- 0.1 What’s the Difference Between a Backpacking Quilt and a Sleeping Bag?
- 0.2 Why Should I Use a Backpacking Quilt Instead of a Sleeping Bag?
- 0.3 How Important is Quilt Insulation?
- 0.4 So Should Pack Weight Be My Biggest Priority?
- 0.5 What About Water Resistance?
- 0.6 Should I Pair My Quilt With a Warm Sleeping Pad?
- 0.7 Can I Trust Quilt Temperature Ratings?
- 0.8 Do Some Backpacking Quilts Come With Custom Quilt Features?
- 0.9 Are There Many Different Sizes Available?
- 0.10 Which Brands Are The Best?
- 0.11 1. Therm-a-Rest Proton
- 0.12 2. Western Mountaineering Nanolight Quilt
- 0.13 3. Outdoor Vitals TopQuilt
- 0.14 4. Sorison Puffy Blanket
- 0.15 5. Therm-a-Rest Corus Quilt
- 0.16 6. Get Out Gear Camping Blanket
- 0.17 7. OneTigris Sleeping Quilt
- 0.18 8. ENO Eagles Nest TopQuilt
- 0.19 9. ZEFABAK Blanket
- 1 10. Paria Backpacking Quilt
In this article, we give you the lowdown on backpacking quilts, how they differ from sleeping bags and why they’re a great addition to any backpacking or camping trip.
If you’re new to backpacking quilts, this is a great place to start. This article will take you through their features, what they’re for, and why you might want to invest in one. For buying advice on sleeping quilts, you’ve come to the right place!
Our top pick is the ZEFABAK Blanket
What’s the Difference Between a Backpacking Quilt and a Sleeping Bag?
The answer to this question is short and simple – while a sleeping bag wraps around you like a cocoon, a sleeping quilt is simply like a blanket!
It’s important to note that the terms ‘quilt’ and ‘blanket’ can be used interchangeably here.
Why Should I Use a Backpacking Quilt Instead of a Sleeping Bag?
Backpacking hiking quilts are slowly gaining popularity. And although they’re not perfect for every hike, every hiker and every camping trip, they can be excellent in the right conditions. Here are some of the reasons you might want to invest in a camping quilt rather than a sleeping bag:
- Pack weight: quilts are typically 20-30% lighter than sleeping bags. This is because they don’t have hoods and they don’t provide insulation underneath the sleeper. Quilts are also slightly lighter because they have typically have no zip or draft tube. These weight savings can be very useful on long trips.
- Volume: a quilt takes up less space than a bag, which is good for pack size. Because of this, you’ll also compress your quilt less – which can improve the longevity of your quilt.
- Warmth: you’re not necessarily sacrificing warmth. The vast majority of quilts are now just as warm as sleeping bags. Yes, you don’t have a hood, but some quilts come with neck collars – and you can always wear a hat!
- Less moisture: with a sleeping bag, your head is often inside the hood – and therefore inside the bag. Breathing inside of a bag all night can make the bag wet inside. But with a backpacking quilt, this isn’t an issue.
How Important is Quilt Insulation?
Insulation is, of course, an essential consideration when choosing a sleeping quilt. If you want to prioritize good insulation alongside an ultralight pack weight, high quality goose and duck down are the way to go.
Not all quilts are insulated with down – and if you’re not camping in cold places or on cold nights. you might not need down. Some quilts have synthetic insulation. But it’s important to consider the coldest place in which you’ll use your quilt – and the amount of insulation you’ll need for such climes.
For good warmth, you should go for fill powers of 800, 850, 900 or 950, as they provide great lightweight pack weight alongside fantastic insulation. A better warmth rating means a warmer night’s sleep.
So Should Pack Weight Be My Biggest Priority?
No. Pack weight should be a consideration, and it is a fantastic plus point of sleeping quilts, but your biggest priority should be ensuring that you’re definitely going to be warm. Interestingly, insulation is typically the lightest component of a quilt. The heavier component is the rest of the fabric the quilt is made from.
Yes, many hikers will value an ultralight backpacking quilt, but be sure to consider other things too.
