This is a gear review of all the best Backpacking Quilts in 2021.
In recent years ultralight quilts for backpacking have become popular among ultralight thru hikers and make a great choice for those wanting to lighten the weight of their backpacking gear.
With so much good gear out there the Backpacking Quilt Reviews below should help you decide which model to purchase. All of these were chosen for their quality, lightweight and small pack size.
Not looking for an ultralight backpacking quilt? Then check out the Complete Guide to the Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag.
Table of Contents
- Best Ultralight Backpacking Quilts 2021
- Buyers Guide
Best Ultralight Backpacking Quilts 2021
The Best Ultralight Backpacking Quilts in 2021 are:
- Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt – 20F / -7 – 26oz / 748g
- Sea to Summit Ember EB3 Quilt – 14F – 25F / -10C/-4C – 25.5oz / 725g
- Enlightened Equipment Revelation – 20F / -7C – 22.5oz / 639g
- Katabatic Sawatch – 15F / -9C – 25.1oz / 712g
- Tier Gear Quenda – 20F / -7C – 22oz – 624g
Weight – 26oz (743grams)
Down – 950+ down
Fill Weight – Unknown
En Rated – No
Packsize – 8L
> 950+ down,
> Can be used on warm and cold nights
> Comes in a wide and tall versions.
> No hood
> Slightly heavier than the other Ultralight Quilts
At 26oz (743grams) the Flicker UL 20 is a nice lightweight 20F (-7C) quilt. It is stuffed with the highest grade 950+ down which contributes to the lightweight and quality of the quilt.
To help regulate the temperature there is a full length zip down the centre of the quilt. There is also a draw strap at the base. The full length zip and the draw strap can be used to regulate the temperature on the warmer nights.
These features makes this a nice versatile quilt that can be used in a variety of temperatures. Great for winter hiking in the desert and summer hiking in the mountains.
It also comes in a wide version for those with big bones and a tall version for those over 6ft. This quilt would be perfect for someone wanting a lightweight quilt that can be used both in cold weather and on the warm summer nights.
Weight – 25.5oz – 725g
Down – 850+
Fill Weight – 17.7oz / 500g
En Rated – Yes
Pac Size – 5L
> The only EN rated quilt
> Very small pac size
> Highest fill weight of all the quilts.
> No Hood
Upgraded in 2019, The Ember is now one of the lightest and warmest quilts on the market. The Sea to Summit quilt uses 850+ down and ultra light outer materials. It is also supplied with a small stuff sac that compresses the bag to a very small 5L, not quite as small as the Tier Gear Quenda.
This is the only quilt that has been quality control temperature tested to EN standards. The bag is rated to 14F-25F (-10C-4C) in the comfort zone and and weighs only 25.5oz (725g). It has 500g of down fill which is more than all the other self tested quilts made by other companies. As a result I would trust this bag in colder temperatures more than all the other quilts in this review.
Like the other Quilts it is very versatile in the way it can be used, specially when the weather is warmer. It is also available in other temperature ranges.
*Important* Be sure to double check with the retailer that you are purchasing the model with 850+ down not the older model with 750+ down.
Weight – 22.5oz / 639g
Down – 850+ down
Fill Weight – Unknown
EN Rated – No
Packsize – Unknown
> Uber Lightweight
> High quality
> Great Custom color choices
> No Hood
At 22.5oz / 639g and filled with 850+ down this quilt is another great lightweight option for someone wanting an ultra light quilt.
This quilt comes in numerous size options both in length and width so can be customised to the size of the individual. Want a wider option with more room to move, this quilt gives you this option.
The 20F / -7C rating of this quilt is a self assessment from the company. The 10F / -12C would be a better option. Can be made in custom colours.
Weight – 25.1oz / 712g
Fill Weight – 16.1oz / 456g
Down – 850+ or 900+ down
EN Rated – No
Packsize – 7.5L
> Well made
> Wait times are excessively long
> No Hood.
