Hands-on Gear Review

Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 Review

Best Buy Award
Price:  $285 List | $285.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Very affordable, highly customizable, versatile, lots of features
Cons:  Long wait for product to be custom made and shipped, foot box draw cord still leaves a little hole, lots of buttons and straps
Bottom line:  The warmest quilt in our review also comes at an unbeatable price.
Editors' Rating:   
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Style:  Quilt
Manufacturer Stated Temperature Rating:  20F
Measured weight (ounces):  18.5 oz (19.3 oz w/ optional webbing straps)
Manufacturer:   Enlightened Equipment

Our Verdict

The Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 is our returning budget champion, winning our Best Buy Award in ultralight bags for the second straight year. It isn't the outright cheapest sleeping bag reviewed, but it is much more customizable and versatile than its price range suggests. The Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt 700 costs less, but its down isn't as high-quality and it lacks the Revelation's versatility. While we don't think we would be comfortable down to 20F as the rating of our test model suggested, we still found this to be the warmest quilt we tested, and have the simplest pad attachment or buckle-it-closed system. For those who like the design of a quilt and want to stretch their money the furthest, this is a great option.

Product Update
Enlightened Equipment made some minor updates to the Revelation sleeping bag. We highlight the updates below the table.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Ultralight Sleeping Bags of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Andy Wellman

Last Updated:
Friday
November 17, 2017

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Updates to the Revelation


We contacted Enlightened Equipment to get the low-down on the updates to this ultralight bag. We posted their reply below, followed by a summary of the key differences.

A couple of things have changed that have caused the price and weight to increase slightly. We had an increase in our production cost of the product, we're now adding 10% additional down to the quilts and we now offer free shipping. This has all affected the price and the weight. Aside from that, the design is the same.
  • Enlightened Equipment
  • More Down — 10% increase to the down fill in this quilt.
  • Weight — The additional down fill increases the weight of the model we reviewed to 20.19 ounces.
  • Price — The price increased by $15, but you also now get free shipping within the US.

Because we haven't tested the latest model with the additional down fill, the text below continues to reflect the previous version of this bag. That said, the updates were minor and we expect very similar performance from the new version.

Hands-On Review of the Previous Revelation


Enlightened Equipment is an independent manufacturer of ultralight camping and thru-hiking gear based in Minnesota that makes all of their products on site, on demand. All of their products are highly customizable when ordering; the Revelation comes with three choices of down quality (850, 900, 950), six temperature ranges (0F — 50F), five lengths and four widths, with a whole heap of color options as well. For this review we opted for the 850 DownTek treated down, a 20F temperature rating, sewn to regular length and width. When we ordered, this model was considered "On the Shelf," meaning they had stock pre-made to these specifications and would thus ship them out immediately. However, by the time we finished collecting all of our experiences and notes into this review, there were no longer any Revelation 20 models on the shelf, meaning they had to be custom made upon ordering, a process that takes 5-7 weeks from the time of ordering to product delivery!

How to Get It:

Enlightened Equipment products can only be 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.

Compared to the competition, we found the Revelation 20 to be one of the best ultralight sleeping bags we tested, although it has a few drawbacks as well. As a quilt design, it is incredibly versatile, allowing one to open it up fully into a blanket, attaching it to a sleeping pad, or wrapping oneself up completely like a burrito and buckling it closed. While it is rated to 20F, we found that in no possible configuration would we be comfortable sleeping in temperatures anywhere approaching 20F, although there is no doubt it was the warmest quilt we tested. While we loved the versatility of its design, and the heaps of features that allowed it to accomplish this feat, in both cases we found the Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL to be slightly higher performing. However, when it comes to cost combined with performance, this quilt really can't be beat, which is why we again call it our Best Bang for the Buck.

Performance Comparison


The Revelation 20 is the warmest one that we tested  and on a warm summer night  there was no need to fasten it up underneath us. Going light  Peter didn't even bother with a sleeping pad  and apparently slept all night with his headlamp on. Beware the power of the "sleep aids" legal in Colorado.
The Revelation 20 is the warmest one that we tested, and on a warm summer night, there was no need to fasten it up underneath us. Going light, Peter didn't even bother with a sleeping pad, and apparently slept all night with his headlamp on. Beware the power of the "sleep aids" legal in Colorado.

