The Big 3: shelter, backpack, and sleep system. A hiker’s crown jewels. Part protection, part obsession, and the subject of endless debate. They offer the biggest opportunities to trim weight, and the best way to drain a bank account — especially when the changing seasons dictate swapping out temperature ratings. That’s why it pays to invest in versatility.
Quilts are known for their weight savings compared to sleeping bags. They are also more compact. But, for me, it’s their adaptability that makes quilts the best option.
I used a zero degree Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt for a full year, in all four seasons, and a vast range of temperatures. The multitude of configurations it offers made it as comfortable on hot summer nights stargazing in Joshua Tree as it was in November snow storms high up the Three Sisters Mountains of Oregon.
When secured to a sleeping pad and cinched around me, the quilt was a toasty cocoon of thermal retention. When opened all the way up like a blanket on scorching summer nights it was an airy, lightweight dream.
If a budget only allowed for a single sleep system to bridge multiple seasons, an Enlightened Equipment Quilt would top my list of recommendations.
Used for this review — 0 degree 850 down insulation regular/regular size Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt
- Price: $370
- Fill Weight: 22.52 oz
- Total Weight: 29.45 oz
- Length: 78”
- Shoulder Width: 54”
- Foot Width: 40”
What I Love About the EE Revelation Quilt
Temperature Control - Do only your feet get hot at night? Open the foot box and sleep in a warm tube that lets your feet breathe. Hike with a furry friend? Attach one quilt side to the pad straps and open the other like a blanket to have draftless room for you both. Sweaty with cold feet? You can have a footbox at the bottom and an open blanket up top. Sleep cold or hot? Use both pad straps, or leave one or both at home. You really can configure this quilt any way you like to dial in your specific, personal comfort.
No Hood - I absolutely love that quilts omit a hood. I already carry a beanie or crazy warm winter hat when camping out in temperatures cold enough to need a hood at night. Excluding a hood in the quilt design saves space, weight and redundancy in my kit.
Wearable - A quilt’s ability to be opened all the way up until flat makes it easy to wear around camp when extra warmth is needed. With this feature I have been able to save weight on cold-weather trips by eliminating extra camp-specific layers from my packing list. No need to pack an extra jacket for just-in-case. A trusty quilt around the shoulders while sitting near a campfire is clutch on a blustery night or frigid morning. Just watch out for those embers!
Weight and Compressibility - EE quilts rated at zero offer true zero-degree warmth for well under 2 pounds. (EE quilts use a ‘limit’ temperature rating. Limit temperature is defined as the lowest temperature at which a person in a curled-up body position is not feeling cold.)
The quilts also compress down to the size of a cantaloupe. This quilt is so light and takes up so little space, I can carry it in warm weather conditions without feeling like it is overkill. Plus, when it’s warm, I leave the pad straps at home to save even more weight.
What I Don’t Love
Drafts - My first quilt was a bit of a learning experience. The footbox was drafty and cold air would creep in whenever I rolled over. Turns out, this was due to user error. In my quest to cut weight, I had ordered a quilt that was too slim. For a quilt to be effective it needs to be wide enough to wrap all the way around and significantly under the sleeper.
There is also a specific way to close the footbox to prevent drafts. Armed with this knowledge, and a slightly wider quilt, drafts are no longer an issue. Keep shoulder width in mind when choosing a size and watch this video on how to make the footbox impenetrable.
Over compression shifts insulation - Using a compression sack to squeeze every last molecule of air out of the quilt for packing purposes can shift the down insulation through the baffles enough to create clumps, and in turn cold spots. Forego the compression sack and be conscious of where in your pack you're putting your quilt to avoid this issue. Plus, it is never a bad idea to give the quilt a nice fluffing as soon as camp is made, or when the trip is done.
I absolutely love that this quilt is adaptable enough to use year-round. On trips with drastically varying temperatures in the forecast, I don’t have to agonize over which sleep system to pack. Nothing saves pack space and weight like a quilt. Nothing is more versatile.