Home / Gear Reviews / Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL Quilt Sleeping Bag

Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL Quilt Sleeping Bag

manufactured by :
Philip Werner
Version:
1
Price:
339.00

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On August 1, 2016
Last modified:August 26, 2016

Summary:

The Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL Quilt Sleeping Bag is a 19 ounce quilt sleeping bag designed for backpackers and climbers who want to the flexibility and light weight of an insulated sleep system that can be used as a hoodless sleeping bag, an ultralight top quilt, a down comforter, or a hammock underquilt. If you're the kind of person who likes to switch between different tents, tarps, or hammocks as the seasons change, it's nice to have a sleep system that can be reconfigured for different temperatures and in different ways to complement them. Especially, if there's no weight penalty or price premium for the added flexibility. I'd rather own one product that can be used in several different ways than buying several products that only have one purpose.

The Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL Quilt Sleeping Bag has a center zip, adjustable foot vent, and a draft collar providing sleepers with a highly flexible set of temperature regulation and configuration options.
The Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL Quilt Sleeping Bag has a center zip, adjustable foot vent, and a draft collar providing sleepers with a highly flexible set of temperature regulation and configuration options.

The Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL Quilt Sleeping Bag is a 19 ounce quilt sleeping bag designed for backpackers and climbers who want to the flexibility and light weight of an insulated sleep system that can be used in many ways, including:

  • a hoodless sleeping bag for tent or cowboy camping under the stars
  • an ultralight quilt in a tent, under a tarp, or in a hammock
  • a down comforter in a tent or under a roof
  • or a hammock underquilt

If it’s hard to imagine how a single piece of gear could perform in all of those roles, let’s look at the key features of the Flicker and how they can be used to configure it in different ways.

As a Hoodless Sleeping Bag

The Flicker 40 UL is easy to configure as a hoodless sleeping bag that ideal if you prefer wrap-around insulation and draft protection over using an open-backed quilt.

A hoodless sleeping bag is good for cooler weather when you want added security of wrap-around insulation and draft protection.
A hoodless sleeping bag is good for cooler weather when you want added security of wrap-around insulation and draft protection.

Full Length Zipper

Featuring a full length zipper, you can sleep on your back with the zipper on top or rotate the bag to your right or left if you prefer having the zipper along one side.

The center zip is offset which prevent cold air from leaking in, and creates a draft tube which runs behind the flap.
The center zip is offset which prevent cold air from leaking in, and creates a draft tube which runs behind the flap.

The zipper is covered by an offset flap (shown above), which prevents drafts from leaking into the bag, while preventing zipper snags with the interior fabric. The flap contains goose down, so it also acts like a full length draft tube that prevents heat loss.

The Flicker's down-filled draft collar molds around your neck, sealing in heat, so it can't escape when you move around at night
The Flicker’s down-filled draft collar molds around your neck and upper chest, sealing in heat, so it can’t escape when you move around at night.

Draft Collar

The Flicker 40 UL has a down-filled draft collar that wraps around your neck and can be cinched tight to prevent heat from being forced out of the bag (called the bellows effect) when you move around inside your bag at night. The draft collar is a horizontal baffle filled with goose down whose function is to seal the top of the bag closed around your neck and upper chest. There’s really no comparison between it and the primitive cinch systems found at the top of other ultralight backpacking quilts and hoodless sleeping bags.

The Flicker UL 40 has an adjustable foot vent that lets you regulate the warmth of your feet
The Flicker UL 40 has an adjustable foot vent that lets you regulate the warmth of your feet

Adjustable Foot Vent

The Flicker 40 UL has an adjustable foot vent that you can open or cinch shut with a draw string. It’s a great way to cool off your feet when you still want warmth around your core and shoulders. The down in the horizontal baffle at the foot of the bag also helps seal in warmth when the draw string is cinched tight, much like the draft collar at the head end.

High Fill Power Goose Down

The Flicker 40 UL is filled with highly compressible, 950+ fill power goose down with a high warmth to weight ratio that is optimized for ultralight backpacking gear and apparel. Bucking the industry trend,  Feathered Friends uses natural goose down instead of waterproof-treated down in their sleeping bags because they’ve found that treated down never lofts quite same once its gotten wet or  it’s been washed.

Continuous Horizontal Baffles

The goose down across all Feathered Friend’s Flicker Quilts (available in different temperature ratings and sizes), is held in place using continuous horizontal baffles. This gives you the ability to reposition the down for maximum comfort, shifting it to suit your specific needs. This is a feature you find in the very best backpacking and ultralight sleeping bags and quilts. I’ve taken this bag down to the low-40’s and feel that I could easily take it down to the mid-thirties, without a problem.

