Rating: 5 / 5
Improper testing of the Enigma 20:
I purchased the Enigma 20 as a "go-to" quilt. It's a 1# bag that seems almost too good to be true. It needed testing. Having said that, I'm willing to push the boundaries. I purchased this quilt with the idea that with intelligent use, it would suffice from a 70 degree summer night to a 0 degree winter night. Nothing is perfect, but certainly knowledge leads to flexibility.
With over 20 years of backpacking experience and a fair amount of quilt experience, I understand the true value of the variable girth idea behind quilts. The very idea is to adjust your night time sleeping comfort by what you wear (or not) to bed, not by making sure you have exactly the right sleeping bag on the right night, zipped up to exactly the right height.
My winter quilt thinking is this: if it's bitter cold out and I'm wearing sufficiently warm clothing to stand around and shoot the bull with my buddies and not become an icicle, then how much more protection do I need once I go to bed (because with a quilt, you're wearing those same "campfire clothes" to bed vs taking off all that nice stuff as you might with a good ole mummy bag), especially if my pad is winter worthy?
So when a severe cold front moved across the Colorado Rockies last month setting record lows, I knew it was time to test my brand new never before used 20 degree Enigma (talk about trust!). After driving 10 hours from southern New Mexico to Arvada, Colorado my buddy Mark and I left his truck at about 9:30 pm with a 2 hour snowshoe climb ahead of us. It was already bitter cold and well below 0*F. Up and up we went through deep snow into the Indian Peaks Wilderness, eventually ending our hike at 11:30pm lake side at about 9,700' elevation where we promptly built a fire and pitched my Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid and melted snow on a Primus Express Spider with canister inverted (what a rocking powerhouse torch without a single hiccup in bitter cold, totally smoking the Kovea Spider sitting right next to it!). The low temp that night was recorded as -11* F (yes, that's negative 11) in the nearby town of Eldora, about 1,000 feet below us. Easily -15* F at camp that night, and I was testing a 20* quilt!!!! Oh well, stupid is as stupid does.
Verdict?... my buddy said I snored all night!
I was warm. I was fine.
So how did I do it?
Tent: MLD Duomid
Pad: Neoair Xtherm
Clothing worn to bed: 100wt fleece top, 200wt fleece bottom, Montbell Ex Light jacket, Montbell Alpine Light jacket, Montbell UL down pants, Buff merino wool, 300 wt fleece socks.
These are the same clothes I wore while standing around in 15-20 mph winds with temps deep into the negatives.
My pack weight when I threw it over my shoulder was 15# for 2 nights of deep winter backcountry and I was carrying our shelter and a stove, cook pot, etc.
My thoughts on this quilt are:
1) it's extremely exceptional for the weight.
2) the size regular worked just fine, even in winter, for a 5'9" 170# dude.
3) I used the pad strap attachment system and lashed the quilt to the pad, rather than just around me. This worked great. I could turn over without the quilt turning with me. Nice set up.
4) the neck cinch cord doesn't hold great, and neither do the pad attachment straps. Each of these slide and come out of adjustment too easily which is a bit of a pain. But they do work.
5) moving the down around is a bit different than some of the other bags and quilts I've had. Take some time and practice at home. Get the down where you want it.
6) I would have froze without a good warm pad and without dressing properly for the conditions.