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Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

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Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby Apex » Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:44 pm

Hey guys,

I'm in the market for a new sleeping bag for ski-touring, mountaineering, backpacking, kayaking, and everything in between. I understand that its tough to fit every requirement here fully, but I'm trying my best.

Anyways, my primary focus will be on a ski-touring and mountaineering bag since I plan to do that the most and these generally need to be warmer than the other counterparts. Alot of my excursions will be on the West coast of BC and some of the western states, so the bag needs to be able to handle moisture well, yet the temperatures never reach extremes.

I've been looking at some WM bags such as the antelope GWS, FF snowbunting, aswell as TNF Nova and Nebula. I'm leaning towards the north face bags currently because I can get a good deal from the company I work with at nearly half off prices... I've chosen these bags because they are warm (15F-0F), fairly light, and I think the water repellency of their shells could be extremely valuable. If I had the money I'd hands down go for the WM or FF bag, but it'd have to be leaps and bounds better than TNF bags.

Thoughts? I really like the looks of the Nebula, but not sure if I can get away with a 15F bag in the winter, especially if TNF ratings aren't extremely accurate. I currently have a cheapo MEC bag so I'm sure anything would be better than that.

Cheers.
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Re: Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby adventurer » Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:53 pm

I'm a big proponent of 0 degree down bags. I've been using a Marmot Couloir for almost a decade. In my mind, a good zero bag is sufficient for all but the most extreme conditions. I've been quite comfortable in temps ranging from the +30'sF all the way down to -21F. Depending on conditions, I just adjust the clothes I'm wearing in the bag. A zero bag ensures warmth in severe winter temps while at the same time allowing me to avoid the extra weight, bulk and expense of a -20 and/or -40 bags. I've even used my zero bag to sleep in w/o a tent, and leaving the bag zipper mostly open, in mild +40'sF temps.

The accuracy of temp ratings seem to vary among winter down bags depending on the brand. I've got a lot of faith in the Marmot ratings and I have a climbing friend who would say the same thing about FF bag ratings.
"When you travel, if you avoid the people, reject the food, ignore the customs, and fear the religion..... you might as well stay home"
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Re: Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby mrchad9 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:52 pm

Definitely a down bag, whatever rating suits your activity.

I usually bring a bag rated that suits an average night for a trip, and plan to wear a layer or two of my clothes inside it. Then if it is unusually cold just wear all my clothes in the bag. You can also use a silk liner, which is very lightweight, if you only occasionally need a bag that works in even colder conditions. Using a liner is better than buying a bag that is heavier than you need for most trips.
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Re: Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby peninsula » Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:17 am

I have used a WM bag for several years and simply love it! Well made, durable, and reliable as goes temperature ratings. Super light weight, too.
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Re: Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby The Chief » Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:25 am

Nothing matches Western Mountaineering.

I have three WM bags.

Alpenlite(1lb 15oz) 20deg for Late Spring through Fall Gigs:
Image

Versilite (2lbs) 10Deg for Late Winter early Spring Gigs:
Image

Sequoia (3lbs 2oz) 0-5 Deg for Winter gigs:
Image



For what your requirements are, I highly recommend the Versilite.
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Re: Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby Apex » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:17 am

Thanks Chief, that is one fantastic looking bag. From what other people are saying looks like I'm better off holding out till I have enough funds to purchase a WM or FF bag rather than go with the North Face or other brand stuff.

As far as the outer shell of the bag goes, would it be beneficial to maybe look into getting a bag with a fairly water resistant outer shell (I see that WM offers bags with Microfiber and Gore Windstopper). I haven't had any experience with these, but for a few ounces more it may very well be worth the extra weight and price.
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Re: Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby The Chief » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:42 am

All mine are MF (Micro Fiber). It's very tight weave does more to repel moisture than you could imagine. I have had well over an 1/8" of visible moisture covering both my Versilite and Alpenlite many a times from tent condensation and lost absolutely no loft and it never affected the down in any negative way.

I recommend that you stay with the stock MF as it does the trick.

