November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Helium $ or Ultralite $$? Cost Incentive?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
"Helium or Ultralite...?" on 06/22/2008 06:50:29 MDT Print View

You should not stress over this decision. WM, and Marmot, make great sleeping bags. I would agree with others in saying stay with a size regular (6') and focus on cut. If your a restless sleeper, moving around a lot, the tighter cut of the Ultralite and Apache may not be the best. The Versalite may be the better choose (or the wider cut Marmots)if you toss and turn.

The Versalite is rated a little warmer but you can adjust ventilation to accommodate the lower rating. If you can only have one bag the Versalite will provide a greater range of use.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: RE: Versalite? on 06/22/2008 08:20:25 MDT Print View

The super stretch bags do have a big following here... but I would choose versalite over a SS #1 in a heart beat. The versalite is warmer, slightly lighter, and packs slightly more compactly. I have been totally impressed quality of WM bags and the how quickly the recover the loft after being unpacked. The shell is light, but after a lot of use is still looks close to new. If the versalite is a good size for you, and not too warm, I would highly recommend it.

When it comes to bags, my experience is that WM and Feathered Friends are top, typically being conservative in their ratings. Montbell and Marmot also make good bags which are accurately rated, but I think they are a half step below WM when it comes to quality.

On a personal note, The versalite is one of the few items I consider perfect. I have found. It's just the right size for my 5'10" 170-190lb. The ultralight feels slightly constraining and the bands in the superstretch bother me. My only complaint is that it's too much of a bag for me most of the year. I mostly use the Versalite in the winter, using ghost down quilt the rest of the time. This makes my wife happy though, she has stolen the versalite and uses it all the time I don't. She is really comfortable using the versalite in conditions that I would roast.


Edited by verber on 06/22/2008 09:11:34 MDT.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Versalite? on 06/22/2008 08:45:39 MDT Print View

Nick, I own the Versalite and really love it. I find that it needs to be below freezing or I'm too warm in it. I use a No Sniveller quilt when it's above freezing. I think the Western Mountaineering bags are tops. The only other bags that tempt me are the Montbell bags. The Extremelite shell has been tough enough. I've never worried about my bag being damaged.

When I bought the Versalite it was going to be my one bag. Using it as a quilt and shifting the down, you could make it work in warmer temps but then you would be carrying extra weight. My feelings on this bag are like Mark's, after I removed the tags it was perfect.

Edited by ericnoble on 06/22/2008 09:30:20 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Helium $ or Ultralite $$? Cost Incentive? on 06/22/2008 13:53:32 MDT Print View

If you're gonna throw the Versalite into the decision tree, then I would agree it is as close to perfect s you can get in a traditional mummy style bag. You would have to work very hard to be cold in a Versalite, especially when you consider the extra width that allows ample layering and toasty neck collar.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Buy the Apache on 06/22/2008 16:20:46 MDT Print View


Buy the Apache. If you don't like it, you can sell it to me, and at least one of us will be happy!! The weight difference is less than the weight of a hat. Go and pick up your hat, and see if that weight will make a difference. Now turn on your aircon, and try to sleep all night under just a sheet. I think you might see what's important.

You will Have NO problem selling any of these bags for $30 less than you paid, right here on BPL. If your credit card will hold it, why not buy all three (or four) and sell the others here. A lot of folks who missed out will love you. Or sell them to the Aussies and Kiwis, who get slugged $97 for postage!!!!


Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Buy the Apache on 06/22/2008 18:08:39 MDT Print View

Although the weight difference between the Apache and Versalite is negligible, the width is not. I get very clustrophobic in the narrower bags such as the Apache or Ultralite, plus I like having the extra room to layer with the Versalite. It's not just about keeping warm while in the bag (the Versalite is a toaster), it's also about keeping a layer of warmth around me when I get up in the night or rise in the morning.

However I don't think you can go wrong with either depending on how you cope with width/lack of width issue.

Nick Chen
(fleetparadox) - F

Locale: Socal
Finally! on 06/22/2008 19:14:26 MDT Print View

Wow, the Versalite has its own fan club.

So after stopping by a local retailer that carries WM bags...

I finally decided on the SHORT WM Ultralite.

1. The price at $260 was just too good to pass up.
2. At my height 5'7.5 and 140 lb it was an exact fit (not as luxurious but it'll probably be warmer for the weight with the tight fit)

Hopefully it will be warm enough for the Sierras on the JMT. Fingers crossed! (I bought a Montbell UL Down Inner jacket to assist in that)

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Western Mountaineering on 06/22/2008 19:47:32 MDT Print View

I own three bags of theirs and would not own anything else. The Highlite and Ultralite and tight on me whilst sleeping but still have great warmth to weight ratio.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Finally! on 06/23/2008 18:18:54 MDT Print View

Add me to the WM fan club, Ultralite and Summerlite. I can just about guarantee that you will be "roasty-toasty in an Ultralite on the JMT, as long as you keep it dry. Since I got the Summerlite I only use the Ultralite on fall trips, and I'm a skinny lil' guy. So, unless you are an exceptionally cold sleeper, you should be fine, especially if you have that down jacket along. Hope you have a great trip.

Nick Chen
(fleetparadox) - F

Locale: Socal
Oops on 06/23/2008 18:52:00 MDT Print View

Funny you should say that Tom.

After some thought, I changed my order from Ultralite to Versalite.

Figured the 3 oz difference was worth it for the extra warm and space. (If they had a regular Ultralite I would've been all over it)

The Short length + tighter proportions would've just been too uncomfortable I think. It was fine for laying perfectly tight and still but I'm a stomach sleeper and need space for my arms up and around my head.

Hopefully I don't regret the decision.

Thanks everyone for your help.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Oops on 06/24/2008 20:44:29 MDT Print View

The Versalite has the added advantage of covering just about anything you would want to do, with the possible exception of full on winter hiking/climbing, and probably even that if you layered up at night. Good choice, IMO, especially since the short Ultralite was a pretty tight fit. Your main problem in summer Sierra conditons with a Versalite is likely to be staying cool enough to sleep. I know I had that problem with my Ultralite, which led me to buy a Highlite then upgrade to the Summerlite when it came out. I have found the Summerlite just about ideal for Sierra summer trips, but if I had to choose one bag it would be the Ultralite for 3 seasons, or the Versalite if I was contemplating winter trips.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
deleted on 06/24/2008 21:29:51 MDT Print View


Edited by ashleyb on 06/24/2008 22:23:05 MDT.

Jason Haskell
(j942rhino) - F
Great Coupon Don't Use it on 09/21/2008 19:31:56 MDT Print View

That coupon code is reserved for Fire Fighters and First Responders as a thank you for their service. If you use it you will need to verify that you are indeed a First Responder or your order will be canceled.

Daniel Smith
(Dmanhiker) - F
Coupon on 10/20/2008 21:15:28 MDT Print View

Hey everyone, I realize this thread is kinda old but I wanted to know if anyone has ordered from backcountry using that code.