Feathered Friends Tanager 20 Review

We put Feathered Friends’ ultralight and hoodless sleeping bag to the test in the mountains of eastern Idaho

Table of Contents

1 lb. 2.6 oz.

12.6 oz. of 950-fill down

One of the lightest 20-degree sleeping bags on the market.

Lack of a zipper makes it challenging to cool off on warm nights.

The Seattle-based Feathered Friends is well-known for their high-end down products and Feathered Friends’ Tanager 20 CFL sleeping bag displays their knowledge. It packs a substantial quantity of premium down in a 950-fill, light and airy design The Tanager is able to make a distinction between heavier Mummy bags and lighter ultralight quilts. The absence in hoods means that you’ll have to wear a down jacket with hood or a warm hat, however we were impressed (and not cold) when we went out in the high alpine region of the Tetons and the backcountry of Idaho. Below , we’ll break down the Tanager’s weight and packability along with its warmth and insulation features durability, features and more. To compare it against the other brands check out our article on the top ultralight quilts and sleeping bags.

Performance

Weight

There’s a reason for that “CFL” of the Feathered Friends Tanager’s name stands meaning “crazy amazing light” We think that’s an excellent choice. It weighs a light 1 pound 2.6 tons for the 68 inch version (the version that is 74 inches tall weighs 1 one pound 3.7 pounds) and the Tanager is in a class of its own. Other ultralight alternatives with similar temperature ratings include those from the Katabatic Gear Flex 22 (1 1 pound 6.4 grams), Enlightened Equipment Revelation (1 1 pound 4.9 grams) as well as the Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20 (1 pound 4 ounces) each are slightly heavier. Therm-aRest’s similar design with a hoodless and the Ohm is less expensive than the Tanager with a weight of 1 pound and 2 ounces but it is considerably cooler, with a 32-degree rating, and has a smaller down fill. Overall carrying the Tanager through the mountains was easy and I didn’t even notice the weight of my back.

Packability

When it’s packed in its bag The Feathered Friends Tanager stuffs down into a compact 14x 6 inch package. Although this is certainly not huge but the bag’s 950-fill-power goose down can be so big that it is likely to be compressed more when squeezed into a compression bag. However, as with the majority of sleeping bags available offered, Feathered Friends doesn’t include one that’s compatible with the Tanager. Instead you can purchase one similar to the Sea-to-Summit Ultra Sil Dry Sack at a cost of $35 which we believe the tiny 2.3-ounce weight is worth it for longer excursions when your bag is packed to the grates. Another note: make sure to be careful when you utilize a compression bag. Cinching it too tight could damage the insulation of the bag in time. For optimal performance, reduce the size of the bag to a minimum and to avoid keeping it in a sack for long periods of time.

Heat and Insulation

With 12.6 pounds of premium 950-fill-power down (for the version with a 68-inch diameter) and an rated temperature of 20 degrees of 20 degrees, this Feathered Friends Tanager CFL 20 is a very warm and cozy place to be. It’s important to note the fact that Feathered Friends is known to be extremely conservative when it comes to their ratings, which means it is likely that this bag to be comfortably at or below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. I used the bag to sleep on numerous nights of temperatures that were subfreezing at 11,000 feet, and never got up freezing cold or even chilly. Actually, I removed layers on a few occasions. Overall I was awestruck and even amazed by the warmth of the Tanager.

But, the absence of a zippers makes it difficult to ventilate the bag in hot nights. Due to the bag’s temperature rating, which is low and its low temperature rating, it would be nice to be able to open the zipper and let body heat escape once conditions are hot (or when you’re just sleeping warm). The Tanager is perfect for consistently cool temperatures, such as high elevations during the summer, and lower elevations in shoulder seasons, but we’re not convinced it’s a good bag for mild summer evenings.

