Western Mountaineering Customer Support?

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OldBill

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Aug 18, 2015
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141
Has anyone been able to contact WM? I had some questions regarding my ~20 yr old Versalite. Great bag but loft has declined (center is 4-5" vs 6" new) and was hoping to get more down added if possible. I've sent 3 emails over the past month with no response. A search showed I'm not the only one having problems. Both Facebook and bpbasecamp have posts from others with similar stories. They seem to be associated (owned?) by Adventure 16 as that is the email domain (WMSupport@Adventure16.com). Considered calling the number on their website but if service is this unresponsive, I'm not sure I trust sending my bag to them.

My girlfriend was going to get a WM bag as well so we can zip them together. I'm now leaning to recommending FF.
 

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fossana

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Jan 11, 2018
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That's a bummer since their bags are top notch. I would call Adventure 16 (corporate office), explain the situation, and see if they can fax/email you the repair form while you're on the phone. It sounds like you'd be shipping it directly to WM since Adventure 16 is a SoCal chain.

We can fix most issues at our factory in San Jose. Common repairs include rips/tears, overfill and zipper repair. Please contact wmsupport@adventure16.com for the proper forms and info.
 

3d3vart

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May 2, 2018
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125
I've had great response from WM. I've sent my 19 year old WM Apache in twice for restuffing. Quick and cheap repair. It takes some effort to track down the number of their HQ is San Jose, but you can do it. Going on 1000+ nights in my Apache - def one of my two favorite pieces of outdoor gear I've ever owned.
 

OldBill

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Aug 18, 2015
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The WM Facebook page (Community posts) has many similar complaints about reaching them via Adventure16. Understand and appreciate that it's a small operation and good to know they are helpful with repairs. One of the posts did suggest that there was phone number available to companies selling WM gear. There were WM responses to a few of the posts suggesting to use another email address with a westernmountaineering.com domain. So I did that today. If that doesn't work, I'll try to get the phone number from Adventure16 (great video link there showing WM bags being made, but their website seems to have other issues currently). Just frustrating that it takes so much detective work to contact a premier gear company, particularly given we pay a premier price.

Good to know I'm on the right track with possible restuffing,( even though I don't have half that use) and that (once reached) they have good support. My bag's in great shape and been washed only a handful of times. I use a liner most of the time and always clean sleeping thermals, socks and hat. Very little down has leaked over the years so I'm assuming the down is still mostly intact and in good shape. Just noticed it's not as warm as it once was and then confirmed loss in loft.

PS - Just found out via bpbasecamp that Adventure 16 is closing. That could be a big part of the problem, though the complaints on Facebook go back months.
 
Last edited:

3d3vart

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May 2, 2018
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Forget emailing, and try to find the phone number. I've found it twice and they answered immediately. They just told me where and how to ship it to them and only charged me like $40 or something. I got the bag back in like a week or two if I remember correctly.

I wash my bag once or twice a year, sleep in it with whatever I'm wearing at the moment, cowboy camp regularly in the dirt etc., and the bag is still in great shape (maybe two small patches total over 19 years) and warm for three season use. Restuffing it is always nice though as the loft is improved and comfort increases somewhat.


The WM Facebook page (Community posts) has many similar complaints about reaching them via Adventure16. Understand and appreciate that it's a small operation and good to know they are helpful with repairs. One of the posts did suggest that there was phone number available to companies selling WM gear. There were WM responses to a few of the posts suggesting to use another email address with a westernmountaineering.com domain. So I did that today. If that doesn't work, I'll try to get the phone number from Adventure16 (great video link there showing WM bags being made, but their website seems to have other issues currently). Just frustrating that it takes so much detective work to contact a premier gear company, particularly given we pay a premier price.

Good to know I'm on the right track with possible restuffing,( even though I don't have half that use) and that (once reached) they have good support. My bag's in great shape and been washed only a handful of times. I use a liner most of the time and always clean sleeping thermals, socks and hat. Very little down has leaked over the years so I'm assuming the down is still mostly intact and in good shape. Just noticed it's not as warm as it once was and then confirmed loss in loft.

