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PostPosted: March 2nd, 2013, 11:49 pm 
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Does anyone own a Feathered Friends bag? In my quest for the perfect, warmest sleeping bag I am looking at potentially the Snowy Owl or Snow Goose. I see they are both described as "Expedition Mummy" style bags, which means they have extra room for layering inside the bag. I have never been able to sleep in a traditional mummy bag because I find them too restrictive and I like to turn inside my bag. If anyone owns either of these bags can you advise how they fit? Would I be able to turn inside the bag? Any input would be appreciated :)

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2013, 2:42 pm 
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Location: scarborugh, Ontario canada
I have an older FF bag, not sure the model but it is good to cold temps........had it down to about -25 and I was warm in the bag. It is a roomy mummy bag, but I'm not a big guy.........5'9 and about 160 lbs. I am happy with the performance of the bag, I bought it used off ebay, can't afford a new bag .
jim


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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2013, 5:31 pm 
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I would recommend looking at other options before the Feathered Friends line of down bags for a number of reasons:
First, I'm not a fan of using down bags in the winter. I've got several down bags for summer and 3-season use, but I have done an extensive amount of winter camping in hot tents, cold tents, bivy bags, outside under the stars, and just about every option available, and the moisture that inevitably accumulates on the outer layer of my bag (which of course turns to frost in the morning) worries me when using down.
On an overnighter, a damp down sleeping bag is a little concerning, but not the end of the world. My winter trips are 3 nights - 1 week in length, and I can't risk a damp sleeping bag when out for a week.
Second, they are ridiculously expensive... There are much more economical options on the market.

My sleeping system is as follows:
North Face Dark Star -40 synthetic bag. Still packs down in it's compression sack to a pretty small size. That goes inside my South Col bivy from Mec. Also inside the South Col bivy, I put one Thermarest Prolite 4. Under the bivy/sleeping bag package, I put a second Thermarest Prolite 4. The entire package ALWAYS goes on top of a thick layer of spruce or balsam boughs.

I use this same system cold camping, or in my Snowtrekker (as I always let the fire go out at night anyway... essentially making it cold camping)

My last trip had three nights at -23, -29, and -27, and I was warm all night, every night.


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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2013, 5:38 pm 
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Thanks guys. Mike that is my one concern about the down bag - condensation. How well does the waterproof/breathable material work on these bags to combat this? My trips are like yours, 3-5 nights and a damp down bag just can't happen. Having said that, I know many hardcore winter campers and climbers use down bags and don't seem to have issues.

My new -60 Wiggy's bag didn't quite cut it the other week when I was up in Algonquin and it dipped down to about -25. I wasn't freezing but I wasn't toasty either...

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2013, 6:38 pm 
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Location: scarborugh, Ontario canada
I never had an issue with condensation. I also have a snowtrekker tent and I usually hang my bags on a ridge line in my tent and it drys it out great. Yes there is some ice build up around the face of my bag but that is it and it dries out well. My daughter uses 2 MEC down bags and has always been warm.
I personally don't think that a synthetic bag is as warm or comfortabe. than a down bag, just my opinion.
My friend has a Western Mountaineering bag, I think it is the Bison, he sleeps outside with it and in the tent, keeps him warm..........also a pricey bag
jim


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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2013, 10:38 pm 
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Joined: June 25th, 2004, 9:42 pm
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Location: Calgary, AB or wherever life takes me
In the hundreds of nights sleeping out in the winter, 99% have been in a down bag, and never an issue. I have recently bought a synthetic one, for extreme cold, but that was more a budget issue that preference.

I have to admit to this being the first I have heard of a Feathered Friends bag.

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PostPosted: March 4th, 2013, 7:45 am 
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Feathered Friends is a small manufacturer of high quality down gear. They have a legion of devotees in the backcountry skiing and climbing community especially in the US. Expensive, yes. But quality costs money. I would suggest contacting them directly and discussing your needs. Remember fit is important. A big roomy bag is not going to warm as quickly or stay as warm as a closer fitting bag. A draft collar at the top keeps warmth in. If you are not warm in a -60 bag it may be your sleeping habits and not the bag. Maybe you move around so much the warm air escapes and you get cold. A hot water bottle at your feet and some high fat food before bed might help.


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PostPosted: March 10th, 2013, 9:19 pm 
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I have a FF SnowGoose -40 bag with the eVent shell. I have used it under the stars in temps approaching -35deg C. The bag is roomy....i am skinny though.....i can turn around in it, pee in a bottle in it. I am a little cool in it around the feet in those cold temps so i always use a WM 5deg C bag inside the bag and then it's great. No condensation issues with the eVent...frost might form on the outside, i just shake it off....if i were to do it again i would get the snowy owl for sleeping out under the stars.


