Sep 8, 2009 at 11:19 am #1239163
@dufus934Locale: North Texas
I am in the market for a new "cold weather" bag. I have a WM Highlite right now, but it is my coldest weather bag, and it is only rated to 35 degrees(although I've gotten it down to 25 with hand warmers and clothing). However, I don't want to sleep in a bag that calls for me to sleep in a lot of clothes to stay warm. So the question is which one will be a better deal? I am a fairly warm sleeper, 6'1", and on a budget. Is the extra $80 dollars worth it for the saved weight? Could I take the Ultralite down to 15 deg w/o clothes? How roomy is the Montbell bag going to be? Is this feature worth the extra weight that it causes? I am also struggling with owning a 35 deg bag. I am wanting to get as far away from that rating as I can w/o going over board. I've also looked at the GoLite Ultra 20 (but there is no way it is as warm as they say it is on 9-9.5 oz of down) and the Nunatak 20 deg Arc quilt (I think the Alpinist, but it is even more expensive). So, I am basically looking for some help to make the decision. Lightweight is a priority, but sadly, $ is the #1 priority. I want to make a smart buy, not one I'm regretting next winter.Sep 8, 2009 at 11:46 am #1525981
IMO You simply cannot do better than a WM bag at the present. I own the Ultralight and it's been nothing but fantastic. I own an older, 700 fp, Montbell SS bag that didn't seem true to the temp rating of 25 degrees…by the estimation of my wife, myself, and two other friends. I thought the stretch feature was actually a detriment in terms of warmth. The new MB bags are supposed to be superior but I haven't used one, other than a quick test fitting. I'd ask yourself this- do you need that extra stretchy room? If not, go with the WM bag.
Additional recommendation- get the WM Versalite long. I think that at 6'1" you will need a long length bag with the WM Extremelite line. I'd also go with the Versalite over the Ultralight so that you can be fairly guaranteed a comfortable night at 10-15 degrees. I know, I know, even more $$$. The Ultralight will get you through those temps, but maybe not very comfortably…if you slept well under 35 degrees in the Highlight, you can probably push 15 in the Ultra.Sep 8, 2009 at 12:02 pm #1525988
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
I have an older WM Ultralite (not the "Super") and have had it down to 18* with just lightweight capaline underwear and a fleece hat. I am a cold sleeper and the new bag with the draft collar should be able to take you just as low. Please be aware that the Ultralite is a narrow bag though. It isn't a problem for me (6-0, 155-160) but it would be for many. They have a few wider bags like the Alpinelite and the Versilite if you are not comfortable with the narrow width.Sep 8, 2009 at 12:37 pm #1525997
This is true. The WM bags are cut slim. I'm 6 feet even, and broad shouldered and I like the WM bags but others of similar size find them too tight.
When backpacking, decisions are based on comfort. Should I carry that full length mattress that weighs a pound and a half? Or go with the 4 ounce torso foamie? What can I deal with in terms of comfort? Those are questions every hiker should ask themselves making gear decisions.
There should be a reason behind shedding those ounces. This is something that I think gets lost on this forum. Most folks here are gear weight obsessed without thinking about why. If you need to get down under 10 lbs. base weight to alleviate a knee injury, or because your not 30 years old anymore, or because you need to carry an additional 5 ounces of food a day to squeeze in the energy to hike that additional 5 miles, then fine. Those are reasons. But I think a lot of the time, gear weight control is just a numbers exercise. We fret over slashing a half-dozen ounces off of our base pack weight when there is minimal, if any, gain realized.
A few years ago (ok, more than a few) I got back into backpacking after a long hiatus. The last time I had hiked a trail, I was probably carrying fifty pounds on my back. I knew I wanted to carry less so that I'd enjoy my hike more and BPL was a huge help. But for the type of trips I was taking, when my base load was down to under ten pounds or so (waaaaaaaay too much weight for a lot of folks here) I found that every ounce I continued to shave wasn't translating into difference on the trail. I had spent a good chunk of change to discover that.
Be comfortable definitely and cut weight but do keep your eye on the dollars.Sep 8, 2009 at 1:01 pm #1526008
@tallblokeLocale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
I'm 6' 8" and slim built at 190lb. I find my WM ultralite just wide enough, but I would replace it with an alpinlite to give me and my lady a few extra inches of width when we share it as a quilt.Sep 8, 2009 at 1:44 pm #1526018
I have both the WM ultralite and a golite ultra 20. Seeing as how I am a very hot sleeper I only use the WM ultralite if I am expecting temperatures down around 10 degrees instead of the 20 that it is marked as so this is a very warm and cozy bag. A year ago I weight 287 lbs. and I am 6 feet 4 inches so I own the large.
The WM ultralite is a fantastic bag and the draft collar makes it all that much better. In terms of price all I can say is ouch.Sep 8, 2009 at 2:11 pm #1526027
I own a Spiral Down Hugger #3, and I owned a WM Summerlite. (I ended up getting a Nunatak Arc Specialist used and that's my bag now) Those bags have the same dimensions as the bags you're considering, so I can speak to that, but not the warmth.
If I had to choose between the MB and the WM, I'd have taken the Spiral Down, even though the Summerlite felt slightly better made and was 2 oz lighter.
I'm a side/stomach sleeper who sometimes gets fidgety legs. The extra knee girth in the Montbell was just what I needed. I could handle the Summerlite, but the Spiral Down was just more comfortable. Shoulder width wasn't a problem in the Summerlite, just the knee-width.
One other issue may be this: My Spiral Down #3 did not have a full-length zipper, as the Summerlite and Ultralite do. The zipper actually stops about 26" from the bottom. This made it more difficult to quilt, which would have been an issue if I'd taken it out in warmer temps. (I'm a warmer sleeper) Even fully uzipped, I'm still in the bag almost to my knees. I believe the Spiral Down #1 is the same.Sep 8, 2009 at 5:02 pm #1526071
The Summerlite has a full length zipper, with draft tube. The Highlite is hte only bag in the Extremelite series with a half-zip.Sep 9, 2009 at 1:32 pm #1526287
@lenchik101Locale: Pacific Northwest (USA)
i have both highlite and ultralite , and ultralite is wayyy warmer! love my ultralite. with extra layers it should work into your desired temps. my husband though doesn't fit into ultralite, he's wide shouldered. our solution was to get him a megalite, with 2 ounces overfill. this practically raises temp tolerance 5 degrees or so. he's happier with a wide-r bag, which still feels too narrow for him…Sep 9, 2009 at 1:34 pm #1526290
I guess its just me…I like the confining feeling of a close fitting mummy bag. But then again, I can fall asleep and wake up in exactly the same position.
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