Top 4 Reasons to try a Backpacking Quilt

Top 4 Reasons to try a Backpacking Quilt

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 roaming around outside your tent.

Paria Outdoor Products Thermodown 30 Backpacking Quilt

Backpacking quilts are extremely versatile and can keep you warm and comfortable during the day or night.

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 reduces 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 reduces 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 a strap 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.

Paria Outdoor Products Thermodown 15 Backpacking Quilt

A sleeping pad strap will minimize drafts and keep you on your sleeping pad.

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.

Paria Outdoor Products Thermodown 15 Backpacking Quilt

We're confident that a backpacking quilt will quickly become one of your favorite pieces of gear.

Gear Sleep Systems Tips and Resources


  • Anne

    Thanks for the question Brian! Yes, you can usually use a quilt as an underquilt, which would provide insulation on the bottom of a hammock. To do this, you’d need to run some cord on either side of the quilt to hang the quilt under your hammock. Thanks again and please let us know if you have any other questions.

  • Brian

    Can an quilt be used as an underbelly for a hammock?

  • Anne

    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.

  • Brian

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

  • Anne

    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.

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