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Backpacking Quilt Buyers Guide

There is nothing cozier than a backpacking quilt when you are out in your camp! Not only will the quilt make you feel comfortable, but also you get the warmth required to withstand freezing cold temperatures.

Quilts with the insulation work well in every climate, and these are better than sleeping bags. But, the question is how to choose a quilt.

If you have never used a backpacking quilt before, then it can be a daunting experience for you as the markets are flooded with a multitude of options.

This backpacking quilt buyer’s guide is here to your rescue. We have covered almost all factors that can influence your experience with the quilt.

What is a backpacking quilt?

A backpacking quilt is a lightweight and efficient sleeping that's better than the regular sleeping bags you have used. These quilts offer ultimate warmth, and the best part is that you don't have to carry a cumbersome sleeping bag when you have a quilt.

When you get less weight to carry, it means that you can put some other essentials in your backpack, thus making the journey easy and interesting.

Why is this guide important for you?

Backpacking or camping quilts come in a variety of sizes, materials, and there are many other factors as well, that you need to check. This guide will help you understand how these factors impact your experience with the quilt.

Before you purchase a backpacking quilt, it is imperative to check this buying guide once, so you don't regret buying a wrong quilt while camping.

Backpacking quilts vs. sleeping bags

Most folks think that sleeping bags are better than quilts when it comes to comfort, but that's not the case. There are a plethora of quilts available that offer extreme comfort, and you will never regret using it instead of a sleeping bag.

Here are a few differences between regular sleeping bags and backpacking quilts.


This is one of the biggest benefits of using a quilt. You can cut down pounds from your backpack when you decide to use a quilt instead of a bag. The material used to manufacture quilts is lightweight, so you get a lot of relief in terms of the overall weight you are carrying on your back.

You can even compare the weight of a quilt and sleeping bag, so it'll be clear to you, which is a better choice and why.


Aside from compactness, backpacking quilts are compact and easy to store. You can quickly pack a quilt in your backpack as these require less space as the quilt folds into halves as compared to a sleeping bag.

When you get an option that's compact and easy to pack, then you will never use a sleeping bag again.


The comfort offered by backpacking quilts matches the comfort of a sleeping bag, and it can be better if you choose an excellent quilt. The quilts are not restrictive, and you can move freely inside it, thus getting into a comfortable sleeping position.


Insulated quilts work well in retaining the warmth, and you feel cozy while sleeping. In short, backpacking quilts are better in terms of temperature regulation, and that impacts the overall comfort you get.

Factors to look for while buying the best backpacking quilt

Now getting back to the essential factors, you need to check in a reliable backpacking quilt. You cannot decide on the best quilt without these factors as the size, isolation, and other such things have a lot to do with the comfort you get under a quilt.


Weight is the foremost factor when choosing a backpacking quilt as you are selecting a quilt to cut down the weight of the sleeping bag. Quilts made up of low-quality material and filled with low-quality filling are heavy due to the low down weight.

Try to go with a quilt with high down power as these are durable and lightweight. In backpacking, every pound matters so you cannot just select any quilt because a heavy quilt can ruin your overall experience.

Size when packed

How big is the quilt when packed? Ask this question before pressing the buy now button. Quilts that take a lot of space need a bigger backpack, and the quilt will occupy all the space solely, leaving no space for other stuff.

An ideal backpacking quilt should fold into a compact and easy to carry unit that fits in your backpack, and still, you have plenty of room for other items.

Check the quilt's dimensions when packed, so you don't have to ditch other essentials just to carry the quilt.

Water repellency

Water repellency is always a topic of hot debate because backpacking quilts are not fully waterproof. Quilts made using low-down like polymers have excellent water resistance, but these are harmful to nature, so many manufacturers have stopped using the material.

On the other hand, some quilts have a water repellent outer shell that prevents the water from seeping inside the quilt and reaching the down. There are many technologies available in the market, like dry-down, that work great.

The choice is up to you and your budget because water-resistant backpacking quilts are often pricey.

Down fill power

Fill power of FP is measured in terms of cubic inches per ounce. A backpacking quilt with higher fill power is fluffier, comfortable, and retains the warmth. Also, these quilts last longer than quilts with less down power, so it's another reason to go with quilts with higher down fill power.

Lastly, backpacking quilts with high FP are lightweight, so you have to carry less weight to experience ultimate comfort inside your tent.


