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WM Sleeping Bag - Which One?
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Luke Tingley
(tingleyl) - F

Locale: Midwest
WM Sleeping Bag - Which One? on 06/21/2010 21:04:11 MDT Print View

I've finally decided to pull the trigger on a Western Mountaineering sleeping bag. This will be my first sleeping bag as I'm a newbie to overnights.

I'm specifically looking for a sleeping bag for the Olympic Northwest Coast in Sept. (mid 40s-upper 50s)

Which bag should I be looking at? Will the Highlight 35 be sufficient, or should I be looking at the Megalite (30)

I also plan on doing some overnights in the Rockies in the fall and figure I'll have to get a warmer bag for that.

Having never done an overnight, I want to be careful not to make the wrong decision.


Ultralite Hiker
(Ultralite) - F
Weather on 06/21/2010 21:56:19 MDT Print View

If you are sure the coldest you would see is 45 then the 35 degree bag should do just fine. If you could catch some nights in the mid to low 30s then you would have the wrong bag without wearing the right clothing inside the bag.

The WM bags are top notch. You will be glad you went with one.

John Devitt
(cabana) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
Re: WM Sleeping Bag - Which One? on 06/21/2010 22:05:49 MDT Print View

If the megalight has more girth, then you can use clothing to boost the bag's temp rating without compressing the clothing(down jacket) or the down in the sleeping bag.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Gear Deals on 06/21/2010 23:44:53 MDT Print View

Be sure to check in Gear Deals for a good price on WM

Andrew Mazibrada
(cohenfain) - F

Locale: UK and Western Europe
Summerlite on 06/22/2010 01:32:05 MDT Print View

I have just reviewed my Summerlite on - have a look. I loved it and vastly preferred it to the Mountain Hardwear Phantom 32. I'm not going to bore you by reproducing the review here - go look if you want to. It's good down to 32F, a snug fit but fulsome enough to have an insulating jacket on (I had a Patagonia Nano Puff and that was fine). It's also very light too although bank on 575-595g rather than the advertised 525g.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: WM Sleeping Bag - Which One? on 06/22/2010 09:59:02 MDT Print View

I think that making the decision by the 5* temp rating difference isn't the best process to take. Look at the reasons WM rates them differently...

The HighLite has a 1/2 length zip, which I don't care for in warmer temps; venting is important to me, not to everyone. The HighLite has 1/2 baffles sewn thru; the chambers are boxed more than tubes, so it's not like there are lots of thin/cold spots. But if you're pushing the range on the bag it'll make a bit of a difference.

The two bags are different cuts. The SummerLite and HighLite would be a more direct comparison, as they both have the 59" shoulder girth. The SummerLite would give you a fully-baffled bag, a full-length zip, & a slightly more sculpted hood. The MegaLite is the wider-cut version of the SummerLite, w/shoulder girth of 64 inches. It does also add a nominal passive top draft collar.

The girth is significant not only in terms of fit or heat efficiency, but also because a wider bag will require more down to achieve the same amount of warmth...

I find the SummerLite to be a more versatile option than the HighLite, and plenty roomy enough to layer a down vest or jacket. (I'm 5'6" & ~165 pounds) Seems like it'd be a good option for you, unless you need or want the extra girth of the Mega.

Mark Hume
(seattlesetters) - F

Locale: Pugetropolis
Fall in the Rockies bag on 06/22/2010 10:14:33 MDT Print View

I have a new Kodiak for sale in the Gear Swap. It could be a very nice choice for fall excursions in the rockies, and the price is terrific.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
WM Sleeping Bag - Which One?" on 06/22/2010 10:28:37 MDT Print View


Seriously, go to a store that carries them. Call first to be sure they have the bags in stock that you want to try.

You want to check the fit - especially the shoulder girth. WM basically makes each TYPE of bag in one of two shoulder girths; regular (59 inches) and wide (62+ inches). Same bag; they just change the names.

Summerlite: 59 inches, 32°
Megalite: 64 inches, 30°, wide adds draft collar

Ultralite: 59", 20°
Alpinlite: 64", 20°

Match the shoulder girth to your sleeping style. For example, if I were to only sleep on my back, 59" will work. But I don't; I'm a side sleeper who rolls a lot. I need the extra space so I'm not compressing the down above my top shoulder when I'm on my side, and so my elbows have room to move.

If you're going to augment your bag with clothing, like an insulated jacket, in an effort to stretch the temperature rating below the default rating, take that jacket with you to the store as well.

WM bags are expensive, but the quality is out of this world. My Hooded Aspen MF - now the Sycamore MF - is still going strong after 15+ years on the trail.


Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
Bag on 06/22/2010 10:29:24 MDT Print View

I have both a badger and megalite i like the extra width of these 2 bags. for fall in teh rockies I would get the badger in microfiber, but for most other times of the year I would get the megalite. As far as shell fabric goes, I really like the microfiber of the badger compared to the extream-lite of the megalite. If you are only going down into the teens, you probably would be able to gain enough warmth by wearing your insulating layes in the magalite.

zorobabel frankenstein
(zorobabel) - F

Locale: SoCal
bag on 06/22/2010 10:59:26 MDT Print View

I'd go for the Summerlite/Megalite.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: WM Sleeping Bag - Which One?" on 06/22/2010 11:06:22 MDT Print View

Like Bob said, good to try them on first. We all have different tolerances; my buddy has a skinnier build than me and prefers a wider cut. I'm a side sleeper, tosser and turner, and love my SummerLite; I roll with the bag, not inside it. I've just always used mummy bags that way, turning inside them is a bit of a pain for me. Just gotta play and figure out your preferences.

Luke Tingley
(tingleyl) - F

Locale: Midwest
Narrowing it down... on 06/22/2010 18:10:37 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info everyone...after a little more research I've narrowed down my choices to the Aplinlite or the Megalite. The extra girth is important to me as I'm a side sleeper. I worry the Alpinlite may be overkill for the warmer seasons, and I figure for fall in the rockies I'll require a warmer bag anyway, so figure I'll have 2 bags before this is over.

I wish I could try one of these in person, but I'm in backpacker's wasteland in central Iowa. So I rely on aggregating all of the opinons online!

Rob - Thanks for the pointer to Good Deals!

Ryan McCabe
(3Tree) - MLife
I went slightly bigger... on 06/22/2010 18:58:08 MDT Print View

Too bad you can try them out in person... that would be best.

I got a new one about a month ago and was able to try them on. I was debating between the Summerlite and Megalite (same temp, different girth). I'm 6'1" and around 180 lbs. The Summerlite girth was adequate, but just a tad snug in the elbows when I clasped my hands across my stomach. It didn't leave lots of room for adding a down jacket in case I wanted to. I ended up going with the Megalite. It is absolutely huge inside (seriously!), but I justified the size with being able to add the down jacket. And I can toss and turn all I want. If they had something with a 62" girth that would have been perfect for me, but they didn't. On the plus side I can also unzip it and use it as a quilt for two!

zorobabel frankenstein
(zorobabel) - F

Locale: SoCal
alpinlite on 06/22/2010 20:13:49 MDT Print View

You can always use the Alpinlite as a quilt in warmer temps. Using a bag as a quilt works great when sidesleeping for me. So you can save a bunch of money by buying just one bag. But you'll also carry 1/2 lb more when it's not needed.

Joe L
(heyyou) - MLife

Locale: Cutting brush off of the Arizona Tr
buy used on 06/22/2010 20:41:50 MDT Print View

Consider buying a used bag as partial insurance against getting one that is not suitable for you. You can often sell a used one for near what you paid for it. Consider the small loss as a rental fee. Similar to cars, bags lose a big slice of value going from new to used but lose much less going from second owner to third owner.

As others have mentioned, WM makes mummy bags in two standard widths. Once you have tried on a narrow and a wide one, you can choose a temp rating and already know how the fit will be. You can see that on the bag spec sheet page at the WM website. Notice how the -lite bags are still cut to the same sizes as the mammals and tribes bags, -lite bags use a different fabric.

Good luck on guessing what you need with no previous experience, the Gear Swap is for the rest of us who have never guessed right on the first try of any type of gear.

Edited by heyyou on 06/22/2010 21:08:28 MDT.

Luke Tingley
(tingleyl) - F

Locale: Midwest
Megalite on 06/22/2010 22:24:11 MDT Print View

Well, I pulled the trigger and ordered the Megalite.

Thanks for everyone's comments and suggestions.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Good Decision! on 06/23/2010 14:25:57 MDT Print View

I've owned a Megalite for 3 years and have had excellent use. Its extra girth permits me to wear insulated clothes inside to extend the temperature range at least another 10 I've done several times.

Plus on hot summer nights I can unzip it all the way and, tucking my full length Thermarest Lite in the bag's foot, use it as a comforter.

P.S. I hate to say this but a down "sweater" (light jacket) is an item that pairs nicely with the Megalite. It's also a good "safety" item for very cold mornings, cold windy days and chilly evenings. So, if you don't have one, consider a down sweater as one of the "must haves" for your gear list.

Edited by Danepacker on 06/23/2010 14:29:55 MDT.