To facilitate hand quilting, colorfast quilting weight cotton fabrics (and occasionally light weight woolen fabrics) are used to cover the fronts and backs of Amish quilts. Fabrics are purchased off-the-shelf from fabric stores or distributors in small quantities usually no more than a bolt of a particular fabric at a time. Extra wide fabric is purchased to be used to cover the back of the quilt. It is traditional and not unusual to use somewhat rustic cotton muslin on quilt backs and, where appropriate, on the front of quilts. Both solid color fabrics and printed fabrics are used in Amish quilts.
The Nunatak Arc UL is a quilt designed for long distance hikers. It’s available in four different temperature ratings: 40, 30, 20 and 10 degrees, in a wide variety of lengths and widths, with or without a draft collar, with or without a pad attachment system, and several different outer shell and liner fabrics that emphasize breathability or water repellency. One of the unique options available on the Arc UL, is the installation of external snaps that allow you to layer a synthetic quilt with it for cold weather use. The Arc UL is also available with 900 fill power HyperDry goose down, treated or untreated. A basic, regular sized Arc UL 40 weighs 14.8 oz. Price Range: $290.00-$550.00.
While manufacturers often list temperature ratings for sleeping bags by the EN standard (scientific method to determine warmth of a sleeping bag, red.), they rarely do this for quilts. Nevertheless, they do typically list the lower limit temperature (temperature at which an average adult male will be comfortable) which they determine through their own tests.
It’s easy to buy a very lightweight quilt, but can you buy one that is true to its temperature rating? Don’t get me wrong. I love UL quilts and use them, but some vendor’s quilts are warmer than others. If a brand overemphasizes gear weight, look carefully at the amount of down fill/quality they include in their bags. This is a case of the fox guarding the hen house. There is enormous incentive to emphasize gear weight and therefore a good reason to consider buying a warmer bag or adding down overfill to guarantee a warmer experience.
For the record, I am using an EMS 20 degree bag that’s about 10 years old now. I’m going to be very sad when it needs replacing as it has a bunch of features that probably make it a bit heavier, but also make it very adaptive. Things like a removable hood, multiple draft cinches, a slightly wider body so I can turn easily on my side, and the previously mentioned pocket for keeping stuff like a phone, flashlight, etc handy.
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Not a fan of these Z-Packs Fan Boys, as some people like to call them. I have no way to prove it, but I think Z-Packs pays people for favorable reviews/comments. The favorable comments above probably came from one guy with a bunch of different “user accounts.” I’ve struggled with wanting to buy a Z-Packs tent and backpack in the past because their reviews and low weights are super enticing but I don’t think their equipment is built to last. This is coming from someone who’s never owned Z-Packs gear so take that as you will.
I don’t own a zero rated sleeping bag anymore. Instead, I have a 20 degree bag and a 20 degree quilt. Typically I use the quilt for most camping and then when it gets too cool (typically in the under 40 range) due to me moving and causing drafts, I’ll switch to the bag. Then, when it’s even colder (I’ve been down to near zero) I simply use the quilt over the sleeping bag and I’ve been plenty warm – even more so than my old 0 degree. The bulk isn’t much more than what a real 0 degree bag would be. Things like my phone can be placed in the zippered pocket on the outside of my sleeping bag and kept warm enough by the quilt.
The Katabatic Gear Flex is a quilt that can used in a hammock or on the ground, coupled with a sleeping pad. Weight varies by temperature rating, but a standard-sized Flex 40 weighs 16.9 oz. It’s available with regular or HyperDRY waterproof goose down and comes with a sleeping pad attachment system to help prevent side drafts. The’ Flex also has a very desirable draft collar that snugs around your neck and prevents heat from escaping when you move around at night. The Flex footbox can be zippered closed and has a draw-string vent, or you can unzip it completely and use it as a blanket. Katabatic Gear has a well-deserved reputation for making quilts that exceed their temperature rating. Price range $260.00-$435.00.
The Jacks ‘R’ Better Sierra Sniveller is a 25-30 degree (24 oz) quilt can be used for sleeping in a hammock or on the ground and includes perimeter tabs for a ground attachment system. It’s unique because it can also be worn as an insulated garment, with a non-snagging, mixed hook & loop re-sealable head hole in the chest. The hole seals tightly when not used so there’s no heat loss through it. You can also choose between a drawstring or sewn in foot box. The Sniveller is available in two lengths and filled with 800 fill power goose down, either treated or untreated. Price Range: $270.00-$280.00
The Therm-a-Rest Corus HD quilt is another great choice for 3-season hiking. The quilt uses 650-fill power down which is treated with Nikwax so that it repels the water (hydrophobic down) rather than absorbing it. Therefore, it offers better warmth when exposed to moisture than regular down. The shell is made of 20-denier DWR treated nylon for good abrasion resistance and weather protection. The quilt has also an elastic footbox so that it keeps your feet warm at low temperatures. As it features snap loops it can easily be attached to a sleeping pad. It comes in two different sizes – regular (193 cm in length) and long (203 cm in length).
More and more backpackers are switching from sleeping bags to backpacking quilts because they’re lighter weight, more compressible, and more comfortable, especially for side sleepers. While top quilts have always been popular with the hammock crowd because they’re easier to use in the confined space of a hammock, they’re also a great sleeping system option for ground sleepers, when coupled with a sleeping pad. Backpacking quilts are ideal for summer and warm weather since they’re so easy to vent if you’re too hot. But in freezing temperatures, starting at 30 degrees and below, most backpackers still prefer a sleeping bag because the wraparound fabric is less drafty.
Whether you live someplace warm or like to throw the windows open come summertime, a lightweight quilt is a must to be comfortable in the nighttime chill or with the air conditioning going. But you’ll want to stay away from heavier materials like wool fill or densely woven outer layers so you don’t get too hot. This quilt is made of 100% cotton in both the fill and outer layers, so it provides a little bit of warmth but still breathes, and won’t hold on to humidity. It’s made by artisans in India (a country that gets very, very hot) using a traditional weaving method called “kantha” and takes six days to make. It’s super-soft and can be used alone on the bed for hotter days, or layered under or over a duvet when it’s really chilly.