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Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
WM Alpinlite vs. WM Ultralite vs. Marmot Helium on 10/15/2010 17:06:56 MDT Print View

Our family is looking to purchase a new 3 season sleeping bag in the 15-20F range for my father in-law as a gift, these 3 are what we've narrowed things down to so far. He's a no fuss kind of guy, so I've eliminated quilts out of the picture as a bag will suit him better.

He's an honest 6'1" tall, lanky, about 190lbs. or so, and a touch wide in the shoulders but not much. I don't think having lots of wiggle room is necessary, but some room to move around would be beneficial, also accommodating some supplemental insulation.

Can some of you with more critical and acute decision making skills help me compare and contrast between these 3 offerings? The Helium and Alpinlite are nearly identical in terms of specs from where I'm sitting, the price of the Helium over the Alpinlite is hard to pass up, especially with an REI membership and 100% return policy.

Bags in consideration for compare and contrast:

Marmot Helium 15F

Western Mountaineering Alpinlite

Western Mountaineering Ultralite

Thanks in advance.

Edited by Eugeneius on 10/15/2010 17:17:31 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Helium on 10/15/2010 17:14:56 MDT Print View

w/ the REI sale (20% off) going on till Sunday makes the price gap even wider :)

I don't own a Helium, but do own a Hydrogen and can say that the quality of the upper end Marmot bags is pretty darn good (I went from a WM Summerlite to the Hydrogen)

of course the quality of WM bags is well known and rightly deserved

nice gift whichever you choose!

Mike

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"WM Alpinlite vs. WM Ultralite vs. Marmot Helium" on 10/15/2010 17:20:24 MDT Print View

I've owned only owned a Megalite and noted the build quality, but had very little to compare it to. Would you say the quality of your Hydrogen is comparable to your old Summerlite? Also, why the switch from the Summerlite to the Hydrogen, both are similar in features, was it the 59" shoulder dimensions of the WM? The Ultralite shares these dimensions, may help in my decision.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Helium on 10/15/2010 17:32:55 MDT Print View

I think the Helium is the way to go. REI's price is right, for starters. Also, there is more room inside to wiggle around. I have both a Hydrogen and a Helium EQ (and also a CWM-EQ), and I love them all. I'm 6' even, and I find that the long versions suit my needs better. They're longer, of course, and they also have 2" more girth from shoulder to foot. This allows me to wear extra layers, and also scoot way down inside when the temps drop below 15*F (Marmot's ratings are pretty accurate, by the way, as are WM's).

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: WM Alpinlite vs. WM Ultralite vs. Marmot Helium on 10/15/2010 17:53:03 MDT Print View

Probably not the Ultralite; guessing you've noticed, it's 5 inches narrower in girth. My guess if he's a "no fuss" guy he'd lean toward being irritated w/a tighter fit (just based on years of selling people sleeping bags).

Helium's a nice bag. It doesn't really have a full draft collar; there's a bit of a hood ruff, though, and the inner baffles where there'd normally be a draft collar are overfilled, just can't cinch. Probably not a big deal. Side by side, both bags look good. Alpinlite looks more filled, massive draft collar, but Helium lofts up pretty well too.

Edit: Two notes. Free 850 fill bag? He'll be thrilled either way. Also, whereas WM uses a differential cut Marmot tends toward a contour cut. Basically, Marmot'll probably feel a little bigger, though not excessively so, if that's a concern.

Edited by 4quietwoods on 10/15/2010 17:55:23 MDT.

Scott Smith
(mrmuddy) - M

Locale: No Cal
WM Alpinlite vs. WM Ultralite vs. Marmot Helium on 10/15/2010 17:56:01 MDT Print View

I would agree..

I've owned both a Helium and ( currently) the WM Bag.

While I LOVE my WM bag, . with the 20% you'll save at REI ..and the rarity of finding WM Bag on sale, price becomes a more significant part of the conversation.

I will say that you would not be disappointed with the Helium !

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: "WM Alpinlite vs. WM Ultralite vs. Marmot Helium" on 10/15/2010 17:57:17 MDT Print View

Eugene said "Would you say the quality of your Hydrogen is comparable to your old Summerlite? Also, why the switch from the Summerlite to the Hydrogen, both are similar in features, was it the 59" shoulder dimensions of the WM? The Ultralite shares these dimensions, may help in my decision."

I thought build quality was very comparable between the two. Exactly- the Summerlite was just too snug in the shoulders for me- I'm 6' 190, relatively wide in the shoulders/chest.

Tyson Marshall
(sheepNgeese) - MLife

Locale: Ventura County (formerly PNW)
MH Phantom 15 on 10/15/2010 18:01:16 MDT Print View

MH seems to not get too much exposure here, but I've been very pleased with my Phantom 15...

