Why Western Mountaineering Down Sleeping Bags Are The BestPosted by Adventure 16 | 01.16.2017
Western Mountaineering Down Sleeping Bags and Jackets: The Lightest & Best Warmth-To-Weight Ratio!
Western Mountaineering was founded more than 40 years ago by two northern California mountaineers. These two young men started with a passion for the outdoors and a vision for excellence. They built a company that to this day strives to find the finest raw materials and combined with meticulous designs and unsurpassed workmanship, turns them into high quality down sleeping bags and apparel that will keep you warm and comfortable for years to come.
Today they still remain a small independent “hands on” manufacturer with a commitment to excellence. All Western Mountaineering sleeping bags are made right there in the San Jose CA factory under the owner's watchful eye. A label on the inside of each sleeping bag has the two names of the seamstresses who worked on the bag written onto it to demonstrate the quality and care that was put into making that particular bag.
Adventure 16 is proud to carry a wide selection of Western Mountaineering gear.
Get a behind-the-scenes tour at the Western Mountaineering factory in San Jose, CA and see how and where your down sleeping bag was made.
Why Western Mountaineering Down Sleeping Bags are the Best
Along with quality materials and workmanship, Western Mountaineering’s design feature set their sleeping bags apart from all others. Added together, it's all those little details that make a great down sleeping bag and make Western Mountaineering bags the standard by which others are measured. Made in the USA with pride.
Some Western Mountaineering Design Features and Material Choices
- High lofting premium 850 plus fill power goose down.
- MicroLite XP Microfiber reduces weight, has a really high thread count and is highly water resistant and breathable.
- Gore Windstopper fabric is the most weather-resistant and breathable fabric out there and provides protection against moisture and condensation. The lightest and most compressible Gore Windstopper fabric available with the softest hand is used.
- Extremelite fabrics are made with ultra lightweight yarns with extremely high thread counts to create a lightweight downproof fabric designed for instances where compressed volume and weight are critical.
- Durable YKK #5 coil zippers with dual direction pulls and locking heads.
- The reverse differential hood surrounds your head and face without having to cinch the hood tight.
- Two and three-season down sleeping bags are built with continuous baffles which encircle the bag from zipper to zipper. This allows you to shift the down insulation from one side of the bag to the other to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your bag during spring, summer and fall. Winter bags have side block baffles that ensure the down stays where it needs to be to keep you warm.
- Winter bags come with a full down collar that wraps snugly around your neck and interlocking double draft tubes to minimize heat loss.
All of these design features and choices in material are intended to give you a well-functioning bag that will last a long time.
Choose the Right Sleeping Bag
Western Mountaineering has over 30 down sleeping bags to choose from. Depending on your body size, how you sleep and what kind of activities you plan to take your bag on, you are sure to find something that suits your needs.
- Wide cut semi-rectangular bags are for people who don’t necessarily count ounces but want lots of room to move around. These bags are named after North American forest trees and some feature hoods.
- Wide cut mummy bags have a 62” to 66” shoulder girth and are the standard cut bag for most lightweight mountaineering. These bags are named after North American mammals.
- Narrow cut mummy bags provide the most weight savings and are the most temperature efficient. These sleeping bags are extremely compressible, making them perfect for backpacking. They are named after North American indian tribes.
- ExtremeLite bags use the newest, most compressible and lightweight fabrics available. These bags are for anyone going on backcountry adventures where weight and packability are critical. Some durability is sacrificed with these lighter weight fabrics and extra care should be taken to avoid tearing. These bags are easily identified by the suffix “Lite”.
When deciding on a sleeping bag, don’t just go by the bags temperature rating. This is just a starting point because a lot of variables can alter the performance of your sleeping bag and ultimately your comfort level throughout the night. To choose the right bag for your needs, look at the temperature rating, the loft, the internal volume and the fill weight. The higher the loft a bag has the warmer it will be. Bags with a large internal volume (semi-rectangular bags) will take longer to heat up and will lose more heat when air moves in and out as you move during the night. Bags with a smaller internal volume (mummy bags) will heat up quicker and retain heat better. Western Mountaineering has sleeping bags with temperature ratings ranging from summer nights to -40° Fahrenheit and anything in between!
Western Mountaineering uses high fill power goose down that is known for its ability to trap warm air, making it the best insulation available and producing more warmth per ounce than any other material. Down sleeping bags are lightweight, extremely compressible and provide the most warmth with the least bulk. Treat it right and your down sleeping bag will last you for years, making it the most economical choice after its initial investment.
The goose down used in Western Mountaineering sleeping bags and clothing is sourced from a mother goose farm in Eastern Europe. This means geese don’t live their life in confinement and the plumage is gathered from their nesting area. This results in better quality down and ensures the welfare of the geese.
Down Sleeping Bag Care and Storage Tips
- Always store your down sleeping bag in a large, breathable storage sack so it can stay fully lofted. Never leave it in its stuff sack or in a plastic bag for long periods of time.
- When small spines of feathers and down clusters work their way through the fabric, resist the urge and DO NOT pull them out! Instead, reach behind the fabric and pull the down back into its chamber. The small space between the threads will close and reposition themselves. If you pull the cluster out of the bag two things will happen: 1) the cluster will be tangled with another cluster and it too will follow out of the bag in an endless fountain of down, and 2) the space between the threads will become larger and take longer to reseal.
- Reloft your down sleeping bag before a trip by placing your bag in a tumble dryer and setting it to low heat.
- When it’s time for a wash, the best thing to do is go to a commercial laundromat and run it through a front loading machine. Turn the bag inside out and run the machine after loading the soap into the dispenser. Use a mild natural soap or soap designed specifically for cleaning down products (do not use any detergents with bleach or fabric softening agents!). Run the machine through an extra rinse cycle or put it through one additional short cycle with no soap to make sure all soap has been completely rinsed out. To dry your bag, find a very large dryer that will allow the bag to tumble and drop. Dry your bag very thoroughly on a low heat setting pulling it out every 15 minutes or so to lay it on a table, spread it out and slap your hands on the bag to break up the wet down clusters. This will ensure even drying and will also give you a chance to check for signs of excessive heat before the damage is done.
TIP 1: Put in a quick load of towels and socks to clean out any leftover detergents, bleach or fabric softeners.
TIP 2: Check the inside of the washing machine and dryer with your hand to make sure there are no sharp objects or rough points which may be able to catch or tear the fabric.
TIP 3: Make sure your bag is COMPLETELY dry before storing it. Dry time could take two or more hours.
Western Mountaineering Down Garments
These high quality men's and women's down jackets, pants, vests and booties provide the perfect balance between warmth, weight and performance. They are made with high quality fabric and filled with 850 fill power goose down.
Western Mountaineering Gear: The Lightest & Best Warmth-To-Weight Ratio!
If you want the warmest, lightest AND best, Western Mountaineering is the brand to choose. If you want the best selection, visit Adventure 16 San Diego or our online store* where you’ll find the largest assortment of Western Mountaineering in Southern California--if not the universe! *All A16 brick and mortar stores carry Western Mountaineering, but the San Diego Store now has TRIPLE the assortment!
Not only does A16 carry almost every product Western Mountaineering makes, our sales associates are thoroughly trained on the subtle differences on each product, ensuring that you choose the very best product for your particular needs.