This post may contain affiliate links.

Stock vs Custom Backpacking Quilts: How to Choose

Stock backpacking quilts vs custom backpacking quilts

Backpacking quilts have exploded in popularity in recent years and provide a great alternative to hooded sleeping bags for people, particularly side sleepers, who find them claustrophobic or uncomfortable to sleep in. But purchasing a quilt can be much more difficult than buying a sleeping bag, especially one that’s custom made because there are so many options to choose from. Unless you’ve done it before, there’s a chance that you might choose the wrong set of options and get stuck with a quilt that doesn’t work well and that’s difficult to sell used.

That’s where stock quilts, also called in-stock quilts, economy quilts, and fast-track quilts come in. These are off-the-shelf backpacking and camping quilts with a fixed set of features so they can be made more quickly or warehoused by quilt manufacturers. They include the most requested features that customers ask for and can help take the guesswork out of buying a backpacking quilt, especially if you’ve never done it before. They might not have the most expensive down insulation or come in your favorite colors, but they’re usually a very safe purchase that will perform quite well. They’re also priced lower than highly customized quilts because their manufacture can be streamlined.

The Hammock Gear Economy Burrow is quite a lofty and comfortable quilt.
The Hammock Gear Economy Burrow is quite a lofty and comfortable quilt.

Most of the backpacking quilts sold by the cottage quilt manufacturers are stock quilts, not custom ones, so you’re in good company if you decide to buy one. Some quilt manufacturers also offer customization options on their stock or economy quilts, so you can get the best of both worlds. There’s nothing wrong with buying a custom quilt if you don’t mind paying a premium for it and waiting for a month or two for it to be made. But stock quilts with limited features sets can be quite good values when purchased from companies like Enlightened Equipment, Hammock Gear, or UGQ Outdoor and they’re often available in just a few days.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison between the stock and custom quilts from the aforementioned quilt vendors: Enlightened Equipment, Hammock Gear, and UGQ Outdoor. In general, there are more customization options, including higher fill power down, more color options, lighter weight fabrics, and more sizes available if you buy a premium custom quilt. But you can still get a lot of bang for the buck with a stock quilt if you want to save money or time and don’t absolutely need those extra features. While the weight of a stock quilt might be a few ounces heavier than a custom model, you can just carry one less snack bar to offset the difference.

Be sure to read our How to Choose Advice below these specs to understand how to choose between the Stock and Custom models from each of these vendors.

Enlightened Equipment Stock vs Custom Revelation

Revelation Stock Specs and Options

  • Down: 850fp Grey Duck Down, 950fp Grey Goose Down, (all untreated)
  • Outer fabric: 7d (1 color), 10d (3 colors),
  • Inner fabric: 7d (1 color), 10d (1 color),
  • Temperature ratings (F): 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
  • Length: short, regular, long
  • Width: regular, wide
  • Draft collar: yes/no
  • Footbox: zippered w/ drawstring footbox
  • Straps: ground pad attachment straps
  • Baffles: continuous baffles
  • Neck: snap and drawcord neck closure

Revelation Custom Specs and Options

  • Down: 850fp Grey Duck Down, 950fp Grey Goose Down, (all untreated)
  • Outer fabric:  7d (3 colors), 10d (12 colors), 20d (4 colors)
  • Inner fabric: 7d (3 colors), 10d (10 colors)
  • Temperature ratings (F): 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
  • Length: xshort, short, regular, long, xlong
  • Width: slim, regular, wide, xwide
  • Draft collar: yes/no
  • Footbox: zippered w/ drawstring footbox
  • Straps: ground pad attachment straps
  • Baffles: continuous baffles
  • Neck: snap and drawcord neck closure

Revelation Quilts: How to Choose

Most of the quilts that Enlightened Equipment sells are stock models and the reason should be obvious: with the exception of color choices or extreme sizes, there are few differences between a Stock Revelation and a Custom Revelation, except the price and wait time.

