After an experience I had several years ago, I set out to find a cold weather sleeping bag. Enter this Feathered Friends Eider review. Whatever winter sleeping bag I end up with needs to meet the challenge of the weather I am willing to take on in order to have a successful hunt. When your sleep system is not up for that task, it will end a hunt very quickly. A few years back I had plans to stay in the Colorado backcountry on a high country mule deer hunt. My plans quickly had to shift, as I realized back at basecamp on my first night that my sleeping system was not going to be warm enough.
On any backcountry trip, at the end of a long, cold day of hiking, glassing, hunting and struggling up and down difficult terrain, crawling into a warm sleeping bag is one of the most enjoyable feelings. If you’re like me, the initial cold shock of the bag slowly is eliminated as body heat turns it into a nice comfortable sleeping atmosphere. If you hunt in the extreme cold of the backcountry, having an adequate sleep system is crucial to a successful and enjoyable experience.
I set out to find a great sleeping bag that would support the frigid temperatures of the Colorado high country in November, which can easily dip below zero. In search of this new sleeping system, I had the opportunity to test out this Feathered Friends Eider EX -10 sleeping bag over the last season.
The Feathered Friends Eider is the roomier version of the Widgeon and is capable of really pushing the limits about as far as you want to go. According to their website the Eider EX -10 is designed to be slightly roomier than the Feathered Friends Widgeon Sleeping bag, with the purpose of more comfortably fitting folks with broader shoulders, or giving you the ability to wear additional layers in the bag to get even more than the -10 rating.
If you’re a larger person with broad shoulders, or just like a sleeping bag that has a little more room to move around, this bag may just be the key to staying in the field on those nights that most guys get a hotel.
Looking for a top notch sleeping bag, but don’t quite need the -10 warmth? Feathered Friends offer a wide range of sleeping bags to cover just about every scenario you may encounter. The Feathered Friends Ibis 0F and the Feathered Friends Snowbunting 0F (see our review of the Ibis here)have you covered down to zero degrees Fahrenheit, and the Lark 10F and Raven 10F bags (see our in-depth review of those bags here) have you covered if you don’t expect temps to dip below 10 degrees.
Feathered Friends Eider EX -10 Specs
I don’t need to tell you that Feathered Friends has a reputation that every company wishes they had, and this bag holds true to their standard. It has some impressive specs with the warmth it provides. It comes in at 3 lb 10.3 oz with a comfort rating of -10 degrees Fahrenheit. I’ll get into the testing and comfort later, but the weight to warmth ratio is outstanding.
Here is the full list of specs:
Here are some of the other specs for the Feathered Friends Eider EX -10 Sleeping Bag:
Sizing: Feathered Friends Eider Review
One thing I’ve had a hard time with is the sizing of sleeping bags. I’ve had too many sleepless nights in a bag that is too tight on my shoulders, and once I start moving around it’s uncomfortable, compresses the down losing heat, or just makes me feel like a burrito.
As I mentioned above, the Feathered Friends Eider EX -10 sleeping bag is the big brother of the smaller Widgeon. It is cut for someone with wider shoulders, someone who likes to layer inside the bag, or just someone who likes a little extra room. I am 6’3″ and 225 lbs, have been known to layer, and I like to have a little extra room to move, so I fall into all of those categories. I opted for the long version which supports someone who is 6’6.
As expected, I had just a little more room than I needed, but I did not feel like it was too much extra room. I definitely had enough room to move and could layer comfortably without feeling like I was rolled up tight in a blanket. Since the long version is rated up to 6’6″ I have no doubt I could have grown 3 inches and gained 25 pounds and it still would have been comfortable.
Obviously you do not want to have a bunch of dead air in your bag that your body has to heat, but if you’re like me at all, I don’t sleep if I can’t move at all. Maybe it’s the flashbacks of my brothers wrapping me up in blankets so tight it would squeeze the snot out of me, but I just can’t do the tight mummy bag. That fine line of having enough room, but not too much dead space is a tough balance when it’s -5 degrees outside. Personally, I’m willing to have a little extra space for the comfort of being able to move around and sleep well.
Of all the sleeping bags I’ve slept in, the Feathered Friends Eider EX -10 is the best combination I have found. It’s not too big, but not so tight that it restricts movement.
