View Full Version : WM Alpine Lite 20 degree bag vs Montbell's DOWN HUGGER 800 #1 15 degree bag

08-29-2014, 22:01
I am researching which sleeping bag to obtain for the start of my 2015 NOBO thru-hike. My departure date is a 3 week window starting in mid-March. At the moment I'm considering Western Mountaineering's Alpine Lite 20 degree bag and Montbell's DOWN HUGGER 800 #1 15 degree bag. I'm not extremely comfortable in a traditional mummy bag so these two offer a bit of compromise. I'm interested in your opinions of these two bags, especially if you have knowledge of both. Thanks.

09-29-2014, 21:53
In 2013 I thru-hiked the AT using a Montbell UL Super Spiral #1. It was great in the beginning - slept in some snow at times. I'm not a fan of traditional mummy bags either so for me the Montbell bag was my favorite piece of equipment on the trail. I kept using the bag during the summer months as a quilt more than anything and it was fine. By the end of the hike the bag was pretty smelly but again, my favorite piece of gear for the trail.

However, I am now thinking of buying the Montbell Down Hugger 900 #2 which I think would be even better. A bit more balanced for the weather you will encounter. The problem is that I don't think it's worth the retail price of $519.

09-30-2014, 08:02
I have the Alpinelite and a MB #5 (synthetic) and the WM has much more room. I tend to move around a bit in my sleep and the WM allows this without issue.

Gambit McCrae
09-30-2014, 08:31
I have the Alpinelite and a MB #5 (synthetic) and the WM has much more room. I tend to move around a bit in my sleep and the WM allows this without issue.

Actually, As a lifelong fan of Montbell bags, Down to be specific, I have to defend them in that this statement cannot be correct. As on their websites even the Montbell Synthetic girth of the #5, lower girth then their down huggers, is still at 75 in. Where as the largest Alpinelite is only at 65 in.

I have 3 montbell down bags and a wm highlite. I havent even taken the highlite on a trip because honestly when I get in it i feel like a chrink wrapped sardine in nasa foil.

All 3 of my montbell bags(0*, 15*, 45*) are durable, pricey, warm, lofty and plenty of room on the inside.

My long version which should have been a reg, I didnt know any better, has a max inside girth of 81 inches. That means that I can cross my legs in my tent sit up, and eat my dinner in the warmth of my sleeping bag.

If you can protect the down for 2000 miles, keep it dry and possible launder half way thru on a zero day, I would go with the montbell 7 days a week.

My montbell was so amazing when I got it that I slept in it on top of my bed for an entire semester of college :) lol

09-30-2014, 09:02
75 inches is the max it can stretch. Stretching it to 75 inches in the shoulder would probably be quite uncomfortable (this is an assumption). The bag is 53 inches not stretched at all. The WM bag has a shoulder girth of 64 inches. Not sure what the girth is at the foot of the MB bag but this is really where I prefer to have a bit more room. Having both bags, I can assure you the WM 'feels' like it has more room. Nothing against MB and I have quite a few of their products (and I'm considering a 40 deg down bag from them).

09-30-2014, 09:23
I cannot directly compare as I only own the WM Alpine Lite, but I do know the WM bag has tons of room; this is a requirement for myself as well, the main reason I bought the WM bag.

Great bag, but one thought: It might be a bit of overkill for the AT (as would be that MB 15 deg). I used a 32 deg bag for my AT hike (MHW Phantom 32, long, 62" girth), starting early April, and was fine at night. It depends on your tent though; if you are using an actual double-wall tent (as I did, the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2), this adds warmth. Single-wall tarp tents have to be more ventilated, hence sleep "colder" and that 20 degree bag would be nice.

My sleeping bag philosophy is that I can tolerate a few nights with temps below my bag/tent rating, just put on some more clothes or use a "hot water bottle" to sleep warmer. Every once in a while I wish I had a warmer bag, but no sweat sleeping a tad chilly a couple nights out of a 100+ nights to save some significant carried weight (9 oz savings from my 2-lb 20 degree WM to my 1#-7oz 32 deg MHW).

The best of all worlds is to start with a 15/20 deg bag and switch to a 30-40 degree bag in late April or so, but I assume you want one-bag-fits-all as most do.

10-05-2014, 10:05
My hiking partner has a alpine lite and I have Montbell. It has gotten so bad we decided we can't talk about it anymore but I can tell you Montbell is the best bag there is. I usually get laid off in the winter and spend it hiking the on the AT. The one thing I just learn this year and I don't know why I never did this before is I bought the Montbell down pants. I used them as camp comfort and I slept in them making bag ten times warmer. They were the greatest thing ever in the morning when I got up for breakfast. My mussels never got tight from the cold. Just before I packed up I took them off stretched and hiked with greatest of ease. When I thru-hike next year Im going to use the Montbell Therma wrap, Montbell down pants and the Montbell down hugger 900 #2. I should never be cold and sleep well. I use the bag as a quilt because Im a rotisserie sleeper and it just makes it easier to roll around but on the coldest nights I can just zip up. When it gets hot at night I will bump my bag ahead and just sleep in the down pants and therma warp. Can you imagine how nice it is cook and eat diner while not having to be in your sleeping bag. Ill leaven it that.

10-05-2014, 10:09
Darn I should have added this too. Its safer to wash the down pants and therma wrap coat. You won't have to wash your bag this way making it last a long time.