Feathered Friends Vireo?


Original Post
Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 228

I'm considering getting a FF Vireo for seated and weird bivies. I've owned a few different FF bags, and they are all awesome. I have heard some regrets from folks who got a Vireo without some overfill in the top half. Does anyone have any input on that? If you advise overfill, how much? Two ounces? 4? Just in the top half? Would it be reasonable for an average person in stock form down to 25F with a box walled parka with 9oz down?

grubbers · · Mass. · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 0

I've only got one night out in my Vireo, but was reasonably comfortable in 20-30F temps with a ME Fitzroy as my puffy jacket. I believe I went with 2oz of overfill in the top half of the bag.

Brian Zhang · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

Hey Brian,

I have a Vireo and I'm definitely in the camp of guys who regret not putting extra down in the top half. With a DAS underneath, I can sleep only above freezing since I get cold easily and usually have to resort to shivering. So please do make sure to stuff that bag. From what I've seen, 2 extra ounces of down seems to be the most common amount to add. I haven't heard about 4 oz, but that sounds cozy.

jediah porter · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 330

I have a "stock" Vireo and have used it a ton since Jan 1. Always with the FF Helios (also "stock"... no overfill). With the smallest thermarest NeoAir, a torso-length piece of foam, and skins, ropes, and extra clothes whenever possible, I've used this set up high in southern Argentina, for 15 nights in the High Sierra in April and early May, and most recently at 17000 feet in Peru. Can't recommend it enough. 

clint helander · · anchorage, alaska · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 438

i used mine for seven days straight in Alaska this spring, some nights in open bivvies. Loved it.

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 0
Brian Abram wrote:

Would it be reasonable for an average person in stock form down to 25F with a box walled parka with 9oz down?

I don't own the Vireo but I have to think so. FF tends to be good about ratings so if they say 25F I'd believe it. Outdoor Gear Lab's review is the most thorough and they seemed to think it was good below that. Dane/Cold Thistle put a few extra ounces in his but he was dealing with subzero temps. 

IMO if you can wait for a special order, get the overstuff. 2-4oz of carry weight is negligible and it's good insurance. Being too hot is unlikely in freezing temps, better than cold in any case. But if you can't wait and 25F is the worst you think you'll deal with I bet you'll be fine. 

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 228

Thanks everyone!

Doug Hutchinson · · Seattle, WA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 80

At the risk of throwing some sales away from one of my favorite local gear companies (FF = Seattle), isn't the Patagonia Hybrid Sleeping Bag the new king in this category?

http://www.patagonia.com/product/hybrid-sleeping-bag-regular/70070.html

I only have two nights in mine, but I love getting all the way inside the windshirt-style upper. The lack of continiuty between elephant-foot bags like the Vireo and ones jacket always seemed inefficient to me.

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 0

You can get the long version of the Vireo that goes up to your neck and provides additional upper body insulation. 

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 228

I am 71" tall. I had looked at the Patagonia bag, but it would be going against a 68" Vireo, so the Vireo would actually come up above my shoulders. The current 68" Vireo comes in at 15oz, compared to 18.4oz for the Patagonia Hybrid, and I think the FF might be cozier with even just the few inches of loft up top rather than just the Houdini material. My wife would be getting the shorter one, so she'd be in a 13.9oz Vireo that comes above her shoulders compared to a 17oz Short Hybrid Patagonia bag with zero upper body insulation. I feel like I'd always have to take a heavy down jacket with the Patagonia bag, but I think could occasionally get away with a lighter jacket with the Vireo. That makes the Patagonia Hybrid make even less sense. Finally, the Vireo UL has an Endurance shell with a 1000mm hydrostatic head. Versus the Patagonia Hybrid with its Quantum and Houdini shell.

The Patagonia bag does seem to have more insulation in its lower half, though: apparently equivalent to a 10F bag

If I add an ounce of down to the lower half of the Vireo and two ounces to the upper half, it'd weigh about the same as the Patagonia bag, but I'm guessing I might not need more than a down sweater for summer alpine climbing. That might be 10 or more ounces saved, not to mention the pack space. And my hands might be warmer in the top of the Vireo, rather than needing gloves or awkwardly stuffing them into the bottom of the Hybrid

Having said all that, I can get Patagonia stuff cheap, and the price difference is big.

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 0
Brian Abram wrote:

Finally, the Vireo UL has an Endurance shell with a 1000mm hydrostatic head. Versus the Patagonia Hybrid with its Quantum and Houdini shell

It's give and take. The Endurance may prevent some amount of moisture getting in from the outside. The Quantum will breathe/dry faster when it gets moist. Which is better might depend on the day.

Another option to agonize over :-) Available with hydrophobic down.

https://m.facebook.com/nunatakgear/posts/358239227866480:0

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 228

Thanks for the link. I've looked hard at the Akula, but wanted a shoulder length bag

I've had Endurance on my other two FF bags, and I've been satisfied

I also sent an email to Enlightened Equipment asking if they would do a sewn shut Enigma/Conundrum, but I never heard anything

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 0

I did too. FF wasn't super awesome to me over the phone (apparently this is out of character for them so I'm not out to rant about it). I emailed Nunatak and he custom made me the bag I really wanted (in the link). The trip I planned to use it for was canceled so I can't give you true review but everything points to it being the bomb :-)

MyFeetHurt · · Thornton, CO · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 0

I have several years with a stock UL vireo, best bag ever and I have lots of other feathered friends bags as well. At 5'10" you have to get the longer length as the bag is designed to go over your shoulders. I have slept on the summit of Rainier due to a storm (paired with a Helios) and have done desert trips in Utah in it paired with a fleece. Always comfy. If I have to do it over I would request 800 down instead of 900 because the 900 is more susceptible to high humidity and it is almost too delicate to loft with any moisture in the air. Wake up people, at some point less is not more with down and 1000 fill power is dumb. 800 to 850 is the sweet spot. Rant over, get the vireo and laugh at everyone who doesn't have one. 

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 438

It depends on how much jacket you'll be bringing for the route and what daytime temp/vs night will be. 

I've used an off the shelf UL vireo in the PNW and canada for a few years now. On a technical rock route early season, where I will likely only bring my nuclei and a fleece for insulation it's not warm enough in the upper body when overnight lows dip below mid 20s. For mid winter ski tours where I bring a montbell mirage and fleece/nano light it's totally comfy down in the low teens. 

I'll likely be doing an overfill in the top now because I picked up a 30 degree flicker for use mid summer. In July/august I've found the footbox on the vireo is just far to warm most of the time. 

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 228

Nick,

how tall are you and what length did you get? I have a Mirage and also have a heavier parka and was wondering which would be necessary. I would never use it below 15. We have a Spoonbill for that

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 438

I'm only 5'8" and went with the long size. I can have it snugged up around my neck with a warm nalgene on the base of my feet w/o compressing down in the footbox. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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