Western Mountaineering is a US based gear manufacturer who focuses on premium-down products. I’ve owned their Aplinlite sleeping bag for a number of years so this article is a long time coming…
- “Long” size (6′-6)
- 20* F Rating
- Extremelite 12D shell, 15D nylon tafetta liner, 850 fill down
- Full length YKK zipper, draft collar, hood with cinch adjustment
- Total weight is just under 33 ounces on my scale
- Suggested Retail Price – $550 as tested
Prior to owning this bag I had never owned any of the premium bags in this price range; let’s just say expectations were high based on the WM reputation and of course how hard it hit the wallet. Expectations were immediately met when I crawled into the bag for the first time (on my living room floor of course!). Inside the box were also a stuff sack and a large storage sack (to store it un-compressed) – both nice touches by WM.
The weight, or lack thereof was a revelation. The shell material was (is) very lightweight and looked/felt very sexy to the touch too. The bag is a great fit for me as I’m 6′-3 and change. These bags run very true to length. In fact pretty much everything Western Mountaineering states about them is right on, making it easy to see how they’ve earned such a great reputation among hikers and climbers seeking the very best.
In the field the Alpinlite has proven to be a great investment. The 20º rating is very close for me. Which brings up a point – WM doesn’t rate their bags according to the EN (13537) standard which specifies “comfort”, “lower limit”, and “extreme” temperature ratings for a given bag. Instead they rate them on more of an “old school” scale which is mostly based on the fill weight. Their temperature ratings roughly correspond to the EN Comfort rating (which is based on the temperature a woman would be comfortable sleeping at in the bag), maybe just a tad higher than that is more accurate. By that I mean, if this bag was actually EN rated it might be somewhere between a 20º and 25º comfort rating. Comparing to a Valandre Bloody Mary which is EN rated (at 20º comfort rating) they are within an ounce fill weight with the WM being the one with a little less fill. None of the Western Mountaineering bags are using water repellent down technology (yet). I know Western Mountaineering is investigating it as they have mentioned they want to tread very carefully to ensure any potential downsides to this relatively new tech won’t impact their standards of quality.
The Alpinlite is a wide bag. The Ultralight is its smaller brother and is also a 20º bag. The Ultralight has a narrower more typical “mummy” profile and is slightly lighter. I partial to using a quilt rather than a bag because I side sleep, I move around while I sleep… for these reasons I went with the Alpinlite over the Ultralight when it came time to bit the bullet and get a bag. I’m a pretty thin frame and I don’t fill the bag out so I probably lose a little heat due to that, but it’s better for me have some freedom inside there. It’s not the same as sleeping under a quilt, but for that reason I have also not been able to bring myself to sell it for a warmer quilt (maybe someday). Another aspect of having more room inside the bag is the ability to layer up in winter without compressing any insulation layers much. All in all I have been totally satisfied with its performance and will likely hold onto this bag for a long time to come.
- Wider cut than typical mummy bags
- Simplicity of design
- Warmth to weight ratio
- Made in USA
Not So Much…
- The price is hard to swallow, but it’s worth saving those pennies for!
Famous Last Words
The Alpinlite exemplifies what WM is all about: simplicity in design, quality in workmanship, and most importantly it does what it claims! Hike It. Like It.