best camping quilts

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags & Backpacking Quilts 2020

Find the best sleeping bag or camping quilt. No BS. Tested for performance and value.

There is an exceptional and light sleeping bag or camping quilt here for every type of backpacker. But you’ll need to choose carefully to get the best one for you at the right price! This guide help you do just that. In it we’ve selected the very best sleeping bags and backpacking quilts on the market. And we give you the solid data to back up those choices.

A good night’s sleep is critical for physical and mental recovery while backpacking. That’s why it is imperative to know beforehand that your backpacking sleeping bag or camping quilt is warm enough to comfortably handle the lowest temperature you might expect. While guiding in the Rockies one summer, night temps unexpectedly dropped into the 20s and I watched in horror as my client fainted when we started hiking the next morning. She had a “30 degree named” bag from a well known manufacturer that she trusted to keep her warm to 30 degrees. But in reality it only had a +40 F degree comfort rating, and thus she had collapsed due to “cold-exhaustion.” Don’t ever let this happen to you!

4 Reasons Why You Should Use Our Guide

The Market Place is Confusing, but We Can Un-confuse it!

First, while testing of sleeping bags in the EU is required, it is not in the US. As such, many sleeping bags in the US, even from well known brands are not tested. So you only have their say-so that their “xxx 30F” sleeping bag will keep you warm to 30F. This makes it almost impossible to compare sleeping bags, and more important, to know if you’ll sleep warm enough. We can help you!

  1. We we give solid, data-based performance and value ratings for all our sleeping bags and camping quilts. If we say a bag has better warmth to weight performance, you can look into our data comparison tables to see that it does rank better and compared to what.
  2. Our Comfort Temperature Model estimates the comfort temperature for all sleeping bags and quilts (even if it hasn’t been tested). As you can see from the story above, it’s super important to know the actual comfort temperature rating of your sleeping bag or camping quilt. In fact it’s so important, we’ve created our own mathematical model, which can accurately predict any bag or quilt’s comfort temperature, even if it has not been EN/ISO rated. An added benefit is that in addition to being transparent about comfort temperatures, this model will also save you both weight and money, allowing you to find the best sleeping bag or quilt at the lowest cost.
  3.  PRO TIPS: WE give you Pro Tips that you won’t get elsewhere to get the best out of your sleeping bag and quilt. These are based on 20 years of hard-earned field use of ultralight backpacking sleeping bags and camping quilts all over the world in all types of conditions. And yes, we’ve been using ultralight camping quilts for 20 years!
  4. We present Sleeping Bags, Quilts, and Alternates on a level playing field. Most guides only give quilts & alternatives a passing mention. Here, you get to choose what’s best for you based on unbiased performance, value and the pro’s an con’s for each category. But we strongly suggest you at least peak at all three categories before making a final decision!

Quick Picks for Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags & Camping Quilts

  1. STAFF PICK Sleeping Bag: Thermarest Hyperion 20 F Sleeping Bag. Lightest traditional sleeping bag in this guide, with highest warmth/weight
  2. STAFF PICK Backpacking Quilt: Enlightened Equipment Enigma +30F camping quilt Super light, great warmth/weight, reasonable cost
  3. VALUE Sleeping Bag: REI Co-op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag Lowest cost traditional sleeping bag, great cost/warmth rating, especially when on sale
  4. Major Retailer Quilt: REI Co-op Magma Trail Quilt 30 good value and frequently on sale
  5. STAFF PICK Thru-Hiking Sleeping Bag: Zpacks 20F “Classic” Sleeping Bag Crazy light! Best hybrid between a sleeping bag and quilt.
  6. VALUE Camping Quilt: Hammock Gear Economy Burrow +30 Camping Quilt By a large margin, the best cost/warmth performance of any bag or quilt.
  7. Cost is No Object: Enlightened Equipment Enigma +20 F 950 7D Camping Quilt. Off the chart warmth/weight performance!

Top Pick Highlight | Thermarest Hyperion 20F Sleeping Bag

STAFF PICK: The Thermarest Hyperion 20F Sleeping Bag has the best weight to warmth ratio of all the ultralight backpacking sleeping bags we looked at! This is achieved through the use of 900 fill power down, a relatively lightweight shell fabric (10D compared to 15-20D for some other bags reviewed here) and a snug fit. In addition, Thermarest states that they intelligently distribute the down in their bag for optimal warmth. We believe that this allows Thermarest Hyperion 20F to be lighter than almost all similarly comfort temp rated bags. A high R Value  Therma-a-rest NeoAir X-Lite sleeping pad will ensure you get all the warmth out of this sleeping bag.

What Makes a Great Backpacking Sleeping Bag or Backpacking Quilt?

The best down backpacking sleeping bags and down camping quilts all exemplify the following three traits – 1) warm, 2) lightweight, and 3) affordable. If a bag checks all of those boxes, and you can comfortably sleep in it, you’ve got yourself a winner! In this guide, we highlight a wide range of winners, the very best backpacking sleeping bags available in 2020. For ease of choice, we’ve sorted those winners into three separate categories, Traditional Sleeping Bags, Camping Quilts, and Alternative Sleeping Bags. We explain the pros and cons of each type. Lastly, within each category, we’ll also provide a range of price points to make sure you get the very best sleeping bag you can afford.

video bacpakcing sleeping bags & camping quilts

Video Version of Guide

For those that prefer video, and like to see the actual quilts and sleeping bags in hand, this is a detailed deep-dive explaining all the gear, what’s great and how I use it

Also See

Three Categories of Sleeping Options

  1. Traditional Backpacking Sleeping Bags 3.2 Performance*, 2.7 Value*
    The mummy bags that hikers are most familiar with. A safe, conservative choice.
  2. Backpacking Quilts (AKA camping quilts) 4.3 Performance, 3.8 Value
    Lighter and less expensive than Traditional Backpacking Sleeping Bags.
  3. Alternative Sleeping Bags 4.6 Performance, 3.1 Value
    Lighter than Traditional Sleeping Bags. Design is between a sleeping bag & a camping quilt.

* The Performance and Value scores above are on a scale of 0-5, with 5 being the best score. The Performance Score is for warmth to weight and the Value Score is for warmth to price.

1. Best Traditional Backpacking Sleeping Bags | 3.2 Performance | 2.7 Value

1.7 lb average | $420 average

Traditional “mummy” backpacking sleeping bags have become lighter over the years and these are among the lightest options while still keeping an eye on value. On the upside, everybody is familiar with this type of sleeping bag and they are easy and intuitive to use. On the downside, they give up both warmth to weight (W2W, performance) and cost to weight (C2W, value) ratings  vs. the camping quilt, or compared to alternative sleeping bag categories. We have avoided sleeping bags with similar performance that can cost in the range of $500+ to $600 — so you might not see some well regarded bags that exceeded this limit.

  • Thermarest Hyperion 20F Sleeping Bag | highest performance at a reasonable price
  • REI Co-op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag | value, easily available from a trusted source
  • Sierra Designs Cloud 20F Sleeping Bag | value and performance with a few quirks
  • Montbell Downhugger 800 #1 Sleeping Bag | light and a good value for colder sleepers

Note 1: From this point on, if we mention a temperature rating for a sleeping bag, it means the “comfort” rating, and not the “limit” rating of the bag.

