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which bag - WM or FF?
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Barbara Karagosian
(Barbara) - M

Locale: So Cal
which bag - WM or FF? on 03/11/2012 17:56:34 MDT Print View

Please help me to decide which new sleeping bag to buy. I'm female, 5'8", 145lbs ish. I want a 20 degree down bag. I have a Rainbow tarptent and have a Prolite pad (R 2.8, although I'm considering a Neoair Allseason (R 4.9). (Xlite looks interesting but I want to see more reviews on it). I sleep cold. Main use would be the Sierras in July/August/Sept.

I'm looking at a WM Ultralight 6' bag, which has 16oz fill, wt 1 lb 14oz. The FF bag is women specific (Egret), 5'9", 17.1oz fill, wt 1 lb 15oz. I'm sure I could ask for fill to be added to either. Any opinions on these 2 bags?

I currently have an old Phantom 15 women's long, rated to 15 degrees, 2 lbs, and was chilly in that recently (35 degree night). Overall setup was different tho - I had a Fly Creek tent, and Exped Syn7 mat. Mat was leaky - but the chill was coming onto my back (side sleeper) not up from the ground, alleviated by using my down jacket over my back in the bag.

Thanks all.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: which bag - WM or FF? on 03/11/2012 18:42:37 MDT Print View

I think you may need more than that to get you down to 20*. The Marmot Womens Helium is EN Rated for women at 19*F and it has 25.76oz of 850+ Fill Power Down. It weighs 2lbs 9oz. Women just tend to sleep colder than men and very few manufactures market according to the Women’s rate.

For comparison the mens version of the Helium is 10 ounces lighter despite being 6 inches longer and only has 19.5oz of 850+ fill. It is rated to 16.3*F for men (and 27.7*F for women.).

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: which bag - WM or FF? on 03/11/2012 18:44:04 MDT Print View

Oh, and I don't think either of the bags you mentioned would be warmer than the Phantom 15 you had. They all have similar amounts of down fill.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: which bag - WM or FF? on 03/11/2012 19:06:01 MDT Print View

I have a FF Grouse, which is their 30* women's bag. I've found their temperature rating to be spot on. I'm comfortable sleeping in light baselayers, no socks until about 37 degrees. Below that, I put on socks, midweight baselayers. Around 30*, I think about supplementing with a fleece. I also use the Prolite.

I considered WM and FF bags when I bought my Grouse and, for me, I found that the women's cut of the Grouse fit me significantly better. I personally think that the better fit contributes to better warmth, not to mention comfort. FWIW, I'm 5'2", 140lb and have the 5'3" Grouse and it's a perfect fit.

The Egret dimensions are 54/56/38. The Ultralite is 59/51/38.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
problem on 03/11/2012 19:11:00 MDT Print View

the problem is that MH and many other manufactures rate the womens bags according to the mens lower limit ratings ....

women by default need another 10F+ over the mens temp ratings for a similar comfort level ... the women comfort rating on a phantom 15 womens is ~25F ... that is for a "standard" woman as well, individuals may well be colder depending on age, fit of the bag, metabolism, etc ...

the WM ultralite is en-rated for women to ~28F ... which means it may not be much better than what you already have ...

go look for a bag with an en-rating womens comfort rating of 15F or so as mentioned above ...

go here for more reading ...

Stephan Doyle
Re: which bag - WM or FF? on 03/11/2012 20:47:12 MDT Print View

Yes to all the women need extra insulation posts.

In that same approach, and R-value of 2.8 will give you problems. You might not feel cold, but your body will be making up for it. "The average male" would want an R-value in the 3-4 range at 20º with "the average female" obviously needing more. Being a side sleeper helps, but doesn't alleviate the problem.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: which bag - WM or FF? on 03/11/2012 22:07:23 MDT Print View

Stephen's right. I used to think I was cold sleeper until I upgraded to a warmer pad. I had a "10F" bag that I froze in at 40F (it's probably a realistic 20F bag). I had an old prolite 4 with a slow leak and when it flattened out I was cold. I've later switched to just a ridgerest and have slept in freezing temps at elevation with just a bivy, lt fleece pants, hvy fleece jacket and softshell and light baselayers. Yes I completely left behind a sleeping bag and was warm throughout the night simply because I swapped to a better/warmer sleeping bag.

In short, a warm (not necessarily comfy) sleeping pad can make a HUGE difference in your temperature comfort.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: which bag - WM or FF? on 03/11/2012 22:20:33 MDT Print View

Change pads first. I have the All Season. Warm.

Barbara Karagosian
(Barbara) - M

Locale: So Cal
opinions on bags on 03/11/2012 22:59:42 MDT Print View

Thanks everybody for your comments . I agree I need a warmer pad and nice to g=hear a + for the allseason - as soon as my REI dividend comes in (Mar 14?), Ill be getting one of those. Sounds like a women specific bag is the way to go, so I'll look into these more. Pity WM doesnt do women specific. Any women out there want to comment on what they're using (or men wanting to comment on what their female partners/friends/colleagues are using?). B

Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
re on 03/12/2012 11:05:35 MDT Print View

You could just use a WM bag rated for 10 degrees. Typically a woman's rating is about 10 degrees different with good quality down bags.
The WM Versalite is right about 2 pounds, and is rated to 10. Great bag. You could even get a 2 ounce overstuff if you were concerned.

