Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag Review

An in-depth review of the Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag.

By on August 10, 2022 | Leave a reply

The Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag ($489) is our favorite ultralight sleeping bag for three-season fastpacking trips because it is light, packs small, and remains comfortable throughout a larger range of temperatures than any other bag we tested. And yes, you read the product name correctly, it’s both a quilt and a sleeping bag. We like this sleeping bag so much that we named it the best hoodless sleeping bag in our best ultralight sleeping bags guide.

The Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag is a hoodless quilt/sleeping bag hybrid with a full-length zipper and a drawstring footbox, so it can be zipped and cinched when it’s cold and opened into a quilt when it’s not. When it’s fully cinched and zipped, the overall shape of the bag is mummy-like for thermal efficiency.

The main benefit of having such a versatile bag is that depending on your preferred types of trips and the landscapes in which they take place, this could serve as your only sleeping bag. We aren’t trying to dissuade people from the quiver method — of having several bags for many different conditions — but we’re also aware not everyone can afford to do that. The Flicker is nearly $500, so it’s not cheap either. But, since it could have you covered between about 15 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit and could last for 20 years if you take care of it, you may not need anything else.

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Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag - zipped up for cold nights

The Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag. All photos: iRunFar/Ben Kilbourne

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag Warmth

The iRunFar team found the Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag to be warm enough for any three-season fastpacking trip and even some trips in that fourth colder season. Several iRunFar team members often sleep in the canyon country of the Colorado Plateau where winter temperatures sometimes hover in the teens and found the Flicker to be comfortable and warm on those chilly and dry nights.

We found that when the Flicker’s 14.7 ounces of 950-plus fill Responsible Down Standard (RDS)-certified goose down wrap around us, we feel a sense of security, a certainty that we won’t be cold. One of our testers used this sleeping bag at 15 degrees Fahrenheit wearing base layers, a light fleece, socks, and a down hood. He noted that he felt confident he could push it a few more degrees with the addition of a down jacket.

Cold sleepers or smaller people may not be able to push this bag as low, but we believe it will still serve them well down to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, especially with an effective clothing layering system.

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag - very poofy

The Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag’s down insulation has excellent loft.

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag Comfort and Versatility

The Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag is super warm, and it’s also super versatile, adapting to virtually any condition like a chameleon. Or rather like a Flicker, we should say. The Northern Flicker, this bag’s namesake bird, adapts to a vast range of ecosystems and is commonly found throughout the continental United States, well into Mexico, and even up to the lower edge of the Arctic in Canada and Alaska.

Because the Flicker is both a quilt and a sleeping bag, our testers were able to use it in temperatures ranging between 15 degrees and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Essentially, it’s a hoodless sleeping bag with a full-length zipper and a drawstring footbox that is designed to be used with a warm hat or hooded jacket, allowing you to save weight by using your camp clothes as part of your sleep system.

Between 15 and 25 degrees Fahrenheit, one of our testers likes to zip the bag all the way up and sleep with the zipper underneath his body. Between 25 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit, he keeps it partially unzipped to mid-thigh and the footbox stays cinched. He snaps the two small snaps at the neck opening and then drapes the bag over his torso but lies on the sleeping pad.

In this scenario, it starts to function like a quilt and the down inside the bag remains uncompressed. When temperatures are lower, he can tuck the edges underneath his torso, and when temperatures are warmer, he lets the edges fall to the sides of the pad. Above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, he uncinches the footbox, too, and goes into full quilt mode.

Of course, this is only one person’s idea of how to use this bag, and that’s what is so great about the Flicker. Other testers slept with the zipper on top or on the side, for example. This sleeping bag accommodates many different sleeping styles and does so throughout a huge range of temperatures.

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag - neck baffle_opening

A view of the neck baffle on the Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag.

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag Weight

The Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag utilizes ultralight materials including 950-plus fill down, a 10-denier nylon shell, and a 15-denier nylon liner. The #4 coil zipper is also a great balance of durability and low weight. All these features result in a very light and yet still durable sleeping bag.

In a size regular, the Flicker weighs only 25.8 ounces. There may be marginally lighter 20-degree Fahrenheit sleeping bags out there, but we don’t think any of them strike the same balance of versatility, warmth, and low weight.

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag - Testing in Utah

Testing the Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag on a chilly day in Utah.

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag Packed Size

In the provided eight-liter stuff sack, the Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag packs down to 7 x 13 inches (17.8 x 33 centimeters). This small package fits perfectly in the bottom of many 25- to 55-liter ultralight fastpacking packs. In the Pa’lante Packs Joey — read our Pa’lante Packs Joey review — it fits vertically beside a small tarp and the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad — check out our Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad review.

You could use a compression sack to make this package even smaller, but we don’t think it’s necessary because we found that it already naturally compressed even further as we stuffed more equipment into our packs.

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag - footbox

A view of the footbox on the Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag.

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag Alternate Sizes

We tested the Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag in a size regular. This bag fits humans up to six feet tall and with a shoulder girth of 62 inches. This size was perfect for our 155-pound, 5-foot-11-inch male tester but a little roomy for some of our smaller female testers. One smaller tester found it difficult to warm up the bag one night when the temperature dropped just below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. After adding a down jacket to her sleep system, she was fine, but we wish Feathered Friends would offer this sleeping bag in around a five-foot-eight-inch length and a 58-inch shoulder girth for smaller people.

Larger people are totally covered, though. You can get the Flicker in a long 6-foot-6-inch length and even a 67-inch width. Enormous!

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag Other Temperature Ratings

We tested the 20-degree version of the Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag because we expected that it would adjust to the huge range of temperatures that our testers were likely to encounter from spring to fall in the mountains and deserts of Colorado and Utah. We weren’t wrong.

But if you play in warmer regions or if you just sleep hot, you can purchase the Flicker with 30-degree or 40-degree Fahrenheit ratings. Of course, these temperature ratings will make the bag even lighter: 22 ounces for the 30-degree Fahrenheit bag in a size regular and 18.5 ounces for the 40-degree Fahrenheit bag in a size regular. One of these ultralight sleeping bags may be exactly what you need for your next ultra-minimalist fastpacking endeavor.

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag - sleeping with zipper underneath

We sleep with the Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag’s zipper underneath us on cold nights.

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag Overall Impressions

Like most good fastpackers who cut tags off of shirts, we too have been tempted by the lightest, most minimalist sleeping bags and quilts. We have sometimes used such feathery bags, sometimes enjoyed their lightness, and sometimes regretted our choice as we shivered prone under a frost-covered tarp.

In response to such situations, those of us who spend greater than 10% of our nights each year sleeping under the stars sometimes end up justifying the purchases of multiple sleeping bags — one for summer, one for the shoulder season, and one for winter, at a minimum. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But we also understand that not everyone can afford to own multiple sleeping bags. This context is important for understanding why we like the Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag so much and why we named it the best hoodless sleeping bag in our best ultralight sleeping bags guide.

At 25.8 ounces, the Flicker is remarkably light considering how versatile it is. We found that it can be used comfortably throughout a wider range of temperatures than any other sleeping bag we tested. It’s both a sleeping bag and a quilt, so it can be zipped all the way up when it’s cold and opened into a blanket when it’s warm. This versatility meant the Flicker could swing easily between 15 degrees and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This sleeping bag is expensive, no doubt, but think about it like this: owning one sleeping bag is roughly half the cost of owning two.

The Flicker is close to flawless, but we did find one problem with it. The neck cinch has two shock cord drawstrings — one on each side — that are adjusted by cinching a small cord lock. These cord locks are not strong enough to hold the neck opening closed, with even small movements undoing the opening. To remediate the issue, we added an additional cord lock to each shock cord.

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag - cordlock issue

We added a second cord lock to the Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag’s elastic neck opening as the one provided by the company here isn’t secure.

The Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag’s versatility is astonishing. It is our recommendation for any fastpacker who dashes through the mountains in the summer and powers through the desert in the spring and fall. It’s also our recommendation for anyone wanting only one sleeping bag. It is comfortable below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, amazingly light for how warm it is, vents easily, and can be draped blanket-style for balmy nights.

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Call for Comments

  • How do you use the Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag? As a quilt, a sleeping bag, or both?
  • What’s the lowest temperature to which you have pushed the Flicker?
  • Do you use a down hood or a beanie with the Flicker?

[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]

Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag - yard photo

A backyard view of the Feathered Friends Flicker UL 20 Quilt Sleeping Bag.

Ben Kilbourne

Ben Kilbourne is a Gear Tester, Writer, and Editor at iRunFar. He’s been writing about ultralight backpacking and fastpacking, as well as the intersection of these types of recreation with environmental issues for four years. Aside from iRunFar, he has written for publications including Backpacker Magazine, Backpacking Light, Dark Mountain, and Section Hiker. Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Ben explores all over the west, but especially the canyon country of the Colorado Plateau. His experiences on the land, whether triumphant or thwarted by events either in or out of his control, have provided the foundation for his essays, paintings, articles, and songs.