Another consideration is how often, and how heavily, you plan to use your quilt. Most wear and tear occurs in the inner lining of the quilt, so if you’ll be using it often, you might want to go for a heavier inner coating.
What About Water Resistance?
Down is naturally water-resistant, but it’s still a good idea to make sure you’re taking proper care of your quilt. You don’t want to take chances. You should keep your quilt in a waterproof bag – and don’t sleep in or near wet ground if you can avoid it.
Some brands offer ‘treated’ sleeping quilts, which are apparently more water-resistant, but the effectiveness of these has not been properly proven. If you prefer the safety net of a treated quilt, that’s understandable – but it’s no guarantee that you’ll be any more dry.
A quick side-note: ensure you wash your quilt properly. Some can be cleaned in a washing machine, but you must follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. This will help to preserve the quality and performance of your quilt, along with any waterproofing.
Should I Pair My Quilt With a Warm Sleeping Pad?
It depends. If you’re going somewhere cold, then yes. But remember that the whole point of buying a quilt (rather than a bag) is that you save weight by foregoing any material underneath you.
If pack weight is not a massive concern, and if you’re going somewhere cold, a warm sleeping pad can (and often should) be a great addition to your camping kit.
If you value versatility, you can invest in a quilt and a pad. That way, you can take both on your colder hikes – but only take your quilt when you’re camping in warmer areas.
A pad attachment system can be very useful in the right conditions.
Can I Trust Quilt Temperature Ratings?
This is an important note and an important consideration. While standardized sleeping bag temperature ratings have made it easy to really know how warm a sleeping bag is, quilt temperature ratings are yet to be standardized.
Because of this, it’s impossible to know exactly how warm your quilt temperature will be. But our general advice – which will help you to move in the right direction – is this:
- Carefully read reviews. See what other people are saying about temperature.
- If you’re male, purchase a quilt 10 degrees below your needs, to ensure you’re definitely going to be warm enough.
- If you’re a woman, it’s slightly different – women may want to purchase a backpacking quilt 15 or 20 degrees below their needs, due to lower body mass.
For these reasons, it’s important to note that our reviews will, of course, mention the temperature suitability claimed by the manufacturers. But these claims might not necessarily match the actual performance of the quilts.
Do Some Backpacking Quilts Come With Custom Quilt Features?
Yes. There are many other features that can determine how warm a hiking quilt can be:
- Baffles: the lumps and lines that make up the shape of your camping quilt are created by ‘baffles’. ‘Baffles’ are created by the way in which the insulation is shaped. Some baffles are warmer than others.
- Draft collar: this section, around the top of the sleeping bag, creates a collar between your neck and the opening of the sleeping quilt, to keep hot air in and cold air out.
- Zoned insulation: some quilts are insulated more in some specific places – and less in others – to keep the quilt warmer while reducing pack weight.
- Closed foot boxes: a foot box is designed to keep your feet warm because we lose (or retain!) a lot of our heat through our feet.
Are There Many Different Sizes Available?
Some are more versatile than others – and depending on the type of camping you want to do, and where you want to do it, you might want something quite versatile.
Narrower quilts, for example, can be used for hammocks, but wider ones are typically more useful for sleeping on flat surfaces. So if you want to sleep both in hammocks and on floors, it’s a good idea to choose a wider quilt.
It’s also important to consider height. Manufacturers often give height recommendations for their quilts, which is a good guideline. It’s also important to understand whether the foot-box of a quilt is included in this given height.
Which Brands Are The Best?
Here are our top ten picks for the best backpacking quilts on the market:
1. Therm-a-Rest Proton
- Weight: 1.13lb
- Length 75 inches
- Temperature suitability (in Fahrenheit): into the low 50s
- Pack Size: Around a loaf of bread
The fabric is waterproof and sheds moisture, so it stays dry. It’s also very breathable. This backpacking quilt packs down into a reasonably small size and it’s incredibly lightweight. The drawcord at the bottom edge of the quilt helps to reduce drafts. This can easily cinch around a sleeping pad. It’s slightly noisier than some other sleeping quilts, which might be an issue for light sleepers. If you want a backpacking quilt that’s, in essence, a heftier survival blanket, this is it. But because of that, it’s not suitable for the coldest of conditions.