Definitely get a good warm pad.
The Neo-Air X-Therm(rated R 5.9) might be a good one for the lightest weight, and they make a 66" size.

I have the WM Alpinlight(20*F) and the quality is really nice. These WM bags are expensive, but I think they are worth the money. If you take care of it, it can last you a lifetime.

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
... on 03/12/2012 11:39:20 MDT Print View

Having had a UL and an Apache, I'd say that I was underwhelmed with the fabric on the WM Ultralight (in terms of durability, comfort and water resistance), but REALLY liked my WM Apache.
I haven't used FF's Nano, but given the choice between the WM Ultralight & FF bag - I'd say FF.

That said - I REALLY like the Apache, and given the same choice but including the Apache - I'd recommend the Apache and to take a look at FF.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: opinions on bags on 03/12/2012 14:42:29 MDT Print View

Barbara, I can't imagine you having any regrets going with a Neoair all-season and the 20* FF Egret, worthy of most 3-season use. FF makes great bags.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
FF bag Seams on 03/12/2012 15:38:56 MDT Print View

Barbara, it seems like the two bags are a direct apples to apples comparison in terms of down fill and weight. The one ounce net gain of the FF over the WM bag is attributable to the extra 1 oz of down fill, based on the specs you've published. With all that in mind, I think you should go for the FF bag because of woman-specific construction, and also durability. I believe FF uses a tucked seam construction, meaning the baffle-seams are hidden from the exterior shell. This means that the seams won't snag on anything since they are hidden. In particular, (from FF's website): "All baffle seams are tuck-stitched to protect the thread from abrasion and wicking moisture."

Edited by Konrad1013 on 03/12/2012 15:40:28 MDT.

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: which bag - WM or FF? on 03/12/2012 15:56:31 MDT Print View

Try them on, go with what fits best - maybe even ask if they would do a custom 5' 9" length bag, which will take up some extra dead air space where sneaky convective currents roam, robbing side-sleepers of precious BTU's. FF makes great bags and they have recently (all the more) surpassed WM in variety, with 900 fill and lighter fabric options added to their mix. Sierra Designs also has some nice Women's bags, such as the Spark series, which have stretch baffles in the torso, like Montbell, to help conform the down to you and increase efficiency.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Phantom bags - HA! on 03/12/2012 16:07:26 MDT Print View

Rog, I hate to disagree in public but EITHER the WM or FF bags would be warmer than a d@mn "Phantom" bag. The Phantoms are notoriously underfilled and have that stupid half-zipper. Had a Phantom, ret'd. it to REI and got a WM Megalite and loved it.

I recently got my WM Megalite bag "overfilled" with one oz. of 850 fill down. Now it's good for at least 25 F. if not lower. I've experienced night time temps of 24 F. at 8,000 ft. on the way to Olancha Peak on the PCT in AUGUST! I'd ask either WM of FF to overfill the bag at the time of purchase. Either one is a good choice. Both world class quality and American made.

Edited by Danepacker on 03/12/2012 16:09:16 MDT.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: re on 03/12/2012 17:31:03 MDT Print View

The problem I see with the Versalite is that is a pretty wide cut at 62" and may not work well for a woman.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Phantom bags - HA! on 03/12/2012 17:37:50 MDT Print View

I have owned three WM bags, a Highlite, a Ultralite (pre-Super), and a Summerlite and all were terrific bags. I didn't keep the Highlite long due to the half zipper, but had a lot of nights in both the Ultralight (a 2002) and Summerlite (a 2005) and only sold them because I changed to quilts for 20* and above. I also have a Mountain Hardwear Phanotm 0 that I have used to 4* with no additional clothing and it has nearly 8" of loft. I will admit, I would trade it for an Antelope with overfill, but it is still a nice bag, and has plenty of fill. The Phantom 15 is supposed to have 16 ounces of fill, which should put it in line with the other two. I do agree that overall WM (and presumably FF) is a step above though, but might not have the best choices for Women in that temp range. I think I would go with the Marmot Helium.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Phantom bags - HA! on 03/12/2012 18:03:03 MDT Print View wife's Phantom 15 has 22 oz fill and a full zip. Guess they changed stuff in the later models. She's about your size Barbara and was fine to around 12 F without extra layers. I'm curious what year yours is now.

Edited by simplespirit on 03/12/2012 18:06:23 MDT.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Re: Phantom bags - HA! on 03/12/2012 18:34:59 MDT Print View

The 16oz spec might just be for the Men's version. If the Women's version has 22oz of down, you would expect it to be warmer than either the FF or WM.

I think there were some changes in the MH bags when they went from a black bottom to the gray bottom. My Phantom is one of the older black bottomed bags and it has a 3/4 zip.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Re: Re: Phantom bags - HA! on 03/12/2012 18:38:01 MDT Print View

The current Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 is EN Rated for women at 25*

EN Rating: T-Comfort 25 F / -4C (Men's rating is 14*)