Feathered Friends or Valandre
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Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Feathered Friends or Valandre on 06/06/2012 13:26:12 MDT Print View

In the market for a sleeping bag and have finalized my decision process. Okay, not really, but close.

I am looking at either the Valandre Mirage or the Feathered Friends Kestrel or Swift and would appreciate some perspective from owners and from those who have considered these bags. I would probably go for the Mirage given the overall design but the zipper is holding me back. The Kestral or Swift have the benefit of a full zip and higher down fill (the Swift is rated warmer on paper). One of my biggest concerns is down leakage. How do these three fair?

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Feathered Friends or Valandre on 06/06/2012 14:04:06 MDT Print View

I have a FF Grouse (the women's 30-degree bag.) I did consider Valandre's when I made my purchase though, to be honest, not all that seriously.

The big difference I see in your choices is the fill amounts. The Mirage only has 13oz of fill while the Swift has 18oz and the Kestral has 15.7oz. The Mirage is slightly narrower than the Kestral/Swift but not enough to compensate for the difference in fill amounts, imo. For comparison, the Western Mountaineering Ultralite is much narrower but still has 16oz of fill to be rated at 20-degrees.

I've found my FF's temperature rating to be spot-on. I sleep average and am "comfortable" at 30-degrees wearing midweight baselayers and wouldn't have any problems to 20-degrees by supplementing with additional clothes. I'm sure I could "survive" at much less.

Not saying that the Mirage isn't a good bag, just that you should be realistic about its temperature rating. It's comfort rating is 35-degrees and I would expect it to be about 5-deg colder than the Kestral and 15-deg colder than the Swift. Imo, that's a pretty mighty price tag for what is effectively a 30-degree bag with a 3/4 zipper.

Richard Fischel
(RICKO) - F
warranty/repair work on 06/06/2012 15:38:25 MDT Print View

i know where my ff bag is going if it needs something fixed and i know ff has solid reputation for their repair work. valandre makes great bags, but do they have a domestic repair partner with a good reputation? it may not be a big deal, but it's something i think about when buying gear.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: Feathered Friends or Valandre on 06/06/2012 15:49:41 MDT Print View

I have an FF Lark with a Nanosphere shell and it has ever leaked down, same goes for a pair of trousers I have from them.

I would say FF's quality is as good as Western Mountaineering and PHD.

No experience with Valandre but folk on outdoorsmagic highly rate the brand.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Feathered Friends or Valandre on 06/06/2012 21:03:43 MDT Print View

Thanks all - super helpful. You have brought up something I hadn't thought of: after purchase service!

Michael Gilbertson
(mkgil) - M
Happy with Valandre on 06/07/2012 19:06:47 MDT Print View

I've found my Mirage to be conservatively rated. I've been quite comfortable at 25 degrees (with a good pad), and I'm not an especially warm sleeper. I have the older 9 inch zipper and haven't found it to be a problem. The cut is generous enough for layering my Mont-Bell down jacket if it goes below 20 degrees. I have had no down leakage in over 10 years. Prolite carries Valandre. So does Charlie Jennings at Bear River. I purchased mine from Charlie and found him a pleasure to deal with.