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Feathered Friends vs. Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags

Our tested take on the relative merits of Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering sleeping bags

YOUR EXPERT

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Lexi is a hiker, backpacker, and outdoor enthusiast born and raised in the White Mountains of New HampshireRead More

Sleeping bags are an essential accompaniment for any camping or backpacking trip. There are many different brands and types of sleeping bags, each with its pros and cons.

Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends make some of the best sleeping bags in the world.

However, you should be aware of some variances between the two brands before purchasing either of the two.

Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering are both high-end sleeping bag manufacturers. Both make great sleeping bag models. I own bags from both brands and can confidently say you wouldn't go wrong with either!

I have had enough time to refine my sleep system to perfection. Having tested sleeping bags from other brands like Marmot, I have realized that Western Mountaineering bags and Feathered Friends make the best sleeping bags in the world.

feathered friends vs western mountaineering sleeping bags

Sleeping Bags: Western Mountaineering vs. Feathered Friends

Sleeping bags are personal preferences; what works for one person might not work for another. Some people prefer Western Mountaineering bags, while others prefer Feathered Friends bags. There are different factors to consider when choosing a sleeping bag such as temperature rating, weight, and packed size.

Feathered Friends are popular manufacturers in the sleeping bag market for several reasons. They make top-notch sleeping bags with an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. More so, Feathered Friends make unbeatable ultralight sleeping bags that give you lighter loads for your backpacking gear.

Western Mountaineering has also made some of the best ultralight sleeping bags on the market for years. Besides being crazy light, they keep you super warm during cold nights.


Main Differences Between Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags?

These two sleeping bag manufacturers have been around the market for a long time and have made a good name for themselves. They are both known for producing quality bags to help individuals sleep comfortably.

When selecting between the two brands, there are specific factors to consider like price point, weight savings, comfortability, e.t.c. Each brand has its specifications that make them unique from the others.

Let's look at what has worked for me over the years.


Which is Best For Cold Weather Camping?

Winter camping requires a warm sleeping bag and sometimes sleeping pads. Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering have some of the best sleeping bags for cold weather camping. Here are the two most effective cold weather sleeping bags from each brand.


Feathered Friends Snowy Owl EX 60 Sleeping Bag

Best for Cold Weather
Feathered Friends Snowy Owl EX 60 Sleeping Bag

Feathered Friends Snowy Owl EX 60 sleeping bag is a significantly toasty bag in this brand and in the world since its creation.

  • Materials
    • Shell: Pertex® Shield EX (Waterproof and breathable)
    • Lining: Pertex® 30 Denier Nylon Taffeta
    • Fill Power: 900+ Goose Down
  • Temperature Rating: -60ºF / -51.1ºC
Features

The sleeping bag features a significantly even loft of the 900+ fill down in the head, neck, and shoulder area. This feature ensures that you get maximum comfort and will not get muscle cramps as you sleep.

It has an inner zipper that warrants a tight and draft seal. It runs parallel to the main zipper and acts as a plan B in case the main zipper fails.

It is made of Pertex R Shield fabric and denier 15 denier and a 40 denier ripstop reinforcement. It has a water-resistant and breathable coating, so it doesn't retain moisture.

The Snowy Owl Ex 60 Sleeping bag is made with baffles on the inside to prevent it from shifting and allowing cold air or moisture to get into the bag. To enhance this feature, the bag is constructed with a tuck stitch sewing method.

What we love
  • Durable
  • High quality
  • It provides excellent warmth
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Perfect for the winter season
What you might not
  • It is a higher budget bag
  • It doesn't have a wide range of colors
  • It is too warm for warm weather

Western Mountaineering Bison GWS Expedition

Best for Cold Weather
Western Mountaineering Bison GWS Expedition

The Western Mountaineering brand isn't to be taken lightly when making a warm sleeping bag. The Western Mountaineering Bison GWS expedition takes the crown for this brand. Here are the specs of this bag:

  • Fill Power: 42 oz. 850+ Down Fill
  • Temperature Rating: -40° F 
Features

The bag is made of Gore Windstopper fabric which makes the bag significantly warmer.

The bag compresses when packed and remains lightweight without damaging the heat factor.

It is made with 850+fill power down, which is slightly lower than the Feathered Friends Snowy Owl EX 60 sleeping bag. However, this slight difference doesn't hinder it from doing an awesome job of ensuring you remain warm.

The Western Mountaineering Bison GWS has double interlocking draft tubes and a down-filled Gore Windstopper collar that seals in heat and prevents cold air from entering the bag.

What we love
  • Quality construction
  • Lofty and super warm
  • Excellent materials and craftsmanship
What you might not
  • Takes up a lot of space in a pack
  • It is too warm for warm weather

Which Is Best On a Budget?

