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Best Backpacking Quilt

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This is a gear review of all the Best Backpacking Quilts in 2022.

In recent years lightweight 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 Best Ultralight Quilt Reviews below should help you decide which model to purchase. All of these were chosen for their quality, lightweight, insulation and small pack size.

Not looking for an ultralight hiking quilt? Then check out the Complete Guide to the Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag or do you need a very cold weather Winter Sleeping Bag.


Best Ultralight Quilt for Backpacking 2022

The Best Ultralight Quilts for Backpacking in 2022 are:


Best Quilt for Backpacking – Overall

Katabatic Sawatch 15F Review

Weight24.7oz / 700g
Fill Weight
16oz / 454g
Down
900+ Hyperdry Down
EN RatedNo
Packsize
7L
Pros:

> Ultralight
> Roomy
> Well made
> Comes in many sizes and widths
Cons:
> No Hood.

At 25.1oz (712g) this is an ultralight backpacking quilt with a very small pack size considering the temperature rating of this quilt.

There is the option to have this quilt stuffed with either 850+ or 900+ down fill power, hyperdry down and also an option to have it overfilled with extra down. My preference is 900+ hyperdry down fill power with 1-2 oz of overfill. It also uses the best sleeping pad attachment system of all the quilts in this review.

This is a popular quilt for someone who wants the lightest and most compact quilt that money can buy with a good warmth to weight ratio. 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 for insulation to keep the head warm on cold nights. It also comes with a stuff sack.

Ultra light hiker Micheal ‘Grizzly’ Ivey loves the Katabatic Sawatch 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. And after that many nights of use the backpacking quilt is still going strong. Follow his journeys on his Instagram Page @grizzly_hikes

Overall, this is one of the best backpacking quilts on the market and best suited to the ultralight thru hiker or backpacker. There is a good reason why this is one of the most popular quilts for thru hikers. There are not too many bad things to say about this ultralight quilt.

Compare Prices:


Best Stock Backpacking Quilt 2022

Sea to Summit Ember EB3 Quilt Review

Sea to Summit Ember3 review

Weight – 25.5oz – 725g
Down – 850+

Fill Weight – 17.7oz / 500g
En Rated – Yes
Pac Size – 5L

Pros:

> Lightweight
> Very small pac size
> Highest fill weight of all the quilts.
Cons:
> No Hood
> Would be nice with higher fill power

The Sea to Summit Ember is one of the lightest and warmest quilts on the market. They use premium responsibly sourced 850+ down and ultra light outer shell materials. It is also supplied with a small stuff sac that compresses the bag to a very small 5L.

The bag is rated to 14F /-10C in the limit zone with 25F / -4C being the comfortable rating. I tested this quilt at those temperatures and found it warm and comfortable. The Ember quilt only weighs 25.5oz /725g which is very lightweight when considering it has 17.7 oz / 500 g of down fill power. This is more than all the other self tested quilts made by other companies in this review. As a result I would trust this the insulation of bag in colder temperatures more than some 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 ratings.

Overall, I am a big fan of this quilt. I like the sleeping pad attachment system and when the temperatures drop I believe this would be one of the best quilts for backpacking. If you want a stock quilt that is available to purchase today without having to wait weeks or months then this is one of the best options for you. Not to mention that temperature rating has been independently quality control tested.

Read the Full Review: Sea to Summit Ember Review


Best Ultralight Quilt for Thru Hiking

Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20F Review

Weight – 19.98oz / 566g
Down – 950+ down
Fill Weight – Unknown
EN Rated – No
Packsize – 7L
Pros:

> Uber Lightweight
> High quality
> Great Custom color choices, do you want hot pink? They have it!
Cons:
> No Hood

At 19.98 oz / 566 g and filled with 950+ down this quilt is a great lightweight option for someone wanting the lightest quilt for thru hiking or backpacking. The weights quoted are for the regular size with ultralight fabric and the high fill power option of 950 high fill power goose down which is a very high quality insulation.

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 sleeping pad attachment systems used by Enlightened Equipment is also very good.

