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Western Mountaineering Versalite 10 Review

A solid choice for those looking to go fast and light.
Western Mountaineering Versalite 10
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $590 List | $590.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightest bag in its class, super lofty, awesome zipper
Cons:  Shallow hood, not as warm as the heavier contenders
Manufacturer:   Western Mountaineering
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 13, 2017
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 13
  • Warmth - 20% 6
  • Weight - 20% 10
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Packed Size - 15% 10
  • Features - 10% 6
  • Weather Resistance - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The Western Mountaineering Versalite is an awesome bag with an incredible warmth-to-weight ratio. It held its own against some of the bags rated to 0. Our testers were blown away by the towering loft of this bag. Like its warmer cousins, the Western Mountaineering Antelope MF, and the Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF, the Versalite features an amazing full-length snag-proof zipper, a plush draft collar, and a huge draft tube. Additionally, the 62" shoulder with gave testers plenty of room to wear a down jacket when it got really cold. If your main concern is weight and you tend to be a warm sleeper, this is the bag you're looking for.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  
Price $590.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$710.00 at Amazon$619.00 at Feathered Friends$374.89 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$579.95 at Amazon
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Pros Lightest bag in its class, super lofty, awesome zipperWarm, awesome comfort, great warmth to weight ratioWarm, highly weather resistantComfortable, spacious, lightweightSuperior warmth-to-weight ratio
Cons Shallow hood, not as warm as the heavier contendersExpensiveSmall hood, tight cutNot as warm as similarly rated bags, zipper snags on draft tubesTight fit for bigger sleepers
Bottom Line A solid choice for those looking to go fast and light.For temps down to zero degrees, you can't beat the Kodiak.We love this bag for any time we need protection against wet snow or snowmelt.This bag has a wide, comfy cut and vents for temperature control. Perfect for finicky sleepers.This bag has 35oz of high quality down with a scant 11oz for the materials weight.
Rating Categories Versalite 10 Kodiak MF Feathered Friends Snowbunting NEMO Sonic 0 Big Agnes Crosho UL -20
Warmth (20%)
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Weight (20%)
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Comfort (20%)
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Packed Size (15%)
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Specs Versalite 10 Kodiak MF Feathered Friends... NEMO Sonic 0 Big Agnes Crosho...
Measured Weight (lbs) 2.06 lb 2.85lb 2.85 lb 2.63 lb 2.87 lb
Fill Weight (oz) 20oz 30oz 25.3oz 23.6oz 35oz
Material Weight (excludes down, oz) 13.7oz 15.65oz 20.3oz 18.6oz 11oz
Fill Power 850 850 900 850 850
Temperature Rating 10°F 0°F 0°F 0°F -20° F
Pocket No No No Yes No
Shoulder Girth (inches) 62" 66" 60" 61" 60"
Hip Girth (inches) 53" 57" 56" 58" 54"
Foot Girth (inches) 39" 41" 38" 53" 36"
Shell Material 12 Denier Extremelite MicroLite XP Pertex Shield EX 20 Denier Nylon Ripstop DWR Nylon ripstop
Continuous Baffle Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Light is right, and this bag nails it. Rated to 10 degrees, we felt this bag was warmer than the REI Co-Op Magma 10, and the Nemo Sonic. A warm sleeper wearing some extra layers could comfortably use this bag year-round in the Sierra. If you're looking to kick the heat up a notch, check out the Versalite's big brother, the Western Mountaineering Antelope MF. If you dare to go lighter, the REI Co-Op Magma 10 is the lightest bag in our review.

Performance Comparison


Lightweight and high loft  the Versalite could almost float away.
Lightweight and high loft, the Versalite could almost float away.

Warmth


The Versalite has a fill weight of 20 oz and a materials weight of 13.7 oz, making it an extremely efficient vessel for containing the 850 fill high-quality goose down. Our testers felt that this bag was warmer than the Nemo Sonic, and just as warm as the Kelty Cosmic Down 0 and the Rab Ascent 900. These bags are rated to 0 by their manufacturers, and they are all significantly heavier - the Cosmic Down outweighs the Versalite by 2 lbs. The Western Mountaineering Antelope MF has 6oz more down and is noticeably warmer. The extra down is most apparent in the hood and draft collar, which feel thicker on the Antelope. Testers also noticed that the Antelope felt warmer in the foot box than the Versalite. Though the REI Co-Op Magma 10 is rated to 10º, our testers feel that the Versalite is much warmer. This is due to about 2.5 oz of additional down.


Weight


This contender is the second lightest bag in our review at just over 2 lbs. This is apparent as soon as you yank it from its huge storage bag and send the bag floating across the room towards your backpack. Only the REI Co-Op Magma 10 is lighter. The Versalite is the heaviest bag in Western Mountaineering's ExtemeLite series, and its ExtemeLite shell fabric makes it feel like an ultralight bag, especially when compared to the bivy sack-like heavy shell of the Marmot Col.