While sleeping bags are essential for backpackers, looking at your budget is critical. It would be best if you got a sleeping bag that serves you well and is reasonably priced. It is important to note that with excellent quality comes a higher budget.

Here are the best budget sleeping bags from both brands:


Feathered Friends Flicker YF Quilt Sleeping Bag

Best On A Budget
Feathered Friends Flicker YF Quilt Sleeping Bag

The Feathered Friends brand has Flicker YF Quilt which is currently going for 429 US dollars. Here are the key specifications of the bag:

  • Materials
    • Shell: Pertex® YFuse®
    • Lining: Pertex® 20 denier nylon taffeta
    • Fill Power: 900+ Goose Down
  • Temperature Rating: 20ºF 
Features

The bag has been created in two lengths to cater to all users: long and regular. It is also available in three different temperature ratings: 20,30 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The sleeping bag is made of 20 deniers water-resistant fabric to prevent moisture buildup and dampness.

It has a fill power of 900+ Goose Down.

What we love
  • It is a lightweight sleeping bag
  • It is durable
  • It can accommodate two people
What you might not
  • When compared to other Ultralite bags it is a bit bulky

Western Mountaineering EverLite 45 Sleeping Bag

Best on a Budget
Western Mountaineering EverLite 45 Sleeping Bag

The Western Mountaineering Everlite 45-degree bag goes for approximately 325 US Dollars. Here are some of its key specifications:

  • Fill Power: 850+ Fill Down
  • Temperature Rating: 40° F 
Features

It is designed in a semi-rectangular shape and with a temperature rating of 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is made with 850+ fill power down insulation, making it a warm sleeping bag. This bag can also be used as an over bag with another two or three-season mummy to create a sleep system for camping in colder weather.

It has a full-length 3ykk coil zipper that allows the entire bag to open up and act as a blanket. It features an Insulated Draft Tube that prevents cold air from entering the zipper.

What we love
  • It is versatile
  • It is durable
  • The rectangular shape gives it more room than mummy bags
What you might not
  • It is quite heavy
  • It is a higher budget for some people

Who Makes The Most Comfortable Sleeping Bag?

If you enjoy your sleep as much as I do, comfort is a crucial factor to consider when selecting a sleeping bag. Both of these brands have one bag tested and rated as the most comfortable among the others.

What stood out most for the Feathered Friends sleeping bag is the technology that allows the bag to accommodate two people. The Western Mountaineering Ultralite came out as comfortable and suitable for lightweight gear.

Look at the breakdown below:


Western Mountaineering Ultralite 20 Sleeping Bag

Most Comfortable Sleeping Bag
Western Mountaineering Ultralite 20 Sleeping Bag

This brand produces a wide range of sleeping bags to meet all users' needs. The Western Mountaineering Ultralite is their most comfortable sleeping bag if comfort is your spec. I had the coziest nights sleeping in this. An experience of home in the mountains!

  • Materials: 20 denier shell fabric
  • Temperature Rating: 20°F
Features

It has a 5YKK full-length zipper with an insulated draft tube. It has a full-down collar that helps you sleep warm by retaining warm air in the bag and locking cold air away.

The Western Mountaineering Ultralite sleeping bag is made of nylon and down fill material. It has a 5IN loft and 20 degrees temperature rating. Due to the technology used to make this bag, its insulation can shift to body temperature.

It has a mummy bag shape and weighs only 2 pounds, making it suitable for lightweight backpacking.


Size

Thus sleeping bag measures 73.66 cm by 30.48cm by 25.4cm

What we love
  • It is water-resistant and breathable
  • It is a lightweight sleeping bag
  • It is super warm
What you might not
  • It has a narrow fitting over the shoulders and chest
  • It is a higher budget sleeping bag

Feathered Friends Penguin YF 20

Most Comfortable Sleeping Bag
Feathered Friends Penguin YF 20

This is the most comfortable sleeping bag in the Feathered Friends brand. It is a unique bag that two people can maximize its use and space. Therefore, if you are thinking of having a two-person camping adventure, I recommend the Feathered Friends Penguin YF 20.

  • Materials
    • Shell: Pertex® YFuse®
    • Lining: Pertex® 20 denier nylon taffeta
    • Fill Power: 900+ Goose Down
  • Temperature Rating: 10ºF 
Features

The Penguin YF 20 is made of Pertex 20 denier nylon outer fabric. It has a fill power of 900+ Goose Down.

The sleeping bag is constructed with a topstitched baffle to ensure it doesn't separate easily. Another plus for this bag is that it is groundsheet comfortable. You don't need to use a sleeping pad to attain maximum warmth and comfort.

The bag has a wrap-around that separates its YKK 8 zipper, which enables the bag to open up entirely and can be used as a quilt.

It has dual graft tubes that prevent it from losing heat, keeping you warm through cold nights.

