The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF Review

For temps down to zero degrees, you can't beat the Kodiak.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $710 List | $710.00 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Warm, awesome comfort, great warmth to weight ratio
Cons:  Expensive
Manufacturer:   Western Mountaineering
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 18, 2018
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 14
  • Warmth - 20% 9
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Comfort - 20% 9
  • Packed Size - 15% 8
  • Features - 10% 7
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF is the absolute favorite bag of our testers. A perfect balance of warmth, weight, and comfort, the Kodiak has all the same great feature as it's cousins, the Antelope and the Versalite, but adds several inches of girth in the shoulders and even more down insulation. We look at the specs on this bag and find it hard to fathom how a sleeping bag can be so light and compressible and still so warm. The Kodiak compresses as small as bags that aren't as warm, and lofts back to an incredible seven fluffy inches whenever you unpack it. Packability, warmth, roominess, and the quality most folks expect from the manufacturer put this model ahead of the pack, winning our Editors' Choice Award.

The hindrance to getting this bag is obvious — price-wise, it's a hit to your wallet. For high comfort and quality with a more modest price tag, check out the NEMO Sonic. It isn't nearly as warm, but it performs well in all other aspects and keeps the check you'll be writing under $500.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Kodiak has a very similar weight to the Rab Neutrino 900, the Big Agnes Crosho and the Thermarest Questar 0, making these four bags ripe for comparison. The Kodiak and the Neutrino are the lightest of the four, with Kodiak being warmer than the Neutrino. When lined up with the other Western Mountaineering Bags in our review, the Antelope has the best warmth to weight ratio, the Versalite is the lightest, and the Kodiak is the warmest and most comfortable.

Performance Comparison


Somewhere in all that lofty goodness is a very warm man. This bag employs 30oz of 850 fill down  giving it one of the best warmth to weight ratios out there.
Somewhere in all that lofty goodness is a very warm man. This bag employs 30oz of 850 fill down, giving it one of the best warmth to weight ratios out there.

Warmth


This bag is filled to the brim with 30 ounces of 850 fill down. When unstuffed, laid out and fully lofted, it creates 7 inches of insulated space on top of your body, making this bag exceptionally warm. Western Mountaineering doesn't use EN ratings or give any sort of comfort range. Their website just states that the Kodiak is a zero degree bag. After testing many brands, we feel that Western Mountaineering is conservative with their temperature ratings. When they call a bag zero degrees, it's comfortable at zero degrees. It's warmer than other "Zero" degree bags, including the Kelty Cosmic 0, and the Thermarest Questar 0. One upon learning that the Kodiak had a similar rating as these bags, one of our testers couldn't stop laughing. The warmth of the Kodiak is surpassed by the North Face Inferno -20, the Marmot Col -20, and the arguably the Big Agnes Crosho -20 (very close call here), though none of these bags is as light as the Kodiak.


The extra room in the Kodiak's interior that makes this bag so comfy does decrease it's thermal efficiency, since there is more uninsulated dead space in the bag, especially if you're a smaller person. If you're in cold weather, you're likely to have a puffy down jacket and other insulating clothes with you to fill that extra space. If you're an alpinist or Ultralite Backpacker, check out a smaller, more efficient bag like the Big Agnes Crosho -20 or the Feathered Friends Snow Bunting. If your definition of cold rarely dips below 15 degrees, the Western Mountaineering Versalite may be a better option.

The draft collar and the hood both have cinch cords to perfectly position the hood. You can keep your face warm and breathe easy without letting cold air into the bag.
The draft collar and the hood both have cinch cords to perfectly position the hood. You can keep your face warm and breathe easy without letting cold air into the bag.

Weight


The Kodiak tipped our scale at 45.65 oz or 2.85 lbs. There are other bags of similar weight, but when you look at the fill weight compared to the weight of the materials, the Kodiak really shines. Of the 46 oz, a whopping 30 oz is dedicated to down insulation, and a mere 15.65 oz remains as the weight of the materials. The Microlite XP shell fabric, zippers, and drawcords are exceptionally lightweight and functionally durable, though we'd suggest you look before you lay down and keep this bag away from sharp rocks, thorns, and your dog.


Comfort


Western Mountaineering knocks it out of the park with this one, and thanks to 66" of shoulder room and a soft, thick draft collar, the Kodiak earns top marks in the comfort metric. If you're a big dude, the extra room is a must, but smaller folks can really take advantage of the extra space if they're side or stomach sleepers, since there's so much room to move around. You can also use the extra space to keep essentials like water, batteries, and extra clothes warm through the night.


The hood has plenty of loft and stays in place with two cinch cords, creating a nice air hole without letting cold air in around your neck. The two-way zipper allows for venting if you overestimated how cold it might be, and if you unzip the bag all the way, it makes a pretty cozy down blanket for two.

