Has anybody paired up two quilts to use for colder temps?

Patch96 Member Posts: 25

Does anybody have experience with using two quilts in order to get down to a colder temperature? I am curious what temperature I would be comfortable at if I paired up a 20° with either my EE 50° synthetic or my HMG 40°. I sleep very comfortable down to 20° and a little colder in my 20 degree quilt with an uberlite pad. Thanks for any input!


  • tradigan21
    tradigan21 Member Posts: 28

    EE has a chart but you aren't going to get far with two summer quilts. Going any colder with the Uberlite (also, don't rely on a stupid-light pad in winter) will be miserable. This is how to hate winter camping.

  • Patch96
    Patch96 Member Posts: 25

    I wouldn’t use the uberlite any colder. I only mentioned that to give a little context. I was mainly wondering about the quilt pairings. Thanks for the input, I’ll checkout that chart EE has!

  • tradigan21
    tradigan21 Member Posts: 28

    Oh, I didn't notice that was a mention of having a 20-degree quilt already. Use the 20 and the 40 for around 0. The 40 and the 50 miiiight get you around 20.

  • Patch96
    Patch96 Member Posts: 25

    I don’t think I would bother pairing the 50 and 40 since I have a 20°. According to EEs chart, a 20° and 50° is good for 0. A 20 and a 40 is good for -10. I would guess your estimate is a little more accurate. I would definitely try out in my back yard before testing out in the mountains. Ultimately I will get a winter bag eventually. I would be curious to hear if anyone here has any real experience doing this.

  • tradigan21
    tradigan21 Member Posts: 28

    I have done this. It's okay, but not as comfortable as an actual winter sleeping bag.

  • Danimal
    Danimal Member Posts: 17

    I am not a quilt user but have a lot of experience being cold. Sleeping bags can be doubled but get very heavy for the additional insulation gains. I believe the same is true for quilts with the added difficulty of keeping a tight seal where the quilt meets the sleeping pad. I am a firm believer in an attached hood, a draft collar is also a good choice as things get colder. With an attached hood you can draw the opening down to where just your mouth an nose are exposed. This eliminates any gaps where air can flow and let out heat. Do not breath inside the bag, the moisture from your breath will compromise the bag insulation. The next thing is to have adequate sleeping mats. I choose an inflatable mat ( Neo Air X Therm) and pair it with a good closed cell mat ( Ridgerest 5/8"). Both pads are full length. This is partly for insulation and partly for safety, no insulation below you in cold snow conditions can easily lead to hypothermia. If your hypoxic tent partner comes in with their crampons on and stomps around, your inflatable mat is useless! The closed cell mat will still work fine even with holes in it. I love being ultra lite and am considered a bit of a gram weenie among my friends but winter requires more to travel safely. It is still a great time to get out!

  • tina
    tina Member, Moderator Posts: 54

    It sounds like such a good idea, doesn’t it? There is some calculation to be considered regarding synthetic vs down layered — if I’m remembering correctly, a synthetic bag tucked into a down bag will provide the best combination of ventilation vs. loft vs. warmth retention. There’s a lot of discussion about this on Reddit. I’ve done a 40d EE down summer bag tucked into a 20d Feathered Friends Tanager and I’ve been ok in single digits (for reference, I’m a woman with low body fat) but I wouldn’t describe it as comfortable. If you move around at all, you’re shifting the bags and potentially compromising warmth. It’s also pretty bulky. For extended outdoor adventures, or if I didn’t primarily live in the south, I’d save up for a dedicated winter bag. But for one-offs, it has worked fine for me.

  • AustinHager
    AustinHager Member Posts: 32

    Before I had a winter bag I would use my 15F sleeping bag topped with my 22F quilt. Similarly, I would stack my sleeping pads too. Using a Zlite with an Xlite on top. It's certainly not ideal but it definitely works!

  • bugglife
    bugglife Member Posts: 87

    This perhaps doesn't answer the initial question, but does fall in line with some of the other responses.

    When I'm car / rooftop tenting, I often bring an extra sleeping bag (1970s REI down inherited from my parents, no hood) that I completely unzip and use as a blanket on top of my regular bag. I don't think the extra weight would be worth it while backpacking, but it makes for a very comfortable night close to the car. When backpacking, I have had more luck bringing a warmer, heavier, puffy, which I will often wear to sleep, but also provides some use around camp.

    I think a sleeping bag liner might give you more therms / ounce than an additional quilt, due to the insulation being compressed with two quilts combined. And if you are combining bags, I recommend that the lofter / lighter insulation go on the outside in order to allow it to stay as lofted / warm as possible. I hope this helps!

  • TenDigitGrid
    TenDigitGrid Member, Moderator Posts: 80

    My wife and I have layered two quilts on top of each other on colder snowshoe backpacking trips.

  • randyaward
    randyaward Member Posts: 2
    edited February 6

    There's a strong argument for going the other way: down inside synthetic. Your body produces moisture throughout the night. Especially in colder temps, that will condense (or freeze) near the outer layer of your sleeping system. With synthetic on the outside, the moisture "pushes through" the down and into the synthetic, which is (a) less likely to hold on to any moisture to begin with and (b) less affected by loss of loft if there is any moisture left.

    I swear by this system. My wife and I bought our synthetic quilts a size up to prevent compressing the down layer.

    We have tried both and prefer the two quilt (or bag/quilt) pairing over a single equivalently temperature-rated down quilt or bag. Yes, the synthetic is a bit heavier and you have 2 shells instead of one... but you save the added weight of soggy down and, in my experience, gain in comfort. The synthetic is also protecting the down from any spindrift or other external moisture sources

    Edited to add: that effect isn't something that shows up on a one or two night trip, but it sure starts affecting the down after multiple nights. So if it is just a weekend, and you have an adequately rated single bag, that might be best weight/bulk choice

  • aplusdesigners
    aplusdesigners Member Posts: 1

    I have Jacks R Better quilts: 0, 20 and 40 degree ratings. For really cold nights, I use the 0 as an under quilt and use the 20 and 40 together as a top quilt.