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#100194 - 07/22/08 04:49 PM Debating on Western Mountaineering bag
NitroSteel Offline
member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 61
I'm 5'9", 195 pounds and am looking at getting a Badger SMF or Badger Gore Windstopper bag. I always sleep in a tent (either a Cabelas Alaskan Guide or a Big Agnes Seedhouse 3SL). I'll be hunting in cold weather (to date I've never been out colder than 15 degrees) and will also use the bag for hiking in warmer weather. Weight is not an issue as long as it's under 3 pounds, but when looking at spending $400 on a bag, I want to make sure I get the right one. I thought about stepping up to the Antelope, but wasn't really sure I needed it for temperature and wasn't sure I wanted to give up the girth.

Is the Gore Windstopper worth the extra $80 or so dollars? I can't see anything on the internet to specifically justify it, it doesn't appear to be waterproof anymore than the "microfiber" shell is.

Please let me know your opinions on the subject. Also, please let me know if you think I should get a little bit narrower girth bag (simply for warmth - no worries about weight).

Thank ya'll,

NitroSteel

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#100195 - 07/22/08 09:02 PM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: NitroSteel]
Ender Offline
member

Registered: 01/17/02
Posts: 779
Loc: ME
Personally, I say no, especially if all your camping will be done in a tent. The SMF shell is still surprisingly water repellant... I woke up one morning when using my old Apache SMF, to find a puddle of water sitting on top of me that had dripped down from the leaky shelter roof. The shell was wet but not soaked and not letting the water through, and the down inside remained dry. And for wind it keeps that out just fine. I think for what you're using it for, the Windstopper is overkill.

YMMV though... either way you'll end up with a fantastic bag.

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#100196 - 07/22/08 09:17 PM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: NitroSteel]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
It's possible that the bag is a tad warm if you sleep in a tent, and plan for a rock bottom temperature of 15 degrees.

WM bags are conservatively rated for temperature, or at least mine is, and I sleep cold.

Also, I'm not sure why they are so expensive, or at least, why one would want to pay so much money for them.

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#100197 - 07/23/08 08:49 AM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: NitroSteel]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
If you want that girth (66), you picked a beautiful bag. People think its a high price but 850+ down is expensive and high quality light weight material is expensive. In the end, WM is a pretty good deal. When you want low weight and high warmth, it comes at a cost.

Initially, you can use it all year, but in the warmer months, you may wish for something lighter. Thats why backpackers have at least 2 sleeping bags --- so they can go lighter in the summer.

I have the Antelope (bought on eBay for 1/3 off) that I only use 1-2 months of the year. I have the WM POD30 (bought used here) that I use in the winter/spring. I also have one Megalight that my wife and I share (used as quilt with a zipped in sweetie-pie) when she goes with me. And I have the Carribou that I use the most for summer. However, that is changing because I have been loving my new JRB Stealth quilt (with poncho head hole) because its lighter yet, warm to at least 50F (Ill test it for colder this fall) and packs so small.

Another reason I have so many WM bags is because when my family backpacks with me, all the bags become taken. And we use them car camping since they fit in the Prius trunk better than most bags.

Good luck on your bag purchase <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
-Barry

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#100198 - 07/23/08 09:18 AM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: NitroSteel]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I've drooled over the WM bags for years - My issue has always been price (ok, I could eventually get over that) and the narrow cut which does *not* fit me. I know they make a wider one but I never managed to get ahold of one to try on, and am very reluctant to drop that much coin on a
bag that I don't know about the fit of.

I recently cured my WM envy however, MEC 's merlin bag lineup compares well, at a very favorable price. I recently bought the -3 (C) rated version. I will probably pick up the -10 version for fall. The main difference is the merlin is quite a bit wider than the WM, at least for me, and actually fits, So I really like it (since I can use it both as a bag or quilt style, and it was going to work out as light and inexpensive as any quilt I made. For what you'd pay for the WM bag, you could almost get both MEC bags and have a warmer and colder weather rig.

Look here:
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detai...D=1216829354610

and here:
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detai...D=1216829354612
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#100199 - 07/23/08 10:38 AM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: NitroSteel]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
I'd skip the GT shell if you're planning on using it anywhere near freezing and above. It's helpful in cold, dry conditions but won't breathe as well as a standard shell in warmer, humid conditions, possibly compromising the fill.

