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Monday, April 27, 2020

My Experience with the Enlightened Equipment Revelation Sleep System

I promised you my opinion of the Enlightened Equipment Revelation Sleep System. The bottom line is that I'm not happy, but I hope I can fix it without adding much weight, because when you consider the cost, weight and temperature rating, it's the only good choice.

The first picture is from right after I got it. It shows the basics. This is basically a quilt, which is what all the manufacturers are pushing now. The narrow end (top of the pic) is the foot box (which you can open out to be perfectly flat), and the head end is at the bottom of the picture. The corner of my orange sleeping mat (3/4 length) is sticking out, and the blanket underneath it was just to keep it from snagging on the deck flooring while I showed it to you.

Enlightened Equipment Revelation

I got the medium length (so I can pull it over my head), rated to 20 degree quilt. Here's the deal. I've now slept with it several night in temps that were in the 40s. Fall of 2018, I thought I just hadn't figured out how to make it work for me. Now I've decided that it just has issues that need fixing.

This past Thursday night it got down to 42. I checked my new thermometer against a known one, and they agree. Maybe not to the tenth of a degree, but close enough. This is a bag that's rated to 20. Now, I totally understand that only means you won't die at 20 degrees. But hey, 42 is quite a bit warmer than 20, and I should have been able to keep warm.

Keep in mind that I also bought a cotton-silk blend liner to go with this bag. If I didn't have the liner I would have been really cold. And I am a warm sleeper. I even had on a long-sleeved thermal underwear top. Almost unheard of for me to need that at night. I usually need less covering than almost anyone else. This is not acceptable.

The issue is that quilts are drafty and I wiggle a lot. If I can keep completely covered, the bag keeps me warm. But every single time I move something shifts and a spot gets cold. And I can't seem to keep my feet in the foot box. When I curl up the bag doesn't come with me, I just slide out of the foot box. Sliding back in while asleep doesn't happen.

This is just not workable. For starters, to consider options, I clipped the strap clips together (without the straps) to sort of close up the quilt to see if it's big enough to actually turn it into a bag. I do like that the straps keep the quilt, and me, on the sleeping pad, and I'll lose that feature if I put in a zipper, but I think it has to be done.

This next picture is goofy, but it is taken the length of my body (in my shark pjs!) with the clips clipped. I let the bag gap just to show how it doesn't really close up even if you want to use it as a bag. I'm small enough that I can turn it into a true bag with a nylon coil zipper.

Enlightened Equipment Revelation

That will add a couple of ounces, and maybe I need to put on a draft baffle too. But if a couple of ounces will keep me warm, it will be worth it.

The other thing that is poorly designed on this is that the top drawstring pulls up right in the middle of the top edge. In other words, if you have the opening under you (as you do when you are using it the way it's designed as a quilt) the cord is right in your face. What the heck?

It is taking me a while to get used to the fact that you basically feel no weight of the covering at all. Turns out that I guess I like having the feel of something over me. But I'm adjusting to that.

I'm happy to tell you that my attached pillow idea worked great. Stay tuned. I'm ordering a zipper.

Another option to increase the warmth is that on longer trips I carry a small nylon tarp. On nights that it's cold and I don't have the tarp deployed, I could wrap it around myself to add another layer without compressing the down. It I add a couple of spots of velcro I can turn it into a tube so it doesn't unwrap.

In other news: I worked on projects in the morning, some author promo stuff in the afternoon, and went grocery shopping which I don't like doing even when the world isn't nuts. But I wore a mask like a good little sheeple and got enough stuff for another 10 days or so. Wish Goodwill were open so I could get a couple of really cheap jigsaw puzzles. Can't really buy more new ones! But I have several I'm willing to do again, I think. Just have to find them.

See New Gear- Sleeping System
See the pillow fix
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vanilla said...

Interesting story about sleep in the "wilds." I, too, miss the thrift shop for the same reason you do. Priced new puzzles on line, and that would shoot the entertainment budget. I mean for just one.

Jeff said...

I am amazed at how light equipment is getting (I replaced my pad last summer it my new pad weighed half of what a 3/4 ultralight pad weighed when I did the AT (and is about 3x as thick). But sorry to hear this doesn't live up to expectation--I tend to find that I can sleep comfortably down to a bags rating--maybe a little more as I generally take a light silk lining.


Ed Morse said...

I've been using quilts for about 10 years. They work much better in a hammock. The quilt I use now is the same as you have. I did a week long hike in Florida in January of 2019, using a hammock with 20 degree quilt and underquilt. Two mornings I woke up it was 31 degrees. I was warm and comfortable. When I use the same quilt in my tent I have the same struggle to keep covered. I think the key to using a quilt in a tent is a wider quilt. It is very hard to get a hammock setup down to the same weight as a tent system.

Lin said...

bummer that it doesn't work so well. I have a mummy bag that I love. I always dislike the "new and improved" versions of things that worked so well before. I hope you can get it to work for you.