Why a Quilt?
Quilts vs. Sleeping Bags
Quilts and sleeping bags keep you warm by using a layer of insulation to trap your own body heat inside. The thicker the insulation (loft), the more body heat will be trapped and the warmer you will be. The problem with traditional sleeping bags is that when your body weight compresses the portion of the insulation underneath you, it will compress the loft in that area making it useless. Therefore, you must use a good, insulated sleeping pad with any quilt or bag to keep from losing your valuable body heat to the cold ground.
Since the pad is what keeps you warm from the bottom, then why have all that extra insulation and fabric underneath you? Exactly. A quilt is essentially a bottomless sleeping bag, eliminating all that excess insulation and fabric and the weight and bulk that come with it. A quilts job is to keep the top and sides of your body warm, and the pad will keep you warm on the bottom.
Other Benefits to a Quilt
Weight and bulk reduction may have been the foundation on which the concept of quilts was born, but as quilts gained popularity, many other benefits were exposed.
The large majority of people either sleep on their side, stomach or combination, and many of us are active sleepers who toss and turn throughout the night.
Depending on body position, a mummy bag with a fixed hood can get in your face, warm half your face etc. Our quilts cinch comfortably around your neck and do not have hoods, further reducing weight and bulk.
With quilts, you will need to wear a warm hat and/or neck covering that will move with you as you sleep on colder nights.
Quilts, especially those with a zippered and drawcord footbox like the Alphalite offer a lot of flexibility.
On colder nights you can seal up tight and use the included pad attachment system to keep out any drafts. In warmer conditions, open the drawcord toebox to vent your feet, completely unzip the quilt and use it as a blanket or anything in between.
Are quilts just for weight obsessed, ultralight backpackers?
No. Quilts have obviously gained a lot of popularity from long distance hikers over the years but just about anyone who could benefit from less weight and bulk and more versatility in their sleep system should consider a quilt. Backpackers, bikepackers, hunters, travelers, the list goes on. Many people have found that quilts are even great for car/van camping since they are so easy to get in and out of and take up much less space.