enLIGHTened equipment quilts

Up to this point, I have owned 2 quilts. The first, a GoLite RS 1+ Season quilt and the second a Hammock Gear 50 F Summer quilt. As a “first time” user, each of these quilts has taught me something different, but they both made me realize (whether in a hammock or on the ground), I like quilts in general. And well enough for me to want to pick up a few more… that is after learning from these quilts, of course.

First off, I found that a quilt is typically lighter than a similarly rated sleeping bag. If given the same materials and asked to build a quilt and a sleeping bag for a certain size individual, a quilt can weigh less than a sleeping bag for 3 reasons:

  1. A quilt does not have a “back-side.”
  2. A quilt does not have a hood.
  3. Most quilts do not have a zipper (or if they do, it is a very short zipper).

Secondly, I feel like I can move around and stretch out with fewer restrictions when I am lying under a quilt than I do when I am zipped up in a sleeping bag.

Now I understand that a quilt is not for everyone. Some may like the ability to zip up inside their sleeping bag, whether it be for a sense of security, or for that of warmth. As well, some may like the hood on their sleeping bags rather than relying on their boggin and a neck gaiter to provide head and neck warmth. However, if cutting weight is your goal, going to a quilt can be a good way to cut anywhere from a few ounces to a pound or more from your overall pack weight… And the fact is, the correct quilt will keep drafts from stealing your precious warmth, and if it is cold, you should have already have a good boggin and even a neck gaiter with you already…so why not use it?

So, as I said, my first 2 quilts have taught me a few things that I would want to do different in other quilts…

GoLite RS 1+ Season Quilt

The GoLite quilt taught me that for a warm weather quilt, I would like one in which the foot box could open up completely flat, but yet be able to cinch the foot box closed if so desired. In my opinion, a flat quilt with the ability to close up the foot box would allow me a little better venting options than those with a sewn closed foot box. As well, despite the name “GoLite” I also learned that being a quilt in general, I wanted a quilt that was actually light weight… the GoLite quilt weighed in at a whopping 27 oz! (Granted, this was the long version.) I knew that I could do better for a “summer” quilt…

So, when I finally decided to “upgrade” my GoLite quilt I ended up going with a Hammock Gear 50 F Summer quilt. I liked these quilts because I could choose whether I wanted a sewn closed foot box, or a foot box with the ability to open flat and close when needed. As well, I knew that I wanted something lighter than my heavy GoLite quilt, so with this quilt I opted to go with 900 fill down and special ordered some M90 from Thru Hiker for Adam to use for the shell of this quilt.

The Hammock Gear quilt was definitely a step up, and in the right direction from my GoLite quilt! I could open and close the foot box, and to make it better, the finished quilt weighed in at a mere 12.9 oz! And to top if off, the 900 power down fill sandwiched between the M90 makes for a very comfortable next to skin feel (at least in my opinion). However, after some use, I soon realized that I had not yet learned all that I needed to with quilts, and even as great as my new Hammock Gear quilt was, it was not perfect…

Hammock Gear 50 F Summer Quilt

As I said, the Hammock Gear quilt is a very nice quilt, and to be honest, it doesn’t really leave much to be desired…however, what I found it did leave to be desired was of great importance for a ground sleeper that uses quilts… and that is to make sure one gets the dimensions correct!

This quilt is spec’d at 50 inches, but since I opted for an extra ounce of down as overfill, it drew up closer to 49 inches in width at the head end (which also happened to be its widest point). Not to mention that this quilt uses a straight taper, which means it immediately begins to get narrower as it makes its way towards the foot end of the quilt.

When pairing this width and taper with my near 200 pound, 5 foot 10 inch frame, I found this quilt was just enough “cover” with none to spare when using “on the ground.” When lying on my side to sleep, I eventually found that I wished the quilt was just a little bit wider throughout the torso area. Don’t get me wrong, when I cinch this quilt up and use shock cord to close up the torso area, it blocks drafts and keeps me warm, but I still wanted that little extra room…

As well, I quickly realized that even though the M90 material was nice and light, there was considerably lighter weight per square yard materials out there, and even some with a softer hand than the M90 (which meant it could feel even better against my skin).

