Feathered Friends Eos
Weight: 9.3 oz. (women’s medium)
Fill: 2.8 oz. of 900-fill down
What we like: Made with ultra-premium down and extremely warm for the weight.
What we don’t: Less weather-resistant than the competition.
See the Women's Feathered Friends Eos See the Men's Feathered Friends Eos
Feathered Friends is a boutique down specialist birthed out of Seattle’s climbing scene in the 1970s, and they still lead the pack in down outerwear construction and design. The company is known for making high-quality, unflashy products for people who use them the most, and the Eos is no exception. On a recent trekking and biking trip through the Peruvian Andes, this lightweight down jacket was the only insulation piece that I brought. I wore it both while moving through chilly conditions and at camp in the alpine, and it performed admirably while keeping me cozy. Below we break down the Eos’ warmth, weight and packability, weather protection, durability, fit, and more. To see how the Eos stacks up, see our article on the best down jackets.
In the world of lightweight down jackets, the Feathered Friends Eos is one of the warmest models per ounce. First, it uses 900-fill power goose down, which along with Montbell’s premium offerings, is among the highest on the market. This down has even more loft and warmth for the weight than high-end competitors like the Arc’teryx Cerium LT (850-fill). In fact, the Eos has a higher fill power and weight (2.8 ounces of down fill for the women’s version) than nearly all of its other lightweight competitors, including the popular Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 (the women’s Cerium LT is an exception with 3.1 ounces of fill weight). You’ll have to step up to the midweight category to get more warmth.
Although this class of lightweight pieces can’t hold a candle to full-on winter down jackets like the Rab Neutrino Pro or Patagonia Fitz Roy Parka, they offer much greater packability and versatility. This is why I always opt for a lighter-weight down jacket for summer nights and wintertime high-output activities. On our trip through the Andes as the temperatures dropped well below freezing each night, I learned to quickly don my Eos as the sun dipped behind the hills. Its impressive loft, along with features like the hood and cinchable waist, offered all the warmth that I needed, even in the high alpine as frost quickly formed on the ground around me.
It’s always tough to put exact temperature ratings on insulated jackets as there are a number of variables, including layering, wind, and even the circulation of an individual. But we think of the Eos as being warm until down around freezing without much in the way of layering. You can probably buy yourself another 10 degrees or so with a warm merino baselayer underneath, but when you start getting down toward the teens and below, a midweight winter jacket or parka probably is merited.
The Feathered Friends Eos is a fastpacker’s dream. Our women’s medium weighed in at just 9.3 ounces, and our men’s medium was 10.6 ounces (we tested both versions). Given the level of warmth that the Eos provides, the weight is extremely impressive. For comparison, the women’s Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody weighs more at 9.9 ounces, yet its mix of down and synthetic insulation does not offer any additional warmth. You can save weight by going with the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 at 7.8 ounces, but that jacket uses 800-fill down and less of it, plus it has an ultra-thin 10x10D shell. For all of these reasons, we think the Eos strikes a really nice balance of weight and performance.
In terms of packability, the jacket comes with a bright yellow stuff sack that gets down to about a liter in size. We prefer to have a pocket on the jacket that it can be stuffed into (it’s easy to lose a separate sack), but I have to admit that Feathered Friends’ stuff sack does double as a pretty slick pillow and can be easily attached to a climbing harness. The Eos can be compressed much smaller than the stuff sack as well, and was easily crammed into remaining nooks and crannies of my pack.
When it comes to braving the elements, the Eos lacks some features that other modern down jackets employ to resist wind and rain. With a streamlined Pertex Quantum shell, it falls a bit behind the field in terms of weather protection. For example, a number of performance jackets use a hydrophobic coating on their down to prevent the feathers from absorbing moisture. And with the Cerium LT, Arc’teryx protects against rain by using some synthetic insulation in areas most prone to moisture, such as the hood and shoulders (they call this technology Down Composite Mapping).
All of this being said, in a light rainstorm the Eos repels water just fine. Its outer Pertex layer has a DWR finish, and the Quantum fabric is reasonably windproof. While biking down high mountain passes in Peru, I did feel very minor amounts of cold air seep through the seams, but I thought the Eos performed decently well as a windbreaker. And when conditions grow too extreme for the Pertex Quantum, the Eos is trim enough to wear under a rain jacket or hardshell. Realistically, this is going to be the case with almost all down jackets, although the Eos is slightly less weather-resistant than a lot of the premium pack.
Deciding how weatherproof you want your down jacket to be is a matter of choice. If its primary function is to be as lightweight and warm as possible, the Eos intelligently shaves weight by not including all the weather resistance bells and whistles. However, if you want a down jacket to be more of a stalwart in wind and rain, many companies are focusing on that. But again, even with a Pertex shell, hydrophobic down, and Down Composite Mapping, in real rain none of these features will be as bombproof as a down jacket and shell combination.
Hood and Other Key Features
Feathered Friends has streamlined the Eos Down Jacket to make it as light as possible, so don’t expect to find any fancy hidden features on this jacket. The two zippered handwarmer pockets forgo fleece linings, but are roomy, surrounded by down, and warmed my always-cold hands nicely. The hem is equipped with an elastic drawcord and a high-quality cinching system to tighten the waistband and fend off cold drafts. The one feature that I definitely missed on this jacket, however, was a hood adjustment. While the hood is non-helmet-compatible, meaning it fits trimly around your head, it could still use a cinching system to stay in place during high winds.
Feathered Friends’ products are handcrafted in small batches using high-quality materials. I wore the Eos every day while in Peru, and as someone who is not gentle on gear, have been impressed with how the jacket has held up. My Eos sustained just one tiny hole where feathers are beginning to leak through, but the zippers continue to operate smoothly, the seams remain intact and do not leak, and the down is as lofty as when I first got the jacket.
