Jan 14, 2008 at 1:24 pm #1226725
Hey hey, any preference on these 2 brands. I'm going to hike the PCT this summer, and I weighed my old standby down bag today–3lbs. 9 ounces!! ouch. So I'm getting a new one. I am 5'11'' but have swimmer's shoulders and I sleep like a tornado-front to side to back, reapeat 80 times. My current bag is a Western Mount. I love it. But I hear really good things about feathered friends.Jan 14, 2008 at 1:33 pm #1416074
.Jan 14, 2008 at 1:40 pm #1416077
Rick DreherBPL Member
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
I have bags from both companies and can't say I prefer one over the other–they both make bags of the very highest quality.
FF does have an advantage in allowing you to spec a bag to your express needs and desires. Something like an Osprey with overfill would definitely be PCT-worthy at under two pounds, and provide a generous cut. There's probably time to order one before you're due in Campo :-)Jan 14, 2008 at 1:51 pm #1416079
@quoddyLocale: New York/Vermont Border
I, too have bags from both WM and FF. I consider that the WM are better made bags (both sewing and materials), certainly lighter for each rating, and pack smaller, too. I also have two Montbell SS bags, but I'm using a WM for my upcoming CT thru.Jan 14, 2008 at 3:22 pm #1416090
Pedro ArvyBPL Member
I also have both bags and agree that WM are better made bags, definitely lighter for each rating and pack smaller.
However, I prefer a Nunatak quilt to the WM! I have an Arc Alpinist with 3" loft and 4oz overfill. It weighs the same as the WM Ultralight but is much more flexible.Jan 14, 2008 at 3:40 pm #1416093
My concern about the quilt is that I roll around like crazy in my sleep. I'm nervous I'll wake up over and over with drafts. thoughts?
thanksJan 14, 2008 at 3:46 pm #1416095
@maynard76Locale: New England
I also thrash around alot when I sleep and prefer the quilt. One reason is the lack of a hood means I can sleep on my slide or stomack if I feel like it.
You should not find that you wake up cold out of your quilt simply because you will unconsciencly stay snug underneath- no different when sleeping at home under your blanket with the heat off.Jan 14, 2008 at 4:13 pm #1416100
Can those who said they thought Western is a better made bag be more specific about how they are better made?Jan 14, 2008 at 4:28 pm #1416102
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
I have never used an FF bag, but I can't imagine any bag would be better made than WM, although they may be equal. I have used or owned 7 WM bags in my 30 years of hiking, everyone manufactured to perfection.Jan 14, 2008 at 4:36 pm #1416105
Matthew L.BPL Member
@gungadinLocale: Pittsburgh, PA
I have used both, and they have been amazing. They are definitely worth the higher price. I have never had any problems with either in terms of performance or quality. I really don't think you could go wrong. However, FF does give you a lot more flexibility with options, if that is alluring to you. In addition, I have heard great things about their new lightweight Nano fabric. Check out the reviews of one of their new bags on BPL.Jan 14, 2008 at 5:38 pm #1416117
Jeff BooneBPL Member
If you need some extra room, want to choose the material that drive the performance/weight, and want all that in whatever temp rating you desire, then there's no place like Feathered Friends. I got exactly what I wanted and absolutely love it!Jan 14, 2008 at 6:37 pm #1416129
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Have owned 3 Western Mountaineering bags and have never had a single problem in 8 years. High quality bags here folks!!! Customer for life!Jan 14, 2008 at 6:43 pm #1416130
David NeumannBPL Member
@idahomtmanLocale: Northern Idaho
I've owned both and agree with the others that they are both excellent manufacturers. Customizing your FF bag is a great option. Consider a quilt; they really do work great. Got mine from Nunatak and it has been the most comfortable sleep I've had yet.Jan 14, 2008 at 8:06 pm #1416139
Ross BleakneyBPL Member
When comparing bags, keep in mind that the FF website suggests their bags are way heavier than they really are. They really do need to update their website. Since they are right across from the flagship REI store (in Seattle) and have a good sales staff they may not feel it is necessary, but I think it costs them sales.Jan 14, 2008 at 10:33 pm #1416153
Ryley BreiddalBPL Member
@ryleybLocale: Pacific Northwest
I did the PCT this past summer, and I'm about your size – wide shoulders, 6' tall. I found the WM Megalite gave me the room to thrash around to my hearts content (I'm a side sleeper but also tend to move around a lot). Depending on when you start, you'll probably need some good warm layers until you get past the Sierras, but apart from that I was never cold the whole trip.
Good luck!Jan 16, 2008 at 8:59 am #1416330
I have bags from both companies, a -30 or so WM bag that's now discontinued but is analogous to a Puma SDL and a 20 FF swallow. I've spent about sixty nights in the WM bag, and about twenty in the FF bag.
I'd say that the WM bag was just slightly more finished looking at first glance, but I don't think the build quality was any different. The FF bag (and the FF parka that I have) are built along a no nonsense kind of ethic and their tailoring is a bit peculiar. FF has some seams that must be really hard to do — and remember, I design and build backpacks for a living — and I think that these seams make the FF bags look a little less polished at first glance. However, I think (i've never designed a down bag or a parka, i've just used them, enjoyed them and destroyed them) that the FF seams might be why the stuff seems to fit me better than the WM bag I have does.
I would sort of like say that the FF bag seems warmer for its rating than the WM did, but then I think that comparing winter camping after ice climbing to sleeping under the stars in the summer is stupid, so I'd better not go there. I'm 6'5", about 200 pounds, and I sleep pretty cold.
All in all, I'd say that if I had the time, I would order a custom FF bag or quilt for myself, but if I needed to get it off the rack, I'd most probably go with WM.
edit: i try in the practice area, and i still mess up…jeezJan 16, 2008 at 9:13 am #1416334
FF really do need to update their website.
I actually spoke with them just the other day about a jacket order that I have with them, and they told me that they are going to have a new website up "any day now"…Jan 16, 2008 at 9:48 am #1416340
Rick DreherBPL Member
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
I recall handling Brian Robinson's FF Hummingbird bag at his calendar triple-crown presentation, and being amazed at its great condition, both the shell and the loft. This tells me everything I need to know about their bags over the long haul.
My most used bag is a WM Ultralite, which at best has only has a third of the nights of Brian's bag but it too is in very good shape. I finally got up the nerve to run it through the wash last fall, so it once again smells presentable too :-)
My conclusion is you can ignore the brand and focus 100% on acquiring the model that best suits your needs.Jan 16, 2008 at 8:12 pm #1416422
dan mchaleBPL Member
There is at least one paramount difference between Western and Feathered Friends. The Feathered Friends bags, at least the colder weather bags that are made with Epic and Event, are constructed with tucked baffle seams. The main seams are actually hidden and protected from snagging on things like branches or rocks. This can be an important factor sleeping out with minumum gear. The baffle seams are also tucked on the inside lining of the bags. Building a bag like FF does would require more skill and higher standards than building a bag the typical way. They do a great job of it and the price hardly reflects the extra effort and benefit.Jan 18, 2008 at 8:57 pm #1416720
Buck NelsonBPL Member
I've never used a Western Mountaineering bag, but I've had a Feathered Friends Rock Wren for years and I love it. Still as good as new, very warm for the weight.Jan 18, 2008 at 9:57 pm #1416725
The Nunatak quilts are simply amazing. I really like mine, and I think it works better than a bag for me, since I toss and turn a lot. I often had trouble in a bag either getting twisted around, or turning over and having the unlofted insulation on top. Brr…
With the quilt, I just move underneath it – very easy to do.
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