Note 2: And we are including/comparing sleeping bags with approximately a +30 F comfort rating (ISO tested, or our modeled comfort temp if untested). The exception is when we include an approximately a +20 F comfort rating bag for colder sleepers or harsher environments.

The 3 Q’s and Pros and Cons | Backpacking Sleeping Bags

Expand the accordions below to get all the info.

Is it warm enough? These bags are the most conservative choice for warmth. They are almost draft free, have a warm hood and can seal up to a warm cocoon.

Is it light enough? We selected these to be among very light lightest sleeping bags on the market and they should save most hikers a fair amount of weight. That being said, the are still heavier than the best Camping Quilts, and Alternative Sleeping Bags in this guide.

Can I afford it? A high quality down sleeping bag is not cheap. But then again what is being warm and getting a good night’s sleep worth? If you want to save money, and are willing to think outside the box, then you might take a look a the camping quilts in this guide. They are lighter, less constricting and less expensive.

Bonus Q | Can I sleep in it? – This is tricky for conventional sleeping bags. As a plus, they are simple to use and most folks already know how to sleep in them. If you don’t mind the snug fit of a mummy bag, and that confinement doesn’t rob you of sleep, then these are great. But if you are a bit claustrophobic or hate confinement they can be problematic. Also they do not vent as well or adapt to warmer weather as well as camping quilts, which have a broader temperature range.

Pro for Sleeping Bag Category: most conservative choice for warmth, draft free, familiar and easy to use, light (but not the very lightest), huge choice of models and manufactures, readily available online and from brick and mortar stores.

Con for Sleeping Bag Category: can be expensive, some hikers may not like the confinement of a mummy bag fit, moderately expensive. Harder to adapt to warmer conditions vs. a quilt. In very cold weather, not as accommodating to wearing a lot of clothes inside the bag as a quilt.

Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20 Down Backpacking Sleeping Bag

Thermarest Hyperion 20 F Sleeping Bag $410

EN/ISO TESTED TEMP RATING: +20 F (-6 C) Limit | +32 F (0 C) Comfort

MODEL PREDICTED COMFORT TEMP: +32 F (0 C)

WEIGHT: 20 oz

WEIGHT TO WARMTH: 3.5

COST TO WARMTH: 2.2

FEATURES: 900 fill dri-down, 10 D nylon shell, baffled construction, pad strap system

SHOULDER GIRTH: 57″ / 145 cm (claimed); 54” / 137 cm (actual)

STAFF PICK: The Thermarest Hyperion 20F Sleeping Bag is one of the very lightest 32 degree comfort rated bags on the market. Not surprisingly, it has the best weight to warmth ratio of all the sleeping bags we looked at! This is achieved through the use of 900 fill power down, a relatively lightweight shell fabric (10D compared to 15-20D for some other bags reviewed here) and a snug fit. In addition, Thermarest states that they intelligently distribute the down in their bag so that 70% of the down is on the top section of the bag, this should in theory put more down where it is needed. We believe that is at least part of what allows Thermarest Hyperion 20F to be lighter almost all similarly comfort temp rated bags. The pad strap system is helpful and not something you find on any other of the bags here with the exception of the Sierra Designs Cloud bags, and they are removable if you don’t want the minimal extra weight they add.

BEST FOR: Hikers who are willing to pay a modest premium to get one of the very lightest +32 F comfort bags available. (And it’s $100 to $200 less expensive than many better known and heavier sleeping bags)

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Hikers who don’t like narrow bags and are allergic to high prices. 10D shell fabric requires reasonable care in the field.

down backpacking sleeping bag - rei magma 15

REI Co-op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag | $379 (frequently lower on sale)

EN/ISO TESTED TEMP RATING: +16 F (-9 C) Limit, +28 F (-3 C) Comfort,

MODEL PREDICTED COMFORT TEMP: +29 F (-2 C)

WEIGHT: 28.2 oz

WEIGHT TO WARMTH: 3.0

COST TO WARMTH: 3.0 | 4.0 when on sale

FEATURES: 850 fill DWR goose down, 15 D nylon shell, narrow leg area, insulated neck baffle

SHOULDER GIRTH: 56″ / 142 cm

SIMILAR MODELS: Magma +30 Sleeping Bag

Our pick for a Value Sleeping Bag (especially when on sale!): The only bag under $400 in this category and under $300 when on sale, the REI Co-op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag M’s & W’s is a good blend of both cost/warmth and weight to warmth — placing solidly in both measures. In particular it’s one of the better values in a +30 comfort rated sleeping bag, and that’s when not on sale. As such, the REI Co-op Magma 15 is a great all-around 3-season choice for many campers, allowing you to go light without going broke. And of course it’s backed by REI.

BEST FOR: Hikers wanting a full featured 32F sleeping bag that’s light but not excessively expensive. Readily available.

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Hikers who dislike the tightness of a mummy bag as the leg area of the Magma is quite narrow. Hikers that must have the very lightest sleeping bag and are willing to pay for it.

ultralight backpacking sleeping bag - sierra designs cloud 20F

Sierra Designs Cloud 20F | $399

EN/ISO TESTED TEMP RATING: +15 F (-10 C) Limit, +26 F (-3 C) Comfort

MODEL PREDICTED COMFORT TEMP: 26 F (-3 C)

WEIGHT: 29 oz

WEIGHT TO WARMTH: 3.2

COST TO WARMTH: 3.1

FEATURES: Zipperless entry, downless torso section, sleeping pad sleeve, competitive price, 800 fill dri-down, 15 D nylon shell, true mummy style bag

SHOULDER GIRTH: 60″ / 152 cm (including non-filled section under torso)

SIMILAR MODELS: Sierra Designs Cloud 800 0 F, Feathered Friends Swallow YF 20

The Sierra Designs Cloud 800 20F is a very reasonably priced sleeping bag. It incorporates a zipperless closing system that works surprisingly well. It is not as fixed tight as a zipper entry but stays put very well and is not in our minds a degrading quality of this bag. Sierra Designs also eliminated further weight by removing down from directly under the torso section of the bag, down that is normally compressed when you sleep anyway. This essentially gives you near the weight benefit of a quilt but with the full wrap around convenience of a mummy bag. At the same time it is a true mummy style bag with insulated head space. The women’s version is slightly narrower in the shoulder and footbox and 2” shorter but carries the same amount of down fill so expect this to be slightly warmer than the men’s version.

BEST FOR: Hikers wanting a good value 30 degree F bag and who are able to accept a zipperless entry.

