3 Best Sleeping Bags & 3 Best Camping Quilts 2022

If you want the very best backpacking sleep system (sleeping bag or camping quilt) then you are in the right place. Our top picks offer the best performance and value on the market — ensuring you get a very warm and light bag, but still save money. Finally, we backup all our choices with hard data you’ll get nowhere else. We rank each bag and quilt by their warmth to weight and warmth to cost ratios – something no other gear reviewer will do!

Sleeping Bag or Quilt?

We’ll help you decide which is right for you – between traditional backpacking sleeping bags or the increasingly popular camping quilts. 

Why Campers Sleep Cold | How to Fix It

Backpackers beware! Most sleeping bag temperature ratings are exaggerated by at least 10 degrees!  That is, you won’t sleep one wink in a 20° bag on a 20° night. We can help to find the right bag that will keep you warm! This includes giving you honest comfort temperature ratings for each bag or quilt we recommend. Read more to sleep warm…

Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags & Camping Quilts

The Thermarest Hyperion 20

3 Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags


Pros of Sleeping Bags

Traditional mummy sleeping bags are still the most popular way to sleep in the backcountry because of their familiarity and time-tested design. They are easy to find anywhere, with many price options and places to purchase them, including major retailers like REI. They zip up completely and have a hood which can be a blessing if you are cold and not claustrophobic.

Cons of Sleeping Bags

The confining mummy bag design can be a liability on warm nights or if you are claustrophobic and/or a restless sleeper. Finally, sleeping bags are heavier and more expensive than backpacking quilts.

Zpacks Classic Sleeping Bag 20

Top Pick | Best Overall Performance

17.3 oz | $379 MSRP
ISO tested comfort: n/a | Modeled comfort: +27 F
Warmth to weight: 5.1 | Warmth to cost: 3.1

The Zpacks Classic Sleeping Bag 20F has one of the highest warmth to weight ratings in this guide while still remaining a good value. 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 a 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 – 900 fill power down and a lighter 7D nylon shell. Those materials come at a price making them more expensive than most camping quilts, but less expensive than most sleeping bags. Note that this sleeping bag is hoodless. As such, on super cold nights, you’ll need to use it with a warm hat — to our minds, not a big deal, and it has significant advantages for side-sleeping.

Do you sleep warm or need a lighter bag? The Zpacks Classic 30 is also our pick for warm weather or people. The sleeping bag-quilt hybrid model allows for extra venting.

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 dislike a snug fit (although this has a zipper to solve that in all but very cold conditions) or hikers that abuse their gear (the 7D shell is relatively delicate).

REI Magma 15

Top Pick | Best Value Sleeping Bag

28 oz | $389 MSRP (~$300 on sale)
ISO tested comfort: +28 F | Modeled comfort: +29 F
Warmth to weight: 3.0 | Warmth to cost: 2.9 (~3.9 when on sale!)

Our pick for a Value Sleeping Bag: The REI Co-op Magma 15 one of the best sleeping bags in the under $400 category and under $300 on sale making it an insanely good deal! 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 sleeping bag comfortable to around freezing 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.

Thermarest Hyperion 20

Top Pick | Conventional Sleeping Bag

20 oz | $500 MSRP
ISO tested comfort: +32 F | Modeled comfort: +32 F
Warmth to weight: 3.5 | Warmth to cost: 1.8

The Thermarest Hyperion 20F Sleeping Bag is one of the very lightest 32 degree comfort rated conventional sleeping bags on the market. Not surprisingly, it has one of the best warmth-to-weight ratios of all the conventional sleeping bags we compared in our model. This is achieved through the use of 900 fill power down, a relatively lightweight 10D shell fabric, 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 than 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. Also worth noting is that 10D shell fabric requires reasonable care in the field.

Need to See More Sleeping Bags?

See all our sleeping bag choices including value and budget options in our Best Ultralight Sleeping Bags for Backpacking 2022.

Where are Western Mountaineering & Feathered Friends Bags or Nunatak & Katabatic Quilts?

We ran these sleeping bags and quilts through our model, and while they did decently, they were not competitive with our top picks. In summary, for Warmth to Weight they scored significantly lower than our top pics. And their high prices and subsequent low Warmth to Cost numbers make them not a great value. That is, you can pick up a better performing sleeping bag or camping quilt for less money. We have added Western Mountaineering or Feathered Friends Bags and Nunatak & Katabatic Quilts the end of our Rating / Specifications Chart so you can see for yourself.