What we love
  • It can be adjusted to fit two people
  • It is very comfortable and easy to use, unlike mummy bags
  • It is versatile
What you might not
  • It is a higher budget sleeping bag
  • It is a hoodless sleeping bag

Who Wins On Weight?

When preparing for a camping or hiking trip, it is important to consider the weight of your outdoor gear. Backpackers need to move fast and hence require light gear.

You don't want to have heavy gear that will drag you down and take up much of the strength you would have used for climbing. Feathers Friends and Western mountaineering have bags that stand out in weight, as you will see below:


Feathered Friends Hummingbird UL 30

Best on Weight
Feathered Friends Hummingbird UL 30

Feathered Friends are an ICON of the lightweight backpacking industry. Their sleeping bags are suitable for backpackers who prefer enlightened camping gear.

Feathered Friends Hummingbird UL 30 stands out as one of the best sleeping bags for this brand. It also ranks as the best ultralight sleeping bag among its brand. As a mountain climbing enthusiast, weight saving is a factor I'm very keen on when buying sleeping bags. Let's look at its features:

  • Materials: Pertex® Endurance® UL, Flite 15 denier ripstop nylon
  • Temperature Rating: 20ºF / -6.67ºC  
Features

The shell fabric is made of the Pertex Endurance UL, while its inner lining is made of lite 15 denier ripstop nylon. It has a fill power of 950+ and Goose down.

The Feathered Friends Hummingbird is designed in a mummy bag shape with a #5 YKK two-way, separating zipper with locking sliders.

It has passive collars that provide an extra cushion around the neck area to trap all the necessary heat to keep you warm.


Size

The sleeping bag comes in two length options; regular and long. This option ensures that everyone is comfortable with their selected length. It measures 147.32 in length by 132.08 in width by 96.52 cm in height.

What we love
  • It is a lightweight sleeping bag
  • It has a 3D contoured hood that can open wide during warm temperatures and clinch
  • during cold nights
What you might not
  • It is a high budget bag
  • The bag does not have water-resistant down

Western Mountaineering Ultralite Sleeping Bag

Best on Weight
Western Mountaineering Ultralite Sleeping Bag

Western Mountaineering produces mummy bags or rectangular bag designs to maximize weight savings. They use a shell fabric that ranges from 7 denier ripstop nylon to make ultralight sleeping bags suitable for lightweight backpacking.

Western Mountaineering Ultralite is the lightest among its brand. This sleeping bag has been designed as a three-season bag. Let's look at its key features.

  • Materials: 20 denier shell fabric
  • Temperature Rating: 20°F
Features

The bag is made of an outer lite face fabric and a nylon taffeta lining on the inside. The extremeLite shell fabric enhances insulation without adding unnecessary weight to the bag.

It has an ultra-premium 850+ fill-down insulation. This makes the bag packable and lofty.

It has a mummy bag shape with narrow shoulders to remove dead air pockets and promote warmth inside the bag.

What we love
  • It is incredibly light as it only weighs 2 pounds
  • It is versatile as it comes in heights for different users
  • It is durable
  • Super comfy
  • It is a lightweight backpacking bag
  • It is breathable
What you might not
  • It is a high budget bag
  • It has narrow shoulders

We found Feathered Friends Hummingbird to be the best ultralight sleeping bag on the market. The Western Mountaineering Ultralite also has some of the best features for backpackers looking to carry light gears. Depending on your preference, you can go with either of the two for your next trip.


Best High-end Sleeping Bags

Most high-end sleeping bags are of excellent quality and do the job perfectly. You'd rather purchase a sleeping bag that is expensive and worthwhile than go for a cheap one that will serve you for a short time.


Western Mountaineering AlpinLite 20 degree

Best High-end Sleeping Bags
Western Mountaineering Ultralite Sleeping Bag

The Alpinlite 20degree bag is a broader version of this brand's famous Ultralite sleeping bag. With this bag, you get high-quality loft and coziness as you sleep.

  • Materials: 19 oz. Down Fill
  • Temperature Rating: 20° F
Features

It has a 3D dimensional full-down collar that wraps around your neck to trap your body heat and prevent you from getting cold.

It is packed with 19 ounces of 850+ fill power down to enhance warmth during the night. It has a foot girth to keep your feet warm. You can also add extra layers if the temperature drops.

What we love
  • The bag packs down very well
  • It is super comfortable
  • It has an excellent warmth to weight ratio
  • It is worth the price
What you might not
  • High budget bag
  • The mummy shape does not give enough space to move around

Feathered Friends Swallow Ul 20

Most Comfortable Sleeping Bag
Feathered Friends Swallow Ul 20

The Swallow UL sleeping bag is an all-around bag for backpackers. It is an ideal lightweight, warm sleeping bag and more spacious than the Hummingbird. You can use this bag for all seasons of the year.

