Making the switch to an ultralight quilt
Of all of the gear that I’ve purchased since beginning backpacking several years ago, getting the right sleeping bag has been a bit of a struggle. After using three different sleeping bags and feeling too boxed in while using a mummy bag, or too cold in a roomier bag, I decided to try an ultralight quilt.
I wanted something that would allow me to move around comfortably so I wouldn’t have to sleep in the same position all night. And I wanted to carry less weight. The sleeping bag I had previously used on most of my trips, the Big Agnes Roxy Ann 15, weighs three pounds. It’s a roomy bag, but I soon found that meant it’s not as warm for someone who doesn’t fill the space inside the bag. I’m 5′ tall with a small build, so there was a lot of space leftover after I got in it. At first, I thought it was great. I could toss and turn all I wanted. I could even change my clothes while inside it. But I still felt confined when I needed to zip it up all the way. And it wasn’t as warm as I needed it to be.
Ultralight quilts have recently become quite popular, especially with thru-hikers. They are lighter in weight and tend to be more flexible in terms of how they are used. After researching all of the options available, I decided to purchase a quilt from Enlightened Equipment – a small cottage-industry company based in Minnesota that has been winning awards for their high quality ultralight gear.
For me, a big bonus is that all of their products are hand made in the U.S., and their down is ethically sourced. I like supporting companies that do things I believe in, and don’t mind paying a bit extra for it.
Available only by ordering directly from the manufacturer, you can choose from three fill weights (850, 900, or 950), six temperature ratings, five lengths, four widths, and more than 15 fabric colors for a totally customized quilt.
I ordered the Revelation quilt with the following options: 950-fill, 10 degree, short length, regular width, with 20D fabric on the outside and optional water resistant stripes. Weighing only 22 ounces, I’m saving 1.5 pounds over the weight of my previous sleeping bag.
How it works
The Revelation has a short zipper at the foot, with snaps in a few spots and buckles that can be used with included straps to attach the quilt to your sleeping pad. The footbox closes up snug to keep your feet warm, and can be adjusted to allow more airflow when needed.
On cold nights, wrap the quilt all the way around your body and connect the buckles and snaps to make it more like a mummy bag (without feeling constricted!). The top has a pull cord that tightens for keeping warm air inside, but there’s no hood so I wear a hat if it’s really cold. In hot weather, leave it flat and use like a blanket.
Most of the time, though, I really like using the straps that are included for a roomier feel without any drafts. Just position the openings underneath you and your body closes any gaps. It’s easy to unbuckle the straps for getting in and out, or for when it’s warm and you want more airflow.
Putting it to use
I’ve used this quilt on two spring camping trips to Smith Rock State Park, a backpacking trip to the Hoh River Rainforest, and a backpacking trip at Shi Shi Beach. The overnight lows ranged from the mid 30s to around 60 degrees (it was uncharacteristically hot at Shi Shi!). With this much variance in temperatures, it’s been nice to have the versatility of the quilt so I can adjust how I use it. When it’s cold overnight, like it was at Smith Rock in March and April, I used it like a mummy bag. On the Hoh River trip, it was in the mid to high 40s overnight and I used the straps to attach the quilt to my sleeping pad. And at Shi Shi, it was cooler the first night, then much warmer the last two nights, so I just unbuckled it and use it like a blanket so I wouldn’t get hot.
Overall, I’m very happy with the switch to a quilt and the quality of the Revelation. I finally found my perfect sleep solution for camping and backpacking!
Note: I purchased this quilt with my own funds and receive no compensation from the manufacturer.