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Western Mountaineering Ultralight Super

in Sleeping Bags - Mummy & Other

Average Rating
4.56 / 5 (9 reviews)

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Russell Swanson
( rswanson )

Western Mountaineering Ultralight Super on 11/30/2006 18:02:47 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Ok, I'll admit that I'm posting this review just to see what it does to my BPL rating. Oh the vanity!

I bought this bag sight unseen, based largely on Western Mountaineering’s reputation within the backpacking community. I'm sure this isn't uncommon as there aren't many retailers that stock WM's products. Also considered at the time of purchase were the Feathered Friends Hummingbird, Marmot Helium, and Moonstone Lucid, and a few others. All were around the same price so when I settled on the Ultralight it was because I felt it offered the best set of features of all the bags I researched and was made in the USA to boot. The bag comes with a large cotton storage sack and a 7x13 nylon stuff sack.

I've since spent about a dozen nights in the bag, my wife an additional 4-5. Temperatures have ranged from 60 degrees F down close to the bag's suggested limit of 20 degrees F. Conditions have ranged from clear and dry to humidity so high that thick fog didn't lift all night.

Materials and Construction: My first impression of the bag was that it is very well constructed. I have no reason to believe I will form a different opinion over the years that I will own the bag. All of the stitching is impeccable. The materials are well selected. The shell fabric is thin and, while it beads water very well (I never have to worry about condensation or the occasional spill), it does allow strong wind gusts to penetrate the bag. I can compensate for this with my shelter, however. Overall, the Ultralight might be the best engineered piece of outdoor equipment I own. The only quality issue I've had was when the stuff sack's draw cord became fouled in its plastic barrel lock. A sharp burr on the lock caused the woven cord to fray. WM immediately shipped me a new stuff sack at their expense.

Fit: I bought the medium, sized for those up to 6' tall. The Ultralight is cut slim to save weight. It's the slimmest cut mummy bag I've ever used but I like the tighter fit as it gives me an extra little feeling of security. I'm 6' even and 200 lbs with fairly broad shoulders. If I were any larger in girth, I would probably have gone with WM's Alpinlight which is essentially the same bag, cut slightly bigger. As it is I have just enough room to wear my Patagonia Micropuff in the bag without compromising the jacket's loft. My wife at 5’8” and, ahem, average weight, fits in the bag comfortably without too much extra room to warm up.

Weight and Packed Size: Tips my scales at 26.5 ounces, just 0.5 ounces heavier than advertised by WM. I hope that additional half-ounce is extra down filling! The stuff sack weighs 1.8 ounces. I have never compressed the bag smaller than the provided stuff sack but I have no doubt it would fit into a sack smaller by several inches in each dimension without much effort required.

Loft: Tricky to measure consistently but close enough to the 5 inches advertised to make me happy.

Features: Western Mountaineering calls the bag the Ultralight 'Super' in reference to the full 'super' draft collar. This down filled tube lines the top opening of the bag and securing a small velcro tab connects the tube’s two ends, sealing the bag from the neck down. The draft collar can be cinched tight via a thin elastic cord threaded around the collar. This feature does a great job of extending the bag's temp rating as there is no 'bellows effect' of warm air escaping as you move inside the bag. A real plus! The bag has a full length, two-way zipper (making foot venting easy) accompanied by a draft tube. I'll go ahead and declare the zipper snag-proof. I tried purposely to snag it and, due to a generous strip of stiffening tape lining the zipper, I couldn't get it to catch the bag's fabric. It's by far the best zipper on any bag I've used. When fully zipped, the zipper pull can be covered with a small velcro patch but I've never observed the zipper to move during the night. The bag's full hood also has the usual draw cord closure. Both this and the drawstring included in the draft collar are well-placed and easy to operate in the dark. The Ultralight is continuously baffled which makes it easy to shift the down around as needed. In warmer conditions, the full length zipper makes it possible to use the bag as a quilt.

Performance: This is where the bag shines. I've never had the bag below 20 degrees F but I have no doubt that the Ultralight would be sufficient into the teens and colder with some additional clothing. In temps down to 30 degrees I wear no more than thin tights and short-sleeved shirt and have never been cold. Only when temps drop into the 20's have I added a hat or long-sleeved shirt. As stated previously, I'm sure the addition of gloves, heavier baselayer, and an insulating vest or jacket would get me down into single digits tolerably. My wife, predictably, places the comfort rating about 5-10 degrees higher than I do.

Dislikes: My only gripe about the Ultralight is the hood. It's a bit shallow and could use some minor redesign. I feel it fits awkwardly across my face when fully cinched. I'd gladly suffer the weight penalty to have a down-filled face muff similar to the one on Marmot's 800+ FP down bags. The hood is warm but I don't feel the design is up to the extraordinarily high standard of the rest of the bag.

Summary: I love it. My favorite piece of gear. Since I can't quite bring myself to make the jump to quilts, I feel the Ultralight Super offers me the best set of features in a dependable, super-lightweight package. With Western Mountaineering's reputation for quality and durability, I know I will be using this bag for many years. I have difficulty finding anything other than minor nitpicks with the bag as a whole. The one exception is the hood design, which might make me select a rating of 4.5, were I given the option by BPL.

