When planning an outdoor adventure, the name of the game is packing light. You simply don’t have the luxury of lugging excess weight with you when you’re up in the mountains or out on a forest trail. One of the best ways to cut the weight of your pack is by making the switch to backpacking quilts.
You can get a backpacking quilt at less than half the weight of a similar size mummy bag. This significant difference is due to the fact that a backpacking quilt doesn’t have a back or a hood. The loss of these parts doesn’t necessarily affect its effectiveness in keeping you toasty since the insulation for your back is mostly provided by your sleep pad and not the sleeping bag anyway. With the upper part open, comfort and functionality levels shoot up since you can now sleep on your side, shift in your sleep, and easily pop your hands and legs in and out of the quilt.
The main takeaway is that by choosing a quilt, you get the same functionality, warmth, and comfort at half the weight and price of a sleeping bag.
Here are the best backpacking quilts for your next camping or hiking trip.
In 1971, a bunch of engineers, who just happened to be sleeping not-so-comfortably on a leaky, wet gardening pad made of foam, became the founders of what will be known as Therm-A-Rest. This scientific foundation makes the Therm-A-Rest brand a very strong competitor in the space. Even after several decades, the company remains true to its mission of building a better way of exploring the outdoors and enjoying a good night’s rest beneath the stars.
True to its scientific origins, the first offering from Therm-A-Rest that makes it into the list is the aptly named Proton. On the outside, it’s a very minimalist blanket, but once you get to know it, you’ll realize that it has a lot to offer. It comes with a waterproof and breathable outer shell. The insulation is a synthetic hollow microfiber made from polyester. It’s designed to reliably keep you warm even when it’s wet. At only about 1 pound 2 ounces, you can take it with you everywhere without worrying about excess weight.
The Western Mountaineering company was founded by two avid northern California mountaineers who wanted to build high-performance sleep gear that will keep mountaineers like themselves warm and comfortable even in the harshest environments. All of their sleep gear is proudly American made.
The Cloud 9 Comforter is an awesome entry to start this list. It features box stitch patterns all throughout. It’s lightweight, soft, and superbly warm. You can use it even in the dead of winter, and you’ll still feel warm and comfy. The down stuffing used is from the Eastern European Goose, which is rated to be of 800 fill power. This quilt really looks and feels top-shelf.
You can’t go wrong with this in your pack. The Cloud 9 Comforter comes in three sizes: twin, queen, and king. Choose the size that best suits your needs.
Mountain Hardwear comes from a rich pedigree. It’s a subsidiary of one of the most trusted brands in camping gear and apparel – Columbia Sportswear. Like its parent company, Mountain Hardwear has a singular vision for the production of professional level durable and functional gear that will enhance the experience of outdoor athletes.
The Bozeman Quilt is a rectangular quilt that is filled with synthetic insulation. The insulation is made out of Thermal Q Insulation, which Mountain Hardwear claims is the warmest synthetic material that mimics goose down. Though other outdoor gear companies may challenge this claim, the Bozeman Quilt remains a fine choice to keep you warm when backpacking or hiking. Its versatile design allows you to use it as a comforter, or you can wrap yourself up snugly by clicking together the foot-box snaps. As a design feature, the Bozeman Quilt employs vertical baffles for its filling material.
With a silhouette of a jumping kangaroo plainly visible in its logo, your first guess will be that Kammok is an Aussie brand. Surprisingly, you will be wrong. It’s a purely American brand hailing from Austin, Texas. The company and the line of models that it produces came about as the result of their founder, someone they fondly refer to only as “Greg,” falling through a rip in a hammock he was sleeping in. Predictably, their main products are high-quality hammocks – but they do, however, also make other gear, such as camping quilts.
They enter this list with a strong contender in the Firebelly 30°F. This quilt’s oxymoronic name says it all. Even when you’re out camping in 30°F (that’s a -1°C for those using the Metric), you’re sure to stay comfortably warm. The Firebelly 30°F features down that’s both responsibly-sourced and water-resistant. This is especially useful in high condensation climates. Because of its Downtek down, the Firebelly 30°F actually absorbs about a third less water and dries up about 60% faster than ordinary down. This translates to better heat retention even in moist conditions.
Created by an avid thru-hiker, the Katabatic Gear brand is a very reliable brand that produces extremely functional gear. Because the founder himself is a thru-hiker, the brand naturally became hyper-focused on producing the best quality sleeping gear that’s also ultra-lightweight.
The Palisade embodies the vision and mission of Katabatic Gear. It’s ultra-light and very warm. The Palisade comes in 5 different sizes with the smallest one weighing in at only 16.4 ounces and the biggest one weighing only 22.6 ounces. What is terrific about Katabatic Gear is that they offer you the choice of your down filling. You can choose from either untreated or treated 900 fill power goose down or treated 850 fill power duck down. Treated down options are treated with the HyperDry water-resistant coating that allows the down to maintain its loft even when damp. The Palisade also features a very warm foot box with baffles overstuffed with down.
The engineers from the 1970s have yet another strong offering in this list of best backpacking quilts. This time, it’s the Corus Quilt.
The Corus is a versatile 3-season quilt that’s designed with 650-fill power down treated to be water-resistant. The down is high-loft, but also highly packable. The Corus packs small, making it a perfect addition to your gear. It features a well-insulated foot box to keep your feet and toes warm. Because of its open side and back design, you won’t feel restricted, allowing you the chance to sleep soundly as you rest up for the next day’s challenge.
The NEMO name has two meanings. First, it’s a tribute to where the brand originates from – New England Mountain Equipment – and it’s also a nod to the fictional genius and explorer, Captain Nemo. The brand was created by an active outdoor athlete as an answer to poorly designed camping equipment. It was founded in 2002 and soon afterward became an award-winning company in 2005 with their innovative designs.