They also have an option to use an even lighter exterior shell fabric that is a 7 denier weave, the inside can also be 7D if you choose. And the foot box is a combination of a zipper and drawstring so when the weather warms up you will be able to open the quilt. If you want ultralight, this may be your quilt. Be sure to add the draft collar to stop cold drafts from getting in.

The 20F / -7C rating of this quilt is a self assessment from the company. The 10F / -12C would be a better option for cold sleepers. They can be made in custom colours if you choose.

Overall, this is one of the best ultralight backpacking quilts for thru hiking or for backpackers wanting a custom quilt and the best warmth to weight ratio available for their ultralight gear.

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Best Zippered Backpacking Quilt

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Review

Weight – 25.2 oz / 715 g
Down – 950+ down

Fill Weight – 14.7 oz / 417 g
En Rated – No
Packsize – 8L

Pros:

> Lightweight
> 950+ down,
> Can be used on warm and cold nights
> Comes in a wide and tall versions.
Cons:
> No hood
> Slightly heavier than most Quilts in this review

At 25.2 oz / 715 grams the Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 is a nice lightweight 20F (-7C) quilt. It is stuffed with the highest grade 950+ down fill power 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 zipper and the draw strap can be used to regulate the temperature on the warm nights when you don’t need so much insulation. Just leave it unzipped and use the entire quilt as a blanket when it is warmer.

These features makes this a nice versatile quilt that can be used in a variety of temperature ratings. 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.

Overall, this is one of the best zippered down quilts on the market at the moment and is one of the most versatile quilts to use in cold weather and warm weather. They also make some great sleeping bags.

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Best Budget Quilt for Backpacking

REI Co-Op Magma Trail Quilt Review

Weight – 19 oz / 539 g
Down – 850+ down

Fill Weight – 10.5 oz / 298 g
En Rated – No
Packsize – 3L

Pros:

> Lightweight
> 850+ down,
> Good quilt for summer
> Comes in a short and tall versions.
Cons:
> No hood
> Might be lightweight but not for cold nights and not for temps below freezing


The REI Magma Trail Quilt is a good budget option for ultralight summer backpacking trips. As long as the temperature stays above freezing this could be a good quilt option. If heading into freezing conditions this quilt will not keep you warm enough and you will suffer, so keep this one for warmer summer months only.

The REI Magma Trail Quilt uses quality 850+ hyperdry down matched with a quality pertex outer fabric with DWR make for a good weather resistant backpacking quilt. It is basic in its design but not in the quality of materials. Despite this being a basic quilt, it just works. If you are on a budget, here is your best choice.

Overall, this is one of the best budget backpacking quilts for those on a budget and wanting a good quilt at a reasonable price.

Compare Prices:

REI

Tier Gear Quenda 20F (-7C) Review

Tier Gear Quenda Review

Weight – 22 oz / 624 grams
Down – 850+ down
Fill Weight – 424g
EN Rated – No
Packsize – 2.5 Litres (Compressed)
Pros:

> High Quality
> 850+ down
> Reasonably priced
> Ultralight
Cons:
> Long waiting times
> No Hood

At 22oz 624grams this is one of the most ultra light quilts 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.

Like most of the other brands it uses 850+ fill power responsibly sourced water repellant down. It also has the smallest pack size of 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 only problem, and this is a big one, is the wait times which can be very long. It can be up to several months before you will see your ultralight backpacking quilt. Would be quicker to order a buy an off the shelf Sea to Summit or other brand which would arrive much quicker.

The Quenda is also available in many different lengths and temperature rating: -1C, -7C, -12C.

Overall, these are a good choice with a high build quality but you need to preplan your purchase due to their long waitlist than can vary from weeks to months. For that reason it is hard to recommend this product.


Sea to Summit Ember Review

other ultralight quilts to be Reviewed

Note that there are many other quilts on the market that are not on the list. In the coming weeks and months I will be adding more to the list.

