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Trying to find a really good blanket solution

 
steward
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Hey folks

So I have been using a combination of a cotton duvet(with very little/no stuffing) with two wool blankets on top of me to sleep for a few years. It works well when the house is 70*F+. It works quite poorly when the house is 60*F. I also find I need to keep the blankets "together" or else I need to make up the bed often. I think subconsciously it restricts movements while I am sleeping.

Anyways I went camping one weekend this fall, we were in a tent and all I had was this 10*F Black Diamond sleeping bag. I got it in Nepal and its works great. I than decided to use it daily as my sleeping blanket. It is synthetic and not my favourite for long term use. However it does keep me warm and there is no more restricted movement. I can also throw the blanket off me when I am too hot and quickly put it back on in seconds. So it sparked my interest to find something more permie like.

I haven't researched options. I was hoping people could fill me in. The sleeping bag is puffy, and light weight.

Anyone have a really good sleeping blanket recommendation?
 
rocket scientist
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I would say a high-quality duck-down comforter with 100% organic cotton.
Super warm, Superlite, you'll like it.
 
master pollinator
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I don't like the weight of blankets made of natural fiber cotton or wool. They are oppressively heavy, and interrupt my sleep.

So, I shamelessly use oversize synthetic-fill quilts or fleece blankets in my bedroom. I wrap up in a cocoon, the natural gas furnace is turned way down, and I sleep very well. Some of those quilts have been going strong for 20 years and I doubt I will ever wear them out.

When car camping, I use synthetics too. I still have the sleeping bags I carried while backpacking 25 years ago. They don't have the same temperature rating as new, but they work together as a system and I'm good to -15C at least. They will never really wear out, though on occasion some go to organizations helping street people.

When I look at the longevity of my equipment vs. the wanton, thoughtless mountains of waste at my local transfer station, I frankly don't feel one tiny bit guilty about my use of synthetics. My 2c.
 
master gardener
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Wool blankets can be quite heavy, but I was given a wool duvet and for many years it worked quite well. At this point I'm suspicious that the wool has felted inside from use, as it certainly doesn't seem to be working as well as it used to.

However, I will shamelessly plug the concept of a bed warmer. Yes, it's electric and artificial, but we turn it on about 45 minutes before bedtime so the bed is warm when I get in, and it automatically turns itself off (its got an internal 1 hour timer). If I feel good and warm, I can turn it off without messing up the programming. If I wake up in the middle of the night and feel cold, I can put it on for another hour with the option of turning it off early if I get too hot. The old fashioned version is a pair of hot water bottles, but the one I was given sprang a leak. Even older fashioned is putting a hot rock in your bed, but they tend to be hard to regulate, not to mention, just plain "hard". Neither the hot water bottles, nor the rock heat the bed evenly.

You could consider getting a dog for this purpose, but they aren't cheap and require a fair bit of upkeep!

Down can be used as both a mattress topper, and a blanket, and if you don't react to feathers, they're largely a renewable resource. I recommend you look for quality - we got a cheap feather pillow for my son and the ticking was so crappy, I had to sew it a new cover as the feathers migrated all over the house. I bought proper ticking fabric, washed and pre-shrank it to get it even tighter, and the leakage problem was solved.

Not to get toooo... personal, but what you wear to bed can also make a difference. I swear by "night shirts" long enough that my legs are covered if I curl up a little. It traps the warm air all around me. My Mom used to make them for Dad, since today they're mostly a woman's item with a tendency towards flowers and frills! Cotton flannel is the material I use, but it can be hard to find quality flannel fabric these days also. I picked up what used to be called a "flannel blanket" in decent shape at a thrift shop, but if you look on the web, I'd try that term.
 
master steward
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We have an off-grid cabin that does have propane heat.

We use sleeping bags for blankets.  Our sleeping bags are a cotton duck-like material and I assume poly filled.  They work well for the times we are there.

Some sleeping bags can be unzipped so they lay flat.

There might even be some pretty ones that would look nicer than the camping ones, though I don't know.

Jay said, "You could consider getting a dog for this purpose, but they aren't cheap and require a fair bit of upkeep!



Mine is like a heating pad on high.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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thomas rubino wrote:I would say a high-quality duck-down comforter with 100% organic cotton.
Super warm, Superlite, you'll like it.