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Hikers who feel the need to have a fully zipped up mummy bag, though we would argue this is a perception and not a real warmth issue.

down backpacking sleeping bag - Montbell Downhugger 800 #1

Montbell Downhugger 800 #1 | $469

EN/ISO TESTED TEMP RATING: +11 F (-11 C) Limit, +23 F (-5 C) Comfort,

MODEL PREDICTED COMFORT TEMP: +21 F (-6 C)

WEIGHT: 36 oz

WEIGHT TO WARMTH: 2.9

COST TO WARMTH: 3.1

FEATURES: 800 fill DWR down, 20 D nylon shell, Neck baffle, unique baffles allowing more stretch

SHOULDER GIRTH: 53″ / 135 cm

SIMILAR MODELS: Montbell Downhugger 650 #3 (lighter 30 F EN rating and $230 cheaper)

The Montbell Downhugger 800 #1 is a true 20F comfort rated bag. It is also a significant step up in weight and warmth compared to the other bags we reviewed here. However, we include it in the interest of cold sleepers who know that a 32F comfort rated bag won’t deliver what they need for 3 season comfort. The Downhugger series of bags incorporate a diagonal baffle system and a few other construction approaches which Montbell states give the bag more give and stretch and also help to keep the down closer to your body and avoid drafts. Our assumed temperature rating still predicted a comfort range of 21 F, which is nearly identical to the EN tested comfort rating of 23F.

BEST FOR: Colder sleepers looking for a good value for money, it was one of the most economical 20F range bags we reviewed.

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Warmer sleepers who don’t need a bag rated to lower 20 F and don’t have the change for a $400+ sleeping bag.

Runners Up

A Few Other Backpacking Sleeping Bags to Look At

Sea to Summit Spark Ultralite 3 18F: 23.5 oz | Comfort Temp 29 tested | 3.1 Weight to Warmth | 2.6 Cost to Warmth
Feathered Friends Swallow YF 20: 28.7 oz | Comfort temp 27 modeled |3.4 Weight to Warmth |  2.4 Cost to Warmth

So what happened to traditional favorite bags like the Western Mountaineering Ultralite and Summerlite?

Yup, these indeed are still great bags and many of them are solid choices. They missed making a top picks by being slightly lower rating for warmth/weight and/or warmth/cost or possibly another reason. And some of these bags were simply too expensive to make our top picks since there were less expensive options with better/similar performance. All sleeping bags and quilts are listed in a table here. Again, be sure you look at the comfort rating of the bag!

2. Best Backpacking Quilts / Camping Quilts | 4.3 Performance | 3.8 Value

1.2 lb average | $290 average

The best backpacking quilts are both more weight efficient and cost less money compared to traditional sleeping bags. Therefore, as a category, they beat out traditional sleeping bags in both W2W (performance) and C2W (value). The Enlightened Equipment Enigma 20 950 7D camping quilt had the highest W2W rating of any bag or quilt in this guide. Backpacking quilts require some knowledge of how to effectively use them, so be sure to read our Pro Tips for sleeping in Camping quilts.

Finally, while the ISO sleeping bag test has no contingency for testing quilts. It is possible to test quilts following most of the ISO standard. See more on Note 3 in our Adventure Alan Sleeping Bag Warmth Estimator. That being said, as a category, the modeled comfort temp predictions for down backpacking quilts in this guide seem to be very close to their named temperatures. That is, “Enlightened Equipment Enigma +30F Camping Quilt,” is predicted to be a +30 F comfort temperature quilt. Bravo for quilt manufacturers!

Is it warm enough? The quilts selected here are easily able to keep you as warm as a traditional sleeping bag when accompanied with the knowledge of how to sleep in a quilt effectively. Again, our side panel tips on this. Many experienced hikers use quilts effectively in the temperature range we are targeting in this guide – around 30 F.

Is it light enough? We selected these to be among very light lightest camping on the market and they should save most hikers a fair amount of weight — even against the best sleeping bags. In summary, if weight to warmth is your highest priority and you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, camping quilts are where it’s at.

Can I afford it? A camping quilt is going to save you money for the same sleeping warmth compared to a sleeping bag. If you are budget constrained learning to use a quilt is going to open a whole new category for you and lower your overall pack weight by at least half a pound.

Can I sleep in it? – Many people can with the right knowledge. They are not claustrophobic since they can easily be vented which also makes them adaptable to a wider range of conditions than a traditional mummy bag – meaning a better night sleep in varying conditions. They are also able to accomodate a hiker wearing additional clothes, like a puffy jacket without compressing down and compromising insulating capacity. On the downside, it does take a bit of skill to avoid drafts in a quilt. Most hikers maange to learn this skill without difficulty. But a few, especially restless sleepers, never get the knack of it. There are some clips bottom closure hardware to help with this issue.

Pros: Lighter than traditional sleeping bags, just as warm, and the cost less. Non-restrictive and comfortable. Easily adapt to a broad range of temperatures by either opening up the quilt in warmer weather, and closing it down in colder weather. And if it’s really cold you can wear a down jacket in it without it being tight or claustrophobic.

Cons: For those that don’t get the knack of sleeping in a quilt, they can be drafty. Limited choices from mainstream manufactures (altho a good selection from well-established cottage manufactures). No hood, altho this can be solved with a warm hat or hood.

Top Picks | Camping Quilts / Backpacking Quilts

  • Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 / Enigma 20
  • Hammock Gear Premium Burrow +20
  • Hammock Gear Economy Burrow +20
  • Enlightened Equipment Revelation +20 with 950 FP down and 7D fabric
  • Warbonnet Custom Diamondback Camping Quilt +30

Why a Backpacking Quilt is Lighter and Less Expensive than a Traditional Sleeping Bag

A detailed analysis with the facts to back it up

First if you take a look at our supporting data tables for sleeping bags, backpacking quilts, and alternative sleeping bags you’ll see that as a category camping quilts have better weight to warmth (performance) ratios, that is for the same warmth they weigh less. Quilts have a better cost to warmth (value) ratio, that is for the same warmth quilts cost less.

Backpacking Quilts 4.3 Performance, 3.8 Value | Sleeping Bags 3.2 Performance, 2.7 Value

For more details and analysis open the accordion below.

Why Backpacking Quilts are Lighter & Less Expensive than Sleeping Bags


Note: This analysis is about 3 years old. Nonetheless the rankings are still very close, and the conclusions vaild.

1) Quilts Are Lighter

On a sleeping bag, the down under you is “wasted.” That is, that down is compressed by your body reducing its warmth to near zero. It’s your sleeping pad that keeps your under-body warm. A down quilt simply removes the down under you (and the fabric enclosing it) saving nearly half a pound vs a sleeping bag. Finally, quilts don’t use a zipper, which is a surprisingly heavy component of a sleeping bag.

Weight Comparison (chart above): Red arrows show quilts. The three lightest are all quilts, the Hammock Gear Burrow, Hammock Gear Burrow Econ Quilt, and Enlightened Equipment Enigma.


2) Quilts Are a Lot Cheaper!

Hoods and zippers are some of the most complicated and/or expensive sections of a sleeping bag to produce, and quilts forego them. This means that the manufacturers can instead use more down, or higher quality down and fabrics for any given price point. And per above, removing the down and fabric from the bottom vs. a sleeping bag also saves cost (high quality down is expensive!).

Price Comparison (chart above): Red arrows show quilts.  Every down quilt is less expensive than any down sleeping bag. The least expensive down sleeping bag or down quilt is the very light Hammock Gear Burrow Econ Quilt. It is even less expensive than the two budget synthetic sleeping bags The North Face Cat’s Meow 22 and REI Lumen 20!

