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Patrick Craddock
(pcraddock) - F
Bags-Feathered Friends or Western Mount.? on 01/14/2008 14:24:53 MST Print View

Hey hey, any preference on these 2 brands. I'm going to hike the PCT this summer, and I weighed my old standby down bag today--3lbs. 9 ounces!! ouch. So I'm getting a new one. I am 5'11'' but have swimmer's shoulders and I sleep like a tornado-front to side to back, reapeat 80 times. My current bag is a Western Mount. I love it. But I hear really good things about feathered friends.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
wm bags rock. on 01/14/2008 14:33:17 MST Print View

well, from what i know, feathered friends makes great bags. but so do western mountaineering! i have a WM alpinlite (20 degree) and caribou MF (35 degree) and i can't say enough good things about them. high quality, crazy light, and conservative temperature ratings.

on my 2004 pct thru-hike, i used the alpinlite the whole way, except for using a cheap synthetic kelty light year 45 from tahoe to ashland. i did that since i knew it was going to be HOT and DRY, and didn't need to 20 degree bag and also didn't want to get my WM bag needlessly dirty with all the norcal sweat and grime. i wore sleeping clothes in my alpinlite always, both for cleanliness and also very nice after a long day (or week!) hiking in the rain in oregon and washington. i kept my sleeping clothes with my sleeping bag in a silnylon stuff sack to keep it all nice and dry.

i'd recommend a 20 degree bag (or a 30 with some insulation clothes) for the pct, though the norcal section you can switich to something warmer. i slept like a baby in the alpinlite. and with the full zip, it's easy to vent or just open way up if it's warmer.

if your old bag is an old WM bag, you might want to check out their current line of bags (especially the extremelite series). see specs at www.westernmountaineering.com.

i got the alpinlite since it's cut wider in the shoulders - the smaller girth bag of the same temp rating didn't work well for me.

Edited by DaveT on 01/14/2008 14:39:56 MST.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Bags-Feathered Friends or Western Mount.? on 01/14/2008 14:40:00 MST Print View

Hi Patrick,

I have bags from both companies and can't say I prefer one over the other--they both make bags of the very highest quality.

FF does have an advantage in allowing you to spec a bag to your express needs and desires. Something like an Osprey with overfill would definitely be PCT-worthy at under two pounds, and provide a generous cut. There's probably time to order one before you're due in Campo :-)

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Re: Bags-Feathered Friends or Western Mount.? on 01/14/2008 14:51:13 MST Print View

I, too have bags from both WM and FF. I consider that the WM are better made bags (both sewing and materials), certainly lighter for each rating, and pack smaller, too. I also have two Montbell SS bags, but I'm using a WM for my upcoming CT thru.

Peter Surna
(PedroArvy) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne
WM easily on 01/14/2008 16:22:18 MST Print View

I also have both bags and agree that WM are better made bags, definitely lighter for each rating and pack smaller.

However, I prefer a Nunatak quilt to the WM! I have an Arc Alpinist with 3" loft and 4oz overfill. It weighs the same as the WM Ultralight but is much more flexible.

Patrick Craddock
(pcraddock) - F
quilt vs. bag on 01/14/2008 16:40:17 MST Print View

My concern about the quilt is that I roll around like crazy in my sleep. I'm nervous I'll wake up over and over with drafts. thoughts?

thanks

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: quilt vs. bag on 01/14/2008 16:46:15 MST Print View

I also thrash around alot when I sleep and prefer the quilt. One reason is the lack of a hood means I can sleep on my slide or stomack if I feel like it.
You should not find that you wake up cold out of your quilt simply because you will unconsciencly stay snug underneath- no different when sleeping at home under your blanket with the heat off.

Sumi Lavin
(jose) - F
Western better made on 01/14/2008 17:13:24 MST Print View

Can those who said they thought Western is a better made bag be more specific about how they are better made?

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Western better made on 01/14/2008 17:28:07 MST Print View

I have never used an FF bag, but I can't imagine any bag would be better made than WM, although they may be equal. I have used or owned 7 WM bags in my 30 years of hiking, everyone manufactured to perfection.

Matthew LaPatka
(gungadin) - M

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
FF and WM on 01/14/2008 17:36:52 MST Print View

I have used both, and they have been amazing. They are definitely worth the higher price. I have never had any problems with either in terms of performance or quality. I really don't think you could go wrong. However, FF does give you a lot more flexibility with options, if that is alluring to you. In addition, I have heard great things about their new lightweight Nano fabric. Check out the reviews of one of their new bags on BPL.

