After trying one on the PCT last year, Paul and I determined we really enjoyed our 2 person quilt. We knew we would use another quilt for the CDT, but we wanted one that was warmer and more packable than the synthetic Ray-Way quilt. In other words, we wanted a down quilt. Eventually we settled on the Enlightened Equipment Accomplice, and it came with us for all 2800 miles of the Continental Divide Trail. We experienced a wide variety of weather, many nights below freezing, and plentiful rain. Here are our thoughts on the performance of the quilt after 4 month of continuous use.
After doing some research online I noticed that Enlightened Equipment temperature ratings can run a little generous for the loft. Because of this I opted for a 10 degree F quilt, figuring it was probably closer to a 15 degree rating. The temperature never got down to 10 degrees, but we had plenty of freezing nights and we were always cozy. We might have been okay with a 20 degree quilt, but I think we would have had a few cold nights. For a warm trail like the Appalachian Trail, this would have definitely been overkill, but for the chilly CDT it was perfect. Note that using a quilt requires an insulated sleeping pad for warmth from below. Our Exped Synmat HL Duo works great.
At 2.5 pounds, this quilt is barely heavier than a single-person mummy bag of similar temperature rating. It came in almost a pound lighter than the synthetic Ray-Way I made for the PCT, not to mention warmer. Plus, it is far more compressible, despite being noticeably wider. It probably occupies a bit over half the volume of the Ray-Way when packed up.
Probably the best feature of the quilt is the draft blocker that rests in between each of our heads, plus the ability to cinch each side around our necks. Unlike the Ray-Way quilt, which is designed to pull up over our heads on cold nights, the Accomplice instead cinches around each person’s neck. This was extremely effective at keeping drafts out when the other person moved. It does mean you need to have a hood to keep your head warm on those cold nights, and my down jacket plus wool buff worked fine for that. The square, closed footbox kept our feet warm but still provided each of us with ample foot room. Straps are provided to help secure the quilt around sleeping pads for cold nights, but we never even used them. We just didn’t need them. The quilt was wide enough to stay secure around each of us.
This quilt costs a pretty penny, and rang in over $500. There are much cheaper options out there for sleeping warm on trail. Then again, I’ve seen single-person sleeping bags run this high and even pricier as well. The quilt is custom built and well made with high-quality down, so it’s expensive. It remains in great shape and I expect it to last a long time.
I highly recommend quilts for backpacking couples. Not only can they cut a significant amount of weight from your kit, but they also provide shared body heat and allow for a more natural sleep setup for a couple. The Enlightened Equipment Accomplice is roomy, comfortable, and well-made. If your budget can allow it, and your sleeping pad(s) is/are insulated, it’s worth it to give this quilt a try. Just keep in mind the temperature ratings are a little aggressive, so when in doubt, err on the side of warmth.