A backpacking quilt is essentially just like a sleeping bag so you’re going use it at night as a cover to keep you warm in your tent. The main difference is that a quilt usually has no back to it. They’re completely open allowing your pad to act as the back of the sleeping bag and create insulation. Quilts are usually much lighter and they pack down much smaller. They have no hood like their mummy bag counterparts and a lot of backpacking quilts are convertible allowing you to open up the foot box and make it one big flat blanket so you can use it in multiple applications.
So here is the list of top budget backpacking quilts that you can purchase without breaking the bank.
1. Outdoor Vitals StormLoft
Weight: 1 lb. 2 oz.
Rated to: 30°F
Fill: 800+ fill power down
Dimensions: 75 x 31 in.
Pack size: Not specified
The StormLoft quilt is an affordable and reliable option for backpacking and hammock camping. It weight around just 18 ounces (regular 30°F) and it packs down super small. With the quilt inside the stuff sack, it has a diameter of 6.5 inches and a height of 11 inches. Also, if you use a compression sack, you can get it even smaller than that. If you are a hammock camper, you can use it in a hammock. Outdoor Vitals also sells an under-quilt that you can use in conjunction with this. I’m a ground sleeper so I’ve just been using it in my tent with an insulated sleeping pad. But the great thing about this quilt is that you can use it for both.
The quilt is made of a 10D ripstop nylon so it’s super lightweight and soft. The shell also has a DWR water-resistant coating so it is going to repel water. The fill is an 800 fill power down which, is also water-resistant. The StormLoft quilt has vertical baffles that run most of the way down the quilt and the foot box has horizontal baffles that run all the way around. It’s a completely enclosed sewn-in foot box. There is a drawstring so if it starts getting colder at night you can use that to cinch up around your shoulders or neck just to help seal it off, keep that heat trapped in. Also, there is a button snap at the top and there’s another button snap just a few inches below that. If you want to, you can snap this together and use it as a sleeping bag.
If you are using this in a tent with a sleeping pad, they also include a little elastic strap that is made to slip around your sleeping pad. It has those same clips on it so that you can clip the quilt down to your sleeping pad just to keep drafts down and keep the quilt from sliding around at night.
Pros: Hybrid baffle design, super compressible, DWR coating
Cons: The cinch cord is right in the middle so when you are trying to sleep, it rubs against your skin, which is uncomfortable.
2. Big Agnes Kings Canyon UL
Weight: 15 oz.
Rated to: Not specified
Fill: PrimaLoft Silver polyester fibers
Dimensions: Fits up to 6’
Pack size: 6 x 4 in.
Big Agnes Kings Canyon UL Quilt is conceived and constructed for ultralight warm-weather trips where room to sprawl is desired. This minimalist quilt offers freedom of movement along with lightweight and compressible synthetic insulation and it weighs about a pound. This quilt is insulated with premium PrimaLoft insulation. This recycled synthetic insulation is soft and compressible. Unlike down, it provides warmth even when wet making it a great choice for camping in wet or humid conditions.
The ripstop nylon shell has a DWR treatment to protect the insulation from the elements. A polyester taffeta lining wicks moisture to keep you dry and feel comfortable against your skin. Unlike mummy bags, the roomy shape of this quilt offers freedom movement and enhanced ventilation. The generous shape also means you can use it as an over-bag to add additional warmth to another one of your sleeping bags. When the temperature is cool, you can cinch the quilt around your shoulders using a drawcord. You can also use corner pockets to wrap the quilt around yourself. These snaps can be used to bring the edges of the quilt together. They can also secure the quilt to a sleeping pad using the included snap patches.
Pros: Lightweight, warm, compact
Cons: Not very budget-friendly
3. Lazy Bear Down Blanket
Weight: 1 lb. 1 oz.
Rated to: 45-50°F
Fill: 650 fill power down
Dimensions: 78 x 52 in.
