Reviews You Can Rely On

Western Mountaineering Alpinlite Review

This versatile, lightweight bag will keep you warm and comfortable on your extended backcountry forays
Western Mountaineering Alpinlite
Photo: Western Mountaineering
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $570 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Pros:  Lightweight, warm, comfortable, versatile
Cons:  High price tag
Manufacturer:   Western Mountaineering
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 11, 2021
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
85
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 15
  • Warmth - 25% 8
  • Weight - 25% 9
  • Comfort - 20% 9
  • Packed Size - 15% 8
  • Features - 15% 8

Our Verdict

We are very excited to include this high-quality bag in our review! The Western Mountaineering Alpinlite is an excellent bag for all your alpine backpacking needs. This bag is one of a few unisex bags we've included in our selection because it comes in a standard women's size of around 5'6. We love this bag's lofty 850 fill power that keeps us warm and cozy in cool mountain temperatures. This slightly wider-fitting mummy bag is extra comfortable, and its scant 2-pound weight is extra comfortable on our backs. This is a high-end, high-performing bag that comes with a high price tag as well, but we think it's a good investment for your kit.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $570 List
Check Price at Backcountry
$439.00 at Feathered Friends$549 List$330 List$190 List
Check Price at Backcountry
Overall Score Sort Icon
85
92
89
79
73
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Lightweight, warm, comfortable, versatileHigh-quality down, warm, lightweightHigh-quality down, warm and lofty, light, a top tier productComfortable, lightweight, excellent materials, not constrictingLight and compressible synthetic, keeps you warm when wet
Cons High price tagSizing not for everyone, fabric is a bit noisyExpensiveComforter sometimes does not stay tucked inBulkier packed size, heavier, small fit
Bottom Line This versatile, lightweight bag will keep you warm and comfortable on your extended backcountry foraysThis high-end bag will keep you warm and comfortable from Spring to Fall in all conditionsA high-tech, high-quality backpacking sleeping bag with more roomy dimensions than mostA great, high-quality choice at a relatively low price for those looking for a lightweight bag that doesn't sacrifice comfortAn inexpensive and versatile synthetic bag, this is an excellent choice for breaking into backpacking
Rating Categories Western Mountaineer... Feathered Friends E... Sea to Summit Flame 15 Sierra Designs Clou... The North Face Cat'...
Warmth (25%)
8.0
10.0
9.0
5.0
8.0
Weight (25%)
9.0
10.0
9.0
10.0
7.0
Comfort (20%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Packed Size (15%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
Features (15%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Western Mountaineer... Feathered Friends E... Sea to Summit Flame 15 Sierra Designs Clou... The North Face Cat'...
ISO/EN Comfort Rating (F) 20 F (not EN rated) 20 F (not EN rated) 15 F 26 F 22 F
Fill Type 850-fill down Goose down Goose down PFC-Free DriDown Heatseekerâ„¢ Guide synthetic insulation
Measured Weight (in lbs) 1.9 lb 1.7 lb 2.0 lb 1.7 lb 2.5 lb
Total Weight (oz) 29.6 oz 27.5 oz 31.2 oz 27.4 oz 40.2 oz
Fill Power 850 950+ 850+ 800 Synthetic
Women specific features This bag comes 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 Women's specific cut
Fill Weight (oz) 17 oz 17.3 oz (medium) 22.9 oz 14.8 oz Unspecified
Material Nylon Pertex Endurance UL Ultralight 10D Nylon Shell 15d nylon risptop 20D Nylon Ripstop/taffeta
Neck Baffle Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Pocket No No No No No
Sleeping Pad Sleeve No No No Yes No
Zipper Length 65 in 62 in 56 in N/A 59 in
Shoulder Girth 63 in 54 in 60 in 59 in 58 in
Hip Girth 56 in 56 in 58 in 58 in 58 in
Foot Girth 39 in 38 in 40 in 39 in 40 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

Performance Comparison


The Western Mountaineering AlpinLite is a great choice for all your...
The Western Mountaineering AlpinLite is a great choice for all your fast and light adventures in the mountains and high deserts.
Photo: McKenzie Long

Warmth


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.

Paired with a warm sleeping pad the AlpinLite will keep you warm...
Paired with a warm sleeping pad the AlpinLite will keep you warm from early spring to late fall in the mountains.
Photo: Ian McEleney

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.

Weight


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.

The AlpinLite is well named. This bag is very light and we'd carry...
The AlpinLite is well named. This bag is very light and we'd carry it with us to most remote locations.
Photo: Slavka Crouthammel

Comfort


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.

We like the AlpinLite's cozy baffles and hood shape that have...
We like the AlpinLite's cozy baffles and hood shape that have separate draw strings to adjust for comfort.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Packed Size


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.

The stuff sack feels like an afterthought with this model. We...
The stuff sack feels like an afterthought with this model. We recommend purchasing a compression sack to help pack this model smaller. For the price tag, it would be nice to have a compression sack included with this model.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Features


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.

The AlpinLite does not have the "snag-free" zipper that many models...
The AlpinLite does not have the "snag-free" zipper that many models come with these days, but we haven't noticed it catching because of the stiff material that lines the sides.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Value


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.

The unisex AlpinLite is a great choice for smaller people looking...
The unisex AlpinLite is a great choice for smaller people looking for a versatile, lightweight product to take to beautiful places.
Photo: Jessica Haist

Conclusion


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.

Jessica Haist