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Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL Review

This bag's versatile design allows it to be a fully opened blanket or a fully zipped hoodless mummy
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Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL Review
Credit: Justin Simoni
Price:  $469 List
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Manufacturer:   Feathered Friends
By Justin Simoni and Andy Wellman  ⋅  Feb 28, 2024
69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 17
  • Warmth - 30% 4.0
  • Weight - 25% 7.4
  • Comfort - 20% 7.0
  • Versatility - 15% 10.0
  • Features - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL is an optimal choice whenever the temperatures vary from warm, cool, or downright chilly: through the night or an entire trip. The full-length zipper is the standout feature, along with a drawcord by the footbox and a neck collar by the head. These well-designed components allow you to zip, cinch, and snap up, transforming a full blanket into a hoodless mummy. This ensures you can always be fully wrapped in warmth — something you simply can't attain with an open-bottomed quilt. While the Flicker wasn't the absolute warmest or lightest bag that we have tested, its best-of-both-worlds feature set and versatility make it one of our favorite ultralight sleeping bags.
REASONS TO BUY
Transforms from hoodless mummy to flat blanket
Lofty 950+ fill power goose down
Excellent build quality
REASONS TO AVOID
Not as warm as others (in the version we tested)
Neck draw cords loosen over time
Full-length zipper adds marginal extra weight
Editor's Note: This review was updated on February 28, 2024, after a full retest of the Flicker alongside a revamped lineup.

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Bottom Line An awesome set of features allows you to use this bagin a surprising amount of different temperatures and situationsStay warm and comfy in this excellently executed bagThe only mummy bag that uses more down fill in the foot box and less around the torso, to take advantage of the clothing you have with youA functional, versatile, and well-featured quilt well worth the low priceYour best bet for an ultralight quilt if down fill just doesn't work for you
Rating Categories Feathered Friends F... Therm-a-Rest Hyperi... Feathered Friends V... Hammock Gear Econom... Enlightened Equipme...
Warmth (30%)
4.0
9.0
6.8
6.7
5.5
Weight (25%)
7.4
6.5
8.5
4.8
5.3
Comfort (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Versatility (15%)
10.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
Features (10%)
9.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Feathered Friends F... Therm-a-Rest Hyperi... Feathered Friends V... Hammock Gear Econom... Enlightened Equipme...
Manufacturer Stated Temperature Rating 40°F 20°F 25°F lower half, 45°F upper half 20°F 30°F
Measured Weight (bag only) 19.2 oz 21.4 oz 16.2 oz 25.8 oz 24.6 oz
Stuff Sack Weight 0.8 oz 1.6 oz 0.8 oz 0.6 oz 0.6 oz
Stuffed Size 7" x 10" 6" x 8" 7" x 10" 6" x 10" 8" x 17.5"
Manufacturer Claimed Weight 20.0 oz 20.0 oz 16.7 oz 22.2 oz 23.8 oz
Fill Weight 8.4 oz 12.5 oz 9.4 oz 13.2 oz 20.4 oz
Shell Material Pertex Endurance UL 10D Nylon RipStop w/DWR Pertex Endurance UL 20D nylon taffeta 10d Ultralight nylon fabric, DWR finish
Fill Power 950+ goose down 900 fill RDS Nikwax hydrophobic goose down RDS 950+ fill goose down 850 fill duck down 4oz/yd² Climashield Apex synthetic insulation
Style Center zip mummy bag or unzip for quilt Hooded mummy Hoodless, zipperless mummy Quilt Quilt
Construction Continuous baffles Horizontal box baffle consruction No hood, no zipper and a variable fill Box baffle consruction Baffle-less, no sewn-through seams
Shoulder Girth 62" 57" 64" 55" 54"
Hip Girth 48" 49.5" 48" 50" 47"
Foot Girth 39" 43" 38" 45" 40"
Zipper Length Full-length center zip 1/2-length side zip at top No zipper 1/3-length at bottom 1/4-length at footbox
Sizes Regular, long, and wide Small, regular, long 62", 68", and 74" Short, standard, long, short wide, standard wide, long wide Short, regular, regular wide, long wide
Temp Options (degrees Fahrenheit) 20, 30, 40°F 20, 32°F 25, 45°F 0, 10, 20, 30, 40°F 20, 30, 40, 50°F

Our Analysis and Test Results

What exactly is the Flicker? Is it a quilt, a sleeping bag, or a blanket? With its full-length zipper and cinch-able footbox, it can be whatever you need it to be, given your conditions. Maybe you'll start a trip in temperate weather where a loose blanket is all you need to stay comfortable on a clear, calm night. The next week could see a sudden plunge in temps and a surprise six inches of snow falling overnight. But you're snuggled deep in a fully zipped up and toasty bag. That's the magic and joy of the Flicker 40 UL — the Pertex Endurance UL shell fabric is lightweight and naturally water-resistant with no coating to wear off, offering great first-line protection against condensation inside a tent. The 950+ goose fill down lofts up nicely and is supremely lightweight. Attention to design detail, such as adding more durable fabric to the zipper baffle and a neck collar to help seal in the warmth, further endeared this bag to our hearts.

Performance Comparison


feathered friends flicker 40 ul - hanging out to watch the sunset and eat dinner in the award winning...
Hanging out to watch the sunset and eat dinner in the award winning Feathered Friends Flicker 40, on an overnight trip into the Uncompahgre Wilderness in Colorado.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Warmth


The Flicker 40 UL uses 8.4 ounces of some of the highest quality 950+ fill goose down available to give it loft and warmth. The down is sewn into place using horizontal box baffles, so this bag's interior and exterior fabric never meet to create down “dead spots” or points without insulation. The Flicker has a number of other features that contribute to the overall warmth effect, such as the full-length center zipper lined the entire way by a reinforced draft tube and a down-filled neck collar with two buttons to hold it closed at the top of the zipper. All this creates a reasonably warm bag worthy of its 40°F limit rating.


