November 01, 2021 3 min read
It’s probably fair to say that most outdoor enthusiasts are familiar with the traditional mummy bag, but have you heard of or ever tried a backpacking quilt? We wanted to tell you why we think quilts are the superior way to camp comfortably...
A "mummy bag" is a sleeping bag that fits closely near the shoulders and continues to taper down, narrowing at the feet. They have a hood that cinches around your face and typically one side zipper to get in and out. You are fully enclosed, creating a totally draft-free environment.
A backpacking quilt can really be described as half of a sleeping bag. The idea is simple: remove all the insulation and material that’s crushed underneath you in a mummy bag and thus rendered thermally useless.
Backpacking quilts will either have a sewn foot box ("fixed") or a convertible foot box. A convertible foot box offers full-flat functionality and is therefore more versatile. Quilts are generally favored by the ultralight backpacking community due to their feather-light weight and incredible packability. The minimalist design of a backpacking quilt makes them the ideal choice for anyone looking to reduce the weight and bulk of their sleep set up and carry as little as possible.
If you've ever spent a sleepless night in a mummy bag you already know that they are very constrictive, uncomfortable, and downright unnatural to be in. Because of their narrow shape, you don't have space to move around and when you do, the bag easily "grabs" you, leaving you twisted and tangled in a mess of nylon. Your sleep position options are limited to say the least. They don't call it a mummy bag for nothing! So although they are warm, lightweight, and admittedly do have their place on frigid winter expeditions, mummy bags leave MUCH to be desired in the way of comfort.
Backpacking quilts offer some solutions to a mummy bag's inherent disadvantages. For example, convertible quilts provide more versatility for easy temperature regulation throughout the seasons, and by removing the mummy bag's thermally useless insulation crushed below you, quilts are super lightweight, making them the ideal choice for long-distance backpackers. However, even with all their pros, traditional backpacking quilts still have their downfalls...
At its core, the Zenbivy Bed is a backpacking quilt. We believe quilts are ideal for all types of camping. Why? You interact with them like you interact with your covers at home, and just like with regular covers, the Zenbivy Bed allows for easy, natural movement. Consisting of a fitted sheet that secures around your mattress and a convertible top quilt that then attached for the sheet, the 2-piece system combines all the best parts of a backpacking quilt with a problem-solving fitted sheet that addresses a traditional quilt’s inherent disadvantages.
All-in-all, we think quilts are definitely the way to go. While traditional quilts are great (and most certainly the ideal choice over a stuffy mummy bag), the Zenbivy Bed is even better. It's exactly what it says it is... a BED, so you can sleep just as comfortably in the backcountry as you would in your own bed at home.
Learn more about why it's better here.