Enlightened Equipment is a classic little American brand from Minnesota that has earned its name primarily with first-rate feather quilts. Their flagship is the ultra-light quilt Enigma.
To our happiness, Enlightened Equipment is doing so well that they have decided to expand outside the US and so even Czech bikepackers can indulge in a top-quality ultra-light quilt from this American cult brand. Predefined versions of Revelation and Enigma models are destined for export, while custom-made production remains understandably for the US market. That is, if you’re willing to pay extra for shipping, customs and dph, then I guess it’s possible to order anything from the US.
This review will look at the Enigma 20°F model. Enigma is the lightest model line that EE produces. Compared to Revelation, which can be unzipped into a rectangular blanket at the bottom, Enigma has a closed footbox, making it a few grams lighter for zip and pull. 20°F indicates the temperature limit of that model. These are graded at ten Fahrenheit each.
The whole quilt is made from fine 10D nylon, which, due to its minimal weight, still has sufficient resistance and is significantly more breathable than heavier fabrics. In number language, Enigma 20°F has respectable parameters. In the Regular/Regular size, which is ideal for my 182cm/90kg weight of 601g, and that’s at a lower comfort limit of -6°C! Inside the quilt is stuffed 438g duck down with a filler capacity of 850fp. In a European standard, this would mean a filler capacity of over 700cuin, the maximum that can be extracted from duck down (there is also the possibility of stuffing 800cuin with goose down, but the already high cost gets really high). What’s interesting, though, is the fact that in EE they fill quilts with significantly more down than would be necessary for the temperature. This no longer alters the thermal comfort, since it requires a change in the height of the baffles. But it fundamentally eliminates the migration of down in the baffels and the degradation of the loft
The classic H baffels in which the feathers are filled are designed into longitudinal chambers at the top of the quilt (body) and transverse at the bottom (leg). Viewed from above, it creates the original U-shape typical of quilty Enlightened Equipment. Again, the reason for this design is to eliminate feather shifting.
The quilt is clipped to the cartridge using two rubber straps. One simple one that goes under the sleeping mat. And the other, which is sewn into a loop and put on a sleeping mat. Thin, flat buckles tend to connect the quilt to the straps.
When the going gets tough at night, Enigma can be clipped around the shoulders with two clips and a cord pulled around the neck to keep all the heated air inside. I think that’s it from a structural point of view.
In recent years, I have experimented a lot with the lightest possible sleeping system and experienced many desperate and cold nights. Zero rest and regeneration after such a night is very much reflected in the physical performance the next day. After this experience, I tried it from the other side last year, and due to the planned events and the expected temperature range, I reached for Enlightened Equipment Enigma 20 ° F. This meant that I drove a much “warmer” and heavier quilt over the summer than necessary, but the truth is that with regard to regeneration, it is better to wake up at night warm than cold. For example, when I set out for the Dolomites, the forecast showed temperatures ranging from 0 ° C on the ridges to 20 ° C in the valleys. As it turned out on the spot, Enigma 20 ° F was the perfect choice.
During the year, I spent a number of pleasant nights in Enigma from -5 ° C to 15 ° C. As a real three-season quilt with the weight of a summer sleeping bag, it provides a fantastic portion of utility value. I was very pleasantly surprised by the rest of the night at the limit temperature of -5 ° C. Although it is usually more pleasant a few degrees below zero than + 2 ° C. However, when used below freezing, a suitable mat with adequate thermal resistance is of the utmost importance. I especially enjoy the interior space. As a sleeper on my stomach, I need enough space for a comfortable sleep, and Enigma has an above-standard level. Even when it comes to limit temperatures and the quilt needs to be pulled more under, it’s still comfortable. So during these nights, I usually sleep on my side so that I can pull the quilt thoroughly around my shoulders and neck and not let the precious heat out unnecessarily.
It worked best for me to attach the quilt to the mat with a simple strap at the bottom and a loop at the top. This is because even at the bottom it is wide enough to encircle the mat, and moreover it is not necessary to manipulate it later. The loop at the top has the advantage of staying on the mat even if I unbuckle it so I can go in / out more comfortably. It is just as easy to pull / stretch the buckles during the night, depending on whether it is cold or warm. I consider this clamping system to be very good, as is the shape of the buckle. I don’t realize I would ever register them under me.
It wasn’t hard to like Enlightened Equipment Enigma 20 ° F, it’s a really good piece of equipment. It has an ingeniously simple design and great parameters. The 20 ° F model has proven to be an absolute universal that can be relied on in both the Alps and Scandinavia and will cover most of the year in the Czech Republic. And all this with a weight of 600g….