Western Mountaineering

Aldaron

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
It would seem that I'm on a buying spree, and I keep being tempted to buy a new sleeping bag.

My primary bag is currently a Big Agnes Mystic. I love the sleeping pad sleeve because I'm a tosser and turner, but I'm not happy with the rating. It's rated at 15*, but I start getting cold in it somewhere just below 35*. That's pretty bad for a $400 sleeping bag, in my opinion. I just don't know if the problem is with the bag or with me.

So, I'm thinking about a Western Mountaineering bag. Of course, I've read nothing but good things about them, but I still want to make sure I get the right bag.

Therefore, to replace my BA bag, I think I should get something that's comfortable down to about 30. I realize that's not a big difference from the BA, but the temps I most often see in the summer seem to be about 30, and, at that temperature, the BA is getting cold. So, if I could just buy 5-10 degrees on a bag, I think I would be happier.

To that end, the Western Mountaineering Sycamore is a 25* bag that is 6 ounces lighter than the BA Mystic. While I've read that the WM bags are true to their rating, I'm a little concerned about this bag because it only has 17 ounces of fill for an entire bag, versus the 15 ounces of fill that the BA has for half a bag. I know the WM fill is a slightly higher power/quality, but does that make that big of a difference? If the WM Sycamore is 10* warmer than the BA Mystic, then I'm all in for that one, but I'm just not confident that it would be...you know, since its rating is actually 10 degrees higher...

So then that brings me to the WM Ponderosa. This bag is rated at 15* and has 13 ounces more fill than the BA Mystic. I'm pretty confident this bag would be considerably warmer than the Mystic, but it's also 3 ounces heavier. But my biggest concern with it is that, if the ratings ARE accurate, then this bag may be too hot!

I guess this is where that long-winded explanation leaves me: if the WM ratings are much more accurate than the BA ratings, then is it better for me to get the Sycamore for comfort down to 30*, or would the 15* Ponderosa be more likely to be comfortable down to 30*?

Does anyone have experience comparing the WM and BA bags? IntrepidXJ don't you have the Sycamore?
 

IntrepidXJ

ADVENTR
.
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
3,316
Yes, I do have the Sycamore and couldn't be happier with it. I've used it down to 25 degrees and it kept me warm...and I'm usually a cold sleeper. I actually think the WM temp ratings are a little on the conservative side.
 

lostlandscapes

rope mule
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
328
Not sure if you're dead set on a WM bag, but backcountry.com is still having a 40% off sale on all Marmot bags. I just picked up the Pinnacle (15*) for $215. 800-fill, 2.5 lbs, 7x7 compressed. Not quite the same bag as a WM, but pretty nice for the price.

(sorry, I'd give ya a link but I'm on mobile)
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2012
Messages
17
I have a WM Caribou and I love it. It is rated at 35 degrees but have slept in colder temps with no problem. The bag weighs a little over a pound and stuffs down to about the size of a loaf of bread. I chose it because it has a wider cut in the shoulder region. Good quality bags - made in USA.
 

HomerJ

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
1,199
FWIW - I bought a Mont-Bell U.L. Super Spiral Down Hugger #1. Its rated at 15 degrees. In the Winds last summer I slept on top of it because it was so warm and then in Yellowstone the end of Sept (was getting below freezing at night) I unzipped it and used it as a blanket so I could control the temperature. I have yet to sleep in it as its too warm for me (for the temps I camp in). I wished I would have bought the 30 degree bag, this one is an oven. I do sleep warm though...

Have you checked out buying a bag liner instead of a whole new bag? I have this one made by Cocoon. It weighs practically nothing and adds about 8-10 degrees of warmth. I used it with my old bag and keep it stuffed at the feet in case the weather took a turn for the worse and got really cold.
 

gnwatts

Member
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Joined
May 19, 2012
Messages
1,806
I have a 15 year old WM 20 degree Aspen semi-rectangular, I don't remember the fill power, but it was the best I could get back then. I also have the 40 degree mity lite, and both bags are exceptional and beautifully made. I have taken the Aspen down to 15 degrees with long underwear and hat etc and was toasty, well maybe not toasty but I slept well. I was inside a tent.
 

Aldaron

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
Thanks for the input, everyone.

One of the reasons I can't really go with a MontBell or some of those other nice bags is because I'm a side sleeper who tosses a lot, so I've never been able to get comfortable in a mummy bag. The semi-rectangular bags work better for me. Although, they are heavier so I wish I could sleep in a mummy bag.

I think I've about decided to go with the 25* Sycamore. If it's reliably 5-7 degrees warmer than my BA Mystic and 6 ounces lighter, then that sounds like a winner.

Thanks, everyone!
 

Aldaron

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Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
This is the one I got. I bought it at Kirkham's.

I debated between this one and the Ponderosa. I get cold in my 15* Big Agnes at about 35*, and I wanted something that would keep me comfortable at about 30*. Based on everyone's advice here, as well as the the guy at the store, I decided the rating on this should be more accurate than on my BA, so I went with the 25* bag.

It's definitely more "mummified" than my BA, but I don't think it will be too tight.

However, I REALLY want to get pad loops sewn onto it. I am a terrible tosser and turner, so it'd be great if I could figure out a way to keep the bag strapped to the pad.

Does anyone knew a good seamstress that could sew some pad loops onto it?
 

Aldaron

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
That BA doesn't have nearly the loft as the WM. In fact, even though the specs show almost the same amount of down, I truly feel that the BA doesn't have nearly the same amount of down...and that's in half as much of the bag.
 

Nick

-
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Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,906
I tend to agree. My first good backpacking bag was a Lost Ranger 15˚. Is that the one you have? The down settled in mine so when you stick your head under it you can see lots of light breaking through at the tops of a couple of cels. Those spots also got pretty cold.

The only reason I ask on the pad is that I've been blown away by my NeoAir Xlite and how it has changed the way I think of sleeping bag warmth. I can now get by pretty easy with a 32 degree down bag, unzipped in most conditions, if I am on that NeoAir. Never could have done that on previous pads...
 

Aldaron

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
I have the Mystic sleeping bag

Is the Xlite the pad that sounds like a bag of potato chips?
 

Nick

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Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,906
Yep, but for a little extra weight you can get an all season that has 4 season r value, no crinkle and still very light.

Sent from my phone using Tapatalk.
 

Nick

-
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Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
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FWIW, the crinkle doesn't bother me at all but I do wish that it was fully rectangular. I might try my xl all season on some trips this year.

Sent from my phone using Tapatalk.
 

Jen

Formerly colefeet
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Joined
Feb 7, 2012
Messages
163
i just can't stomach the thought of an inflatable pad, bag of chips crunch or no. i love my z-rest because i can use it for sitting on while i cook, in the rain, on cactus needles, sharp rocks etc. and i don't slide off of it at night. i use a 3/4 length one chopped off to just do my shoulders to hips, then just my backpack for my legs and feet. upside down the hip belt keeps me centered as i toss and turn side to side. on the occasion that i get cold i either put my emergency blanket under me, put my nalgene full of boiling water in my bag with me, or both.
the new z-rests come pre-covered with reflective silver backing, so i'm waiting for mine to die so i can get one of those.


as a side note i've heard of a lot of people recently putting extra seam sealer on their tent floors and a few lines across the sleeping pad to provide "traction" on slippery ultralight fabrics so they don't slip around. haven't tried it but seems like a great idea to me and i'll be doing it when i seam seal my new tarptent.
 
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