Hammock Gear Economy vs Premium Burrow

Economy Burrow Specs and Options

  • Down: 800fp Nikwax DWR treated duck down
  • Outer fabric: 20d (5 colors)
  • Inner fabric: 20d (3 colors)
  • Temperature ratings: 0, 10, 20, 30, 40
  • Length: standard, short, long
  • Width: standard, wide
  • Footbox: zipper, sewn
  • Overfill: standard fill, 1 ounce, 2 ounces, 3 ounces, 4 ounces
  • Ground pad attachment straps: yes, no
  • Baffles: Box baffles
  • Taper: Half taper
  • Neck: Snap and drawcord neck closure

Premium Burrow Specs and Options 

  • Down: 850fp DWR treated goose down; 950 fill power untreated goose down (800fp is unavailable)
  • Outer fabric:  10d (10 colors), 15d (4 colors)
  • Inner fabric: 10d (5 colors)
  • Temperature ratings: 0, 10, 20, 30, 40
  • Length: standard, short, long
  • Width: standard, wide
  • Footbox: zipper, sewn
  • Overfill: standard fill, 1 ounce, 2 ounces, 3 ounces, 4 ounces
  • Ground pad attachment straps: yes, no
  • Baffles: Box baffles
  • Taper: Half taper
  • Neck: Snap and drawcord neck closure

Burrow Quilts: How to Choose

There are only three differences between Hammock Gear’s Economy Burrow and Premium Burrow Quilts: down fill power, fabric denier, and color options. Other than that, both options have the exact same shape, sizing, and construction options and are equally suitable for hammock users and ground sleepers. If you’re completely obsessed with the weight of your backpacking gear, I can understand wanting the Premium Burrow to save a few ounces. But it will only be a few ounces, if that, and not much more. Run your own weight comparison and see for yourself. If you decide to get an Economy Burrow, I can tell you firsthand that it is a very nice quilt. I used one for most of last year and it’s a keeper.

UGQ Outdoor Bandit Fast Track Quilt vs Bandit Custom

Bandit Fast Track Specs and Options

  • Down: 800 fill power duck down; 850 fill power goose down; 950 fill power goose down (all untreated)
  • Temperature ratings (F): 0, 20, 40
  • Length: regular, long
  • Width: regular
  • Overstuff: 2 oz evenly distributed between torso and footbox
  • External Color: 20d (4 colors)
  • Internal Color: 20d (1 color)
  • Draft collar: yes
  • Neck: snap w/ drawcord neck closure
  • Footbox: zipper w/drawstring
  • Dynamic tension control: yes
  • Taper: none
  • Pad attachment: deluxe

Bandit Custom Specs and Options

  • Down: 800 fill power duck down; 850 fill power goose down; 950 fill power goose down (all untreated)
  • Temperature ratings (F): 0, 10, 20, 30, 40
  • Length: short, regular, long, xlong
  • Width: slim, regular, wide, xwide
  • 800 Overstuff torso: none, 1 oz, 2 oz
  • 800 Overstuff footbox: none, 1 oz
  • External Color: 10d (12 colors) 20d (16 colors)
  • Internal Color: 10d (13 colors)
  • Draft collar: yes/no
  • Neck: snap w/ drawcord neck closure
  • Footbox: zipper w/drawstring, boxed flat sewn, fully insulated
  • Dynamic tension control: yes/no
  • Taper: none/full
  • Pad attachment: none, ultralight, deluxe

Bandit Quilts: How to Choose

UGQ’s Bandit Fast Track Quilts might appear to favor hammock users over ground sleepers because they’re not available in a wide size. However, they do come with Dynamic Tension Control, which offsets the need for a wide-cut because the edges of the back opening are pulled together by elastic running down its length. See our Bandit Review for a detailed explanation of this feature. The Fast Track Bandit also comes with a draft collar as a standard feature, which is much more important for ground sleepers than hammock users, where the quilt bunches up around you. If gear weight is paramount, you’ll probably want a Custom Bandit, since you can get higher fill power down and a lighter weight fabric, although the extra customization is going to cost you. The custom option is also a better choice if you’re a very cold sleeper and want a lot of down overfill or a more enclosed footbox.

Updated October 2022.

See also:

SectionHiker is reader-supported. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.

