REPOST OR - Jacks "R" Better OLD RAG MOUNTAIN QUILT - Ed Morse
- Richard, here is the revised text version.
The HTML version should be found at: http://tinyurl.com/752h98a
I hope I fixed everything, most were easy. The last one was a little more
difficult See what you think.
Jacks "R" Better OLD RAG MOUNTAIN QUILT
BY EDWIN MORSE
April 10, 2012
NAME: Edwin Morse
EMAIL: ed dot morse at charter dot net
LOCATION: Grawn, Michigan USA
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 145 lb (65.80 kg)
I started backpacking in 1979 with two weeks in northern Michigan along the
Lake Superior shore. My gear was cheap, heavy and sometimes painful. My
starting pack weight was 70 lb (32 kg) with food but no water. Since then I
have made one and two week trips in Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire and
Pennsylvania. A few years ago I did a 2-week hike on Isle Royale, Michigan,
western Lake Superior. Starting pack weight was 32 lbs (14.5 kg), including
10 days of food and 3 L of water. I'm slowly learning what lighter gear
Manufacturer: Jacks 'R' Better, LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE -
MSRP: US$ 299.95
I have the Regular size at 78 in by 48 in (198 cm by 122 cm) with 800 fill
power goose down the only one sold in 2008
Now they have the Long size at 86 in by 48 in (218 cm by 122 cm)
Now both sizes are also available with 900 fill power goose down, at extra
cost, of course
Listed Weight: 25 oz (709 g)
Measured Weight: 26.2 oz (743 g), includes full length Omnitape
Listed Dimensions: 78 in (198 cm) by 48 in (122 cm)
Measured Dimensions: 78 in (198 cm) by 48 in (122 cm)
Listed Loft: 3.5 in (8.9 cm)
Listed Temperature Rating: 5 F to 10 F (-15 C to -12 C)
The Old Rag Mtn I purchased is a continuous baffled 48 in by 78 in (122 cm
by 198 cm) rectangular quilt with down insulation. There is a draw string
with cord locks at both head and foot end. There is a fabric loop at each of
the four corners. The picture below both a corner loop and a cord lock on
the draw string. The orange stuff sack is just for color contrast.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "loop and cord lock at corner" IMAGE CAPTION
= "corner loop and cord lock">>
There is a fabric loop on the left side (if I'm lying on my back) 25 in (64
cm) up from the bottom.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "loop on left side" IMAGE CAPTION = "left
Also on the left side and 18 in (46 cm) down from the top is a flat string
that extends 8 in (20 cm) out from the edge of the quilt. On the right side,
24 in (61 cm) down from the top is another fabric loop. The next picture
shows both the fabric loop on the right and the flat string on the left
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "string on left and fabric loop on right"
IMAGE CAPTION = "string and loop">>
I ordered the quilt with their Omni-tape already applied. This hook-and-loop
type tape is along the bottom of the quilt on both sides. It also extends
six inches (15 cm) in from the corner along the foot end of the quilt. As
shown in the pictures, the top of the quilt is bright green and the bottom
I always hang the quilt up to air out when I return from a hike. The
continuous baffles can be seen in the next picture. <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT
TEXT = "hanging to dry after hike" IMAGE CAPTION = "hanging to dry">>
My first real use of the quilt was a week-long 70 mile (113 km) hike on the
High Country Pathway in northeast Lower Michigan in late July 2008. Here is
a picture from the fourth day of the hike. The quilt is just visible in the
tent. This was a warm weather hike with nights seldom below 65 F (18 C) and
days generally getting above 80 F (27 C).
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "camp off trail" IMAGE CAPTION = "off the
High Country Pathway">>
I did several two and three day hikes the remainder of 2008. In February
2009 I hiked about 70 miles (113 km) through the Ocala National Forest on
the Florida Trail. Here is a picture in the evening of the second day.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Hidden Pond area" IMAGE CAPTION = "Florida
Trail Ocala National Forest">>
Early the next morning the temperature dropped down to 22 F (-6 C). I
checked the temperature while still lying in the hammock and was surprised
at how cold it was since I was warm and comfortable. I could not find my
notes but I do remember the low temperature was 22 F (-6 C) early the third
morning and 88 F (31 C) the last afternoon I was hiking. The second day of
hiking it rained so hard my camera got wet and died.
