The Feather Friends Tanager 20 CFL Sleeping Bag is a hoodless, full length, and zipperless sleeping bag designed for thru-hikers, ultralight backpackers, and alpinists who want to minimize their gear weight and bulk. Weighing 18.6 oz, the Tanager is insulated with 12.6 oz of 950 fill power goose down and is best viewed as a specialized, ultralight alternative to a 20-degree backpacking quilt or mummy sleeping bag. It’s not designed to span a wide temperature range like a backpacking quilt or a hoodless sleeping bag with a zipper, although it is lighter weight than comparable quilts and hoodless sleeping bags at the same temperature rating.
Specs at a Glance
- Weight: 18.6 oz
- Fill weight: 12.6 oz, 950 fill power goose down
- Type: Hoodless Sleeping bag
- Baffles: Continuous
- Zipper: No
- Lengths: 68″ or 74″
- Dimensions: 62″ / 52″ / 38″
- Shell: 7D Pertex Quantum w/ DWR coating
- Lining: 15D ripstop nylon
The Tanager 20’s sweet spot is for trips where you know that nighttime temperatures will range between 20 degrees and 50 degrees at night. It’s also an excellent option as an inner bag, if you want to stack a quilt on top, because it’s draft-proof. There’s no sleeping pad attachment system to fuss with and no hood, so you can roll around in it at night or side sleep, just as you would with any hoodless sleeping bag.
Like a quilt, the Tanager is designed to be used with an insulated hood, long underwear, and socks. The top closes with a drawstring over the top of your shoulders. There isn’t a draft collar or draft tube at the top of the bag to seal around your neck (wish there was), so you’ll want to wear an insulated hood with an extended neck like the Montbell Down Balaclava or an insulated hooded jacket in the Tanager to keep your head warm and create a good seal at the top of the bag.
I’ve taken the Tanager down to 20 degrees and the lack of a side zipper is no great loss. Getting in and out of the bag is as easy as putting on or taking off a pair of pants. In warmer temperatures, you can regulate the Tanager’s temperature by opening the drawcord and venting the bag around your neck. If you have an insulated jacket, you can also push the bag partially down your torso, so it traps less heat.
Feathered Friends bases their sleeping bag temperature ratings on the use of a hood, long underwear, socks, and a sleeping pad with a minimum R-value=3. The Tanager 20 has continuous baffles, so you can push its 20-degree temperature rating a few degrees lower by shaking the down from the bottom to the top and sides, which is one of the benefits of this type of baffle construction.
The Tanager 20 is a full-length sleeping bag, not a so-called elephant’s foot or partial length bag. It’s available in two lengths: 68″ and 74″, which should reach the height of your neck so that it can be cinched closed over your shoulders. The Tanager is also cut fairly wide, with a shoulder / waist / foot girth of 62″ / 52″ / 38″, which puts it on par with wide sleeping bags. This lets you can store extra gear in it at night that you want to dry or keep from freezing, like gloves, shoes and water bottles. With these dimensions, getting in and out is not a problem and you don’t feel claustrophobic in the Tanager. The wide shoulder girth also makes it relatively easy to vent the Tanager as temperatures rise. Finally, the footbox is trapezoidal and roomy, so you can sleep with your feet straight up or on their sides.
Comparable Hoodless Sleeping Bags and Quilts
|Make / Model||Type||Zipper||Weight|
|Feathered Friends Tanager 20||Sleeping Bag||None||18.6 oz|
|Feathered Friends Flicker 20 UL||Sleeping Bag||Full Length||26 oz|
|NEMO Banshee 22||Sleeping Bag||Full Length||27 oz|
|Katabatic Gear Flex 20||Sleeping Bag||Full Length||22.5 oz|
|Zpacks Classic 20||Sleeping Bag||Full Length||21.3 oz|
|Enlightened Equip. Conundrum 20||Sleeping Bag||Full Length||25.47 oz|
|Enlightened Equip. Convert 20||Sleeping Bag||Full Length||26.45 oz|
|Nunatak 3D Zippered Quilt 15||Sleeping Bag||Full Length||27 oz|
|Katabatic Gear Alsek 22||Quilt||None||21 oz|
|Enlightened Equip. Revelation 20||Quilt||None||22.54 oz|
|Therm-a-Rest Vesper 20||Quilt||None||19 oz|
The Feathered Friends Tanager 20 is a hoodless and zipper-less full-length sleeping bag that weighs 18.6 oz. While it is lighter weight than many comparable quilts and hoodless sleeping bags, it isn’t as versatile, since it is harder to regulate your temperature in warmer weather. Still, hoodless sleeping bags, including the Tanager 20, are simpler to use than quilts in colder weather because they don’t rely on a pad attachment system and they’re far more draft resistant. If you use a mummy bag today for spring and autumn camping but are hesitant to switch to a quilt, the Tanager 20 sleeping bag might be a great alternative.
Personally, I’ve decided to switch from a 29 0z, mummy bag to the Tanager, chopping 10 oz off my spring gear list, with no loss of comfort since I carry a hooded insulated jacket already. That said, the Feathered Friends Tanager 20 is a specialized bag and it’s not going to suit everyone’s tastes. But colder weather quilts are not the slam dunk that warm weather quilts are, and the Tanager 20 and hoodless sleeping bags can be an attractive option if you want to combine the weight benefits of a quilt with the draft resistance of a sleeping bag.
Disclosure: Feathered Friends provided the author with a Tanager 20 for this review.Editor's note: If you’re thinking about buying gear that we’ve reviewed or recommend on SectionHiker, you can help support us in the process. Just click on any of the seller links above, and if you make a purchase, we may (but not always) receive a small percentage of the transaction. The cost of the product is the same to you but this helps us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides. Thanks and we appreciate your support!