So, after mulling over all of this new information, I decided that I would eventually get yet another quilt. (Surprised?) However, by the time that I had decided to get another quilt, my mind had drifted on even more…

As much as I love my down filled quilts, I began to consider synthetic quilts. I know that down is lighter and more compressible than any synthetic insulation on the market, however, for a true, light weight summer (50 F) quilt, I felt like the margin of difference between synthetics and down was very little… So, after doing some research, I decided that I wanted a quilt with a shell made from either 7D, 8D or M50 and I wanted to use a single layer of 2.5 oz/sqyd Climashield Apex as the insulation.

By the time I was ready to get the quilt, I admit, I was feeling pretty crafty and had decided that I wanted to give a DIY quilt a try. I figured that the synthetic fill would be easy to work with, and being that I wanted it as light as possible, I wanted it keep it as simple as possible.

Long story short… I was not as skilled as I had hoped with a sewing machine…

In the midst of my “attempt” to sew my quilt, I had begun exchanging emails with Tim Marshall from enLIGHTened equipment in hope of making things better…however, in the end I knew that if I wanted to salvage anything from the materials I had already bought, it was time to let someone else take over…and luckily enough, Tim Marshall accepted the job!

To make things better, before I had even boxed up the materials to send to Tim, my wife had granted me permission to pick up another quilt for my birthday, just in case there was not enough materials left from what I had butchered and couldn’t get a big enough quilt out of it… so, I also placed an order for the Prodigy quilt the same day! (Note: the Prodigy quilt’s linked are the newer, updated version. They are not the same as the one I have.)

Fast forward a number of emails and a few weeks later… and the quilts were in my hands!

So, as seen in the video, Tim agreed to swap my green 8D material for some of the older orange-colored M50 material that he had laying around, which allowed me to end up with a quilt that was big enough to fit me! As well, I was pretty excited to be able to try out the M50 as a shell, especially since I was getting the Prodigy in all 8D. Now I could compare these 2 materials to see if I liked one better than the other…

So, in the end, I have 2 new awesome quilts… and at this point, I don’t see what they have left to teach me, but I am not saying that I won’t learn anything from them. All I know is that I can’t wait to get them out on the trail to give them a go! And luckily, I won’t have to wait long since I will be taking the orange “Carrot” quilt with me on my 74+ mile AT thru hike through the GSMNP next week! This is the perfect time for me to use this quilt as it is the exact conditions that I wanted this quilt for…

So, how about a few spec’s:

Orange “Carrot” Quilt:

  • Shell: Orange M50 (Inner & Outer)
  • Insulation: 2.5 oz/sqyd Climashield Apex
  • Approximate Temp Rating: 50 F
  • Total Weight: 11.5 ounces
  • Width at foot: 39.5 inches
  • Width at head: 53 inches
  • Length: 76 inches
  • Taper: Straight
  • 3 pair of 1/2 inch grosgrain loops at torso area
  • 6 snaps at foot end with draw cord & cord locks exiting at both sides
  • 1 snap at head end w/ center draw cord and cord lock

Prodigy Quilt (5’6″; WIDE):

  • Shell: Black 8D Outer & Charcoal 8D Inner
  • Insulation: 4 oz/sqyd Climashield Apex
  • Approximate Temp Rating: 35 F
  • Total Weight: 15.9 oz
  • Width at Foot: 40.5 inches
  • Width at Head: 56 inches
  • Length: 70.5 inches
  • Taper: Half
  • 3 pair of 1/2 inch grosgrain loops at torso area
  • 6 snaps at foot end with draw cord & cord locks exiting at both sides
  • 1 snap at head end w/ center draw cord and cord lock

So, as can be told, I am pretty excited to have both of these quilts. I feel like my “Carrot” quilt will do just fine during the hottest part of the year, and the Prodigy quilt will do great when the temp drops a little, but not quite enough to have to lug around my Marmot Helium sleeping bag.