Water-resistant/Breathable Shell

The exterior shell of the Flicker 40 is made with ultralight 10 denier Pertex Endurance (0.94 oz/yd² total weight), a water-resistant/breathable fabric that protects the Flicker from condensation and splashback in tents, under tarps, or when sleeping out in the open.

As an Ultralight Quilt

It’s also easy to configure the Flicker as an ultralight quilt for warmer temperatures. It doesn’t matter if you sleep in a tent or use it as a top quilt in a hammock. Simply unzip the back part way to whatever length you prefer and drape it over you. The full length zipper is completely unobtrusive since it’s backed by the overlapping flap described above. For example, I use the Flicker like this as a top quilt in a hammock. 

TThe Flicker can be opened completely and used like a down comforter .
The Flicker can be opened completely and used like a down comforter .

As a Down Comforter

Unzip the Flicker all the way so it lays completely flat to use it as a down comforter in very hot weather. The advantage of this configuration over many backpacking quilts it that your feet will be cooler because they’re not trapped in a foot box. It’s also a comfortable way to sleep in a hammock or on a bunk at a hostel.

Eight fabric loops sewn to the sides of the Flicker make it possible to use as a hammock underquilt
Eight fabric loops sewn to the sides of the Flicker make it possible to use as a hammock underquilt

As a Hammock Underquilt

The Flicker 40 UL is also designed to be used as a full length hammock underquilt and is easy to rig up a simple suspension system using elastic cord and mini S-biners. Feathered Friends does not offer a suspension kit for this, but it’s easy enough to rig with 2 x 80″ packs of Gear-Aid elastic cord and a pair of Nite-ize #2 S-biners.

If you’re familiar with full length hammock underquilts, they often have draft tubes at the head and foot end to prevent cold air from flowing between the bottom of the hammock and the underquilt. The Flicker’s adjustable foot vent and draft collar give you that same capability when they’re cinched closed. Feathered Friends rates the Flicker 40 UL to 40 degrees, when used this way, and I’ll update this review when I use the underquilt capability in cooler weather this autumn.

Cinch the foot box and draft collar closed in order to snug the ends of the Flicker tight against the bottom of your hammock.
Cinch the adjustable foot box and draft collar closed in order to snug the ends of the Flicker tight against the bottom of your hammock.

Recommendation

When I first received the Feather Friends Flicker 40 UL, I wondered if was a bit overbuilt for three-season backpacking. Was an insulated draft collar really necessary or a full length zipper? While highly desirable, you don’t find these features on other ultralight quilts or hoodless sleeping bags.

Then I started using the Flicker UL 40 on backpacking and camping trips and became a complete convert to the design philosophy behind this bag. If you’re the kind of person who likes to switch between different tents, tarps, or hammocks as the seasons change, it’s nice to have a sleep system that can be reconfigured for different temperatures and in different ways to complement them. Especially, if there’s no weight penalty or price premium for the added flexibility. I’d rather own one product that can be used in several different ways than buying several products that only have one purpose.

If you’re looking for a new lightweight sleep system, I’d encourage you to include the Flicker 40 in your search. Do the price and weight comparisons and consider the benefit of the added versatility that the Flicker provides. I can tell you that I’m seriously considering selling my top quilt and hammock underquilt and replacing them with a Feathered Friends Flicker 40 UL Quilt Sleeping Bag. Consider me a convert.

 Likes

  • Can be configured in many different ways
  • Sophisticated draft collar
  • Adjustable foot vent
  • Offset zipper with draft tube
  • Fabric perimeter loops
  • 950+ fill power goose down
  • Low weight
  • Highly compressible

Dislikes

  • None, really

Manufacturer Specs

  • Length: Reg 6′ 0″ / 183 cm | Long 6′ 6″ / 198 cm
  • Width: 62″ / 48″ / 39″
  • Weight: Reg: 1 lb 4 oz / 564 g (1 lb 3 oz on the SectionHiker Scale)
  • Fill Power: 7″ x 10″ | 5L
  • Fill Weight: Reg: 8.4 oz / 238 g; Long: 8.7 oz / 248 g
  • External Fabric: Pertex® Endurance UL
  • Liner: Flite 15 denier ripstop nylon
  • Temperature Rating: 40ºF / 4.4ºC (FF is know for very conservative temperature ratings; your bag will likely be warmer)
  • Zipper: Center

Visit Feathered Friends for complete product specifications and sizing information. 

Disclosure: Feathered Friends loaned Philip Werner a Flicker 40 UL Quilt Sleeping Bag for this review. This post contains affiliate links.