Pack size: 15 x 5 in.
This lightweight blanket is a nice addition to your traditional sleeping system in cold weather or you can use it on its own during summer. It weighs around 17 ounces and it packs down reasonably small. This top quilt is versatile. You can use it for camping, backpacking, or simply on your couch. This is a puffy blanket that wraps around your body and keeps you warm and comfortable throughout the night. The design of this blanket makes it versatile so it can be used in a variety of conditions. It measures around 78 x 52 inches when fully lofted. The material is a 20D ripstop nylon that has DWR coating, which makes it water-resistant. This coating also prevents staining and odor. The material is also safe for machine washing.
The small pack size makes it an ideal choice for backpacking. It comes with a premium stuff sack and it will fit into the top pocket of any backpacking backpack. The overall quality is fine and the stitching is high-quality. The material feels thin yet it provides good warmth. Since this is a budget category, you should not expect a premium feel. It can be a great option for you if a sleeping bag is too hot for you in summer but you are cool enough to need a blanket. It does not take a lot of space in your backpack.
Pros: Ultralight, versatile, very soft, and comfortable
Cons: Cheap material, not very durable
4. Get Out Gear Down Blanket
Weight: 1 lb. 1.6 oz.
Rated to: 45°F
Fill: 650 fill power down
Dimensions: 77 x 50 in.
Pack size: 12 x 5 in.
This is a lightweight and compact down camping and backpacking blanket that weighs around just 1.1 pounds. It is made of a durable 20D ripstop nylon that blocks wind and cold well and the 650 fill power down insulation keeps you warm and comfortable throughout the night. This blanket can be converted into a poncho with the help of premium snaps so you can free your hands for the campfire or you can read your favorite book. The shell of this blanket has a DWR (durable water repellent) coating, which protects it from spills and weather. This shell also resists pet hair, dirt, and sand so you can use it on the grass, sand, or dirt without any worries.
The blanket comes with a premium stuff sack that can be used to compress it to 5 x 12 inches. The 650 fill power down insulation offers a very good warmth to weight ratio with a reasonable small pack size. Keep in mind when you remove it from the stuff sack, it may look very thin and compressed. Just shake it a little bit and allow some time to regain its full loft. If you want to store it for a longer time, don’t use the stuff sack. Just hang the blanket by its loops. This way, the down will retain its maximum insulating qualities.
Pros: Good warmth to weight ratio, compressible, affordable, easy to pack and take along
Cons: Not machine washable with agitators
5. Therm-a-Rest Corus
Weight: 1 lb. 4 oz.
Rated to: 32°F
Fill: 650-fill-power NIKWAX Hydrophobic down
Dimensions: 79 x 49.5 in.
Pack size: 10 x 7 in.
Therm-a-Rest Corus 32-degree quilt weighs less than a pound and a half, packs down small, and offers versatile functionality for warm-weather to mild 3-season backpacking. The quilt is lightweight because of the 650 fill down insulation. The NIKWAX hydrophobic down has an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio but it’s significantly more water-resistant than traditional down. So you’re assured of consistent warmth even in wet conditions. The 20D polyester shell fabric is also very lightweight but it has a durable water-repellent finish to further protect against the elements.
There are additional weight savings in the quilt not being enclosed like a traditional sleeping bag. That means some compromise on thermal efficiency but Therm-a-Rest includes some design features to help diminish that compromise. The Corus has full-length insulated side baffles and the foot box is shaped to wrap around the bottom of a sleeping pad to eliminate drafts and keep your feet warm. Innovative seam taping helps to keep body heat from escaping. There are also integrated snaps along the sides of the quilt that allow you to attach it to other Therm-a-Rest bags, sheets, and accessories for additional warmth and comfort.
