Purchasing a lightweight sleeping bag or blanket is a no-brainer for through-hikers and anybody seeking to pack light and quickly, as it can significantly reduce the weight and bulk of an overnight pack. But deciding between the two can be challenging because each has a distinct set of perks and drawbacks. The following paragraphs give an overview of the ultralight sleeping bag and backpacking quilt and discuss their primary differences in warmth, weight, temperature regulation, and more.
Traditional zipper bags are well-known among outdoor enthusiasts, but lightweight sleeping bags require more introduction. These lightweight items take on the pattern of a mummy bag and then streamline it further by using thinner shell fabrics, higher-fill-power down, quarter-length zippers, and reduced proportions. Some of the most lightweight sleeping bags even do away with the hood and zipper, opting instead for a tube-shaped construction that provides outstanding warmth for its low weight. In addition, it is essential to point out that sleeping bags are particularly efficient insulators in large part because of their draft-free construction that completely envelops the body, preventing cold air from entering and warm air from escaping.
While backpacking quilts are a more specialized item for lightweight backpackers and people who sleep in hammocks, anyone interested in streamlining their overnight gear should consider it carefully. The idea behind the design of a quilt is based on the fact that the feathers on the bottom of the sleeping bag don’t provide a great way of insulation because the pressure of your body largely compacts them as you sleep. A classic mummy bag has its hood and back removed, but its foot box remains intact. A blanket, on the other hand, just insulates both the front and edges of the body. In contrast to most designs, which come with cushion attachments to form a closed system together with the sleeping pad, quilts that are known as “top quilts” drape over the body.
While not all quilts have rear closures, many do, making it possible to wrap one around the body like a sleeping bag. These closures often have one to three buckles across the back area to reduce weight. In addition, some quilts feature foot boxes that can be secured with a zip or snap, in addition to a drawstring at the bottom of the quilt. These closures guarantee that the quilt will remain wrapped around you as you sleep, but they offer very little protection against drafts in the long run. In the end, backpacking quilts are typically less heavy than sleeping bags but also tend to be draftier. A quilt is a wonderful option for temperature regulation except on cold nights because of its modest weight.
A small subset of the sleeping bag and quilt shares characteristics of both and provides the best of them. For instance, some feathered sleeping bags are hoodless bags with full-length zippers. The proportions are designed so that you can entirely enclose yourself within the sleeping bag. On the other hand, it may open up like backpacking quilts on warmer nights by unzipping the foot box and utilizing the cinch closure. Another mix alternative features a comparable design but comes in a package that is a little bit lighter. These sleeping systems are incredibly lightweight and versatile, transitioning from chilly to warm conditions more effectively than most other options. They can also be used as blankets for two people in a pinch.