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