 3) Quilts Are Comfier

Quilts are completely unrestrictive and much more comfortable than mummy bags. And because they ventilate so easily, you rarely ever suffer from having brought too warm of insulation. Finally, quilts more easily accommodate wearing clothes inside them (like a down jacket on an exceptionally cold night) without squeezing you and compressing insulation. This keeps you warmer and more comfortable vs. a sleeping bag.


ultralight backpacking quilt - enlightened equipment enigma down camping quilt

Enlightened Equipment Enigma 30 $290

EN/ISO TESTED TEMP RATING: N/A

MODEL PREDICTED COMFORT TEMP: +29 F (-2 C)

WEIGHT: 17.9 oz

WEIGHT TO WARMTH: 4.5

COST TO WARMTH: 3.7

FEATURES: 850 fill DWR Duck down, 10 D nylon shell, sewn footbox, new for 2020 optional draft colar ($20 upcharge and additional 1 ounce)

SHOULDER GIRTH: 51″ / 130 cm

STAFF PICK: The Enlightened Enigma Quilts achieved the highest warmth to weight rating for Camping Quilts. As such, we consider this version of their quilt line to be the “gold standard” for camping quilts. In addition, the Enlightened Equipment quilts offer an optional draft color. The regular length version of these quilts (which we used for comparison) are 2 inches shorter than the Premium Burrow, however, for those who need greater length a “long, 78 inch” version is also available (1 inches shorter than the Premium Burrow long) and an about .67 ounces added weight. The Enlightened Equipment website also provides a very good sizing chart if you are in doubt about what is best.

BEST FOR: Those looking the highest performance 30F degree camping quilt. Highest warmth to weight rating!

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Restless sleepers, or those not willing to learn how to sleep in a camping quilt

ultralight backpacking quilts hammock gear premium burrow down camping quilt

Hammock Gear Premium Burrow +30 $285 (sewn footbox)

EN/ISO TESTED TEMP RATING: N/A

MODEL PREDICTED COMFORT TEMP: +31 F (-0 C)

WEIGHT: 18.5 oz

WEIGHT TO WARMTH: 4.0

COST TO WARMTH: 3.5

FEATURES: 850 fill DWR Duck down, 10 D nylon shell, zippered version able to open flat

SHOULDER GIRTH: 51″ / 130 cm

SIMILAR MODELS: Hammock Gear Economy Burrow +30

RUNNER UP: Over the years Hammock Gear and Enlightened Equipment have been going at it, neck-to-neck to make the best ultralight camping quilts. As such, Hammock Gear has a strong following among quilt proponents and for good reason. For years the Hammock Gear Premium Burrow Camping Quilt has one of the best weight to warmth and cost to warm value quilts on the market. And we find the baffling on the HG quilts to control down a bit better. But you really can’t go wrong with either the EE or HG quilts. Note: If you are wondering about using Hammock Gear Quilts for non-hammock sleep systems, don’t worry, their quilts aren’t just for hammock sleepers. Using the wider 55” option is recommended for those using their quilts without a hammock system.

Also note the stellar value of the Economy version | Hammock Gear Economy Burrow  of this quilt. It’s under $200 and uses 800 fill power down and as a result is also 1.5 ounces heavier. Nothing else on the market comes close!

BEST FOR: Those looking for a top of the line 30F degree quilt with exceptional warmth to weight and warmth to cost ratings.

NOT AS GOOD FOR:  Restless sleepers, or those not willing to learn how to sleep in a camping quilt

ultralight backpacking quilt - hammock gear economy burrow quilt

Hammock Gear Economy Burrow 30F $195 (sewn footbox)

EN/ISO TESTED TEMP RATING: N/A

MODEL PREDICTED COMFORT TEMP: +31 F (-0 C)

WEIGHT: 21.8 oz

WEIGHT TO WARMTH: 3.4

COST TO WARMTH: 5.0 highest value in this guide.

FEATURES: 800 fill DWR Duck down, 20 D nylon shell, zippered version able to open flat

SHOULDER GIRTH: 51″ / 130 cm

SIMILAR MODELS: Hammock Gear Premium Burrow +30F..

Hammock Gear Economy Burrow 30F is hands down the best value in this guide — and by a large margin! Or put in other terms, it’s It’s 1/2 the cost and 1/2 a pound lighter than most comparable high-quality down sleeping bags. In addition, it still has a very high warmth to weight value. As noted in our comments about the Premium version of this quilt, Hammock Gear has a strong following among quilt proponents. This version of their burrow quilt line is an attractive economical option for anyone looking for high quality quilt from a highly respected supplier. This version uses 800 fill power down (vs 850 on the premium version) and is about 1.5 ounces heavier. You end up the winner, with a sub $200 sleep system that lighter than most top quality down sleeping bags. Actually it’s, less expensive than almost all +30 comfort rated synthetic bags.

BEST FOR: Budget conscious quilt users looking for the best value for money in a sub-30F degree quilt and willing to accept slight weight increase vs. a premium quilt.

NOT AS GOOD FOR: For those looking for the very lightest camping quilt. Restless sleepers, or those not willing to learn how to sleep in a camping quilt

ultralight backpacking quilt - enlightened equipment enigma

Custom Enlightened Equipment Enigma 20 950 $415

EN/ISO TESTED TEMP RATING: N/A

MODEL PREDICTED COMFORT TEMP: +22 F (-5 C)

WEIGHT: 19.3 oz

WEIGHT TO WARMTH: 5.6 (highest in this guide!)

COST TO WARMTH: 3.4

FEATURES: 950 fill DWR Duck down, 7 D nylon shell, sewn footbox, new for 2020 optional draft colar ($20 upcharge and additional 1 ounce)

SHOULDER GIRTH: 54″ / 137 cm (claimed); 51” / 129 cm (actual)

SIMILAR MODELS: Enlightened Equipment Enigma 30, 950 fill & 7D fabric

Highest warmth to weight performance of any sleeping bag/quilt in this guide! The Custom Enlightened Equipment Enigma 20 with upgrades to 950 fill power down and 7D shell fabric represents the limits of ultralight camping quilt technology. At a warmth to weight value of 5.6, it exceeds the upper limit of 5 for our scale. This quilt will give you a true 20F of sleeping comfort (of course when used properly as we describe in this article), but at just over pound! But of course, there is an increase in price using premium 950 fill power down and ultralight 7D fabric. The similar Custom Enlightened Equipment Enigma 30, 950 fill power down & 7D shell fabric has a 5.1 W2W making it the highest rated +30 comfort quilt in this guide — if you are willing to pay the price.

Note: This quilt is in the guide for two reasons. 1) Using 950 fill power down and 7D shell fabric, it is meant to compare to the +20 Alternative bags which also use these expensive materials. 2) It is an insane light true +20 comfort temperature sleep option for cold hikers or those venturing into areas where temperatures are expected to be quite cold.

BEST FOR: Those looking for the lightest true 20F degree quilt, and who have the budget to pay for something that is extremely light for the warmth it delivers.

