Feathered Friends Gear Review
Feathered Friends sleeping bags are top-of-the-line gear. Wild West Trail has field tested two sleeping bag models, and we offer a review below.
*Editors Note: This is not a paid review. Not everything we review is positive, check out our Gossamer Gear Review.
6 Years Of Field Testing Feathered Friends
I first bought a Feathered Friends sleeping bag 6 years ago for a backpacking trip in Patagonia. I wanted something as lightweight and easy to pack as possible without sacrificing warmth. Living out of a backpack for 3.5 months in a foreign country in the most remote corner of the planet convinced me to spend the money for a good bag. At nearly $500, my Feathered friends Swallow Nano 20 did the job. It was lightweight, easy to pack small, and best of all – kept me warm as hell!
Feathered Friends Quality Review
For this segment of the gear review, I will focus on the quality and longevity of Feathered Friends Sleeping bags. Even though the model, Swallow Nano 20, has been discontinued, I am still using it to this day.
- Nylon shell. Soft to touch, comfortable to sleep in. It repels water well enough when inside a tent but don’t expect it to be waterproof. Holds up extremely well to abrasion, friction, and pulling. I did burn a small hole in the bag when holding it too close to a fire.
- The stitching is world class. With over 6 years of use, 5 continents, and countless adventures, this bag still works great! The material will easily hold up under another 6 years of abuse.
- The model I have been using for 6+ years features 850+ down fill but all the new models use 950+. However, my 20 degree rated bag still keeps me warm throughout spring, summer, and fall. I am beginning to notice colder fall nights later in the season which I attribute to a loss of loft due to feathers breaking over the years.
- My Feathered Friends sleeping bag is one of the few pieces of gear I trust when in the back-country. I don’t trust my boots, I don’t trust my bag, I don’t trust my stove, and I don’t trust my trekking poles. But I do trust that my sleeping bag will keep me warm in whatever situation I find myself in.
Feathered Friends Swift UL 20 Review
The Feathered Friends Swift UL 20 is a great bag for people requiring more shoulder space in their mummy bag while maintaining an ultralight pack size. Carmen used this bag for the entirety of the Wild West Trail and he never complained about having a cold night. The bag still looks new and will continue to be used for years to come.
- Rated to 20 degrees F, this bag insulates extremely well. During the summer months it’s almost too hot to sleep under but thanks to the continuous baffle design, it’s easy to fluff the feathers off the chest. When sleeping at the 20 degree limit, you will feel the cold and your sleep will be compromised. However, you won’t freeze to death and albeit cranky, your next day hiking will be fine. Cold fingers and toes are mitigated with wearing a winter jacket to bed and using warm socks to sleep in.
- At 1.7lbs, this sub-2lb sleeping bag does it’s job in the ultralight category. It’s also easy to pack, we use an 8-liter Sea-to-Summit sack and pack the sleeping bag down to the size of a football. Packing it in a water resistant bag helps beep the down dry on rainy days.
- Like sleeping in a cloud. The heavy 950+ fill goose feathers will keep you swaddled in your own warmth from the second you slide into the bosom that has kept Feathered Friends around since the 1970’s. This is what the word luxury was invented to describe.
- When down gets wet, it fails to insulate. If your Feathered Friends Swift UL 20 does get wet, you will have a bad time. Remember! This is not a turnkey solution to sleeping, it becomes the responsibility of the owner to care for and keep the bag dry at all costs. Pack it in a waterproof bag and think about organizing your backpack to repel water as good as possible.
- The $500 price tag kinda sucks. But that’s what supply, demand, and the cost of down dictates.
Feathered Friends Gear Review Final Thoughts
Before embarking on a life-changing journey, make sure you invest in your sleep. A high quality sleeping bag will make every hike tolerable and allow you to have the experience of a lifetime. If you are thinking about purchasing a Feathered Friends sleeping bag, do so. Feel free to thank us later 🙂