Western Mountaineering?

6:45 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Need a new bag seems like WM has gotten steller reviews.  Looking at Antelope GWS or the Ultralite.  Any feed back on these or is there just 1 wm bag I should go with?  Looking for 3 season back packing camping.  Not too hot, cold, something just right.  Thanks

7:19 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Skibum what tempatures will you be taking the bag into? The ultralite is listed for 35 degree's. It's fair to say WM bags are on the money heat wise..I own the Apache which is rated to 15 degree's and that is pretty much on the money...

7:32 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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It's a very good bag. I just check it in the store last week end and it's top notch. You can't go wrong. 

I would go for the non GWS though. I don't like laminated fabric on sleeping bag. I don't understand their purpose. Some have other opinions about that. But it adds a lot of bulk and weight for no purpose. The only point i don't like with WM is that they have the UL fabric which seems very fragile and then the GWS and nothing in between. It is juts my opinion though. But you should expain in which climate you will use it and what is your sleeping system.

7:36 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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WM makes among the VERY finest bags manufactured anywhere,anytime. This, is based on ownership and use of several of the best bags made since the 1960s. Some of their models are in a class of their own. IMHO and the "Alpinlite"I owned was simply outstanding in every respect.

The only issue with these wonderful bags is that they tend to be "tight"for the given measurements, noticeably more so than Marmot,FF or the fantastic Integral Designs bags. I dislike "coffins" and thus now have only my ID Himalayan XPD-II custom bag and my Valandre Shocking Blue.

So, make sure to check that the WM model you select is not a little too snug for your comfort and if you find one that fits, I think that you will use it for a lifetime with total satisfaction.

I would buy another "Alpinlite"in a heartbeat if they made an option with a 67-68" girth.

8:17 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Dewey said:

WM makes among the VERY finest bags manufactured anywhere,anytime. This, is based on ownership and use of several of the best bags made since the 1960s. Some of their models are in a class of their own. IMHO and the "Alpinlite"I owned was simply outstanding in every respect.

The only issue with these wonderful bags is that they tend to be "tight"for the given measurements, noticeably more so than Marmot,FF or the fantastic Integral Designs bags. I dislike "coffins" and thus now have only my ID Himalayan XPD-II custom bag and my Valandre Shocking Blue.

So, make sure to check that the WM model you select is not a little too snug for your comfort and if you find one that fits, I think that you will use it for a lifetime with total satisfaction.

I would buy another "Alpinlite"in a heartbeat if they made an option with a 67-68" girth.

 agreed. It's a very important point, specially if you want to take the bag at lower temp from time to time. 

My advice when if you hesitate between the two. Think carefully about your future trips. If your planning a lot of sub 10 trips go for the antelope. And again i would go for the MF instead of the GWS

8:22 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks everyone.  I wish I could find a local outdoor store (northern NJ) that carriers them.  REI and Campmor I dont believe have them

9:32 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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pretty flash bags

10:02 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Several years ago I was able to purchase a WM Puma bag with the microfiber shell and it's my go-to winter bag for the mountains of TN, NC and VA.  Too hot?  Just use it like a blanket unzipped and it'll provide 5 or 6 months-out-of-the-year comfort.

Helpful tip---dump the stuff sack it comes in and get a bigger one.  I use a 35 liter sea to summit roll top silnylon thingie.  Their sac is just too small and inferior.

11:06 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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skibum12 said:

Thanks everyone.  I wish I could find a local outdoor store (northern NJ) that carriers them.  REI and Campmor I dont believe have them

 Blue Ridge Mountain Sports in Madison or Princeton carry WM bags...

9:59 a.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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Dewey, how would you compare and rate WM and Valendre against each other?I just got a Bloody Mary from Vigilguy. Knowing you have also spoken highly of Valandre products before, I am curious to know your thoughts comparing the them.

