Feathered Friends Vireo Nano review

Last fall I decided I needed a new “three season” (i.e. lows above 20F) sleeping bag. The synthetic quilt/bag I’d been using for the past four years was not nearly as warm as it used to be. I decided that I did not want a quilt, as I don’t value roominess or venting ability, and thus the open bottom is just a liability. I decided that I did want down, mainly for longevity. I wanted something simple, fairly light, and not too expensive.

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In the end I bought a stock Vireo Nano from Feathered Friends, in the 68″ length and the Bark shell color.

The factory specs (17.8 ounces total weight) were dead on.
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The Vireo is hoodless and zipless.   The bottom 2/3s of the bag have the baffle height and fill of a 25 degree bag, while he upper third flares out quite generously and has the baffle height and fill of a 45 degree bag.  I idea is that you have the space to wear an insulated coat to increase the overall warmth.  Colder temps, use a warmer coat.

As can be seen above, the cinch cord is sewn inside the bag, which facilitates an excellent seal when cinched tight around your neck.  I’m 5’11”, and find the 68″ length ideal.  As can also be seen above, the top opening is asymmetrically cut.  The back cinches higher around the back of your head, while the front tucks neatly under your chin.

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Detailing throughout is excellent, with clean stitching and (as shown) a handy little hang loop along the footbox seam.

I selected the Nano fabric over the lighter Pertex Endurance in the Vireo UL for several reasons. First, the weight savings didn’t merit the extra cost, and second, I’ve had poor experiences with the breathability of lightly PU coated fabrics like Endurance (and with Endurance specifically). The Nano fabric has a great DWR and wind resistance while still breathing well (for drying). It was also available is a dark color, which further helps speed drying. This is a crucial consideration with a light down bag, as it doesn’t take much moisture to significantly bring down loft.

The design of the Vireo is fantastic, perfect for a sleeping bag in my book.  It’s only marginally more squirmy to get into than a conventional side zip bag, and has no fat.  Every gram exists to make you warmer.  Quilts, for me, do not merit the hype.

My only complaint with this bag is that I didn’t get a few ounces of overfill.  I let the (very helpful) guy on the phone at FFriends talk me out of it, and this was a mistake.  The uppermost section needs at least a little more down.  As is there’s not quite enough, and it is prone to shifting and cold spots.  With a light synthetic puffy (hood up), I find the Vireo a solid 30 degree bag, but I think it’d be a bit warmer with only a marginal increase in the quantity of down.  Feathered Friends will do this for a modest fee, and at some point this fall, once the weather has gotten cold enough for me to use another bag, I’ll send the Vireo back for some overfill.

Overall, I’m extremely pleased with the purchase.  The design suits me well, and the price (I paid 250, listed at 269 now) is right.

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This entry was posted in Backpacking, Bikes and biking, Climbing, Fly Fishing, Hiking with ropes, Hunting, Packrafting, Racing, Skiing, Tech. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Feathered Friends Vireo Nano review

  1. Martin Rye says:

    Interesting choice Dave. I dialled out of quilts. Quilts let heat out more than they trap it in. My current sleeping bag allows me to move down along the baffles – so enduring excellent warmth in the chest area where it matters most.

    FF are a brand I read about as top class, but have not seen any of their kit. One to consider in the future. Thanks for that.

  2. Pingback: Treated v. hybrid down; don’t believe the hype – Bedrock & Paradox

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