- Incredibly lightweight
- Good for warmer climes
- Not great for cold places
- One of the shorter quilts on this list
2. Western Mountaineering Nanolight Quilt
- Weight: 2.34lb
- Length: Two options: 68 inches and 76 inches
- Temperature suitability (in Fahrenheit): 36
- Pack Size: Around the size of a water bottle
This one has an elastic lacing bottom closure and is super packable. It has elastic pad straps for pad attachment. This quilt also has a sewn-through footbox along with an insulated draft yolk. All of this comes together for a super insulated backpacking quilt. Since it has two lengths, it’s a great quilt for finding a length that matches your shape. This one isn’t particularly lightweight, but it’s not the heaviest quilt on the market.
- Very warm, with lots of features to improve insulation
- Good for colder climes
- Great pack size
- Two length options
- Not the lightest weight on this list
3. Outdoor Vitals TopQuilt
- Weight: Three options: 1.12lb, 1.43lb and 1.75lb
- Length: Two options: 75 inches and 81 inches
- Temperature suitability (in Fahrenheit): depending on the model, either 0, 15 or 30
- Pack Size: Around the size of a loaf of bread
You can use this one for ground sleeping and hammock camping. It’s very light and fairly compressible. A great feature of this hiking quilt is that you have three different versions for three different climes – and that each one offers a different pack weight, so you can choose your own tradeoff between pack weight and temperature support. This one has a closed foot box and a pad strap. It has good water resistance. It looks very light but performs very well.
- It comes in many different options, so it’s great if you have specific needs.
- Very lightweight
- Can be used for floor camping and hammock camping
- Good water resistance
- Many users have experienced clumping in the down, which implies a lack of consistent quality
- Has a strange smell when it gets wet
4. Sorison Puffy Blanket
- Weight: 2.6lb
- Length: 80 inches
- Temperature suitability (in Fahrenheit): 30
- Pack Size: Bigger than your average sleeping bag
This one is a very good option if you want something affordable. For the price point, it is very warm. It also has a good length, making it a good choice for taller campers. That said, the pack size is very big – so if you want to buy a backpacking quilt (rather than a bag) because of pack size, don’t bother with this one. That said, the stuff sack has shoulder straps, which makes this quilt easy to carry around. This has decent waterproofing and is fairly breathable.
- The major plus point here is the price
- Good length
- If you want something for casual trips, this is perhaps the best on the list
- Good waterproofing for something so affordable
- This isn’t going to be a great choice for hardcore campers
- Very poor pack size
- Not particularly lightweight
5. Therm-a-Rest Corus Quilt
- Weight: Two options: 1.4lb and 1.6lb
- Length: Two options: 72 and 78 inches
- Temperature suitability (in Fahrenheit): 32
- Pack Size: Around a loaf of bread
Another good option for versatility, as it has two size choices. This one packs down to a small size and is treated to make it more waterproof. The Corus Quilt has a toe box that is designed to fit around a sleeping pad, which keeps your feet (and body) warm – and keeps drafts out. This quilt is a good all-rounder in terms of small pack size, low weight, average temperature suitability, and average price point. If you want something which isn’t exceptional but does all the basic stuff well, this is a good option.
