Jun 20, 2008 at 5:29 pm #1229718
Hey guys, (and gals)
Quick question cause I'm most likely going to decide by tonight:
WM Ultralite at $360 (out the door)
Marmot Helium at $290 (to my door)
Which would you go for and why?
Is the WM worth an extra $70?
Help me make a decision!
Appreciate it.Jun 20, 2008 at 5:44 pm #1439352
Chris WBPL Member
The Marmot bags seem to be pretty well rated as far as reviews go. The biggest differences I see are the Marmot is rated at 15 degrees where the WM is 20 (we all know WM is conservative), the WM is 2 oz lighter, and the WM bags are made here in the US. Whether 2 oz and a product made in the US is worth $70 or not is really up to you.Jun 20, 2008 at 5:48 pm #1439354
@lithiummetalmanLocale: Cesspool Central!
How tall are you?
I'm barely 5'8" and the ultralite fits perfectly, if any taller than that, then go for a size long. Also the ultralite is a narrower cut than the helium, as well as having an adjustable half-draft collar, which the helium does not have.
The ultralite's narrower cut might make it harder for layering which the helium's wider cut allows for some layering lee-way.
Also the ultralite's half-draft collar does a wonderful job of keeping the heat in!
Both are good bags, both are light, and both will keep you warm, the features compliment each other.
There is a fantastic comprehensive review on the two bags on
check it out!Jun 20, 2008 at 5:52 pm #1439356
I have owned or own each of these bags. Quality of materials and workmanship on each is excellent, IMHO though the edge would go to WM. The main thing to consider is the cut/fit, the Marmot bag is definitely roomier. I personally like the cut of the Ultralite but many find it to confining. I would weigh this factor over cost, the bag needs to fit regardless the cost to be a good deal.
You could also consider the Marmot Hydrogen, rated at 30* and 21 oz., which would provide an even greater savings in both cost and weight when compared to the Ultralite. The roomer fit would allow for sleeping with additional layers if temps required. Just a thought/option.Jun 20, 2008 at 5:52 pm #1439357
I'm actually 5'8 as well and have tried the Ultralite in the store – it fits me perfectly fine. I'm a bit on the wiry side so fit isn't a problem.
More curious about the value (guess it's hard to throw down $360)
Edit: So tighter is better? Less draft/air, more warmth right?Jun 20, 2008 at 6:44 pm #1439359
Greg MihalikBPL Member
"So tighter is better? Less draft/air, more warmth right?"
Only to the extent that the bag can still drape/lay against your body. If things are so taught that you create open channels you will sense the drafts. Having just enough free material and down to fill the voids is the goal.Jun 20, 2008 at 7:02 pm #1439362
Also, I just remembered that WM has continuous baffling and I think the Marmot doesn't have that… Is that worth $70?
Not sure how well built each one of them are? I mean I've seen them both in the store but never taken them out on the trail so I can't fathom how they last after a couple hundred miles.Jun 21, 2008 at 12:50 pm #1439437
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
IMHO the continuous baffles would be the selling point. I've never been into having lots of down on the bottom of the bag were it will get compressed and lose insulation ability. The WM UL allows you to tailor how much down you have on the top, more in winter, less in summer. But then again I'm a WM addict, so would always find a way to justify the extra $$$$!Jun 21, 2008 at 1:31 pm #1439441
Nick, The baffles are continues on both the Marmot Hydrogen and the Helium sleeping bags. This allows the down to be shifted somewhat bottom to top.Jun 21, 2008 at 2:28 pm #1439445
Jamie ShorttBPL Member
@jshorttLocale: North Carolina
Nick, I'm thinking like Thom…which is consider the Marmot Hydrogen. This bag has worked fine for me in 20 degrees and up (under tarp and I am cold natured). I'd suspect I could push it down to 15 degrees and be ok with normal light weight clothes. You would save money and save ounces. Now if you are doing 4 season stuff then the helium all the way. What sleeping pad system are you using that can be more important then the bag in cold temps.