Best Backpacking Quilts, Best Camping Quilts

All warm and cozy in an Enlightened Equipment Enigma Quilt in the High Sierra.

3 Best Backpacking Quilts


Pros of Camping Quilts

Camping quilts provide you with the best possible sleep system for the best price. That is, quilts outperform traditional sleeping bags at every juncture. In summary, quilts are warmer, lighter, comfier, more versatile, and more affordable than sleeping bags. And contrary to popular misconception, quilts do not leak heat — although there is a bit of skill keeping it fully over you, similar to keeping your bed blankets on you overnight. Additionally, there are pad attachment systems that make sure your quilt stays over you.

Cons of Camping Quilts

We get it, people are risk averse by nature. As such, many campers are apprehensive about making the transition to an unknown sleep system, backpacking quilts. That is they are not confident a camping quilt will keep them warm. Finally many (but not all) camping quilts are sold by cottage manufacturers which is a barrier for folks who will only buy from major retailers like REI.

In summary, we know it can be scary, but you won’t regret your first quilt investment. Most of us here at Adventure Alan primarily use backpacking quilts for all our trips, whether it’s an ultralight summer trip or a winter expedition.

Hammock Gear Premium Burrow +20

Top Pick | Best Overall Performance Quilt

22.5 oz | $305 MSRP
Modeled Comfort: +20 F
Warmth to weight: 5.1 | Warmth to cost: 5.0

Staff Pick | The HG Premium Burrow is just that, absolutely premium — and this year its spec’s just edged out the Enlightened Equipment Enigma 5.1 vs 5.0 for warmth to weight. HG has a strong following among top quilt enthusiasts among both hammock and ground campers, and for good reason. For years the HG Premium Burrow Camping Quilt has been one of the best weight to warmth and cost to warmth products on the market. We have also found the 850 fill, DWR goose down baffling on the HG quilts to control plume drift better than most. We prefer the sewn footbox configuration. If you will be using this quilt primarily for ground sleep systems, you must select the wider 55” shoulder girth option to adequately seal out drafts. Other add-on options include an integrated ground pad attachment system, upgrade to 950, optional down overfill, and a zippered footbox.

VALUE MODEL: Also note the stellar value of the Economy version | Hammock Gear Economy Burrow  of this quilt. It’s just a bit over $200 and uses 800 fill power down with a minor weight penalty of being 1.5 ounces heavier. Nothing else on the market comes close! Both Premium and Economy Burrow models may also be purchased with a zipper footbox, allowing it to be open flat like a blanket for additional ventilation.

BEST FOR: Those looking for a top of the line 20f degree quilt with exceptional warmth to weight and warmth to cost ratings.

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Restless sleepers, or those who prefer to stick to a traditional sleeping bag

Enlightened Equipment Enigma 20

Top Pick | Best Overall Performance Quilt

22.2 oz | $315 MSRP
Modeled Comfort: +21 F
Warmth to weight: 5.0 | Warmth to cost: 4.7

The Enlightened Enigma Quilt has one of the highest warmth to weight ratings for Camping Quilts with a 850 fill duck down. And it’s a smidge lighter than the Hammock Gear Premium Burrow. As such, the Enigma is a perfect blend of Value and Performance. Featuring a unique “U” shape baffle to minimize down migration Enlightened Equipment quilts also offer an optional draft collar upgrade. The regular length version of these quilts (which we used for comparison) are 72”, however, for those who need greater length a “long, 78 inch” version is also available with a minimal .67 ounces added weight. The Enlightened Equipment website also provides a very good sizing chart if you are in doubt about what is best. With a 51” shoulder girth, this quilt does run on the narrow side.

SIMILAR MODEL: See our full review of the Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt. The Revelation has a zippered footbox which allows it to be opened flat like a blanket in warmer weather. Depending upon size, you might be able to squeeze two people under a wide version.

BEST FOR: Those looking for one of the highest performance 20F degree camping quilt.

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Restless sleepers, or those who prefer to stick to a traditional sleeping bag. People who prefer DWR treated down.