Although the look and color options aren’t quite as appealing for daily wear as say, the Arc'teryx Cerium LT, you’ll certainly get kudos from those in the know. Feathered Friends gear is and has always been used by some of the world’s best alpinists. The Eos has a bit more of a traditional mountaineering look than many jackets made by mainstream brands, and in a world where down jackets are just as at home in the city as in the mountains, this is worth considering. We like the understated look of the Eos but definitely wish it were made in more colorways.
The trim fit of the Eos is designed to function as an outer layer in mild conditions or as a midlayer jacket under a shell in wetter and windier conditions. I often waver between a small and extra small, but Feathered Friends’ extra small fits me perfectly. It still provides enough space for base and midlayers, yet is sleek enough to fit easily under my hardshell. Length-wise, the jacket runs about average for a layering piece, similar to the Arc’teryx Cerium LT, though I wouldn’t want it to run much shorter. And in comparison to the Cerium, the Eos has a bit more room in the midsection but certainly isn’t baggy. The length of the arms is perfect, even when reaching forward to use handlebars on my bike.
Men’s Version of the Feathered Friends Eos
We focused on the women’s Eos for this review, but we also tested the men’s version. Compared to the women’s jacket, the men’s Eos costs the same at $339 but is heavier at 10.6 ounces, has a higher fill weight at 3.7 ounces, and lacks the tapered fit of the women’s design. The rest of the build remains the same, including the Pertex Quantum shell, DWR coating, and separate stuff sack for packing it down. Finally, like the women’s Eos, the men’s jacket is only available in three colorways: black, light blue (blue sky), and dark blue (midnight).
What We Like
- Industry-leading warmth-to-weight ratio.
- Premium build quality and materials.
- Trim fit offers the perfect ability to layer underneath and overtop.
- A good value compared to the high-end competition.
- Feathered Friends’ down is ethically sourced and all of their products are made in the USA.
What We Don’t
- No hydrophobic down or other advanced weather protection.
- No hood adjustment, which can be problematic in high winds.
- Feathered Friends gear can sell out during busy seasons, so you may have to wait a few weeks for your jacket.
|Jacket||Price||Weight||Fill Power||Fill Weight||Denier||Packable|
|Feathered Friends Eos||$339||9 oz.||900 fill||2.8 oz.||12Dx20D||Stuff sack|
|Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody||$379||9.9 oz.||850 fill||3.1 oz.||10D||Stuff sack|
|MTN Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2||$325||7.8 oz.||800 fill||Unavail.||10Dx10D||Hand pocket|
|Montbell Plasma 1000 Alpine Parka||$439||7.9 oz.||1000 fill||3.4 oz.||7D||Stuff sack|
|Feathered Friends Ellia||$349||13 oz.||900 fill||4.9 oz.||12Dx20D||Stuff sack|
Feathered Friends products aren’t cheap, but given their quality and performance slant, they stack up quite well against the competitors. As mentioned above, the Arc’teryx Cerium LT is a very similar jacket: it weighs .9 ounces more, provides similar warmth with more down but a lower fill power (albeit with synthetic insulation in certain areas prone to moisture), and is $40 more expensive (Feathered Friends raised the price of the Eos $30 for 2019-2020, so the gap is closing in that regard). At the end of the day, both are top-notch lightweight down jackets that can be worn in the backcountry or the city. The Arc’teryx is a bit sleeker in its appearance—the Eos has more of an old-school design—plus it’s offered in many more colorways. But both are superb jackets and you can’t go wrong with either.
The down jacket that really pioneered the ultralight category is the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer. Updated to the “2” for this fall with recycled shell fabric and responsibly sourced down, it manages to pack a whole lot of warmth into a sub-8-ounce package. One big tradeoff is durability: the Ghost Whisperer sports a much thinner 10Dx10D shell, which requires a healthy level of care to avoid tears and holes, and particularly for everyday use. It also has less insulation than the Eos and uses lower-quality 800-fill down. But for fast-and-light missions in the summer and shoulder seasons, the Ghost Whisperer/2 is one of the lightest down jackets on the market.
Among serious climbers and alpinists, Montbell has a dedicated following. The brand won’t win any marketing awards and doesn’t aim for the mainstream, but it’s hard to argue with their products, and specifically the Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka. At just 7.9 ounces total, you get a healthy 3.4 ounces of 1,000-fill-power down (that is not a misprint). Patagonia offered a 1,000-fill-power piece a handful of years ago and Rab currently does as well with its Zero G, but this is rare air—it’s the fluffiest and lightest down available. The shortcomings of the Plasma 1000 are the ultra-thin 7D shell and hefty $439 price tag, but you just won’t find more warmth for the weight.
Last but not least, Feathered Friends offers a warmer women’s down jacket in the Ellia. For this piece, the fill weight bumps up to 4.9 ounces, the total weight goes up to 13 ounces, and the baffles are larger. Interestingly, the Ellia is only $10 more than the Eos at $349. At the end of the day, the Eos is plenty warm to be your down layering piece for most non-winter adventures, but the Ellia steps it up a notch but with more warmth along with the same premium materials and attention to the detail. Serious backcountry enthusiasts who have a quiver of jackets may want both, plus the Ellia is the better value given the current pricing, but the Eos should be enough jacket for most people.
Editor’s note: We usually provide a live price comparison table below our outdoor gear reviews, but the Eos is sold exclusively by Feathered Friends. You can see the Eos page here and support us in the process. Thanks!