In this Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt review we wanted to put this thing to the test and find its actual lower limit. The Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt that we tested has a temperature rating of 30 degrees, but we tested it to see if the Enigma quilt held up to its temp rating. The Enigma quilt offers some unique features that makes this one stand out from others on the market.
Maybe a quilt isn’t your thing? If you are looking for a sleeping bag check out our Lightweight Sleeping Bag Reviews for some others we’ve tested.
Make sure you know what that temperature rating means before you buy a bag or quilt. We discuss how the “EN Ratings” are determined for sleeping bags in our Basics of Selecting a Sleeping Bag article. Don’t get caught out there with a bag or quilt that you thought was rated to a much lower temperature than it really is.
Enlightened Equipment enigma Quilt Specs
For this Custom Enlightened Equipment Enigma review, I built this quilt to be as light as possible, selecting the best material Enlightened Equipment offers.
- Total weight: 16.77oz
- Down Fill: 11.6 oz
- Down type: 950 fill
- Temp Rating: 30 degree
- Size: Reg/Wide
- Material: 7D nylon liner and shell
- Extra: Draft collar
As you can see above, this is one crazy, light weight quilt! While not quite as light weight as the Zpacks Solo quilt we tested (14.1 oz for 30 degree model, see that review here), it’s still super light. Now, if I remove the draft collar and go with the regular/regular size, the weight comes down to 15.43 oz. The Zpacks Solo quilt we tested was a reg/reg size with no draft collar as they don’t offer one.
Do to the different sizing specs, the Reg/Wide Enlightened Equipment enigma quilt came out pretty close to the regular/regular size Zpacks Solo quilt. Both the Zpacks Solo quilt and the Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt offer a 7D fabric. Below, we’ll go over what makes up those few extra ounces.
Enlightened Equipment Enigma Review: Stitching/Baffling
The stitching on the Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt has a unique U-shaped continuous baffle design which certainly is different than any other quilt we tested, but seemed to work well. No cold spots were experienced, and I didn’t have any problem with the down migrating on me.
Enigma Quilt Review: The Down
When you buy an Enlightened Equipment quilt, you know you’re going to get ethically sourced, high quality down. In the Enigma quilt I tested, I was extremely impressed with its loft, especially for a 30 degree quilt. I put it next to my 30 degree Zpacks Solo quilt, and the Enigma quilt offered a LOT more loft. Both were 950 fill goose down and 30 degree quilts, but the Enigma quilt simply had more down in it (11.07 oz vs 8.9 oz for the Zpacks in their regular size). That’s one of the primary areas the Zpacks Solo quilt saved weight, but the Enigma quilt offered a touch more warmth as you can imagine.
Enlightened Equipment Enigma Review: Quilt Dimensions
I found the Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt to be a touch on the narrower side compared to others, so I’d recommend sizing up if you like a little extra room to move around. I’m not a huge guy (5’11”, 185lbs) and went with a wide model so I could have the option of totally closing off the quilt on the underside if I needed to. I could have gone with the regular width, but it would have made it pretty snug on those nights when I want to seal out all drafts.
Enlightened Equipment Enigma Review: Warmth Test
For this Enigma quilt review we wanted to test the Enigma quilt down to its lower limit to see how it performed. As with all our sleeping bag and quilt testing, we wore our lightweight base layer (top and bottom) with lightweight wool socks and a super warm Exped Downmat winter pad with an R-Value of 7.1 to make sure the pad wasn’t hindering the performance of the quilt.
On one specific night when testing the Enigma quilt, the temps dropped to the mid 20’s, but I stayed comfortable down to about 27 degrees. I was impressed given the temperature rating of 30 degrees which is often inflated by companies, but not with this one. I was able to effectively seal out all drafts and really have a comfortable night’s sleep, even with the temps dropping just below the comfort rating of the Enigma quilt.
Select the Right Sleeping Pad
A big part of getting all you can out of your quilt (or sleeping bag) is making sure you pair it with a quality, high R-Value insulated pad like the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT (R-Value of 3.2) or Exped Synmat (R-Value 2.9) for cool nights,. Maybe jump up to the Sea to Summit Comfort Lite (R-Value of 3.7) for a bit more warmth, or the Comfort Plus (R-Value of 4) for a nice warm pad.
If you need a crazy warm mat that pairs awesome with a quilt, check out the Exped Synmat HL winter featuring an R-Value of 5.1 or the Exped Downmat Winter UL featuring an R-Value of 7.1. If you select a mat that isn’t warm enough, it won’t matter what your quilt or bag is rated, you’ll get chilled from the ground up.
Enlightened Equipment Enigma Review: Custom Draft Collar
When I was building my custom enigma quilt, I decided to add the optional draft collar, just because I really like having a draft collar, and it added less than an ounce to the total weight. It’s certainly not necessary, but since I was customizing everything else, why not?
Enigma Quilt Review: Keeping Drafts Out
One of the things that I absolutely LOVE about the Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt is the dual snaps up around the top end of the quilt. Almost every other quilt out there offers only a one snap closure or none at all. The two snaps keep the quilt from pivoting if you toss and turn at night, which is a bigger deal than you might think. I’ve had multiple instances where the single snap swivels when I toss from one side to the other, opening up a draft area, making one of my shoulders cold.
The Enigma quilt solves that issue with a simple, yet perfect solution of adding a second snap. Why more don’t do this, I have no idea. There is almost no weight penalty, but it makes a huge difference.