13 comments

  1. This is remarkably helpful! I was wondering if I really needed a custom quilt and I appreciate you pointing out that it’s possible to get a perfectly good one buying a stock model without breaking the bank. This is why I love your site!

  2. This was very helpful but I have a question. I bought my first quilt last year, always been a bag guy, I love the size/packability and weight savings the warmth is great and it works better with my new hammock. The one thing I hate is the feeling of the quills of the down poking through the fabric. I find this uncomfortable. What material should I look for to fix this issue or at least minimize it if there is any.

    • I don’t think the fabric is as much to blame as the down insulation. The things poking you are the feather quills pushing through the fabric. What you’ll want is a higher quality down that has a smaller proportion of feathers. What quilt do you have that is exhibiting this problem and what fill power did it come with. Do you know if it’s duck or goose?

      • it is an ENO quilt it was not overly expensive about $110. not sure if it is goose or duck though i dont remember.

        • ENO. That’s definitely the problem – feathers in the insulation. They don’t provide much value for the dollar. Return it if you can. I’d swap that out for an econ burrow above. Infinitely better.

  3. I envy people who can make quilts work for them. I froze my butt off in a 20° Enlightened Equipment Apex quilt on a night that got down to just above freezing. I wore every piece of clothing I brought including my down puffy. It was like playing whack-a-mole with drafts all night. It was a custom quilt so I might keep it for summer only. I definitely need to sort out the straps to eliminate drafts, but it also seems silly to have to wear extra layers just to stay warm. Perhaps it was my pad, an insulated Big Agnes Q-Core SLX at a 3.9 R factor. I’ve since switched to an Exped at a 5, and hoping for better results.

    • Yeah, I hear you. When it gets down to 20, I switch to a mummy bag. One issue to consider is that you’re a woman (I assume). That 20 degree quilt is probably more like a 30 degree quilt since women tend to have a smaller body mass than men. I don’t think EE makes that kind of logic explicit. But you’re right, you really shouldn’t have to wear a down parka inside a quilt to stay warm.

    • I had the same issue, then went to an EE Conundrum. I can zip it up and get rid of the drafts. When I ordered my first quilt, draft collars were not available nor were zippers so I was using my down puffy as a draft collar. I then stuffed my fleece along my backside to keep out drafts. I wasn’t getting great sleep. I agree with Philip about needing 10 degrees more than most but adding in the Conundrum with the zipper has also helped. I had a mummy bag and never liked the hood, if I could tolerate the hood I would just go with a bag and not a quilt. Also, I made a summer quilt from 3.6 Apex, which is supposed to be for a 40 degree quilt. I start getting cold around 55 degrees. I wish I would have ordered the higher Apex.

      • I’m a big proponent of hoodless sleeping bags for just this reason. No drafts. No hood. I use a Feather Friends Tanager 20 when it gets colder for ground sleeping. It’s zipperless so it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it completely eliminates drafts, straps, and the overhead of sleeping with a quilt with little weight penalty. Otherwise, you might also consider augmenting your 20 degree quilt with a lightweight bivy sack to get rid of the drafts.

        • I like your idea of using an additional bivy. Now that I know I’m a cold sleeper I went ahead and purchased a Sea to Summit Thermolite reactor for this purpose. I’ve since read more articles about fabrics, warmth to weight ratios, etc. The scientist in me needs the facts before I can put them in action to test. More than ever I’m starting to wonder if the Zenbivy is for me. I’m a side sleeper and this system keeps getting rave reviews. A good night’s sleep is worth the price and weight penalty.

        • We reviewed the Zenbivy very favorably this year. Here’s a link to our review.
          https://sectionhiker.com/zenbivy-light-bed-25-bundle-review/
          The benefit of that system is that it’s completely integrated and optimized, but still modular. I’m surprised that Enlightened Equipment hasn’t gone down this road because it would greatly expand their customer base.

  4. As I’m looking at the Hammock Gear site today (Feb 2023) There’s no mention of Duck Vs Goose down for Economy vs Premium, any longer and there’s no only a $30-$50 difference between models. Have they abandoned the duck down models?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *