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How heavy should your bag be?
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Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
bag weight on 12/09/2004 20:34:57 MST Print View

Hi folks, here's the deal. I backpack in the Sierra Nevada's from April until October or November each year. Last year I used my Western Mountaineering Highlite on most of my trips from June until October and found that I was usually too cold in my bag. I would sleep in my smartwool base layer, as well as by Montbell Thermawrap, Wool socks, and gloves and a hat in case that it really got cold. I usually like to hike up high (9-11,000 ft). What the problem is, is that my bag was not doing it for me warmth wise and the cut was too tight (I am 6'1, 200 lbs). I do have an Western Mountaineering Antelope that I have used for early and late season that has kept me warm and the fit is roomy enough for me. I am thinking about making this my go to bag for all seasons. The downside is that the bag weighs 2 lbs 13 oz. Ouch!! The upside is that I can climb into a nice warm bag if it gets too cold for me in the evening and not have to bring as much warm clothing with me. What is anyones opinions on what I should do?

Dee Kenville
(ndwoods) - F

Locale: Santa Cruz, Calif
Bag weight... on 12/10/2004 23:33:18 MST Print View

Well, the Versalite is the same cut as the Antelope but only 2 lbs. It kept me warm all season long-spring thru fall in the Sierra! Dee

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
sleeping bags on 12/11/2004 11:30:31 MST Print View

Thanks for the reply. I have thought about buying the Ulatralite. I have tried it out at a shop and found the cut to be exact as the Highlite. WM do offer the Alpine Lite and I am thinking about purchasing that bag (has wider cut). I just don't feel like spending another $320 or so when I have such a high quality down bag in the WM Antelope. Still wondering though.

Edited by kennyhel77 on 12/11/2004 11:32:02 MST.

Jason Shaffer
(pilgrim) - F
re: sleeping bags on 12/11/2004 14:42:39 MST Print View

If price is a factor I'd really recommend the Moonstone Lucid 800. $270, mine weighs 33.4oz (size long). Had mine for about a year and love it. Nice cut, not too roomy or tight, esp. good ergonomics in footbox and hood -- but I'm on the other end of the spectrum from you, meaurement-wise, so check the fit before you buy, but definitely worth a look. A great bag, genuinely on par with the Marmots and WM's in quality and design. had a sale last week I think, under $200 anyhow.

One caveat -- use a larger stuff sack. The included one is best for a size reg bag, and using it for size long risks over-compressing the loft IMO.

Edited by pilgrim on 12/11/2004 14:45:24 MST.

Jason Shaffer
(pilgrim) - F
sale price on 12/11/2004 14:48:16 MST Print View

yep -- $190 at backcountrygear right now. arg!

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
sleeping bag on 12/11/2004 18:41:32 MST Print View

thanks Jason, I have looked at Moonstone bags and I do know that they are of high quality. I will investigate their bags further before arriving at a decision. I am leaning on buying the Alpinlite by Western Mountaineering though. Firstly, I feel that they (FF too) make great bags and the quality is second to none. The other reason is that I live in San Jose, CA which is where WM is based and I just love to support local business. Hometown pride kinda thing. I am going to the Moonstone site in a minute to check out there bags though, so who knows? I can afford another bag but I get bummed everytime I pull out my other bag and leave my Antelope behind ($425 price tag will make you wince when you only use it for a few months each year!) Thanks

Vic Lipsey
(vlipsey) - MLife
How Heavy? How Light! on 12/16/2004 01:54:18 MST Print View

My one-pound MontBell has worked fine in a solo tent down to 18 degrees in the Sierras. And the one-pound ArcX had warmth to spare in a recent trip to Canada (about 35 degrees). But I'm also not a skinny marathoner. Cheese food is the balm of my soul. So it's hard to tell you what a a "right" weight would be. Everyone's deduction of comfort vs. weight vs. safety is going to equal a different number. Go with your . . . gut.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
sleeping bags on 12/17/2004 11:12:29 MST Print View

thanks vic, and yeah i do agree with you on everyone is different when it comes to warmth. I love my antelope when the weather dips down to 20-30 degrees but it can be a tad warm when it is warmer out. even whith my 2lbs 13oz bag my base weight is 15 lbs. so it's not really killing me bring an extra pound for sleeping. which then = comfort.

Jason Shaffer
(pilgrim) - F
re: sleeping bag on 12/17/2004 16:08:10 MST Print View

"...I just love to support local business. Hometown pride kinda thing. "

Kudos to that, Ken! Good luck in your search.

Edited by pilgrim on 12/17/2004 16:11:04 MST.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
sleeping bags on 12/17/2004 18:39:40 MST Print View

thanks for the replies. soooo many options. I vowed this year for early season that I was not going to be cold!!!

