| Our Enlightened Equipment review
What is a quilt? Why would you choose one over a sleeping bag? How do they work? And why would you choose a quilt for long-distance hiking? All these questions answered plus a beautiful demonstration from Tom. This is our review of the Revelation Quilt from Enlightened Equipment.
It is important to note that we are not sponsored by Enlightened Equipment, but after a lot of pre-Appalachian Trail research we decided to go with our fellow hikers’ recommendation to choose a quilt for long-distance hiking and we chose Enlightened Equipment.
What is a quilt?
A quilt is just that, a quilt. Like your duvet or covering on your bed at home except this is a quilt designed with ultralight long-distance hiking in mind.
You can use it as a duvet on warmer summer nights or wrap it around you and fix it together like a sleeping bag on colder nights, however unlike a sleeping bag there is no zip running down the length, saving essential weight. Instead, you can ‘close’ it with the poppers, drawcords, zippered foot box and separate elasticated straps (included); having multiple ways to ‘close’ the quilt around you offers a level of flexibility that a sleeping bag does not. So, depending on the type of sleeper you are, you can change it up.
Why you choose a quilt vs a sleeping bag?
Quilts have been designed to be lighter than a sleeping bag, with warmth and comfort in mind. Light is the name of the game when it comes to long-distance hiking when you are carrying everything on your back and as we were planning to hike the 2,189 mile Appalachian Trail, ultralight was the only thing in our minds.
Why choose an Enlightened Equipment Quilt?
We did not know anything about quilts before we started researching so this was unknown territory. Sleeping bags were all we had known, so when we started to read about quilts for long-distance hiking, we were quite confused.
There are so many great review and videos out there recommending gear to choose for a thru-hike, but it is hard to know which will suit you personally. It was the great reviews for Enlightened Equipment and their Revelation Quilt that won us over in the end.
How do you use it?
Things to consider
- Get the right sleeping pad and you will optimise the effectiveness of your quilt tenfold. Look for a mat with a decent ‘R-Value’ – the higher the R-Value the better insulated it is.
- Consider getting a custom-made quilt for long-distance hiking for optimum comfort and fit. For example, you can choose a wider quilt if you like to sleep more on your side, or a long quilt if you are taller. Think of it like buying a new winter coat; if it is too small or too short and you cannot zip it up, you are not making the most of the design and you will be cold.
When it comes to lightweight gear you often find a pro can also be a con but that is the compromise you have to make when it comes to ultralight hiking and camping.
The Revelation Quilt is super soft and cosy and unbelievably comfy for its weight.
When it comes to a quilt for long-distance hiking, it’s all about weight, and Tom’s Revelation Quilt comes in at a glorious 544g. When you are carrying your life on your back every gram is considered so a quilt is a great option.
We went for the custom-made quilt for long-distance hiking which means we were able to choose features to suit the way we sleep including: length, width, fabric type, down fill and even the colour, which offers that extra bit of personalisation.
- Down Type: 850fp
- Temperature: 30°F (-1°C)
- Length: Long – 6’6″
- Width: Regular – 54″
- Outside Fabric Options: Burnt Orange 10D, (10D fabric favours minimal weight and maximum breathability)
- Inside Fabric Colour: Burnt Orange 10D
- Optional 20D Weather Resistant Stripes: Black 20D)
- Down Type: 850fp
- Temperature: 30°F (-1°C)
- Length: Regular – 6′
- Width: Regular – 54″
- Outside Fabric Options: Purple 10D, (10D fabric favours minimal weight and maximum breathability)
- Inside Fabric Colour: Red 10D
- Optional 20D Weather Resistant Stripes: Digicam 20D)
The Revelation Quilt packs down super small. We use dry bags to pack them into, along with our SeaToSummit Aeros Ultralight Pillow and sleeping liners (for colder days), but some hikers prefer just to stuff their quilt straight into the bottom of the pack with everything else on top.
