also looking at a Cumulus Quilt - Probably the 250 - I've been wondering about the width ? They look like they're perhaps quite narrow ? Can anyone concur ? Too narrow would be a problem as a side sleeper . .
  6. liamarchie

    liamarchie Ultralighter

    Width wasnt an issue for me, plenty of quilt to go around. Though im 5'8, 150lbs, so not a lot of me for the quilt to cover. Bigger guys might struggle
  7. Arne L.

    Arne L. Section Hiker

    They are open to custom work, drop them a mail. :)
    theoctagon likes this.
  8. Noltae

    Noltae Summit Camper

    I guess i need to be a little more empirical and perhaps take the measurements of website and work it out - been meaning to for a while . .
  9. Jon

    Jon Trekker

    Thanks for the input Liam, guess the only way to know if I'll get on with one is to try it!

    I'd be interested to hear what you think if you get one Noltae.
  10. Chris2901

    Chris2901 Section Hiker

    I was in contact with them guys a while ago. Customization and pricing were very reasonable.
  11. Brian

    Brian Hiker

    Hi Jon. I purchased a Cumulus Quilt 250 this time last year. I started using it in early May 2016 and I continued to use it through to mid September 2016. I live in Denmark and used it on trips in Denmark and the south of Sweden. Cumulus rate it with a comfort temperature of 4 degrees. When I first started using it in early May 2016 it was a bit too cold with temps around 3-4 degrees. I made a mental note to myself that I would start using it again this year 2017 when the night temps are around 5-6 degrees. The attachment system with the cords is simple but worked well. I only used the cord system when it was cooler. During June, July and August I removed the cords and only used the quilt. This was also convenient when the temps were higher as I could just hang my feet out of the quilt and adjust the position of the quilt on my body so I could sleep comfortably. I used it together with a Therm-A-Rest Neoair XLite. I didn't think it uncomfortable to sleep on the pad against my skin to answer your question. You could also put the pad in a silk inner bag if it bothered you. I never user the inner bags myself. I had never used quilts before but the transition was an easy one and I would recommend this quilt as a good buy.
    Lady Grey, theoctagon and Shewie like this.
  12. Jon

    Jon Trekker

    Thanks Brian, that was very helpful.
  13. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    I've used mine down to -2C wearing full base layer & micro fleece. I did have it clipped to the Xlite (short) via the Zpacks stick on mitten hooks.
  14. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    I've got the 150 for summer use. Found it comfortable (5'10 / 13st)
    In the summer I didn't much like sleeping directly on my multimat superlight air so have invested in lightweight based layers to sleep in <200g. Bag liner was an option but the Base layers are duel use incase of a cold snap so went with them. Another option could be to kam snap some lightweight comfortable material to the bottom of the quilt?!
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  15. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker

    I've had my Cumulus 250 Quilt (250Q) since August 2015 and it was my second quilt. I was a confirmed sleeping bag user until 2012 and still use them occasionally but mostly I now use quilts.

    I've have used the 250Q down to around -3C, wearing light clothing (microgrid fleece myog pants/T-shirt, socks and a lightweight beanie), inside a Borah Gear side zipper ultralight bivy (M90) and under a TrailStar or DuoMid.

    Without the bivy and inside a single skin shelter I'd say the quilt is comfortable for me down to around 2C in regular shorts and T-shirt. Obviously, this is my personal experience. Usually I use the quilt with a NeoAir Trekker mattress. As I wear at minimum shorts and a T-shirt very little of my skin is in contact with the mattress (bare arms and the top of my thighs is all) so it's never bothered me.

    I'm 1.78m tall and Medium build. The enclosed footbox section of the 250Q comes about halfway up my thighs and the quilt is long enough that it will cover my head, though I don't do that.

    I attach the quilt to the mattress differently, as shown below. There are three pairs of attachment loops on the 250Q, normally I use only two pairs. The first pair of attachment loops are situated just above the enclosed footbox section, 0.9m from the end of the quilt and I have tied (semi-permanently) a 20cm length of the Cumulus supplied bungee cord to these (knots, no cordlocks etc.). This bungee cord goes over the mattress, it's purpose is just to help keep the quilt shape around my backside area. I then have another 35cm length of bungee cord tied to the second pair of attachment loops that are 1.2m from the bottom of the quilt. This cord goes under the mattress (as shown below). For me, I don't need any other cord attachments. The loops at 1.2m are about halfway up my torso and I find that just using this attachment gives me freedom to move around in my sleep and also to sit up without any hindrance. The 35cm of bungee cord is enough to just pull that part of the quilt slightly under the mattress and keep out any draughts. I actually sleep on my side and contrary to the diagram below, the quilt does not levitate ;) it just drapes very comfortably IME over me and provides full-coverage. Since I don't tie cord to the third pair of attachment loops, the top section of the quilt is free so I can either pull it around me or fold it down depending on the temperature.


    As mentioned this is my second quilt. The first was my myog Climashield Apex quilt. I originally made this as a comforter with bungee / cordlock to create a footbox. After some early Spring use I found this system really inefficient, I tried plugging the gap but my feet were always cold. So I re-jigged that quilt, made an elliptical shaped footbox and stitched together the sides of the quilt to form a sleeping bag-like lower section. After using that for a year, I was happy enough that the footbox worked for me and then bought the 250Q, which of course has the same basic design.