JamieJun 21, 2008 at 3:14 pm #1439451
I would suggest you get the Ultralite for $283.40 at Backcountry.com using following coupon to get a 15% discount and stop your brainstorming.
Unfortunately for the WM UL fans, no summerlite proposed…
FrançoisJun 21, 2008 at 6:06 pm #1439467
The Ultralite has a proper down collar (ie. filled with down) whereas the helium has a "passive" collar which isn't as good. I find that when you are wanting to push the limits of your bag, a good collar is essential to trap the warm air below your neck. At other times it's just nice not to feel drafts.
I would go with the ultralite, simply because it doesn't skimp on any features. The reason it is able to do this is because the cut is slimmer… but if you fit in it ok then go for it! Having less air to warm up is definitely better.
Hopefully you'll keep this bag for a long time, so the extra $70 will be well spent. If you have second thoughts later on you can always sell it to me ;-)Jun 21, 2008 at 6:35 pm #1439469
Rod LawlorBPL Member
But they still have Apaches at $289 shipped.
RodJun 21, 2008 at 6:53 pm #1439473
I just checked and they had Ultralite longs and shorts, no regulars. I went through checkout and the long went from $374.95 to $283.40. According to my math, that's closer to 25% off. Better hurry though. At that price I'd definately go for the Ultralite if it fits you and you can deal with a slim cut bag.Jun 21, 2008 at 9:16 pm #1439481
Looks like I can't pass up the great coupon through Backcountry.com
Question now is "Which Bag" (again)? At least this time money isn't the issue… and GEAR IS!
WM Ultralite LONG
– 6'6 fit
– 1 lb 14 oz
– 17 oz of loft
WM Apache REGULAR
– 6' fit
– 1 lb 16.5 oz
– 19 oz of loft
1. I'm 5'8 so the regular would probably fit me better.
2. The Apache has an extra inch and 2 oz of down (not wasted in the length either)
3. The Apache is 2.5 oz heavier
I'm most likely going to be using this bag for 3 season camping in the Sierras, San Jacinto, Joshua Tree and I'm a cold sleeper so I don't mind the colder rating of the Apache.
By the way, a customer rep at Backcountry.com was AMAZINGLY crazy enough to go to the warehouse and weigh these two items for me AFTER I asked about the WM website versus Backcountry weight spec discrepancy. Absolutely amazing guy.Jun 21, 2008 at 10:02 pm #1439482
Ultralite = 5 inches of loft
Apache = 6 inches of loft
Given that you are 5'8" I would go for the apache. It's also a roomier cut, so if you want to wear extra layers to bed there should be no problem with compressing the down in your bag. If you get the ultralite I'd be concerned about getting cold feet (a problem I have) due to the extra air at the foot. While extra length can be handy for storage, 10 inches of extra length is a bit too much in my mind, so my vote goes to the apache.Jun 21, 2008 at 10:05 pm #1439483
The other disadvantage of having a longer (6'6") bag is that in some tents you are more likely to brush up against the bottom of the tent (with the foot of the bag) and get it wet with condensation. Depends very much on the tent, but I've had that problem in the past and don't like buying sleeping bags that are any longer than they need to be for that reason (and my cold feet!).Jun 21, 2008 at 10:31 pm #1439485
I say go for the Apache. It has a much better outer fabric than the Ultralite, it's both more breathable and more water resistant. However, for the record, the Western Mountaineering site shows that the dimensions of the Apache are identical to the Ultralite (59"/38" Shoulder/Foot girth).Jun 22, 2008 at 2:45 am #1439495
You guys are right.
Regular size is better both for fit and for extra warmth.
I just noticed that the WM Versalite is almost the same as an Apache.
+1 oz of loft
-5 deg. in rating
Slightly more generous cut (not as wide as Alpinlite)
The shell is Extremelite (like the Ultralite)
Whereas the Apache uses Microlite – which is tougher?