I like the idea. I wonder -- how much fuss is involved in keeping it clean?
 
pollinator
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I'm living in quebec in a small cabin offgrid. most of the time i don't burn wood during night, so it often go below 50F. I've even seen below 40 during snowstorm. But under my down duvet i didn't sense it! Of course it is too hot for most of the year, so i have a feather duvet too, and i love them and recommend them.

https://www.ikea.com/ca/en/p/fjaellhavre-duvet-extra-warm-20458347/
 
pollinator
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Down comforters are awesome.  They are light and warm.  Problem for me is keeping them clean.  My big and sometimes smelly dog(s) sleep with me.  Blankets and sheets get pretty dirty pretty quickly.  My not at all permie solution is currently 3 cheap fleece blankets inside a cotton comforter cover, inside a cotton comforter cover.  You can easily put 4 or 5 or 6 or ... fleece blankets in one cover.  Fleece blankets can be found on sale for $3 or $4 each if you keep a lookout.  Fleece is light so it doesn't feel suffocating and the comforter covers keep them together nicely.  It's easy to pull off the outside cover leaving the inside comforter cover and blankets in one piece, so you can keep them all clean without tearing the whole assembly apart.  Temperature control is easy.  Just uncover different amounts of your body.  If your dog allows it.  Mine tends to keep everything in one place when he is sleeping.  He doesn't really like to be moved :)  I sometimes start out with two dogs in bed, but my LGD gets too warm very quickly and hops out of bed.  She prefers to stay outside on all but the coldest, as in -20F or colder, nights.  She probably prefers it then too, but I worry about her and bring her in.
 
Trace Oswald
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Forgot to mention, if anyone wants to try this, the easiest way to put it together is to put your blankets in a pile with a few inches hanging off the end of the bed.  Turn your comforter cover inside out, reach into it and grab the ends of the blankets hanging off the bed.  It's easiest if you have one person to pull the comforter cover back to right-side-out around the blankets while the other hangs onto them, but you can do it with one person if you need to.  It's just slower.  You can hold onto one corner of the blankets through the cover, and then turn it back to right-side-out a little at a time on each side.  I'm not sure if that explanation makes sense, but it's easy enough if you try it.  
 
Jay Angler
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Trace Oswald wrote:  It's easiest if you have one person to pull the comforter cover back to right-side-out around the blankets while the other hangs onto them, but you can do it with one person if you need to.  

I sewed a loop into several spots in the top seam allowance of my cover, and added strings to the  tops of the comforter in matching spots. I tie the two together, then get the a hold of the top from the outside and just shake while standing high enough up that gravity does most of the work. (I'm too short to do this just standing on the floor - too much comforter in a puddle at the bottom!)

I absolutely try to have enough layers that the wool comforter itself doesn't get dirty. An extra layer as Trace does is worth it. Quality down is worth protecting! Consider it a form of respect to whatever bird it came from - it's not all harvested either humanely or sustainably. Some is, though, so it's another place where doing one's research is a good thing.
 
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I have a merino wool blanket on top of the mattress (made of rubber chunks) a cotton sheet then another sheet I lay over myself with a cotton covered down blanket and one thin cotton sheet-like-blanket on top of that (mainly to keep the little things my dog tracks to my bed), and I can sleep with no issues even though my thermostat is set at 62 during the evenings.

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Jay Angler
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I was discussing the "cold bedroom" thing with Hubby and he mentioned that he recently tripped over a video about the amount of heat the average human gives off, and the fellow had super-insulated his bedroom to the point that "one human's heat" kept it at a reasonable temperature.

From there, the old concept of "bed drapes" came to mind, particularly if made out of highly insulative material. However, it's important to make sure the bed is "aired" in the morning, or the build up of condensation/dampness in the blankets and mattress may be an issue. This partly depends on one's ecosystem, but in my damp, ocean area, I pull all the blankets to the foot of the bed in the morning, and point the dehumidifier at the bed and run it for an hour.
 
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Team down comforter with a washable cover!!!

I am the Princess and the Pea. I cannot sleep with too heavy a cover, I prefer a cool room, and a cold body causes me a lot of pain, so the fluffy comforter with a cover is the perfect solution; keeps me warm without too much weight, I can wash the cover as needed, and if I get hot and can stick a foot out and regulate my temp. All the things you liked about the sleeping bag. You can get them in a variety of fills and weights , including all season, so you can choose one appropriate for your climate. You can also use large safety pins to secure it into the cover so that making the bed or moving things around is really simple. Covers can be flannel in colder season for extra warmth, lighter fabric in summer, and are easy to DIY with two sheets and 3 seams.

Down is also washable, although it should be minimal. Hanging it in the sun on a bright day can help refresh it too. Make sure it's really dry after any cleaning and before storing and it should last a really long time!



