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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
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 15
  • 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 Versalite features an amazing full-length snag-proof zipper, a plush draft collar, and a huge draft tube. Additionally, the 62" shoulder width 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

Our Analysis and Test Results

Light is right, and this bag nails it. Rated to 10 degrees, we felt that a warm sleeper wearing some extra layers could comfortably use this bag year-round in the Sierra.

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. We feel this bag kept us warmer than some competitors rated


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. The Versalite is the heaviest bag in Western Mountaineering's ExtemeLite series, and its ExtemeLite shell fabric makes it feel like an ultralight bag.


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. 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.

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, 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 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. 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.


The Versalite is not as weather-resistant as the Western Mountaineering Antelope.

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

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


The Versalite is a high-quality, versatile down bag that you could potentially use throughout the year. While this is a big investment, 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