...I know you narrowed it down to WM and Marmot, but I couldn't resist mentioning one of the lightest 15 degree bags around...

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: "WM Alpinlite vs. WM Ultralite vs. Marmot Helium" on 10/15/2010 18:33:57 MDT Print View

Eugene,

My first lightweight sleeping bag was the Helium EQ, which I still have and now use for winter/really cold temps. (I did take it with me onto my Mt. Whitney trip last year).

Note: the EQ is heavier with a full length zipper and waterproof shell. (Mine is 2007 or 2008 model at 2 lb 3 oz).

It is a great bag, love it and don't plan on ever replacing it.

The cut is wide, which can be one of the criticisms of the bag.

The inner fabric of the bag, I believe is a Pertex?, which is silky smooth and the hood closure does not use velcro.

The whole line of Marrmot 850+ fill down bags (light flight series?) won the Gold Award from backpacker mag a few years ago, since it kept score consistantly high marks.

Down side of the bag might be that they could have saved some weight with lighter shell fabrics.

For me, this is my winter bag or for any situation where I know that I am going to facing sub freezing temps on a consistant basis.

If I only had one bag from Marrmot, I think it would be the 30F Hydrogen, which was reviewed here on BPL as very warm and true to temp rating, and then layer up the clothing to get to the lower temps.

I have used mine down to 5 Degrees F in the snow and layering up, I was toasty warm.

Hope this helps.

-Tony

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"WM Alpinlite vs. WM Ultralite vs. Marmot Helium" on 10/16/2010 07:55:26 MDT Print View

Thanks to everyone of you for your input and suggestions, this is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. So the consensus here is at that both the Marmot and WM bags are on par in terms of quality or very close.

Mike, thanks for the confirmation on sizing, my father in-law is about the same weight as you, kinda wide in the shoulders, and about 6'1" so that helped eliminate the Ultralite as it shares dimensions with the Summerlite.

Tony, we were considering a 30F range bag for him like the Hydrogen, but he lacks supplemental insulation so I'm thinking a 20-15F range bag with a full length zipper and the ability to regulate if things get a little too warm is going to allow him to use this bag for most the year in the mountains here in New Mexico. If weather is going to be too warm, he has an older 40F Marmot bag which he's been using and stretching out for 3 season use already.

Edited by Eugeneius on 10/16/2010 08:00:11 MDT.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: "WM Alpinlite vs. WM Ultralite vs. Marmot Helium" on 10/16/2010 11:38:32 MDT Print View

Eugene,

I am not current on the stats for the 2010 Helium, but back when I got mine...the EQ version had a full length zip, while the Regular Helium was 2/3 or 1/2 length zip.

You might want to check, if that is important to you.

Both are good companies....think you won't be disappointed.

-Tony

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Zipper length on 10/16/2010 11:41:29 MDT Print View

The zippers for the Hydrogen and Helium bags are full length. Have been for 2-3 years now.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
WM Alpinlite vs. WM Ultralite vs. Marmot Helium on 10/16/2010 14:03:41 MDT Print View

The deciding point for me is that the WM bags have a draft collar; the Helium doesn't (at least no mention of one in the specs). It's amazing how much warmer I am (even in the mid-teens F) when I can snug up that draft collar around my neck so no cold air gets in there!

Edited by hikinggranny on 10/16/2010 14:05:02 MDT.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"WM Alpinlite vs. WM Ultralite vs. Marmot Helium" on 10/16/2010 16:24:53 MDT Print View

You're correct Mary, no draft collar, apparently the Helium has a thick area or "ruff" in the neck area with an overfill in the head/neck region, just can't cinch it up. The price difference between the Helium and Alpinlite was just too great to justify, after using the 20% FALL20 discount code+REI dividend applied, the Helium bag came out to $310 shipped, best price I could find for a WM Alpinlite in his size was $425. $115 for a down collar wasn't worth it IMO, but both bags are great bags so I think he'll be happy.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Helium on 10/16/2010 16:39:35 MDT Print View

^ that definitely makes the decision a little easier, I'm sure he'll be just tickled w/ the bag :)

kim kido
(prioritymail) - F
I like my Helium on 10/18/2010 01:47:55 MDT Print View

FWIW - I bought the women's version, this is my first bag since childhood - I have the Helium and I really like it. I spent a lot of time on an Excel spreadsheet comparing a lot of different bags and this one came out the best (I think in terms of overall weight to weight of down fill ratio and fill power). Your results may differ if you're looking at men's versions. The only thing I don't like is worrying about it getting wet, but that's something you have to deal with with all down bags...although I just noticed Marmot now has the same bag w/ waterproof fabric! I wonder if it works? Condensation issues?