Oct 12, 2010 at 9:23 pm #1264340
I've used 30 degree bags for years hiking in the east, but this summer on the Colorado Trail my 30 wasn't cutting it. I ended up switching for an old school 900 fill Marmot Helium, which worked great.
Now it's time to shop for a new bag, perhaps for the Pacific Crest Trail (fingers crossed). I'm looking for a 15 or a 20 degree down fill mummy bag. I'm not completely opposed to quilts, but I haven't been sold on the concept for colder temperatures, and I toss and turn a lot, so I'm not sure I'm the best candidate. I'm 6'2" and pretty skinny, so a snug fit isn't a bad thing.
Right now I'm looking at the Western Mountaineering UltraLite, Feathered Friends Hummingbird, Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15, Marmot Helium, and others.
Recommendations? I'm worried that the UltraLite might actually weigh more than the spec and that the Hummingbird might not be quite as warm as the rating.
Thanks!Oct 12, 2010 at 9:35 pm #1654025
Shameless self promotion:
;)Oct 12, 2010 at 9:44 pm #1654029
@empacitatorLocale: Western Australia
Looks fantastic, although I guess it will be keeping you busy for a while! What temperature rating do you think they would be good for?
WillOct 12, 2010 at 9:51 pm #1654030
By loft rating it should be ~20 or so. Although it wont be as roomy as the quilt I made for you Will.Oct 12, 2010 at 9:55 pm #1654031
@elf773Locale: Vancouver, BC
That bag looks good. I was thinking of something along the same lines, it looks almost like a rectangular bag (when "zipped" up). What is the lead time for the bag, and how much fill is the 18 oz.. any customization?Oct 12, 2010 at 10:22 pm #1654035
Custom work will be filled by contacting me directly, although I'm covered up for pretty much the rest of the year.
I'm looking at early Jan for custom orders.. The TiGoat model should be in stock a fair bit sooner than that.
I fill based on dimension calculations for desired loft. It'll have a nominal(minimum) 2.5" loft, the actual amount is arbitrary unless you can factor the exact dimensions.
firstname.lastname@example.org is my direct addy.Oct 13, 2010 at 4:18 am #1654063
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
I made this same decision a few years back with essentially the same candidates and the Ultralite won and is still the best bag I have ever owned.
I am 6'1" 180 pounds and the narrow cut is just fine for me and I too roll around a bit at night. I have taken it down to the single digits and been plenty warm.
My large actually came in at 28.5 oz.,less than specs.Oct 13, 2010 at 8:56 am #1654119
I've been leaning toward the UltraLite. You have a "long" model? 28.5 wouldn't be bad at all.
I was spoiled for years getting away with a lighter weight bag for 3 seasons, and I'm always annoyed when my gear gets heavier. But just about everything else has gotten lighter, I might as well sleep comfortably.Oct 13, 2010 at 8:59 am #1654121
Nice looking bag, although it's probably not warm enough for what I'm doing. Do you have anything using, say, closer to 16 oz/450 gr of fill?Oct 13, 2010 at 9:43 am #1654130
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
I have spent time in every bag you are considering and liked the WM Ultralite the best. I used the Hummingbird on my CDT hike in 1983 and it is a fine bag, Just a little more slim than the ultralite.
Another option if you are open to the quilt/variable girth option would be the Katabatic Sawatch at 23.5oz reg with 15oz of 850+ fill and 24.8oz for the large with 16oz of fill. I can vouch for this bag down to 10f with no hood sleeping on a DAM in long silk top and bottom.Oct 13, 2010 at 9:59 am #1654134
I just purchased a new WM Ultralite in regular size which weighs in at 868g or 30.6oz
The bag is however very warm. I want a quilt!Oct 13, 2010 at 10:04 am #1654137
@quietLocale: Southeastern US
I have a WM Ultralite and I absolutely love it. I've used it down to the most severe weather we get here in the southeastern US (not that severe). It's a beautifully made bag that has proven it's rating. I've heard others complain about it's snugness, but a 5'10, 145 lbs it fits me perfectly.Oct 13, 2010 at 10:51 am #1654151
@mrmuddyLocale: No Cal
I currently own both..
Both are outstanding..
Again, the " plus" with the Hummingbird is a choice of colors/ fabrics/ overstuffing/etc .. and the great personal service that they provide.
Having siad that, I like my WM better .. Not sure why .. maybe feels a tad warmer ?? And a tad more roomy ??
BTW, I'm @ 5'10" and weigh @ 180 lbs ..Oct 13, 2010 at 11:00 am #1654153
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
The Ultralite is a fine bag that I've enjoyed for, what, a decade now? Something like that, and it's been lightened by WM in the meantime via fabric changes. It's a snug fit so I got the long, which is a bit roomier at not much weight gain. The continuous baffles give it more flexibility as the temps vary, than bags without. Highly recommended.
I don't have a Hummingbird but do have a Swift, its larger brother, which I customized when ordering at the FF Seattle shop. Mine's probably a legit 15 and perhaps 10-degree bag, but considerably bulkier than the Ultralite.
FWIW Brian Robinson carried a Hummingbird through much of his Triple Crown hike and it was still in very good shape afterwards (I was able to inspect it at a talk he gave). That's about the best testimonial anybody could ask for.
