Western Mountaineering Alpinlite Review
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Western Mountaineering Alpinlite
|Price||$625.00 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Lightweight, warm, comfortable, versatile||High-quality down, warm, lightweight||High-quality down, warm and lofty, light, a top tier product||Comfortable, lightweight, excellent materials, not constricting||Very lightweight, small packed size, high-quality down|
|Cons||High price tag||Sizing not for everyone, fabric is a bit noisy||Expensive||Comforter sometimes does not stay tucked in||Tight-fitting mummy bag, not very warm, expensive|
|Bottom Line||This versatile, lightweight bag will keep you warm and comfortable on your extended backcountry forays||This high-end bag will keep you warm and comfortable from Spring to Fall in all conditions||A high-tech, high-quality backpacking sleeping bag with more roomy dimensions than most||A great, high-quality choice at a relatively low price for those looking for a lightweight bag that doesn't sacrifice comfort||This super-lightweight, compact bag is a great choice for fast and light, warm-weather adventures but does sacrifice some comfort and warmth for weight|
|Rating Categories||Western Mountaineer...||Feathered Friends E...||Sea to Summit Flame 15||Sierra Designs Clou...||Therm-a-Rest Hyperi...|
|Packed Size (15%)|
|Specs||Western Mountaineer...||Feathered Friends E...||Sea to Summit Flame 15||Sierra Designs Clou...||Therm-a-Rest Hyperi...|
|ISO/EN Comfort Rating||20 F (not EN rated)||20 F (not EN rated)||15 F||26 F||32 F|
|Fill Type||850-fill down||Goose down||Goose down||PFC-Free DriDown||900-fill-power Nikwax Hydrophobic goose down|
|Measured Weight||1.9 lbs||1.7 lbs||2.0 lbs||1.7 lbs||1.2 lbs|
|Total Weight||29.6 oz||27.5 oz||31.2 oz||27.4 oz||19.0 oz|
|Women specific features||Available in a "Short" length, which is a standard women's size||Extra fill in footbox and chest||Women's specific fit - more insulation in key areas||More insulation per square inch than men's version||Available in a "Short" length, which is a standard women's size|
|Fill Weight||17.0 oz||17.3 oz (medium)||22.9 oz||14.8 oz||12.0 oz|
|Material||Nylon||Pertex Endurance UL||Ultralight 10D Nylon Shell||15d nylon risptop||10D Nylon RipStop w/ DWR|
|Sleeping Pad Sleeve||No||No||No||Yes||Removable attachment straps|
|Zipper Length||65 in||62 in||56 in||N/A||35 in|
|Shoulder Girth||63 in||54 in||60 in||59 in||55 in|
|Hip Girth||56 in||56 in||58 in||58 in||48.5 in|
|Foot Girth||39 in||38 in||40 in||39 in||36 in|
|Stuff Sack included?||Stuff sack and storage bag included||Stuff sack and storage bag included||Compression stuff sack and storage bag included||Stuff sack and storage bag included||Compression sack and storage bag included|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Since this is a unisex bag, Western Mountaineering doesn't make extra accommodations for us cold-blooded sleepers like some other manufacturers do, such as adding more down fill (or the same) as larger versions of these bags. However, the Alpinlite has a generous 17 ounces of high-quality down fill that kept us warm. We think that this bag would be adequate down to 20 degrees, especially paired with a high R-Value sleeping pad. We think it is very comfortable in the temperature ranges in the low 30's.
The Alpinlite has continuous baffles so you can shift all the down on top for more warmth. In bags that don't have this feature, half the down is being compressed and rendered useless underneath you. If you have a good sleeping pad, having down fill under your body when you sleep is not necessary because when it's compressed it doesn't add much warmth. Having continuous baffles allows you to move the down around to adjust how warm you want the bag to be on any given night. On cold nights, shift more down to the top of the bag. On warm nights, shift some down fill to the underside of the bag to reduce warmth. We dig this kind of adaptability in a sleeping bag, which increases its versatility regarding its suitable range of temperatures.
The Alpinlite is one of the top contenders in this metric with our other high-quality down sleeping bags, weighing 1.9 pounds. This bag is an easy choice to toss in your pack when you're hoping to go fast and light in the mountains.
We think the Alpinlite is a very comfy option. It has very soft lining materials and is meant to be the slightly roomier and comfier version of Western Mountaineering's Ultralite backpacking model. If you're looking for a classic mummy-shaped bag, but with a bit more wiggle room for your legs and torso this is a great option. This bag is super lofty and the hood has a great fit that's not too tight but goes over your head well. You'll feel cradled by the soft draft tube that goes around your neck and can choose how snugly you want it to fit.
Because of its highly compressible down fill, the AlpinLite had a very small packed size. Unfortunately, the stuff sack it comes with is quite large and on the heavy side. We know the AlpinLite could compress much smaller than the size of the included stuff sack and would recommend purchasing a smaller, lighter stuff sack for this product.
As with many of the high-end products in this review, the AlpinLite's lack of features is itself a feature. We love the simple, streamlined "tube" design of this bag. The most important features are how light and compressible it is. Its high quality, 850 down fill, and its easy-to-use and lofty draft tube and hood combo, are a great materials and feature set for boosting warmth. One thing of note is that Western Mountaineering has not adopted the "snag-proof" zipper pull that most other manufacturers are now using. We think this is ok, we have not noticed the zipper catching on lining materials, and its zipper is lined with stout, stiffer materials that help avoid snags.
This high-end bag comes with a high-end price tag. Our biggest complaint about this bag is its high price, although we do think it is worth the investment. A high-quality bag like the Alpinlite will last you a decade or more if you take good care of it. However, we do think there are other high-end bags equal to the Alpinlite that are a slightly better value.
If you are planning long thru-hikes, big alpine climbs or just spending extended time in the mountains the Alpinlite is a great choice for you. It is warm, very comfortable, and won't weigh your pack down. We love that this unisex bag comes in a women's 5'6 size, but don't love the price tag.
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