Unless you prefer a hammock or sleeping on raw earth Cody Lundin-style, you probably appreciate the comfort of a well-made sleeping bag when sleeping under the stars. Like matches, hiking boots, and a flask of bourbon, a proper sleeping bag is required packing for most avid campers. But ultralight campers have known for years that traditional bags aren’t the best solution for outdoor snoozing. Instead, in-the-know outdoorsmen often pack a camping quilt.
The world “quilt” recalls lovingly crocheted yarn throw blankets that your nana likes to wear to keep the chill away. In the camping world, however, a camp quilt (or “trail quilt”) refers to a versatile, insulated, open-concept sleeping cover that affords the same functionality as a sleeping bag but is better in almost every respect.
By eliminating the heaviest, most cumbersome parts of a traditional sleeping bag — namely the hood, back, and zippers — camp quilts are lighter, more compact, far more versatile, and just as warm as their cocoon-like counterparts. The best camp quilts weigh around a pound, pack down small, and are rated to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Pro tip: Although not required, camp quilts are best when paired with a sleeping pad for added comfort and warmth. Below are some of our favorite camp quilts this 2021.
Ask most hardcore minimalist hikers about their outdoor bed setup, and some mention of Enlightened Equipment is almost guaranteed. The company’s Revelation sets the standard for lightweight, down camp quilts. Versatility is its strongest selling point. Using the integrated zipper and shock cord, it can be closed like a traditional sleeping bag, kept wide open like a blanket, or just about any variation in between to dial in your preferred fit. As most of the brand’s quilts are custom, its products are pricey. Shop the brand’s Warehouse section to save money on lightly used or “scratch & dent” quilts, or opt for a made-to-order model where you choose the temperature rating, dimensions, insulation level and type, color, and fabric.
Sierra Designs’ clever Nitro Quilt 800 boasts two unique features that make it a worthy quilt/sleeping bag hybrid. The first is a hideaway hood that’s perfect for insulating your dome in cold weather, particularly when sleeping in a hammock or on the ground. Hand/arm pockets add additional warmth when necessary. The second thing we love is the oversized V-shaped design. The added width means more room for moving around and tossing and turning, which can prove annoying in a typical sleeping bag. As the name implies, the Nitro Quilt features 800 fill power which promises to keep you cozy to 35 degrees. The adds 5 ounces to the overall weight — a small price to pay for a four-season sleeping bag alternative.
Compared to others on this list, Kammok’s Bobcat Trail Quilt is the most like a traditional quilt. With a 45-degree temperature rating and 600-fill-power DownTek insulation, it’s designed as a lightweight, three-season outdoor sleep solution. The rectangular (versus tapered) design means it works just like a throw or blanket you might use at home. Indeed, it’s billed as the sort of quilt you might use inside your vacation cabin or outside by the campfire. The Bobcat also offers several features that make it easy to pair with Kammok’s line of camp hammocks. Hidden elastic cords can be cinched down to create a makeshift toe box, or the quilt can be suspended from a hammock to provide extra under-hammock warmth.
Rumpl is still our favorite brand for technical and outdoor adventure blankets. The NanoLoft Puffy Blanket is one of the company’s most significant redesigns since launching in 2014. While billed as a blanket rather than a quilt, the warm, versatile, weather-resistant design works just as well indoors and out. What truly sets it apart is the next-generation green construction. The NanoLoft Puffy is Rumpl’s first-ever synthetic alternative to its previous all-down blankets. This move eliminates the need for virgin plastics and is thus safer and easier on the environment. Each one is made from more than 60 discarded recycled plastic bottles, but the company promises it’s the warmest, most packable synthetic blanket to date. That they’re available in a wide variety of colors and killer prints makes them even better.
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