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Western Mountaineering Summerlite Review

   

Backpacking Sleeping Bags

  • Currently 4.9/5
Overall avg rating 4.9 of 5 based on 5 reviews. Most recent review: September 1, 2014
Street Price:   Varies from $395 - $410 | Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Very light, simple, full-length zipper increases versatility.
Cons:  Only warm enough for summer, other hoods are more comfortable.
Best Uses:  Summer adventures
User Rating:     
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 (4.8 of 5) based on 4 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (4/4) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Western Mountaineering
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ November 16, 2012  
Overview
The Western Mountaineering Summerlite is the best summer weight traditional style sleeping bag we've tested that has a full-length zipper. It weighs nineteen ounces, boasts 850-fill down, a superlight shell material. Though the bag is exceptionally well designed and constructed, we've found that other types of bags offer far greater performance for weight conscious applications. Specifically, quilt style bags are lighter, warmer for their weight, and more versatile than bags with hoods and zippers. We compare the best bags for summer backpacking and all applications where saving weight is a top priority in our Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review. If you're set on a bag with an attached hood then see the Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
The Western Mountaineering Summerlite is the lightest fully featured summer weight bag we reviewed. At nineteen ounces this bag is a solid option backpacking, bike touring, and fast and light climbing. It provides the warmth necessary for these activities without sacrificing comfort. 850-fill down, a superlight shell material, and an efficient, trim cut will keep you warm and comfortable in summer conditions. Many summer weight mummy bags skip the full length zipper. But the Summerlite does not, and we like this because the bag is more comfortable in warm temperatures.

Dislikes
If you're reading this review you're probably looking for a lightweight bag for three-season use- a bag that prioritizes weight savings. After testing nearly 70 sleeping bags of all types we've found that quilt style sleeping bags are much warmer for their weight, and more versatile than traditional sleeping bags with attached hoods and zippers. We highly recommend quilts for all weight conscious three-season applications because we believe they perform much better than the Summerlite if saving weight is a priority. Warmer, lighter, and more versalite… a win-win for most people. Consider the Katabatic Gear Palisade. However, if you want a top-tier bag with an attached hood and full-length zipper, the Summerlite can't be beaten. It's the best in its class of traditional style summer weight bags with a full-length zipper.

We believe that most people will be better off with an ultralight sleeping bag.
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The Western Mountaineering Summerlite and Feathered Friends Merlin at 13,000 ft., High Sierra.
Credit: Max Neale

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: September 1, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.8)

100% of 4 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
5 Total Ratings
5 star: 80%  (4)
4 star: 20%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jan 31, 2012 - 08:00am
portlandclimber · Climber
perfect warm weather bag, no problems for me down to 0 degrees/37f. i tend to sleep cold so i think in general WM get it right with the ratings they give their bags.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Sep 1, 2014 - 06:05pm
I have several sleeping bags but I use this one the most. I have a MH phantom 15 for cold weather and a Feathered Friends Vireo for fast and light backpacking and climbing trips. I use the WM Summerlite for car camping, regular camping, backpacking, parking lot crashing before a climb and any other average conditions where I will need a sleeping bag. It is very light and surprisingly durable. It also uses fantastic materials Mine looks brand new after 4 years. It's warm enough for most spring, summer and fall outings and usable for early spring and late fall with a light down or synthetic jacket. I also like the fact that I could buy it from quite a few retailers. The bag is very comfortable as well-Much more comfortable than the low comfort score indicates. The Summerlite is very warm for its rating and intended use. Overall I feel that Outdoor gear lab rated this too low and it should get a score of 85 to 90 for the average consumer. I love this bag. Buy it-you'll love it.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Sep 1, 2014 - 04:09pm
Rattlesnake Arch · Climber
Excellent, well made, ultralight (UL)bag . At 32F I am warm (if I wear most of my clothes in the bag). I seldom sleep out anymore when it is below freezing, preferring car to car adventures then. Hence my two warmer bags never get used much.

(Note that at 19 oz this bag is as light or lighter than many of the UL bags reviewed. Not sure why it wasn't included in the UL category; instead it's compared to Backpacking bags weighing 2 lbs or more and hence only scores a 56. Recalculated using the more appropriate UL weighting factors, the Summerlight scores a respectable 68. The few UL bags scoring higher than that are specialty items from small manufacturers that require accessories such as down jackets, down hoods, and attached sleeping pads for their warmth rating. The weight of these accessories does not seem to be considered. For instance, the Vireo is highly scored (75) because it is light, but it is only a half bag, recommended for use with a down parka that might itself weigh 2 lbs).

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jan 13, 2013 - 12:48pm
KouleKafe · Backpacker · London
This is a very light bag in a tiny bag. And it has a full-length zip. Great. It is also rather fragile and does not have much loft. Most importantly, it really is for the summer!

Don't assume that it will keep you warm to 0C. I have used this bag many times and find it good to 10, OK to 5 and too cold below that. I wear long trousers and a fleece and at 2-3 degrees and it still feels cool - at rather damp weather outside the tent, mind you. (And with a very good mattress, so the cold is from the top.) There is just not enough down in there and stitching through doesn't help either. Will get another bag (at ca. 1kg weight) for temperatures below 5C.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Western Mountaineering Summerlite
Credit: Western Mountaineering
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