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Understanding Temperature Ratings

  • We use extensive product research and field testing to determine that our listed temperature ratings most closely represent comfort ratings for the average user if used properly.

  • Our temperature ratings assume that the user is healthy, well fed, and properly hydrated.

  • Ratings assume that the user is wearing an appropriate thermal baselayer, socks, head and neck covering and is inside a shelter not exposed to direct wind.

  • A sleeping pad with an appropriate R-Value for the conditions is required and is discussed in detail in the next section.

  • This section defines the difference between the available temperature ratings and how to choose the best option to fit your needs.  

  • Temperature ratings are based primarily on the amount of loft needed to keep you comfortable at an approximate outside ambient temperature. Lower temperature ratings will require higher loft.

  • Loft refers to how thick or tall one layer of the quilt is while it is lying flat in its uncompressed state and is the main determining factor in how warm your quilt will be.

  • Loft is responsible for trapping the warmth your body creates to keep you warm.

  • Higher loft = more warmth trapped = you stay warmer.

  • For example, a 40° quilt will only have a target loft of around 1 ½ inches, while a 0° quilt will require approximately 3 ½ inches of loft.

  • Each one of our available temperature ratings has a different interior baffle construction to accommodate the precise amount of down fill required to reach the target loft.​


Temperature ratings should be just a baseline when deciding how warm you need your quilt to be. The following section discusses factors you may want to consider when deciding on a temperature rating.

Choosing a Temperature Rating

First - choose a listed temperature that most closely matches the temperatures you think you will encounter (err on the side of caution and plan a buffer for possible cold snaps).

Next - consider all the following factors that would lead you to sleep warmer or colder than the “average” user to help you decide if you need to go with a warmer or cooler quilt.

  • Woman often sleep colder than men, so a warmer quilt is recommended


  • Warm or cold sleeper? Everyone is different and some people just sleep colder than others in the backcountry


  • Body composition - those with thin builds will usually sleep colder than those with more meat on their bones


  • Prolonged use between cleanings, common with thru hikes, can lead to a temporary slight loss in loft and warmth


  • Wear a thermal base layer to keep you warmer and help keep your quilt clean longer


  • Quilts do not have hoods so wear a warm hat or head and neck covering


  • Stress, anxiety, dehydration, and lack of nutrition can all have negative effects on staying warm


  • Your quilt traps the warmth your body creates, so go to bed warm to stay warm

  • Doing some movements to get your blood flowing before bed, can go a long way to help you warm up the inside of your quilt

  • Having food in your system to digest when you go to bed will get your metabolism burning and make you feel warmer. A warm drink will also be a big help


  • Altitude, wind chill, and humidity can all be factors to consider

  • When in doubt between temp ratings, it is usually a good idea to opt for the warmer quilt and pad


The Sleeping Pad


Quilts are only a part of the sleep system and require an adequate pad (for ground use), or an underquilt (for hammock use).

If you have come this far in your quilt research, you probably already understand the concept of a quilt. Quilts provide the warmth for the top and sides of your body, while the pad is responsible for 100% of the heat retention from being lost to the ground.


For this reason, quilts eliminate the need for any fabric or insulation underneath your body, cutting unneeded weight and bulk that you would have with a traditional sleeping bag.



R-value is the measurement of the insulating ability of the sleeping pad. The higher the R-value, the better the pads ability to not allow your body heat to be lost to the ground. Using a quilt with a warm temperature rating, in conjunction with an inadequate sleeping pad, will leave you cold. 

Do not learn this lesson the hard way.


Many of the factors discussed in the previous section about choosing a temperature rating for your quilt, can also be applied to choosing an R-value. There is plenty of information to be found online about R-values as well.


Not taking any other factors into consideration, a very generic starting point could be an R-value of at least R3 for down to about 30°, and for colder conditions, an R5 or even R6+ may be needed. A cheap and effective way for ground users to add additional R-value (and protection) to your go-to inflatable pad, is to layer it with an inexpensive, closed-cell foam pad underneath.


The great thing about the AlphaLite series of quilts is the versatility. With a zippered footbox, you can…

Seal up tight

when it is cold

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Open the footbox to vent your feet if you get warm

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Unzip completely to use as a blanket or anything in between

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