The highest quality bag in this review, the Feathered Friends Egret UL 20, knocks its competitors off their pedestals easily and wins our Editors' Choice Award. It has an unmatched down fill of 950+, creating a toasty and lofty bag for all three backpacking seasons. It is super lightweight, packable, and has a simple shape that is comfortable and effective. Our only complaint (price aside) is that its available sizes left some of our testers feeling like there wasn't a perfect fit. Those who fall right in the middle of the two women's sizes (5'3 and 5'9) felt that they had to size up, at which point the bag became a little too roomy.Because this is the warmest product, it is the best choice for traveling long distances in the mountains or cold weather from Spring to Fall. If you're somewhere that the weather can be unpredictable and often cold, the Egret is perfect. We recommend it on long backpacks where weight is essential and you want something warm. The Pacific Crest Trail is a perfect example! It's not the best option as a warm-weather bag as its fill is too warm for lower elevations. While the price is a little steep, our Editors' Choice winner offers the best warmth to weight ratio out there and superior performance through all three seasons.
Feathered Friends Egret UL 20 - Women's Review
Cons: Sizing not for everyone, fabric is a bit noisy
Manufacturer: Feathered Friends
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This warm, high-quality bag will keep you performing at a high level in the backcountry with quality sleep, and will last you a long time!
The Egret is not EN rated, and so it is a bit tricky to compare with the other products we tested that do have an EN temperature rating. However, after using this bag, it proves to be the warmest of the bunch. Its super high fill power of 950+ increases its warmth to weight ratio, meaning that this bag puffs up huge and keeps the heat in its lofty filling. The Egret also has continuous baffles that are open from bottom to top, which allow you to shake all the down filling to the top of the bag for especially cold nights if you have a warm sleeping pad to maximize all the down for warmth.
We were curious why Feathered Friends chooses not to EN test their bags, a common spec among competing manufacturers, so we reached out to them to find out why. Here is what they said:
"First, the test is expensive and doesn't exactly provide 'real world' metrics. That being said, when we compare the specs of our bags (loft, down quality, construction, etc.) against our competitors who did EN test, and our bag exceeds theirs in every measure, we feel confident that if theirs can be labeled a 20, for example, ours can, too. We also have over 45 years of experience in building, testing, and rating bags. We rely on and highly value those decades of user feedback (a lot more than a lab test)."
We appreciate their experience and think that the Egret is slightly warmer than other bags that were EN rated to 20 degrees. The only problem we encountered with warmth is that one of our testers who is 5'5" found the 5'9" sized bag too long creating a space for cold air in the foot box that she couldn't fill. She ended up stuffing clothes down to fill up that space which helped with keeping warm on cool autumn nights in the mountains. The Egret also comes in a 5'3" size option, which is great because there are not many products offered for folks in that size range. Most women's products come in an average size of 5'6", so if you're taller than that you would have to size up to a men's bag - but with the Egret, you have the 5'9" option as well.
The Egret is a super lightweight option! It weighs only 1.72 pounds (27.5 ounces). We are pleasantly surprised by its weight considering how much down it's stuffed with. This makes it one of the lightest bags we've tested, with one of the best warmth: weight rations. It's a fantastic option for trucking around on multi-day backpacking adventures into the mountains.
The Egret is extremely comfortable. It has a standard mummy shape that is quite roomy, providing you with more space for your legs and shoulders to move around. We didn't feel claustrophobic or constricted. What's more is the high-power fill is super lofty and cozy, swaddling your body for excellent all-night comfort.
We did notice that the shell fabric is noisy and one of our tent mates complained that this bag, paired with the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Women's sleeping pad "sounds like you're in a bag of Sun Chips". The shell material does make a crinkly noise. We are also a little disappointed in the shape of the hood. We would like for it to be slightly deeper to cup your head more, it felt a little shallow. On a really cold night, more coverage would be nice.
Given that the Egret is so lofty with so much down packed into its baffles, the compressed size is slightly larger than some of its competitors. It comes with a small-ish stuff sack to pack it in, but it can be compressed even smaller with a compression sack.
The lack of distinct features on this bag is a feature in itself. The Egret does not have fancy bells and whistles that are obviously straight out of the gate. We think that some products have too many overbuilt features that are not very useful and make the product heavy. The Egret's quality materials and construction are its best features, including the ability to move all of the down in the bag on to the top.
Its extremely burly zipper seems a bit overkill, but we understand that the biggest complaint in sleeping bag reviews is that the zippers often catch on the shell material. Feathered Friends has discovered a way to make sure this doesn't happen. The #5 YKK two-way, separating zipper with locking sliders and the burly zipper liner fabric makes it virtually impossible to catch fabric in the zipper. Other models featured zippers that seemed to snag at the most inopportune times. The Egret's zip guard fabric is crinkly sounding and doesn't help with the "Sun Chip" bag effect. We like that it comes in three different colors.
The Egret is one of the most expensive bags in this review, and we think it's worth every penny. This is a bag that's worth saving up for a little longer, as it will last you a long time with proper care and is super versatile.
This high-quality product consists of top of the line materials, and the company is an industry leader. The Feathered Friends Egret 20 UL is lightweight, warm, and comfortable, and is our favorite choice for long backpacking trips in the mountains. It wins our Editors' Choice Award for all of these reasons.
— Jessica Haist