    Hope this is useful to you.
  16. Noltae

    Noltae Summit Camper

  17. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    Put a sock in it.
    Shewie, Arne L., Teepee and 2 others like this.
  18. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker


    Plug that hole;

    Shewie likes this.
  19. Jan Paul

    Jan Paul Day Walker

    I have a Cumulus Lite Line down sleeping bag and had the same problem with condensation as Arne L. had. During a two day hike with high humidity, lots of rain and cold nights the down seemed to collapse due to condensation. The bag was warm during most of the night but got cold in the morning. I was considering an extra lightweight Apex quilt but that would add ad least something like 300 to 350 grams to my 650 gram Lite Line. And that is a pity, because the Lite Line is warm enough as long as it stays dry. Adding a lightweight down sleeping bag to a lightweight synth quilt is the way to go, according to some reviewers, but I find using to bags every night to be quite complicated. I'm ordering a M350 now, but with hydrophobic down. I've seen quite a lot of reviews of people wearing jackets with hydrophobic down that keep them warm even when wet. According to some reviewers it combines the advantages of synthetic with the advantages of down. Warm even when damp, light and small. And it dries quicker as well when wet. Extra cost is something like 15%. Enlightened Equipment make all their down quilts with Down Tek, as a matter of fact.
    Arne L. likes this.
  20. andreostergard

    andreostergard Trail Blazer

    I agree with Graham, I have the same quilt and my experience is the same.
    I'd buy another '250 if mine broke.

    There's some more information written here on my blog and also some really good comments from followers that also owns the same model.
    FOX160 and Mole like this.
  21. Vicky SF

    Vicky SF Day Walker

    Hi lads,

    I have found this old forum recently, when looking for another reviews of my comforter over time. I hope you don't mind me answering, for other people that might google it and find this. I have purchased my Cumulus M400 a year ago. I have since used in various temperatures ranging from 0 Celsius in late October to 17 Celsius in August, hammock & tent camping, and I love the versatility. In summer I can sleep naked under it, spread out like a blanket, in late autumn and early spring I am wearing merino base layer. However, I LOATH the strap system.

    The first time I have used it, it was in early May, and it was the cold night, mainly because I was too exhausted to struggle with straps. I have had a very hard day of backpacking behind me, and I was too sick to eat. We camped in a very damp forest near the water, and I have made a mistake not to strap the comforter to sleeping mat as soon as possible. I have struggled with it right before sleep, until I gave up, and just covered myself with it unstrapped. It was a very cold night for me, and I hardly slept a wink. The second night I didn't repeat my mistakes and I slept super warm and cozy, in fact, I slept so tight, that when the deer herds were running through the camp or screaming randomly in a meadow, I didn't bat an eye.

    Since then I have tweaked the comforter system and never had a bad night. It's super easy. Buy a strap called "buttonhole elastic". Cut three or four pieces of it, sew the two ends of each straps together so it fits very snugly over a sleeping mat. I have measured mine so one goes under my neck, one above my waist, one next to my hips and one around my knees. You can put more if you want. Next you take your comforter, and sew fairly large flat buttons on the loops of your comforter to match the position of the straps. I was worried at first that I am going to feel the buttons when sleeping, or that they are going to break and pierce the sleeping mat, but I don't feel them at all. If you are worried about them breaking, choose ones made from deer horns. Now I can put my sleeping mat on the ground or into the hammock, button up one side, cover myself and button up the other side. I can partially or fully open the comforter by unbuttoning it whenever, and the elastic keeps everything in place even when I toss and turn. I have never had any draft with this setup. You can tweak any quilt or comforter like this.

    Some people sew buttons on the sleeping pad to keep the straps from sliding, but I have found that since I no longer need to slide inside my comforter (like I would have to with the strap system), I can just slip the straps on and they stays put - just make sure it is a very tight fit. This also means you can put your straps on another sleeping pad with similar proportions.

    I was inspired by the video below, the guy has sewn the straps directly on the pad, which is something I don't really feel comfortable with.
    kvragu, Baldy, cathyjc and 1 other person like this.
  22. kvragu

    kvragu Trail Blazer

    Quick question about the comforter - from the pictures, it looks like there are a few loops at the footbox that could close it up somewhat. Is this the case or is it just the cinch cord at the end?
  23. Jon

    Jon Trekker

    It just cinches closed at the end. The gap is very small though and you can always stuff a pair of socks to fill it if really desired.
    kvragu likes this.
  24. kvragu

    kvragu Trail Blazer

    Just satisfying my curiosity - people reported having the down shift to the sides on comforters. Not so with the new quilts that also have horizontal baffles. Could it be user error or are the comforters underfilled? Maybe it's about the difference in attachment (laying on the edges wouldn't allow the down to shift whereas side attachment would)?

    I really like the L500's size and price, why I'm asking.
  25. dovidola

    dovidola Thru Hiker

    I had the same question a few months ago - well, two questions actually - quilt or comforter, and 350 or 450? I even wrote to Cumulus asking for their view on the merits/demerits of each. It became apparent to me that the comforter offered me no real advantage over the quilt, which was lighter for the same level of warmth. Very satisfied so far with my Cumulus 350, and no problem sleeping on a bare pad as I wear a full length baselayer for sleeping. If I anticipate colder 3-season temperatures I'll take my XTherm instead of my XLite and wear an extra layer.

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