Zpacks 20F Solo Quilt

Top Pick | Lightest Backpacking Quilt

18.7 oz | $429 MSRP
Modeled Comfort: 25 F
Warmth to weight: 5.1 | Warmth to cost: 3.0

High warmth to weight. The Zpacks 20 degree solo quilt is a thru-hiker favorite for a reason. Using the lightest possible materials like 7-denier nylon and 900 fill-power goose down, Zpacks delivers a solid sleeping quilt for just over a pound. The 20-degree rating is a solid choice for backpackers who want a sleep system to keep them warm below freezing, without lugging around a bulky bag. The sewn footbox reduces weight and also ensures that your toes will stay warm throughout the night. Furthermore, the quilt comes with one of Zpacks legendary compression sacks – and the listed weight includes this stuff sack. At 60” wide, it also has the highest shoulder girth among all of our premium quilt options — providing more coverage for larger and more restless sleepers.This is an extremely well-constructed and high value quilt. However, the 7D fabric is fragile and demands mindful use.

BEST FOR: Hikers looking for an extremely lightweight quilt that demands great care. The sewn closed footbox also provides extra warmth and lower weight than similar quilts.

NOT AS GOOD FOR: Those who cannot take care of delicate gear, hikers who want a fully unzippable footbox

Need to See More Camping Quilts?

See all our backpacking quilt choices including value and budget options in our Best Backpacking Quilts for Camping 2022.

Conclusion

Don’t let a bad night’s sleep ruin a long awaited backpacking trip. We’ve all been there, and losing a night (or more) of restful sleep can give you the wrong impression of what cold weather camping is actually like when properly equiped. Often times, confusion and misinformation happens because of misleading temperature ratings fed to customers by eager brands competing to sell you the cure for a bad night’s sleep. In this guide we thoroughly outlined how temperature ratings work, and provided a solid understanding of how *actually* warm each of these products are.

We’ve selected a range of traditional sleeping bags and newer camping quilts to fit different campers’ priorities. Including warmth to weight and warmth to cost categories ensures that you pick the right product for your specific needs and sleeping style. Now, armed with this information and our top picks for sleeping bags and backpacking quilts this year, you’re ready to shop with confidence as you plan next year’s trips.

Best Backpacking Quilts, Camping Quilts in the desert at dawn

Snuggled up for coffee on a cold Utah morning in a cozy and super warm backpacking quilt from Enlightened Equipment

Get the Right Temperature Rating for your Bag or Quilt!

Backpackers beware! Most sleeping bag temperature ratings (and some backpacking quilt ratings) are exaggerated by at least 10 degrees!  That is, you won’t sleep one wink in a 20° bag on a 20° night. That’s because the number in a bag’s name refers to the lowest possible temperature at which a person could conceivably fall asleep, far lower than the temperature at which 99% of people could actually fall asleep.

This is where we can help. This guide gives you an additional layer of product analysis/verification/buyer protection. Or to put it bluntly, we have a better comfort rating for sleeping bags and camping quilts. This is our proprietary sleeping bag/quilt warmth rating model, which is backed up by field and lab testing. It uses a multi-variable equation using the type and amount of down and the sleeping bag configuration to better predict the comfort temperature of a sleeping bag (or quilt). That way you can to can compare ISO tested bags with non-tested bags. And sadly many manufactures, even a number of very well regarded ones, do not temperature test their sleeping bags.

Don’t Forget the Right Sleeping Pad!

Sleep cold?, it might be your pad that’s the problem and not your bag. You will sleep cold if your sleeping pad is not R4.8 or better (and most pads are not close!). This is because the temperature ratings of sleeping bags and quilts assume an R4.8 sleeping pad, the same pad that is used to test the temperature rating of sleeping bags. So don’t forget to check out our  Guide to the Best Sleeping Pads to make sure your pad will keep you warm at night. Good pad + good bag = a warm and happy camper!

Ratings / Performance Table for Backpacking Sleeping Bags & Camping Quilts

* Note that quilt temperature ratings assume the sleeper is wearing a warm hat.

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.

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2 replies
  1. Alan Dixon
    Alan Dixon says:

    Hi Bret, sounds like the Zpacks Classic Sleeping Bag is for you. Yes pairing it with a hooded down jackets on cold nights is the perfect combo. And a fleece or wool beanie on warmer night is great. Have a great year hiking. Warmest, -alan

    Reply
  2. Bret Barel
    Bret Barel says:

    Zpacks bag looks perfect! I move around and get drafts with quilt (hg) and don’t love mummy bags. Zpacks solves these with no weight penalty. Can pair with down hooded jacket and hat on cold nights. Feathered Friends also has Flicker but heavier.

    Reply

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