We tested the Flicker over numerous nights at temperatures well above its 40°F limit and found it to be very comfortable in both blanket and quilt mode. We also used it for two nights fully zipped up when at, or even slightly below, the 40°F limit. While it did not keep us piping hot at those temperatures, we were still reasonably comfortable and not suffering like we were when we tested other quilts to their lower-end limits. To supplement the hoodless design, we suggest investing in a down hat to keep your head as warm as the rest of your body.

Our overnight hot water bottle test confirms that this bag performs well for its temperature limit rating of 40°F but does not over-perform outside it. Don't purchase this bag thinking you'll magically get a lower-rated bag.

feathered friends flicker 40 ul - this full-length zipper does an incredible job at modulating how...
This full-length zipper does an incredible job at modulating how much heat is trapped in the bag and allows the Flicker to transform from a hoodless sleeping bag into a flat blanket.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Weight


Our size regular Flicker 40 UL weighed in at 19.2 ounces, slightly lighter than the 20 ounces advertised on the Feathered Friends website. The included stuff sack weighed an additional 0.8 ounces.


8.4 ounces of this weight is the 950+ goose down, making up 43.75% of the total bag's weight. This is a good, but not great, ratio. Much of the additional non-down fill weight is taken up by the full-length zipper, which doesn't add to the warmth of the bag directly but does add to the uncompressable volume of the bag. The 10D Pertex shell and 15D ripstop nylon liner fabric are both very lightweight materials.

feathered friends flicker 40 ul - the flicker 40 ul in its provided stuff sack next to a nalgene...
The Flicker 40 UL in its provided stuff sack next to a Nalgene bottle for scale.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Comfort


According to Feathered Friends, our regular-sized Flicker 40 UL is 6'6" long in blanket mode and 6'0" long when the end is cinched. This should make it plenty long to suit a six-foot-tall person, and in our experience, this was true. With our feet comfortably in the bottom of the bag and the end cinched, the neck collar and baffle easily came over our shoulders and sat snuggly around our neck. We also found that when fully zipped up in bag mode, the Flicker was spacious and comfortable throughout, without the claustrophobic constriction inherent in some mummy bag designs. We found that the Flite 15D ripstop nylon inner material was plenty comfortable against our skin.


While certainly among the more comfortable bags in this review, we can't rate the Flicker as high as some of the other bags we tested. That said, while comparatively it wasn't the absolute best, we genuinely can't complain about comfort.

feathered friends flicker 40 ul - with the end of this bag tightened up into enclosed foot box mode...
With the end of this bag tightened up into enclosed foot box mode, there is certainly a little bit of length lost. However, it is still plenty long, shown here fully zipped up.
Credit: Andy Wellman

Versatility


We define versatility as the ability for a sleeping bag to be effectively and comfortably used in different situations, and there is no doubt that this is where the Flicker 40 UL truly shines. As mentioned, we love the fact that this bag can be either a fully opened blanket or an enclosed mummy bag. That kind of adaptability can be really clutch in variable environments or on long trips.


One of the design premises of many of the quilts we tested is that laying on top of down insulation compresses it, rendering it ineffective. Quilts use this reasoning to not include a bottom side and are instead designed to wrap around a sleeping pad. Our hard-earned experience with these designs is that quilt designs that are fully enclosed are noticeably warmer than their non-enclosed counterparts, regardless of temperature rating. Simply put, air manages to leak in and out if you're not fully enclosed. Makes sense.

Easily transform the Flicker 40 from a sleeping bag mode to an open blanket.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Features


The Flicker received one of the highest scores for this metric too. When considering features, we assessed how useful the features were to the design of the bag and also how well they worked.


Besides the full-length zipper, we love how well the foot box drawcord works on this bag. With one pull, the Flicker goes from a fully flat blanket to having a completely enclosed foot box. Unlike similar designs, there is not even the smallest hole left in the bottom of the bag for air to escape, and we found the drawcord easily stayed tight through many nights of usage.

feathered friends flicker 40 ul - the foot of the bag can be cinched up to keep out the drafts and...
The foot of the bag can be cinched up to keep out the drafts and create the start of a footbox for when the Flicker is in bag-mode.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Should You Buy the Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL?


The Flicker is an extremely versatile bag for different seasons, temperatures, climates, and uses. Variations of this bag go down to a 20°F limit rating, making it a good bet there's a perfect one for you.

feathered friends flicker 40 ul - on a chilly morning in the desert, we enjoyed the versatility of...
On a chilly morning in the desert, we enjoyed the versatility of being able to wear the Flicker 40 with our feet out and the zipper done up, at least until the sun hit.
Credit: Andy Wellman

What Other Ultralight Sleeping Bags Should You Consider?


If you like the hoodless sleeping bag concept, there's also the Feathered Friends Vireo UL. The twist to the Vireo is that rather than a full-length zipper, it has no zipper at all. This saves an appreciable amount of weight, but you lose the incredible versatility of the Flicker.

If you love the idea of a quilt, the Hammock Gear Economy Burrow 20, Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20, Enlightened Equipment Revelation APEX 30, and Katabatic Gear Flex 22 all allow you to zip up approximately the bottom quarter of the quilt to provide a toasty foot box, while also having the ability to transform into a flat blanket.

feathered friends flicker 40 ul - if versatility is key for you when out adventuring, the flicker is a...
If versatility is key for you when out adventuring, the Flicker is a solid bet.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Justin Simoni and Andy Wellman