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Helium $ or Ultralite $$? Cost Incentive?
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Nick Chen
(fleetparadox) - F

Locale: Socal
Helium $ or Ultralite $$? Cost Incentive? on 06/20/2008 18:29:27 MDT Print View

Hey guys, (and gals)

Quick question cause I'm most likely going to decide by tonight:

WM Ultralite at $360 (out the door)


Marmot Helium at $290 (to my door)

Which would you go for and why?
Is the WM worth an extra $70?
Help me make a decision!

Appreciate it.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Depends on 06/20/2008 18:44:20 MDT Print View

The Marmot bags seem to be pretty well rated as far as reviews go. The biggest differences I see are the Marmot is rated at 15 degrees where the WM is 20 (we all know WM is conservative), the WM is 2 oz lighter, and the WM bags are made here in the US. Whether 2 oz and a product made in the US is worth $70 or not is really up to you.

Nat Lim
(LithiumMetalman) - F

Locale: Cesspool Central!
Ultralite on 06/20/2008 18:48:28 MDT Print View

Really depends!!

How tall are you?

I'm barely 5'8" and the ultralite fits perfectly, if any taller than that, then go for a size long. Also the ultralite is a narrower cut than the helium, as well as having an adjustable half-draft collar, which the helium does not have.

The ultralite's narrower cut might make it harder for layering which the helium's wider cut allows for some layering lee-way.

Also the ultralite's half-draft collar does a wonderful job of keeping the heat in!

Both are good bags, both are light, and both will keep you warm, the features compliment each other.

There is a fantastic comprehensive review on the two bags on

check it out!

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
"Helium or Ultralite?" on 06/20/2008 18:52:34 MDT Print View

I have owned or own each of these bags. Quality of materials and workmanship on each is excellent, IMHO though the edge would go to WM. The main thing to consider is the cut/fit, the Marmot bag is definitely roomier. I personally like the cut of the Ultralite but many find it to confining. I would weigh this factor over cost, the bag needs to fit regardless the cost to be a good deal.

You could also consider the Marmot Hydrogen, rated at 30* and 21 oz., which would provide an even greater savings in both cost and weight when compared to the Ultralite. The roomer fit would allow for sleeping with additional layers if temps required. Just a thought/option.

Edited by thomdarrah on 06/20/2008 19:01:12 MDT.

Nick Chen
(fleetparadox) - F

Locale: Socal
Size on 06/20/2008 18:52:56 MDT Print View

Thanks Nat.

I'm actually 5'8 as well and have tried the Ultralite in the store - it fits me perfectly fine. I'm a bit on the wiry side so fit isn't a problem.

More curious about the value (guess it's hard to throw down $360)

Edit: So tighter is better? Less draft/air, more warmth right?

Edited by fleetparadox on 06/20/2008 18:53:51 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Size on 06/20/2008 19:44:43 MDT Print View

"So tighter is better? Less draft/air, more warmth right?"

Only to the extent that the bag can still drape/lay against your body. If things are so taught that you create open channels you will sense the drafts. Having just enough free material and down to fill the voids is the goal.

Nick Chen
(fleetparadox) - F

Locale: Socal
Baffles on 06/20/2008 20:02:58 MDT Print View

Also, I just remembered that WM has continuous baffling and I think the Marmot doesn't have that... Is that worth $70?

Not sure how well built each one of them are? I mean I've seen them both in the store but never taken them out on the trail so I can't fathom how they last after a couple hundred miles.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Baffles on 06/21/2008 13:50:43 MDT Print View

IMHO the continuous baffles would be the selling point. I've never been into having lots of down on the bottom of the bag were it will get compressed and lose insulation ability. The WM UL allows you to tailor how much down you have on the top, more in winter, less in summer. But then again I'm a WM addict, so would always find a way to justify the extra $$$$!

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
"Baffles" on 06/21/2008 14:31:49 MDT Print View

Nick, The baffles are continues on both the Marmot Hydrogen and the Helium sleeping bags. This allows the down to be shifted somewhat bottom to top.

Edited by thomdarrah on 06/21/2008 14:32:23 MDT.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Helium $ or Ultralite $$? Cost Incentive? on 06/21/2008 15:28:10 MDT Print View

Nick, I'm thinking like Thom...which is consider the Marmot Hydrogen. This bag has worked fine for me in 20 degrees and up (under tarp and I am cold natured). I'd suspect I could push it down to 15 degrees and be ok with normal light weight clothes. You would save money and save ounces. Now if you are doing 4 season stuff then the helium all the way. What sleeping pad system are you using that can be more important then the bag in cold temps.


Fran├žois Lederer
(franzi68) - F
Ultralite on 06/21/2008 16:14:31 MDT Print View

I would suggest you get the Ultralite for $283.40 at using following coupon to get a 15% discount and stop your brainstorming.