The durability of the quilt depends on the outer shell or the material. The commonly used materials are polyester and nylon, which are highly durable and can withstand harsh conditions and wear and tear.

Always check if the quilt you are planning to buy has ripstop as it enhances the durability of the base material, and the quilt lasts longer. The choice of material depends on you and how frequently you will be using the quilt.

Pad straps

Most quilts have built-in loops or straps where you can attach the sleeping pad. These straps help in keeping the quilt in place, and you don't have to tuck it down your body to prevent the quilt from moving.

Pad straps can be beneficial, so you should check if the quilt has pad straps because it can impact comfort.

Draft collar

The draft collar is something you won't see in most of the backpacking quilts, but some manufacturers offer these to protect you from the cold. The draft collar can be a zipper that you can use to keep the cold out of the quilt while keeping the lower body warm.


The outer shell of the outermost layer of the quilt should be durable, and it depends on the material you choose. Usually, most quilts are made with material that's shiny and slippery. The material should be able to withstand water, tears while being light in weight.

The common two materials available in backpacking quilts are nylon and polyester. Both materials have evolved with the quilts and are lightweight and durable.

Furthermore, there are many options in nylon and polyester due to the material density, which is calculated in denier (D). We recommend you buy backpacking quilts with a material density ranging from 10-15 denier as these are durable and lightweight.


The baffles' purpose is to keep the downs intact in place, so all the warmth remains intact. Using a quilt without baffles can result in the down skidding to one corner of the quilt, and you have to spend time correcting it.

The baffles are layers of stitching you see on the quilt material that divides the down into multiple portions, so it doesn’t skid when you are using the quilt.

Backpacking quilts with baffles are often expensive as compared to the sewed through quilts. If you are traveling to a hot location, then a quilt with baffles isn't important due to the temperature.

It is hard to produce baffles in quilts, which is why they come at a high price.

Temperature rating

The temperature rating of the quilt decides how it will behave at different temperatures. Backpacking quilts with lower temperature range are ideal for cold areas as the quilt keeps the warmth intact, and you get a better sleeping experience with it.

However, quilts with lower temperature ratings are always not better, like for hot areas. So you should get one quilt with lower and one with a higher temperature rating so that you get excellent comfort in every type of weather.


Size is another essential factor to look for while choosing a backpacking quilt. Most users complain about the comfort of a quilt, and it is due to purchasing and using the inappropriate size. Selecting the ideal size depends on multiple factors, including the width, length, and foot box circumference.

Quilt length

The length of the quilt or the height depends on you. You should always go for quilts that are longer than your height so that you can even take it on your head for extra warmth. Buying the quilt of the same length as yours will make it run shorter when you face cold climates.

If you are 5"10, then look for quilts that are 6"2 or longer, so you get ample space to tuck the quilt under your neck. Following this general rule, you can decide on the length of the quilt that will be perfect for you.

Quilt width

The width of the quilt again depends on your personal preference, and there is no general thumb rule for it. If you sleep in a straight position without moving too much, look for quilts with normal width.

On the other hand, if you are a side sleeper or move a lot while sleeping, go for quilts that are wide enough to cover the entire body. Wider quilts are easy to tuck down your body, so always go for backpacking quilts that are wide to accommodate your body.

Foot box circumference

Generally, backpackers don't pay much attention to the foot box's circumference, thinking of it as an unnecessary factor. But it is important if you have large feet that can take more space. The footbox of most quilts is bog, so there won't be any issues with comfort.

But if you have extra-large feet that need more space, then checking it should be on your list.

Foot box

A quilt with an openable and adjustable foot box will be a great choice as you can adjust it as per your convenience. These quilts even allow you to accommodate your partner, and both of you will get good space after opening the foot box.

However, it is only available in a few backpacking quilts, so you have to be specific if you need it.


Backpacking quilts with higher fill power have better insulation, and these are good for cold areas where you need the warmth and coziness. Down fill power quilts have poor insulation, and you should avoid purchasing these quilts because these aren't good for cold weather.


The regular shape of backpacking quilts is rectangular, and you will see most quilts in this shape, but there are some other shapes available as well, like circular. Rectangular quilts are the best, and you can quickly fold the quilt into a compact unit.

Don’t go for any other shape just because the quilt looks good.