For comfort the Tanager’s nylon liner is soft and silky smooth, a significant difference from the plasticky feeling typical of others sleeping bags. In addition the smaller size of 68 inches (62 inches across shoulder level, 52 inches inches at in the hips and 38 inches at the feet) offered plenty of space both in width and length to my 5-foot” frame. Comparatively to ultralight mummy backpacks such as that of Western Mountaineering UltraLite and the Tanager, the Tanager is more spacious in the chest and shoulders in a way that makes it more comfortable. Additionally, there was plenty of room to lie on my back or back without feeling restricted. Additionally, the footbox is wide enough to allow me to move my feet, without allowing the feet to become cold (too many empty spaces can cause the loss of heat). In essence that, in the realm of minimalist sleeping bags the Tanager seems very extravagant.

Hoodless Design

Let me begin by stating that I’m a sleep-deprived person and have never considered removing my hood-lined mummy bags in order to shed some pounds. But, when I used Tanager Tanager to the very first time at the Grand Canyon during a bout of late spring snowfall I was awestruck by the lack of the use of a one-piece hood. When I paired the bag with an insulated scarf (alternatively some prefer to wear a hood with their down jackets) I was able stay warm and cozy throughout the night. To fill in the areas my hat wasn’t able to protect, the large collar helped to protect around my back as well as over my head. Overall the Tanager’s hoodless style offers a good compromise between a mummy bag and a sleeping quilt. This is especially true considering that many backpackers carry a light down jacket for keeping warm during the winter months.

 

 

Despite my experiences of positive ones with both Grand Canyon and Idaho’s backcountry I would not recommend the use of a hood-less sleep bag in frigid temperatures like when winter camping. In these circumstances it is essential to provide the most insulation you can get and a little warmth for your head could make a huge difference. But Tanager Tanager is designed to be an all-season bag that performs extremely well in these moderate weather conditions. Even on cold winter evenings, I didn’t experience any problems with the Tanager’s absence of hood.

Features

Due to its light tilt The Feathered Friends Tanager does not have the usual features such as the zipper, hood, as well as internal pockets. The simple cinch closure at the collar provides an easy-to-useand lightweight method to seal the bag’s zipper and retaining warmth. In actual fact, I discovered it to be more efficient than an ordinary zipper (while zippers have tiny gaps between its teeth that could let cold air in and out, the drawcord closure enabled me to close the bag to the exact size I needed). As I mentioned earlier the bag does come with a stuff bag and a large cotton bags for storage However, I’d suggest buying an additional compression bag for better packing.

Durability

When I took the Tanager from its bag to take it for the first time I was impressed by the bag’s thin material. The material is almost transparent and you are able to see feathers through the shell, which is 7 x 5 denier. In comparison, Feathered Friends’ Swallow 20/30 UL Flicker UL and Therm-aRest’s Ohm all utilize thinner 10-denier materials, however, the heavier backpacking models usually range between 20 to 50 denier. If there’s one item you should not be worried about the sleeping bag you’ll be using. Because the Tanager is either stuffed inside its sack, or laid in your tent or sleeping structure Durability isn’t a huge issue. Furthermore, without a zipper and just a simple closing cinch, there’s nothing else that can be damaged or worn over the course of time.

 

 

In the course of testing it so far I’ve (inadvertently) placed inadvertently put the Tanager to the test with a wringer. When I was camp in the backcountry of Palisades region of Eastern Idaho with the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dirigo 2 and a few drops of water accumulated inside the tent’s breathable fabric and then dripped on my sleep bag for the night. As I woke up in the morning, i was surprised that my down was not completely saturated. This is a testimony to the bags’ durable and effective water-repellent (DWR) coating. The Tanager remains in great condition after several nights of intense (and wet) usage. If you take caution while handling it, particularly when unpacking and packing there shouldn’t be any major problems (no implied pun).

 

 

What We Love

  • At just 1 pounds 2.6 pounds The Tanager is among the lightest sleeping bags for 20 degrees available.
  • The 950-fill fill down is extremely cold for it’s weight.
  • Supple lining fabric, as well as the spacious interiors are extremely cozy.
  • Despite the absence of a zipper the drawcord cinch that is located at the collar does a great job of keeping heat in.

The Things We Do Not

  • Very thin 7 x 5 denier fabric is a concern from a long-term durability perspective, and you can actually look down into the fabric.
  • A lack of zippers make it difficult to cool off during hot evenings.
  • Compression bags are sold separately, however you receive an included stuff bag as well as a cotton bag for storage.