PS - Just found out via bpbasecamp that Adventure 16 is closing. That could be a big part of the problem, though the complaints on Facebook go back months.
 

3d3vart

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May 2, 2018
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125
[/QUOTE]
Just frustrating that it takes so much detective work to contact a premier gear company, particularly given we pay a premier price.
And I argue that WM bags aren't a premium price at all if you consider their high quality that makes them last decades and may in fact be the last bag you ever have to purchase. Mine has cost me about $25 per year of use if prorated over lifespan so far. Waaayyyy better than some of the boutique and big name brands making the popular bags these days.
 

OwenM

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Semantics, I know, but WM's quality is very close to Katabatic's, and while I'd definitely call both their pricing "premium", that word has no negative connotation for me. A premium price is what I expect for a genuinely premium product that is demonstrably superior in materials and/or construction quality. Paying more for a name, and getting a run of the mill bag, would be a very different story.
I got my WM bag on a rare 30% off sale, a bargain for sure! My Katabatic quilt is so far above any(ANY) other maker's quilts in design and execution that I think of it as a bargain, too.

Anywho...
408-287-8944 is the # I found for Western Mountaineering. I sent them an email yesterday evening, just to see, since this thread reminded me that I had both a question and suggestion for them. I'll probably wait and call after Thanksgiving if they don't respond via email.
 

LarryBoy

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I found that you have to make the subject line really flashy and annoying to get a response. Such as:


***EMERGENCY UNACCEPTABLE LACK OF RESPONSE*** Re: Versalite 5'6" Issue
 

OldBill

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Aug 18, 2015
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141
A premium price is what I expect for a genuinely premium product that is demonstrably superior in materials and/or construction quality.
Exactly my point. Hope it translates, eventually, to premium customer service in accordance with their quality standards. As previously stated, many others are frustrated by a lack of response to their email address as posted on the website. Thanks for the phone number. Found some old Backpacker ads with that number as well.
I sent an email to the address on Facebook so will give that awhile to be replied to. I find it always helps to have something in writing prior to the call. From all the searches related to this, it appears most have a positive experience with their service. Hoping for the same! Thanks to all for the help.
 

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OldBill

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Aug 18, 2015
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Great news! The email listed on the "About" section of the Facebook page did result in a quick response! Their website still lists the Adventure16 email with the statement "Authorized product support/service provided by Adventure 16." Hopefully, their website will get updated with a direct email, if not the phone number.

3 oz of additional down, inspection by experts and just an estimated few weeks turnaround for not a lot of money. Fits my definition of premium customer service. Even with the holidays, I'll have it back in time for winter backpacking in the Whites.
 

OldBill

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Thought I'd close this thread with the rest of the story.

I received my overfilled bag back mid-February. It took awhile for the work to be done. I called a few weeks after confirming USPS priority mail delivery. It did take a bit of work to locate the paperwork and bag ("Are you sure it was delivered?") So, keep your shipping records. It was returned with the usual amazing workmanship about a week later.

A Versalite overfill takes 3 oz of down. I have a 6'6" bag. It had so much down that it was unable to be compressed enough to fit into my bag. The weight was 2lb 13oz, much over what I had expected (around 2lb 6oz). WM support agreed that something seemed off and in any case it was just too much weight and volume. So, back it went with a request to add just 1 oz to the center baffles and get the weight to near 2lb 6oz max.

A few weeks later, I checked in again by phone. It took a bit to find the bag and they said that too much down would need to be removed to set it to the requested weight. The bag is 20yrs old, so the materials used had a base weight above the current 2 lb 2 oz. We agreed that just to add 1 oz to the center over whatever the original weight was (never found out what that was). Should fix volume issue as well as cold spots.

Then COVID-19 hit.

