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Western Mountaineering Versalite 10 Review

   

Backpacking Sleeping Bags

  • Currently 5.0/5
Overall avg rating 5.0 of 5 based on 7 reviews. Most recent review: March 4, 2014
Street Price:   Varies from $545 - $575 | Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Very warm for its weight, highest quality down and materials, continuous horizontal baffles increase versatility.
Cons:  Nearly a winter bag= heavy and possibly too warm for summer backpacking, relatively uncomfortable hood closure, weak neck baffle velcro can come undone easily, top quality fabric only on top.
Best Uses:  3+ season use
User Rating:     
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 (5.0 of 5) based on 6 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (6/6) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Western Mountaineering
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ November 10, 2012  
Overview
The Western Mountaineering Versalite is an exceptionally high quality all-purpose sleeping bag suitable for everything from summer backpacking to moderate winter adventures. This is one step warmer than the company's Ultralite and one step colder than the Antelope, both of which we've tested. The Versalite is ideal for below freezing temperatures and can be too warm (and too heavy) for summer trips. However, if you want one bag for a wide range of temperatures, this is among the best available.

The Versalite competes most directly with the Valandre Bloody Mary, which has a wider cut in the upper body to accommodate a down jacket. We believe the Versalite is a better choice for most people, and it's roughly 10 ounces lighter!

Though our testers love the Versalite, we've found that quilt style bags offer more versatility and more warmth for the same amount of weight. On trips that drop below freezing our testers usually opt for the Katabatic Gear Sawatch over the Versalite and some go one step warmer with a Winter Sleeping Bag. Check out our full Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review to compare all of the bags tested.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
The Versalite ties with the Valandre Bloody Mary as the warmest bag included in our backpacking sleeping bag review. This bag is toasty for three-season use and will keep even the coldest sleepers warm on frosty spring and fall nights at elevation. This ten degree bag is much warmer than the average ten degree bag we've tested. It uses the highest quality materials and best down available, and is constructed to Western Mountaineering's exacting standards. This a tried and true performer for cold sleepers and people who want one bag for all three-season and light winter conditions.

The Versalite has continuous horizontal baffles that allow you to move down from the top to the bottom of the bag, and vice versa. This increases versatility because it lets you sleep on (compress) unwanted down in warm conditions and shift most or all of the down to the top of the bag when the temps really drop. Continuous horizontal baffles are a common feature found on top-tier three season bags --Western Mountaineering's Ultralite, and all of Feathered Friends' 3-season bags have them, and the vast majority of the bags tested in our ultralight sleeping bag review.

Dislikes
The only design limitation to the Versalite is its neck baffle Velcro closure, which we've found comes undone easily. Other than that, the bag is exceptionally high quality.

At 32 ounces, it's on the heavy side for three-season camping. For most people, we believe that the additional warmth will be unnecessary in the vast majority of situations. However, if you sleep cold, this bag could be a great choice. For some people that want one bag for all three-season applications and light duty winter use, the extra warmth might make this the ideal do-it-all bag.

Several other top-tier bags encroach upon the Versalite's space. Most notable of the lot is the Katabatic Gear Sawatch, which is nearly as warm and 7 ounces lighter, and the Katabatic Gear Blackwelder, which is considerably warmer and only two ounces heavier. These two bags fall into our Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review, which houses all of the hoodless bags we've tested. If you prefer a hood attached to a bag then the Versalite can't be beaten. If you want to save a bit of weight and have the benefit of an adjustable girth consider an ultralight bag.

A minor drawback: the Ultralight only has Extemelite fabric (green) on the top of the bag, not the top and bottom. This fabric is very very good (possibly the best in the world for its type and weight) and we wish Western Mountaineering used it for the entire exterior shell-- doing so would increase durability and weather resistance. All other top-tier sleeping bags are constructed entirely or almost entirely of the same shell fabric.

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Weak neck baffle velcro on the Western Mountaineering Versalite. Snaps are much more secure and more comfortable.
Credit: Outdoor Gear Lab

Other Versions
The Western Mountaineering Highlite, $329, is a supremely lightweight, hyper compressible summer weight down sleeping bag made of top quality 850-fill down, while the Western Mountaineering Summerlite, $395, is the best and most lightweight summer weight traditional style sleeping bag we've tested that has a full-length zipper.

