Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $260
Pros: Versatile, warm for its weight, Inexpensive!
Cons: Pat attachment method isn't as comfortable or warm as others, other bags use higher quality fabrics.
Best Uses: Ultralight anything.
Manufacturer: Enlightened Equipment
The Enlightened Equipment Revelation offers top-tier performance at a wholesale price. 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 won't be disappointed. The bag weighs 19 ounces, uses 850-fill down, comes in three lengths, three widths, and can be made with one of three different fabrics. This is a top quality custom sleeping bag for only $260!! Our top rated light bag available at retailers is the Western Mountaineering Highlite ($295). That is also the lightest and highest rated bag with a hood. If you are not a serious ultralight backpacker, and just want a bag to get your through a trip or two, we found the Kelty Cosmic Down 40 surprisingly adequate for only $100.
The Revelation is slightly less comfortable and not as warm as quilts that cost at least $100 more. See our Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review for how this bag compares to others.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Of the 40+ three-season sleeping bags we've tested, the Enlightened Equipment Revelation offers the most versatility and lowest weight for the lowest price. This is a high performance bag offered at bottom basement prices. It's an exceptional value and is ideal for someone looking to make the move from a heavy and inflexible traditional style sleeping bag to a versatile and lightweight quilt. The Revelation has several small drawbacks that reduce its warmth and comfort slightly, but for the majority of people these drawbacks will easily be offset by the bag's exceptionally low price.
The Revelation uses 850-fill down and is available in 0, 10, 20, 30, and 40-degree versions. We tested a 30-degree version and found it to be roughly as warm as the average 30-degree bag we've tested. It keeps you warm into the low forties and – depending on your body type, age, metabolism, fitness, shelter, campsite selection, etc. – requires clothing or a hood in lower temperatures.
Like many cottage industry bags, the Revelation is available in one of many sizes that allows you to optimize fit and thermal efficiency. The bag comes in 5' 6", 6', and 6' 6" lengths and Slim, Regular, and Wide versions. This is a tremendous advantage over traditional style bags (those with hoods and zippers) from major manufacturers because it lets you get the best fitting bag for your body and intended use. Opt for a wider and/or a longer size if you plan to use the bag in the winter with down clothing.
Weight and Packed Size
The 30-degree Revelation weighs 19.6 ounces on our scale. This establishes it firmly amongst the lighter sleeping bags we've tested. It packs down very small. We give the bag an 8 out of 10 for weight and 9 out of 10 for packed size.
The Revelation is available in a 30D 1.1oz ripstop, a 10D 0.6oz ripstop, or a 15D 1.05oz ripstop. We recommend the 10D but the best fabric will depend on your intended use. See more fabric info here.
You can use the bag as a flat blanket on warm nights, wrap it around your body as a jacket for around camp, or close up the bottom of the bag when the temperatures drop. Quilts are the most versatile type of sleeping bag and are by far the best type of bag for backpacking in a wide range of climates. Some fixed girth bags can offer more warmth for their weight but they're limited to a very narrow temperature range and can't accommodate changes in clothing. Thus, the quilt will be the best type of bag for most people. See our Sleeping Bag Buying Advice for more details on their advantages over traditional style bags.
The Revelation transforms from a blanket to a bag by closing a zipper, a snap, and a drawcord at the foot of the bag. This is a popular and effective method that maximizes versatility while slightly reducing comfort and warmth. We believe this type of closure is best for moderate three-season use. A permanently closed footbox is more comfortable, warmer, and lighter, but doesn't allow the bag to open flat, which means it's not as effective when used as a jacket.
The Revelation can be closed around your body and used on top of a sleeping pad. The middle elasticized straps can also loop around a sleeping pad. Sleeping still on your back is the warmest method because it minimizes drafts that can come underneath the bag if you turn around or strap the bag to a pad. Our testers have their own preferences for how to use quilts in different temperatures. Flexibility is one of the main advantages of a quilt. You can experiment to see what methods work best for you.
Choose from five temperature ratings, three sizes, three widths, and three fabrics.
The Revelation is an exceptional value for a top quality sleeping bag. It costs around $100 less than our highest rated down quilt, the Katabatic Gear Palisade and is only slightly less warm and less comfortable.
The best value in lightweight sleeping bags, by far, is the Revelation X, which has the same design as the Revelation but uses a cosmetic 2nd ripstop. That bag costs less than $200! Although we haven't tested it, other people speak highly of its long-term durability.
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.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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Most recent review: June 27, 2014
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