Anatomy of a Quilt - by Enlightened Equipment

Posted by Mark Richardson on Feb 02, 2023

What is a Quilt?

Great Question!

A QUILT is an alternative to a sleeping bag that offers comfort, versatility, weight savings, and compressibility in ways that sleeping bags can’t. Here’s what one looks like -->


Quilts allow the user to sleep naturally. There’s no need to be constrained by sleeping bags, since you can choose to orient the quilt anywhere between a blanket and a bag.


Strap systems keep your quilt facing down and in place, and strap slides allow the user to decide airflow and tightness of the quilt around them, on the fly. Get the perfect fit and temperature you need at night, every night.

Quilts cut the fat of wasted fabric and insulation beneath you, meaning that quilts are consistently lighter and more compressible than their sleeping bag equivalents

How do you use a Sleeping Quilt?

Sleeping quilts are used as a part of a sleep system that usually includes your tent, your sleeping pad, your sleeping quilt or bag, and base layer cloths. Without each of these pieces accounted for in the conditions you expect to be sleeping in, your system may fail, and your other parts of your sleep system cannot make up for it. For example, your 0° sleeping quilt will not be able to keep you warm if your heat is lost beneath you by having an inadequate sleeping pad.


Is a Quilt or Sleeping Bag Warmer?

Both Sleeping Quilts and Bags use temperature rating to measure their level of warmth, meaning that a 20° sleeping quilt should be equally warm (when used properly) against a 20° sleeping bag. In extreme cold conditions, having your body fully encapsulated by a sleeping bag may create extra layers of failsafe for keeping out moisture and drafts.


How do you attach a quilt to a sleeping pad?

Quilts use strap systems to attach the quilt to your sleeping pad. This usually includes some combination of either flat straps, or loop straps, which loop around the pad, then attach the quilt via clips.


Are quilts good for side sleepers?

Because of their ability to be opened and moved within more freely, quilts are generally better for side sleepers. Quilts allow you to sleep more naturally while in blanket-mode, and allow you to choose how secure/tight to your body the quilt sits on colder nights.


What is the difference between a Sleeping Bag and a Quilt?

Sleeping bags fully encompass the user head-to-toe, while sleeping quilts only cover the most necessary parts of the body. Sleeping quilts lack the hood of a sleeping bag, as well as the insulation underneath your body in exchange for a more highly versatile sleeping experience. Sleeping quilts can be formed as blankets, or closer to full bags, depending on the temperatures and variables the night calls for, while sleeping bags will only wrap around the user fully in the 'mummy bag' fashion.


Enlightened Equipment are experts in camping quilts; there's quite a lot to these alternatives to sleeping bags and we've reproduced their views and advice on this page to help you decide if a quilt could be for you.