Unfortunately for the WM UL fans, no summerlite proposed...


Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Helium $ or Ultralite $$? Cost Incentive? on 06/21/2008 19:06:42 MDT Print View

The Ultralite has a proper down collar (ie. filled with down) whereas the helium has a "passive" collar which isn't as good. I find that when you are wanting to push the limits of your bag, a good collar is essential to trap the warm air below your neck. At other times it's just nice not to feel drafts.

I would go with the ultralite, simply because it doesn't skimp on any features. The reason it is able to do this is because the cut is slimmer... but if you fit in it ok then go for it! Having less air to warm up is definitely better.

Hopefully you'll keep this bag for a long time, so the extra $70 will be well spent. If you have second thoughts later on you can always sell it to me ;-)

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
No Ultralites left on 06/21/2008 19:35:23 MDT Print View

But they still have Apaches at $289 shipped.


Mike Klinefelter
(mjkline) - F

Locale: Southern California
Ultralite longs still left on 06/21/2008 19:53:58 MDT Print View

I just checked and they had Ultralite longs and shorts, no regulars. I went through checkout and the long went from $374.95 to $283.40. According to my math, that's closer to 25% off. Better hurry though. At that price I'd definately go for the Ultralite if it fits you and you can deal with a slim cut bag.

Nick Chen
(fleetparadox) - F

Locale: Socal
Great coupon on 06/21/2008 22:16:44 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone.

Looks like I can't pass up the great coupon through

Question now is "Which Bag" (again)? At least this time money isn't the issue... and GEAR IS!

WM Ultralite LONG
- 6'6 fit
- 1 lb 14 oz
- 17 oz of loft


- 6' fit
- 1 lb 16.5 oz
- 19 oz of loft

1. I'm 5'8 so the regular would probably fit me better.
2. The Apache has an extra inch and 2 oz of down (not wasted in the length either)
3. The Apache is 2.5 oz heavier

I'm most likely going to be using this bag for 3 season camping in the Sierras, San Jacinto, Joshua Tree and I'm a cold sleeper so I don't mind the colder rating of the Apache.

By the way, a customer rep at was AMAZINGLY crazy enough to go to the warehouse and weigh these two items for me AFTER I asked about the WM website versus Backcountry weight spec discrepancy. Absolutely amazing guy.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Great coupon on 06/21/2008 23:02:54 MDT Print View

Ultralite = 5 inches of loft
Apache = 6 inches of loft

Given that you are 5'8" I would go for the apache. It's also a roomier cut, so if you want to wear extra layers to bed there should be no problem with compressing the down in your bag. If you get the ultralite I'd be concerned about getting cold feet (a problem I have) due to the extra air at the foot. While extra length can be handy for storage, 10 inches of extra length is a bit too much in my mind, so my vote goes to the apache.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Great coupon on 06/21/2008 23:05:40 MDT Print View

The other disadvantage of having a longer (6'6") bag is that in some tents you are more likely to brush up against the bottom of the tent (with the foot of the bag) and get it wet with condensation. Depends very much on the tent, but I've had that problem in the past and don't like buying sleeping bags that are any longer than they need to be for that reason (and my cold feet!).

Mike Klinefelter
(mjkline) - F

Locale: Southern California
Apache on 06/21/2008 23:31:43 MDT Print View

I say go for the Apache. It has a much better outer fabric than the Ultralite, it's both more breathable and more water resistant. However, for the record, the Western Mountaineering site shows that the dimensions of the Apache are identical to the Ultralite (59"/38" Shoulder/Foot girth).

Nick Chen
(fleetparadox) - F

Locale: Socal
Versalite? on 06/22/2008 03:45:03 MDT Print View

You guys are right.

Regular size is better both for fit and for extra warmth.

I just noticed that the WM Versalite is almost the same as an Apache.

+1 oz of loft
Same weight
-5 deg. in rating
Slightly more generous cut (not as wide as Alpinlite)
The shell is Extremelite (like the Ultralite)
Whereas the Apache uses Microlite - which is tougher?

I'm starting to drive myself crazy from being so indecisive... This is starting to get ridiculous!

Mike Klinefelter
(mjkline) - F

Locale: Southern California
RE: Versalite? on 06/22/2008 06:42:21 MDT Print View

Actually the loft on the Versalite is the same as the Apache, both have 6" loft, But WM gives the Versalite a 10 degree rating (not -5) as opposed to the Apache MF rating of 15 degrees. Now if you really want to drive yourself crazy throw in the Montbell UL Superstretch bags into the mix. The code works on those and a #2 UL Superstretch would be a lot cheaper and the #1 might even be less than the WM bags. The Superstretch bags have a big following here on BPL. And the code works on the Marmot bags so they would be less money than the sale price you stated in your original post. I would recommend making a decision fast though. The word is out on this now and they will probably sell out quick. If that happens, you'll really be kicking yourself.