The Weight: Feathered Friends Eider Review
When you’re talking about cold weather sleeping bags, obviously weight can be a concern. However, personally if I had to choose between a lighter pack and a warmer sleeping bag, I’ll choose the warmer sleeping bag every time. The beautiful thing about the Feathered Friends Eider EX-10 sleeping bag is that you get both. Obviously it is going to be a bit heavier than an early season bag, but with an incredible comfort rating of -10 degrees and the bag coming in at 3 lbs 10.3 oz for the long/wide bag (3lbs 6.8oz for the regular bag) it is a pretty amazing combination.
The other downside of extreme cold weather gear is how bulky it can get. The Eider EX -10 bag is rated at 23L packed size, but can definitely be compressed down smaller than that if you use a compression sack, like the Sea to Summit compression sack.
Having a sleeping bag that takes up more space in your pack can be a bit more of a challenge when you are hot tent backpacking and needing to fit something like the Seek Outside Cimarron Tent and one of the Seek Outside SXL Titanium Stoves into a Initial Ascent IA4K backpack. Sure, bringing cold weather gear for temps dropping to the single digits and below overnight fills up a 4k pack, but it is doable. Man, what a game changer it is to have a hot tent like the Seek Outside Cimarron (check out our review of the Cimarron hot tent here)!
Warmth: Feathered Friends Eider Review
The warmth factor on cold weather sleeping bags is probably the biggest factor that separates the pretty good bags from the true titans in the field. For me personally, the ability to stay in the field in sub-zero temperatures is critical. The quest to find a bag that would support a good night’s sleep when it was -10 degrees is the difference between making the most of a late season high country hunt and said hunt ending prematurely.
One of the really cool things about Feathered Friends sleeping bags is that they do their temperature ratings differently than most other manufacturers. The -10 degree rating on the Eider EX -10 bag is a COMFORT rating, not the standard “you’ll be freezing your behind off but at least you won’t be dead” rating. What I’ve found in several other bags and sleeping gear in general is that the rating that’s given is nowhere near what is actually comfortable.
I tend to sleep cool in the backcountry, so when I have a sleeping bag that has a standard “you won’t die” 0 degree rating, what I see is “you’ll be comfortable at any temperature above 20 degrees.”
To my absolute surprise and amazement, this Feathered Friends Eider EX -10 sleeping bag rating is dead on, and probably even conservative for a comfort rating. In my field testing of this bag, I pushed the limits down to -17 degrees, and felt like I could sleep pretty comfortably even if it had gotten a touch colder.
The thing that I finally noticed from the cold was my pad not being a high enough R-value for the capabilities of the bag. Once the temperatures hit about -15 I started noticing the cool creep through the underside of my bag. Had I not had the coolness coming through the ground, I think I could have gotten a decent night’s sleep at -20. I’m not saying you should expect to get that much out of this bag, as they rate it at -10, but their rating system is definitely not a “you’ll get by” rating.
As with any sleep system, you’ll need to make sure you use a good, high R-Value pad appropriate for the temps you will be in. Your pad’s R-Value can be, and was in my case, the determining factor in whether or not you stay warm. Our favorite extreme cold weather pad (that we’ve tested so far), is the Exped Ultra 7R. This has a robust R-Value of 7.1, and is a comfortable 3.5 inches thick. We’ve found no better warmth and weight combination yet.
Build quality: Feathered Friends Eider EX -10 Review
As I mentioned above, Feathered Friends has built their reputation on quality equipment and materials. As noted in the specs sheet, the Eider EX -10 bag is filled with 900+ goose down and is covered with the Pertex Shield EX shell which is waterproof and breathable. Add the Pertex 30 denier nylon taffeta and you have a really comfortable, soft and cozy combination for a great sleeping environment. Add the no-snag YKK zippers and it doesn’t get much better for a cold weather bag.
If you have read any of our other Feathered Friends reviews, it’s a bit repetitive, but the Purtex Shield EX exterior material is waterproof, windproof, and unlike most other water resistant shells. It has a built-in membrane as well as a DWR treatment to keep rain or snow from entering your sleeping bag. It does feel very different to the touch than a lot of other sleeping bags I’ve used. It definitely feels more robust and durable to the touch. It’s not an uncomfortable or plastic feeling, but you can feel the intentionality of making the outer shell more durable.