In April 2009 I did several overnight hikes preparing for a longer hike.
In May 2009 I joined three other hikers for part of the Superior Hiking
Trail starting at Judge Magney State Park in Minnesota. Here is a picture of
one of my tents with the quilt visible inside.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "night before the hike start" IMAGE CAPTION =
"Judge Magney State Park">>
Here is another picture later at night from inside the tent.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "a few hours later at night" IMAGE CAPTION =
"inside and in use">>
We hiked in a northerly direction five days to where we had left more food
near the intersection of the Border Route Trail. I switched to a different
tent at that time. Here is a picture of the second tent with the quilt just
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "ready for the night" IMAGE CAPTION = "on the
Border Route Trail">>
I hang the quilt to dry whenever I can. The quilt is just visible above my
tent in this next picture.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "quilt hung to air behind tent" IMAGE CAPTION
= "airing out">>
We hiked in a westerly direction on the Border Route Trail to the
intersection with the Kekekabic Trail. Another hiker joined us at Gunflint
Lodge to hike the Kekekabic Trail. The weather on this 15-day hike varied
from hard blown snow and 25 F (-4 C) to a nice sunny 75 F (24 C) . Both the
Border Route Trail and the Kekekabic Trail were often flooded and we
frequently had to climb over, around, through or under fallen trees.
In June of 2009 I went with a group from the Grand Traverse Hiking Club for
four days' hiking on South Manitou Island in Lake Michigan.
In September 2009 a friend and I started what was planned to be a week hike
along the Lake Michigan shoreline. We started in the Lake Michigan
Recreation Area and hiked in a northerly direction mostly on the beach. Half
way through the third day I started having leg and hip pains which only got
worse. We caught a ride to a campground in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National
Lakeshore. I hiked into the village of Honor the next day and called my wife
to come and take me home.
The next outing was an overnight hike May 2010 in the Manistee National
Forest in Michigan. The weather was clear and cool. The temperature varied
from the high of 56 F (13 C) when I started hiking down to 34 F (1 C) early
in the morning. This 21 mi (34 km) hike is a popular loop combining the
Manistee River Trail and a 10 mile (16 km) section of the North Country
I did a short overnight hike early June 2010 in the Manistee National
Forest. This was a planned trail work day for a local chapter of the North
Country Trail Association (NCTA). I started hiking, mostly bushwhacking
after everyone else left the area. The rain started just as I finished
hanging the hammock tarp. The high temperature was 66 F (19 C) under cloudy
skies with a low in the morning rain of 54 F (12 C). I could stay dry
cooking and eating under the tarp.
I did another overnight hike after a trail work day a week later, again in
the Manistee National Forest. The planned work was completed early so I
still hiked over 10 miles (16 km) each day. The weather stayed clear with a
high of 78 F (26 C) and a low of 44 F (7 C).
I did a three-day hike mid July 2010 in the Manistee National Forest. The
weather varied from a sunny high of 85 F (29 C) the first afternoon to a
hard rain and 55 F (13 C) by the time I reached the Jeep the last morning.
My next backpacking was three-day group hike in Wisconsin early August 2010
the as part of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) annual meeting.
The weather varied from a cool 60 F (16 C) and light rain to warm and sunny
85 F (29 C).
I did a three-day hike May 2011. The sunny day changed to heavy clouds after
a high of 85 F (29 C) in late afternoon. I just got my gear put way for the
night when a light rain started that lasted most of the night.
The next day (May 22, 2011) after a low of 54 F (12 C) I hiked on to camp at
Sand Lakes for the night with 14.5 miles (23.4 km) for the second day. The
temperature reached a high of 85 F (29 C) again. I had all gear put away
and was watching the lightening get closer after sunset. Before the
lightening got close the hard rain storm got to my area. I got myself
inside. Not much I could do but zip the door shut and read a book - and hope
the lightening hit elsewhere.
