• The Flicker Family History

    Flicker in action in North Cascades

    They are finally here: a wide version of our bestselling Flicker Quilt sleeping bag, AND a kids edition!

    Take a look at them on our website!

    Here is a little history on how the Flicker family of bags came to be.

    Two years ago, we launched the Flicker series of down quilt sleeping bags. They quickly became favorites of our staff and adventurers of all types searching for a light bag that could meet a wide variety of needs.

    The Flicker was a long time in the making. Our designers are always exploring ways to not only make traditional bags even better but also to create new designs. Their work has resulted in a wide range of bags, from the Penguin and Condor sleep systems to expedition bags for the coldest climates and the innovative and unusual Spoonbill. The quilt-style bag was an area of increased interest for outdoor enthusiasts looking for lightweight but adaptable insulation, so we began experimenting with designs that maximized versatility in a unique and effective way.

    At first, our designer spent over a year experimenting (a luxury of being a small company) off-and-on with the classical quilt design which had no zipper. In warm weather this design is perfect, because it is light and provides just enough insulation while not restricting movement. In cold weather, however, the open quilt is not ideal because every movement results in a gap between quilt and pad that steals heat and lets cold air in. He explored ways to attach this traditional design to the pad, but none of the approaches panned out.

    The breakthrough happened when our designer accidentally got stuck with a quilt during a particularly cold night. To keep warm, he ditched the pad attachment straps and simply tucked the bag beneath him. While this approach meant he was stuck on his back all night, it occurred to him that adding a few extra inches to the quilt would allow it to zip, which would drastically improve the quilt’s warmth and allow him to move around.

    The next morning he returned to the factory and built the first flicker prototype. From the beginning the goal of the Flicker was to save weight while maximizing versatility. This philosophy led to the design refinements that characterize the Flicker of today; a center zipper instead of an open quilt, and a cinch around the feet rather than a clunky fixed footbox.

    Throughout the exploration phase, our designer was also guided by a desire to balance weight with usability. The Flicker occupies the sweet spot discovered during the design process; the fabrics are light but durable, the design allows for many uses, and the zipper and cinch increase comfort and warmth without adding too many grams.

    Now, we added two new quilts to the Flicker Family; a wide quilt and a kids version. These new adaptations of a favorite design are the result of feedback from those who loved the original Flicker and a continuation of the creative and thoughtful design process that is at the heart of all Feathered Friends products.

  • Warmth for Two

    Penguin Double Bag

    Feathered Friends Double Bags

    When we started making down gear in 1972, Feathered Friends was a small operation run out of our founders’ basement. Each bag was a design adventure, from exploring baffle techniques to fabric choices and shape. The founders also had complete freedom to create what they wanted, from specialized alpine gear to versatile bags that could support a wide variety of outdoor pursuits. It was from this pursuit of versatility that the Feathered Friends double bags developed.

    At their inception, the doubles started as simple wide full zip sleeping bags that were favored by one person looking for extra comfort and space (or by the occasional two if half the party didn’t mind having a hood on their side of the bed). The next step was to make a groundsheet for the bag, and then to add a second draft tube to both sides of the zipper, so everyone stayed warm regardless of which side of the bag they got.

    As more and more people started using the bags primarily for two, the founders decided it was time to revisit the design and optimize it for versatility. The result are bags that have an optional and removeable hood and groundsheet, so they can be used comfortably by one or two people. This design is alive and well in our very popular double bags the Penguin and the Condor.

    The Penguin is a semi-rectangular bag and one of our best sellers. It has been on adventures big and small, keeping people warm in tents, vans, campers, and under the stars. Of the double bags, the Penguin is the lightest weight but still very warm, so it not only works for backpacking trips but is also at home in cabins or campers. The condor is similar, but features a full rectangular shape. With the optional groundsheet and hoods, you can build your ideal sleep system with exactly the features you need.

    The last double bag, and the most specialized, is the Spoonbill. Created 5 years ago in collaboration with climbers, the Spoonbill was made from the beginning for two to share on big wall climbs where space is limited and sharing body heat important. What makes the Spoonbill unique is not only the shape, but also the two hoods that are separate and cinch fully so each sleeper can be as warm as possible. Often, climbers will cut two closed cell foam pads and insert them directly into the bag for light padding.

    Check out our video to see how the whole sleep system works!