A quilt for long-distance hiking needs to be durable enough to be stuffed in a bag over and over for weeks or months. When it comes to the Revelation Quilts, they are certainly more durable and tougher than they feel. When we first unboxed our quilts the first thought was how delicate the fabric they seemed; a slight worry when you’re planning on sleeping outside and being a smelly thru-hiker for 5 months, but they fared so well and they’re still going strong with no damage.
It’s important to note that the material is delicate so we preferred not to use them outside or around the fire, and we did try, to an extent, to protect them from the elements, but for us, that’s just how you should treat any good quality ultralight gear if you want it to last. You’ve paid more for this awesome, well-designed gear and afterall, you are swapping thick, heavy materials with thin, light alternatives, so it’s pretty amazing that they are as tough as they are.
We did lose our straps, but Enlightened Equipment sell replacements on their website which saved our skin (and meant we did not have to fashion our own out of string DIY-style).
Simple but effective system
Enlightened Equipment’s strap system is simple but that is exactly what you need when it comes to a quilt for long-distance hiking.
Their system consists of elastic straps that secure your quilt to your sleep mat. You have no zip so instead you have a gap running up the quilt, on colder nights it is essential you have that underneath you and that’s where a good R-rated mat will work with the quilt to keep the warmth in. Then, on the warm nights you can simply use your quilt as a loose blanket and keep the air flowing.
Connecting your quilt to your mat is something you can’t do with a sleeping bag and I found the straps super helpful; holding your quilt in place so, for example, when you pop out in the middle of the night you can nip back in without faffing around in the dark with your quilt sliding all over the place.
Generous temperature rating
There are not many dislikes, but one might be the temperature rating. Our bags are supposed to be able to keep us warm to -1C and ‘lucky’ for us we were able to put them to the test on several occasions.
I am a colder mortal than some, so Tom was a better judge and even he found some nights challenging at lower temperatures. We were forced to wear EVERYTHING in our bags including spare underwear, gloves, socks, and hats, and we had the drawcord gathered over our heads; they were not comfortable nights, but we made it through. So perhaps we would look at other options for a winter hike.
There is no denying that ultralight hiking gear is expensive, surprisingly so at times, especially when you are new to it. But if you want the lightest gear you have to consider the cost. However, for the recommendations and reviews they had, we found that Enlightened Equipment’s prices were fairly competitive, compared to other brands, and we wanted to enjoy the experience which meant not struggling with every step due to heavy gear, so our decision was made.
Overall, for us, the likes definitely outweigh the dislikes. We think the Revelation Quilts from Enlightened Equipment are fantastic. They are in excellent condition after 3 years and especially after 5 months of tough hiking on the Appalachian Trail; they are durable, they pack down well, and they really are lightweight – perfect for long-distance hiking.
Thanks for taking the time to read our blog, if you haven’t already checked out our Revelation Quilt review video you can visit our YouTube channel here. If you like what you see please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel. You might also enjoy our previous blog, about reproofing waterproof gear with the product Nikwax.
Revelation Quilt – Enlightened Equipment
NeoAir® XLite™ Sleeping Pad – Thermarest
Aeros Ultralight Pillow – SeaToSummit
Why choose a quilt over a sleeping bag?
Quilts are lighter than sleeping bags and have been designed for long-distance ultralight hiking.
Which sleeping pad should I get for my quilt?
In order to make the most of your quilt you need a sleeping pad or mat with a higher R-Value. For example, our Thermarest Neoair Sleeping Pads have an R-Value of 4.2.
Should I choose a custom or pre-made quilt?
If you can afford it, it is worth paying that little bit more and going for a custom-made quilt. This means it’s the perfect height, width and warmth rating for you and for your types of adventures.
How do you store your quilt when it’s not in use?
The Enlightened Equipment website says: “Generally speaking, insulation should not be stored while compressed, so all EE sleep systems include a larger storage sack for storage at home. Where possible store your gear in a room with dry air and out of direct sunlight. When possible, choose a storage place with air circulation, instead of a stuffy closet.”
Can you wash the quilt? / How do you wash the quilts?
Yes, they should be hand-washed in a bath or large basin. For full instructions for washing visit the Enlightened Equipment website.