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24 comments

  1. Another fantastic product review. I had no idea you could use this bag as an underquilt too! That is brilliant. I’ve been thinking about buying a flicker, but you’ve convinced me to get one. Which would you get for NJ/NY state backpacking including the AT? the 20 degree, 30, or 40?

    • We have pretty similar weather in MA/NH to NJ/NY, at least in spring, summer, and fall. I think you need to look up in weather underground what the min temps are (using historic info) that you want to stay warm in. For example, I tend to backpack as long as there is no snow on the ground (I also winter backpack, but lets ignore that for the moment). I’d want the flicker 20 for use in April and November in my area, and leverage the foot box more for warmer temps because it really vents the bag well. But if you only backpack from late May (Memorial Day) through October (Columbus Day), I’d get the 30 or even the 40, because I know that I can probably take the Flicker 40 down to 35 degrees or even 30 degrees with the additional of a down jacket and heavier long underwear. Make sense?

      • Makes sense. Sounds like the Flicker 30 is the way to go. Thanks Philip! Your reviews and advice are always appreciated.

  2. Great review – I like the flexibility of this bag/quilt – especially the hammock option.

  3. Just when I think I have my kit all figured out, along comes another great review or a product I’m now sure I need.
    Thanks again, Phillip, for another great and honest review.

  4. Looks nice… a word of warning about Marketing Maggots, once they realize that you are using your own Scales,, just like Mr. Rodale found out so many years ago, about 1980 I think it was….,, the Manufacturers will send you under weighted products… So you need to weigh the products at the retail level as well and have three weights.. Their Advertised, the one they sent you, and the store weight for an accurate picture…..

  5. oh I love my quilt and use it all summer and fall camping. Good reveiw

  6. Philip,

    You keep sowing my seeds of discontent. This is just what I’ve been looking for in my last few purchases. I sleep warm and use my down bags more as quilts even when it’s cold outside. I’ve found I can also use a lighter bag and at night wear more of the layers that I usually bring in winter.

    I’m wanting to get into hammock camping and didn’t want to spring a bunch of money for an underquilt that was more single use.

    Now, I’ve just got to earn some more money to pay for it!

  7. How roomy is the fit when in the “sleeping bag” configuration ?
    Ie: Is it roomy but well tapered like a Marmot bag, tight with extra leg taper like a TNF blue kazoo, or tight in the shoulders/chest and extra roomy in the foot box because it’s a compromise between a bag and comforter ?

    Also, are the 62″ x 48″ x 39″ specs with the zipper done up ?
    If not, how many inches need to be subtracted for the zipper overlap ?

  8. Extremely interesting. When used as an under quilt, I wonder if the down will migrate via gravity toward the lowest hanging point and leave cold spots.

    • If you think about it, that wouldn’t be a negative. You’d get more down on the bottom where you need it and your top quilt won’t be redundant since it already insulates your sides.

      • I don’t have anywhere near the experience required to know for sure, but it just seems to me that my shoulders would be subject to getting cold. In either type of hammock, bridge or gathered-end, I have had insulation getting compressed there. But, I haven’t hammocked enough in cool-to-cold weather to have learned how to overcome that. It sure fascinates me, I’ll tell you that. It’s fun to be able to “piddle” to try to overcome this or that obstacle.

      • If you’re in a backpacking hammock, you’re probably lying pretty flat (unlike a cheapo banana hammock)
        If the down does shift, it will fall from the sides to the middle, but not from your shoulders to your butt.

      • Ha! I did mean it would go to the centerline of the quilt. After all, the down has to stay in the baffles. Whether lying flat or not, the down would tend to accumulate at the lowest point in each baffle, wouldn’t it? Like you say, that would help insulate whatever body parts are closest to the ground. The quilt is still interesting in its versatility and I like the draft collars.

  9. I can’t stop thinking about this. I hope it blooms into a new product category: the quilt bag.

  10. I’m planning a three month couchsurfing car trip with a friend where I’ll be indoors most of the time in the summer/fall. I *could* just bring a comforter but I’d rather take something I could pack down, traveling in a subcompact car.

    Would this be a good option, or is it too expensive for regular indoor use? Anything else I might want to look at?

  11. You mention seriously considering selling your hammock top quilt and under quilt and replacing them with this. It was not clear to me – when you used it as an under quilt did you forgo a top quilt altogether? I can see that when rigged up to your ridgeline it does seem to completely cover the sides.

    • No. I’m drowning in quilts. I like the FF because its so multi-purpose. Just means I can get rid of some of those extra quilts choking my gear closet. Just sold used top and bottom quilts as a matter of fact.

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