 
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great discussion! We have a wool filled duvet (comforter) and like someone above, I find it too heavy, it's what we have though, so will keep it for a few more years. It's quite low tog-rated (6-7?) so not warm enough in the winter. I found some amazing angora goat hair blankets, one English, one South American, both beautiful jewel colours, soft and very lightweight which I add to the duvet in the winter. When I go to bed, I wrap up in a hooded dressing gown with a hot water bottle and read till the bed's warm enough to go to sleep. I usually throw off the blankets in the night. Our bedroom is unheated but we live in coastal North West England so temp rarely drops below -2 C outside
 
pollinator
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I mainly use synthetic comforters, purchased very inexpensively second hand in thrift stores.  That plastic is already produced and in the world and not going away, so I think it's better to make use of it than have it go to landfill. I prefer lightweight ones I can layer, one in summer, two for spring and autumn, three in winter. Cotton flannelette covers are a nice cosy addition in winter. I got mine pre-used on ebay, and have plain woven cotton covers for summer. I would love to get linen covers for summer, but even second hand the prices are way too high.
 
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If you want to put your wool blankets in good use, try layering them underneath the bed sheet for extra warm below.

Comforter and sleeping bag provide more insulation than wool or fleece blankets alone partly due to the very airtight cover. If you put the material in front of your mouth and blow then feel the warm air with your hand, you'd be able to tell how much wind blocking you get. Comforter usually comes in cover made with microfiber fabric with very tight weave for this reason (also being cheap and light weight). I tend to find it not wicking moisture well and uncomfortable and end up making a cotton cover for the comforter.
 
pollinator
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:

thomas rubino wrote:I would say a high-quality duck-down comforter with 100% organic cotton.
Super warm, Superlite, you'll like it.


I like the idea. I wonder -- how much fuss is involved in keeping it clean?



You can get a cover for them which totally covers it and easily comes off to wash.  That way the down comforter stays clean which is good because it is an ordeal to wash and dry them.  
 
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Some sound options in this subject.  After my parents died, I found two Hudson's Bay four point blankets in a cedar chest and use them still.  They do not strike me as heavy, but they do keep me warm as toast when I need it.  I am not sure if they even make these now.  One for the bed, one for the back of the couch.
 
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We also have a wool filled duvet (comforter) which we use with a cotton cover. It does not have a tog value as it is "self regulating" which means it is not too hot in summer but warm in winter. Don't believe it. I find it too hot in summer and sometimes too hot in winter in our unheated bedroom. What I have noticed is that my pyjama tops are not long enough so I sometimes feel a draught on my back particularly if Mr Ara has his arms out of the bed and is clamping the duvet down hard. My solution will be to make myself some longer tops when I find my sewing machine and fabric stash. We have lived here a month, you would have thought I'd have found them by now. The duvet will have to stay for now even though some of the filling is clumped up and it looks like the cat is sleeping underneath it. Eventualy I will take it apart and make something else useful with the component parts. (The duvet, not the cat.)
 
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Is anyone else a fan of hiking quilts? I was converted years ago and can never use a regular sleeping bag again.
https://enlightenedequipment.com/
Depending on your point of view, it's either a quilt with a foot pocket or a sleeping bag sans back and hood. They unzip into a full size quilt or can be strapped and cinched up the back to eliminate drafts.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Daniel Giddings wrote:Is anyone else a fan of hiking quilts? I was converted years ago and can never use a regular sleeping bag again.


Interesting. I guess I have always used my sleeping bags in a flexible configuration, not just a mummy bag, so it's not a revolutionary concept for me.

And while I'm all for quality goods, the price of the items in your link is frankly eye-watering. Personally, I think I can solve the problem for a fraction of the cost. But then I'm a cheapskate . My 2c.
 
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Order of layers can make a big difference. A wicking layer like linen next to your skin keeps you from getting clammy, but it doesn't do much for warmth. A nice lofty layer like down or particularly fluffy wool/camelid creates lots of space to trap air inside for insulation... but it doesn't actually trap the air, it just creates a space for it. The air can still flow in and out of those spaces to chill you. A lightweight wicking tight-weave like silk taffeta on top traps the air inside the insulation layer so it keeps you warm.

If you have a heavy layer on top, it squishes the insulation layer thinner so it won't work as well. If your windbreak layer is next to your skin, there's no space between you and it to trap any air in.