This bag has loads of room to roll around and isn't a bad place to be stuck in if you're tent bound due to bad weather (which isn't the case on the gorgeous day shown here!).
This bag has loads of room to roll around and isn't a bad place to be stuck in if you're tent bound due to bad weather (which isn't the case on the gorgeous day shown here!).

Packed Size


With a little work, we were able to stuff the Kodiak into the same compression sack we used for the Big Agnes Crosho -20, the Rab Neutrino 800, and the Thermarest Questar 0. Despite the extra fabric that makes this bag roomy, it still manages to be competitively packable, leaving plenty of room in your pack for other wintertime essentials. We're still scratching our heads at how the roomiest bag in our review is so compressible. This bag packs down smaller than the Marmot Col -20 (a wide bag, but not as wide as the Kodiak!) and the North Face Inferno -20. If space in your pack is at a premium, the Versalite, the Antelope, and the Nemo Sonic pack down smaller.


One compressed Kodiak next to some can we found lying around...
One compressed Kodiak next to some can we found lying around...


Weather Resistance


The Kodiak employs the same Microlite XP fabric as the Antelope and the Versalite, a material that our testers have found acceptably water-resistant, having used Western Mountaineering bags for many seasons. Light rain, mist, and frost have never soaked through to the down, and the outside of the bag dries out quickly in the sun. Except for sleeping in an inch of standing water or camping exposed to a downpour, you'll stay dry in this bag.


The down fill doesn't have a hydrophobic treatment like the insulation in the Rab Neutrino 800 and the Big Agnes Crosho -20, both good choices if getting wet is a high likelihood on your adventures. Keep in mind that if you need a zero degree bag, rain isn't the kind of precip you're worried about. Also if you're excited about dimensions of the Kodiak MF, but you're concerned about wet weather, Western Mountaineering offers a version with Goretex Windstopper fabric, though it's a little heavier and more expensive.

Microlight XP shell fabric does any an excellent job of keeping all that down dry and lofty  but remember that it is very water resistant  not waterproof.
Microlight XP shell fabric does any an excellent job of keeping all that down dry and lofty, but remember that it is very water resistant, not waterproof.

Features


We've sung the praises of Western Mountaineering's snag-free zipper action and mega lofty draft tubes in the past with the Versalite and the Antelope, and we're happy to keep the tune going with the Kodiak. The firm seam tape on either side of the zipper does an excellent job of protecting the draft tube from snagging, even during late-night, disoriented unzipping in the dark. The draft tube is huge, preventing cold air from creeping in through the zipper. As we mentioned before, the cinch cords on the opening of the hood and the and the draft collar keep the hood in place, only exposing your nose and mouth for a comfortable, oxygenating sleep.


This bag doesn't have a small, zippered pocket like the Rab Neutrino 800. A pocket is nice for keeping track of earplugs, headlamps, or batteries inside your bag. With the Kodiak, you'll need to bring a tiny stuff sack for those items.

Like the other Western Mountaineering bags we reviewed  this bag has a thick lofty draft collar and snag-free zippers.
Like the other Western Mountaineering bags we reviewed, this bag has a thick lofty draft collar and snag-free zippers.

Best Applications


Western Mountaineering's zero degree Kodiak is great for a wide range of temps. If you were only going to have one bag (and let's face, you probably will, these things are expensive), the Kodiak is a versatile quiver of one. For warmer temps in the 20s and upper 30s, it may be overkill, but the full-length zipper offers a number venting configurations, unlike the weight saving half zipper on the Big Agnes Crosho -20. This bag is under 3 lbs, even with all the loft and room, and our testers love it for winter camping, backpacking, or ski touring. For alpinism or anytime you need the most efficient insulator, the Feathered Friends Snow Bunting and Crosho -20 are more minimalist options.

With around an inch of firm tape on either side of the two-way zipper  it's easy to open and close in the dark without getting it caught on the draft tube.
With around an inch of firm tape on either side of the two-way zipper, it's easy to open and close in the dark without getting it caught on the draft tube.

Value


Owning the cream of the crop is a big investment, and the Kodiak will set you back a hefty $675. This bag, along with several other bags we've reviewed form Western Mountaineering, is one of the best sleeping bags money can by. Several of our testers have owned one for years, storing them in their included storage sack, and they've remained lofty and kept us warm on many adventures. Their warranty doesn't cover normal wear and tear, but if you send them a clean, damaged bag, they can make repairs.

This is our favorite bag for winter camping and ski touring.
This is our favorite bag for winter camping and ski touring.

Conclusion


Western Mountaineering has been at it for a long time, and their product line up doesn't change very often because their designs are so good. With the Kodiak, they created an extremely roomy, warm bag, that is still lightweight for long, human-powered journeys. If you have a larger body frame, this bag is a must. If you're smaller, prepare yourself for the most luxurious nights you've ever spent in the backcountry. We get to test some amazing sleeping bags in this category from great manufacturers, and sometimes comparing them feels like splitting hairs. That being said, the Kodiak is easily our favorite, winning our Editors' Choice Award.


Matt Bento