Here are some upcoming quilts to add to the list of best backpacking quilts. I am in the process of reviewing:

  • Zpacks Solo Quilt – The Zpacks Solo Quilt is and ultra light weight quilt that comes in around 18.3 oz / 520 g which very lightweight and should have a good warmth to weight ratio.
  • Hammock Gear Economy Burrow – The Hammock Gear Economy Burrow is one of the cheapest quilts available and should make the list as one of the Best Budget Backpacking Quilt. Hammock Gear Review coming soon.
  • Therm a Rest Vesper – The Therm a Rest Vesper is another notable quilt to be added to the review soon.

Buyers Guide

Here is all the information you will need to know about Hiking 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 traditional Sleeping bag it is time to consider throwing down some money on an upgrade to an ultra light weight 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 TrailContinental Divide TrailAppalachian TrailTe Araroa Trail or any of the other great hiking trails in the world, then a lightweight sleep system is one of your first choices.


Sleeping bags Vs Quilt for Backpacking

Ultralight Hiking 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 side of the quilt. They use straps for the sleeping pad attachment system.

Lightweight Quilts are a favourite of Thru Hikers who are aiming for lighter weight gear for their multi week or multi month hike. But they are not without issues that you should known about.

The temperature where the person uses the Ultralight 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.

When the temperatures drops 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. Temperature ratings of 20F (-7C) and below a mummy bag is a way better option than a down quilt, in fact don’t take a quilt in temperatures lower than this.

And when it gets really cold you need the warmth of a 4 Season Winter Sleeping Bag for winter camping. The mummy style sleeping bag of winter bags are better suited to the cold.

There are no hoods on the down quilts. This is not an issue unless the nights are below freezing. Wearing a beanie will be enough for most to keep the head warm and most hikers carry one with them on all but the warmer nights.

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.


The Importance of a Sleeping Pad for Quilts

You will need on of the Best Sleeping Pads if using a down quilt. As they lack the full enclosure of a sleeping bag a sleeping pad that is warm enough is even more important.

Once temperatures drop to 30F or below it is easier for a cold 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 sleeping pad and good pad attachment system to ensure you have good insulation or face a cold nights sleep.

f you don’t have a sleeping pad rated for cold temperatures and you are using a quilt the heat will be lost through the sleeping pad and you will be cold. For extra comfort you can consider a Backpacking Pillow. I started using them a few years ago and have never looked back.


Backpacking Quilt Temperature Rating

Let me get one thing out in the open. Most companies do not scientifically test their quilts to confirm the temperature rating assigned to them. Most of these quilt manufacturers have self determined the temperature ratings of their bags.

While these guides are fairly accurate it is up to you to know yourself well enough to know if you are a cold sleeper or not. Also, generally speaking, women sleep colder than men and almost all suffer from colder feet than men. So adjust your purchasing decision to suit your own body.

The industry recognised temperature ratings standard for the sleeping bag industry is EN 13573 ratings. This test determines the correct temperature ratings for sleeping bags in a standardized scientific way but not for quilts as yet.

The fill weight, or amount of down insulation fill inside the quilt for hiking varies a bit between all the manufacturers. For example, the fill weight of the leading quilts vary between 12.5oz-17.5oz, even though they are all rated around 20F (-7C). Sure the loft of the down insulation 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 insulation 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 insulation 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. When it gets cold, mummy style sleeping bags will be better for warmth and be worth the extra weight.

At the moment synthetic insulation does not quit have the same warmth to weight to compressibility ratio as down. So down is still the best material inside all the best backpacking quilts.

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.

Temp Rating

Stuff Sacks for Quilts

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 sack, 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 sack 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 Backpacking Quilt stuff sack.


Pack Size

Ultra light Quilts are more packable in both size and weight compared to sleeping bags. In fact, if you are reading this you probably want to upgrade to a quilt for backpacking trips because you want something not only lighter but with a smaller pack size than your sleeping bag.

All the best hiking quilts in this review pack very small in either the stuff sac supplied or into your aftermarket stuff sac. I have tried to list the packing size in liters when available.

Stuff Sack size

Stock vs Custom

When you take a look at the quilts in this review you may notice that many companies offer custom backpacking quilts and some do not. Some offer both custom and stock. So, which one do you choose.