Warmth


For this review we tested the Revelation 20 with a 20F temperature rating. In order to accomplish this, Enlightened Equipment stuffed u-shaped baffles with 13 ounces of 850 fill power DownTek treated down. The down lofts nicely within the baffles, and we noticed minimal down shifting. Immediately apparent was that this was the warmest of the quilts in this review. In comparison, the 15F rated Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt 700 used much lower 700 fill power down, leading to noticeably less loft, and an EN standard comfort rating of 28F, a bit higher than our Revelation 20. You can see how it compared to the competition in the warmth metric below:


In order to stay optimally warm, the Revelation 20 has dual foot box cinch straps that close up the end in conjunction with a short partial zipper that completes the foot box enclosure. Unlike the very similar design on the Flicker 40 UL, we found that even all the way tightened, the foot box still ended up with a hole at the bottom, leaving a small opening for heat to escape. Above the foot box zipper is a series of buttons and buckles (which can be snapped directly together for the closest, warmest fit, or attached to pad straps) that allow one to close up the quilt into a mummy style bag. At the top are a couple more buttons, creating a closer fit, and pull cords at the neck that help seal up the warmth envelope.

This quilt uses a short zipper to help fully enclose the foot box  before switching to buttons and buckles above. Honestly  we wish the zipper was used a bit more liberally  as the button and buckle system still left gaps in the fabric for air to enter or escape.
This quilt uses a short zipper to help fully enclose the foot box, before switching to buttons and buckles above. Honestly, we wish the zipper was used a bit more liberally, as the button and buckle system still left gaps in the fabric for air to enter or escape.

We found that the warmest way to sleep in this quilt is to fully button and buckle it up as tight as possible around oneself. However, much like the Katabatic Gear Palisade 30, a long narrow opening will still exist, revealing the limitations of straps and buckles compared to zippers. While we thought that its pad attachment straps were very easy to customize and adjust, much like all of the quilts we tested, holes and leak points still existed in this configuration, and when sleeping on cold nights your heat envelope becomes limited by the amount of insulation in your sleeping pad. Unlike the Backcountry Quilt 700, this quilt is not wide enough to fully wrap yourself up with overlapping material and insulation for a 100% enclosed system.

Drying out the u-shaped baffles of the Revelation quilt on the right  and the inside Houdini fabric of the Patagonia 850 on the left after a night camping on the Dolores River.
Drying out the u-shaped baffles of the Revelation quilt on the right, and the inside Houdini fabric of the Patagonia 850 on the left after a night camping on the Dolores River.

Weight


Our Revelation 20 weighed 18.5 ounces naked, or 19.3 ounces with the included two webbing straps for attachment to a sleeping pad. The included SilNylon stuff sack weighed an extra 0.6 ounces. This is virtually the same as the Flicker 40 UL, a quilt with a full-length zipper. While it is indeed very light, it is nowhere near as light as the lightest bags in our test, or nearly as heavy as the heaviest:


Worth noting as well is the fact that the included stuff sack for this quilt seems too large and doesn't compress the bag down nearly as much as some others. For instance, the Sea to Summit Ember II, a quilt that weighed virtually the same amount, compressed down into a compression stuff sack a fraction of the size that the Revelation 20 did. For those concerned with carrying only the smallest gear that they can, we recommend adding on an after-market compression sack.

Unfortunately  the Revelation came with perhaps the poorest stuff sack in our review. It is loosely stuffed in this not nearly small enough sack  necessitating an after-market purchase for those who want to pack this thing as small as it will go.
Unfortunately, the Revelation came with perhaps the poorest stuff sack in our review. It is loosely stuffed in this not nearly small enough sack, necessitating an after-market purchase for those who want to pack this thing as small as it will go.

Comfort


When considering comfort, our first criteria was sizing of the sleeping bag. For our Revelation 20, we tested a quilt that was regular width and length, suitable for a 6'0" person. While we found the length to be more than adequate, we felt that the quilt wasn't quite wide enough, even though our head tester is quite thin. In particular, we found that when strapped securely around our sleeping pad, the fit in the shoulders and torso became constricting, especially when sleeping on our side. We also wanted it to be wider so that we could fully wrap ourselves up on the coldest nights, not leaving the long opening for heat to escape. While this opening is meant to be laid on top of to minimize this effect, we found that through the natural movements we make while asleep it was hard to keep this opening beneath us at all times, and if it moved to the side at all then a cold draft could be felt. That said, compared to the Sea to Summit Ember II, a quilt with a similar design, the Revelation 20 was far wider and more spacious, and didn't constrict nearly as much.


While we loved how nice the slippery smooth 10D nylon liner fabric felt against our skin, we also had minor complaints about the comfort associated with the various features. In particular, we found that to close ourself up as tight as possible meant that we needed to lie on top of the buckles, which was not as comfortable as lying on smooth material. We also noticed that the neck draw cord was right in our face when sleeping. The golden standard for quilts when it comes to the features not inhibiting comfort would certainly be the Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt 700, which doesn't actually have any buckles, buttons, or draw cords to mess with your blanket vibe.

