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Loco Libre Gear Ghost Pepper Top Quilt Review

manufactured by :
Philip Werner
Version:
1
Price:
230.00

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On October 7, 2016
Last modified:October 13, 2016

Summary:

I'm very pleased with my 20 degree Loco Libre Gear Ghost Pepper top quilt. It's very warm and comfortable to sleep with and the unique chevron baffles do an excellent job at keeping the down from shifting and creating cold spots. This is my second Loco Libre Gear quilt (see my Cayenne Pepper Underquilt Review) and I'm very impressed with the design ingenuity and quality of both of them. If you're looking for a high performing top quilt or underquilt, I recommend you check out Loco Libre Gear.

The Loco Libre Ghost Pepper Quilt has chevron shaped baffles to keep is down insulation from shifting.
The Loco Libre Ghost Pepper Quilt has chevron shaped baffles to keep its down insulation from shifting.

The Loco Libre Gear Ghost Pepper is a down quilt made with a unique chevron style baffle, which limits the amount of down shift by catching it in the corners that the baffle forms every time it changes direction. This eliminates cold spots and means that the down stays on top, where you want it, so you can stay warm. The chevron baffle construction is a unique feature of Loco Libre’s Ghost Pepper quilt and addresses the problem of “down shift” that can occur if your quilt or sleeping bag has continuous baffles.

What are continuous baffles?

What are continuous baffles?

Continuous baffles are fabric tubes filled with down insulation that lets you move the down insulation where you want it, either on the top of a quilt or sleeping bag, or down the sides. Found in high-end lightweight quilts and sleeping bags like those from Feathered Friends or Western Mountaineering, continuous baffles are a highly desirable feature for some people that let’s you move the insulation to the parts of you that are cold. For others, it’s a curse, because the down insulation can shift where you don’t want it to go, creating cold spots.

If you’re a hammock user, you’re mainly going to want to keep the down insulation on top of you, always, which the Loco Libre chevron shaped baffles help accomplish. Hammock users are insulated on the bottom and sides by underquilts or foam pads, making anything except top insulation redundant. If you’re too hot, there’s no need to move the down insulation inside a hammock-style top quilt. Simply move the quilt to the side like a sheet in hot weather.

Closeup of the chevron baffle stitching inside the quilt.
Closeup of the chevron baffle stitching inside the quilt.

Loco Libre Custom Backpacking Quilts

Loco Libre Gear is a custom quilt maker that specializes in hammock quilts, although there’s nothing preventing you from having them make a quilt for ground use. I’ve been using the Ghost Pepper for both quite happily, since it’s gotten colder in New England already and I’ve started tent camping again.

What’s the difference between a hammock quilt and a quilt designed for ground use? Hammock quilts can be narrower and lighter weight because they don’t have to insulate your sides if you use a hammock underquilt or a soft foam pad for back insulation. They also don’t need a sleeping pad attachment system to keep you on a sleeping pad at night, which can be a real pain in the ass in a hammock, depending on how intrusive it is. But you can spec out a quilt that is suitable for both quite easily.

The nice thing about having a custom quilt sewn for you is that you can control every detail in the construction from the amount of insulation used, the type (down or synthetic), amount of overfill, the fabric shell materials, colors, width, length, taper, the shape and style of the footbox, and any accessory features you want. This is an important thing for a lot of people: tall people, short people, big people, people who like specific colors, etc. and there’s often a real performance advantage to having a quilt made for your dimensions and needs instead of buying one off-the-shelf.

The top of the Ghost Pepper has a snap that secures the quilt around your neck and a simple draw string to cinch it tight over your shoulders.
The top of the Ghost Pepper has a snap that secures the quilt around your neck and a simple draw string to cinch it tight over your shoulders.

As an example: here are the specs of the Ghost Pepper top quilt that I had Loco Libre make for me.

  • Temp: 20 degree, (note overfill below.)
  • Down: 850 fill power goose down
  • Foot box: hotbox insulated footbox
  • Width: 55″
  • Length: 75″
  • Overfill: 2 ounces
  • Inner Color: Charcoal Grey Argon 67
  • Outer Color: Deep Purple Argon 90
  • Inner Stitching Color: Same as fabric
  • Outer Stitching Color: Same as fabric
  • Taper: 5″
  • Weight: 24.4 ounces

This is actually a pretty basic design spec, given all of the different options you can choose from when you spec out a quilt with Loco Libre. But I’ve found that I’m a cold hammock sleeper, which is why I asked for a few ounces of extra down fill and Loco Libre’s warmest footbox option, the hotbox.

Ghost Pepper Quilt -hotbox footbox option.
Ghost Pepper Quilt -hotbox footbox option.

My last quilt, which I sold this year, had a footbox with a vent in it. While useful on a warmer weather quilt, it let cold air in the hole in colder weather. I didn’t want that on a cold weather quilt again.

Argon, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a ripstop nylon that’s very popular for making hammocking quilts. It a calendared fabric with a very tight weave that makes it downproof, but breathable enough that it can be used as an inner shell. The Argon 90 used on the outside of my quilt is very durable and has an excellent DWR coating, while the Argon 67 liner is buttery soft and very comfortable to sleep with. The combination is super comfy and that external DWR has come in handy when I experience internal condensation while sleeping in a tent on the ground.

Ghost Pepper Quilt - Interior Sewing Detail. Shown turned inside out.
Ghost Pepper Quilt – Interior Sewing Detail. Shown turned inside out.