  

11:50 a.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

Dewey, how would you compare and rate WM and Valendre against each other?I just got a Bloody Mary from Vigilguy. Knowing you have also spoken highly of Valandre products before, I am curious to know your thoughts comparing the them.

  

 I had a WM Puma and now I have a BM and SB. You can read my reviews on this site.

My opinion is that WM and Valandré are very close in terms of quality. What really changes is the cut, design and uses. I found that valandré bags are much more versatile than WM due to their large cut. There are intended to be used below their temp range. For example if you want a 3 seasons bag but go winter camping for a couple week end or so per year, your BM will be perfect. Some people use the BM as a 4 seasons bag down to -15F using all their clothing (I wouldn't recommand that). 

The MF fabric a Ashahi Kasei are pretty similar though the asahi seems tougher (and heavier). But they really look the same both are Microfiber so windproof and water resistant. I already had condensation on my BM and it was no problem. 

all in all, they seems to be complemantary brands. Some type products are only produce by Valandré and some other type by WM.

I would rate the BM a 10F bag with a very high margin of security due to its cut and a lot of versatility. I already slept very soundly down to 5F though but I was using a bivy bag and a vbl i think.

I noticed that the WM draft seems a little bit bigger that the Valandré's one. 

1:51 p.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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good question about whether having a waterproof/breathable membrane with a sleeping bag is an advantage or not. 

i think it depends on how you use the sleeping bag and the conditions you anticipate.  sleeping in a snow cave, a tent where you anticipate condensation, spindrift or frost getting on your bag, or other environments where you expect some incidental external damp conditions, a membrane will keep your bag dry from the outside. 

the common knock against waterproof/breathable outer shells on sleeping bags is that they keep too much moisture in, and that can hamper the effectiveness of the insulation.  and, they add weight.  it is definitely an issue.  in my view, though, it is an easier issue to deal with than damp external conditions.  you can wear less clothing to sleep, vent the bag at night by partially unzipping it, use a a bag with less insulation if you sleep warm, or even, in very cold conditions, use a full-body vapor barrier inside the bag to keep all evaporative moisture out of the insulation. 

3:00 p.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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leadbelly2550 said:

good question about whether having a waterproof/breathable membrane with a sleeping bag is an advantage or not. 

i think it depends on how you use the sleeping bag and the conditions you anticipate.  sleeping in a snow cave, a tent where you anticipate condensation, spindrift or frost getting on your bag, or other environments where you expect some incidental external damp conditions, a membrane will keep your bag dry from the outside. 

the common knock against waterproof/breathable outer shells on sleeping bags is that they keep too much moisture in, and that can hamper the effectiveness of the insulation.  and, they add weight.  it is definitely an issue.  in my view, though, it is an easier issue to deal with than damp external conditions.  you can wear less clothing to sleep, vent the bag at night by partially unzipping it, use a a bag with less insulation if you sleep warm, or even, in very cold conditions, use a full-body vapor barrier inside the bag to keep all evaporative moisture out of the insulation. 

If i would sleepin in a snow cave i would use a Bivy sack. Though the fabric itself is waterproof, the sewing are not seamed. 

5:27 p.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Scott,

I'd be kind of surprised if Campmor didn't carry them, they have almost every bag known to man. If you don't see it on their website, call them to check, their store and website aren't always in flux...

The Ramsey Outdoors in Succasunna/Roxbury does have them, or at least they did the last time I was looking at bags there. Don't know where you are but there are two other Ramsey stores in, well, Ramsey, and another in Paramus. I would imagine that what one carries, the others would.

Just looked at their site.  http://www.ramseyoutdoor.com/brand/bid-516/g-116/index.aspx

AND. being on their e-mail list, they send me a coupon every month that gets me $25.- off anything over $100.- I'm pretty sure you can sign up online. If they don't send you the coupon right away, let me know, I can e-mail you a copy of mine. You just print it out and bring it to the store.

