Enlightened Equipment Convert Quilt Sleeping Bag Review

Enlightened Equipment Convert Quilt Sleeping Bag Review

The Enlightened Equipment Convert is a hoodless, quilt-style sleeping bag with a full-length zipper and drawstring footbox that allows it to be completely closed like a hoodless sleeping bag, completely open like a down comforter, or partially zipped up like a backpacking quilt. The lack of a hood makes it a great choice for side sleepers while the zipper and footbox give it more temperature flexibility than a quilt or sleeping bag alone.

Specs at a Glance

  • Type:  Quilt Sleeping Bag (Hoodless)
  • Temperature Rating: 10F
  • Model: Stock Convert (Custom models are also available)
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Weight: 30 oz (regular width and length)
  • Fill weight:  21.5 oz
  • Baffles: Vertical
  • Draft Collar: No (available on custom models)
  • Draft Tubes: Yes
  • Zipper: Full length, plus clips and straps to attach as a quilt to a sleeping pad
  • Length: 78” for regular (available in 3 stock lengths and 2 additional custom lengths)
  • Dimensions: 58”/38” (shoulders/hips) for regular (available in 2 stock widths, and 2 additional custom widths)
  • Shell: 10 D nylon treated with a DWR finish
  • Lining: 10 D nylon
  • Packed size:  will fit in a 10 L compression sack

Purpose

I purchased the Convert to be used at temperatures hovering from the 40’s to slightly below freezing.  My intention was to fill a gap between my 20-degree quilt, which can be drafty in colder temperatures, and my fully-featured 0-degree winter mummy bag that weighs close to 3 lbs.  On cold nights, zipping myself in the Convert cuts way down on drafts and I find that the ability to switch easily to a quilt configuration means I don’t overheat if the nighttime temperatures end up warmer than I expected.

The Convert lets you align the zipper with the entrance of your tent.
The Convert lets you align the zipper with the entrance of your tent. A Zpacks Plexamid, shown here.

Stock vs Custom

I purchased a Stock Convert with 850 fill power down rather than a custom Convert where you can select the color of the outer shell and lining, add a draft collar, or request 950 fill power down. The stock models are usually on hand to ship in a matter of days because they don’t need to be made to spec. As I write this review, for example, the stock model ships in 2-3 days, while a custom Convert takes 4-6 weeks to deliver and costs significantly more. If you want to buy a custom-made quilt or quilt sleeping bag from any cottage manufacturer, you really need to purchase it months before you want to use it.

Down Insulation

Enlightened Equipment uses responsibly sourced 850 fill power grey duck down and 950 fill power grey goose down in their quilts and quilt sleeping bags. They do not however offer water-resistant down. The Convert is a unisex (men’s) quilt sleeping bag, so women, who generally sleep about 10 degrees colder than men, may want to adjust by ordering a colder rating than they would in a women’s-specific product. See “About Our Temperature Ratings” on the Enlightened Equipment website for a more detailed explanation.

You can partially zip up the Convert and use it like a quilt
You can partially zip up the Convert and use it like a quilt.

Vertical Baffles

The Convert has tapered vertical continuous baffles that run the length of the quilt sleeping bag unlike the combination of vertical and horizontal baffles or purely horizontal baffles by other manufacturers that make similar quilt sleeping bags like UGQ Outdoors, Zpacks, or Feathered Friends among others. The problem, at least if you consider it a problem, with purely vertical baffles is that the down can shift from the torso to the feet or vice versa. Enlightened Equipment argues that the vertical baffles let you use the Convert in any configuration, although you can do the same with quilt sleeping bags from other manufacturers that use a combination of vertical and horizontal baffles. Just be aware that Convert’s all vertical baffle orientation is very different from that used by their competitors.

The Convert zipper has a built-in stiffener to prevent snags
The Convert zipper has a built-in stiffener to prevent snags.

Zipper

The benefit of having a full-length zipper is that you can orient it to the right, left, on top, or below you without having to worry about a mummy hood. This is great for side sleepers and people who don’t like being constrained by a more conventional sleeping bag. You can also unzip the convert completely, partially, or all the way and use it as a blanket. You can even join two Converts to create a double bag for couples camping. It’s just so versatile.

