Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $215
Pros: Lightweight for synthetic insulation, highly versatile.
Cons: Not as comfortable or as warm as traditional style synthetic bags.
Best Uses: Backpacking in very wet conditions.
The Enlightened Equipment Prodigy is the lightest synthetic sleeping bag we've tested. However, ordering it is not very convenient, since it is not available from major retailers, and only directly from the small manufacturer in MN (made-to-order, involving long delays in delivery). But, if you can get past the idea of ordering a custom-made bag, you might find this bag a contender. The 15-degree version weighs 31.7 ounces on our scale. This is our top rated bag for wet weather backpacking in warmer temperatures. It is much more versatile than traditional style sleeping bags and it uses top quality insulation that's more durable than most others. For colder temperatures and soaking wet conditions we prefer the heavier and warmer Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina.
See how this bag compares to the others tested at our Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Prodigy is the only synthetic quilt we've tested. It uses the same basic design as the company's Revelation down quilt, except it has top quality synthetic insulation that keeps you warm when wet.
The 15 degree version of the Prodigy is roughly as warm as the 20-degree traditional style synthetic bags we've tested; in dry conditions the bag is cozy into the thirties.
The Prodigy is limited to some degree by its lack of hood. Hooded bags are warmer and, unfortunately, quilts don't have hoods. We also don't know of anyone that makes a separate synthetic insulated hood. Thus, the synthetic quilt is not ideal for the coldest wet conditions or for hanging around in a tent for days at a time. This author, who has spent over three months soaking wet in Patagonia in synthetic bags, prefers a hooded synthetic bag for extended mountaineering trips in wet conditions where you might be tent bound for one or more days. For backpacking the Prodigy is more than than warm enough. The synthetic quilt is the best tool for lightweight trips where reliability is paramount to success, enjoyment, or safety.
Weight and Packed Size
Synthetic insulation nominally compressible compared to down, but the Prodigy offers the lowest weight and greatest compressibility of any synthetic bag we've tested.
Quilts are the most versatile type of sleeping bag. A synthetic quilt offers several advantages for wet weather travel: they can be draped around your body and can be opened up flat, which allows them to dry faster. This latter point is particularly useful on long trips. Unzip the Prodigy and hang it up in the sun or the wind and it dries remarkably fast.
The Prodigy is as comfortable as the company's Revelation quilt minus the super soft and cozy benefits of down insulation.
Choose from three temperature ratings, three sizes, three widths, and three fabrics! This is a tremendous advantage over synthetic bags from major companies that have fixed girths and are only available in two cuts. In many ways, the ability to get the best fit for your body type and intended clothing system offsets the Prodigy's missing hood.
The Prodigy is a good value for weight and conscious wet weather adventurers. The Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 15 can be found for up to $50 less, but it weighs 12 ounces more.
How To Get It
Enlightened Equipment quilts are not sold by major online or commercial retailers. Order online at http://www.enlightenedequipment.com. Read an interview transcript with Enlightened Equipment's founder, Tim Marshall, here.
— Max Neale
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Most recent review: March 31, 2013
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