At 25.1oz (712g) this is an ultralight backpacking quilt. It also shares the smallest pack size with the Sea to Summit Ember 3. When purchasing there is the option to have this quilt stuffed with either 850+ or 900+ down and also to have it overfilled with extra down, which is what I would do.
This is a popular quilt for someone who wants the lightest and most compact quilt that money can buy. Ultra light hikers love this bag. Like all the other quilts it has no hood so most backpackers use either a down or fleece beanie to keep the head warm at night.
Ultra light hiker Micheal ‘Grizzly’ Ivey loves the Katabatic Saqatch which is rated at 15F (-9C). He loves the craftsmanship on this quilt and has never had a cold spot.
He has used this quilt on the Colorado Trail (3 Times), Pacific Crest Trail and Superior Hiking Trail. Follow his journeys on his Instagram Page – @grizzly_hikes
There are not too many bad things to say about this quilt except the issue with long wait times for delivery.
Weight – 22oz (624grams)
Down – 850+ down
Fill Weight – 424g
EN Rated – No
Packsize – 2.5 Litres (Compressed)
> High Quality
> 850+ down
> Reasonably priced
> Long waiting times
> No Hood
At 22oz 624grams this is the most ultra light quilt in this review. This small niche brand from Tasmania, Australia is a great option for antipodeans wanting to buy a local brand. It is well made and will suit anyone wanting to seriously lighten up their gear.
It is 30% – 50% cheaper than a Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bag or other high quality brands. It makes a great budget option without the budget quality or low cost materials.
Like most of the other brands it uses 850+ responsibly sourced water repellant down. It also has the smallest pack size of all the quilts or sleeping bags in this review, packing into a tiny 2.5L compression stuff sack.
If you live in Australia or New Zealand this could be your best option for a lightweight quilt. It certainly is better than or equal to the very popular Katabatic Sawatch or Sea to Summit Ember 3.
The Quenda is also available in many different lengths and temperature ranges: -1C, -7C, -12C.
Here is all the information you will need to know about Backpacking quilts.
Why Upgrade to a Backpacking Quilt
Recent years have seen the weight and pack size of Backpacking Quilts reduce and the quality rise. For anyone who still has a bulky, heavy or poor quality Sleeping bag it is time to consider throwing down some money on an upgrade to an ultralight quilt.
The quilts listed represent the best on the market at the moment. All the Quilts for thru hiking are under 2lb (900g). If you are planning to lighten your for a long distance thru hike such as the Pacific Crest Trail – Continental Divide Trail – Appalachian Trail – Te Araroa Trail or any of the other great hiking trails in the world, then a lightweight sleep system is one of your first choices.
Ultralight Quilts vs Sleeping bags for Thru Hiking
Ultralight Quilts have many advantages over ultralight sleeping bags. They are usually cheaper as they use less down and less material to provide the same warmth. With the exception of the foot box area there is usually no down on the bottom of the quilt. It uses straps to secure itself to the sleeping mattress.
Lightweight Quilts are a favourite of Thru Hikers who are trying to save weight for their multi week or multi month hike. But they are not without issues that you should known about.
Once temperatures drop to 30F or below it is easier for a draft to enter a quilt and make it cooler inside, therefore, in colder temperatures a quilt is not always the best option. And if using a quilt in cold temperatures it is more important to have a good mattress that has good insulation or face a cold nights sleep.
The temperature where the person uses the Lightweight Backpacking Quilts will play a big factor in deciding which one is best. For temperatures 30F (-1C) and above a quilt is the best option. They are usually cheaper, lighter and pack smaller.
Temperatures below 30F (-1C) it is better to choose one of the best ultralight sleeping bags to keeps in the warmth slightly better than a quilt. At temperature of 20F (-7C) and below a sleeping bag is a way better option than a quilt, in fact don’t take a quilt in temperatures lower than this.
There are no hoods on the quilts. This is not an issue unless the nights are below freezing. Wearing a beanie will be enough to keep the head warm and most hikers carry one with them on all but the warmest hikes.
