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Hands-on Gear Review
Western Mountaineering Antelope MF Review
Cons: Weak neck baffle Velcro, shallow hood
Bottom line: This lofty, lightweight bag has an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio.
The Western Mountaineering Antelope MF is a stellar high-performance five-degree sleeping bag. The down is the best available, 850-fill, and the shell material, MicroLite XP, is strong and highly water resistant for its weight. Weighing in at 2lbs 10oz, this bag presents a killer warmth to weight ratio and loft for days. This previous Best Buy Award winner is nearly twice the price of our new best buy award winner, the Rab Ascent 900, but attention to detail and bombproof construction make this a bag fit for years of adventure. Continuous baffles allow you to move the down from the top to the bottom of the bag, thereby making it a true year-round performer (move the majority to the top for winter and to the bottom for summer).
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Winter Down Sleeping Bags of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
We love the Western Mountaineering bags for their incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail, and the Antelope MF is no exception. It has the snag-free zipper that makes our testers smile, and a warm hood and draft collar that keeps out the cold better than the Nemo Sonic or the REI Magma 10. This bag is expensive, but you get what you pay for: The highest quality down feathers and a bag made in the USA.
The Antelope MF is loaded with 26oz of 850 fill power high-quality goose down. Right out of the box our testers were impressed with its towering loft. On nights dipping into the low teens, testers found this bag warmer than the heavier Kelty Cosmic Down, the Best Buy award winning Rab Ascent 900, the Big Agnes Storm King, the Nemo Sonic, and the Antelope's lightweight brother, the Western Mountaineering Versalite. Our discerning, hair-splitting testers deemed the Mountain Hardwear Torch 3 and the Feathered Friends SnowBunting to be slightly warmer. The Marmot Col, The North Face Inferno, and the Brooks Range Drift -10 are all significantly warmer than the Antelope, but also significantly heavier.
At 42oz, the Antelope excels in the weight race. It is the second lightest bag in its category, edging out the similarly rated Mountain Hardwear Torch 3, and the Nemo Sonic, while blowing its less expensive competitors like the Kelty Cosmic Down, the Rab Ascent 900, and the Big Agnes Storm King 0 out of the water. It achieves this with high-quality down, a narrow cut, and lightweight MicroLite XP shell fabric. This makes the Antelope a good choice for long ski tours, three season backpacking, and summertime alpine endeavors.
If you are primarily a back sleeper, the Antelope will provide many comfortable nights of slumber. The substantial draft collar sits snugly under our testers' chins, and the shallow hood cinches down until only our noses stick out. For side and belly sleepers, the Antelope's shallow hood is less than optimal. The bags that received our highest comfort ratings like the Marmot Col and the Big Agnes Storm King 0 feature larger hoods that stay suspended over your head, maintaining an airway and ventilation, even when you burrow down in the bag. This makes for a more comfortable side sleeping position. Our testers found it difficult to sleep comfortably on their sides in the Antelope due to the shallow hood.
Western Mountaineering states that the packed size of the Antelope is 8"x 17". Our hands-on testing confirmed our suspicions that the Antelope would be extremely compressible. Among its similarly weighted competitors, it just barely packs smaller than the Feathered Friends Snowbunting and the Mountain Hardwear Torch 3, but not quite as small as the Nemo Sonic. It compresses much better than the Kelty Cosmic Down 0, and packs down smaller than super warm heavyweights like The North Face Inferno and the Marmot Col.
The Antelope is stripped down so you can go light and fast. It doesn't include any zippered pockets or reinforced foot boxes. What it does have is far and away the best zipper of any of the sleeping bags we tested. Our testers loved the snag free ease of getting in and out of this bag. We found that we could get out of the bag quickly and easily in the dark of night without getting the zipper caught. Western Mountaineering has nailed it. No other zipper comes close. An inch of stiff tape is sewn next to the zipper on both sides, preventing the draft tube and tiny folds in the fabric from getting caught.
The draft tube is stuffed full of down and hangs down from the top of the bag, completely eliminating cold spots. Our testers were impressed that such a beefy draft tube didn't ever get stuck in the zipper. We can't say enough how much we loved this zipper. The draft collar is also one of the most substantial collars in this review and does an excellent job of keeping out the cold air when you are sleeping on your back. The 850 fill goose down doesn't boast a hydrophobic treatment like the Rab Ascent 900 or the Brooks Range Drift -10, but the high-quality shell fabric worked so well at keeping out moisture, we don't feel this detracts from the features rating at all.
The Antelope comes with a huge storage sack. This allowed us to store the bag at almost its maximum loft, which increases the longevity of the bag.
This contender performed well in our light rain test, keeping our tester completely dry even as water puddled up on the shell. No moisture could be felt along the zipper thanks to the beefy draft tube. In our submersion test, the MicroLite XP shell fabric proved to be truly waterproof and breathable as we squeezed out the air and bag remained compressed, absorbing no detectable moisture. While these tests are beyond what a user would typically encounter when temperatures are well below freezing, they show that the Antelope is impervious to condensation or small amounts of melting snow. The all-black interior of the Antelope greatly aided in the drying time, and we found that this bag was fully dry, lofted and ready to go after three hours drying in the sun.
Other top scorers in the weather resistance category include the Brooks Range Drift -10, Marmot Col -20, Feathered Friends Snowbunting, and The North Face Inferno -20, which all scored 9s and 10s out of 10s, securing their position for the top contenders for weather resistance.
Cold weather backpacking, ski touring, and any activity where you're looking to maximize the warmth to weight ratio is when this bag weighs supreme. Check out our Best Buy award winner the Rab Ascent 900 for a warmer but much heavier budget-friendly bag.
At $595 for a size 5'6, Antelope is a major investment for sure, but its high-quality materials make it a great choice for three-season camping when temperatures are hovering in the teens. When stored properly in its included giant storage bag, it should last for decades. Check out our Buying Advice article to learn how you can make this bag go farther based on your individual sleeping style.
The Western Mountaineering Antelope MF is an excellent choice for those looking to shave weight for fast and light adventures. Its high-quality construction and materials are extremely weather resistant and it has an incredible warmth to weight ratio.
— Matt Bento
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