More on the MF process here.....

http://www.westernmountaineering.com/in ... tentId=4#5
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Re: Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby radson » Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:50 am

A new product getting some good reviews is the Sea to Summit Alpine III

With the Alpine range bags they have combined natural and synthetic insulation to exploit the advantages of both. What they have a produced is a bag that isn't significantly lighter or warmer than its competitor models, but a bag that will keep those properties over longer periods of use than the competition.


http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=3747
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Re: Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby blazin » Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:30 pm

Chief, and others that have WM bags, how are the sizes on those things calculated? Are the regular (6') bags really 6' long or they made to give a 6' person a little more room? I'm 6' and trying to figure out whether I need to cough up the extra dough and carry the extra weight for 6' 6" model so that I can have room for clothes, water, fuel, boot liners, etc?
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Re: Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby The Chief » Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:17 pm

I would rec that you get the 6'6" if you are going to store gear in em. The weight really is not enough to consider it a factor not to do so.

FWIW, mine are all 6'ers and I 5'6" and I have ample room to store tons of stuff in the footbed and still sleep comfortably.
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Re: Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:41 pm

I like going with minimum. So for winter outings in Sierra I use a +10 down bag and sleep in all my clothes if it is cold. I tried a synthetic bag that is rated to -30 (i was able to buy it for 40$), but I do not like the bulk and it is not THAT much warmer. I am 6'2 and I use bags for 6'0 people (stack gear etc in it anyways and have no trouble sleeping).

Those bags Chief posted look really nice. I would get a +20 for spring, summer, early autumn months for sleeping in elevations up to 14K. For winter outings or trips to Alaska (any altitude) I would get a 0 to -10 (depending on the weight etc). Have a water resistant coating, really need it.
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Re: Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby peninsula » Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:35 am

blazin wrote:Chief, and others that have WM bags, how are the sizes on those things calculated? Are the regular (6') bags really 6' long or they made to give a 6' person a little more room? I'm 6' and trying to figure out whether I need to cough up the extra dough and carry the extra weight for 6' 6" model so that I can have room for clothes, water, fuel, boot liners, etc?


I'm 5' 11", I have a 6' and 6.5' bag; I prefer the longer bag. Like Chief says, the extra weight is negligible and the extra space can come in handy when you need it. You also have a choice of which side to have the zipper, and I prefer the zipper on my left as I'm right handed.
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Re: Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:09 pm

Apex wrote:Thanks Chief, that is one fantastic looking bag. From what other people are saying looks like I'm better off holding out till I have enough funds to purchase a WM or FF bag rather than go with the North Face or other brand stuff.

As far as the outer shell of the bag goes, would it be beneficial to maybe look into getting a bag with a fairly water resistant outer shell (I see that WM offers bags with Microfiber and Gore Windstopper). I haven't had any experience with these, but for a few ounces more it may very well be worth the extra weight and price.


I have both WM and FF bags. Comparing them to anything else on the market (maybe Valandre) is silly. There is no comparison. My WM has a Dryloft shell which works well to shed dew and spilled drinks. My FF has an Epic shell which works equally well.I find that down bags are just as likely to get wet from the inside, so those WB fabrics won't be of any help if you crawl into your bag while wet from a days work. I don't consider WB shells to be critical, but it is hard to find a bag without one. I had my expedition bag custom made at FF (most of their expensive clothing and bags are made to order) and they REFUSED to build a bag with anything other than a WB shell. And they also put in the wrong zipper. As for length, I am 5'9" and use 6' bags. I like the extra space to put liner booties and water bottles.
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Re: Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby radson » Sat Jul 09, 2011 2:28 pm

I dont know ExcitableBoy, there are a lot of great bag manufacturers out there. I just spent 3 weeks in a great MH bag and had no issues with condensation on the inner and the Conduit outer kept it fairly dry. Mont-Bell, Rab, PHD also make some great bags.
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Re: Looking for a New Bag, Opinions?

Postby The Chief » Sat Jul 09, 2011 2:42 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote: I had my expedition bag custom made at FF (most of their expensive clothing and bags are made to order) and they REFUSED to build a bag with anything other than a WB shell. And they also put in the wrong zipper.


That won't happen with WM!

They will make a bag according to what your spec's are with the different materials they offer. If the bag does not meet your specs after manu, they will fix it in order to ensure your satisfaction is met and their work is guaranteed for the life of the bag. No questions asked.
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