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Budget conscious hikers who are unlikely to be in sub +20 F conditions.

ultralight camping quilt - warbonnet diamondback custom

Warbonnet Custom Diamondback Camping Quilt 30F $280

EN/ISO TESTED TEMP RATING: N/A

MODEL PREDICTED COMFORT TEMP: +31 F (-0 C)

WEIGHT: 18.1 oz

WEIGHT TO WARMTH: 4.0

COST TO WARMTH: 53.5

FEATURES: 850 fill DWR Goose down, 10D nylon shell

SHOULDER GIRTH: 51″ / 130 cm

The Warbonnet Custom Diamondback Camping Quilt 30F (Sewn Footbox) is a close competitor to Enlightened Equipment and Hammock Gear and worth a hard look. It has one of the highest warmth to weight values for a reasonably priced quilt. Warbonnet has done some innovative things. They have restricted down movement in the longitudinal baffles, added a draft collar option, and Adjustable Side Elastics that cinch the edges of the quilt to reduce drafts. And of course there is a 950 FB down option.

Tip | Where Are All the Other Camping Quits?

We understand there are many quality suppliers not included here. The focus of this guide was on the top picks in each category based on use of our “assumed comfort rating” and the backpacking quilt’s W2W and C2W values. But other great options exist for the ultralight hiker and for that reason we list below other recommended suppliers which we did not cover specifically in this guide. And to be clear, there are some good choices, we aren’t discrediting anybody!

Camping Quilt Listings – JacksRbetter, Katabatic gear, Montbell, and Thermarest, Loco Libre, etc. are listed here.

3. Best Ultralight Alternative Sleeping Bags | 4.6 Performance | 3.1 Value

1.2 lb average | $384 average

Alternatives to the first two categories are what we are calling hoodless sleeping bags. As a category alternative sleeping bags beat out traditional sleeping bags for both W2W (performance) and C2W (value). They do not have a hood like a normal sleeping bag but do wrap under the torso area unlike a camping quilt. These hoodless bags are more like sleeves that slip up over your body up to your neck. They have extremely good warmth to weight ratios, use a very high 950 fill power down, very thin 7 denier nylon shells which lowers weight but also increases cost.

  • ZPacks Classic 20F
  • Feathered Friends Tanager 20 CFL

Is it warm enough? These alternative sleeping bags are just as warm as a conventional sleeping bags, except that like quilts they lack a hood. As such, to achieve their comfort temp rating you’ll need to wear a hood or a warm hat. A plus, these alternate sleeping bags do not have potential drafts of a camping quilt. And the Feathered Friends Tanager has a generous girth allowing easy pairing with a down jacket for increased warmth.

Is it light enough? We selected these to be among very light lightest sleeping options on the market and they should save most hikers a fair amount of weight. Their weight to warmth  values are among the best in this guide, beating all sleeping bags, and all but the very best camping quilts.

Can I afford it? These are near the top of the pack for value. Generally they are a better value to on par most sleeping sleeping bags, and compete well with most camping quilts. That being said the REI Magma +15 on sale is a better deal (albeit much heavier), and a number of the camping quilts are a better value, especially the Hammock Economy Burrow.

Bonus Q | Can I sleep in it? – If you are an average build hiker and can sleep in a narrower UL stye mummy bag then you will likely adapt to these alternative sleeping bags without a lot of issues. But if you are claustrophobic these bags might be problematic – the sleeve-like Feathered Friends Tanager 20F has no zipper but a generous 62″ girth. And the Zpacks Classic has a pretty narrow girth of 55″ when zipped up (altho it does have a zipper to allow you a quilt option in warmer temps).

Pros: The very lightest option for those looking for a warm, draft free sleeping experience — in some sense, combining the best of a camping quilt and a traditional sleeping bag. Zpacks Classic Sleeping Bag has a nice zipper option to vent and regulate warmth, essentially it can be a quilt or a sleeping bag at the user’s discretion. Feathered Friends Tanager has a very generous 62″ girth that is intended to be used with a warm down jacket (like their Eos) to extend the temperature rating of the bag another 5-10 degrees. Making this a highly adaptable and cost saving option that will work in a very broad range of conditions.

Cons: Could be claustrophobic for some hikers, very limited buying options, more expensive than a camping quilt. Also 7D fabric is delicate requiring more user care. Need to use a hood or warm hat for full warmth.

zpacks classic sleeping bag 20F orange, open

Zpacks Classic Sleeping Bag 20F $379

EN/ISO TESTED TEMP RATING: N/A

MODEL PREDICTED COMFORT TEMP: +25 F (-4 C)

WEIGHT: 19.3 oz  (Standard girth / Medium length option)

WEIGHT TO WARMTH* 5.0 (2nd highest in this guide!)

COST TO WARMTH** (lower better): $1.60

FEATURES: 950 fill DWR Duck down, 7 D nylon, 3/4 zipper.

SHOULDER GIRTH: 55″ / 152 cm

STAFF PICK:  Zpacks Classic Sleeping Bag 20F had the 2nd highest warm to weight rating in this guide — but it has a zipper, while the other was a zipperless quilt — making this a significant achievement! What we really like about the Zpacks Classic Sleeping Bag is that it combines the best attributes of a quilt and a sleeping bag. It has the weight of a quilt and can be used unzippered, just like quilt. But when it gets cold you can zip it up into a draft free, sleeping bag mode. In normal Zpacks fashion it uses the lightest material options – 950 fill power down and a lighter 7D nylon shell. Those materials come at a price making it more expensive than most camping quilts, but less expensive than most sleeping bags.

Note: To compare with other similar quilts in our review the data here refers to the Slim girth (55”) and medium length (72”) configuration.

BEST FOR: Those who want one of the very lightest and warmest backcountry sleeping options And who like the flexibility of using it as both a quilt and a sleeping bag!

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Campers that don’t like a snug fit (alth this has a zipper to solve that in all but very cold conditions). Hikers that abuse their gear.

Feathered Friends Tanager 20 CFL Sleeping Bags

Feathered Friends Tanager 20 CFL $369

EN/ISO TESTED TEMP RATING: N/A

MODEL PREDICTED COMFORT TEMP: +29 F (-2 C)

WEIGHT: 18.6 oz

WEIGHT TO WARMTH: 4.1

COST TO WARMTH: 2.8

FEATURES: 950 fill goose down, 7D nylon, accommodates down jacket

SHOULDER GIRTH: 62″ / 157cm

The Feathered Friends Tanager 20 CFL (Crazy Freaking Light) has no side opening, making it simple tube of down and fabric. This definitely saves weight (no zipper, no hood), and it reduces drafts vs. a camping quilt. Not surprisingly the Tanager 20 CFL has a warmth to weight (W2) value competitive with many quilts even with its generous 62″ girth*. But that wide girth has a reason, and that’s to allow it to be used with a down jacket. Feathered be used with their Eos Down Jacket for additional warmth. And it is in this configuration that the Tanager 20 CFL shines as its wide girth allows plenty of room for a down jacket without compressing its down and allowing enough room for a hiker with the jacket on!

Note: All other things being equal, wider girths get a lower W2W rating vs. bags with narrower girths. This is simple math.

BEST FOR: Those wanting to really push the weight limits for a 30F sleeping option to near 1 pound, who like the idea of more draft control with the enclosed design. And especially for those who like the “designed to be used with a down jacket” angle.

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Those that can’t deal with a zipperless bag. Those who are hard on their gear. Those on a budget.

