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WM Versalite vs. Ultralite - Confused
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Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

WM Versalite vs. Ultralite - Confused on 06/15/2011 00:13:18 MDT Print View

So I need to buy a new sleeping bag for my wife and I'm trying to decide between the Western Mountaineering Versalite or WM Ultralite. My problem is that the spec's aren't making sense to me, so maybe someone can point out what I'm missing.

According to WM's website, the Versalite has an extra 4oz of down and the cut is several inches more generous, yet it only weighs 3oz more. How could this be when everything else is the same (#5 zip, 850 down, baffle spacing, 0.9oz fabric)? Looking at how the cut affects weight on other WM bags (ie. Alpinlite vs. Ultralight), you would expect the cut of the Versalite to add about 1 to 1.5oz of weight, so with the extra down and wider cut you would expect the Versalite to come in about 5 to 5.5oz heavier, not 3oz.

I kinda think the Ultralite is the way to go, but my wife loves her bags warm and adding 3oz for -12 C rated bag versus -7 C is tempting because she'll be upset if I buy her a new bag that she's cold in. Her previous bag was -10 C rated (MEC Merlin) and it ended up being warranted today for a full refund (MEC warranty rocks).

Alternatively, I'm open to suggestions for other bags but it needs to be -7 to -12 C (10-20F) rated and top notch down and lightweight shell fabrics. I may look at Montbell and Feathered Friends.

Edited by dandydan on 06/15/2011 00:33:27 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
hmmm on 06/15/2011 00:26:03 MDT Print View

actually id expect as a very general trend ... that as move fill gets added (higher rated bags) .. the higher the fill to weight ratio would improve

thus the amount of fill increases faster than the amount of other material ... up to around the 60-65% range

same with jackets ... all other things being equal

i can prob chart it out if i werent surfing climbing p0rn right now =P

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: WM Versalite vs. Ultralite - Confused on 06/15/2011 03:16:57 MDT Print View

My previous model Versalite weighed 2 lbs 2 oz (approximately) and not the 2 lbs WM lists. Your expectations are pretty much on target with reality.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
WM Versalite vs. Ultralite - Confused on 06/15/2011 04:07:07 MDT Print View

Dan is correct.
There is something wrong there.
Two possible explanations I can think of ;
1) the weight of the Versalite is understated
2) the Versalite uses lighter fabric shell.
Because only the Highlite has a specific fabric mentioned, i think that No ! is the reason for the discrepancy.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Girth on 06/15/2011 04:37:51 MDT Print View

When comparing the two, also consider the girth.
The Ultralite is a slightly slimmer fit than the Versalite.
Slimmer is warmer per once of weight, unless it fits so tight that it compresses the down.

Pull out the tape measure and consider the additional clothing that may be worn at times.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Shell weights on 06/15/2011 06:36:18 MDT Print View

If you subtract fill weight from total weight on these, you'll see that WM lists the Versalite as a 12oz shell, and the Ultralite as 13oz. That's a little weird.

Ryan Wiley
(huskerhiker) - F

Locale: So Cal
versalite weight on 06/15/2011 07:09:34 MDT Print View

I've been told by my father who bought a versalite 2 yrs ago that it came in at 34oz, not 32, as well. So it sounds like that may be the reality.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Versalite Weight on 06/15/2011 07:43:34 MDT Print View

I had a Versalite and it was 34oz as well. I was told that they hadn't updated the site to reflect the "new" weight....that was 4 years ago.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
My Versalite weighs 34.57 oz on 06/15/2011 07:46:57 MDT Print View


My wife sleeps way colder than I do. So we first got her an Ultralite (instead of my Summerlite). During the first cold night it became clear that the Ultralite won't be enought to keep her happy. Now she has a Versalite (regular length). I just put it on the scale and it weighs 34.57 oz.

So it seems like Western Mountaineering is understating the weight by 2 oz.

Best Regards,


P.S.: Cold feet at night are a problem for my wife and Goosefeet made a huge difference in her level of comfort during sleep.

Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
WM Apache on 06/15/2011 10:39:53 MDT Print View

As stated, the Versalite has a roomier fit. I use a Summerlite in warmer weather and tried a Marmot Helium 15deg one time in cooler weather. It was so roomy I had several cold spots and drafts.

I debated between the Ultralite and Versalite and ended up deciding on the 15*F rated Apache. Others suggested that the slimmer cut of the Apache would be warmer than the Versalite. And another benefit: The Apache weighs 32oz and has the more water resistant Microfiber shell. It seems more durable than the Extremelite series bags as well.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: WM Versalite vs. Ultralite - Confused on 06/15/2011 10:53:11 MDT Print View

I'd highly recommend getting her into both bags to see how the different sizes feel. There's 3" difference in girth. If the slimmer cut of the Ultralite is comfortable, you might want to consider one with 2 oz. overfill. An overfilled Ultra will be just about as warm as a Versa, but lighter.

And all actual weights for the Versalite that I've seen reported have been 34 oz, not 32.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Thanks on 06/15/2011 13:50:06 MDT Print View

Thanks a lot for the help guys. I really appreciate it.

So it seems that the Versalite is ~2oz heavier than spec'd and so the real difference is about 5oz....that makes it a tough call.

I kinda think Manfred might be right and the Ultralight won't be quite enough bag for her cold sleeping ways. I don't want to waste weight, but having her be cold out there would really make for a cranky camping trip. Either the Versalite, Apache or 2oz overfilled Ultralight may be the best call. I'll have to do a bit more reading & thinking.

Doug Reeves
(strawman) - F

Locale: God's Country
Versalite on 06/15/2011 19:06:51 MDT Print View

Yep, my Versalite is also 2 oz over spec. you'd think they'd change their specs since this seems to be the rule rather than the exception. That being said, the Versalite is far and away my favorite bag.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Apache on 06/16/2011 18:25:33 MDT Print View

So I ended up going with a size small Apache. I wanted a 2oz overfill Ultralite, but no one could get that without a special order and I need this bag in three weeks. The Apache is exactly the same thing but with the more water repellent 1.1oz fabric instead of the 0.9oz Extremelight stuff. So that's 1oz heavier than the 2oz overfill Ultralight would have been, but still 2oz lighter than the Versalite (assuming its 2oz over spec). More importantly, it will be far nicer than her previous MEC bag and 4.7oz lighter.

I ordered from e-OMC due to the free USPS priority shipping to Canada and strangely the shopping cart automatically applied the 10% members coupon, even though it clearly says it's not applicable to WM. We'll see if I get a message from them wanting another $40. It must be a glitch:


Edited by dandydan on 06/16/2011 18:27:20 MDT.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
! on 06/16/2011 19:57:00 MDT Print View

Nice gift horse.

Hope the bag works out well for the both of you.

Joe L
(heyyou) - MLife

Locale: Cutting brush off of the Arizona Tr
store discount on WM on 06/18/2011 11:25:47 MDT Print View

WM products do not go on sale. If a store puts everything on sale, and WM doesn't notice, you get a discount on buying a WM product.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
WM Versalite vs. Ultralite - Confused on 06/18/2011 15:44:36 MDT Print View

SHHHHHHH! Don't tell 'em!