Jeff Boone
(jnboone) - MLife
What size, what material(s), how much fill??? on 01/14/2008 18:38:50 MST Print View

If you need some extra room, want to choose the material that drive the performance/weight, and want all that in whatever temp rating you desire, then there's no place like Feathered Friends. I got exactly what I wanted and absolutely love it!

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Western Mountaineering on 01/14/2008 19:37:58 MST Print View

Have owned 3 Western Mountaineering bags and have never had a single problem in 8 years. High quality bags here folks!!! Customer for life!

David Neumann
(idahomtman) - M

Locale: Northern Idaho
WM or FF on 01/14/2008 19:43:55 MST Print View

I've owned both and agree with the others that they are both excellent manufacturers. Customizing your FF bag is a great option. Consider a quilt; they really do work great. Got mine from Nunatak and it has been the most comfortable sleep I've had yet.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
FF Weight is Hugely Pessimistic on 01/14/2008 21:06:19 MST Print View

When comparing bags, keep in mind that the FF website suggests their bags are way heavier than they really are. They really do need to update their website. Since they are right across from the flagship REI store (in Seattle) and have a good sales staff they may not feel it is necessary, but I think it costs them sales.

Ryley Breiddal
(ryleyb) - F - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
WM Megalite on 01/14/2008 23:33:42 MST Print View

I did the PCT this past summer, and I'm about your size - wide shoulders, 6' tall. I found the WM Megalite gave me the room to thrash around to my hearts content (I'm a side sleeper but also tend to move around a lot). Depending on when you start, you'll probably need some good warm layers until you get past the Sierras, but apart from that I was never cold the whole trip.

Good luck!

Graham Williams
(crackers) - F
FF or WM on 01/16/2008 09:59:13 MST Print View

I have bags from both companies, a -30 or so WM bag that's now discontinued but is analogous to a Puma SDL and a 20 FF swallow. I've spent about sixty nights in the WM bag, and about twenty in the FF bag.

I'd say that the WM bag was just slightly more finished looking at first glance, but I don't think the build quality was any different. The FF bag (and the FF parka that I have) are built along a no nonsense kind of ethic and their tailoring is a bit peculiar. FF has some seams that must be really hard to do -- and remember, I design and build backpacks for a living -- and I think that these seams make the FF bags look a little less polished at first glance. However, I think (i've never designed a down bag or a parka, i've just used them, enjoyed them and destroyed them) that the FF seams might be why the stuff seems to fit me better than the WM bag I have does.

I would sort of like say that the FF bag seems warmer for its rating than the WM did, but then I think that comparing winter camping after ice climbing to sleeping under the stars in the summer is stupid, so I'd better not go there. I'm 6'5", about 200 pounds, and I sleep pretty cold.

All in all, I'd say that if I had the time, I would order a custom FF bag or quilt for myself, but if I needed to get it off the rack, I'd most probably go with WM.


edit: i try in the practice area, and i still mess up...jeez

Edited by crackers on 01/16/2008 10:56:07 MST.

Graham Williams
(crackers) - F
Re: FF Weight is Hugely Pessimistic on 01/16/2008 10:13:49 MST Print View

FF really do need to update their website.


I actually spoke with them just the other day about a jacket order that I have with them, and they told me that they are going to have a new website up "any day now"...

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: FF or WM on 01/16/2008 10:48:33 MST Print View

I recall handling Brian Robinson's FF Hummingbird bag at his calendar triple-crown presentation, and being amazed at its great condition, both the shell and the loft. This tells me everything I need to know about their bags over the long haul.

My most used bag is a WM Ultralite, which at best has only has a third of the nights of Brian's bag but it too is in very good shape. I finally got up the nerve to run it through the wash last fall, so it once again smells presentable too :-)

My conclusion is you can ignore the brand and focus 100% on acquiring the model that best suits your needs.

Edited by halfturbo on 01/16/2008 23:50:58 MST.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
Feathered Friends extras on 01/16/2008 21:12:45 MST Print View

There is at least one paramount difference between Western and Feathered Friends. The Feathered Friends bags, at least the colder weather bags that are made with Epic and Event, are constructed with tucked baffle seams. The main seams are actually hidden and protected from snagging on things like branches or rocks. This can be an important factor sleeping out with minumum gear. The baffle seams are also tucked on the inside lining of the bags. Building a bag like FF does would require more skill and higher standards than building a bag the typical way. They do a great job of it and the price hardly reflects the extra effort and benefit.

Edited by wildlife on 01/17/2008 15:23:16 MST.

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Feathered Friends makes a great bag on 01/18/2008 21:57:25 MST Print View

I've never used a Western Mountaineering bag, but I've had a Feathered Friends Rock Wren for years and I love it. Still as good as new, very warm for the weight.