  • Roadtrip Reports: Arches


    “For a little while we are again able to see, as the child sees, a world of marvels.” Edward Abbey

    In 1956 and 1957 Edward Abbey was the park ranger for Arches, at a time before it had achieved National Park status and when the unpaved roads were more traveled by tumbleweeds and lizards than visitors. Now, the park is visited by 1.5 million people each year.

    Even with this incredible number of visitors, Arches retains its sense of awe and wonder. Of all the parks I visited, I saw more people here who were simply standing, observing, and marveling. You know you are somewhere special when a child’s expression of awe at the 290-foot expanse of Landscape Arch is mirrored on the face of the adults beside them.

    Exploring Arches is much easier than trying to navigate Escalante, as almost every hike starts and ends at the single paved road. The road can get crowded, and one of the biggest benefits of visiting on the fringes of the peak season is fewer people throughout the small park.

    If you are someone who likes to camp, the Arches campground is one of the best I have ever stayed in. Situated right at the end of the road, the campsites are nestled below red slickrock formations or look out over the distant mesas and La Sal mountains. The spectacular nature of the reservation-only campground means that the spots are all claimed early… if you know you want to stay, plan well in advance and expect to try to reserve your spot the first day reservations open.

    Sunset-sleeping bag-Feathered Friends

    If park service campgrounds aren’t your style or you’re on a last minute mission, check out the many camping areas scattered across BLM lands just outside of the park.

    Pro tip: I highly recommend an early start, especially later in the year. In past visits I started every hike shortly before dawn to take advantage of the cool morning temperatures and enjoy a few moments of solitude. This also allowed me to maximize the best light. Landscape arch is unbelievable in the morning, right as the golden light of dawn filters over the mesa. Delicate Arch, however, is best in the evening, but don’t expect to have the place to yourself; photographers and hikers usually line the entire natural bowl surrounding part of the Arch.

    When exploring the Southwest, Arches is on the top of my list every time.

    Delicate Arch and Eos jacket

  • Memorial Day Sale!

    It’s that time of the year… to gear up for your summer adventures!

    Memorial Day Sale Image- Hiker in mountains

    Our in-store Memorial Day Sale starts on May 19, and goes through May 30th.

    Whether you are going on your first backpacking trip or preparing for Mount Rainier, our sale and clearance items will help you get out there and send your adventure.

    Sale items include:
    20% off select Osprey Packs
    25% off a selection of climbing gear from Black Diamond, Camp, and Mammut
    20% off Petzl Ropes and select Edelweiss Glacier Ropes
    20% off Julbo and Native sunglasses
    20% off Suunto watches
    25% off all Arc’teryx baselayers
    20% off select 850 and 900 fill down bags
    … and more!

    Clearance Items: who’s feeling lucky?

    Our clearance items get special treatment this year, with a progressive gambler’s sale. This means that the longer the sale goes on, the gear that has not found its new home gets cheaper and cheaper every week.

    Clearance item inventory is limited, but includes items like La Sportiva mountaineering boots, Arc’teryx winter shell jackets, Patagonia layers, winter hats and scarves, and a lot of other gems.

    Here's how it will go down:

    5/19/16 - 20% off all Clearance Rack Footwear & 30% off all Clearance Rack Clothing

    5/28/16 - 30% off all Clearance Rack Footwear & 40% off all Clearance Rack Clothing

    6/4/16 - 40% off all Clearance Rack Footwear & 50% off all Clearance Rack Clothing

    Clearance racks will be clearly marked, and the progressive sale only applies to these items.

    Please note: All sales are final on clearance items. Sale prices are not retroactive. Discounts based off of regular full price. We also might adjust prices at different times, so some items may receive bigger discounts earlier, and clearance items may be subject to change without notice.

  • Roadtrip Reports: Bryce Canyon

    Bryce Canyon National Park Watercolor Painting

    Part One: A Feathered Friends Tour of the Southwest

    Hoodoos. Ladies with hairdos. Fairy Chimneys. Whatever you call them, the incredible rock formations of Bryce Canyon are unlike anything else in the world. The towering spires, vibrant colors, and chromatic vistas were the first stop in a road trip to celebrate the National Park Centennial.

    Last month I went on a month-long road trip to explore the parks that are arguably one of “America’s best ideas” in relation to conservation and recreation. It was also the perfect opportunity to put some new Feathered Friends gear to the test in a cold and arid climate.