Custom Quilts

Many quilt companies offer the ability to make a custom backpacking quilt. The custom quilts often have the choice of shell fabric colors, fill power of down, draft collar or no draft collar, the ability to overstuff the quilt with down, custom sizing with the chest and feet, drawstring foot box or sewn footbox…….. the list goes on.

All these custom options are awesome and in my opinion the extra price you pay is worth it. Think about it. Your favorite color is hot pink, why not get a sleeping bag in that color! or whatever color you choose.

If there is an option for adding extra down fill power, or overstuffing is a good idea too. Sure it may add an extra ounce but that extra ounce will be worth it when you are in damp conditions and the down will not clump as much.

But there is a down side. Time. These custom quilts take time. And the time can be from weeks to months. If you are planning a trip or want to upgrade then you might need to plan months in advance to make sure your quilt arrives on time.

Stock Quilts

Most companies have their stock quilt range. And most have them available off the shelf ready to ship. If you have a backpacking trip coming up next week and want a quilt, they will be your go to option.


Footbed Shape and Design

When it comes to quilts for hiking and backpacking there are several foot bed shapes and designs that may influence your purchasing decision. Do you want a sewn in foot bed, draw cord or zip.

Sewn in Foot Bed

The sewn through foot bed design of quilts is usually the cheapest and warmest method. Most companies who offer this have the whole bottom section of the quilt sewn together to keep your feet warm. This makes the closed foot boxes smaller in size and weight in some cases and very similar to a mummy bags. Also, it makes it impossible to open up or vent heat from the feet during those warm summer nights. Overall, this is the method of design I prefer.

Zippered Foot Box

Another method is to use a zip to open or close the footbed. The zip is sometimes all the way to the bottom, sometimes not and other times it is combined with a drawstring at the very bottom. Using zips makes the quilt more versatile when the weather is warmer during the summer months.

Drawstring Foot Box

Some companies use a drawstring at the very bottom of the quilt which is handy to vent heat when the weather is a bit warmer. Many people love this but I find it a waste of time and prefer a fully sewn foot box. Having said that, when the weather warms up you will appreciate this feature. Also, not to many sleeping bags have this feature.

Sea to Summit Ember Foot Box
Sea to Summit Ember Baffled Foot Box

Quilt Price

The Best Lightweight Hiking 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.

The highest costs in these quilts is fill power rating of the down 950+ will cost a lot more than 800 loft.


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. You can keep it clean and even increase the warmth of the quilt by using a Sleeping Bag Liner. But I prefer to use a Merino Base Layer instead.

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.


Conclusion

The Katabatic Sawatch is also super awesome with the best pad attachment system of all the quilts. It is the best backpacking quilts of 2022 by a small margin.

The Sea to Summit Ember 3 has the highest amount of down fill by weight in the quilt and will keep you warm when the temperatures drop. For that reason I like this quilt.

The Enlightened Equipment Revelation, Feathered Friends Flicker are also great.

The REI Magma is at a good price point.

Really, you can’t go wrong with any of these quilts.

The Tier Gear Quenda is the one of the lightest of all quilts in this review and is taking on the bigger niche companies with its high quality product. Overall, it is a good choice for Australian and New Zealand hikers in 2022 but the waitlist is just way too long to make this product viable for most people.

The backpacking quilts must be used in conjunction with a high quality, lightweight sleeping pad. Read the complete review of the Best Lightweight Sleeping Mats for more information.


Frequently Asked Question

What are the good Backpacking Quilt Brands

The Best Backpacking Quilt Brands are Katabatic Gear, Enlightened Equipment, Feathered Friends, Zpacks, Sea to Summit and Tier Gear

Are Backpacking Quilts good in very cold weather

Generally Backpacking Quilts are great for temperatures down to 20F / -6C. Below that the weight saving benefits of having a backpacking quilt are reduced and a sleeping bag is a better option.

Another one of the Best Hiking Gear Reviews from BikeHikeSafari.

Want to know all about the best gear on the market?

Best Ultralight Backpacking Quilt
Best Backpacking Quilts

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Sydney, Australia.

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