You can sort the quilts based on their price. Backpacking quilts are available at a myriad of prices, such as the ones with higher fill power are expensive, but these quilts are durable. Cheap quilts can be made using unreliable material, so make sure to go with quilts that are made by prominent brands of the backpacking industry.

FAQs: Best Backpacking Quilt

Q: How often should I clean the quilt?

A: Cleaning the quilt depends on how frequently you are using it. If you are using the quilt with a sleeping bag liner, then the quilt will not get dirty easily, and the liner will prevent the quilt from absorbing your body oils.

After the trip, you should clean the quilt before storing it. Washing a quilt isn't a good idea, so you should follow the cleaning guide to store it properly.

Cleaning the quilt too often will result in damaging the material or the outer shell, and the quilt will lose its insulation power.

Q: Is it a good idea to use insect repellent on a quilt?

A: We do not recommend spraying the insect repellant spray directly on the quilt as it can damage the material. Also, the chemicals used in the spray are foreign and not have been tested on quilts.

SO you should avoid using these sprays on the quilt, but you can spray a little amount inside the tent to keep the insects out to avoid disturbing your sleep.

Q: How to wash a backpacking quilt?

A: Washing a backpacking quilt requires extra care as you cannot toss it into the washing machine directly. Here are some helpful tips that’ll help you in keeping the quilt clean without hampering its durability.

Items you will need to wash the quilt:

  • A big washbasin or a tub
  • A separate bin to move the washed quilt.
  • A dryer
  • Mild detergent

Here’s how to wash the quilt:

  1. Unfurl the quilt and muster it for the wash by securing the strap loops, so these don't get damaged while washing.
  2. Prepare a mix of detergent and water in the wash basin or tub and read the instruction label on the quilt to get some extra information while washing it.
  3. Now soak the quilt into the tub and knead it to blow out the air filled inside the downs.
  4. Drain the water and fill it again this time without detergent. Again, knead the quilt so that it gets cleaned properly.
  5. Massage the quilt gently and do not press or wring it.
  6. Repeat draining and refilling the water till the time you see soap on the quilt.
  7. After the final rinse, shift the quilt into the dryer and if possible, add 2-3 tennis balls to it to prevent the formation of clumps.
  8. Take the quilt out from the dryer and spread it over a clean surface for drying. Don’t place the quilt under direct sunlight as it can damage the fabric.
  9. Now your quilt is ready for the next trip, and you can pack it in your backpack.
Q: Is it possible to repair a quilt?

A: The repairs depend on the type of damage that happened to the quilt. If the quilt is damaged and the inner filling is coming out, then you should go for a new backpacking quilt because there will be no insulation even if you patch the spot.

Repairs are possible for minor damages only.

Q: How is a quilt different from a sleeping bag?

A: The primary difference between a backpacking quilt and sleeping bag is the weight. In some cases, the quilt can weigh half as the weight of the sleeping bag, and the difference is considerable. Furthermore, quilts are easy to pack as these don't occupy the entire backpack.

Q: How long does a quilt last?

A: The quilt's lifespan depends on how you are using it and how frequently you visit your favorite camping spot. Also, cleaning is another essential that impacts the life of a quilt.

Always buy quilts made using durable materials like polyester and nylon. Also, go for high filling power quilts because these are lightweight and durable.

Q: Is it important to use a sleeping pad with the quilt?

A: Using a sleeping pad depends on you whether you need one or not. A pad provides ample comfort, and you can sleep easily on uneven terrain. Further, the pad will allow you to strap the quilt for a better experience, so we recommend using a sleeping pad with a quilt.

Q: Are backpacking quilts fire-resistant?

A: No, backpacking quilts are not fire-resistant, and you should never try it even as an experiment. The material can quickly catch fire, and it will damage the quilt fully while causing multiple injuries to you.


With this buyer's guide, you can select the best backpacking quilt that's perfect for you in terms of size and weight. Check all the factors and compare the quilt so that you can make a rewarding decision while investing money in the right product.

Check the FAQ section also to learn about the cleaning process. In a nutshell, this backpacking quilt buyer’s guide is what you need when shopping for a quilt.

You can quickly shortlist the top option by comparing all quilts based on these factors, so it will save you time while assuring you that you have purchased a reliable and durable quilt. / - © Copyright 2020