Supporting Data & Pro Tips for Sleeping Bags & Camping Quilts

down backpacking quilt - Enlightened Equipment Enigma +30F down Camping Quilt

Top Pick Highlight |  Enlightened Equipment Enigma +30F Camping Quilt

STAFF PICK: Warm, comfortable & incredibly light, the Enlightened Equipment Enigma +30F Camping Quilt has the best weight to warmth ratio of all the +30 comfort camping quilts we looked at — beating out the best sleeping bags! And it is a good value to boot. the Enlightened Equipment Enigma +30F allows us to camp most places in the world for 3+ seasons in complete warmth and comfort. It’s light and well mannered and comfortable in mild conditions but can just as easily handle cold. This system when combined with a warm down jacket can handle some truly cold conditions. For instance, Alison and I used this system camping on the Southern Patagonia Ice Shelf.

PRO TIP | Will my Sleeping Bag be Warm Enough?

Almost warm enough is not good enough for a full night of restful, recuperative sleep

Buyer Beware, bags with “+20 F” in their name may not be “warm” at +20F*. The “model name temperature” for a sleeping bag (e.g. “ABC +20F Sleeping Bag”) is almost always the limit rating and not the comfort rating. That is, in our experience they are only warm/comfortable down to around +32 F. To corroborate this we note that ~ +32F is the EN/ISO comfort temperature rating for most +20F limit rated sleeping bags. Or put another way, +32F is the lowest temperature that our staff of seasoned athletes (men and women) find they will be warm enough and get a decent night’s sleep in a +20F limit rated sleeping bag. In support of this we should mention, that the ISO limit temperature test protocol indicates that the sleeper (implied male) might need to have “a curled up body posture” to keep warm. We do not find this reasonable or conducive to getting a good night’s sleep for either men or women!

This is why we have selected +32 comfort rated sleeping bags for this Guide (ISO tested, or our modeled comfort temp if untested). We find that for our staff of seasoned athletes (men and women) and most outdoors hikers feel that the Comfort Rating for a sleeping bag more accurately predicts the lowest temperature that we can reliably stay warm and get good night’s sleep. And for us, +32 F comfort rated sleeping bag is a good choice for all around 2+ to 3-season use for most hikers (men and women). The exception to this is when we include an approximately a +20 F comfort rating bag for colder sleepers (some women, but some men as well) or harsher environments.

* Note: Most cottage quilt manufacturers buck this trend. Our Top Pick quilt manufacturers including Enlightened Equipment, Hammock Gear, and Warbonnet DO who use the comfort temperature in the quilt’s name!

Read the Fine Print!

To be fair, manufacturers like REI, Therma-Rest, Montbell, Sierra Designs, and Sea to Summit not only test their bags to EN/ISO standards but also provide both the comfort and limit ratings for their bags. But you need to read the fine print on the label or scrutinize their website for the small details to find the comfort rating.

Nonetheless, they still name their sleepings bags in “big print” with the more optimistic limit rating. Their claim is that using the limit rating for men’s and unisex bags is an industry standard. But we’d push back on that one and say that people are never going to read the small print. Instead they are going to trust the manufacturer that the sleeping bag will be warm to the temperature in the bag’s name. On the other hand, they are well ahead of other manufactures that don’t test their bags at all!

Above is the label for the REI Magma 15 sleeping bag, which has a comfort rating of +28F — and they are clear about that on the label. But unfortunately, many (most?) hikers do not read the fine print and assume that they’ll sleep warm to +15 degrees. (And yes, with a +28F comfort rating it’s still a great bag and was our value sleeping bag pick!)

The Adventure Alan Sleeping Bag Warmth Estimator

Will Save you Weight and Money

Note: Sleeping bag temperature rating testing is not required in the US. As such, a surprising number of sleeping bags are untested as to what temperatures they are appropriate for, this includes ones from well known and well regarded manufacturers. This is where we come in.

One thing that sets this guide aside from all other guides, is that we’ve created a model, the Adventure Alan Sleeping Bag Warmth Estimator (AAWE), to estimate the comfort temperature of sleeping bags (even if the bag has not been ISO 23537/ EN 13537 tested). Our AAWE model takes into account the physical properties of a sleeping bag or camping quilt, the amount of down, and other parameters to accurately estimate within a few degrees the comfort temperature range of almost all tested and untested sleeping bags, camping quilts, and alternatives. This allows you, the consumer, to make apples-to-apples warmth comparisons between sleeping bags without confusion. This also gives you powerful tools to compare warmth to weight (performance), and warmth to cost (value) between sleeping bags, so you don’t spend more money than you have to.

In summary, Adventure Alan Sleeping Bag Warmth Estimator saves you both weight and hard earned income by allowing you without confusion to find the lightest and warmest sleeping bag or camping quilt at the lowest cost. You win!

* EN 13537 is a European standard test for the temperature ratings on sleeping bags manufactured and/or sold in Europe. It was recently superseded by International Organization for Standardization, ISO 23537-1:2016 test. Again, while some manufacturers in the US test their sleeping bags and quilts to this standard, it is not required in the US and many do not.

Tip | Clothing, Sleeping Pad and Sleeping Bag is a Combined System!

You can get by down to mid-20s F with a +30 F comfort bag combined with good clothing system and a warm sleeping pad.

First, the ISO sleeping bag test protocol assumes one layer top and bottom of long underwear and a warm hat. Possibly more important, the test protocol also assumes a sleeping pad with an R-Value of 4.8, which is a quite warm pad. For instance the popular NeoAir Z Lite is only R2.0 (less than 1/2 that value), and the Therma-a-rest NeoAir X-Lite is just R4.2. Happily our favorite pad, the Therma-a-rest NeoAir X-Lite Women’s exceeds that with R5.4! And the Therma-a-rest Xtherm for just a few ounces more has a whopping R6.9!

Second, combining you clothing with your sleeping bag and pad makes a warmer, more flexible and lower cost system. If you take our recommended +30 F comfort rated sleeping bags and combine it with one layer top and bottom of long underwear and a warm hat, plus a Therma-a-rest NeoAir X-Lite sleeping pad. You should be comfortable down to 30 degrees or so. But what if the temperature suddenly drops to the mid-20s? That’s where you warm down jacket comes in. Wear it in your sleeping bag and you’ve effectively made it a lot warmer. 1) This saves you money since you didn’t have to go out and buy a heavier and more expensive +20 comfort bag. 2) You can use that warm down jacket in camp — keeping you warm sitting around and enjoying camp (or at a cold rest stop) vs. having all your warmth in the +20 bag which would force you into your sleeping bag far earlier just to stay warm.

Related Materials: See our Best Sleeping Pad for Backpacking 2020 | Complete Guide. Note that a warm sleeping pad is a light and inexpensive way to upgrade your sleep system.

What is a Camping Quilt AKA Backpacking Quilt?

No, it’s not just a flat blanket! A modern down camping quilt strips away the heaviest and least effective features of a sleeping bag — leaving you with a supremely efficient and light cocoon of warmth. As such, it is a hoodless, backless, zipperless sleeping bag with a fully enclosed foot box opening at knee level. The upper 2/3 of the quilt can be loosely draped over the user for comfort and venting, or tucked in with a seal for maximum heat conservation.

ultralight backpacking quilt

Down backpacking quilts are cheaper, lighter, and have a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than traditional backpacking sleeping bags. As such, they’ve become a staple in ultralight and lightweight backpacking kits. The ultralight down camping quilts in this guide are the best on the market. They can accommodate users on virtually any trip, anywhere in the world, in any season and any budget!