As well, I could not be happier with the customer service that I received from Tim. From the get-go, Tim was on top of every email I sent him. Not to mention, he was encouraging, helpful and just friendly. I never had any doubt about anything throughout the entire course of this transaction. He even kept me updated via the enLIGHTened equipment FaceBook page… I honestly could not have expected, or in my opinion, received any better service.

Thanks for reading,

~Stick~

Disclaimer: I purchased these quilts with my very own, hard-earned cash. I was under no obligation to write this review.

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
This entry was posted in DIY/MYOG, Gear Reviews, Gear Stores, Quilts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to enLIGHTened equipment quilts

  1. Pingback: GSMNP PHGT, Part 2: Enlightened Equipment Stronghold Mittens | Stick's Blog

  2. Pingback: September 2016 AT Section Hike: Sam’s Gap to Hot Spring’s… & Other Things In-Between!!! | Stick's Blog

  3. josh says:

    I know this is an old thread, but how is the Temp rating in the 50 degree Prodigy? I hike in NC/TN/VA most of the time and just need a quilt to get me through the summer and maybe a little in spring and fall. Does the 50 work for you or should I step up to the 40 degree?

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    • Stick says:

      Josh,

      Note that this is not the same quilt sold on the site… it was a custom job, so it wasn’t even like the ones on the site at the time that I got it. And now I am not sure how it compares to the current model…

      For me though, this one is a warm/hot weather quilt. If I am expecting temps to be above 50 F, I will take it with me. So far, it has never let me down, however, most of the nights it has been too hot for me to even use it… it just kind of laid beside me…

      ~Stick~

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  4. Ralph Paone says:

    Stick,
    Thanks for the good ideas. Some of the ideas are a bit unorthodox and funny but good. I was on YouTube the other day after writing to you and can across a video on the SOL Escape Bivvy. I think if it gets too cold with just my quilt I can slide my sleeping pad/quilt setup into the bivvy and it should bring the temp up to a comfortable level. The bivvy is listed as 8.5 oz. That’s not much more weight to carry to be safe and have a peace of mind. It’s been nice chatting with you and hope to run into you on the trail one day.
    Ralph

    Like

  5. Ralph Paone says:

    Stick,
    Indeed it did take a long time to watch all your videos. However I work 12 hour shifts at night as a Police Officer. Most of the time I am very busy at work. During down time I watch YouTube to pass the time.
    Thank you for your advice. Unfortunately it’s impossible. I live in South East Florida about 2 hours away from Key West. The coldest it has been in the last 5 years has been mid to low 50’s F. It takes me about 12 hours of driving nonstop to get to Springer MT. I usually spend the first night at the hiker hostel after the long drive. I’ll bring extra clothes plus leave my sleeping bag in the truck if I change my mind about the quilt and hope for the best. Thank you for your time. I am looking forward to your next hiking video and the GORUCK Challenge.

    Ralph

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Ralph,

      That’s a bummer! Yeah, it may be tough getting temps that low where you are at… A bit extreme, but I know some folks have used walk in freezers as somewhat of a testing ground… You know anyone with a walk in freezer? Although, that would be a bit colder than you would like…

      And while it is not 12 hours one way, I do have to drive 6 hours one way to get to the mountains… so I definitely feel your pain there. (Although, you have that nice beach to keep you occupied…)

      Maybe try turning the air way down in your house a few nights and see how that does for you. You might could try closing off one room for the night, and making some of those “air conditioners” out of an ice chest and a bag of ice… put a few of those in the room with you to help drop the temperature without freezing everyone else out of the house.