I have two WM bags (Ultralite, Dakota) and they're great--highly recommended. I also like Feathered Friends. Look at the Raven and the Swift (possibly with overfill) as alternatives. Every bit as good as WM bags, and much more customizable.
_________________________
--Rick

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#100200 - 07/23/08 11:58 AM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: phat]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
WM and the narrow cut which does *not* fit me

Phat,
If you can live w/ the 71cm shoulder (142cm or 56 girth) of the MEC, you can probably live with the 66 (168cm girth) of the WM Badger (from OP).
In fact all WM bags have a bigger girth than the MEC links you posted. Of course MEC could be wrong on their specs because I thought I heard other people say they wiggle fine in their MEC bag.

Plus I think the MECs are 25% cheaper than WM because they use 800+ down instead of 850+, and are made in China (vs America for WM). And I noticed the loft is about 5% higher on the WM (comparing -14C specs). This shows a more conservative rating on WMs part.

And dont be surprised when MEC weighs 10% more than stated, yet the loft stays the same.

Im just trying to tempt you more <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

-Barry

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#100201 - 07/23/08 01:27 PM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: BarryP]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
The MEC house brand is good stuff. Better and in some instances much better, than REI, I think. All I really know about is the MEC Brio pack, which is very nicely designed and cost $60 US on closeout. (They slightly redesigned it). Fantastic.

I certainly don't doubt that WM are lighter. (My particular WM is said to be 17 ounces) But I seem to remember OP saying he wasn't all that concerned about weight. So what's the gain?

Also, and this is strictly personal on my part, I think the ultra-ultra premium light type bag is nicest (most worth paying for) in summerish-weights, when the item can truly be reduced to like, nothing. With the 3-season or winter items, premium/nonpremium, they're all relatively bulky....

Maybe I'm being illogical.

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#100202 - 07/23/08 02:27 PM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: johndavid]
jonnycat Offline
member

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 363
Loc: PNW
Quote:
The MEC house brand is good stuff. Better and in some instances much better, than REI, I think.


I've become very dissapointed in REI's brand of gear. It seems that every time they revamp a line, it is for fashion's sake, with a decrease in useable quality.

At one time I could count on their gear being "affordable quality", but anymore it's just junk that is only useful for the most casual user (AKA mallwalkers and car campers).

I would guess that most of their customers don't know any better these days, and they are just mirroring that, but it is dissapointing for those of us who actually used to use REI gear for it's intended purpose and for the long haul.

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#100203 - 07/23/08 03:02 PM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: jonnycat]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
I think REI stuff is okay and some is good. It was never for the most part the greatest. Not WM-style premium stuff.

I bought one of their tents in 1971. It was cotton with a nylon floor and aluminum "A" poles. Tapered to the rear in height and width. That was a pretty good mountain tent.

I still have an REI sleeping bag from 1972,. Works good. Very basic.

A cagoule from 1978 held up until 2003, with patching, as my main rain gear.

I have a cheap 2002 Scholler jacket from them which I like. MEC made something very similar at a better price (given 2002 Loonie rate).

Never was a big fan of REI branded packs, although I found one in the garbage and gave it to my friend. Made a nice gift.

Then there's the brand itself. Not cool. Like, do you really want to drive a Ford? MEC is much cooler in that way. WM is way cool.

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#100204 - 07/23/08 03:08 PM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: BarryP]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
WM and the narrow cut which does *not* fit me

Phat,
If you can live w/ the 71cm shoulder (142cm or 56 girth) of the MEC, you can probably live with the 66 (168cm girth) of the WM Badger (from OP).


If the badger is indeed that big, than probably - however...

Quote:

In fact all WM bags have a bigger girth than the MEC links you posted. Of course MEC could be wrong on their specs because I thought I heard other people say they wiggle fine in their MEC bag.


I don't know who is wrong on specs, MEC or WM (likely MEC) but I do know that for me, every
one of the three WM bags I've tried (yes, *NOT* the badger) have been way tighter for me than the merlins (which may be a reason to go WM if you're slight!)