USAGE, THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS
The Old Rag Mtn quilt is really too warm for much of the hiking I do. When I
purchased the quilt Jacks R Better did not provide a temperature rating,
just the loft. If I had seen a temperature rating of 5 to 10 F (-15 to (-15
to -12 C) I might have looked for something with less insulation. I've used
a variety of different pads for comfort and warmth, including automobile
windshield reflectors in the hammock. I always include a sleeping bag liner
with my sleeping gear. My practice is to shake out the quilt as soon as the
tent or hammock is up. Once the pad, mattress or whatever is ready I spread
the quilt so it will loft as much as it can.
When I did the first hike with the quilt on the High Country Pathway I often
started the night by just covering my feet with the quilt. Generally by
early morning I would pull the quilt over me so I was loosely covered.
When the weather is warm I often push the quilt aside so it covers my feet
with just the silk liner over the rest of me. As I get cooler I will pull
the quilt over me like a blanket. When it gets cold I tighten the bottom
cord and form a snug footbox using the Omni-tape to hold it shut at the
bottom.I'm a cold sleeper. As it gets colder I will add long johns, a wool
or fleece shirt and a knit hat or hood. Then when cold and windy I pull the
sides of the quilt under my body and tighten to top cord.
I learned the good and bad about continuous baffles the first cold night I
was out. Somehow most of the down had shifted to the sides of the quilt.
When I started to get really cold I had to find out why. There was almost no
down in the middle of the quilt. When I had aired the quilt after the
previous hike I had hung it lengthwise on the line so the down just fell
down. After some experimenting I found I could shake the down and make it
thick or thin where ever I wanted. I have learned that I get a lot of
temperature adjustment by moving the down one way or the other. On warm
nights I can work the down toward the sides. When the temperature drops I
can shift more down toward the middle area so my body is covered by thicker
My feet get cold very easily even at home. It still seems odd that the few
cold nights in Florida I was very comfortable. The first three mornings we
hiked in Minnesota I complained about cold feet. One of the other hikers
said he had a pair of wool socks I could use nights if I would carry them
the rest of the hike. I was quick to agree. Thick, soft and heavy wool socks
are great for sleeping. No more cold feet at night on that hike. Since that
hike I've always carried either heavy wool socks or down booties for cold
The Minnesota hike started out rather cold and keeping my hands and feet
warm was a problem. By the last few days it was more like summer, then
mosquitoes and black flies became the concerns. Early nights I wore nearly
all the clothes I had, except the clothes I hiked in, including a hooded
shirt and a knit hat, and I pulled the quilt as close around me as possible.
The last few nights I just wore clean underwear to sleep in and by morning I
might pull the quilt over me.
The nights on South Manitou Island would be warm in late evening and down
near freezing by sun rise. I would start the night with just my feet
covered. By morning I added wool socks and a knit hat, soon I would have the
quilt pulled snug and tight all around. Most of the adjusting I did without
When hiking my down quilt is packed in a nearly waterproof stuff sack. Then
it goes inside a heavy duty trash bag in the bottom of my pack. Anything
else that must stay dry also goes in the trash bag. When the rain starts I
add a sylnylon pack cover. I have never had my sleeping gear and extra
clothes get wet. Even the 24 hour rain in Florida that killed my camera and
made my GPS sick for several hours did not get my quilt wet.
When I purchase new gear I always look for and hope I get long life and
durability. The Old Rag Mtn quilt has not been a disappointment. I can see
no signs of wear. Occasionally a small piece of down has worked its way
through the fabric but this has not happened very often. When I think about
it, the Old Rag Mtn quilt has been a very durable piece of backpacking gear
What I Like:
Basically a simple design which leads to;
adaptability and flexibility.
By using clothes that I carry anyway I can adjust to much colder
temperatures than I like.
The light weight.
What I Don't Like:
I miss the pillow pocket of the last sleeping bag I sold. I'm still working
on a solution.
Sometimes I get a cold breeze when I roll over.
The simple design requires thinking to find the most acceptable solution for
I really have to dig to find something not to like.
Edwin (Ed) Morse
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
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