A feather-light, toasty warm revelation, indeed! And quite possibly my wisest investment in night time comfort…ever (not counting my Sleep Number Bed, which I’d certainly take with me if it fit in my tent)! Staying warm in brisk night air has always been a challenge. Even in long-johns and a down mummy bag rated for 15 degrees, I chill well before the temperature drops below forty. And once I do, I can’t get warm again without a hot bath…not easy to come by in most campgrounds. Awakening around 3 AM to pile my jacket and other clothing on top of me used to be a nightly routine whenever I went camping.
I was skeptical when I first read about camping quilts in a review written by Dave Collins at cleverhiker.com. How could something so much less bulky than my sleeping bag possibly keep me warm? But it made sense when Dave pointed out that being swaddled like a mummy is a waste of good down because what’s under you is too compressed to contribute to warmth. And he was so enthusiastic about quilts that I visited Enlightened Equipment to learn more. What I learned there convinced me that, with a quilt, I could actually enjoy cold nights under the stars. Enlightened Equipment quilts are custom made; you get exactly what you want. I ordered a navy blue one with a yellow inside, rated for 0 degrees, and I use it in many places besides my tent. It covers me when I sleep on my BFF’s couch. It’s atop my bed when I want to sleep with the windows wide open on a really cold night. It’s wrapped around me when a Netflix binge keeps me up into the wee hours.
But back to camping and tents. Of course, what’s under me when the quilt is over me does matter; if I’m losing heat to the surface I’m laying on, the quilt won’t do me much good. So I sleep on a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad with a 5.7 R-Value. Since I began sleeping tucked between this pad and my quilt, I haven’t once awakened cold…not even during a night that left ice on my motorcycle.
So what about when it’s warm all night…like it was on the Eastern Montana plains last summer? Well, that’s the beauty of a quilt! It’s so easy to cover nothing more than my feet, which are always cold.