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Gear Reviews

Zero Impact Challenge: Feathered Friends Blue Heron 20

A winning combo: Make it light and local.

At less than two pounds, the Blue Heron (and its sister bag, the Green Heron) starts with less material than some 40°F bags. That, in turn, translates to less energy use in fabrics and shipping. And while Feathered Friends boats all of its materials in from Asia and Eastern Europe, it assembles its bags in Seattle, bikes them the half-mile from its factory to retail store, and sells direct to customers. The Blue Heron’s emissions would be even lower, but Feathered Friends used a dirt-repelling nylon shell for environmental reasons that it says outweigh the carbon cost.

A trim, no-frills mummy with a shallow hood, draft collar, full-length draft tube, and mostly recycled zipper, the Blue Heron is stuffed with 850-fill down. It was one of the warmest bags, and testers cited price as the only drawback. Bonus points: Feathered Friends is applying what it learned here to its other three-season and custom bags, and it uses scrap materials to build down booties. It will also turn your retired down bag into a comforter or pillow. $379; 1 lb. 15 oz.; featheredfriends.com

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