A week after they opened back up, I checked into it again. Things were hectic as to be expected and said it was difficult to get the required specs right for the down, but it would be shipped out the next Monday. True to their word it was. I pulled it out still in the plastic bag and immediately weighed it. 2lb 13 oz. ??? Called and they were obviously shocked. We had a good laugh. Decided to discuss options the next day. I pulled the bag out of the sack. There was a heavy storage sack included!! Put it back on the scale. 2lb 4z. Called and thanked them for job well done.

Costs:
Ship out: $60
Overfill and ship back: $60
Ship 2nd time: $50 (UPS)
Pull down and return: N/C

Great company. Stellar product. The bag might be good for another 20 years.
 

Wanderlust073

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Surprised they didn't just send you a brand new bag after all the hassle, but I know it's lean times. Glad it all worked out.
 

RobB

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Jul 16, 2020
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I just received a WM Megalite today with 2 oz overfill. It should weigh 1 lb 10 oz, (1 lb 8 oz + 2 oz overfill) but actually weighs 1 lb 12 oz. For a gram weeny like me that's way out of spec. Anyone have any similar issues with WM's bag weights? It "might" be acceptable if it is extra fill, but if it's extra nylon, it isn't. I'm waiting on a response from WM support, but don't know if I'll ever hear anything with California being shut down. Any thoughts?
 

OldBill

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Did you get an exact weight prior to shipping? I did not, and regretted it as I only could use published specs. But, even though thoroughly cleaned prior to sending, it's been exposed to fine sand that could have infiltrated. Humidity plays a role too, though 2 oz seems too much. WM is very helpful, though sometimes it takes some effort to track things down. Phone worked best.
 

OwenM

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Any thoughts?
Did you remember to deduct the weight of the stuff sack? If not, there's about an ounce.
The WM Everlite I had was .31oz over.
Agree that 2oz is a lot. It's not like I'll ever know the difference at my pack weights, but I was a tiny bit peeved that my latest Katabatic quilt was .7 over.
 

RobB

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Jul 16, 2020
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Did you remember to deduct the weight of the stuff sack? If not, there's about an ounce.
The WM Everlite I had was .31oz over.
Agree that 2oz is a lot. It's not like I'll ever know the difference at my pack weights, but I was a tiny bit peeved that my latest Katabatic quilt was .7 over.
Yes, I subtracted 1.2 oz for the stuff sack that came with it.
 

RobB

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Did you get an exact weight prior to shipping? I did not, and regretted it as I only could use published specs. But, even though thoroughly cleaned prior to sending, it's been exposed to fine sand that could have infiltrated. Humidity plays a role too, though 2 oz seems too much. WM is very helpful, though sometimes it takes some effort to track things down. Phone worked best.
It's a brand new bag, and I fluff dried it to remove any moisture in might have picked up (which didn't change the weight). I only used published data from the WM website. This was the last regular, right zip bag Hermit's Hut had in stock, and with the virus and lockdowns in CA, it looks like it could be a long time before they'd be in stock again. (Hermit's Hut has the best price around that I found for the Megalite).

I'm guessing that the 2 oz over is because somehow my bag accidentally got 2 shots of 2 oz overfill. I'm guessing this for a couple of reasons. The shell is probably cut exactly to a template, which the sewer is not likely to deviate from or screw up on without noticing. And secondly, it is over spec by exactly two ounces. Also, I took a tape measure to it and noticed that it has about 6" of loft, while the stock 1 lb. 8 oz version, per the WM website, has 4". I don't know how much loft is increased per additional ounce of fill, but I'm pretty pleased that I've got 2" more! It is more warmth and weight than I wanted to purchase, but I got it for such a good price from Hermit's Hut that it's hard to complain. I won't have to bring a heavy base layer for evenings in the 30s, which will save several ounces offsetting what I have in the bag.

I'm looking forward to what WM has to say, but I'm guessing they aren't going to be prompt with a skeleton crew during the virus.
 

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