      Other than this, unfortunately, the only good/safe way of finding out if it will work for you is to carry it with you on your hike, but also pack in a little extra insulation, such as clothes, puffy layers, etc… just in case you need them. Also, if possible, try to make your first night be within a few miles of your car just in case you need to bail in the middle of the night. Maybe carry a few hand warmers, and you could even try the hot water in a Nalgene bottle to help warm things up. And of course make sure your sleeping pad is warm enough to insulate you from the ground adequately.

      Of course, you are the best one that knows how you sleep, and can make a pretty good call as to what you can get away with. Even untested, there are still smart ways to test things on the trail. I think you will be fine.

      Good luck!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  6. Ralph Paone says:

    Stick,

    I think I have seen all your videos. I have used many of your ideas and reviews to plan my trips and buy new gear. I would like to thank you for all the time and effort you put into. It is a valued service that you provide.

    I am trying to become a ultralite hiker/backpacker and have slowly been changing out my gear to liter options. Money is tight so I try to get the best quality gear i can afford. I have been using a down Kelty 20 degree mummy bag with a Therm A Rest Trail Scout sleeping pad. The mummy bag is way to hot and restrictive. Even when it went down to a 25 degree night I woke up sweating. I recently got a Therm A Rest 700 fill down Alpine Quilt/Blanket with a rating of 35 degree. The quilt attaches to the sleeping pad with a top sheet to have a total sleep system. I will save 8.4 oz with the quilt. The lowest I have used it has been 50 degree. I get a better night sleep with the quilt since I’m not shrink wrapped in the mummy bag. I am going back to the Appalachian Trail in Georgia in mid March with temps in the mid 20s at night. How low do you think I could comfortably go with this set up? I will be in a Six Moon design skyscape trekker and wearing thermals. Any ideas?

    Respectfully,

    Ralph

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Ralph,

      Hi, and wow! All of my videos… that must have kept you busy for a while! 🙂 Anyway, glad to hear that they have been helpful to you, and I appreciate the kind words.

      As for your question, unfortunately, only you will be able to decide whether or not that quilt will work for you in those conditions. But, the good thing is, between now and mid March, you should have plenty of opportunities to test it out, even if only in your back yard. I would suggest that once the temps are low enough, throw your shelter up just like you would in camp. Bring the same pad and your quilt out with you, and even wear the same clothes that you will be using to sleep in. Start with just that. If you get cold, try to determine if it is from the top or bottom, and them make adjustments as necessary. To add warmth to the top, you can start by throwing on your insulation piece, or even your rain jacket or wind jacket. As well, you can bring extra stuff in the quilt with you to fill any air pockets, and create a bit more insulation between you and the cold outside world. Just be careful not to put so much in the quilt with you that you compress the quilt’s insulation from the inside… this is counter-productive.

      Anyway, enjoy your new quilt, and have fun with your experiments! Hope this helps some.

      ~Stick~

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  7. Joe says:

    Any good resources you would recommend for better understanding fabric options? Weight is a key factor but easy to calculate. I’m looking for a better idea on the ‘feel’ of the materials. Don’t want to be excited about a 10 ounce quilt that feels like I’m sleeping in a trash bag or sounds like a bag of chips being opened.

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    • Stick says:

      Joe,

      I am so sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you on this…

      Anyway, to truly get a feel for different fabrics, unfortunately, the only thing to really do is to actually put your hands on it. You may try contacting some of the sellers and asking about them sending you a swatch. Sometimes they may do this for the cost of shipping.

      I can say that the 10D, AKA: Nobul 1 & Nobul 2 is very nice next to skin. You can source this from Titanium Goat. However, if you are using it for down, I would suggest to go with Nobul 2 as it seems to be a bit more downproof than the Nobul 1. But, it is soft, and does have a bit of a silky feel to it. I like it… (FYI, Nobul 1 was originally sold as “8D” but has since changed. Their is some reading on it on the Ti Goat page.)

