I resisted for a long time, but I finally upgraded my sleeping bag and I could not be happier with my choice, a Western Mountaineering Versalite. Talk to anyone in the strange community that is thru-hikers (a group who knows gear as well as or better than probably any other) and you will hear a great amount of respect for Western Mountaineering.
A bag from Western Mountaineering is what people buy when they finally decide to stop trying out cheaper, lower-quality bags from other manufacturers in hopes of finding something suitable for the next epic adventure.
- Rating: 10°F/-12°C
- Full-length #5 YKK Zipper
- Full Down Collar
- Loft: 6″/15 cm
- Spacing/Continuous Baffles: 5.25″/13 cm
- Down Fill: 20 oz/567 g
- Shoulder/Foot Girth: 62″/39″ 157/99 cm
- Weight: 32 oz/907 g
- MSRP: $605 USD
Continuous baffle with full collar and draft tube.
And it’s made in the USA if that’s something that you’re into.
The Warmth: The Versalite is rated to 10°F/-12°C and this bag will keep you warm down to 10°F/-12°C. Don’t be fooled when that temperature rating is actually the survivability of the sleeping bag (the temperature at which it will keep you from dying). No, the Versalite will keep you warm down to the promised 10°F/-12°C. I generally sleep with very few articles of clothing on my body (what’s the point of a bag if you need to wear your down jacket inside it) and have (so far) used this bag in temperatures down to 15°F/-9° without issue.
The Zipper: I thought I had used bags with good zippers before, but sometimes you don’t realize what’s possible until you experience it yourself. The zipper on the Versalite is incredible and I honestly can’t remember it ever snagging. Zipping it up (and down) is like a party trick – how does it do it?! No more do I struggle to open my bag to race out of my bag to pee in the morning. Life is great.
The Weight: The Versalite weighs 32 oz / 907 g – including 20 oz / 567 g of 850+ goose down. Short of getting a quilt, you’re not going to find a better or lighter 10°F/-12°C bag than the Versalite. What’s better? It’s very compressible as well. I don’t use a compression stuff sack for the bag, just the stuff sack that came from Western Mountaineering, and the compressed bag takes up relatively little room at the bottom of my pack.
The Options: The Versalite is offered in three different lengths, 5’6″ (168 cm), 6′ (183 cm), and 6’6″ (198 cm). I am 5’10″/178 cm and the 6’/183 cm bag fits me perfectly (as in I fit inside it perfectly). I suppose if you’re over 6’6″/198 cm then you may need to look elsewhere, but let’s be honest, you’re probably used to this by now.
The Versatility: I know, 10°F/-12°C is warm (especially since this bag actually matches its rating). I got the Versalite because it would be an awesome three-season bag, and I was really paying attention to those shoulder seasons. This bag might be a little warm for the middle of summer (particularly if you’re in a warmer climate or lower elevation), but for me, this just means unzipping the bag and using it as a blanket when things heat up.
Nothing: Once again, I’ve found, what I currently believe to be, my perfect piece of gear. Sure, you could get a quilt and save some weight, but know that you’re not going to get the same performance out of a 10°F/-12°C quilt as you will out of this bag. Yes, it’s expensive, but sometimes (a lot of times) nice things are worth it. And did I mention that Western Mountaineering has awesome customer service?
Honestly, if there’s a sleeping bag out there that’s better than the Western Mountaineering Versalite, please tell me about it; I want it. I’ve been nothing but impressed with this bag and can confidently say that it will be a part of my pack for many years to come.
And let’s not forget about the Western Mountaineering warranty, “All Western Mountaineering® products are guaranteed against manufacturer’s defects for an unlimited time. Should a product fail due to a defect in materials or craftsmanship, we will, at our option, repair or replace the item at no cost to the original owner.”
Check out the Western Mountaineering Versalite.
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