Enlightened Equipment Enigma Review: Pad Straps
The Enigma quilt comes with two elastic pad straps. One loop strap you slide over your mat, then you simply clip the quilt in and then attach the second strap (it doesn’t attache to the pad) and you are ready to go. Make sure you slide the loop strap over correctly so you get the male/female connection as there is a right and wrong way.
One thing I found to work better than the included strap system was to purchase a second set of straps and use two straps that attached directly to the pad rather than just having one that attaches. This proved to seal out drafts much better for me. Watch my video (below) for how I’ve found it works best to attach the pad straps differently than the “standard” way of strapping the Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt in.
One thing I didn’t really care for in the Enigma quilt pad straps system was just how much stretch was in the straps. I found that this tended to allow the quilt to rotate a bit if I tossed from one side to the other, causing the potential for drafts. It’s something that is quickly fixable, however, I feel like a strap material that wasn’t quite as stretchy would resolve this issue. Other quilts I tested like the Katabatic Flex, Zpacks Solo Quilt, and Sea to Summit Ember quilts all featured strap attachment systems that didn’t stretch and proved better at staying in place than the Enlightened Equipment Enigma strap system.
Using a quilt – Keeping Your Head Warm
Whether you are using the Enigma quilt or any other quilt, you need to have a way to keep your head warm. That’s just one of the trade-offs you have to take into consideration when you decide to use a quilt. For this reason, I was hesitant at first to try a quilt, but I quickly found that it is absolutely a non-issue. There are a number of ways to accomplish this:
- Hooded base layer
- Enlightened Equipment Hoodlum
- Select a longer quilt than needed
I’ve tried all of the above options to see what I liked best and my favorite, hands down, is the down hood. Now, I don’t have the Hoodlum, but I do have the Zpacks Goose hood, which is very similar to the Hoodlum, and those things are flat out awesome. They look super goofy but I don’t care! They both weigh about 1.5 oz, and you have the option of putting them over the top of your hooded base layer for the super cold nights. I don’t think I’ll ever head into the backcountry without it again!
Enlightened Equipment Enigma Material
I decided to build my custom Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt with the lightest materials they offered; 7D nylon. Why? Well, I typically use a shelter with a floor, so I can get away with a lighter weight shell material than if I was using a floorless shelter. The ripstop nylon used by Enlightened Equipment is silky smooth and SUPER comfortable. Of course the lighter weight material requires that you be a bit more careful, but 7D material hasn’t caused me any issues with any of the sleeping bags or quilts I’ve tested so far, and I like to save weight wherever I can when it makes sense.
Enlightened Equipment Enigma Compressed Size
The above image speaks for itself. The Enigma quilt compresses down so small, it takes up a minuscule amount of space in your pack. Hardly bigger than a Nalgene bottle as is, it’ll compress even more if you pick up a compression sack.
Enigma Quilt Review: What I liked
There was a ton to love about the Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt. It’s a high quality, well-built sleep system that I won’t hesitate to take deep into the backcountry. Here are some of the things I liked the most:
- Awesome loft
- Warmer than the temp rating
- Very soft material
- Dual snap system
- Ultra light weight
- No cold spots
- Super compact
Great loft, super soft material and being warmer than the temp rating were some of the main reasons I loved the Enigma quilt. The dual snap closure is perfect, and I didn’t experience any cold spots during testing. The material is silky smooth and it packs down crazy small.
Enigma Quilt Review: What I Didn’t Like
While there wasn’t a lot I didn’t like about the Enigma quilt, there were a few things I felt could have been better:
- Pad straps too stretchy
- More expensive than similar quilts
I didn’t care for the strap system that came with the Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt as it seemed to have a tendency to move and allow drafts. However, once I switched it up to both the top and bottom loop straps, it was much better. The elastic straps provided with the Enigma quilt are still too stretchy in my humble opinion, but it’s manageable.
Additionally, the custom Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt that I built ended up being much more expensive than something very similar like the Zpacks Solo quilt. ($425 vs $339). Of course you can order an Enlightened Equipment quilt that isn’t custom built and be much closer to the price of others, however, doing a custom build is the only way to get the 950 fill down which is unfortunate.
Check Out Our Video on the Enlightened Equipment Enigma
How to Store a Down Quilt
It’s easy to get home from your final adventure of the season, unload your gear and throw it all in a storage bin for the winter, but make sure you properly store your down sleeping bag (as well as your insulated sleeping pad). Don’t leave that high quality sleeping bag in its stuff sack long-term as it could reduce the effectiveness of the down. Down needs to be lofted, not compressed when stored, and should be stored indoors if at all possible. Here are a couple storage options to keep your down sleeping bag at its peak performance.
- Hang it in a closet
- Lay it out under your bed
- Keep it in the storage sack provided (shown above)
Hanging your down bag is my first choice, but not everyone has the space for that (I don’t personally). Most bags come with sewn in loops to stick on a hanger. After that I prefer to store the bag lying flat under my bed. This allows the down to be fully lofted. Finally, storing in the provided storage sack is perfectly acceptable as well. The down is slightly compressed in those storage sacks, but nothing that will cause any damage to the down in your bag.
Another excellent tip for long term storage of a high quality down sleeping bag or quilt is to throw the bag/quilt in the dryer on low heat for about 30 minutes. This helps ensures that any residual moisture from humidity or sweat vapor is gone so it doesn’t have a chance to fester and grow odor causing bacteria during storage.
Enlightened Equipment Enigma Review: Conclusion
If you are in the market for an ultralight quilt, take a look at the Enlightened Equipment Enigma quilt. It would be tough to find one lighter than this that still lives up to its temperature ratings. It’s not too snug, but snug enough to be very thermally efficient, highly compressible, warm, and light as a feather.
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