      M50 is going to be a little plasticky feeling, similar to silnylons, just a little lighter/thinner. Thru Hiker is the main source for M50, although, it isn’t listed on his site at this point… it may not be available anymore? Anyway, I do have a summer weight quilt (from EE) built with the original orange M50, and I am quite happy with it. My down socks from GooseFeet Gear are made from blue M50, and I absolutely love them, and would order them the same way again if I needed to. However, I do wear a pair of thin liner socks under them, so they are not usually next to skin.

      M90 also comes from Thru Hiker, and is similar to M50, but, IMO, not as plasticky feeling.

      Pertex Quantum is also a pretty nice material with a nice hand. IMO, a bit better feeling next to skin than M90, but also lighter. You can source PQ from Thru Hiker, or from ZPacks on their materials page.

      Another material rearing it’s head is Argon offered from Dutchware. I haven’t put my hands on it, but I have heard it described to be similar to the Nobul material.

      There are quite a bit of other materials on the market too, but I cannot offer much on them.

      Anyway, sorry again that it took me so long, and I hope it helps you some!

      ~Stick~

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  8. Dogwood says:

    Really liked that you mentioned the importance of taper and widths in the quilt equation.They come into play with not only your body measuremesst but also how you sleep and the shape and dimensions of your pad(if using one) your using a quilt with. I find that gram weenies, of which I am one, sometimes lose sight of these factors in their headstrong rush to save wt mindset. That’s why I so enjoy a quilt company that has lots of options in sizing, materials, total wt, use characteristics, etc like Enlightened Equpment. The Prodigy 50* is my lightest quilt. Tim makes a nice product and gets right back to you too when asking questions.

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    • Stick says:

      Dogwood,

      I completely agree. When using quilts on the ground, and especially so for side sleepers, or tosser-n-turners, then the cut and width is very important, at least for a comfortable/good nights rest!

      As for the gram weenies going in head strong… I will admit, I have done this with other things, and then learned my lesson afterwards…(my bivy with an M50 top comes to mind). But I am hard-headed and usually have to learn things the hard way, so I am used to it! 🙂

      Either way, Tim does make some great quilts, and at some of the best prices IMO. As well, he is very quick at getting back to you… sometimes he got back to me within a minute or so… can’t ask for better than that!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  9. Jason says:

    Im just waiting on ‘approval’ to get one of these quilts for a trip up to the smokeys in October… Im 6’2 so cant get away with a quilt quite as light. but 20 oz for a quilt good down to 25 degrees for under 200 bucks is a pretty good deal.. I’ll be hiking the 72 miles as well, but will take my time and do it in 6 days with a base weight of ~8lbs. Im not looking forward to staying shelters, particularly, though..

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jason,

      I agree, Tim has great quilts, at low weights and prices that match. And he does a great job at putting them together too! Good luck with getting the approval to get one… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  10. Kurthwood says:

    Thanks a bunch Stick, thats just what I was looking for. Just needed an idea of the stuffed volume because everything I have is down and I wanted a quilt for the AT in August. I wanted something lighter than my Mountain Hardware Phantom 45.

    Are you still planning a thru-hike next year? I’m thinking about it but don’t know if I want to be gone that long.

    Kurt

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Kurthwood,

      Being that this is such a small piece of insulation (2.5 oz/sqyd), it really packs down small. Now, I am not sure how well a thicker piece of Climashield Apex will compress down too as compared to down. Also, I am not sure if the material makes much of a difference too…but I gotta say, I am really enjoying the old M50 that Tim used on the orange quilt. The Prodigy quilt is simply to warm for me to lay under in the house, but the 8D feels nice too…

      And no, I am not planning a thru next year…I am gung-ho for it, but I am afraid that I will end up being so home sick for my family… I just don’t know yet. I have decided to put it off for a few years and then take it from there… but, one day I will thru the AT…and hopefully more than once… 🙂 Until then, I just plan to take off of work as much as possible and section it…

      ~Stick~

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  11. Kurthwood says:

    Good looking quilts Chad.
    What is the stuff size of the orange quilt?

