Favorite Piece of gear.. Western Mountaineerings Sleeping ba | High Sierra Topix  

Favorite Piece of gear.. Western Mountaineerings Sleeping ba

Share your advice and personal experiences, post a gear review or ask any questions you may have pertaining to outdoor gear and equipment.
User avatar

Favorite Piece of gear.. Western Mountaineerings Sleeping ba

Postby Hetchy » Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:21 pm

Well, it had to be done.. so I dunned it.
I pulled out a crowbar and pryed open my wallet to fork out some serious coin for a new bag:
The Ultralight by Western Mountaineering 20 degree 1lb 10 oz. I am in love!

But first let me tell you about the Old Timer Bag and my sole reason for buying (another)Western Mountaineering sleeping bag.
My previous bag(for the last 16 years!) was also a WM. A Goretex Antelope 0 degree 850 fill down 4 lbs. The poor old thing has thousands of miles on the odometer. The only wear on it are a few micro holes from sleeping without a pad or ground cloth(I am bad I know) and a wrinkled outer skin from being set to close to the fire to dry(Bad also.. yep I am dumb).
Other than that it still sleeps warm as an oven right down to it's rated temerature. Indeed, I have never slept a cold night in it.. ever.
I can remember the day back in 1993 at Mel Cottons on a lunch break with a co-worker. I was tired of sleeping cold in other bags and decided to throw down the gauntlet.
I remember Owen's face (co-worker) when he saw the price tag(even back then I believe it was almost 400 bucks) then he started to laugh hysterically as I proceded to climb into and out of each and every bag they had on display.
I remember zipping myself into that sky blue Antelope and the instant feeling of being cozy and a little hot! It was love at first fit. To this day That bag is as warm as the day I bought it.. 16 years later!
I have never washed it (gross I know.. but it's my kind of gross) for fear it would lose it's loft or mojo or whatever...
That bag survived being layed on the bare granite, left in the sun too long, too close to the fire, sap, soup spills, being thrust into a tiny stuff sack and left forever.. all the things you arent supposed to do to a down bag. There is not one stitch missing nor ounce of fabric abraded on the entire bag. The cord lock hood cinches still work perfectly as does the zipper. Even the velcro tabs around the draft collar are intact and hold fine.
I love that greasy old sleeping bag and If the house burns down right now, that would be the one thing I might cry over losing.. until now.
Along comes this new bag.
This WM Ultralite model weighs 1 lb 10 oz and it is a dead ringer for my old antelope except for weight and bulk. I know we are gonna be friends. :)
I suppose there is no point to rambling on and on about a sleeping bag I haven't even slept in yet (tonight on the front porch,concrete,& no pad!)
And why I feel so sentimental about a piece of gear like a sleeping bag, I dunno. And I am afraid I will have to get back to you on the endurance testing. Which judging by it's predeccesor.. might be another 16 years!

Does anyone else feel sentimental about a sleeping bag or a favorite piece of gear? (It's O.K. to just tell me I am nuts)
Would love to hear about it! Cheers, Hetchy :)
You can make more money, but you can't make more time.



User avatar
Hetchy
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 269
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:51 pm
Location: Santa Cruz Mountains Ben Lomond
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Favorite Piece of gear.. Western Mountaineerings Sleeping ba

Postby hikerduane » Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:44 pm

I'm with you on grabbing it if the place caught on fire. In my case, I have more than one WM bag. I have heard the 'lite' series is a little tight, let us know. One of my bags is a Antelope Super DL, the Dryloft is a little noisy, kinda crinkly. It was very pricey, but the summer I bought it, I had been working so much overtime, I sprung for it. I have only used it a few nights in the 8-10 years I have had it. For a five degree bag, it sure is nice when the tempermental zip-o-gauge shows minus seven. I know it is cold, when the nose hairs freeze and the lip hair gets stiff from breathing.
Piece of cake.
User avatar
hikerduane
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:58 am
Location: Meadow Valley, CA, Carson City, NV
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Favorite Piece of gear.. Western Mountaineerings Sleeping ba

Postby oldranger » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:55 pm

For a little more room I bought the WM Alpinlite that is rated at 20 degrees and comes in at 1lb 15 oz. For 2 or 3 more inches Marksor just bought a WM badger that comes in at about 21/2 lbs and is rated at 15 degrees. I loved the Badger but didn't want to carry the extra 9 oz. and according to Mark he outweighs me by 60 lbs or more so I think he needs the larger bag. On september trips I carry about 9 oz extra in sleeping clothes to make of for the difference in the warmth of the bags--also provides a little more comfort for extra frosty evening and mornings in september.

My favorite alltime most used bag? Northface Unimog, semi rectangular, can be paired with zipper around the outside. My ex has the other bag. My true love and I manage ok, nonetheless. Northface replaced the down in the first two tubes for free so the bag still works fine, but weighs nearly 4lbs and that is more than I care to carry any more.