The Western Mountaineering Antelope MF, $575, wins our Best Buy Award, as it is a stellar high performance five-degree sleeping bag.

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: March 4, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

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

100% of 6 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
7 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (7)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 6 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Mar 4, 2014 - 03:12pm
Andrew B · Hiker · MA
I used the Versalite this past weekend while on a snow shoeing trip in Maine. The bag preformed beautifully!. We were staying in a cabin by a lake which had a small wood stove. The night time lows hovered around 0F. Since I had the warmest bag I decided I would stay in the room furthest from the wood stove, which according to my watch, hovered between 35F and 40F. I was toasty warm, sometimes too warm so I would unzip the bottom of the bag to vent a bit. I slept like a baby, each morning I hated getting out of my green chile pepper of a sleeping bag.

The stuff sack that is included is fine, but you can get a compression sack and make it much smaller. Overall I am super impressed by this bag, I have no doubt that this bag would be comfy down to 10F or maybe lower. The fit and finish is spot on, like all WM products. Pick this up as a "do it all" 3+ season option.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Aug 23, 2013 - 09:48pm
hikingAZ33 · Backpacker · Arizona
I purchased the Western Mountaineering Versalite 10 degree bag in December 2012, the sleeping bag to date has been one of the best I have ever had. Previously I had a North Face Ibex -15 bag which was warm but very heavy. Then I had a bag by the Backside which was a -5 goose down 700 fill, and although it was warm it was heavy to carry at 4.6 lbs.

Now that I have the Versalite I wonder how I carried all those extra pounds all these years. The length I got was the 6'6" at 2 lbs. 2 ounces. The extra length is worth the 2 ounces and price difference. I have had this bag out in 20 degree weather and it's faired better than lower rated bags for temprature. I also had it on a summer trip to Colorado on the North Inlet Trail and did not even know it was in my pack at just over 2 lbs… If your looking for a bag that can handle most tempratures this is the bag. Extremely light weight, compresses down very small and will really keep you warm when you need it. Did I mention it's made in the USA? You just can't go wrong with this purchase I was able to get a 15% discount so I picked mine up for about $450 plus tax.

I would not hesitate to purchase any products from Western Mountaineering as they really focus on great materials, technology, quality and ratings that are dependable in the field.

Love it great purchase…

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 10, 2013 - 06:50pm
roysta · Backpacker · NSW, Australia
I got to test this bag a few weeks ago in the New Zealand high country.
The early morning temperatures were at about -8C in a hut, with deep snow outside and a clear sky.
I was wearing a Brubeck merino thermal on top and Icebreaker 260 leggings on the bottom with Smartwool medium weight socks.
I don't sleep cold and this bag felt nice and comfortable.
As reviewed previously this is a 3+ season bag, it just gets you into the low end of winter.
But, if you wear more clothes I see the Versalite being an ultimate bag for all occasions.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 30, 2013 - 02:56am
ddm · Backpacker
awesome 3 season bag.

The 10 degree rating is pretty optimistic IMHO. I can sleep without any layers at 15-20 inside a tent. But without a tent, I was a touch cool at just ~25.

For a general purpose does-it-all bag I'm really happy with it. Upgrading from 600 to 850 fill down has been awesome. But I admit I'm considering buying a Snowbunting for winter bivvy use, since its got 25% more fill and a beefier fabric that wont loose as much heat in a breeze.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 10, 2012 - 12:30am
johngenx · Climber
This is an amazing three season bag. My wife is a very cold sleeper, so we bought it for her, and she's never cold anymore. I use it in the spring and fall in the Rockies, down to -20C without suffering. It's heavier than other three season bags, yes, but in terms of warmth to weight, it's superb.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 9, 2012 - 09:10pm
Eliza Pesuit · Backpacker · San Francisco
I got this bag for my birthday last year and I love it! Incredibly warm, well lined, super light…have taken it on a number of backpacking trips to Yosemite. Worth every penny, this bag will LAST!

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