View Full Version : sleeping bags, O sweet sweet delicious geese and their down

09-04-2007, 11:11
So, I've decided that its time to retire my old 20* synthetic sleeping bag. The thing is massive, maybe a little heavy, but mainly its just massive and I kinda want to go smaller.

So, if you were to have your choice of sleeping bag, what would you go with?

Right now I am thinking of abusing my wallet and going with something made by marmot, western mountaineering, or feathered friends

BTW, this is a bag that I'd like to do the first half of the PCT in (didn't really feel the need to thru hike just yet). I am looking at a 20* bag since it seems that I can use them most of the year if its got the full length zipper (as my current one does).

As always, thoughts, opinions, and mindless banters are welcome

Jan LiteShoe
09-04-2007, 11:24
So, if you were to have your choice of sleeping bag, what would you go with?

My Western Mountaineering 20 degree bag was (and remains) my most favorite piece of gear ever. It's either the Ultralite or the versalite, I forget (I have both - it's not the 1-pound summer bag).

What a sweet peice of gear. Like having an internal furnace.

It's since been "down-graded" (yuk yuk) to 10 degrees.

09-04-2007, 11:29
You can't go wrong with any of these 3 brands. Marmot uses half length zippers on their 850 fill bags to save a bit more weight. I've used Western Bags since '99. A 15 degree Apache For the AT, Long Trail, Colorado Trail, and numerous other short trips. Last spring I replaces the Apache with a 20 degree Alpenlite. That is Western's wide cut 20 degree bag. The weight is an ounce more than the Apache, but since I'm not a small guy the extra size was well worth it. I used it for Springer to Erwin in March of '06 and then the California portion of the PCT in May, June, and July. It worked great, I cowboy camped 90 percent of the time. No problem with dewy mornings, just pull the bag out at lunch and let it bake in the sun for an hour and it is back to bone dry.
Interesting note on the old Apache, after 7 years of solid use and half a dozen washings, I laid it out next to a brand new Apache and it had lost less than half an inch of loft.

09-04-2007, 20:38
My Western Mountaineering Megalite 30-F bag is my favorite piece of gear. It's wide enough across the shoulders for a big guy like me, and it's warm right down to the claimed temp rating, and I can wear clothes to bed and extend the range down into the high teens. Dragonfly's WM Ultralite is a very nice bag, rated to 20-F, but too narrow for me.

09-05-2007, 05:32
Western Mountaineer Ultralite 20 degree bag is great (this after about 4 or 5 other bags...). Both husband and I have one.

09-05-2007, 08:03
Tail Dragger, I picked up both a Marmot Sawtooth X-wide and a Mont Bell Down Hugger #2 last year as upgrades.
Guess which one stays in my closet the most? Marmot.

I am so pleased with the Mont Bell down hugger - I go nowhere without it now..
BTW, for reference, I have 8-9 down bags and in 30+ years of backpacking, I have never met such a bag as nice as the Mont Bell (Though in fairness, I have never used a FF).

09-05-2007, 08:16
I know you didn't mention it but have you considered the Montbell Super Stretch, Down Hugger #2? Montbell lists it as being 1 pound 12 ounces, for the 5'10" size, and rates it at 25 degrees. And most of all everyone who has a Montbell bag seems to love it. I'm going to be getting one as soon and expect to use it as a spring/fall bag.

Tipi Walter
09-05-2007, 08:25
I started out with a North Face Ibex in 1981 which at the time was a high quality $300 down bag rated to minus 10. Though this bag just had 550 fill, it got me thru nearly 20 years of constant use from -30 to way above as it was also my summer bag, etc. In 2001 I got a Marmot Couloir zero rated bag as I heard Marmot had good sources of goose down and made good bags. For me the bag stopped working at around 5 degrees but it's still my current bag although I've got my eyes on a WM Puma and who wouldn't?

For hard core winter camping I'm going to go with something in the minus 20 category and the Puma fits this. I've heard nothing but great things about the WM line and eventually it'll be my next bag. Feathered Friends is another possibility.

09-05-2007, 08:31
I have used the FF rock wren bag for several years. It has a drawstring at the foot and zippers for the arms so it can be worn (sort of like a coat ... but it looks pretty silly that way).

They could probably put a full length zipper on it for you.

09-05-2007, 08:35
I have a WM 20F and it's warm to below that and the quality is outstanding. I also have a MontBell SS Downhugger in a higher temperature rating. The super stretch is hard to beat, being able to move/stretch inside a basically snug bag, but the quality isn't quite up to the WM standard. Either of the two bags will more than do the job.

09-05-2007, 11:28
The WM Ultralite is a good bag. If you find it a little tight, and are willing to carry a couple extra ounces, their Alpinlite is another good choice for that temp range. it's cut a little wider through the shoulders. i own a caribou (35*) due to my location. if i were further north, i'd buy an alpinlite.

09-05-2007, 11:37
Thanks, this all seems to be great.

I hadn't really looked at the montbell's since I am right at 6' and didn't want to have to get a long in order to fit comfortably (it seemed like everyone else's regular was 6' and theres was 5'10")

Looks like I'll be sucking it up and getting a WM or FF once I get the cash, too bad FF doesn't have a distributor, I'd like to lay in the sack first before I grab it.

Thanks for all the help and replies. It will definitely be nice to get a bag that I can fit in the bottom of my whitney (to put it in perspective, without the collar up, my old bag took up quite a lot of room in a medium gregory whitney, and at 5500ci, thats not a very compressed bag).

09-05-2007, 12:47

Please, if you can try on the Western Mountaineering bags before you buy one, do so. I find their estimates of user height to be the only negative feature of the bags. If you are 6-feet even, you might be more comfortable in a long bag, even when the specs say the regular should fit.

09-05-2007, 13:03
marmot anything is better than any everything.helium eq. best bag i ever had. sept for my marmot col -20 eq!

09-05-2007, 13:18

Please, if you can try on the Western Mountaineering bags before you buy one, do so. I find their estimates of user height to be the only negative feature of the bags. If you are 6-feet even, you might be more comfortable in a long bag, even when the specs say the regular should fit.

Oh, I'm definitely gonna try it out before I get it, besides I haven't gotten to roll around the store in a sleeping bag for years, I've kinda forgotten what it was like. Thankfully there are some WM dealers just on the other side O' me in CT. I'm too worried about size though, I'm the stereotypical hiker build (kinda tall, scrawny, bearded, equipped with a huge appetite for lard and beer)

Too bad the dealers here really don't carry much gear that I'm interested in (and if its EMS, they usually just tell me to drive a few hours to another store and try it there, great service guys)

09-05-2007, 13:43
I'm 6'1" and both my previously mentioned bags are longs. The Montbell seems just big enough (they claim to 6'4"), but the WM is plenty long. By the way, my WM bag, used once, an Alpinlite Super is for sale right now. I was borderline heavy enough before I came back from my recent hike, but lost another 18 lbs and the bag is way too big for me now. Probably going to get an Ultralite for a claustrophobic fit.

09-08-2007, 00:54
If you're looking to use a 20 degree year round you should consider the Nunutak Arc Alpinist and the Jacks R Better quilts.

If you are long distance hiking anything you buy should be ordered with about 4 oz of overfill if you expect to actually be comfortable at the manufacturer's given temperature rating. (Some online retailers will overerfill bags before they ship them to you).