Justin Gunn
(biggunn) - F
Here's my current system... on 02/23/2005 11:27:25 MST Print View

Presently, I use a Nunatak Arc Ghost (lighter than the Arc Alpinist and rated to 32 degrees). I tend to sleep a little cold, so the rating on this "variable girth quilt" seems more like 40 degrees to me. Of course, with a lightweight bag like this (I used to use a WM HighLite), my clothing plays an important role. My down jacket is the Hyperion by Feathered Friends (comparable to the WM Flight) and I wear this to bed on colder nights. Also, I recently swapped out my midweight capilene long underwear bottoms for a pair of Mont Bell U.L. Down Inner Pants. Here's my reasoning:

Since I wear hiking pants (instead of shorts), I find I really don't need my long underwear bottoms for hiking on cool mornings. Besides, I can alsways put on my rain shell bottoms (GoLite Reed) to block wind and trap warm air. So, I really only wear my long underwear around camp and to bed. And since the down pants weigh only a half ounce more than the capilene bottoms, I end up with WAY more comfortable camp insulation and can extend the range of my quilt significantly when Jack Frost comes a nippin'.

Also, having a lightweight layer of down around my body beneath the quilt helps to cut back on those middle-of-the-night chills as a result of drafts which are common with quilts. Of course, when it's warmer, the down pants and/or jacket make for the most luxurious pillows around.

My quilt, in a long, with am Epic shell weighs 19 ounces. My U.L. Down Inner Pants (which replace the Capilene bottoms I was already carrying) weigh just 8 ounces. My jacket (which I was already carrying) weighs around 11 ounces.

Since I can wear half of my sleep system, I can be comfortable over a wide range of conditions - and especially toasty around camp. Plus, I don't hesitate to jump out from under my quilt on chilly mornings as I'm already wearing half of my insulation.

Edited by biggunn on 02/28/2005 14:00:44 MST.

canyon steinzig
(canyon) - F

Locale: Nor Cal
sierra bag on 03/05/2005 18:56:25 MST Print View

I sold my highlite and my UL because neither were warm enough for me. I have exactly your problem, I now use a Badger, yep, its not as big as you might imagine, and I'm not big 5'9" 160 at most, but it is super warm. My ideal would be the Versalite but its too much money right now plus I love the microfiber of the Badger. That said, there is one bag I would really recommend, I hiked the JMT in it so I have a good idea of it's use in your area, and that is the MS Vision. Its not as nicely made as a Helium or Versalite but It's on sale right now for 165 Backcountry Gear. I don't think that can be beat. It nice and roomy too. In fact my wife and I shared it for half the hike. I just pinned a synthetic cloth to the underside and we were cozy under a homemade sil tarp or the stars.I think it's the best bag for the money. I did keep my WM iroquois because I think for August it will work, esp if I'm staying below 10,000 feet. Also, I just think it's a really unique bag.

I'm a side sleeper so a top bag is problematic for me.

Justin Gunn
(biggunn) - F
Side Sleepers and Quilts on 03/07/2005 17:05:22 MST Print View

The last post read

"I''m a side sleeper so a top bag is problematic for me."

I am also a side and stomach sleeper and that is one of the reasons I went with a quilt in the first place. If it's real cold, I sleep on my back with the Arc-Ghost tucked under my sides. But when it's warm, I like to sleep on my stomach with the bag drapped over the top of me blanket-style. That way, I can cover more of my upper body when I put my arms under whatever I'm using as a pillow.

Brian Macari

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Mountainsmith Vision on 04/08/2005 19:41:31 MDT Print View

I am 200lbs and 6ft, size 46 reg and find the Vision plenty warm, if a bit too roomy. Recently bought a Northface highlite 900 and it works as advertised - sooooo warm and light and just a tiny bit narrower - just right! Often on sale at

I read about an 11 oz ceramic fiber 15deg bag on a thread on this website. Anyone hear about it?

ceramic fiber bag on 04/08/2005 21:31:03 MDT Print View

it's under development at the very secret Bozeman
"Skunk Works" down the road from BPL.
I hear they're planning a April 1, 2006 release date
along with a Grizzly proof 36 oz. 4 season Kevlar tent.

correction on 04/09/2005 00:28:13 MDT Print View

i heard the tent broke the sacred two pound barrier with a vapor permeable, heat reflective inner surface.made of a fourth generation ePTFE.

re: correction on 04/09/2005 05:29:26 MDT Print View

the 2lb barrier was broken by the "BlackBear-proof" version of the shelter. the "Griz-proof" version adds a second kevlar layer bonded to the first layer, and so weighs more.

John Schertle
(oxfeely) - F
San Jose suppliers on 04/13/2005 02:31:47 MDT Print View

Hi Ken - I enjoyed your thread about bags (I just bought a WM AlpenLite - we'll see how that works out). Actually I noticed that you are in the San Jose area. I'l be there this summer shopping and gearing up for some summer trips - - do you know any really good retailers anywhere in the bay area for boots and hiking shoes? I want to be able to actually try on many, many different types before buying instead of trying to make a decision based on reviews.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
hiking shoes in San Jose, CA on 05/18/2005 13:53:32 MDT Print View

Hey John, the only retail that we have in San Jose is REI and Mel Cottons. If you can drive there are a few places with 45 minutes that offer great service and quality. One being Marmot in Berkeley and the other being Sunrise Mountaineering. Sorry I could not be of more help. Oh and Down Works in Santa Cruz.

Tom Sweeney
(Frosty) - F
oxfeely on 06/08/2005 18:38:36 MDT Print View

How did that W< AlpenLIte out for you?