Camping Quilt vs Backpacking Sleeping Bag?

Camping quilts are significantly lighter and less expensive compared to a traditional sleeping bag. They are non-restrictive and comfortable, so great for people who can’t deal with the tight fit of a mummy bag. Backpacking quilts easily adapt to a broad range of temperatures by either opening up the quilt in warmer weather or closing it in tight around you in colder weather. And when it gets really cold, their more flexible shape allows you to wear a down jacket to bed to increase warmth without it being tight or claustrophobic vs. traditional sleeping bags which usually don’t have enough room to wear extra clothes. The major downside of quilts is for restless sleepers, or people that never master keeping the quilt over them. The resulting drafts can reduce the inherent warmth of a quilt. Finally camping quilts lack a hood, but unless it’s very cold a warm hat will solve that issue nicely (and lab testing also supports this). Also the sleeping bag temp rating tests are also done with a hat.

Traditional sleeping bags are reliable, tried and true. They are simple and easy since most campers have used them for years — so they have no learning curve — a comfort and a relief to many campers. They have a full hood which ads warmth and reduces drafts. And the full zipper makes sure that your body is always covered with down and draft free. As temperatures drop below 20F, even some quilt aficionados start to seriously eye traditional sleeping bags. As above, downsides to traditional sleeping bags is more weight, higher cost, a more restrictive fit, and less room to layer clothes inside to increase warmth.

Tip | Sleeping in Backpacking quilts

We know a lot of hikers and backpackers avoid quilts because they think they will be cold or perhaps they have tried them and couldn’t sleep warm in them. It’s true that using a quilt effectively requires some knowledge and skill. That knowledge isn’t complicated and it isn’t hard to implement. Having those simple skills opens for you the weight, flexibility and comfort of using a quilt. They easily adapt to a wide range of conditions, most likely allowing you to use a quilt comfortably in true 3+ season conditions, or more specifically a 30 F rated camping quilt could easily be used temperatures that could range from 20-40 F.

First, all the assumptions that apply to mummy style sleeping bags also apply to quilts. You need to use a good sleeping pad (with an R-value of 4.8 or greater under the new rating system. Note that most pads on the market are NOT this warm!) and have long underwear or sleeping clothes and a warm hat.

In addition, sleeping warm in a quilt requires something to replace the hood in a sleeping bag – a down hood or a warm hat of some sort work best. You can also wear a hooded puffy jacket while sleeping. You could say we are adding weight to a quilt system which compromises the advantage over sleeping bags, but we disagree and note that the sleeping bag temp rating tests are also done with a hat. All the clothes you are using with a quilt are more than likely clothes you would already have with you. In other words, you are likely packing with you a puffy jacket or a hat of some sort, so why not use it for part of your sleep system? Double use of gear is a fundamental principle in achieving lower overall weights in your pack. Because it is expected that a sleeper will be wearing additional clothes, a quilt needs to have a girth of around 51″ to 55” in order to accommodate the additional sleep clothing.

It is likely that you will need to learn to pay attention to how you roll over and move within a quilt to avoid having gaps form on the sides. This easily becomes an unconscious skill that does not detract from the quality of your sleep. To reduce the need for this many camping quilt manufacturers supply an adjustable pad attachment system that prevents gaps from opening on the sides. Controlling draft can also be addressed by incorporating an extremely lightweight and breathable bivy sack (a modest increase of few ounces vs. a ground sheet) while providing a lot of benefits!

Bring a Warm Hat

Quilts usually do not have a built in hood. Most just go to bed in the same warm fleece hat they were wearing around camp. This is more comfortable vs. a fixed sleeping bag hood as your hat actually moves with you when you turn — especially for side sleepers. Some quilt manufacturers offer optional, unattached down hoods.

zpacks classic sleeping bag

Top Pick “Alternate Sleeping Bag” | Zpacks Classic “Sleeping Bag” 20F

STAFF PICK: Zpacks Classic “Sleeping Bag” 20F had the 2nd highest warm to weight rating in this guide! What we really like about the Zpacks Classic Sleeping Bag is that it combines the best attributes of a backpacking quilt and a sleeping bag. It has the weight of a quilt and can be used unzippered, just like quilt. But when it gets cold you can zip it up into a draft free, sleeping bag mode. [Note the Zpacks Classic “Sleeping Bag” is shown upside down showing it’s zipper and how it can spread out like a quilt. Normally the bag is used with the zipper under you!]

Tip | Down only? What about synthetic fill?

Yup, we only have down sleeping bags and down quilts in this guide. We believe the case for down over synthetic fill is compelling. The weight advantage of down, the compressibility of down and the longevity of down over the years are all significant advantages. The main argument for synthetic fill is it’s lower initial cost, but over a few years there’s degradation of synthetic fill’s ability to loft, so advantage is lost. The other argument is that a synthetic bag keeps you warm even if wet. But really? Are you going to sleep in a wet sleeping bag and carry it around soaked? We don’t think the average hiker is going to do that. We also know that paying attention to where you camp, using an adequate shelter and taking time to dry things out occasionally is a much more reasonable strategy for keeping your sleeping system functioning well.

backpacking sleeping bag rei co-op magma 15

Our pick for a Value Sleeping Bag: At under $400, the REI Co-op Magma 15 Sleeping Bag is the lowest priced backpacking sleeping bag in this guide. But as of writing, it’s under $300 on sale. At the sale price, it is the best value bag in this guide (4.0 cost to warm rating). Even at full price, it’s our top pick for a value sleeping bag.

camping quilt hammock gear economy burrow

VALUE Camping Quilt: with a cost to weight of 5.0 the Hammock Gear Economy Burrow +30 Camping Quilt has by a large margin, the best cost/warmth performance of any bag or quilt. In fact it is costs less than almost all synthetic sleeping bags!

Disclaimer

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on the these links, a portion of the sale helps support this site at no additional cost to you. I do not receive compensation from the companies whose products are listed. For product reviews: unless otherwise noted, products are purchased with my own funds. I am never under an obligation to write a review about any product. Finally, this post expresses my own independent opinion.

130 replies
« Older Comments
  1. Paul Rombach
    Paul Rombach says:

    Alan
    Thanks for the great article. I am 6’6″ tall and wear size 16 shoes. I am a back sleeper so my arms at my side or meeting in the middle present a girth of 66 inches. My Sierra Designs bag mummy bag did not keep me warm at a recent 20 degree campout. I am considering a quilt, but I am concerned about the length and the ability to fit my big feet in the footbox. Can you point me to a few choices to look at.

    Reply
    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Contact either Hammock Gear or Enlightened Equipment. They will both make custom quilts for you. And of course this is an advantage as you won’t get custom out of mainstream sleeping bag companies. Best, -alan

      Reply
  2. Norman
    Norman says:

    The comfort ratings as shown on your chart range from about 22 – 32 degrees. Do you have any equipment with ratings in the single digits. Most of my camping starts in late October and runs through to January. I have been camping every year for many years in the mountains of Virginia, and often the night temperature drops into the teens, and at many times the single digits. Wind can be very strong at times, so, how well would a quilt provide low temperature comfort? Any equipment recommendations? Thanks a many!