Down is a better insulator than wool, but also more vulnerable to squishing by heavier top layers. (If you have both wool and down layers, put the down on top of the wool.) Hollow-core camelid fibers like alpaca are warmer than wool. Wool, however, is the only one that still works when wet. (This shouldn't usually be a problem indoors, but if you have a particularly drafty house in an area with dense fog it might matter. Or if you are really prone to night sweats.) Cotton is generally pretty bad for warmth; it absorbs moisture rather than wicking, and it's one of the heaviest fibers per unit volume. If you don't sweat much, though, cotton flannel can be pretty nice because the fuzziness helps stop cold drafts from sneaking in around where your head sticks out from under the blankets.

That's all I have for keeping the top side of you warm. Modern mattresses usually do a pretty good job of keeping the bottom side warm, but are not necessarily the most permie solution. When looking at alternatives, bear in mind that your own weight can easily squish the air out from the insulation layer underneath you, and that cold drafts underneath you are just as bad as cold drafts on top.

Maybe a solid box bed to stop drafts, filled with a down mattress for insulation. With a rope bed across the top to support your weight so that you don't squish the down.
 
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I have a spring mattress
- topped with a 2 inch wool mattress.
- A thick down blanket.
- Woollen pyjama.
- Woollen socks.
- Hot water bottles covered in wool so they stay warm till morning..

The night temperature can drop to 65'F if I have not loaded the oven full of firewood before going to bed. But I sleep really well!
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Mercy Pergande wrote:Team down comforter with a washable cover!!!



Me too!

I've even taken it one step further. I live in a temperate climate (14-86 Fahrenheit range) so I have 2 duvets. One very thin for summer and one that's thicker for winter.
Then I have a single sheet, regular cotton -, linnen - and flannel duvet covers and a woolen blanket.
That way I can mix and match depending on the temperature.

I can't sleep unless I have some type of cover so a single sheet for very varm nights as a it gets colder I change to a thin duvet first with a cotton -, then to a linnen -, then to a flannel cover. Repeat but topped with the wollen blanket and repeat once more but with the thick duvet.

I change the covers every 10-14 days. If you leave it any longer your sweat clogs up the fabric and it becomes less comfortable because the fabric isn't as good at wicking your sweat.

Same goes for your bed. The recommendation is a new bed every 10 years. You can prolong your beds lifespan by having it cleaned. Some carpet cleaning machines comes with an attachment for furniture and you can sometimes rent them so you can do it yourself.

It's important to remember that you spend about a third of your life in bed so be kind to your body.

On a sidenote: what's the deal with tying the duvet to the inside of the duvet cover?
Don't worry. Unless you leave it on for a month or more its going to stay in place. However the point of them being removable is to change them regularly.
 
Jay Angler
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Karen Herløv Horte wrote:On a sidenote: what's the deal with tying the duvet to the inside of the duvet cover?
Don't worry. Unless you leave it on for a month or more its going to stay in place. However the point of them being removable is to change them regularly.


I'm relatively short and trying to get a Queen-sized wool comforter inside a moderately heavy weight fabric cover. By tying the comforter in, I can stand on the bed and just shake and the cover will more or less cover the comforter with only a few adjustments needed to align the zipper.
 
Karen Pedersen
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Jay Angler wrote: By tying the comforter in, I can stand on the bed and just shake and the cover will more or less cover the comforter



Maybe we start different. When you take the cover out of the closet is it inside or right side out?

Mine is right side out. I lay the cover on the end of the bed with the opening towards me. Then I stick my arms inside the cover and shimmy them up into the top corners to pull the two sides of the cover apart. Then I take first the one top corner of the duvet a put it up inside the cover so it sits within the top corner of the cover on and then the other. Then I pull my arms out and grab the two top corners of the cover and duvet and lift and shake.
I lay it back down on the bed and put the two bottom duvet corners inside the cover. Close the snaps. Then grab the two bottom corners of the duvet and cover and lift and shake to make sure the sides of the duvet is all the way out to the sides inside the cover.

The last step is only necessary because I have a 95 inch (240cm) wide duvet. With a regular 55 inch (140cm) you can skip it.

My covers are sewn shut about a foot in from both sides so the gap is smaller and it's closed with snaps. It used to be ties that was the norm but now snaps are more common.

I'm Danish but my German friend's has zippers to close the covers.

I find it fascinating how people do every day tasks around the world and how different the same task can be so I hope you don't find my question too ridiculous because I'm genuinely curious to finally solve something that baffles me.
I view it as a wierd and unnecessary step but maybe I've got the wrong end of the stick.
 
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