Gear Review: Enlightened Equipment Convert Quilt
Over the past few years, quilts have risen significantly in popularity for long-distance backpackers. If you aren’t familiar with them, the basic concept behind their design is that when using a standard down-filled sleeping bag, a significant percentage of that bag goes to waste while you’re sleeping. Whichever part of your body is making contact with your sleeping pad is completely compressing the down between your body and the pad, rendering it useless. A standard quilt removes that part of the sleeping bag to trim as much excess weight as possible from your sleep system.
Enlightened Equipment is one of the leaders and innovators in quilt technology, and the Convert is a prime example of this. As the name suggests, this quilt is actually a hybrid of a standard sleeping bag and a quilt. You can fully unzip this bad boy and uncinch the foot box to use this as a blanket, you can zip up and cinch just the foot box to use this as a typical quilt, or you can fully zip the Convert all the way up to your neck to use this as more of a traditional sleeping bag (although there is still no hood to cover the head of the user). The system includes straps so that when you are using it as a quilt you can snugly adjust the quilt to stay in play right at your hips and keep the nasty cold drafts out. If you like the idea of the flexibility a quilt offers but aren’t absolutely positive you’re ready to be freed from the confines of your sleeping back, THIS is the system you’ve been waiting for.
Enlightened Equipment Convert Quilt At-a-Glance
Regular Length/Slim Width
Temperature Rating: 0 Degrees F (-17 C)
Fill Power: 850
Weight: 31.95 oz
Length: 78” (192cm)
Shoulder Width: 54” (137cm)
Foot Width: 36” (91cm)
Target Loft: 3.5” (8.89cm)
EE Convert Features
- Full-length zipper so you can adjust as an open blanket, just a closed foot box, or fully enclosed bag
- Shock cords at top and bottom to enclose around the neck and completely enclose the foot box
- Double draft-blocking tubes along the zipper with reinforced zipper backing
- Includes two elastic straps to attach quilt to sleeping pad (any kind!) to block out drafts
- Tapered, full-length vertical baffles
- Ethically sourced down
- Ultralight nylon fabric with DWR (durable water-repellent) finish
- Handmade in Winona, Minnesota
- Includes SilNylon stuff sack AND organic cotton stuff sack made by Freeset
Circumstances of Review
I am a 6-foot male with an average build weighing 190 pounds and I opted for the slim cut of the quilt, though the measurement guide on the website recommends the regular cut. My thought was that I would normally be using this as a quilt and would trade in a couple of extra ounces of material in exchange for being a little more snug on the few nights I want the full sleeping bag cocoon.
I used the Convert during a three-week backpacking trip in Linville Gorge, North Carolina, during November 2019. Nightly temperatures ranged from 15-40 degrees Fahrenheit with most nights dropping a good bit below freezing. To get as much exposure to the cold as possible, I tarp camped for this trip, relying on this quilt for just about all of my insulation. I paired this with NEMO’s Insulated Tensor Mummy Sleeping Pad.
I live in the Southeast, so single-digit temperatures are hard to come by, but I wanted to push this quilt to the closest limits I could find. I have mostly used this as a quilt so far, thinking that it would be pushed to its comfort limits as a quilt quicker than as a fully enclosed bag. Even at nights in the teens, I was able to sleep at a completely comfortable warmth when using this as a quilt. The few times that I used this as a fully enclosed bag, I was more than warm enough and if anything slept a little too warm, even at temperatures in the teens.
I do sleep a bit on the warm side generally, but I’d speculate that I would have been fine inside this thing all the way down to about zero, as long as I had good head coverage. The fact that this thing is made without a hood is perfectly fine for the iteration you’d be using at higher temperatures, but you definitely need to think about doing something for your head if you’re actually planning on using this in the temperatures that it’s made for. I used a combination of a beanie, a buff around my face, and occasionally curling up in the fetal position with this pulled over my head to combat the cold above my body.