Quote:

Im just trying to tempt you more <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />


Yeah, I know - it's not even sporting it's so easy <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#100205 - 07/23/08 03:15 PM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: jonnycat]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
Quote:
The MEC house brand is good stuff. Better and in some instances much better, than REI, I think.


I've become very dissapointed in REI's brand of gear. It seems that every time they revamp a line, it is for fashion's sake, with a decrease in useable quality.


While I do like MEC house brand gear and it tends to hold up, MEC also suffers from revamping good stuff for fashion's sake and making it suck. My beloved original rad pants, dervish windshirt, and northern lite pullover all got replaced with things that were "improved" but not as good. It's
still buyer beware.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#100206 - 07/23/08 06:58 PM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: Ender]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I have found the material on my Caribou to be very water resistant. The first time out with it I was car camping with my motorcycle and got some light rain over night. I felt a little clammy and in the morning, water was puddled up on top of the bag. I now can see light thru the stitching, so I don't know if it could hold off the water again. I have had that WM bag for five years now I think. My Apache has been good down to 15 like it's rating, but just barely, and a couple years ago, I had heavy condensation inside my floorless, Tarptent Squall in the Fall and I felt cool in the bag for some reason. Not a conservative rating for the Apache has been by experience.


Edited by hikerduane (07/23/08 06:59 PM)

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#100207 - 07/23/08 07:54 PM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: hikerduane]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
When I purchasaed my particular WM, the Highlite, it was rated at 40 degrees. A couple of years later, they changed it to 35 degrees, but specs remained identical.

So maybe you'd be right..Let's say they have "accurate" ratings, which by the lights of some manufacturers, would be conservative.

I actually think that's part of their marketing plan. That is, a WM bag rated for a given temperature is intended by the company to be warmer than a Brand X bag rated for same temperature.

I'm only guessing that's the case, but if so, that's not a bad or unwise goal for them to have, given their prices and relatively small piece of the market. Sterling reputation is necessary for premium price.

Also, the water-repellency of a newly purchased sleeping bag shell may not be much reason to pay nearly twice the going rate for a sleeping bag or whatever it amounts to. At least not for me, mostly using a bivvy cover, partly to protect my investment.

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#100208 - 07/24/08 02:21 AM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: NitroSteel]
rgb63 Offline
member

Registered: 03/29/04
Posts: 35
OT, but has anybody noticed that the Ultralite is now spec'ed at 16oz of down and 1lb 13oz total for the 6' version? It used to be spec'ed at 14oz of down, and 1lb 10oz. Loft is spec'ed as the same.

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#100209 - 07/24/08 06:46 AM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: hikerduane]
Ender Offline
member

Registered: 01/17/02
Posts: 779
Loc: ME
Hikerduane , it sounds like in the Apache case it was a function of humidity in the air that lessened the loft of the down. I don't know if a different shell would have helped or made it worse. I would think that a Gore shell would actually make it worse, because it would hold more of that humidity in? Not sure. Thoughts?

Good point about the stitching though... you can have the best fabric in the world, but if you can see through the stitching, water is still going to get through.

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#100210 - 07/24/08 07:11 PM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: NitroSteel]
NitroSteel Offline
member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 61
Does anyone know of a place where I can get more than 10% off the retail price of a bag? I'm having a hard time finding one for less than this (this is Moosejaw using a code). Comes to $374 for the 6 foot Badger Super MF. There's a 7 footer on ebay now, but that's impractical I think.

Thank you,

NitroSteel

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#100211 - 07/24/08 08:09 PM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: NitroSteel]
just_another_Joe Offline
member

Registered: 11/30/06
Posts: 117
Patience is fullness. Check ebay about once a week for the next year. You will eventually see what you want. Most ads run from one weekend to the next, so I check midweek. People sell before and after Christmas, around tax time, etc. Go to the WM website and print out their spec sheet so you can see which sizes suit you. Look up a WM dealer and go try some for size.

Spadout.com is one of those price comparison sites.

Just Another Tightwad

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#100212 - 07/25/08 09:41 AM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: NitroSteel]
Berserker Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 493
Loc: Lynchburg, VA
If you want to buy a new WM bag from an outfitter (rather than an individual on ebay for example), then you probably aren't going to find one on sale. The only time I have ever seen WM bags on sale is when an outfitter is trying to get rid of them.