- A good all rounder
- Two options for pack weight and length
- The toe box on this one is good
- Good pack size
- Isn’t suitable for the coldest of temperatures
- Less well-known compared to others on this list
6. Get Out Gear Camping Blanket
- Weight: 1.1lb
- Length: 77 inches
- Temperature suitability (in Fahrenheit): 45
- Pack Size: Around a loaf of bread
This is a fantastic low-cost option. If you’re looking for something affordable which you don’t need to use in super cold conditions, this is probably the best option on the list. It’s also incredibly lightweight, and it packs down to quite a good size. This comes with a stuff sack that has a heavy-duty clasp, so it’s really easy to carry and store. It also can be snapped into place around the body, for sitting around. The Get Out Gear blanket is treated with a waterproof coating
- Excellent price point – and performs fantastically well considering how affordable it is. If you’re working at a low price range, this is a great choice
- Great pack size
- Very easy to use and carry
- Doesn’t have the versatile options that some others on this list have
- Won’t protect you in cold conditions
7. OneTigris Sleeping Quilt
- Weight: 2.2lb
- Length: 78 inches
- Temperature suitability (in Fahrenheit): 41
- Pack Size: Around a large loaf of bread
This is another good mid-range quilt. It doesn’t do anything spectacular, but it gives you an average performance at an impressive price point. The pack size is okay, but it’s not as lightweight as many others on this list. This one has a great footbox, and it’s a versatile option, suitable both for floor camping and hammock camping. This link also offers a much more pricey, much more durable quilt, which is also a great option. The pricier option can take you down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
- A good all-rounder
- This one has two options – one for casual camping, one for much more robust stuff
- Very durable – and comes with a lifetime warranty
- Doesn’t particularly stand out in any way
8. ENO Eagles Nest TopQuilt
- Weight: 4.5lb
- Length: 80 inches
- Temperature suitability (in Fahrenheit): 50
- Pack Size: Bigger than most on this list
Affordable, and an okay option for a starter quilt. It’s good for versatility – easy to use both on the floor and in a hammock. It has a nice soft feel, so it’s a comfortable choice. That said, there isn’t anything spectacular going on here. No interesting features, it doesn’t perform in any special way and it has a much heavier pack weight than most good quilts.
- Reasonably versatile
- Bad pack weight
- Not good for cold temperatures
- Doesn’t offer the versatile size options of other choices on this list
9. ZEFABAK Blanket
- Weight: Three options: 1.23lb, 1.46lb and 1.76lb
- Length: Two options: 80 and 88 inches
- Temperature suitability (in Fahrenheit): Three options: 24, 33 and 37
- Pack Size: Similar to a loaf of bread
If you have a specific temperature or size requirements, this is an excellent choice, because you have three blankets to choose from. Given that, it’s also a very affordable option. It comes with a good carry bag, making it easy to transport. The outer material is comfortable. There aren’t lots of features here such as toe boxes etc, but for a simple blanket that performs very well and offers good choice and versatility, this is as good as it gets. Because of this, the ZEFABAK blanket is a very popular model among fairly casual hikers and campers who simply want to stay warm in moderate conditions. It’s not as durable as some others on this list.
- Very affordable
- Three different choices, which is useful
- Very lightweight
- An excellent choice for casual campers
- Great height
- There aren’t many exciting features
- Not as durable as some others
10. Paria Backpacking Quilt
- Weight: Two options: 2.19lb and 2.38lb
- Length: Two options: 78 and 84 inches
- Temperature suitability (in Fahrenheit): Three options: 30
- Pack Size: Similar to a big water bottle
This one has a better pack size than most others on this list. It’s very durable and isn’t likely to rip or tear. Because of this, the quilt comes with a lifetime warranty. This quilt is warm and comfortable, and the material feels nice. The footbox keeps your feet (and therefore your body!) warmer. The blanket can sometimes have a slightly strange smell, and the down can clump a little on occasion. Because of this, you sometimes have to distribute the down while you’re sleeping, which can be irritating.
- Very durable
- Very good pack size
- Better temperature suitability than most others on this list
- The down can clump sometimes
- Sometimes has a strange smell
Our Top Backpacking Quilt
The above ten are our top picks for the best backpacking quilts on the market. Wherever your next trip takes you, there’ll be an option on this list that’s perfect. Just make sure that your backpacking backpack is the right size to carry your quilt or sleeping bag.
But our #1 top pick is the ZEFABAK Blanket, based on affordability and versatility. Considering the excellent temperature suitability, it really is a bargain. That said, before you buy a quilt, you should do a little research of your own, according to the trails you’re hitting and the type of trip you’re taking. When buying any camping or hiking gear, it’s essential that you buy the kit appropriate to where you’re going and what the conditions will be.
Backpacking quilts are an excellent addition to any hikers’ arsenal of outdoor gear. Buy one and see why!