Gear Review: EE Enigma 10 Degree Quilt

I've reviewed each of the other two pieces of gear I used this year for my 'Big 3', so I figured why not review the piece that kept me warm and cozy while hiking on the CDT and Long Trail. 

For around 1,200 miles on the CDT this year and 1,500 miles last year on the AT, I used the Nemo Siren Quilt, a 30 degree quilt that held up much better than I thought it would. To keep it short, it served me well, but when I got into Wyoming, I knew I would need a warmer bag as the temperatures began to drop. (I'll do a review on this one later on.) 

I began looking at options, comparing weight to warmth to price. Those were my three main concerns with weight and price leading the charge. I looked at Hammock Gear, Feathered Friends, and Enlightened Equipment. Up until that point, I had been leaning towards Hammock Gear because of the price, but I ended up going with Enlightened Equipment. I had heard too many good things about them to go with anyone else so I bit the bullet on the price and began looking at options through them. I immediately knew that for my cold quilt, I wanted a sewn foot box. It didn't make sense for me to get a 10 degree bag but have the option to have a draft come through the foot box, so I went with the Enigma for my first choice. I ended up settling with an 'Off the Shelf' EE Enigma 10 degree bag in Black/Purple. I was stoked on the price, color, and weight and couldn't wait any longer to get a warmer bag. It was starting to get cold at night and my sleep was beginning to be affected. 

Coming in at a whopping 21.75oz, I was overly ecstatic while simultaneously skeptical that it could handle those temperatures. Not only that, but for the price, I was hoping it wasn't a let down. I picked up the black/purple, regular length, extra wide version for just under $300. The quilt is filled with 850DT and tapered in to mimic the human body design. It has U shaped baffles to keep the down in place, even when you move around throughout the night.

Red Bass had been hiking with his 10 degree Revelation for the entire length of the CDT and he had yet to even snap his quilt closed, so I felt pretty confident that I wouldn't be disappointed with my choice.

One of the best sunrises from the warmth and comfort of my quilt! 

One of the best sunrises from the warmth and comfort of my quilt! 

When I opened the box, I was greeted by an incredibly lofty quilt that was as light as my 30 degree but much, much nicer. I was immediately impressed with the stitching and quality of the materials that were used. The quilt comes with pad straps which allow you to strap the quilt around your sleeping pad to prevent drafts from coming in when it's chilly. Along with the quilt and straps, you get a loft bag to keep the quilt in when you're not using it. All in all, a nice little set up and I couldn't wait to test it out. I sent the loft bag home and packed my quilt and straps deep into my Simple Pack to use later that night. My excitement to be warm at night was off the charts. 

Over the course of the next 700 miles, I put the Enigma to the test with temperatures well below freezing, and even approaching single digits a few nights. Along with cold temperatures came condensation, another test of the DT and how it would hold up to moisture. I will say right off the bat, the quilt itself is EXTREMELY packable, making it easy to shove into a smaller backpack. It lofts up within seconds of being freed from the backpack and truthfully doesn't take a long time to warm up once in the bag itself. I got the extra wide version because the Nemo that I had been using for 2,700 miles was just a tad to narrow and I wanted to be able to use the quilt as if it were a blanket (basically wrap it all around me and have plenty of air pockets to get warm). The first few nights I slept in it, I couldn't sleep with any layers on and I had to keep the quilt open. It was incredibly warm, especially when the temperatures immediately decided to warm back up to the mid 40s at night. I waited until the temperatures got below freezing to make a judgement call. As temps dropped throughout the month of September, I began to get full use of the quilt.

The snaps on the quilt and the pad straps are really the key features of this quilt. The night before we entered Colorado on the CDT this year it dropped well below freezing and we awoke with ice covering our quilts, tents and everything else. To put it bluntly, I didn't really notice that there was ice forming in my tent. I was as toasty as I could have imagined. The quilt is really quite soft, so pairing an incredibly warm quilt with an unbelievably comfortable sleeping pad made for a good nights sleep even when the temp dropped well into the teens. For the next two months, I used the quilt every night. In temperatures ranging from 10-40 degrees, the Enigma held up impeccably while performing even better. I was comfortable at night no matter what. The Long Trail began to get extremely cold towards the end, so once again I had about two weeks worth of on trail testing for the lower temperatures. It didn't fail me once, and I never woke up cold. I try and keep my layers I wear at night to a minimum, and I never had to sleep with my Thermawrap on. Prior to getting this quilt, I was sleeping with every layer I had on while on the CDT. 

Sleep set up in Castle Rock Ski Hut. 

Sleep set up in Castle Rock Ski Hut. 

Final Thoughts:

At a price point far less than a Western Mountaineering bag for example, the Enlightened Equipment Enigma 10 degree is just about HALF the price, and HALF the weight of the WM Versalite, which is their 10 degree bag. Compared to the two other Mummy Bags I've had in the past (Sierra Designs Zissou 20, and Nemo 20 degree Spoon Shaped), it retains heat just as well if not better than both of those bags. I think a lot of folks stray away from quilts because they aren't fully enclosed or don't have the ability to be, but with the pad straps and the snaps that the Enigma offers, you shouldn't worry. It's warm, retains heat extremely well, is more comfortable than any mummy bag or other quilt I've owned, and is obviously the lightest and more versatile option. I'm convinced at this point that for the money, the weight, and the warmth, there isn't a better option out there. These quilts are hand stitched in Minnesota, lighter than just about everything on the market, compact down to essentially nothing, and offer so much versatility that it's hard to overlook. Personally, I wouldn't trade this piece of gear for anything. It's one of my favorite pieces I own, and I guarantee it'll be in my pack next year on the PCT and the CDT during the colder months. 

Not to mention, they have a sick sale going on until 11/27 right now! Ditch the 2-3lb sleeping bag that doesn't compress and get yourself a quilt!