I'm starting to drive myself crazy from being so indecisive… This is starting to get ridiculous!Jun 22, 2008 at 5:42 am #1439504
Actually the loft on the Versalite is the same as the Apache, both have 6" loft, But WM gives the Versalite a 10 degree rating (not -5) as opposed to the Apache MF rating of 15 degrees. Now if you really want to drive yourself crazy throw in the Montbell UL Superstretch bags into the mix. The code works on those and a #2 UL Superstretch would be a lot cheaper and the #1 might even be less than the WM bags. The Superstretch bags have a big following here on BPL. And the code works on the Marmot bags so they would be less money than the sale price you stated in your original post. I would recommend making a decision fast though. The word is out on this now and they will probably sell out quick. If that happens, you'll really be kicking yourself.Jun 22, 2008 at 5:50 am #1439505
You should not stress over this decision. WM, and Marmot, make great sleeping bags. I would agree with others in saying stay with a size regular (6') and focus on cut. If your a restless sleeper, moving around a lot, the tighter cut of the Ultralite and Apache may not be the best. The Versalite may be the better choose (or the wider cut Marmots)if you toss and turn.
The Versalite is rated a little warmer but you can adjust ventilation to accommodate the lower rating. If you can only have one bag the Versalite will provide a greater range of use.Jun 22, 2008 at 7:20 am #1439508
Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
The super stretch bags do have a big following here… but I would choose versalite over a SS #1 in a heart beat. The versalite is warmer, slightly lighter, and packs slightly more compactly. I have been totally impressed quality of WM bags and the how quickly the recover the loft after being unpacked. The shell is light, but after a lot of use is still looks close to new. If the versalite is a good size for you, and not too warm, I would highly recommend it.
When it comes to bags, my experience is that WM and Feathered Friends are top, typically being conservative in their ratings. Montbell and Marmot also make good bags which are accurately rated, but I think they are a half step below WM when it comes to quality.
On a personal note, The versalite is one of the few items I consider perfect. I have found. It's just the right size for my 5'10" 170-190lb. The ultralight feels slightly constraining and the bands in the superstretch bother me. My only complaint is that it's too much of a bag for me most of the year. I mostly use the Versalite in the winter, using ghost down quilt the rest of the time. This makes my wife happy though, she has stolen the versalite and uses it all the time I don't. She is really comfortable using the versalite in conditions that I would roast.
–MarkJun 22, 2008 at 7:45 am #1439509
Eric NobleBPL Member
@ericnobleLocale: Colorado Rockies
Nick, I own the Versalite and really love it. I find that it needs to be below freezing or I'm too warm in it. I use a No Sniveller quilt when it's above freezing. I think the Western Mountaineering bags are tops. The only other bags that tempt me are the Montbell bags. The Extremelite shell has been tough enough. I've never worried about my bag being damaged.
When I bought the Versalite it was going to be my one bag. Using it as a quilt and shifting the down, you could make it work in warmer temps but then you would be carrying extra weight. My feelings on this bag are like Mark's, after I removed the tags it was perfect.Jun 22, 2008 at 12:53 pm #1439545
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
If you're gonna throw the Versalite into the decision tree, then I would agree it is as close to perfect s you can get in a traditional mummy style bag. You would have to work very hard to be cold in a Versalite, especially when you consider the extra width that allows ample layering and toasty neck collar.Jun 22, 2008 at 3:20 pm #1439558
Rod LawlorBPL Member
Buy the Apache. If you don't like it, you can sell it to me, and at least one of us will be happy!! The weight difference is less than the weight of a hat. Go and pick up your hat, and see if that weight will make a difference. Now turn on your aircon, and try to sleep all night under just a sheet. I think you might see what's important.
You will Have NO problem selling any of these bags for $30 less than you paid, right here on BPL. If your credit card will hold it, why not buy all three (or four) and sell the others here. A lot of folks who missed out will love you. Or sell them to the Aussies and Kiwis, who get slugged $97 for postage!!!!
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