RickOct 13, 2010 at 11:05 am #1654155
@kegelhoffLocale: Southern Cal
I'm the same size as Alex and I also think the WM Ultralite is an excellent bag. I have about 6 Down sleeping bags and this is my #1 choice for a sleeping bag in sub 30 temps.Oct 13, 2010 at 3:38 pm #1654279
"The Ultralite is a fine bag that I've enjoyed for, what, a decade now? Something like that, and it's been lightened by WM in the meantime via fabric changes. It's a snug fit so I got the long, which is a bit roomier at not much weight gain. The continuous baffles give it more flexibility as the temps vary, than bags without. Highly recommended."
Hard to beat an Ultralite for the temperature range.Oct 13, 2010 at 6:35 pm #1654327
If you're thinking toward the warmer side, also check out the Western Apache. It's a 15*F bag, 3 ounces heavier than the Ultralite b/c it's filled with another 3 ounces of down. Same cuts and all; both great, but imagine an Ultralite really stuffed w/down…Oct 13, 2010 at 6:40 pm #1654328
"If you're thinking toward the warmer side, also check out the Western Apache. It's a 15*F bag, 3 ounces heavier than the Ultralite b/c it's filled with another 3 ounces of down. Same cuts and all; both great, but imagine an Ultralite really stuffed w/down…"
Good point. I've owned both and you're pretty much on the money. However, when you get into 10-15 degree temperatures, there's a new kid on the block: The Versalite. Myself, I've found it gives me more flexibility to go with the Ultralite and make up the difference with layers of clothing, which can take me down to 10 degrees and also serve to keep me warm during the day.Oct 13, 2010 at 6:46 pm #1654330
How do you think the warmth of the Sawatch compares to the Ultralite?
I did a bike trip in a WM Summerlite last year and wasn't warm enough on nights approaching freezing(with an old prolite 3 w's pad).
I must admit the Sawatch looks really good, and the weight is impressive. I could carry a Mont Bell Ex Light Jacket for the difference in weight from other bags.Oct 15, 2010 at 8:07 am #1654823
Yeah, there's the Versalite at a theoretical 10*F. However, note that the Versalite is 3 inches wider in girth with only 1 ounce more down than the Apache. I have some variation or another of nearly all of WMs bags at hand right now, and the Apache clearly lofts better than the Versalite.
Also note that the Antelope, theoretically only 5*F warmer than the Versalite, uses a full 6 (!) ounces more down than the Versalite for the same-cut girth. Again, the Antelope is clearly a warmer bag, and has significantly more warmth than a 5*F differential.
Edit: Oh, on versatility… we each develop our preferences, but I think the Apache is a bit more versatile than the Ultralite. You can always shift the down and make it a bit cooler if necessary, & the 3 ounce weight "penalty" of the Apache is probably the warmest 3oz you could carry…Oct 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm #1654994
"Yeah, there's the Versalite at a theoretical 10*F. However, note that the Versalite is 3 inches wider in girth with only 1 ounce more down than the Apache. I have some variation or another of nearly all of WMs bags at hand right now, and the Apache clearly lofts better than the Versalite."
I'll concede there, Brad. The Apache is a good bag.
Versatility wise, yeah, it's personal. Based on personal experience, I'll stick with my Ultralite over my former Apache. But, like you said. that is strictly personal preference. If I were anticipating temps below 10 degrees, I'd likely go back to an apache, though.Oct 15, 2010 at 5:31 pm #1654997
@moxfordLocale: Silicon Valley, CA
Caveat: I'm new to this whole UL thing and my comparison breadth is low for bags due to my size.
I'm 6'6, 250 or so.
After using a Montbell SuperSpiral UL +1 (15deg, long) I don't know how anyone can sleep in anything else. Well, I suppose I could understand a quilt. :)
I came from a synthetic mummy which almost fit me and packs down smaller, but I'm in love with this thing.
The long version is 2lb, 7 oz. 11oz(!) heavier than the Ultralite2 long, 8 of which is fill. (22oz fill vs 14oz)
Now before you laugh me out of town all tarred and feathered…
The spirals are amazing. They really do work well.
It's got a water repellent coating.
It's only 12 denier vs 20, if you care.
It's a touch heavier but those spirals and extra fill weight … for me it's a keeper. You might check out their other models which are rated warmer (lighter) or see if you can find someone near you who has one or someplace you can check it out.
If I don't sleep well I get grumpy, and it's 6'6 250lbs of grumpy, so I try to sleep well. :)
-moxOct 16, 2010 at 8:36 pm #1655241
I looked at the mont-bells, I know they have an excellent reputation for quality and being true to rated weight.
I think I'm growing more obsessed with cutting weight, so I'm probably going to go for a lighter bag. I don't think I need a full 15 — I'm really looking functionally at more like a 25. I'll layer when it's colder, but my 30 just wasn't quite up to snuff.Oct 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm #1655733
"I don't think I need a full 15 — I'm really looking functionally at more like a 25. I'll layer when it's colder, but my 30 just wasn't quite up to snuff."
Honestly, if a 30 didn't cut it a 25 won't. There's not that much functional/actual difference in bags with those ratings. I'm a cold sleeper and have used a Summerlite below freezing comfortably… w/adequate insulation underneath (ie a women's Trail Pro or Exped Downmat).
Point is, don't trick yourself into "making the 30 work" if your experience has already been that it doesn't.
Also note that WM is one of the few manufacturers who actually rate their bags accurately… in other words, other 30*F bags probably wouldn't keep you warm at those temps.
Keep toward the warmer 15/20 *F bags; the draft collar on the Ultralite is awesome, can help a lot.Oct 18, 2010 at 4:37 pm #1655755
if you think youll hit 20 deg consistently … use a 20 deg bag
the extra layers is insurance … but they can get wet, you can easily get nights lower than the avg temp .. etc …
also consider that youll lose some loft on long trips
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