The Purtex Taffeta interior lining on the inside of the bag is super soft. They purposely made the inside of this bag an extremely cozy place to be, with the exterior shell having the durability that most of us desire in a sleeping bag that we want to keep for a lifetime.
As we talked about in our Feathered Friends Ibis 0 bag degree review, we asked Feathered Friends why they don’t just put a water repellent down in the bag and use a ,softer material. In short, their answer was that the water repellent shortens the life of the down, so they went with the waterproofing of the shell. In a world of “how cheap can we make this product” it was great to hear them do research and be intentional about trying to extend the life of their product.
One additional component I wanted to mention is how the down lofts. It seemed to me that the amount of down in the bag was stuffed so full that it didn’t matter where I moved inside the bag, I did not feel any space that wasn’t fully packed with down. One complaint I’ve had with other bags is how the down seems to move around creating cold spots. I did not notice any of that happening in the Feathered Friends Eider EX -10 bag. Perhaps that is why having a little extra space to move around didn’t cause any issues with the loss of heat.
Drawstring & Hood: Feathered Friends Eider Review
The draw strings that the Feathered Friends uses are extremely well made and very durable. They are well placed and give you independent control of both the draft collar and the hood. This can be especially nice as it allows you to adjust the draft seal around your neck as well as how tight the fit is around your face. Both draw cords utilize a push button style clasp to make it easy to use the draw cord in the dark and easy to find when you need to loosen it up to get out of the bag.
The Feathered Friends Eider sleeping bag also features a super plush draft collar to seal out any frigid air. We’ve tested many, many sleeping bags and the draft collar that Feathered Friends features is probably my favorite. Not only do you get an independent drawstring for the draft collar, but it also buttons together on the interior to ensure drafts don’t sneak in.
When you unzip the bag, you can see just how robust this draft collar is. It is inviting, extremely comfortable, and perfectly effective in sealing out the frigid air.
The combination of the draft collar snaps, highly effective drawstrings, overstuffed draft collar, and 3D hood make for the perfect combination of warmth, comfort, and effectiveness against cold air.
Down/Materials: Feathered Friends Eider Sleeping Bag Review
Just as you’d expect, the Feathered Friends Eider EX -10 sleeping bag is built with nothing but the best materials. 900+ fill goose down that is covered and protected by the waterproof and breathable Pertex Shield ensures that the precious down keeping you warm doesn’t get wet. Combine that with the super soft Perfex Taffeta that is crazy soft and comfortable along with the no snag YKK zipper and this Ibis sleeping bag is simply built to handle extreme weather.
The Pertex Shield EX that is used as the exterior fabric is unique in that it is waterproof and windproof, unlike most other sleeping bags that feature a water resistant shell. Pertex Shield EX features a built in membrane as well as a DWR treatment to further prevent rain or snow from entering your sleeping bag. Because of this, it feels much more robust to the touch. It is quite different than that Pertex Taffeta used for the interior lining. Then again, I’d certainly rather have the exterior material be the tougher, waterproof material than trying to mitigate moisture once it’s entered your sleeping bag.
Footbox: Feathered Friends Eider Sleeping Bag Review
The footbox of the Feathered Friends Eider EX -10 sleeping bag is unlike typical mummy bag footboxes. It is an oversized footbox designed to allow your feet to rest comfortably without compressing the down. No one likes cold feet when you’re sleeping, and the design of this footbox is superb.
As I mentioned above, I do not like feeling confined and wrapped up like a mummy. If my feet are slammed into a small area without room to move around at all I tend to not sleep very well. At this point you won’t be surprised to hear that this sleeping bag has a footbox designed in such a way that allows the space I like for my feet. It is very lofty and seems to have a little extra down in the footbox for that extra warmth.
What I Liked: Feathered Friends Eider Review
If you’re reading this review, my guess is that you’ve spent a night or two on the mountain freezing your buns off inside a “cold weather sleeping bag.” Whether you took the advertised 0 degree rated bag at face value when it was actually the lower limit, or the rating was just way too generous, most of us have been there.
