Choosing a Temperature Rating
Temperature ratings are based on the amount of loft needed to keep you comfortable at an approximate outside ambient temperature. Lower temperature ratings will require higher loft.
For example, a 40° quilt will only have a target loft of around 1 ½ inches, and a 0° quilt will need 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 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 following 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.
Quilt 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, then we add 30% more down to cover our bases. Learn more about down and overstuff.
First choose a listed temperature that most closely matches the temperatures you think you will encounter (err on the side of caution), then consider all the following factors that would lead you to sleep warmer or colder to help you decide if you need to go with a warmer or cooler quilt.
Some Factors to Consider
Body composition - those with thin builds will usually sleep colder than those with more meat on their bones
Woman often sleep colder than men
Down traps the warmth your body creates, go to bed warm to stay warm
Doing some movements to get your blood flowing, like a few jumping jacks 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
Quilts do not have hoods so wear a warm hat or head and neck covering
Wear a base layer to keep you warmer AND help keep your quilt clean longer
Altitude, wind chill, and humidity can all be considered
When in doubt it is usually a good idea to opt for a warmer quilt and pad
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
Open the footbox to vent your feet if you get warm
Unzip completely to use as a blanket or anything in between