Comparative Table

BAG FOR SLEEPINGPRICETEMPWEIGHTFILLFILL WEIGHTSHELL
Feathered Friends The Tanager CFL$36920degF1 lb. 2.6 oz.950-fill down12.6 oz.7D 5D
Therma-Rest Ohm 32$36032degF1 lb. 2 oz.900-fill down9 oz.10D
Feathered Friends flicker 20$42420degF1 lb. 10.2 oz.950-fill down14.7 oz.10D
Enlightened Equipment Revelation$30020degF1 lb. 4.9 oz.950-fill down14.4 oz.10D
Western Mountaineering SummerLite$42532degF1 lb. 3 oz.850-fill down9 oz.12D

The Contest

The Feathered Friends Tanager CFL 20 is a sleeping bag with a hood that is a great bridge between two backpacking styles such as mummy bags and ultralight quilts. This Therm-aRest Ohm 32 is a style with a hood that is designed to be used in conjunction with a down jacket that is hooded or a warm hat. However, equipped with a full-length zipper that extends into the footboxand it can also be used as blanket. In comparison to the Tanager the Ohm is just a bit lighter , at just 1 pound and 2 ounces, and is a little more roomy fitting. But the 32-degree Ohm is more cold, having 9 ounces of 900-fill as compared to 12.6 ounces of 995-fill. Overall we recommend the Tanager due to its significant increase in warmth for a similar cost and weight. For those who prefer warm sleeping or those seeking the perfect summer bag will appreciate the Ohm because of its capacity to air out and act as a quilt even in warm weather.

Alongside The Tanager, Feathered Friends’ vast selection of sleeping bags comprises The FlickerUL. As with the Therma-Rest Ohm the Flicker is designed to function as a sleeping bag as well as an entire quilt, with a zipper that runs through the middle. This flexibility allows the Flicker an absolute standout however the zipper can result in a noticeable increase in the weight (1 1 pound 10.2 pounds and ounces) and price ($424) as well as the drawcord closure in the bottom may cause drafts to enter the footbox, if you’re not cautious. However, the Flicker is the warmer choice than the other two, with an impressive 14.7 tons of down that’s 950-filled. The decision to choose should come from your preferences in sleeping. If you’re torn between a bag or a quilt, choose the Flicker. If you’re a sleepy person and don’t have the urge to let out your stuff then the Tanager might be the right choice for you.

One ultralight quilt to consider one to consider is the Revelation by Enlightened Equipment. With a weight of 1 one-pound 4.9 pounds for the standard 20-degree model, you’ll receive the generous 14.4 pounds of top-quality down that’s 950-filled (1.8 pounds more than Tanager) and a more dense outer fabric of 10 denier. As opposed to the zippable Flicker the Revelation’s back is opened by a set of ties that permit the user to attach to your mattress. Due to its layout it’s possible that the Revelation is more difficult to put up and could feel drafty if not connected to the pad. A lot of backpackers who are concerned about weight take the quilting route to cut some extra pounds however, unless you’re staying in warm weather it’s best to stick with it’s best to stick with the Tanager is the more lightweight choice and is our top pick at the final.

Not to be left out, Western Mountaineering’s SummerLite is a lighter backpack for women who do not want to sacrifice the Hood. It weighs 1 pound 3 ounces it weighs just 1 pound 3 ounces. SummerLite is virtually similar in weight to Tanager. It is almost identical in weight to Tanager but it is lighter in fill weight of 9 ounces, which is 850-fill down and 32 degrees of temperature ratings (because it’s hood; however, it does provide an additional layer of warmth on over the top). It’s also considerably smaller particularly around the hips and shoulders. But the advantage of the mummy-shaped shape is the fact that you do not need to carry a down jacket with hoods as well as the long zipper permits more airflow during hot nights. But , in the end most backpackers have an outer layer of down in the camping and the Tanager is more comfortable and less expensive.

Editor’s note: We typically include a live price comparability table under our reviews of outdoor gear, however, the Tanager is only sold through Feathered Friends. It is possible to view the Tanager 20 CFL page here and also help us by purchasing it. Thanks!