For the Pacific Crest Trail, Sean and I used Enlighten Equipment (EE) quilts. We both are absolutely in love with this piece of gear. No need for me to try out other brands, I 100% highly recommend Enlightened Equipment. (And no, I didn’t get paid to say that).
Sleeping quilts differ from sleeping bags in that quilts are not fully enclosed on the underside. The Enigma only has a sewn in foot box, and the rest of the quilt can be left undone. It has two large elastic straps that you can buckle underneath your sleeping pad to be completely cocooned into your sleep system. This not only sheds weight from a sleeping bag, it also is a more efficient method to retain heat and keep you warm on those chilly nights.
Although EE does sell synthetic bags, their true specialty is in down bags. Down feathers are the small fluffy feathers from a duck or goose. I’m also pretty sure it’s what angel wings are made of. I’ve considered just switching over to my quilt for my every night’s sleep. It’s that comfortable.
Comfort aside, down’s biggest benefits over synthetic are its ultralight weight and its ability to compact. My Enigma weighs just over one pound and compresses to about the size of a football when stuffed into my ZPacks Dry Sack (medium).
One of down’s, well, downfalls is that it is basically useless if it gets wet. Thankfully, Enlightened Equipment has responded to this problem by treating the feathers with a water repellent called DownTek. Their website states that the treatment does not leave the quilt completely water proof and caution should still be taken. (The dry sack coupled with my Hyperlite Mountain Gear Pack is enough to protect my down bag.)
Some people have ethical questions about down sourcing. Thankfully, Enlightened Equipment states their commitment to ethically sourced down feathers on their website. They do not support live-picking or force-feeding.
Although there are stock options, EE quilts can be made customized to your needs. The first decision is down fill power. What’s fill power? Fill power refers to the quantity of space the down feathers occupy when at full loft. The higher the down fill power, the larger the down cluster which creates a lighter weight (and more expensive) product. (Click here for a more in depth explanation from their site.) EE offers down fill powers of 850, 900, and 950.
The second choice is the temperature rating. This is the minimum temperature that this bag is rated to keep you alive (not necessarily what will keep comfortable). EE offers six different temperature ratings from 0°F to 50°F in 10°F increments.
Next is a size choice. EE allows you to choose the width and height separately. Remember, bigger bags are heavier and more expensive. And last, but not least, you get to choose the colors! Inside and outside!! There is an additional choice for weather resistant stripes as well. By the time you finish this process, you end up with a quilt that is 100 % built for you. What could be better than that?
Bekah’s Enigma- 900 down fill / 20°F/ Short 5’6″/ Reg Width – $325, 16.07 oz
Sean’s Enigma- 900 down fill /20°F/Long 6’6″/ Reg Width /+Weather Striping- $370, 19.7 oz
I suppose my only negative comment is the price. However, you truly get what you pay for. If you are doing a lot of backpacking, I assure you this quilt is well worth the investment. Otherwise, I have nothing negative to say about my quilt. I’m hooked!! I also want a few more in different temperatures 🙂
One word to the wise –
If you are interested in purchasing one, keep in mind that your custom quilt is made by hand to order. Currently, EE states a 5-7 week lead time for down quilts and 2-4 weeks for synthetics. We ordered ours during peak “hiker prep season” (Nov-March) and waited about 10 weeks. Make sure you leave plenty of time between ordering and your trip!
Do you LOVE Your Enlightened Equipment Quilt? Let me know in the comments!!