Loco Libre Customer Service

If the thought of defining the specs for a custom-made quit is intimidating, or if you have a quilt cover design in mind that goes beyond what is shown in their online storefront, never fear. The customer service at Loco Libre is fabulous. I’ve worked with George Carr, the owner, on the phone, and he’s very patient and good at explaining the pros and cons of different options when you have questions. Loco Libre also has an excellent quilt buyers guide that I recommend you read if you’re interested in having a custom quilt made. My quilt is tame compared to the quilts George has sewn for customers – check out the Loco Libre quilt gallery for examples. I like the American Flag designs, the best.

Recommendation

I’m very pleased with my 20 degree Loco Libre Gear Ghost Pepper top quilt. It’s very warm and comfortable to sleep with and the unique chevron baffles do an excellent job at keeping the down from shifting and creating cold spots. This is my second Loco Libre Gear quilt (see my Cayenne Pepper Underquilt Review) and I’m very impressed with the design ingenuity and quality of both of them. If you’re looking for a high performing top quilt or underquilt, I recommend you check out Loco Libre Gear.

Autumn backpacking with my Loco Libre Gear Ghost Pepper Quilt
Autumn backpacking with my Loco Libre Gear Ghost Pepper Quilt

Disclosure: Loco Libre provided Philip Werner with a sample quilt for this review. 

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19 comments

  1. I assume cost depends on options, but what did you pay for yours?

  2. The hot foot box is a great option!

    • Having a foot vent at the end of a cold weather quilt is kind of a scam perpetuated by quilt makers who want a quilt that’s easier and lower cost to sew. Loco Libre also lets you add an interior pocket to the footbox to hold a heat pack – a nice little option for people with very cold feet.

      • I’ve found some merit in the claim that it allows the range of a single quilt to be extended. On a recent overnight that went down to around 35ºF I found I needed to open the foot box a bit on an EE Revelation 20ºF to avoid my feet being too warm (thin poly socks, R4.4 sleeping pad, Guyot Shelter with 4 other people). The ability to leave the footbox snaps and zipper closed but just vent the end of the quilt some allowed me to be comfortable until morning. Of course everyone sleeps differently, which is why it’s nice to have options!

  3. Philip is there any difference in comparison between this product and the feathered friends flicker models because i’m interested in both?

    • Depends what you’re looking for. FF uses continuous baffles and has a back like a sleeping bag and a foot vent. LL just added a neck draft tube option (I suggested it). Continuous baffles are fine for warm weather – like in the 40 degree Flicker I’m using, but I’m not a fan for colder weather bags.

      • I was talking with George about the neck draft tube/baffle back in September also. Glad to see he’s implemented it on the website since it was an important design concept I wanted.

  4. I like the collapsible section (in the article) for the details about continuous baffles! There’s a typo though – it says “Hammock users are insulated on the top and sides” when it should say “bottom and sides”.

    I have a motley crew of quilts at this point – will probably layer my MLD M Quilt and liner with my 30F Enlightened Equipment Prodigy 30 and/or my Thermarest 35F quilt if I need to go colder. I have to wait before buying a new one (next one will be a 40F or 20F down). I’m evenly split between hammock and tent use. Love my EE insulated booties for the cold feet, but yeah, those vents do not help in cold weather.

  5. My wife and I had zero experience with hammock quilts until we made the 2 1/2hr trek to meet George at his house back in January. Since I spent considerable time doing online research, our main goal was just to get a good feel for his products and quilts in general. He set up our hammock in his yard with his quilts and proceeded to explain to us all things about quilts. We came away from that experience with an appreciation of his expertise and patience as well as the quality of his work.

    Eventually we ordered a pair of 20° Habanero uq’s, receiving them in early May. When we picked them up, George again set us up, taking us through the various adjustments until he was sure we both understood everything. We have spent nearly every night in them since, indoors and out. We are very impressed with them and wouldn’t trade for anything.

    Rapidly decaying automotive issues have prevented us from purchasing matching ghost peppers, but we look forward to doing so asap. Till then, I’ve modified costco throws as so many others have. Most recently I’ve made some modular uq’s for our granddaughters. While impressive for the price (disregarding our labor), quality wise there is no way they could ever be in the same ballpark as LLG quilts.

  6. any pad attachment system or do you not use one just lay the quilt on top?

  7. I understand the purpose of an underquilt for a hammock, but what exactly is a top quilt and what’s the difference between it and a sleeping bag?

    • They both serve the same purpose. But a sleeping bag is VERY awkward to use in a hammock, so people use top quilts instead. A quilt is also lighter weight and less bulky to pack.

    • Hi Elise, I’m the owner of Loco Libre Gear. The major differences between a sleeping bag and a top quilt are the very things that make them ideal at saving weight in the pack. Most top quilts lack a zipper, or only have a partial zipper. There is a little less material underneath you, with the theory being that since you only compress the insulation under you anyway it doesn’t provide you with the insulating R-value. That’s why you notice that most quilts specifications are a little narrower than sleeping bags – the the extra width isn’t necessary. Also, top quilts generally lack a hood. Most quilt users will forego the hood for a nice warm hat or balaclava, which you are most likely carrying anyway.

      • Thank you for the reply George! So far I like what I’m reading about your company, very interested in both top and underquilt I think. Planning to do some long distance hiking in the future and doing some research on saving weight but being functional.

  8. I’ve tried a hammock several times and loved it! Used a sleeping bag and short foam pad, no problems. Would like to invest in a hammock set up, with underquilt and maybe will try top quilt. Thinking about Hennessy Hyperlight, Loco Libre quilts.

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