Again, one of the things I love about the Feathered Friends Eider EX -10 bag is that the advertised rating is right on, and probably conservative in my opinion. Like I said, I took this bag down to -17 degrees, and the only cold I felt was through my pad (we’ll address that below). I couldn’t believe it was that cold when I got out of my bag in the morning.
Here are a few other things I love about this bag:
- Warmth in extreme temperatures
- Weight to warmth ratio
- Zipper system
- Draft collar setup (drawstring and button)
- Over-stuffed and roomy foot box
- Quality of materials used
- Sizing (room to move without too much extra space)
- Lofting/down fill
A few other things that really stand out as exceptional about the Ibis sleeping bag are:
- Weight (for its warmth)
- No snag zipper
- Hood & robust draft collar
- Over-stuffed footbox
- Pertex Shield EX shell material
- Incredible warmth
What I Didn’t Like: Feathered Friends Eider EX Review
With most products we test here at Backwoods Pursuit, there is a list of pros and cons to the product. Honestly, with the Feathered Friends Eider EX bag, the list of cons is extremely short and hard to find.
My biggest complaint would be the stuff size of the compression sack that is included with the bag. It is a little bigger than I would prefer when going into the backcountry. It definitely will compress down further, so if they included a way to compress the bag down a bit more it would be nice. Obviously I will give up space in my pack for the right sleeping gear, but want to maximize the amount of available space at the same time.
My only other critique would be the button setup on the draft collar. It came unbuttoned a few times in the field unintentionally. It wasn’t the end of the world, but a minor nuisance.
The only minor complaints I have are:
- Include an additional compression sack
- More secure draft button
When it’s cold, you need a good sleeping bag. It’s just that simple. Most of us have probably over estimated the warmth of our sleeping bag and have spent a few cold nights on the mountain. More likely, we’ve taken the advertised rating of our sleeping bag at face value and then found out the hard way that the rating wasn’t actually a “comfort” rating. That’s one of the things I love about Feathered Friends sleeping bags. Their rating system is straight forward and conservative.
How to Store a Down Sleeping Bag
When it comes to long term storage, it’s easy to get home from your final adventure of the season, unload your gear, and throw it all in a storage bin for the off season, but make sure you properly store your down sleeping bag as well as your insulated sleeping pad. Don’t leave that high quality sleeping bag in its stuff sack long term as it could reduce the effectiveness of the down. Down needs to be lofted, not compressed when stored, and should be stored indoors if at all possible.
Here are a couple of storage options to keep your down sleeping bag at its peak performance.
- Hang in a closet
- Lay under your bed
- Store in the storage sack provided (shown above)
Hanging a down bag is my first choice, but not everyone has the space for that. Most bags come with sewn in loops to stick on a hanger. Second to that, I prefer to store the bag lying flat under a bed. This allows the down to be fully lofted. Finally, storing it in the provided storage sack is perfectly acceptable as well. The down is slightly compressed in those storage sacks, but nothing that will cause any damage to the down in your bag.
Selecting the Right Sleeping Pad
Selecting the right sleeping pad is even more critical when camping in extremely cold temperatures, so make sure you get one that’s warm enough. A good high R-Value pad, like our favorite cold weather pad the Exped Ultra 7R with a 7.1 R-Value, will maximize your bag and more importantly, keep you from getting cold from the ground up.
Using a higher R-Value pad will ensure that you are getting everything possible out of your sleeping bag and is definitely worth the few extra ounces if temperatures may be pushing towards the lower limit of your sleeping bag.
Check out our sleeping pad reviews for some great options!
Need a different temperature rating sleeping bag? Check out some of our other sleeping bag reviews!
My ratings for the Feathered Friends Ibis Sleeping Bag
Conclusion: Feathered Friends Eider Sleeping Bag Review
The Feathered Friends Eider EX -10 bag hits just about every mark you could ask for in a cold weather bag. While testing the Eider I slept in temperatures ranging from -17 all the way up to 30 degrees to get a full range of the performance of the bag. I would recommend not using this bag if it’s not going to be below 15-20 degrees as it turned into a sauna really fast.
The most comfortable temperatures I found were between -15 and 10 degrees. Obviously every person is a little different, but that’s where I found the bag to operate at peak performance. I would recommend this bag 10 out of 10 times for anyone looking for a true, cold weather bag that helps you stay in the field and makes the most of your time in the backcountry.
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