Cheers,

mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
User avatar
oldranger
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2164
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:18 pm
Location: Bend, Oregon
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Favorite Piece of gear.. Western Mountaineerings Sleeping ba

Postby markskor » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:50 pm

Mike,
You aren't insinuating that I fat are you? lol...maybe just beefy.
Call me crazy, but last night...35° here in Sacramento, I had to try out the new WM Badger out in the backyard.
Slept out under my covered Gazebo, in the rain...warm as toast, and with it partially opened up too/unzipped at the feet...just a great bag. Possibly a lil too warm maybe for the conditions, but plenty of room, and soft as a baby's backside.
The wife did mumble something in the morning about my being a bit off kilter, but who listens.

While I am rambling away, I might mention that I just called up and reserved this summer's wilderness permits today...two Yosemite trips scheduled so far:
July 8...Tuolumne - up Lyell to Donahue and then ?- 10-days solo - intend to visit Catherine, Marie, and 1000 Island, and whatever else pops up along the way.
July 19th, Mono Meadows to Ottoway/ Reds Peak and then, another stab at Obelisk - just another 10-day solo adventure. I smell another tale somewhere here.
Hike safe and dream big,
Mark
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2047
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Favorite Piece of gear.. Western Mountaineerings Sleeping ba

Postby BSquared » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:12 pm

markskor wrote:While I am rambling away, I might mention that I just called up and reserved this summer's wilderness permits today...two Yosemite trips scheduled so far:
July 8...Tuolumne - up Lyell to Donahue and then ?- 10-days solo - intend to visit Catherine, Marie, and 1000 Island, and whatever else pops up along the way.


Hmmm... so how're we going to find you as we navigate the JMT south from Tuolumne after starting from the valley on the 10th? Sounds like you might be in the 1000-Island Lake area? Shall we all wear white carnations on our shoulder straps?

-B²
User avatar
BSquared
Founding Member
 
Posts: 871
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Jericho, VT
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Re: Favorite Piece of gear.. Western Mountaineerings Sleeping ba

Postby markskor » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:46 pm

B²-
Yup, that will do it...well, maybe you should sport a red boa too ...might help.

Arranged my first trip with you in mind actually. Thought I would meet you at 1000 Island or somewhere along that stretch, do some fishing, and swap a few lies. I was planning to/could stay a few days in the Valley before too; (Yosemite has free watercolor classes daily - world famous artists... intending to take a few classes and hang in the Valley), so I thought we might/could cross paths when you first get there - pre-trip. When do you get there exactly? The last time, you mentioned that your plans are still up in the air arrival-wise, and I am flexible as to trip dates, but wanted to have a fallback permit, just in case.
Plan on hooking up in Valley Backpacker Camp, (or do you have a real campground reservation?) and figure the rest out later. BTW, I am not walking up from Happy Isles with a loaded pack...not the first hike of the season anyway.
You can tell me all about it though, on the high trail, a few days later.
Stay in touch,
Mark
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2047
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Favorite Piece of gear.. Western Mountaineerings Sleeping ba

Postby maverick » Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:11 pm

Hi Hetchy

I've had the Antelope MF for ever and bought the Ultralight back when it was
introduced and have not looked at another bag since.
I too love this bag!
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8029
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Favorite Piece of gear.. Western Mountaineerings Sleeping ba

Postby fishmonger » Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:23 am

How much more comfortable/large is the Alpinlite over the Ultralite? I'm looking to upgrade my bag for this summer and recently tried a Marmot Helium, which on paper appears pretty well sized, but it felt like I was put into a glove. I'm 6'2" and about 190lbs and the long sized Helium felt too tight.

The bag I am using now is an old The North Face Superlight - about 3lbs 6oz, and rated for about 5 degrees. Plenty warm for the coldest nights I've experienced in the Sierras, very durable, roomy, nice long zipper. The drawback is the weight and the large pack volume. I'm hoping to shave off one pound at least, but I don't want a bag that's as tight as the Marmot I tried.

Here's the thing - Marmot claims the Helium has a shoulder girth of 64" - how do they measure that? My old TNF bag measures 29" across the widest part, maybe 30" - doubled it would mean a 60" girth? How can the much tighter Helium be 64"? Compare that to the WM bags - Ultralite is a 59" and Alpinlite is rated 64". Given I have no idea how these numbers translate to real space, can somebody give me some personal comparison experience with these bags?

Theoretically, the Ultralite should fit me fine, given my TNF measures about the same width. Is Marmot just inflating numbers? Or was my test bag a "special edition" super light version (it had the silly short zipper and unusual 900 fill down, which I can't seem to match up with any offering online to get exact specs for that model). Bascially, I'd rather buy the WM Ultralite which on paper matches the TNF bag in size. There's no place where I live that carries these bags, so I have to buy online untried.

The third bag I am looking at is a rare Valandre Mirage 3/4 zip - anyone have personal experience with that bag in the Sierras? Apart from the 3/4 zipper which may be less than what I like for ventilation, the bag gets extremely good reviews. It is at the top end of my price range, though, and it better be superb at that price. It sure is the lightest of the bunch.

