Top 4 Reasons to try a Backpacking Quilt

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Have you been hearing about backpacking quilts, but aren't sure if they're right for you? If so, here are four reasons why you might consider one for your next trip.

1. Extremely Versatile

Backcountry quilts offer incredible versatility that is unmatched by traditional sleeping bags. On cold nights, quilts can be closed up to form a standard mummy sleeping bag. When the weather warms up, open up the quilt to provide the ventilation needed to keep you nice and comfortable. You can even adjust comfort throughout a backpacking trip as the weather changes. Finally, use it as a simple blanket while enjoying a backcountry meal outside your tent.

A quilt can be a great way to stay warm outside your tent.

2. More Room to Move Around

Since quilts can open up like a blanket, they tend to provide more room to move around at night. If you're a side-sleeper that tosses from one side to another, a mummy sleeping bag can feel very restrictive. A quilt is more spacious and doesn't go all the way around, so it's easier to move within one without getting tangled up. Many quilts provide ways to strap them down to your sleeping pad, which reduced the potential for drafts.

3. Lighter and Pack Smaller

Quilts aren't designed to lay under you, so they minimize the amount of insulation and fabric that is needed. The lack of a hood and long zipper also reduce weight. This is why quilts tend to be about 20-30 percent lighter and smaller when packed than a comparable sleeping bag.

4. Keep you on your Sleeping Pad

As mentioned earlier, many quilts provide straps that can be used to secure the quilt to your sleeping pad (see below). This is great for minimizing drafts, but also has the added benefit of keeping you on your pad. Many of us have woken up in the middle of the night having slipped off our sleeping pad. This wouldn't happen with a quilt that is strapped down to your sleeping pad, which is a nice bonus.

Straps that secure your quilt to your sleeping pad can help keep you on the pad at night.

When might a quilt not be ideal ...

The biggest downside of backpacking quilts is that they aren't quite as warm as a traditional mummy sleeping bag. This is partly due to the lack of a hood. In addition, some heat can escape through the small gaps between your quilt and your sleeping pad.

You can somewhat mitigate these two causes by wearing a hat, down hoodie, or a down jacket with a hood. Closing up your quilt as much as possible will also help prevent heat loss.

However, if you intend to backpack in very cold weather, a mummy bag will likely feel warmer and more comfortable than a quilt.

Investing in a quality backpacking quilt can provide a big improvement to your comfort on the trail. If you think that you might want to try one on your next trip, check out our line of Thermodown quilts. We offer 15-degree and 30-degree versions in both Regular and Long sizes, so you'll be sure to find one that meets your needs.

thermodown bags Tips and Resources

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  • Thanks for the question Brian! Yes, you can attach two quilts together, although there might be a slight gap between them due to the way that they snap together. This shouldn’t be a problem during warm summer nights, but the potential for a draft could be problematic in cooler temperatures. Thanks again and please let us know if you have any other questions.

    Anne on
  • What about a 2 person sleeping system? Can 2 quilts be attached together?

    Brian on
  • Thanks for the question Jeff! Yes, we are planning on adding more options to the quilts, including a 0 degree and 30/40 degree version. The 30/40 degree version should be available by summer while the 0 degree is planned for the fall. Thanks again and please let us know if you have any other questions.

    Anne on
  • Are you planning on a 0 degree quilt?

    Jeff Reddick on

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