Inside the small zippered stash pocket at the top of the quilt, you’ll find an included mattress snap kit that you can use to set up a sleeping pad with permanent connection points for the quilt. This is a smart efficient way for backpackers to ensure thermal efficiency without excess bulk or weight. The included storage sack lets the quilt pack down to 7 inches by 10 inches and you also get a larger sack for better long-term storage of the quilt in an uncompressed state.
Pros: Sleeping pad attachment system, wide draft tubes, elastic foot box compartment
Cons: Not good for super cold trips.
6. Sierra Designs Nitro
Weight: 1 lb. 12 oz.
Rated to: 20°F
Fill: 800-fill DriDown
Dimensions: Fits up to 6’
Pack size: 13 x 7 in.
Sierra Designs Nitro is lighter and less bulky than a traditional sleeping bag. This quilt offers water-resistant down insulation and freedom of movement. It weighs less than a pound and a half. This quilt’s design allows it to accommodate people up to 6 feet 3 inches. The quilt is insulated with 800FP PFC-Free Dridown water-resistant insulation. Down feathers have a superior ability to keep us warm but those fluffy feathers do not perform well in wet conditions. The feathers in DriDown have been coated with a hydrophobic polymer. This treated down stays dry longer in wet conditions.
Now realize that treated down can fail if it gets wet enough but it dries faster than untreated down if it does get wet. The down insulation is protected by a D ripstop polyester shell. Two insulated hand pockets allow you to wrap the quilt around your body sealing in warmth. The integrated hideaway hood is insulated to keep your head warm. There are hang-loops so you can store or dry your quilt. Each quilt includes a stuff sack and a storage bag. This quilt offers water-resistant down insulation and a built-in hood making it a great option for warm weather fast and light backpacking.
Pros: Nice built-in hood, warm, fair price
7. PUFFER WOLF Insulated Blanket
Weight: 1 lb. 8 oz.
Rated to: 35-45°F
Dimensions: 77 x 51 in.
Pack size: 12 x 5 in.
PUFFER WOLF is an extremely warm, durable, and, rainproof blanket option for backpacking. It is large, lightweight, compressible, and measures around 80 x 54 inches (~77 x 51 inches when fully lofted). It packs down small around 5 x 12 inches, which is a perfect pack size for most adventures. The blanket is insulated with PW700 Featherlight Premium Insulation that uses a unique air trapping wavelength pattern. This thing gives warmth to weight ratio similar to some high fill power goose down or duck down. In addition to the insulation, the material is also weather-resistant and it also has hypoallergenic properties of premium synthetic down.
The blanket is overstuffed with a quick loft PW700 puffy insulation, which creates nearly twice the loft compared to similar options in this category. Also, it packs down super small with the help of included premium water-resistant stuff sack. It is made of a parachute-grade 20D ripstop nylon that has DWR strong water-resistant shield. It is weather-resistant, dustproof, windproof, rainproof, and sand-proof. This thing can be washed in a machine and it is also odor and stain-resistant. This blanket can be a perfect choice for backpacking or you can use it as a top quilt for hammock camping.
Pros: Good quality for the price, feeling great against skin, soft materials
Cons: Questionable durability.
Best Budget Backpacking Quilts: Comparison Table
|QUILT||WEIGHT||RATED TO||FILL||DIMENSIONS||PACK SIZE|
|StormLoft TopQuilt||1 lb. 2 oz.||30°F||800+ fill power down||75 x 31 in.||Not specified|
|Kings Canyon UL||15 oz.||N/A||Synthetic fibers||Fits up to 6’||6 x 4 in.|
|Lazy Bear Down Blanket||1 lb. 1 oz.||45-50°F||650 fill power down||78 x 52 in.||15 x 5 in.|
|Get Out Gear Blanket||1 lb. 1.6 oz.||45°F||650 fill power down||77 x 50 in.||12 x 5 in.|
|Therm-a-Rest Corus||1 lb. 4 oz.||32°F||650-fill-power down||79 x 49.5 in.||10 x 7 in.|
|Sierra Designs Nitro||1 lb. 12 oz.||20°F||800-fill DriDown||Fits up to 6’||13 x 7 in.|
|PUFFER WOLF Blanket||1 lb. 8 oz.||35-45°F||PW700||77 x 51 in.||12 x 5 in.|
Why Choose a Quilt over a Sleeping Bag?
