Each yr right here on the Trek, we ask hikers on the Appalachian Path all about what sleeping methods they used on their hike. On this installment, we’ll cowl the kind of sleeping methods used, how these methods have modified over time, temperature and insulation sort hikers selected, and the preferred sleeping luggage, quilts, and pads from this yr’s survey.

We had a complete of 409 responses this yr. Thanks to everybody who stuffed out the survey! The information was collected from October by way of November of 2023 by way of our survey, which was marketed utilizing our social media platforms, Backpacker Radio, and TheTrek.co. Some responses from earlier years had been eliminated, and apparent errors in begin and finish dates had been adjusted. No apparent duplicates had been discovered.

Sleeping Baggage and Backpacking Quilts

The quilt vs sleeping bag debate has been rising through the years, and every year we see extra quilt customers. The pattern continues: quilt use has grown from 51 % final yr to 56 % this yr. The variety of hikers that used sleeping luggage has gone down by 4 % this yr.

In the meantime, 6 % of hikers used some mixture of underquilt, overquilt, and sleeping bag. (We frequently see hammockers utilizing a mix arrange like this.)

Lastly, 3 % of hikers used a unique sort of sleeping system altogether — for example, some included blankets or lodge sheets of their setup.

READ NEXT – The 2022 Via-Hiker Survey: High Sleeping Baggage, Quilts, and Pads on the AT (prior yr survey)

We’ve tracked quilt use in contrast with shelter sort since 2015. Hammockers  have all the time been extra seemingly to make use of quilts in comparison with these in tents. As quilts acquire recognition, the hole between hammockers and tenters is lessening.

Nevertheless, there’s nonetheless a ten % distinction between the 2, with 71 % of hammockers utilizing quilts in comparison with 61 % of tent customers. It is very important word that there have been many fewer hammockers than tent customers in our survey, and this might skew the info.


The overwhelming majority of hikers had been glad with their alternative of sleep system, with 92 % being a minimum of considerably glad. Over half of hikers gave the best score of “very glad.”

Quilt customers are usually extra glad with their alternative than sleeping bag customers. 12 % of hikers with sleeping luggage reported some degree of dissatisfaction, in comparison with solely 6 % of these with quilts.

There weren’t many destructive feedback about hikers’ sleeping bag/quilt decisions. Mostly, hikers pressured the significance of getting a heat sufficient quilt and stated they wished that they had swapped to a summer season quilt throughout the warmth of the summer season.

In the meantime, 92 % of hikers had been a minimum of considerably glad with their alternative of sleeping pad. Hikers had extra to say about their sleeping pads. The principle complaints had been about their pads popping or being too noisy.

Listed here are some feedback from survey members who had been sad with their sleeping methods this yr:

“Xlite popped (delaminated) twice”

“Nemo Tensor failed within the first few weeks, however they had been good sufficient to ship me a free one to my home”

“All inflatable pads had been noisy, many Therm-a-Rests failed, I’ll seemingly use a foam pad on my subsequent through.”

“The inflatable pads everybody makes use of are ridiculously loud and annoying.”

Switching and Replacements

This yr 38 % of hikers switched out their sleeping bag or quilt in some unspecified time in the future throughout their hike. Of these, 5 % changed their bag with the identical mannequin.

The overwhelming majority of hikers who changed their bag or quilt did so deliberately with the seasons —86 % cited that as their motive to modify. 13 hikers changed their luggage as a result of they had been too heavy, six as a result of they had been too chilly, and just one hiker changed their bag as a result of it was worn or broken.

Insulation and Temperature Scores

Subsequent, we requested hikers in regards to the insulation and fill of their sleeping bag or quilt. Whereas pure down, artificial, and water-repellent down (e.g. DriDown) had been all widespread decisions, pure down was the preferred and was utilized by 64 % of hikers. Just one % of hikers used a mixture of artificial and down.

We additionally requested hikers in regards to the temperature score of the bag or quilt they began with in comparison with the one they ended up with. The commonest general temperature score by an enormous margin was between 20 and 29℉, with 47 % of hikers having a bag in that temperature vary. Those that swapped their bag usually selected less-insulated luggage.

It’s value mentioning once more that just about 40 % of hikers selected to swap their bag with seasonal modifications. Hikers with completely different begin dates and places skilled very completely different climate as properly. We requested in regards to the coldest temperatures endured of their respective luggage, and responses ranged from -15℉ to 53℉.

For northbound hikers, the median low temperature endured of their beginning bag was 20℉ in comparison with 40℉ for the bag they completed with. For southbound hikers, these numbers had been 30℉ and 20℉ respectively.

Inflatable pads had been the most typical sort of pad used this yr, just like different years. Foam pad utilization has decreased considerably, from 14 % of hikers utilizing a foam pad final yr to 9 % this yr.

In the meantime, 6 % of hikers used a pad with a mix of froth and inflatable, and three % didn’t use any pad. (All the hikers who didn’t use any pad had been hammockers.)

Most Fashionable Manufacturers and Fashions

Lastly, we requested hikers their favourite manufacturers and fashions of sleeping bag or quilt and sleeping pad they used this yr. Let’s begin with the quilts. The preferred manufacturers are listed within the desk under.

High General  Sleeping Bag and Quilt Mannequin – Enlightened Tools Revelation

The Revelation has but once more taken the highest mannequin of quilt. It has for fairly a number of years now. Enlightened Tools additionally stays the highest general model, with virtually 40 % of this yr’s hikers utilizing their quilts. The second-most common mannequin on the AT this yr, the Enigma, additionally belongs to Enlightened Tools. Take a look at the desk under for extra particulars on particular person quilt fashions.

High General Sleeping Pad Mannequin – Therm-a-Relaxation NeoAir XLite

The NeoAir XLite was the highest mannequin this yr and has held that place for a number of years now. The remaining prime sleeping pad fashions are listed within the desk under.



  • 56 % of hikers select quilts over sleeping luggage; this desire continues to extend yearly.
  • The overwhelming majority of hikers had been glad with their sleeping methods. The commonest complaints had been sleeping luggage being too sizzling or chilly and sleeping pads popping.
  • 38 % of hikers swap out their sleeping luggage or quilts seasonally. 20–29℉ is the preferred temperature score for a sleeping bag or quilt.
  • The bulk (64 %) of hikers go for pure down insulation, however Dri-Down and Artificial fill are widespread as properly.
  • Inflatable sleeping pads are the preferred, with 82 % of hikers choosing them.
  • Enlightened Tools stays the preferred model for sleeping luggage or quilts; the highest two general quilt fashions had been the EE Revelation and Enigma.
  • The REI Magma is the preferred sleeping bag mannequin this yr (sadly, REI simply dicontinued this mannequin).
  • Therm-a-Relaxation and NEMO Tools maintain all the prime spots for sleeping pads this yr, with the NeoAir XLite as the highest mannequin once more. The NEMO Switchback was the preferred foam pad this yr.

Thank You!

Congratulations to all of the Appalachian Path hikers this yr — and an enormous thanks to all of you who took the time to fill out the survey! Upcoming posts will element AT hikers’ favourite backpacks, sleeping luggage, and stoves/filters. To remain updated on the newest survey posts, be certain that to subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Extra From the Appalachian Path Via-Hiker Survey

Featured picture: Graphic design by Chris Helm.

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