Gear Review

5 5

The king of sleeping bags

I’ll preface this review with my cut and paste statement that I work as a backcountry backpacking guide in Yosemite National Park. Nearly all of the products I take the time to review have seen at least a half a season, if not more, of use... and I’m committed to not bothering to write a review until I feel like I’ve really gotten to know a product. I never thought I’d bother to write reviews, but I’ve recently decided that since I’ve spent so much time over these last many years reading reviews, and finding a tremendous amount of value in articulate and well-informed opinions, that I wanted to give back to the community. So, with that being said, here we go...

I own several sleeping bags, and two Western Mountaineering bags - a Versalite and an Antelope. The Versalite is a lighterweight cousin to the Antelope, and is more well-suited to three season camping and backpacking, which is what I spend most of my time doing. However, on the occasions I'm doing some snow camping, or temperatures are going to be consistently in the teens or lower, I'll bring the Antelope.

Being a Gore Windstopper bag it is, essentially, water-resistant. The stitching is the single source of water penetration, thus its not being marketed as 'waterproof' or even resistant. Since it is made of Gore Windstopper fabric it is quite difficult to compress the bag. A trick is to turn it inside out when packing it down into a stuff sack... as the inner liner is far more porous. Trying to compress it right side out can be an exercise in frustration.

Yes, Western bags (and most of their products) are expensive, but Western Mountaineering is the definitive example of 'you get what you pay for'. They stand behind their products like few companies do, and are built to a quality rarely seen nowadays.

Responded on

dude......Banning!.....how many more times will you start your reviews with ".......my cut and paste." enough already. nobody cares that you work in Yosemite. your reviews are great. just tell us if the gear works.

Responded on

Alex, yeah, I waffled on whether or not to include that cut and paste statement. I finally decided to because I have read reviews by rangers, guides, etc... and whenever they qualified their reviews with what they do I truly did feel like it lent the review some authenticity and weight. So... while it might be annoying... I'll stick with it. Maybe I'll just shorten it or something. Most people who've seen it before just read past it.

Responded on

I'm glad you added your cut and paste statement. A review from someone who uses this stuff all the time and owns enough different types of gear to make informed comparisons definitely carries more weight than one from someone who may be as much of a newbie as I am. Thanks for the inside-out tip, too.

Responded on

Agree that the context of your employment and experience lends validity to your review. Maybe you can just trim it down to something shorter. : )