So why would someone like you use a quilt over a sleeping bag on the trail? Well, there are a number of reasons.
Quilts pack down much smaller and they take up less room in your pack. They tend to weigh a lot less because there’s less material and the biggest reason for me is because I toss and turn a lot when I sleep. I feel like the quilt allows me much more room than being confined to a mummy bag.
Quilts are great for Side Sleepers
One of the main reasons I made the switch to the quilt is because I do toss and turn a lot when I’m sleeping at night on the trail. I’m a side sleeper and most of the time I sleep on my right side but throughout the night, I do turn over to my left side, back to my right, back to my left and when I was in a traditional mummy bag I always felt way too confined. I would roll around and get tangled up and then in the middle of the night, I’d get and have to unzip it and kind of correct myself and zip it back up. But with a quilt, I have much more room and the trick to that is getting a quilt that is properly sized for you.
It took me three quilts to figure out that I need a quilt that is wide and long because I move so much. Wide because if I roll over onto my side I want to make sure I’m not pulling up the sides of the quilt and letting drafts in and long because I want to make sure that if I pull the quilt over my head on a chilly night that my feet aren’t going to touch the toe box breaking that insulation barrier.
Most people would say that quilts are expensive. Well, that can be true. Some company’s quilts are more expensive than others and if you are custom building a quilt and you’re doing a 950 fill, they can get quite expensive. In the long run, quilts aren’t any more expensive than some of the bigger brand mummy bags you can find on the market. If you wanted to go with a super budget option, you could go with the Outdoor Vitals 30-degree quilt.
Quilts require a Sleeping Pad
Because a quilt has no back to it, which means there’s no insulation on the underside. It requires a sleeping pad with a good R-Value to create an insulation barrier between you and the ground. For example, if you’re using a 10-degree quilt but your sleeping pad only has an R-Value of 2.6, chances are you’re probably still going to be cold on a 20-degree night. It’s not the quilt that’s making you cold, it’s the low R-Value of the pad and allowing the ground to suck the heat right out of you.
One of the most common sleeping pads I see a lot of hikers using on the trail is the Therm-A-Rest Z-Lite. It’s because you don’t have to blow it up and put it right on the top of your pack and it’s pretty easy to use. However, it only has an R-Value of 2.6. It’s great for summer camping and maybe late spring. But if you’re in those colder temps, it’s probably not going be the best choice to use with a quilt. This all depends on what type of hiker you are and how warm you sleep. I consider myself a pretty warm sleeper and most of the time I use the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite, which has an R-value of 3.2. In conclusion, if you are a foam pad user, using a quilt might not be the best for you and just sticking with a traditional sleeping bag might be a better choice.
Sleeping Pad Attachment
If it’s a very chilly night, you can simply use your pad straps. Most quilts on the market if not all come with a sleeping pad strap. When you’re using a thicker pad with a proper R-Value like the NeoAir XLite, they make pad straps that will go around your pad, and then the sides of the quilt have little buckles that attach to that strap where it will come down and create a cocoon with the quilt and the sleeping bag trapping in all that warmth at night. It’s all about cinching down the pad properly and positioning those straps to make sure that when you’re rolling, tossing, and turning at night, the quilt is not going to come up and let drafts in. Also, if it’s cinched down properly, you’re not going to roll off your pad.
All that being said everyone is different and everyone’s comfort levels are different. Using a quilt works for me but it doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for you. It all comes down to trying things out in the field and figuring out what’s going be the best for you and promote the best sleep on the trail.
Whether you are a lightweight backpacker or thru-hiker, these budget backpacking quilts are the best sleep solution for you.