I started using a down quilt around 2013 and haven’t looked back. With that said, I did wrestle with making the move to a quilt for several years. Why? Simply because it was unconventional. My basic “sleep system” consists of 4 pieces: a bivy sack (adds ~5 degrees of warmth), a 30 degree down quilt, an insulated mattress pad and a pillow (I’m a side sleeper) and I’m good to go into the mid-upper 20’s.
Before we go any farther lets define “quilt”. We’re NOT talking about your grandmothers quilt, sometimes call a “comforter”. So what is a down quilt (in this context)? Think of a mummy sleeping bag with very little back/bottom. Why would anyone want to give up the back/bottom of a sleeping bag? Pretty simple – to save weight. Don’t forget that the bottom of the sleeping bag provides little/no insulation due to your weight compressing the insulation. Remove that part and you save a lot of weight.
What are the benefits?
- Lightweight – usually less than 1.5 pounds for a 30 degree quilt while a 20 degree down sleeping bag comes in at 2+ pounds.
- Lightweight straps wrap under the quilt to keep you on top of your mattress so more rolling off of your mattress onto the cold ground.
- Quicker to dry. Condensation can get any down bag wet/damp. Since the quilt is basically a blanket it will dry from both sides.
My “sleep system” consists of 4 pieces: a bivy sack, a down quilt, a mattress pad and a pillow (I’m a side sleeper). I’ve included some recommended links at the bottom of the page.
If you’re looking to shave some weight off of your backcountry gear this is a fantastic way!