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Warmlite Triple Bags
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Sharon Bingham
(lithandriel) - F - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Warmlite Triple Bags on 07/20/2007 17:11:06 MDT Print View

Anyone here have any experience with Warmlite bags?

I'm specifically interested in what others think about their approach to keeping their down bags dry.

They claim that a vapor barrier material INSIDE the bag is the only real way to keep a bag dry - claiming that most moisture problems in bags are the result of the bag becoming wet from the inside, NOT from the outside. So they make all their bags with a VB inner shell, and a breathable, uncoated outer shell, with a DWR finish.

Among the claimed benefits are:
- Dry bag, since sweat vapor cannot enter the bag from the inside.
- Dry bag means you don't carry a progressively heavier bag on a multi-night trip (from each night's sweat slowly making the bag heavier and heavier).
- Bag is protected from damaging salt and oils.
- All of the above is better for the useful life of the down.
- VB adds about 10 degrees to the comfort range.

Most people I've spoken with, however, only use VB for cold or very cold weather. But it seems like the claimed benefits would extend well beyond cold weather, and that one really WOULD want VB all the time...

Anyone know anything more about this? Pros? Cons?

Aside: I'm asking because I'm planning to make a custom three season, sub 1.5 lb "comforter" style blanket as part of a sleep system for a couple, and I'm trying to decide whether or not to go with a VB fabric for the inner shell, or to go with the standard lightweight nylon that everyone else seems to go with...

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
3x bags---Truth or Dare on 07/20/2007 17:49:06 MDT Print View

Stephenson developed leading-edge concepts and materials in tents, packs, insulation pads and VB clothing, back in the day, but genius though Jack was, he got it wrong (IMHO) when it came to full time VB's in sleeping bags. Unless you like to sleep naked in sauna like conditions, that is. I've tried them. I'm a believer and user of VB's in Winter conditions. But when temps would climb much pass the mid to high 20's---voila! a Swamp. There may be a few individuals out there with a physiology to make it work for them....

Being a full-time user of Down, year round, in the PNW, I find there are ways (outside of Winter--where I use a VB) to keep the loft of my bag going, even on long trips with precip. My baselayer mops up much of the body moisture produced during the night. I air out the bag where I can on the backpack. Want to have a dryer bag? Don't breathe into it. Nose and mouth should be venting out the bags opening.

I do have a Stephenson Tent, which is awesome.

Edited by kdesign on 07/20/2007 18:33:50 MDT.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Warmlite Triple Bags on 07/21/2007 07:29:45 MDT Print View


I have a Warmlite Triple bag and use it mostly for winter car camping.

I prefer VB clothing in the backcountry because I can wear it around camp and less flash discomfort for nature calls.

For me a 200 wt fleece outfit over VB makes a 20 degree bag a zero bag.

With the Warmlite bag I do use a pee bottle, but do not with the VB clothes. VB does work, but the best location is determined by style.

Don Selesky
(backslacker) - M
Re: Warmlite Triple Bags on 07/22/2007 07:24:19 MDT Print View

VBL is important when the ambiant temperature is well below frrezing. This puts the frost line inside your bag, where your perspiration would freeze before it was able to get out. The water weight will accumulate over an extended hike.

But if it's well above freezing, I don't see quite what the problem would be. The water will continue to migrate out and you'll stay comfortable. And I certainly would never wear VBL clothing above freezing, so I would imagine that a VBL lined bag would just be sweatty.

Alina G
(Alina) - MLife

Locale: Toronto, Ontario
A suggestion? on 06/19/2011 01:52:12 MDT Print View

Well, what about then not wearing the first VB layer when it is warmer and only when it goes below freezing? Who says that you need to always use this layer? In such case I would imagine that the system would be perfect wouldn’t it? You would never have to buy another bag.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Warmlite Triple Bags on 06/19/2011 02:24:08 MDT Print View

Stephenson's logic is quite correct.

Whether you are comfortable that way is another matter. Using a VBL above 20 F seems a bit unnecessary in general.

For something like Polar crossing it would probably be essential. Bit hard to dry a bag out under those conditions.


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: A suggestion? on 06/19/2011 07:57:27 MDT Print View

Stephenson Warmlite bags are quite heavy if you plan on using it for backpacking

I made a VB suit with Stephenson "fuzzy stuff" but thought it didn't provide more warmth than other materials.

But then I don't go much below freezing, or longer than a week, which is where I think a VB suit would be more useful. Yeah - Polar expedition - definitely use VB.

Alina G
(Alina) - MLife

Locale: Toronto, Ontario
Maybe someone can update this system on 06/19/2011 14:18:09 MDT Print View

You would think that by now some of sleeping bag producers would come up with an updated and tweaked version of this system. They would make a fortune. I would be the first to buy it.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Maybe someone can update this system on 06/19/2011 15:54:19 MDT Print View

> You would think that by now some of sleeping bag producers would come up with an
> updated and tweaked version of this system.

If you combine the hard fact that they have not, with the conventional wisdom that a VBL is unnecessary and probably uncomfortable above 20 F, then you can probably see why. The market share would be totally uneconomic.


Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Warmlite Triple Bags on 06/19/2011 16:07:42 MDT Print View

I use a vapor barrier when it's below freezing, but for me it becomes a sauna when it's warmer. I have non-breathable rain gear (mostly because my experience with expensive breathable stuff is that I get just as wet inside as with the non-breathable) which I use as a vapor barrier in cold weather. (If it's warm and raining, I leave the rain gear off and just get wet.)

One advantage of my setup is that if I need to wear more clothing inside my sleeping bag, I can put it on outside the rain/VB jacket/pants, so it doesn't get wet. You definitely do not want to be wearing your down puffy jacket inside a vapor barrier!

Individuals vary considerably as to the temperature at which a vapor barrier becomes a sauna. Mine is about 32*F/0*C, but for a lot of folks it has to be colder than that. Some never are comfortable in a VB no matter how cold it gets.

I take a skeptical attitude towards the claims I read, even though I'm not from Missouri!

Edited by hikinggranny on 06/19/2011 16:10:09 MDT.