After spending a night shivering on top of the snow on the trail to Mt. Harvard, I decided it was time for a new sleeping bag. With a little research I decided on the UltraLite bag by Western Mountaineering.
The UltraLite is a 850+ down bag rated to 20 degrees. This makes it ideal for three-season camping.
Despite its name, at 1 lb and 13 oz there are other options that weigh less and pack down smaller. However, those options often sacrifice warmth or other features. For example, the UltraLite features a full length zipper, which you can choose to have on your right or left side. This is a minor thing, but it’s nice. You can choose to have it on your door side so it’s easy to grab your headlamp and stumble to a tree in the middle of the night. I chose to have it on the left side for maximum snugglability when camping with my significant other.
What I like most about this bag is its size. I’m not a large guy, but I’ve grown accustomed to living with a bag better suited for a six-foot-tall person. Not only does a too-big bag mean you’re hiking in extra weight, it means you’re expending precious body heat trying to warm up all that extra space. The UltraLite has 59″/38″ shoulder/foot girth, which is smaller than many options. I didn’t find it constricting at any point in the night. If you are larger or like the extra room, the AlpineLite has more space all the way around.
I tested the UltraLite on a 40 degree night near 11,000 feet in just my underwear. My feet didn’t get cold once, which is very unusual for me. My overall body temperature was easily regulated using the zipper. I was also able to find and zip it up and down easily in a groggy state even thought I had never used it before.
The only negative I found with this bag is the price. At $485 it’s about as expensive as it gets for a bag in the 20 degree range. But for the price, you get a bag filled with high quality down that is built to last in the USA.
Since my last bag started to rip at the seams after 14 months,Western Mountaineering’s claim that their bags last over 10 years is a big plus. If you need one bag to do it all, so far, I think this bag is just what you’re looking for. You can purchase this bag from Bentgate.
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