Unlike traditional sleeping bags (which are fully enclosed and have hoods), the best backpacking quilts tend to be significantly more lightweight, versatile, and packable. Still, despite their simplicity, there are a few specs to take into account. Namely, you should consider the fill, intended temperature, weight, and size.
For fill, there are two things you'll want to know: What it's made out of, and how much of it there is. Genuine down is a popular choice because it provides excellent insulation while still remaining lightweight. Next, look at fill power, which indicates how many cubic inches of loft there are in an ounce. The higher the number, the more air the down can trap, so the better it is at insulating your body heat. Most best-selling backpacking quilts are made from real down and have a fill power ranging from 600 to 900. However, synthetic down can also offer warmth and comfort — and typically comes with a lower price tag.
That said, fill power isn't the only thing to consider when determining prospective warmth. Brands often test quilts to determine their temperature rating, which give consumers a better idea of the intended climate for their outdoor bedding. And, while all backpacking quilts can be used as a flat, rectangular blanket, some of the top-sellers have clasps and zippers so you can close them up for more warmth, making them like a quilt and sleeping bag hybrid.
Last but not least, since you'll be lugging your quilt around with you, you should know how large and heavy it is before you make a purchase. Check the weight and dimensions to ensure that it'll fit your body and won't overload your backpack.
Read on for four options that are some of the best Amazon has to offer.
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1. The basic one
Fill type: Down
Fill power: 850
Temperature rating: 26 degrees Fahrenheit
Weight: 1 pound 7 ounces
The Featherstone Moondance has a high fill power of 850, not to mention a versatile design that allows it to be used as a top quilt, mummy bag, or hammock under-quilt. Available in two sizes, it's been tested for use in 26-degree Fahrenheit weather, and the down has been treated to be water-resistant for moist environments. On the exterior, you'll find silky smooth nylon that's breathable and durable, and each order comes with a compression bag and straps so you can secure the quilt to your sleeping pad. Last but not least, the company backs up its products with a limited lifetime manufacturing warranty.
One reviewer wrote: "This is a wonderful option for a lightweight camping quilt. I have a custom quilt from another company, and this does a good job compared to the more expensive custom quilt I got from the other company. Started with one for my wife, and then ordered two more for both my kiddos."
- Available sizes: regular/regular (75.6 by 53.9 inches), long/wide (90.16 by 57.87 inches)
2. The budget down one
Fill type: Down
Fill power: 650
Temperature rating: 41 degrees Fahrenheit
Weight: 1 pound 1 ounce
It doesn't have fancy clasps or zippers, but if you're looking for a quilt that's warm, straightforward, and affordable, the Horizon Hound camping blanket is the way to go. Despite its under-$100 price tag, it's still made with a ripstop nylon shell and real down insulation that has a fill power of 650 for comfort in temperatures as low as 41 degrees Fahrenheit. It also comes in a 32-degree version that has the same dimensions, though it's a little heavier.
One reviewer wrote: "The Horizon Hound blanket is all I need! It kept me plenty warm at a high elevation with overnight temps in the low 50s. It literally compresses to the size of a Nalgene bottle."
- Available sizes: One size (77 by 50 inches)
3. The one with the lowest temperature rating
Fill type: Down
Fill power: 700
Temperature rating: 15 degrees Fahrenheit
Weight: 2 pounds 6 ounces
The Paria Thermodown sleeping quilt has a 4.5-star overall rating on Amazon after hundreds of reviews because it's warm, lightweight, and extremely versatile. It's made with genuine, 700-fill-power down on the inside and ripstop nylon on the outside. However, it is not treated for water-resistance so it's best for dry conditions. It has various snap closures, cinch cords, and zippers so you can secure it into a sleeping pad, turn it into a mummy bag, or use it with a hammock. All in all, it's a versatile yet lightweight option that keeps you warm in temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit. It's also available in a long size.
One reviewer wrote: "My new favorite piece of gear, don't think I could go back to using a sleeping bag. Especially since everything about this quilt is well made, the material they use is soft and the compression bag has room to spare."
- Available sizes: regular (78 by 56 inches), long (84 by 56 inches)
4. The synthetic one
Fill type: Synthetic
Fill power: 675 equivalent
Temperature rating: 35 - 45 degrees Fahrenheit
Weight: 1 pound 8 ounces
If you prefer synthetic fill over genuine down, the hypoallergenic PUFFER WOLF camping blanket is a solid option. When fully lofted, it's puffy and warm enough to keep you comfortable in temperatures as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit — but when it's time to hit the trail, it weighs less than 2 pounds and is remarkably compressible for a synthetic. It's made with a ripstop nylon exterior and it's resistant to dust, wind, rain, and sand.
One reviewer wrote: "I'm really happy with this purchase! Wrapping up in the Puffer Wolf is like getting a big cozy hug! This blanket is well made with great attention to small details right down to the stitching. Lightweight and yet durable at the same time. I'm very happy with the synthetic fill that withstands moisture well!"
- Available sizes: One size (80 by 54 inches)