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#100213 - 07/26/08 06:50 AM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: Berserker]
kbennett Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 820
Loc: north carolina
Agreed on the sale prices. I got my Antelope for 40% off at my local outfitter, when they wanted to get rid of that model. Good for me, not so good for them.

Can you try on the bags ahead of time? At 5-9 you should easily fit in the Regular size bag, but in my experience WM bags seem a little short. You might want to try a Long just to see.

We had three WM bags in the house, but my spouse traded her Ultralite for a Montbell bag. (That bag work out okay in the GC, keith?) I use my Megalite for three-season hiking, and the Antelope for winter. Great bags, and worth the extra $$$ to me.


[Edit: changed Apache to Antelope. Brain [email]f@rt.][/email]


Edited by kbennett (07/28/08 07:08 PM)
_________________________
--Ken B

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#100214 - 07/26/08 11:30 PM Re: Weight of WM Ultralite [Re: rgb63]
billk Offline
member

Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 1196
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Thanks...I was unaware they'd changed the specs. I was a bit disappointed when I weighed mine at 1lb 14.1oz (not counting the stuff sack), since their web site said 1lb 10oz. It's an awfully nice bag, though, and still pretty light, so I decided to keep it.

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#100215 - 07/27/08 04:54 PM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: kbennett]
Keith Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1664
Loc: Michigan's Upper Peninsula
We didn't take that one because we figured it would be too warm. We did, however, have snow on the rims and could have used it. We used our older Ultralite (not you UL Super) and it did fine.
Thanks for your rapid shipping.
--Keith
_________________________
Human Resources Memo: Floggings will continue until morale improves.

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#100216 - 07/27/08 08:12 PM Re: Weight of WM Ultralite [Re: billk]
just_another_Joe Offline
member

Registered: 11/30/06
Posts: 117
You can order WM bags with overfill. Some dealers may consistently order overfill so all of their bags are a few ounces over weight. See the WM website for overfill details since warmer bag models have larger amounts of overfill.

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#100217 - 07/28/08 06:06 PM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: NitroSteel]
NitroSteel Offline
member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 61
If only I could get into one and try it...

The rep at Travelcountry.com seemed very sharp and has almost got me talked into getting the "Alpinelite". It's definitely between the Alpinelite Super and the Badger Super MF now. The Gore shell seems like it would work against me (the more I read) and the Antelope is just too warm.

Part of me wants the Badger, but I think all I need is the Alpinelite. If it will handle 20 degrees comfortably - - - I think that's enough and I'm not giving up very much girth either... The Alpinelite weighs in at 1 lb. 15 ounces. Very impressive.

How thin is the shell fabric on the Alpinelite? Will it REALLY keep me warm at 20 degrees?

I know there are some opinionated folks out there that can give me some more insight... Let me have it.

Thank ya'll,

NitroSteel

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#100218 - 07/28/08 07:06 PM Re: Debating on Western Mountaineering bag [Re: NitroSteel]
kbennett Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 820
Loc: north carolina
Quote:


Will it REALLY keep me warm at 20 degrees?


This is the most important question, isn't it? Too bad there is no simple answer.

1. Different people sleep differently. My wife is always cold; I am always hot. I am happy inside my 30-F WM Megalite right at 30 degrees wearing long johns and socks. My poor wife would be half-frozen.

2. The same person sleeps colder or hotter depending on a long list of factors: how tired you are, how much you've had to eat, the humidity, whether you are in a tent, your sleeping pad, the wind, whether you have a large dog inside the bag with you, etc.

My experience with high-end bags is that, *FOR ME* the WM temp ratings seem pretty accurate for tarp or shelter camping in the Southern Appalachians wearing light long johns, socks, and a microfleece hat. I can push the ratings quite a bit with a down jacket, thicker fleece leggings, heavier socks, and gloves. (I've had my Megalite into the upper teens quite comfortably.) I suppose I could be warmer in a tent rather than under a tarp, too, but I'm ornery that way. I've had my Antelope into the single digits, and I was warm as long as I didn't get out of the bag. (Brrr.)

So, this doesn't really answer your question, because I'm not you. You might be cold-natured, like my spouse. Only you will know.

Good luck and stay warm. There is a good resale market for WM bags if you decide you don't like it.
_________________________
--Ken B

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