On the very cold nights a down balaclava would be a great lightweight addition that can also be worn when in camp of when hiking on those crazy cold mornings.
Backpacking Quilt Temperature Rating
Most of these quilt manufacturers have self determined the temperature ratings of their bags. As a result they are not always the best guide of what is a comfortable rating. The industry recognised EN 13573 ratings standard is a European quality standard for the sleeping bag industry.
It is expensive for companies to obtain this rating, few Backpacking Quilt companies use it.
The fill weight, or amount of down fill inside the backpacking quilt varies a bit between all the manufacturers. For example, the fill weight of the 4 leading quilts vary between 12.5oz-17.5oz, even though they are all rated for 20F (-7C). Sure the loft of the down has a bit to do with the weight discrepancy.
This might not seem like much but it can make a difference to the insulation of the quilt. It would be easy to claim that the width or style of the internal baffling could lead one manufacturer to have a competitive advantage over another, and that may be the case.
The way internal baffles are constructed also affect the temperature rating. In some bags the down can be moved within the internal baffles to where it is needed most. I find this feature very annoying.
I want to unzip my bag to regulate the temperature, not wake up in the middle of the night and try to shuffle down within the baffles.
The Best Lightweight Backpacking Quilts in the review are rated at around 20F (-7C) which is a good functional temperature range that can be used in all but the coldest and warmest of weather. As mentioned earlier quilts don’t function at their best when the temperature falls below freezing.
In my opinion a good nights sleep in cold weather is more important than saving money and weight on a bag unsuited for the cold night, even if they don’t occur every night.
Lightweight Backpacking Quilt Pac Size and Stuff Sacks
Keeping a sleeping bag dry while hiking is critically important. Heavy rain, a leaking backpack or a fall when crossing a river can make for an uncomfortable nights sleep at best and a life threatening situation at worst.
Over the years I have used a Thermarest fleece stuff sac, which doubled as a pillow and the Sea to Summit dry bag. Both have worked well and served their purpose.
Recent years have seen many ultralight hikers make the switch to Dyneema stuff sacks such as those from Hyperlite Mountain Gear. These Uber lightweight, strong and waterproof stuff sacks come in multiple sizes and shapes to fit any sleeping bag and a good investment to keep your down bag dry. The Hyperlite Mountain Gear is the preferred choice of the best Backpacking Quilt stuff sack.
Lightweight Backpacking Quilt Price
The Best Lightweight Backpacking Quilts can cost a lot of money but it is money well spent. It is not unusual to keep a quality quilt for 10 year. I kept a quality winter sleeping bag for 20 years before I decided to sell it. It was still in near perfect condition.
In most cases it is not only money well spent, but one of the best investments you can make. All of the bags listed should last at least 10 years or well over 1000 nights of use.
Warranty and Return Policy
Before purchasing a Ultralight Backpacking Quilt be sure to check the return policy. Make sure you can return it if you ordered the wrong size or it just doesn’t work for you. Be aware that you will not be able to return or exchange a used Backpacking Quilt unless there is some sort or manufacturing issue.
How to wash a Sleeping Bag or Quilt
Once you have purchased one of the Lightweight Sleeping Bags or Quilts listed above it is time to look after it.
Take a look at the Guide on How to wash a down sleeping bag for all the details on the best methods and products to use.
The Sea to Summit Ember 3 is the only quilt that is EN rated. It has the highest amount of down fill in the quilt and will keep you warm when the temperatures drop. For that reason I like this quilt. The Enlightened Equipment Revelation and the Katabatic Sawatch is also super awesome. Really, you can’t go wrong with any of these quilts.
The Tier Gear Quenda is the lightest of all the quilts in this review and is taking on the bigger niche companies with its high quality product. Overall, it is my best choice for Australian and New Zealand hikers in 2021.
The backpacking quilts must be used in conjunction with a high quality, lightweight sleeping mat. Read the complete review of the Best Lightweight Sleeping Mats for more information.
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