The fabric facing the zipper is stiffer than the body fabric, but I have snagged it several times when I haven’t been careful with my zipping.  There are no draft tubes along the zipper (at least in the conventional sense), even though the EE product page says the stock model has them. The beefy vertical baffles tend to cover the zipper when it’s positioned on your side, but that’s a little different.  If you do feel cold air flowing through the zipper, the solution is to position the zipper underneath you and lie on top of it.

If you want to use the Convert as a quilt, EE includes a set of buckle-based pad attachment straps. But you can also just tuck the sides of the quilt under your body if you don’t want to hassle with them in warmer weather.

The Convert can be unzipped and used as a blanket.
The Convert can be unzipped and used as a blanket.

Draft Collar

One limiting factor for using a Stock Convert as a bag at low temperatures is the lack of a draft collar. This is a tube of insulation that wraps around your neck and shoulders to prevent heat from leaking out the top. A draft collar option is available but only on the Custom Convert. While the Stock Convert comes with a neck cinch cord, it has a tendency to slip a little if you don’t treat it gently.

I have remedied this by turning a jacket into a scarf, which I know is something that Philip advocates also (see How to Sleep Warm at Night Backpacking for many other ideas.)  If you are interested in a Convert for freezing temps, then you might want to consider the Custom Convert and have a draft collar added.  Or wear a hooded parka to bed or bring a puffy down scarf along.

The Convert has a drawstring footbox that can be vented if you’re feet are too warm.
The Convert has a drawstring footbox that can be vented if you’re feet are too warm.

Drawstring Footbox

The Convert comes with a drawstring footbox which is a nice temperature regulation feature when you want to cool off a little. This is one of the properties that really sets it apart from a conventional sleeping bag. Air does not leak through the middle when it’s drawn closed. There are also snaps along the zipper to help create more of a footbox when you want to use the Convert like a quilt and not a sleeping bag.

Sizing

The Stock Convert comes in 3 lengths, short (72”), regular (78”) and long (84”).  It comes in 2 widths, regular (58” at the shoulder) and wide (64” at the shoulder). If you want to tuck the sides underneath you, you might consider getting the wider width size. Additional lengths and widths are available on custom orders. My Stock Convert is the regular length (though the short would be a better length for me, I wanted taller folks in my family to be able to use it).

Comparable Quilt Sleeping Bags

Recommendation

Is the Enlightened Equipment Convert a quilt or is it a sleeping bag?  It’s whatever you want it to be.  I’m really happy with the Convert as a sleeping bag.  I don’t like hoods on bags.  As a side sleeper, I feel like I’ve never really figured out how to make them work well for me.  With the Convert, I can choose to have the zipper on top or on either side so that I have the most convenient configuration to go along with which side the door of my tent is on.  On cold nights, I’ve really enjoyed avoiding the cold drafts I experience when rolling over in my other more conventional quilt.

I’m also really happy with the Convert as a quilt.  On warm nights, I’ve been glad that I could easily unzip it and just lie under it.   I can unzip it completely, or leave it partially zipped to give myself a footbox and slightly more warmth.  I can put the straps around my sleeping pad to keep the quilt in place, or just leave it floppy.

The many size and temperature rating options offered by Enlightened Equipment also make it easy to get exactly what you are looking for.  While I think the Stock Convert provides a lot of value as is, the option of buying a Custom Convert is also enticing…as long as you’re willing to wait a little longer for it to be made and delivered.

Disclosure: The author purchased this product.

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About the author

Wanda Rice has been backpacking since the late 1980’s. She has climbed the New Hampshire 48, the New Hampshire 48 in winter, the New England 67 and is working on the New England Hundred Highest and the Four-Season 48. Wanda also teaches for the Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) Mountain Leadership School, the AMC New Hampshire Chapter Spring and Winter Schools as well as the AMC NH Winter Hiking Series. She leads day and overnight trips for AMC NH year-round and loves mentoring new leaders. She is a gear junkie, a self-proclaimed Queen of Gear Hacks and loves sharing her tips and tricks with others. Wanda lives in southern NH and is looking forward to moving closer to the mountains in the next few years.

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