Showing the fit and how this quilt looks when attached to the pad. This pads attachment system is meant to have the quilt wrap around the edges of the pad  which we found worked fine on warmer nights  but didn't create sealed enough envelope on cold nights.
Showing the fit and how this quilt looks when attached to the pad. This pads attachment system is meant to have the quilt wrap around the edges of the pad, which we found worked fine on warmer nights, but didn't create sealed enough envelope on cold nights.

Versatility


Quilts are by nature extremely versatile, and the Revelation 20 is no exception. This one piece of equipment can be used as a one person flat blanket, or as a quilt with the foot box enclosed to keep the feet a bit warmer. It can also be attached to a pad on those chilly but not cold nights, or wrapped tight around oneself for sleeping on the coldest nights. With all of these options, it makes for a great three-season sleeping bag that will serve you on both warm summer nights and through spring or fall storms.


However, we have already pointed out the warmth limitation that this bag has because of its design that leaves an opening in the heat-trapping envelope, regardless of configuration. Due to this design, this bag scored slightly lower than either the Flicker 40 UL or the Zpacks Classic, which both used zippers to fully transform their quilt designs into tightly closed hoodless mummy style bags. Likewise, despite the warmer temperature rating, the Revelation 20 also isn't as well equipped for truly cold nights as the Backcountry Quilt 700, which is designed to be large enough to completely wrap oneself up in overlapping insulation.

This is a tapered quilt  meaning it is wider at the head than at the feet. It was the second widest of the three quilts we tested that opened up into a full blanket.
This is a tapered quilt, meaning it is wider at the head than at the feet. It was the second widest of the three quilts we tested that opened up into a full blanket.

Features


In order to allow for such varied uses and versatility, the Revelation 20 comes with a ton of features. Dual bungee draw cords close in the foot box, in conjunction with a button and a short zipper. A series of buttons helps attach one side of the blanket to another in the narrower sections around the legs, and buckles with straps enclose the torso, or attach to a sleeping pad. Around the shoulders are again a couple of buttons to tightly close up the quilt, and there is a draw cord at the neck for sealing up the top on cold nights. With so many features, this quilt is destined for a high score.


However, the real value of features lies in how well they perform, and while the Revelation 20's features all worked well, they weren't quite as good as some of the competition. We liked the foot box enclosure system on the Flicker 40 UL a bit better. There wasn't a small hole in the bottom, and it likewise doesn't employ stretching bungee cord that makes it extra difficult to tighten all of the way. We also thought that if Enlightened Equipment is going to use a lightweight zipper, as they did to enclose the foot box of the Revelation 20, the could have used it a bit more and done away with the openings created by using the button design. Lastly, having the neck draw cord dangling in the face is not ideal, and doesn't quite live up to the design standard set by the Patagonia 850 Down Sleeping Bag 30, which has draw cord buckles recessed into the neck baffle, and cords that tighten and dangle outside of the sleeping bag.

Snapping together a button and then pulling both ends of the long bungee cords is how one turns this blanket into an enclosed foot box. Even so  there will still be a tiny opening near the feet.
Snapping together a button and then pulling both ends of the long bungee cords is how one turns this blanket into an enclosed foot box. Even so, there will still be a tiny opening near the feet.

Two optional and adjustable straps buckle onto the edges of the quilt to help it wrap around your sleeping pad. We liked this system because it was quick to set up once adjusted  and wouldn't come undone in the middle of the night  but preferred sleeping fully wrapped on most nights.
Two optional and adjustable straps buckle onto the edges of the quilt to help it wrap around your sleeping pad. We liked this system because it was quick to set up once adjusted, and wouldn't come undone in the middle of the night, but preferred sleeping fully wrapped on most nights.

Best Applications


As the warmest quilt in our review, the Revelation 20 is suitable for all sorts of three-season use. Its light weight means it would be a great choice for thru-hikers or ultralight backpackers, and it could also be used for any outdoor activity where weight matters, such as kayaking, canoeing, or bike touring. Despite the 20F temperature rating, we don't think it is a great choice for temperatures at freezing or below.

Comparing how comfortable everyone felt in a mummy bag (orange Patagonia 850) versus a quilt (blue Revelation 20) or simply brown fur  camping on the Dolores River in the spring.
Comparing how comfortable everyone felt in a mummy bag (orange Patagonia 850) versus a quilt (blue Revelation 20) or simply brown fur, camping on the Dolores River in the spring.

Value


The version of the Revelation 20 that we tested, which comes as their standard "On-the-Shelf" model, will set you back $270.00, putting it on the low end of the price spectrum. While two other quilts — the Backcountry Quilt 700 and the Sea to Summit Ember II — are cheaper, they are certainly not as high performing. With such a low price and great versatility, this quilt was an easy choice for our Best Buy Award. So yeah, we think it presents a great value.