5:47 p.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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Gonzan,

A while ago I watched a youtube series of review and explanation of the different facets of how the really good bags are made and what makes one better than another. they claimed the top three bags out there for Winter use were Valandre, Feathered Friends & Western Mountainering. Going from best to, not as best.

There is some really academic info, but I actually learned a lot. I think the second and third in the series is where it really gets good.

[link was messes up, but fixed now]

Can never get this embed video thing to work right.

#@#&%^*#$

6:05 p.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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The "best" is pretty subjective at this level of quality and certain design and material factors suit and appeal to different conditions/users a bit more than others. After decades of using these bags I would rate them as follows and I would expect the English PHD bags to fit into this group, as well.

1. Overall quality and workmanship-Integral Designs XPD bags made in Calgary, AB, Canada. These are superb bags, use Pertex Endurance wpb for a shell material and have the finest stitching of all. They are costly and seem a bit "short" for their rated length.

2. Valandre Shocking Blue- superb shell material and downfill, BEST design I have ever seen in a sleeping bag and they "drape" like no other, meaning shorter people can really use the "long"bags efficiently. Excellent workmanship and my favourite for "all around" use in Canadian conditions.

3. WM, the "gold standard" and while a bit "tight" for their rated girth. The best zipper setup with a truly "snag free" stiff tape inside the zipper, a boon to we old gents who get up at night.

The best choice for most backpackers is one of the many WM models and the "Extremelite" series is peerless for this use.

FF,fine bags, some variation in QC from reports from personal friends and mine was great, overall, but, not quite a WM and definitely not an ID or Valandre SB.

All in all, the finest down bags I know of by actual use are the XPD series by ID, but, the VSB is just about "perfect" for me and most winter situations at the lowest weight. Hope this helps, they are ALL fine sacks.

9:55 p.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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Dewey said:

The "best" is pretty subjective at this level of quality and certain design and material factors suit and appeal to different conditions/users a bit more than others. After decades of using these bags I would rate them as follows and I would expect the English PHD bags to fit into this group, as well.

1. Overall quality and workmanship-Integral Designs XPD bags made in Calgary, AB, Canada. These are superb bags, use Pertex Endurance wpb for a shell material and have the finest stitching of all. They are costly and seem a bit "short" for their rated length.

2. Valandre Shocking Blue- superb shell material and downfill, BEST design I have ever seen in a sleeping bag and they "drape" like no other, meaning shorter people can really use the "long"bags efficiently. Excellent workmanship and my favourite for "all around" use in Canadian conditions.

3. WM, the "gold standard" and while a bit "tight" for their rated girth. The best zipper setup with a truly "snag free" stiff tape inside the zipper, a boon to we old gents who get up at night.

The best choice for most backpackers is one of the many WM models and the "Extremelite" series is peerless for this use.

FF,fine bags, some variation in QC from reports from personal friends and mine was great, overall, but, not quite a WM and definitely not an ID or Valandre SB.

All in all, the finest down bags I know of by actual use are the XPD series by ID, but, the VSB is just about "perfect" for me and most winter situations at the lowest weight. Hope this helps, they are ALL fine sacks.

 I bought some phd products and wasn't so impress. I expect to have extraterristrial stellar products and they were a tad under other high end brands like valandré or WM. 

For example the dwr on my rondoy and xero mitts is already useless and i used the mitts only 10 times. Also the stitching wasn't as good as valandré WM or ID. I like peter and I'm sorry to say it but from what I can see, their garments are not as good as Valandré WM or ID. I wasn't impress by the hispar neither. I compare a xero sleeping bag with a ID XPDIII and they were very close in quality though. The loft was similar. But I think pertex endurance dwr is better than drishell in terms of quality. 

Obviously PHD is a tad under Valandré ID and WM. Concerning FF, i don't know what's wrong with them but I feel they were very arrogant while responding my emails. I didn't like their behavior at all that's why I discarded them. 

10:26 p.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for the perspectives, Dewey and Brumo, I appreciate it. 

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