The Siren Down Ultralight Quilt is a backless quilt-style sleeping bag that employs vertical baffles. Inside these baffles are 850 fill power premium down that’s responsibly sourced. At only 600 grams, or 1 pound 6 ounces, it’s one of the lightest backpacking quilts available in the market. It has a roomy foot box for comfort as well as a cord system to keep the quilt in place to prevent draft.
What started out as one man in his basement making quilts grew to be a formidable contender in the camping sleep gear space with over 50 regular employees and a 50-square foot manufacturing plant and office building in Minnesota, USA. The founder prides himself as being in the business of making specialized blankets that’s durable and functional enough to protect and keep outdoor athletes comfortable.
It’s no mystery why the Enigma Stock is on this list. The Enigma Stock is Enlightened Equipment’s lightest product yet. It’s designed with a foot box for those who like their feet all toasty and warm as they sleep. The Enigma Stock’s design features U-shaped baffles for added aesthetic flare. It’s backless but does have elastic straps to keep your sleeping pad in place. When you order your Enigma, be sure to customize it to your specific liking. You can choose the type of down used, the fabric colors, the temperature ranges, and the size.
Katabatic Gear doesn’t disappoint with another entry from its range of highly functional sleep gear. Much like the Palisade, the Gear Flex Quilt can be customized with the type of down filling used. You have your choice of 850 fill power duck down or 900 fill power goose down.
The Flex Quilt is a very versatile quilt that features a zip-up foot box. If you unzip the foot box, the Flex Quilt actually opens up into a full-on blanket that will keep you warm even in 30ºF climate. To keep draft away, the Flex comes with elastic straps and bindings.
Drop is an online crowdfunding platform where users are able to influence manufacturers what type of product to build. Essentially, it’s a collaborative review and request platform for will-be consumers regarding certain products of interest. It’s a bulk buying platform that incorporates customization. The company was founded in 2012 as MassDrop and is based in San Francisco, California.
The Revelation Quilt is a product borne out of the collaboration between Drop and Enlightened Equipment. The Revelation Quilt is an award-winning quilt in the camp gear category. It’s the winner of the Best Quilt Award as judged by Backpacker Magazine in 2017. It is also regarded as a “Best Buy” by Outdoor Gear Lab in 2013, 2015, and more recently in 2017. It’s rated for use in below-freezing temperatures up to 20º F. It’s filled with 800 fill power hydrophobic DownTek Down.
The Revelation comes in 4 sizes with the smallest one tipping the scales at a mere 587 grams and the largest at only 714 grams.
Our next entry on this list comes from a brand established in 2009. The Hammock Gear brand is a proud American company based in Ohio. The company, though small, is backed by decades of experience brought in by their various craftspeople. Their name implies that they only produce gear for the hammock camping crowd but in truth, they also equally cater to ground campers with top-of-the-line products.
The Economy Burrow Quilt is a great addition to this list. It’s fitting for use in both hammock and ground camping situations. It’s filled with a high loft duck down. It’s water-resistant and highly packable. This quilt keeps you warm no problem. If you order the Economy Burrow Quilt, be sure to choose your preferred style of foot box – either sewn or zipped.
Zpacks was a brand born out of necessity. When the founder wasn’t able to find the right gear for his Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike, he made his own. He soon made a reputation for himself as a maker of highly functional yet very lightweight camping gear. This became the driving force for the company – creating products that are extremely lightweight but are still tough enough to withstand the stresses put upon them by the active outdoor athlete.
The Solo Quilt is elegant in its simplicity. Packed with DownTek 950 fill power goose down, this fine offering doesn’t play around. Its baffles are 30% overstuffed; this allows the quilt to retain its loft for much longer. It’s designed for side sleepers and frequent shifters in mind hence the roomy rectangular foot box. The Solo Quilt from Zpacks comes in 9 distinct sizes, so make sure to get the one that will fit you just right.
Founded by two Jacks, the Jacks ‘R ’ Better brand is a small company from Pennsylvania. The two Jacks just happen to be retired military officers, so you can be sure that whatever gear their small company puts out, it’s going to have an extremely functional design for survival in the harshest conditions.
The Sierra Sniveller is an unforgettable offering from the two military Jacks. It’s stuffed with an 800 fill power hydrophobic down. It’s rated for 20ºF, but the manufacturer claims that this is a conservative rating. It’s backless and has a versatile, formable foot box. At first glance, it seems like a typical camping quilt, but connect the hook and loops in the right way, and you have yourself a warm serape you can wear when you’re active. It must be said that wearing this makes you look like a samurai in full armor. There is nothing to sniveling about with the Sierra Sniveller.
UGQ once meant Underground Quilts; now, they just go by the initials. This small company is based in Jackson, Michigan and has become a force to be reckoned with in the arena of ultralight camping gear offerings since their founding in 2011.
The UGQ Outdoor Bandit is one of their best, incorporating design features from two of their prior best-selling and top-rated quilts. This offering features zone filling for torso and foot box baffles that make it possible to overstuff where needed. When ordering the Bandit, make sure to customize the quilt to your preferred specifications since it is highly customizable down to the last detail.
The founder of the Loco Libre Gear started the brand after closing his previous outdoor gear supply business. It started off with just one man and is currently still under the direct management of the same founder and main idea guy.
The Loco Libre Gear Ghost Pepper Quilt is a high-end offering from the small company. It employs chevron-shaped baffles to ensure that the down remain where they need to be for longer. You can choose from a variety of temperature ratings. When placing your order, you need to specify your desired preferences, such as size, taper style, foot box style, and more.