As I mentioned above, I opted for the slim cut and I did find it a bit tight when I was using it as a sleeping bag, but it was comfortable enough and my legs didn’t feel restricted at all. I’d opt to use it as the full sleeping bag the closer that I got to zero in order to completely cancel out any possibility of drafts, though using it as a quilt in tandem with the straps on my pad did a surprisingly good job at keeping me warm below freezing.
The DWR finish is impressive. If I ever got any condensation around the footbox from sweaty feet, I’d pack this thing in the bottom of my pack a little wet and somehow it would be mostly dry by the time I pulled it out at the end of the day. It’s like the hydrophobic coat actively exports the wetness out of the quilt; it’s really impressive. And while I only have a few weeks on this quilt, I’ve now put over 5,000 miles on their Revelation model on the PCT and AT and I have been impressed countless times by how quickly it can dry out in the sun or even just clumped up in a pile on the ground in a hotel room. That DWR is the real deal.
As mentioned above, this quilt weighs in just a hair under 2 pounds for the 0 degree 850-fill down option (and opting for the slim cut over the regular shaved off another ~2-3 ounces) and cost $410. So 2 pounds for a zero degree quilt, cool. How does that compare to other quilts/bags?
NEMO Sonic Down Sleeping Bag
0 Degrees F
Enlightened Equipment Enigma Quilt
0 Degrees F (other options available)
1 pound, 12 ounces
Feathered Friends Snowbunting EX 0 Sleeping Bag
0 Degrees F
2 pound,s 13 ounces
Katabatic Gear Grenadier
5 Degrees F (warmest quilt/sleeping bag they make)
2 pounds, 6 ounces
Probably one of the coolest features of any quilt from Enlightened Equipment is how customizable everything is. There are a variety of options to choose from in length and width (in whatever combination suits you), as well as the option to pay more for their 950-fill down. Each quilt has a variety of temperature ratings you can choose from, typically in increments of 10 degrees F. You can also pick just about any combination of colors imaginable, and with that you can also select different thicknesses of the denier (fabric) on both sides of the quilt. The outer layer can be 7D, 10D, or 20D, and the inner layer can be either 7D or 10D. Here’s EE’s video explanation of their different deniers. Finally, the last custom piece you can either add or leave off is a draft collar on both ends of the quilt to help completely seal the footbox and provide a comfortable collar around your neck.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent warmth to weight ratio
- Ability to use as either a quilt or fully enclosed sleeping bag
- Because there needs to be enough material to wrap around your body when used as a sleeping bag, there is ample room when used as a quilt
- Very lightweight for a 0-degree bag
- The customization options allow the user to really dial this in to fit their body perfectly, trimming or adding extra bits with ease upon purchasing
- If you really had to, you could stretch this quilt out to cover two people who don’t mind being really snug
- Extremely impressive DWR
- As you’d expect, this bag isn’t perfect at being either a quilt or a sleeping bag
- Just a hair snug as a sleeping bag
- The roominess of using this as a quilt means more air inside the quilt that your body needs to heat up
- The lack of a hood means you really NEED to have something warm packed to cover your head when you sleep
- This being a sleeping bag sort of defeats the weight-saving benefit of it being a quilt
This is an extremely impressive quilt/bag combination that can keep your nightly warmth at under 2 pounds in your back all day. Not many competitors can claim that. The only one that can that I found was another EE quilt, the Enigma. When it comes to keeping you warm at a very low weight, EE is about as good as it gets.
So, would I recommend this? It depends. I definitely recommend an EE quilt, but the model ultimately depends on the user’s preference. I know that I’m a bit of a warm sleeper and a fan of cutting ounces, so I think I would generally opt for an option more like the Enigma. But as I said earlier, if you’re a hiker on the edge between quilt or sleeping bag, this is as good as it gets.
At the end of the day, this quilt does an impressive job of what it’s designed to do (a little of both), but if you want the absolute BEST of either a quilt or sleeping bag, then go for one of those. If you don’t mind a little less than the best in both but like the idea of having the option to choose each night, then this is definitely the quilt for you.
**This product was donated for purpose of review
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