For backpackers seeking to shave ounces from their sleep systems, quilts have emerged as a popular alternative to traditional mummy sleeping bags.
Their open-sided design allows freedom of movement while you sleep without added weight and bulk.
However, picking the right backpacking quilt means considering temperature rating, fill material, weight, and extra features for comfy trips in spring, summer, and fall.
In this guide, we’ll explore some top quilt options on the market and the qualities to consider when making your choice.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Weight: 11 ounces (312 grams)
Limit Temp Rating: 37ºF | 3ºC* (Rating by Western Mountaineering)
✅ Made from quality materials
❌ Hard to get in and out
❌ No hood
Western Mountaineering delivers top-notch down quality and craftsmanship in a ultralight design with the NanoLite quilt. Constructed from 12D ExtremeLite and 10D taffeta with 850+ fill power down, it packs down smaller than comparable quilts yet provides exceptional warmth.
Adjustable straps securely attach it to sleeping pads, and the insulated draft yoke minimizes heat loss. At 18.5oz for the 6’4″ length, the materials and baffling maximize warmth per gram.
While hoodless, its above-freezing rating works well paired with extra layering upwards. For three-season use, an insulated pad is recommended to fully unleash its capabilities.
As someone on the taller side, I found the shoulder space quite roomy compared to mummy bags. Still, folks right around 6′ may prefer the longer version for full coverage.
Minor gripes include the strap closure system making exits slightly tricky without zippers or snaps. But WM’s attention to detail and proven quality make this a superb high-performance quilt for minimalists.
Weight: 15 ounces (425 grams)
Limit Temp Rating: 32ºF | 0ºC
✅ Small pack size
❌ No hood
The Vesper quilt delivers exceptional warmth-to-weight for 3-season backpacking. Its box-baffle construction maximizes loft from the high-quality 900-fill down insulation, ensuring an amazingly compressible and thermally efficient design.
Features like the snap neck closure, insulated footbox and perimeter baffling reinforce its temperature rating down to comfortable mid-40s use. The removable straps provided a secure and customizable attachment to my sleeping pad as well.
While not having a hood means bringing a cap, that shaved welcome ounces. Active side sleepers may need to monitor baffle gaps but a quick shake redistributes the down loft admirably.
Simple to use with reliable performance, it will serve many backpackers well on extended 3-season trips demanding uncompromised comfort and weight savings.
Weight: 19.18 ounces (544 grams)
Limit Temp Rating: 30ºF | -1ºC
✅ Customization options
✅ Good quality
❌ Annoying upper strap
The Revelation quilt is a popular choice for its versatile and thoughtfully designed sleep system. Featuring an adjustable 1/4 zipper footbox, it can be fully closed or laid open as needed.
Made with high quality 850FP duck down and breathable fabrics in various styles/colors, it delivers outstanding warmth for the weight. The included attachment system securely locks the quilt to a sleeping pad.
Snap and drawcord closures at the neck allow for fine-tuning draft control. U-shaped baffles effectively keep down insulation where it’s needed.
While on the warmer side according to temperature ratings, it served me well into the high 30s with base layers – perfect for 3-season trips. One small complaint is the hanging drawcord which got in my face at times; a side position would be safer.
Otherwise, the craftsmanship and performance inspire confidence for multi-day adventures. Care is needed with the zipper but minor annoyances are outweighed by the versatile and lightweight design.
Overall it’s a top choice among long-distance hikers seeking consistent comfort without excess weight or bulk.
Weight: 11.8 ounces (335 grams)
Limit Temp Rating: 30°F | -1°C
✅ Accurate temperature rating
❌ Not the best durability
Made with premium 900FP goose down certified by the Responsible Down Standard, this quilt delivers excellent warmth for its weight. Overstuffed baffles maintain loft, while vertical panels keep down properly distributed.
The wide, roomy footbox fits various sleeping positions comfortably. Breathable fabrics paired with DWR coating shed moisture inside and out. Internal black lining promotes drying too.
Snaps and straps anchor the quilt securely to a sleeping pad. While hoodless, the adjustable neck closure retains heat effectively.
In testing, I found the solo quilt accurately matched its temperature rating. Even on very cold nights paired with synthetics, I stayed cozy through the morning.
Build quality is generally good but I did experience a small hole developing quite rapidly. While a quick patch, it’s worth noting for such a new quilt.
Overall this remains a comfortable choice for 3-season thru-hiking thanks to it exceptional design and performance.
Weight: 30.7 ounces (870 grams)
Limit Temp Rating: 35°F | 1.6°C
✅ Relatively affordable
❌ Relatively heavy
❌ Limited size options
❌ Bulky footbox
The Elemental Quilt offers a ingenious hybrid design between a traditional mummy bag and versatile sleeping quilt.
Constructed with moisture-wicking and fully recyclable fabrics paired with dependable SierraLoft Eco synthetic insulation, it provides consistent warmth even in damp conditions.
Its adjustable features like the insulated hood, draft collar and zipped double-layer footbox allow for customizable ventilation and temperature regulation.
At just over 30 ounces, it compresses well for backpacking while maintaining generous roominess suited to side sleepers and mobility needs.
Internal pockets maintain small essentials close at hand through the night as well. Pad straps further anchor security to your sleeping pad. Warmth met REI’s 35F rating based on my testing down to those temperatures.
While imperfections include some wrinkling and bulkier footbox design, pros far outweigh cons for the adaptable protection and coziness it delivers.
By switching to a quilt, you can significantly reduce the weight in your backpack, enjoy improved comfort, and save valuable space. Quilts also excel at temperature regulation, allowing you to stay cool in warm weather and cozy in cold conditions.
Choosing a quilt can be challenging, especially if you’ve never used one before. Here are some factors to consider:
If you find that a quilt with a temperature rating of around 30 degrees Fahrenheit isn’t warm enough for your needs, you might want to explore our guide on winter sleeping quilts.
Here are the key factors to consider when choosing the best backpacking quilt for your camping and outdoor adventures: Look for a lightweight yet warm quilt made from high-quality down or synthetic insulation that compresses into a small, compact size for packing on the trail. Consider features like adjustable hoods, zippers and straps to secure it to your sleeping pad. Pay attention to temperature ratings and if you’ll be 3-season backpacking or want additional warmth. Choosing the right quilt will help you stay cozy through the night while keeping your backpack light and easy to manage on multi-day outdoor excursions.
Whether using a backpacking quilt in a hammock setup is suitable depends on a few factors. Look for a quilt with tie-out loops or attachment points on the corners that allow securing it beneath and around your hammock sleeping area for maximum coverage and insulation. Consider also quilts with zippered footboxes for ventilation, as hammock sleeping can induce more heat and humidity. While not all quilts are truly compatible, those designed for both ground and hammock use can work well providing coziness without excess weight for enjoying trails and spending nights under the stars in your portable hanging shelter.
A high performance backpacking quilt calls for the right amount of insulation to keep you comfortably warm on backcountry adventures. Opt for down quilts filled with at least 800-fill power goose down for light, lofty insulation that compacts small and retains warmth when wet. Alternatively, top quality synthetic insulation like Primaloft Gold Insulation offers durability and warmth rivaling down’s performance at the cost of greater packed size and weight. Overall, backpacking quilts intended for 3-season use in a variety of conditions should have fill weights ranging from 10-20 ounces depending on your needs, with integrated features keeping precious heat trapped throughout the night.