The shell fabric feels less durable than the MicroLite XP used on the Western Mountaineering Antelope and the Kodiak, prompting our testers to take extra care when hunkering down amongst the rocks and sticks, but we experienced no tears or escaping feathers during the testing process.

The inch of stiff tape on either side of the zipper makes for easy  snag free zipping all night long.
The inch of stiff tape on either side of the zipper makes for easy, snag free zipping all night long.

Comfort


The Versalite packs down the smallest of all the bags in the review;
The Versalite packs down the smallest of all the bags in the review;

The Versalite strikes a nice balance between thermal efficiency and room to move around or layer up. While not as luxuriously sized as the Nemo Sonic, it has three more inches in the shoulders than the slimmed down but super warm Feathered Friends Snowbunting. These extra inches help keep the Versalite versatile, making room for comfort when temps hover around freezing and making room for a puffy jacket when they drop into the low teens.


Like the Antelope, the Versalite has a big draft collar with its own dedicated cinch cord for dialing in comfort and keeping out the cold air. Our testers felt that the hood was shallow compared to the better fitting hood on the Editor's Choice Award-winning Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF, but if you primarily sleep on your back, the drawstring does a fine job keeping the hood over your forehead.

The included stuff sack is nice  but our testers preferred to either pack this bag down with a compression sack or just to stuff it in the bottom of their packs.
The included stuff sack is nice, but our testers preferred to either pack this bag down with a compression sack or just to stuff it in the bottom of their packs.

Packed Size


The Versalite packs down smaller than any other bag in this review except for the super compressable REI Co-Op Magma 10, making it an excellent choice for multi-day climbing and ski touring endeavors when your pack is crammed to the brim with gear. It stuffs down to 8"x15" in its included stuff sack and much smaller in a compression sack. Due to the thin, lightweight shell fabric, we recommend taking extra care when stuffing this bag directly into the bottom of a pack, watching out for sharp, pointy object or getting the bag caught in the backpack zipper.


Features


Our testers' favorite thing about both Western Mountaineering bags in this review is the awesome snag-free zipper. It's vastly superior to the zippers on all of the other bags, due to the stiff tape that is sewn in on both sides of the zipper. The Kelty Cosmic Down 0, the Feathered Friends Snowbunting employs a similar stiff tape design around the zippers, but it doesn't even come close to the easy gliding of the Western Mountaineering zipper.


The full-length draft tube eliminates cold air and moisture from entering through the zipper, but never gets snagged when you need to make a quick exit. The velcro closure system for the hood and draft collar is minimal but effective at keeping cold air out, unless you thrash around in your sleep all night, and require bigger velcro tabs like the ones found on the Nemo Sonic. The Versalite comes with a giant-sized storage sack to help the 20oz of down retain its lofting ability.

The Versalite shed rain water with ease  even with its ultra light shell fabric.
The Versalite shed rain water with ease, even with its ultra light shell fabric.

Weather Resistance


The 12 denier ExtemeLite shell fabric is incredibly weather resistance for the weight. In our light rain test, the shell fabric easily repelled water, and no moisture penetrated the zipper or the stitching around the baffles. In our submersion tests, the Versalite absorbed marginally more water than the Antelope, but stayed dryer than the heavier Nemo Sonic and the Kelty Cosmic Down 0.


The Versalite is not as weather resistant as the Western Mountaineering Antelope. If you're in search of a very weather resistant, warmer bag that is still fairly lightweight, check out the Feathered Friends Snowbunting.

Behold the towering slab of loft!
Behold the towering slab of loft!

Best Application


The Versalite is a great bag for those in search of a just-warm-enough bag for fast and light missions in late fall and early spring and is light enough for summertime alpine fun as well. In our testing ground here in the Eastern Sierra, this bag could be perfect for sleeping out year round. The continuous baffle construction allows you to shift the down from the top of the bag to the bottom, making it less warm for summertime use. If you're looking to go light, but you're a cold sleeper, check out its big brother, the Western Mountaineering Antelope for a similar style bag that has 6 oz more down.

This bag is a full 2lbs lighter than the warmer Marmot Col on the left.
This bag is a full 2lbs lighter than the warmer Marmot Col on the left.

Value


$590 gets you a high-quality, versatile down bag that you could potentially use throughout the year. While this is a big investment compared to the Best Buy Award winning Thermarest Questar 0, you will save space in your pack, keep weight off your back, and have an easier time slogging around in the mountains. Light is right! The included stuff sack allows for fully lofted storage, extending the life of the bag. Western Mountaineering bags are made in sunny San Jose, California.

Conclusion


The Western Mountaineering Versalite is a top of the line bag. While expensive, you definitely get what you pay for, which is an incredible warmth-to-weight ratio, great features like the comfy draft collar, and a light and weather resistant shell. Did we mention the zipper to rule all zippers? If you tend to sleep warm and want to go fast and light, this bag is a smart choice.


Matt Bento