    Reply
    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Hi Norman, I also camp in the mountains of VA in winter — it’s my home stomping grounds. I’ve been down into the low teens, in a +20 quilt, with down jacket and pants. And I wasn’t remotely cold. [As such, it’s my standard setup for the blue ridge in winter.] The advantage of using the down jacket and pants (and booties) to boost the warmth of your sleeping bag/quilt is that you can use them in camp at night and in the morning to stay warm and mobile when it’s really cold. It’s really nice on long winter nights not to have to hit the sack too soon just to stay warm. Otherwise if your only thing to keep you warm is a 0F bag then you end up in the bag way too early and way too long on a winter night. That being said, if you go the quilt option and want something warmer than +20F, both EE and HG make very nice 0F and 10F quilts. For sleeping bags I suggest you get one from a mfr that actually tests their bags and try and get one with at least a +10 comfort rating. Hope this helps. Warmest, -alan

      Reply
  3. Chris
    Chris says:

    I think you missed what I believe to be the three most influential quilt manufacturers currently:

    UGQ
    Nunatak
    Katabatic

    Did you reach out to these companies for samples?

    Reply
    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Chris, we are familiar with both Nuntak and and Katabatic — both companies produce high quality quilts. Katabatic quilts are in the data tables and you can check out how they did on W2W and W2C. That being said, collecting the bags + quilts, all the data and modeling them was a HUGE effort. There was only so much we can handle in the time we had. In the future we may include UGQ, Nunatak and some other quilt and sleeping bag manufacturers and they may be modeled/tested and added to the data. Best, -alan

      Reply
  4. Josh Spice
    Josh Spice says:

    Hey Alan, EE says they use LIMIT temp rating with their quilts, not comfort as you say.
    https://support.enlightenedequipment.com/hc/en-us/articles/360021022052-About-our-temperature-ratings

    Reply
    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Good Q Josh. And that does need a bit of clarification — we’ve revised the post a bit to make it more understandable. Bottom line, there is on official way to test a quilt as the ISO standard does not support quilts. See Note 3: in Supporting Data | Backpacking Sleeping Bags and Camping Quilts:

      “While the ISO sleeping bag test has no contingency for testing quilts. Thus, while it is possible to follow most of ISO sleeping bag test protocol for a quilt, whatever resulting temperature ratings related would not be “official” until a few quilt specific protocols are defined.”

      That being said, we do know of at least one manufacturer that has to the best of their ability tested a down quilt using as much of the ISO protocol as possible. Thankfully, our model correlates well with those values. And from an engineering standpoint, the logic of what would make a sleeping bag warm would apply equally to a quilt. That being said, as a category, the modeled comfort temp predictions for down backpacking quilts in this guide seem to be very close to their named temperatures. That is, “Enlightened Equipment Enigma +30F Camping Quilt,” is predicted to be a +30 F comfort temperature quilt. We are fairly confident that once the ISO protocol was revised for quilts that it would test close to a +30F comfort temperature. Hope this helps, -alan

      Reply
  5. Ryan
    Ryan says:

    Have you ever heard of the Sierra Madre Research Inferno and if you have how would you compare it to these suggested quilts? The top quilt and bottom quilt use treated 800fp down, has a hood, zipper-less, and combined weigh 3.1 pounds. Also do you know of any retail or cottage company that makes or sells a top quilt with a hood?

    Reply
  6. Macy
    Macy says:

    hey alan and alison,
    I’m considering snagging the HG Premium Burrow 20* with say 2 oz of overfill to replace my REI Magma 17 in order to lighten my load in advance of Skurka’s Utah trip. One, do you think they will be fairly comparable in warmth? I’ve not used a quilt before and am intrigued but leery as a cold sleeper. Two, how critical is a bivy with the quilt when used with a mid shelter in 30* nights?

    Reply
    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Hi there, I think that if you sleeping technique is good that the burrow will be warmer (y my calc’s the HG +20 is about 5-8 degrees warmer — the comfort rating of the Magma 15 is +28 and the Hammock gear’s comfort rating is close to it’s +20 rating). The mid will help keep drafts down. But the best combo for the Utah is the quilt with a bivy and leave the Mid inside your tent unless it’s raining. Have a great trip, -alan

      Reply
      • Larry
        Larry says:

        Hi Alan, that’s not correct. Macy was asking about replacing the REI Magma 17, which is a discontinued women’s model (the men’s version was called the Magma 10), but has identical specs to the women’s version of the REI Magma 15. It has a comfort rating of 17°F and lower limit of 3°F, so will be warmer (if likely heavier). REI names their women’s bags with a number close to the comfort rating, and their men’s bags with a number close to the lower limit rating. The discontinued REI Magma 10 had a comfort rating of 22°F and a lower limit rating of 10°F, and was the same price as the current Magma 15, so was a better value warmth-wise.

        Reply
        • Alan Dixon
          Alan Dixon says:

          Sorry, I assumed we were talking men’s models of bags for REI. So if we are talking women’s version of the REI Magma 15 vs. the HG +20 unisex quilt then the Magma would be +3 warmer [comfort rating to comfort rating]. Likely close enough that might not be able to tell the difference — but fairly sure that the HG +20 won’t be warmer. But knowing that the quilt it needs to be better than a +17 f comfort bag… if one were to get a +10 HQ Quilt. Then it would likely be warmer and lighter. Best, -alan

  7. Mike G.
    Mike G. says:

    Hey Alan,

    Great information here. In regards to quilt length, do you recommend sizing so the quilt comfortably comes up to your shoulders or would you go longer to be able to pull the quilt over your head? I’m 6’ 3/4” and I’m right on the line of most quilt manufacturers specs. If I go for the shorter length, I’ll have it be able to come up above my shoulders, but not be able to pull it up to my face or head. I wouldn’t be compressing the down, just not fully covered by the quilt. Longer I can do that, but more weight and cost.

    Wasn’t sure if you had a preference or recommendation when sizing for length.

    Thanks for all the great info!

    Reply
    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Hi Mike. Good Q. I would go with the longer quilt. I know you’re not supposed to… but some mornings for the last 1.0 to 0.5 hours I have been known to bury my head in the end of the quilt for a blissful last few minutes of super warm sleep. Also having extra room in the foot section to keep shoes from freezing is also a plus. Hope this helps. Wishing you a great year of trekking. Warmest, -alan & alison

      Reply
  8. Niv Geron
    Niv Geron says:

    Hi Alan,
    Great review for the subject.
    I currently have a 30F Enigma and a 20F Igneo from REI. I am starting the PCT this coming april.
    I am not sure which way to go. The Enigma seems not warm enough, but the REI has an extra 400g.
    is there a weight-efficient way to boost the Enigma warmth (liner, down pants/socks, etc.)?

    Thanks a lot,
    Niv.

    Reply
    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Niv, I think you can likely get by with the 30F Enigma supplemented with a warm!, hooded! down jacket and possibly down pants for the colder sections of the hike. You’d likely want to test this combination late winter/early spring to see what temps you can sleep down to. Liners add almost zero warmth so skip them. Hope this helps, and wishing you a great PCT hike. Warmest, -alan & alison

      Reply

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