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Hands-on Gear Review
Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 Review
Cons: Pad attachment method isn't as comfortable or warm as the Palisade, relatively heavy
Our Best Buy Award winner, the Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 delivers excellent performance at an affordable price. Fully opening Quilts like the Revelation that open into a flat blanket offer the most versatility compared to other types of ultralight sleeping bags in this review. Zip and cinch the footbox closed on top of your pad, and our Best Buy Award winner functions much like the Editors' Choice winning Katabatic Gear Palisade 30. Fully opened, the Revelation can be used as a blanket for one or two folks in warm weather or as a nice body wrap for cold weather camp tasks.
The Revelation's design has been improved since our last round of testing; the most notable improvement is an advanced down baffling system. Like many bags from small manufacturers, the Revelation comes in lots of sizes and down fill options, which allow you to achieve the best fit and warmth for you. This quilt is available in six temperature ratings, three lengths, and four widths. In addition, you can choose your inside and outside fabric, quality of down, and add weather-resistant fabric at the head and foot. If you want to shave several ounces from the Revelation, you can do it, but it will increase the price.
If you're seeking the highest performing ultralight sleeping bag, and have the budget, the Katabatic Gear Palisade is our Editors' Choice winner.
RELATED: Our complete review of ultralight sleeping bags
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 is exactly what ultralight backpackers on a budget are looking for excellent performance and versatility at an affordable price. This fully-opening quilt earned the highest versatility score we awarded, and high scores in both warmth and comfort as well. With myriad options to customize this quilt to the size and warmth rating best suited for you, we give the Revelation our highest recommendation.
How to Get It:
Enlightened Equipment products are custom made in Minnesota and are not available from retail outlets. Instead they are ordered direct from the manufacturer. While the majority of their products are made to order, several versions of the Revelation 20 are often in stock for immediate shipment.
Get it online at: EnlightenedEquipment.com.
The Revelation 20 degree bag was the third warmest product we tested. The Katabatic Gear Palisade 30, which has a superior pad attachment system, is warmer when temperatures are below freezing. Meanwhile, the hoodless mummy design of the ZPacks 20 Degree is just a little warmer than the Revelation, especially for active sleepers or in contorted sleep positions. However, both of these bags cost considerably more. The Revelation 20 easily delivers the best warmth-to-price ratio. Key to this quilt's warmth is the combination of vertical and horizontal baffles that contain 13.8 ounces of 800 fill power down. Enlightened Equipment explains it best:
Our unique Shiftless Baffle design combines the strengths of both horizontal and vertical baffles that are typically found in other quilts and sleeping bags. The vertical baffles along the length of the quilt prevent down falling to the sides (a problem especially for side sleepers), but by turning the baffles horizontally at the feet, the down is given a much smaller area in which it can move and keeps the footbox fully lofted and reduces the amount of down that can shift away from the feet during packing and unpacking your quilt.
The cut of the Revelation also plays a role in its warmth. You can place your sleeping pad inside the footbox and tuck the sides of the quilt underneath it or you can have the entire quilt on top of the pad tucked underneath your torso at the sides. Experienced ultralight quilt users often have strong preferences, but we find the on top of the pad configuration delivers the most warmth. Finally, the Revelation uses a #3 YKK zipper to close the footbox, while other quilt manufacturers use a few small snaps here. Through our testing, we found the added warmth created by the Revelation's zipper is worth the minor weight increase over snaps. When used near its lower temperature limit, this zipper sealed more heat into the footbox.
We think the 20 degree version of the Revelation is the best option for most thru-hikers and backpackers who want one bag to use throughout spring, summer, and fall. When used with warm clothing, this quilt is warm enough for most folks down into the mid teens. However, if you're a cold sleeper, consider customizing your purchase by choosing a version with a lower temperature rating.
Weight & Packed Size
We tested the 20-degree Revelation, which is insulated with 800 fill power down and weighed in at 21.9 ounces on our scale. The included stuff sacks weighs .5 ounces and the two elastic straps weigh .7 ounces. While this makes it one of the heavier models in our ultralight review, that's only by a few ounces. This quilt still weighs in at about half the weight of the average three-season hooded mummy bag. The option to use a lighter (and more expensive) higher fill down can shave as much as two and a half ounces off the weight of this model for the same temperature rating, but adds $140 to the price.