Janet Brewster
( jgranite25 )

Lake Tahoe
WM Ultralight on 03/21/2007 13:37:35 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

When I first bought this bag, I couldn't get over how beautiful it was -- so light, so well-made.... And the fact that the manufacturer was in my neck of the woods was a bonus.

The maiden voyage was a thru-hike of the JMT in September. After two weeks, it still looked like new. It didn't keep me completely warm when the temps went below freezing (I sleep very cold), but I've since started using a thicker pad which has helped.

I agree with the other reviewer about the shallow hood, but it didn't bother me that much. It compacts amazingly small, and best of all (at least for me) is the full-length zipper. As my summer bag, I want it to be as versatile as possible, so being able to vent in warmer weather is great. My winter bag has a 3/4 zipper, but I don't want that in my summer bag.

WM bags aren't cheap, but I think they're high quality and definitely worth the investment.

( cheses )
No mystery why this bag is so light. on 12/14/2007 15:34:03 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 1 / 5

The bag is NARROW!
So tight it cuts off the circulation.

There is no way a grown men can be comfortable in this bag.

A large men will not even be able to zip it up.

Kevin Egelhoff
( kegelhoff )

Southern Cal
Awesome bag !!! on 12/22/2008 17:27:03 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I own 4 high quality Down sleeping bags and this is my current go-to fav! I'm 6'1", 185 lbs., and there is plenty of room in this bag to layer up with some extra clothes IF NEEDED to get down to 15 degrees. This bag is actually much rommier then the Mammot and MB when comparing super UL bags in the 20 degree range. Amazing how this bag stuffs soo small but take it out and give it a few quick shakes and it lofts MORE then any bag I have ever seen or used. Only slight negative is on the fabric breathability. Long 7 to 10 day hikes require that I try and dry the bag as much as possible to keep moisture at bay. This could be a problem with ANY bag .. I don't know as this is the only bag I ever take when going on long hikes where the weather is uncertain.

Edited by kegelhoff on 12/22/2008 17:29:57 MST.

David Chenault
( DaveC - M )

Crown of the Continent
It's WM. on 10/30/2009 23:34:10 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

SL, you must be a big dude ;)

The only change I'd make to mine is to slim it down a bit, but I'm skinny.

Otherwise, it's Western Mountaineering. Bomber quality and attention to detail. The temp rating is accurate to conservative, the draft collar is fantastic, and if you take care the bag lasts and lasts. Mine is 4+ years old and good as new.

Gabe Joyes
( gabe_joyes )

Lander, WY
Top Notch on 11/13/2009 11:15:44 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I love this bag. Lofts up wicked fast, never leaks feathers, packs small (for a 20 degree bag), spot on temp rating for me and my wife.

The regular length definitely runs a bit short, I'm 5'8" and 160 and I don't think someone over 5'10" would like it, although I wish it were a bit narrower in the shoulder. My wife is 5'5" and 120 and she has the 5'6" length with an overfill. She likes the fit, but also wouldn't mind snugger in the shoulders.

With capilene 2 baselayers this bag goes down to 20 degrees for us just fine. Wearing Patagonia down sweater vest we took them down to the lower teens.

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Elena Lee
( lenchik101 )

Pacific Northwest (USA)
completely satisfied on 12/01/2009 23:46:04 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Important! this bag could be too narrow who is larger torso/wider shoulder. bought it for my man but it didn't work for him - he liked megalite.

otherwise a great bag for those who sleep on a colder side and/or hike in higher elevation conditions. for those who slept in highlite several nights and got cold, and don't want to relive this experience again by pushing the limits of their sleep system, this bag is highly recommended. don't look any further.

James Taylor
( tustumenalake )

Excellent bag on 01/27/2010 20:23:48 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

This is my favorite sleeping bag. If I could only have one 3 season bag this would be it. Its warm and I find the temperature rating to be accurate. Sometimes during the summer I'll unzip it and use it like a quilt and just sleep on the pad. I'm 6 foot and 190 lbs and it fits me okay. I have the long model. I love this bag.

Joseph R
( Dianoda )

Chicago, IL
Awesome Bag! on 05/16/2011 01:07:07 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Love it. I use a silk liner and wear a 200 weight merino beanie to sleep almost regardless of temperature to help keep the bag clean. Additionally, with said liner and beanie plus lightweight baselayers I've taken the bag below its temp rating without issue - 10 degrees, no problem (don't think I'd be saying that w/o the draft collar). Full-zip means you can open it to vent your feet or unzip completely and use it like a quilt on warmer nights. Zipper guard makes zip pretty much impossible to snag. Compresses plenty small, although I would not recommend compressing it further than, say, 8L (it can get smaller, but you run the risk of damaging the bag). Near as light as you can get for a full-zip 20 degree bag w/ draft collar. One small tradeoff in that the bag has a rather narrow cut, try for size before you buy. Depending on your size or preference to stretch out, you might be better off with the big folks’ version of this bag - the equally excellent, slightly more expensive/heavier Alpenlite. For what it’s worth, I am 5'8", 175lbs, peak shoulder girth 50.5", hips 40.5", and I find the 6'0" bag provides me with ample length and enough girth in the shoulders/thighs to be called comfortable.

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