The highest quality bag in this review, the Feathered Friends Egret UL 20, knocks its competitors of 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 found 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.
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 proved 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, more so than other bags with less loft like the Big Agnes Roxy Ann that only has 650 fill power. 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 and that there was a lot of cold air in the foot box which she couldn't fill. She ended up stuffing clothes down there 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" like the Rab Neutrino, 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 essentially tied with the Sierra Designs Women's Cloud 800 for the lightest product we tested. It weighs in at 1.72 pounds, or 27.5 ounces. 0.1 ounces heavier than the Cloud. We were pleasantly surprised about this considering how much down this bag has in it. The heaviest bag we tested was the synthetic fill Marmot Trestles 15 that weighs in at a hefty 72 ounces, or 4.5 pounds!
The Egret is extremely comfortable. It has a standard mummy shape that is slightly roomier than other bags like the REI Joule or the Marmot Phase 20, giving more room for your legs to move around and in the shoulder area. 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 it "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.
Because the Egret is so fluffy and has so much down its packed 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 Rab Neutrino 400 Women's compresses much smaller than the Egret but it is also not as warm. Synthetic bags like The North Face Cat's Meow Women's are much less compressible and do not pack down as small as down fill products.
The lack of distinct features on this bag is a feature in itself. The Egret does not have fancy bells and whistles that are obvious straight out of the gate. We think that some products, like the NEMO Rave, 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.
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 3 different colors, the purple is our favorite and the orange less so because it's the most likely one to show dirt quickly.
Because this is the warmest product, we tested it is the best choice for traveling long distances in the mountains 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, but you also want something warm, like on the Pacific Crest Trail. If you're looking for a pure summer bag, we recommend something like the Neutrino or the Cloud. The Egret is often too warm for temperate summer nights at low elevation.
Retailing for $469, the Egret is the second most expensive bag 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. If you're looking for something equally as light but for warmer temperatures, the Sierra Designs Cloud is a great choice for only $300. Otherwise, Feathered Friends has great customer service, and the Egret should definitely be considered a top option.
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