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    • Stick says:

      Kurthwood,

      I have not measured a packed size. I have not really been one to keep up with that, especially now since I would rather the quilt expand inside my pack to fill up room. I will say though that it easily packs down as small as my Hammock Gear 50 F down quilt, perhaps a little smaller. I guess it really comes down to how much one would want to squeeze it. Although, this is one thing…being synthetic, it is not a good idea to squish it down as small as possible since this will wear the synthetic fibers out quicker.

      But, for you, I grabbed my stuff sack for my regular size (Original) NeoAir and tried to stuff it in there. Just about every bit (about 90%) went into the stuff sack, and I feel like I could have forced the rest in with a little effort.

      Hope this helps.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  12. Aaron says:

    The quilts sound and look great – Can’t wait for the TR.

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  13. Tim Marshall says:

    Chad,

    Thanks for the awesome words. I will tell you, perfection isn’t something I ever achieve. I could show you two spots on the quilt I made and two on the other that aren’t PERFECT. I’m pretty sure you’ll find them someday.

    Also wanted to make sure people knew that the m50 used on this quilt is the original m50 not the current stuff. It was something I had laying around planned for a personal quilt I never built.

    Enjoy those quilts and everyone else feel free to contact me any time.

    -Tim

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Tim,

      Thanks for the reply!

      As far as “perfection” I understand that they are not “perfect” but my first impression is pretty dang good! I will definitely look for those spots now though… 🙂 However, I don’t feel like they will change my mind… I still think that they are great quilts.

      I should have specified that the M50 was some of the old…it was late when I was writing this, but I will go back and add it into the text. Also, I know that you have stated a difference between the old and the new M50 in a thread over at BPL, but I can’t remember…would you mind sharing your thoughts on it here?

      Thanks again for all your help, and these wonderful quilts!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Tim Marshall says:

      This orange M50 was the original sub 3/4 ounce fabric offered to DIY folks. At some point TH brought another fabric in this weight class with better down proofness and DWR into the game and called it m55. I never used this fabric but both m50 and m55 were spendy and only available in short supply. Recently the introduced a new fabric under the m50 name. It weighs pretty much the same, is very wind and water resistant but doesn’t breath as much as the original m50. It is like 8d with a heavy DWR coating on it is the best I can describe it. Fabric feels a little plastic but is much more affordable. That’s all I got as I gave been using fabrics from TiGoat instead for awhile now.

      -Tim

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    • Stick says:

      Tim,

      Thanks for the quick response and explanation.

      All I can say is that I do like the feel of this M50, and so does my wife. She told me that when she goes with me she wants to use the orange quilt, over the 8D quilt… 🙂 I will say that I do find this M50 to be slick and reminds me of the silnylon.

      Anyhoo… I love the quilts and look forward to using them!

      Thanks again,

      ~Stick~

      Like

  14. Michael says:

    I love my two Enlightened Equipment quilts. Tim makes an excellent, quality product and is great to work with.

    SoCal Mike

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Michael,

      I totally agree! These are great looking quilts and I have a feeling that they will do a great job for me…at least I hope so… As well, Tim was a ton of help!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • octester says:

      Also, Tim’s quilt use the karo step baffle which allow you to shift down around from one area of the quilt to another. That’s a great feature that many others lack. For the price, craftmaship, and quality, these are tough to beat. I think you’re going to love ’em.

      Michael

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Michael,

      I really want to get one of his Epiphany quilts that he uses the karo baffling on, but not so sure that I am ready for a cuben quilt…I am still not ready for that whole VBL thing still… although, I would love one of these in a 7D shell… sweet… 🙂

      However, the quilts that I have here though are not karo baffled.

      I agree, Tim has a great product at a great price and with great service to back it up!

      And I already love them… 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  15. Jim Henegar says:

    Good write up as usual buddy. Couldn’t sleep, cause I’m headed out in the morning…….go figure. Anyway, hope you enjoy your up coming hike and will be looking for feedback on your carrot quilt.

    Like

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