Hi Tim (and BPL),
Have you thought about using an efficient Enigma-type design (i.e. sewn footbox with less material) with the Prodigy line? Due to weight, people usually dismiss synthetics, no questions asked. But I think you could change this, or at least have people give synthetics a second thought. To my knowledge there is no option for a synthetic quilt that can come within 2-3 ounces of its down alternative in weight. But Tim, I think you can change this, close the synthetic-down gap, and revive the synthetic market. Okay, maybe thats a little ambitious but here's my logic why:
Creating demand: A real option with synthetic quilts
A 40*F quilt is an essential temp rating to have in almost everyone’s sleep arsenal. At this temp rating, the weight disparity between down and synthetic is minimized. Below are the weight differences (and prices) between the 40*F Prodigy, Revelation, and new Enigma.
A. 40* Prodigy = 18.5 oz, $190 (6’ Slim, which is generously wide at 50”).
B. 40* Revelation = 14 oz, $240 (6’ slim, but likely jump to $260 ish in sept).
C. 40* Enigma ≈ 11oz, $350 ish (5’10” reg size)
The current Prodigy is 7.5 oz heavier then the new Enigma, but only 4.5 oz heavier then the Revelation. Due to the high cost of the Enigma (and Z packs) the reality is that the majority of people can’t afford it. So now it’s only a comparison between the Revelation and the Prodigy, thus a 4.5 oz difference. BUT if you could re-work maybe 2 oz off the Prodigy with a re-designed foot box (16.5 oz total), then its only 2.5 oz heavier than its 850 down alternative.
So why would you want to sacrifice 2.5 oz and rock synthetics??? Three reasons.
1) This “new” Prodigy would be $70 cheaper than the revelation.
2) The increase in versatility of synthetics over down. Wet down is useless, wet hydrophobic down is less useless but still not really useful, wet synthetic is still very useful.
3) Using a synthetic quilt can change your entire sleep system to match, and overcome this 2.5 oz difference. Without having to be cautious about wetting your down, you could use that 3.7 oz Wasatch bivy and not have to worry about condensation from the less-than-optimal breathability. You could use a smaller tarp because you don’t need the extra protection from rain’s backsplash. A 5.5’ x 9’ tarp is now a 4’ x 8’ tarp. For silnylon tarps, that’s about a 2-3 oz difference alone. OR, you could not bring a tarp (stakes and guylines) at all and rely on natural cover when it rains.
You could own the synthetic quilt market because it seems like there are just two major players in synthetics: you and MLD spirit quilts, which have almost identical specs (considering sizes and temp ratings) to your Prodigy line. Right now, there is really nothing separating you and MLD except for some minor size differences (which I guess could be a big deal to some people).
This argument holds less weight if someone introduces a 40* F, 11oz down quilt for around $260 instead of $360. I think (hope) this can happen, but it wouldn’t destroy the demand for the new UL Prodigy since synthetic will always have its niche, and you would still be the lightest option.
Those are my thoughts. I’d be interested to hear what you (and BPL) think about this. Thanks!