Name: Fuzzy Monkey (David)
Date of Review: February, 2012
Photo Album – Western Mountaineer Alpinlite Degree Sleeping bag
BACKGROUND: I’ve successfully thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. I also have numerous other backpacking trips under my belt. The weather conditions I’ve dealt with range from the desert heat to the snow-packed mountains of the Sierra’s. I’ve dealt with thunderstorms, hail, extreme winds and most weather conditions in-between. I choose carry a Western Mountaineer Alpinlite degree sleeping bag for my 2010 Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hike and the reason for this review.
DISCLAIMER: Whenever I talk about my hikes people always end up asking me what type of gear I took with me. This review is to answer those questions and to further expand how it worked for me. I still own and use this sleeping bag.
Manufacturer: Western Mountaineering (Western Mountaineering)
Product Information: Western Mountaineering Alpinlite Series Down Sleeping Bag
REVIEW: The Western Mountaineering Alpinlite is a mummy shaped sleeping bag. This particular bag has the zipper on the left side of the bag. The shell is red and black appears to be of a light nylon material. The interior of the bag features a full down collar for extra comfort. This particular bag is also rated a 20 degree bag. Full specifications can be found on their website.
The first time I used this bag was in 2010 on the Pacific Crest Trail. I actually purchased this bag in Idyllwild while I was in town performing my re-supply. I actually started my hike with my MontBell 40 degree bag and found myself really cold at night. Since I was heading into the San Jacinto’s I needed a warmer sleeping bag. To be honest the only reason I choose this bag was because it was one of only a few the store had at the time. Looking back I’m glad I purchased as it has become my favorite sleeping bag of all time. My Alpinlite has served me extremely well for hundreds of nights on the Pacific Crest Trail.
This bag has performed well in a variety of weather conditions. I’ve been comfortable in the high mountains and in the deserts of Southern California. There was one night when this bag got completely soaked in Washington. I was really surprised that I lost only moderate loft when I pulled it out for the night. It was still difficult to stay warm this particular night but the fact that it still kept me shielded from the wind made my night slightly more bearable.
During my hike I also carried a tent and my Alpinlite has been used most often inside a tent along with a sleeping pad. I only used this bag a few times out in the open and this was pretty early in the desert before the bugs were out in full force.
One of the deciding factors in my decision to purchase this bag was because of its weight. I was really looking for lighter gear and the Alpinlite filled this requirement. The fact that it also compresses well into its own stuff bag was another reason for my decision.
I’m trying to come up with any dislikes or drawbacks but I can’t seem to come up with any. Its a great bag and I highly recommend it. The only drawback I can come up with is, the rating. Every manufacturer sets their own standard for bag ratings. I was unable to determine if the 20 degree rating is actually accurate or not.
As with most sleeping systems there are ways or methods of keeping warmer. In the several instances where I was cold I just worm my clothes to bed with me. This added an extra layer of warmth. I don’t like doing this all the time as my hiker clothes tend to have trail grim and stink. If I also wanted to add some extra warmth to this I would just add a sleeping bag liner. I actually carried a sleeping bag liner at night. One of the reasons for this was to keep my sleeping bag clean.
I was cold in this bag some nights but that is not related to the performance of the bag. Some of the weather conditions I’ve been in would have warranted a warmer bag.
CONCLUSION: Overall the Western Mountaineering Alpinlite is an excellent piece of equipment and worked well for my Pacific Crest thru-hike.
Fuzzy Monkey Likes:
Loft, (Big and fluffy)
Fuzzy Monkey Dislikes:
Unsure of accurate rating
Cold Spots (Very cold nights only)
Fuzzy Monkey Approved: YES