    The National Park Service was created in 1916 "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." Over the last 100 years, the National Park system has grown to include 58 parks across the United States, which receive tens of millions of visitors each year.

    Bryce first captured my imagination when I visited it as a kid; the colors, rocks, and hikes were about as different as you can get from the greens and greys of the Northwest. Returning as an adult, these same formations re-awakened my sense of childhood wonder and a new feeling of gratitude that Bryce is protected. In practical terms, this means that although the park sees millions more visitors and has more amenities than when I first visited, the natural features are exactly as I remember them.

    Hiker in Bryce Canyon

    A testament to the splendor of the park is that people visit it from around the world. Walking on the rim of Bryce at peak travel season (which starts right about now) immerses you in a melting pot of languages, cultures, and experiences. One of my favorite things to do is sit on the rim and paint. Often the painting sparks conversations and inspires interactions with people thousands of miles from home.

    This was also my first time visiting the southwest in spring, and I was surprised at how COLD (and windy) it was. Each night temperatures hovered right around or below freezing, and it even snowed the day we left Bryce.

    It turns out our founders and owners were at Bryce the same time I was, doing some product testing of their own. They hit the cold and snowy conditions as well, and I think we were all glad to have lightweight down jackets like the Eos and Hyperion stashed in our packs.

    Pro Tip for exploring Bryce: The canyon is structured in a tiered system. Layer one is the rim, which is the most crowded, and has expansive views down into the rock formations and to the mesas beyond. Layer two includes the shorter hiking loops that drop into the canyon, such as the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden. These trails still see a lot of people, but allow you to get up close and personal with Hoodoos of all shapes, sizes, colors, and heights. Layer three is the Under the Rim trail, which is primarily used by backpackers, and is the place to go to find solitude.

    Bryce Canyon Hiking

  • Simple and Streamlined: Introducing the Eos Down Jacket

    Eos Down Jacket in Bryce Canyon National Park

    The Eos - our newest down jacket - handmade in Seattle

    The Eos jacket was named after the Greek goddess of dawn, and we designed it for all of your early morning adventures that require simple, lightweight, and fast warmth. Whether gearing up for an early ascent to catch the alpenglow or getting cozy in camp, the Eos has just the right amount of insulation to keep you warm on its own or as a layering piece when the weather moves in.

    Every jacket is hand made in Seattle with 900+ fill goose down that is ethically sourced and RDS certified. The Eos is filled with 3.7 ounces of down and easily compacts into an included stuff sack, making it easy to stow once you and the sun are warmed up.

    The down, combined with a low profile hood and zippered handwarmer pockets allow the Eos to keep you warm when conditions change. It also features an elastic drawcord hem and lycra around the cuffs and hood to keep your heat where you want it. Lastly, the jacket is constructed of Pertex Quantum brushed nylon fabric, which is the perfect balance of weight, durability, and protection with a DWR treatment on the exterior of the fabric.

    With spring in full gear, the Eos is the ideal companion for your adventures.

    Eos Down Jacket in the Enchantments, WA

    Fun fact: According to Greek mythology, the goddess Eos is the daughter of Hyperion, who is the namesake of one of our other light to midweight jacket.

  • Our Favorite Non-Essential Items

    Feathered Friends Favorite Non-Essentials

    Our favorite non-essentials

    You know how it goes. Ounces turn to pounds, and those pounds are what you have to carry when you’re hiking, backpacking, or climbing. We are constantly looking to shave the weight: balancing need and want, safety and convenience. While we are big proponents of lightening the load, there are some items, luxuries if you will, that we like to have with us if possible.

    A little extra weight? Meet our favorite non-essential items
    Continue reading

  • Ibex Night at Feathered Friends - December 5th

    Join us at Feathered Friends on Thursday, December 5th for Ibex Night! Join us at Feathered Friends on Thursday, December 5th for Ibex Night!

    Ibex Night at Feathered Friends

    Please join us on Thursday, December 5th for Ibex Night! Check out the best in wool apparel and accessories at our Seattle store and receive 20% off ALL Ibex items - including special orders! Ibex representatives will also be on hand to show what makes Ibex special. Refreshments and snacks will be provided!

    Don't miss it!

    Where: Feathered Friends
    What: IBEX Night
    When: Thursday, December 5th
    Time: 3pm to 8pm
    Bonus: Refreshments, snacks, 20% Off ALL Ibex

    20% off applies only from 3pm to 8pm on December 5, 2013. In-store Purchases only.

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