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Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt 700/ 35 Degree Review

Sierra Designs 15 Degree Backcountry Quilt
Sierra Designs 35 Degree Backcountry Quilt

The Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt 700/35 is a down quilt rated to 35 degrees that combines all the advantages of an ultralight down quilt with a hood, ideal in colder weather when you need extra thermal protection for your head. The unique hideaway hood on this Sierra Designs Quilt is magnificent in the cool weather that this quilt is rated for, regardless if you sleep on the ground in a tent or in a hammock.

The hood doesn’t prevent you from sleeping on your side or in a hammock like a traditional mummy bag and I wish more manufacturers would offer it as an option since it works so well, especially in a hammock in cooler weather since the back of the hood cradles your head like a puffy, warm down pillow. I stumbled on using Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilts in hammocks quite by accident two years ago and think they make a great insulation system in cooler weather when more head and neck insulation is required. (See my post on Hammock Forums.)

The hood is there when you need it, but folds away into the chest when you
The hood is there when you need it, but folds away into the chest when you don’t.

The Backcountry Quilt 35 is cut wide (58″) and very long (80″) compared to other lightweight backpacking quilts, something to be aware of when sizing one and making weight comparisons with other products. It also doesn’t come with any straps to keep it attached to a sleeping pad, which can be useful if you sleep on the ground and toss and turn at night. On the flip side, the width does allow you to pull the quilt underneath your sides, minimizing the need for straps, which are easy to misplace in my experience. Furthermore, you don’t want sleeping pad straps when sleeping in a hammock.

The foot box is closed to prevent drafts and comes up to the knee (approximately.) The quilt taper is generous (42″) and should be wide enough to fit most mummy style, inflatable sleeping pads.

The other thing that’s great about the Backcountry Quilt is that it’s rated using the EN13537 sleeping bag temperature rating standard, so you know how warm it is compared to other rated sleeping bag options, a useful comparison if you’re interested in converting from a sleeping bag to a quilt-based sleep system. Note: When buying a quilt made by cottage gear manufacturers, conventional wisdom suggests buying a quilt that’s an extra 10 degrees warmer than you expect to make up for any exaggeration in the vendor temperature rating.  With the exception of the Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt, most quilts can’t be tested using the sleeping bag standard, which requires an integrated hood as part of the test. 


The Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt 700/35 is a good sleep insulation option if you’re a side sleeper and hate the confinement of a mummy-style hood or you want a quilt that can be used for sleeping in a hammock and on the ground in a tent. Weighing 31 ounces (1 pound 15 ounces), it’s lighter weight than many high-quality 20 degree down sleeping bags. With an MSRP of $219.95, it is comparatively expensive and heavier compared to a custom-made quilt (minus the insulated hood), but becomes more price competitive if you can get it on sale.

Disclosure: Sierra Designs provided the author with a sample quilt for this review. 

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  1. One of my hiking buddies just bought this and will use it on a section hike we are taking on the Ozark Highlands Trail next month. If he notes anything that adds to this review, I’ll pass it along.

  2. Since mint errors and printing errors on stamps drive up the value, if I have a cached copy of the old title, is it a collector’s item worth some cash?… or just plain cache? I thought I’d check because your blog is so widespread.

    Of course, I’m getting rather widespread myself. I’d better hit the trail… I just wish I could walk more than a mile right now!

  3. What’s cash??

  4. Any feedback on the pockets for the hands in the corners? My wife seems to think that they would be perfect to tuck in with and could convert her from a sleeping bag to a quilt since she kind of uses the blanket on the bed at home in this same way. Are they practical? Or more like a gimmick?

    • That’s exactly what they’re for, but I’ve never found them that useful myself.

    • I have a Backcountry Bed, which has the same hand pockets on the quilt portion, and I really like them. I move around a lot at night, and when I have my arms up, or out, or splayed, I can secure it with my hands in the pockets, or keep my hands warmer with them in the pockets. And I find it quite natural to get my hands into the pockets; not a lot of futzing around.

  5. Actually just pick up the 600 “30” degree quilt on a clearance deal. Lucked out Sierra uses tracable down and i figured out my quilt was made with certifies 720 fill power down.

    Great quilts overall

  6. Could you add straps with some webbing and buckles, or does the extra width make that ineffective.

  7. The hood is innovative and it seems to me that if they pushed a bit to trim weight (they used to offer 800fp), plus offer two sizes, they’d have a more compelling product line.

  8. Can you tell me how small this quit packs? Thanks

  9. I am new to using a backpacking hammock. Can you explain why you’d use a quilt versus a sleeping bag in a hammock? My experience so far has been that my back gets cold and my experiments with various pads has failed.


    • A sleeping pad doesn’t provide much insulation for your back in a hammock, or on the ground for that matter, because you’re lying on it and it can’t insulate you by trapping any air. But that issue aside, the other reason to use a quilt is that it’s a lot less annoying to use in a hammock since it’s basically a blanket and you don’t have to contort yourself to get in and out of it, like you do if you use a sleeping bag in a hammock. Don’t want to buy a quilt? Unzip your sleeping bag all the way and use it like a quilt.

  10. I can’t decide between the 30F version of this quilt and FeatheredFriends’ Flicker 30F-wide…

    I sleep on all sides and tend to be warm at night. I have been comfortable with a quilt down to 25F in the past–I’ve always felt claustrophobic in mummy-style bags. Lastly, I would also like a bag that I can use in wetter climates than the Southwest, such as the Northeast.

    Would greatly appreciate your advice!


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