  • Materials
    • Shell: Pertex® Endurance® UL
    • Lining: Flite 15 denier ripstop nylon
    • Fill Power: 950+ Goose Down
  • Temperature Rating: 20ºF 
Features

It has a mummy shape with a 5 YKK two-way zipper with locking sliders. It has a 3D contoured hood that opens wide during warm nights and clinches during cold nights to ensure you are warm.

It has a trapezoidal foot box that allows your feet to feel comfortable and warm. It has draft tubes that prevent cold air from getting in through the zippers or warm air from leaving the bag.

The outer shell fabrics are made from Pertex Endurance UL with a Flite 15 denier ripstop nylon lining. It has a 950+Goose down fill power to enhance warmth.

What we love
  • It is very warm and fluffy
  • It is lightweight
  • It is super comfortable
  • It has great quality
  • It has enough space for turning
  • It packs down small
What you might not
  • It is a higher budget
    It does not compress easily without a compression sack

What are the Different Features Of Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags?

Western Mountaineering brand has been in the sleeping bag industry for over 35 years. The brand uses three extremeLite fabrics to make their bags:

  1. Gore Windstopper. This material is heavier than microfiber. It is water-resistant and hence works well in damp conditions. This material protects down sleeping bags from water.

  2. ExtremeLite Shells. This is the lightest fabric made of nylon. It works well in mild weather conditions.

  3. MicroFiber Shell fabrics. These types of sleeping bags are made from tightly woven polyester or nylon.

Feathered Friends is an excellent sleeping bag brand that has been around since 1972. The company stands out for making simple, good quality, and lightweight sleeping bags for its users.

Below are some of the main features of the Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends sleeping bags.


Features of Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags

  • They are made from Extremelite shell fabric, which gives them a good quality standard
  • Their bags are made with an 850 down ultra-premium insulation
  • Western Mountaineering bags weigh approximately 454g
  • Their bags have a Full Down Collar that insulates your body and is easy to adjust
  • Their sleeping bags are made with Interlocking Double Draft Tubes that run behind the main zipper. The draft tubes help prevent cold air from getting inside and warm air from escaping. The draft tubes have a full loft such that they do not compress as the zipper closes.
  • Most of the bags in their collection have a temperature rating of 20 degrees Fahrenheit with excellent warmth to weight ratio

Features of Feathered Friends Sleeping Bags

  • The Feathered Friends bag has a temperature rating of 20Degrees Fahrenheit that ensures you are warm enough, including a cold sleeper
  • Their bags have a fill power of 900 + to 950+ Goose down
  • They create versatile bags in average and long lengths to accommodate all users
  • Feathered Friends bags weigh an average of 766g

Ethical Down Explained

Down feather

Down is the most efficient natural insulation that is much warmer for a given weight than other insulating material used to make sleeping bags. Apart from warmth, down is durable, lightweight, and highly compressible.

For decades, questions have come up concerning the ethical nature of down products and their production process.

The most ethical down is from a by-product of the meat industry when birds are killed for food.

A down sleeping bag is environmentally friendly as it is biodegradable. Using down ensures that the by-products of the food industry don't go to waste. A down bag is renewable, unlike a synthetic sleeping bag which uses non-renewable resources for production.


What Does The Down Industry Do To Ensure Sustainable and Humane Practices?

The down and feather industry is highly regulated. Over the years, several standards have been created for ethically sourced down. Now certified bodies evaluate all parts of the supply chain, from owners to manufacturers.

Responsible Down Standard ensures that no RDS certified down can come from live-plucked or force-fed birds.

Producers of down and feathers must sign animal welfare laws in their country to join industry organizations.


What Is The Responsible Down Standard (RDS)?

RDS is the highest level of certification created by the textile exchange. Textile exchange works with manufacturers in the textile industry to reduce and reverse the negative and social impacts created by this industry.

RDS works to protect animals. It ensures that the down and feathers used to make sleeping bags are not from animals that have been subjected to harm. The standard gives companies a tool to understand what is in their products.


How Western Mountaineering Approach RDS

Western Mountaineering gathers the best quality down bags humanely, reducing direct interaction between gees and humans. They collect the plumage that naturally falls from mature geese during molting, forming the highest down quality.

This approach results in higher fill power because Down falls naturally from mature, healthy geese and causes no harm to them.


How Feathered Friends Approach RDS

100% of the Down used by Feathered Friends is certified by RDS( no force-feeding and no life plucking. You can be confident that the Down in your sleeping bag is ethically sourced.

Their products are 100% certified and carry the RDS logo. Their Down is a by-product of the meat industry from Eastern European geese that have never been force-fed or caged.


Final Remarks

When choosing a sleeping bag for your next backpacking trip, picking from either Feathered Friends or Western Mountaineering will get you a high-quality and decent sleeping bag. Both brands are popular for producing the best bags in the world and following certification standards. Choose what works best for you based on the recommendations given above.

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