Stuffed into the included SilNylon stuff sack, this quilt measures 7 x 12 inches. It is one of the larger stuff sacks, and the Revelation can compress much smaller. We recommend using a smaller stuff sack if you have space constraints. The relative large stuff sack does mean this quilt achieves its full loft more quickly than others after unpacking.
The Revelation is available with the following shell fabrics: 10D 0.6oz ripstop (version we tested), 15D 1.05oz ripstop, or 30D 1.1oz ripstop. We recommend the 10D but the best fabric will depend on your intended use. The lighter Denier fabrics save some weight, and we found them durable enough for our heavy use. Adding heavier, water-resistant strips of fabric at the head and foot of this quilt is a popular option that only adds .75 ounces. These help protect the foot of your bag from condensation that may form on your shelter and from your breath.
This quilt earned the highest versatility score we awarded. In addition to the option to attach your pad underneath or inside the closed quilt, you can use the bag as a flat blanket on warm nights. Fully opened, wrap it around your body as a jacket around camp or during break time when the weather is cold. Fully-opening quilts like this one are the most versatile type of sleeping bag and are the best type of bag for backpacking in a very wide range of temperatures. If you love the fully open flat blanket option, but also want the option to close your quilt completely up like a mummy, check out the Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL. This hoodless mummy has a full length separating zipper backed by a draft tube, allowing flat blanket use.
The Revelation is also our favorite of this bunch used as a hammock top quilt. The Hammock Gear Burrow 40 also makes an excellent top quilt, but we feel Enlightened Equipment's baffling and other small features are superior.
For hammock hangers, both Enlightened Equipment and Hammock Gear make complete lines of top quilts and under quilts.
The Revelation transforms from a blanket into a closed footbox quilt 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 compared to a footbox like the Palisade's. We believe this type of closure is best for moderate three-season use. A permanently closed footbox like the Katabatic Gear Palisade's is more comfortable, warmer, and lighter, but doesn't allow the bag to open flat, which means it's not as versatile for summer nights, two folks snuggling, or to wear around camp.
This fully-opening quilt has a #3 YKK zipper that begins at the foot and ends 20" from the bottom of the bag to close the footbox. Two snaps at either end of the zipper secure it. A bungee cord with free floating cord that locks on both sides of the zipper cinches the foot box completely closed. Another snap 6" higher gives the option to further close the bottom of the quilt.
Two buckles that mate with the flat elastic pad straps are spaced up the bag at hip and chest level. The mating half of the buckle on the elastic straps can be placed at the very edge of your pad, or slide it further in to reduce the girth of the quilt in cooler weather. At the top of the bag, one additional snap closes the neck opening and a non-stretchy small cord provides the cinching, passing through one free-floating cord lock right at the chin.
Our test model uses 10D nylon ripstop and this quilt has the fanciest system of baffles. They run vertically up the body of the bag, but turn horizontal at the foot. There are no dedicated hang loops on the Revelation, but the snaps at all four corners are installed into small loops of light grosgrain webbing that will work.
The Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 is a very versatile, do everything, three-season quilt. With warm clothes, it can keep you cozy into the teens, or it can open completely for warmer summer nights. This quilt is a great choice for three-season backpacking and thru-hiking, and playing in the mountains during summertime. It is also our top recommendation of the bunch for use as a hammock top quilt.
The Revelation is an exceptional value for a top quality quilt. It costs around $200 less than our highest rated down quilt, the Katabatic Gear Palisade and is only slightly less warm and less comfortable.
The Revelation 20 continues its run as our Best Buy winner. Among the products we tested, it is easily the best ultralight sleeping bag relative to price. While it isn't the warmest, lightest, or most comfortable model we tested, it is the most versatile and has the most affordable price. If you're putting together your ultralight backpacking kit on a budget, you can't beat the Revelation.
Sizing, Accessories, & Other Versions
This bag is available in 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 degree versions, as well as short, regular, and long models and slim, regular, wide, and x-wide. In addition, you can choose an inside and outside fabric and you can add an optional weather-resistant strip at the foot and head (+0.75oz on 10D shell) for $20.
The Revelation is one of many fine and relatively affordable quilts from Enlightened Equipment:
— Brandon Lampley
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: April 26, 2016
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