Feathered Friends Swallow UL 20 Sleeping Bag Review

The best 3-season sleeping bag of all time is from a brand that many seasoned outdoor veterans have never heard of.

It does not matter whether I am car camping with luxuries or on an expedition to climb some of the worlds most remote peaks, my Feathered Friends Swallow UL 20 Sleeping Bag goes everywhere I go. As a 3-season 20-degree bag, I have happily used it on chilly summer nights in the Blue Ridge Mountains as well as frigid evenings 18,000 feet up in the Andes mountains, where it dropped as low as 11 degrees. This bag has everything you would want from a proper sleeping bag, and although it is priced a bit higher than most of its competitors, the quality of the materials and the overall performance of the bag speaks for itself. Paired with a good silk liner, you could take this bag to even colder climates and still stay cozy!

The Bag

The Swallow UL 20 is one of Feathered Friends' highest performance 3-season mummy bags amongst a lineup that is filled with industry-leading performers. When a bag has UL in its name, I definitely expect it to be ultralight. This bag delivers like no other in that department, weighing in at a mere 28.5oz for the long version that I have (fits up to 6'6"). After countless hours of research, I found that this was usually at least a full pound lighter than competing "performance" bags. My backpack is usually weighed down with loads of camera gear, so even a single ounce that I can save in the rest of my pack is crucial.  

That camera gear that I have also takes up quite a bit of space, and I usually don't want to pack an 85L pack for a simple two or three day backcountry adventure. The packable size really helps here, compressing to as small as about 5.5L with a compression sack. The ultralight weight and fantastic compressibility are both made possible by the sustainable 950+ fill goose down that Feathered Friends uses. Most of their competitors' top of the line bags use 800 fill down, which simply cannot provide the same weight and space savings and loft. 

The materials that this bag uses are the most comfortable out of any bag that I have used. The inside of the bag uses soft-to-the-touch 15 denier ripstop nylon. Initially, I thought this material would be too thin and could get damaged easily, but after a year of heavy use in some harsh environments, the bag still looks brand new. The exterior is almost as soft, but even more durable with a 30 denier Pertex Endurance UL fabric. So far I have only had a couple of feathers make their way out of the bag, but nothing even close to affecting the performance. The only criticism I have here is that the outer fabric is not super water-resistant. Lastly, the zipper is a robust and reliable YKK zipper. The zipper guard does a really good job at not catching onto the sleeping bag. I have had very few issues with the zipper getting stuck, much less than other sleeping bags I have owned.

The Brand

Feathered Friends is one of those no-frills, proud to be local brands that you honestly just love to support. All of their products are made right in Seattle and their gear is tested in their backyard in the Cascades. They specialize in down gear and have been doing it right for over four decades.  

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Christian MurilloExplorer

My love for natural landscape photography is what first got me outside. Now, I can hardly stay indoors. My sense of adventure has led me to travel all over the US (mostly in the SE), and also drove me to complete a ...