Conclusion


The Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 is a highly versatile quilt that can be used in a wide variety of ways, from blanket to fully wrapped hoodless mummy bag. With high loft down, it is easily the warmest quilt that we tested, ensuring that you can stretch its usage into the chillier spring and autumn months. While we tested a standard model that ships immediately upon ordering, Enlightened Equipment allows you to customize almost everything about this quilt, from the down fill to the sizing, colors, and temperature rating. Just be sure to place your order well before you need it, as these made-to-order custom products can take up to seven weeks to arrive on your doorstep.

On a super warm night in the Black Canyon  Peter opted to Cowboy Camp under the stars instead of use the bug netting inside his tent.
On a super warm night in the Black Canyon, Peter opted to Cowboy Camp under the stars instead of use the bug netting inside his tent.

Andy Wellman

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 26, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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  • 5
 (3.7)

67% of 3 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (2)
4 star: 25%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 25%  (1)
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   Dec 26, 2017 - 04:31pm
Canada or Bust

I have yet to see a review of EE return policy so I will offer my two bits on it. Their return/exchange policy sucks. They charged me $100 because I returned a quilt for a bigger size and they said that it smelled like cigarette smoke and it would cost $100 to clean it. I'm sorry but any returned quilt will have a smell even if its not from cigarette smoke. For example, their return policy states that you can try a quilt out for 40 days and if you are not happy, you can return it. Well, in theory you could backpack with the quilt for 40 days and then return it but after 40 days of continued use, it will be a little funky. I would have assumed that they wash all of their returned quilts before reselling them so cigarette smoke should not matter. Plus, if they do not wash their returned quilts before reselling them, that is pretty nasty. The bottom line: I love their quilts but that $100 fee has turned me off to this company and I will not do business with them again nor will I recommend them. I would strongly recommend that EE amend their return policy to reflect any charges that may be deducted from a return/exchange.



Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.

Backpacker

Nov 28, 2017 - 02:29am
 
Elbeejay · Backpacker · Sydney, Australia

OGL - I'm not sure that you are using the straps correctly on the Revelation, which would affect the warmth and comfort rating you gave it. Take a look at the EE website videos - while they acknowledge that you have the option to strap the edges of the quilt under your sleeping pad, they actually recommend that the strapped-in quilt remains on top of the pad, and that the straight strap stays entirely on top of your pad in order to cinch the quilt closed. This of course makes the quilt more restrictive, but should go a long way to achieving that "closed for warmth" objective that you were having trouble with in the testing.



Backpacker

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   Jul 17, 2017 - 06:07pm
schifferj · Backpacker

For a quilt rated by Outdoor Gearlab as a best buy their review seems a bit harsh.

I own a number of sleeping bags NONE of which keeps me warm down to the stated rating of the bag. While I know how the EN rating system is supposed to work it doesn't seem to pan out for any bag in the real world.

I have owned an EE Revelation since 2013 and mine is rated to 20 degrees using it with a base layer I'm comfortable down to about 35 degrees give or take. When it gets colder than that I thrown on a down hoody and I'm good to go and I'm already carrying that anyway.

The "hole" at the foot of this quilt is non existent on my bag when the drawstring is fully closed and snapped shut. I don't see it as a source of air leak in any way, shape, or form.

All of the negatives mentioned by Outdoor Gearlab are more than offset by the advantages of the weight advantage provided by the Revelation. My EE Revelation 20(Regular length/Regular width weighs 19 ounces. My Marmot Helium rated to 15 degrees in regular weighs 36 ounces and doesn't seem to be one bit warmer.

Sleeping with quilts requires a little bit of trial and error. The revelation is no different. I can use it as a blanket on warm nights, somewhere between a blanket and a sleeping bag on not so warm nights, and a zipperless sleeping bag on the colder nights.

I wouldn't trade it for anything.



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

Backpacker

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   Jul 15, 2017 - 03:28am
Michael Haderlie · Backpacker · ID

I have been using the revelation 20 for about 2 to 3 months now. It has performed perfectly. Going from a bag that Weighed nearly 4 pounds down to about 20 ounces has made a huge difference in my overall pack weight. I love the versatility of the quilt. I've been very pleased with the durability and finished. I do feel like it's sleeps a little bit colder than the rating. One night I slept in it with a down jacket on at 25°F And I would have liked to been a little warmer. I happen to sleep another night at about 30° overnight and I was comfortable. It may be about 5° off for my body type. Overall I love this so much that I bought my wife one as well. She loves it also. She wasn't quite ready to convert to the quilt type and she did get the covert mummy bag. I'm happy with purchase.



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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