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PostPosted: March 10th, 2013, 9:26 pm 
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Thanks guys. Attuhboy, quick question for you. Do you sleep on your side in the bag? HOw do you find the hood opening (ie can you lay on your side without breathing into the bag with the hood done up?).

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PostPosted: March 10th, 2013, 11:11 pm 
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Location: Winnipeg
I use a canadian military surplus down bag made by Woods. It is two three pound bags, one inside the other and most people put a fleece liner inside the inner one. It gives you an air space between the inner and outer to deal with any moisture and you can use one half if you are too warm. I often sleep in the top half and use the three layers below me to keep out the cold from the ground and provide a bit more comfort.

Having said this, they are hard to come by and rather bulky but they sure are warm. If I am not mistaken they cost the govt about $600 a copy. They do come with a valise to stuff them into and of course are....green. Sometimes you can find them at surplus outlets and it really does not matter if you get two inners or two outers or an inner and outer . They are meant to tie together but that is not essential.

Failing that, get two down bags and put them together.

Christine


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2013, 9:58 am 
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That is my other option. I have a Big Agnes Lost Ranger (-9) and MEC Cygnet (-10) down bag that seem to fill well together. The MEC bag fits nicely inside the BA bag without having its loft compromised. It's a bit of a pain having two zippers etc to fiddle with but its certainly an option. Now I wish the cold weather would come back so I could do some backyard testing!

The other thing I dislike about the Wiggys bag is the size of it (but I knew that when I bought it). It is huge and heavy so I'm looking to make things a bit lighter and smaller to pack on a sled.

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PostPosted: March 11th, 2013, 12:55 pm 
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Hi Steve,

I would suggest looking into a custom made top quilt with a snap foot box. Like you I needed a sleep system that would allow me to squirm...I roll around a lot in the night. I have not had any luck with sleeping bags EVER with the exception of "The Beast" (have no clue who makes it) but that bag must weigh at least 30lbs and is not practical for hiking or canoeing...I wouldn't even want to pull it on a sled. It also doesn't make much sense to me paying the money for the extra material that goes into the underneath portion of a sleeping bag that gets compressed and looses most of its insulation value. Zippers are also a wasted weight and are a potential fail point of any bag, and half the time I wake up with them unzipped anyways.

My solution was a custom made top quilt. I went with Underground Quilts - a small cottage country industry in the States. The owner was really good to me and built my quilt with the specs I requested. My bag is 65" wide, has a snap foot box going up halfway on the quilt, and enough down insulation to give over 5" loft. This bag was designed for me to sleep comfortably to around -30 degrees celcius. I sleep in a hammock so use a similar fashioned custom made under quilt. But if your a ground dweller then your mattress/CCF/pad should provide your bottom warmth and insulation...not your compressed sleeping bag. Top quilts maximize warmth, comfort, weight, and value. In the end, my top quilt cost roughly $500.00...half the price of the feathered friends -40 sleeping bag and it was custom designed for my body, my use, and the temps I would need it for.

Some companies I would look into for this: Underground Quilts (give Paul a try first, he has excellent customer service, and you will likely get your quilt faster then any of the other custom gear manufacters), Hammock Gear, and possibly Jacks R better (although Jacks have less custom options as in they likely won't build a bag to your specs). Turk actually had a few good videos of hammock camping and he used Jacks R Better gear I believe.

Have a look at Shugs Youtube channel...he has EXCELLENT knowledge in cold weather camping and offers a few videos depicting top quilts, underquilts, etc... . He is also very entertaining to watch!!!

Anyways, that's what I use. Good luck finding what works for you!

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PostPosted: March 11th, 2013, 5:38 pm 
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Sam82 thanks for the info! I've thought a bit about a quilt but have been reluctant only because when I winter camp I can really feel the difference when Im in a bag with a draft collar. So you don't get any drafts or anything when camping at those cold temperatures?

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PostPosted: March 11th, 2013, 7:57 pm 
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I sleep on my back as well as both sides. I move around a fair bit. I don't breathe into the bag in any of these positions. I am able to pull the bag away from my mouth when on my side so that the breath condensate freezes outside on the bag below my mouth.


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2013, 8:04 pm 
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Great that's exactly the input I was seeking, thanks! Now to add something more to the mix, I'm going to post about a different bag I have come across...but I will start a new thread on that. I need help with my indecisiveness!

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