Fourth bag in the running is REI sub Kilo (or the new model that replaced it) - tight, snug, but it is very light. Not that well made, but it can be had for much less, especially with the 20% off coupon and divident from last year's REI buying spree... My son has this bag and it worked very well for him last summer.

back to my morning coffee (hey - I hear Starbucks is rolling out a really good instant coffee... heard about it on another ultralite hiker forum)
User avatar
fishmonger
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 945
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Madison, WI
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Favorite Piece of gear.. Western Mountaineerings Sleeping ba

Postby markskor » Sat Mar 07, 2009 11:48 am

How much more comfortable/large is the Alpenlite over the Ultralite?

…Just enough to make a difference when camped above 12,000 in June.

I'm looking to upgrade my bag for this summer and recently tried a Marmot Helium, which on paper appears pretty well sized, but it felt like I was put into a glove. I'm 6'2" and about 190lbs and the long sized Helium felt too tight.

Tried the Helium first at REI, but much too tight also - (I am 6 ‘~225 lbs…FYI).

Theoretically, the Ultralite should fit me fine, given my TNF measures about the same width. Is Marmot just inflating numbers?

(Ya think?)

Or was my test bag a "special edition" super light version (it had the silly short zipper and unusual 900 fill down, which I can't seem to match up with any offering online to get exact specs for that model). Basically, I'd rather buy the WM Ultralite which on paper matches the TNF bag in size. There's no place where I live that carries these bags, so I have to buy online untried.

I would go with the WM Alpenlite…IMHO – you won’t be sorry – sight unseen.

The third bag I am looking at is a rare Valandre Mirage 3/4 zip - anyone have personal experience with that bag in the Sierras? Apart from the 3/4 zipper which may be less than what I like for ventilation, the bag gets extremely good reviews. It is at the top end of my price range, though, and it better be superb at that price. It sure is the lightest of the bunch.

God, I hate anything that does not have a full zipper…just limits the bag’s use in any warmer weather.

Fourth bag in the running is REI sub Kilo (or the new model that replaced it) - tight, snug, but it is very light.

POS bag – Good for summer only…also too tight/not warm enough…you want a great bag that will last forever…never have to buy another bag again.

Always buy the best – never compromise…you will always regret if buying a lesser bag.
(What will you save …$50?)
Mark
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2047
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Favorite Piece of gear.. Western Mountaineerings Sleeping ba

Postby rlown » Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:02 pm

This was a timely thread. I bought all 4 of my bags in the 80's/90's. They were selected for different purposes. I tend to go either early season or late season. I'm not a skeeter fan. I'm 6' 3" at 210lbs. My bags are becoming a little tight, but i'd like a recommendation for a 10-15 degree bag with room.

The WM discussion seems like there might be a recommendation you all could make based on your experience. This would probably cut my weight a bit for trips. I swear by a full zipper as well. Is there a good source from which to purchase WM?

Russ
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5328
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Favorite Piece of gear.. Western Mountaineerings Sleeping ba

Postby markskor » Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:19 pm

There are seldom found sales on WM bags...maybe with this new economy things could open up.

I just had to replace my WM bag with a new Badger as some rube basshole borrowed it last year from inside my tent in YNP...Sunnyside.
I subsequently searched the net forever, but eventually found mine at "Tent Trail"... New York (Google it). It was in the "close out sale" bags bin ... $325.

You could also look on eBay...Western Mountaineering Bags...currently a few good ones running... they say "new" for reasonably good prices.
Mark
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2047
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Favorite Piece of gear.. Western Mountaineerings Sleeping ba

Postby fishmonger » Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:30 pm

…Just enough to make a difference when camped above 12,000 in June.

but isn't Ultralite/Alpinlite the same level of insulation, just a slightly larger cut bag? The REI you think is a cheesy summer bag was ok last year at 12,500 feet in July

I've actually been eyeing the Versalite - seems to be very little extra weight, as big as the Alpinlite, and warmer.

Tried the Helium first at REI, but much too tight also - (I am 6 ‘~225 lbs…FYI).

scratch Marmot.

God, I hate anything that does not have a full zipper…just limits the bag’s use in any warmer weather.

agree - I do sleep zipped open more often than zipped up, so that Valandre is too narrow in the temp range for summer Sierra hiking.

POS bag – Good for summer only…also too tight/not warm enough…you want a great bag that will last forever…never have to buy another bag again.

Always buy the best – never compromise…you will always regret if buying a lesser bag.
(What will you save …$50?)
Mark
[/quote]

I pretty much only hike in summer these days - living in Wisconsin means I only get to head for the mountains once a year. On a normal 20% off (and 10% dividend) day the savings would be about 200 bucks over a WM bag, and if found on ebay, probably more like 300. They are really tight around the shoulders and seem a bit flimsy, yes. I just tried it on again. My son is much smaller and sleeps warm, so he had no issues with it even at 12,100 feet last year.

It's really between grabbing an Alpinlite/Versalite or keeping what I have now. I can afford the WM bags and am tempted to just be done with this and get proper gear for the coming years.

On the other hand, speaking of gear being stolen, I sure would have second thoughts leaving my tent alone in a public place with all that bling gear in it. The new Big Agnes Copper Spur tent alone will speak "come and steal me..."
User avatar
fishmonger
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 945
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Madison, WI
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Next

Return to Outdoor Gear Topix



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot] and 2 guests

cron