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Launched together with their fiftieth anniversary, the Western Mountaineering Flylite could be the lightest absolutely baffled sleeping bag ever made. We’ve been testing one for over a yr in a variety of situations and temperatures for this assessment. Learn it right here…
It’s a tremendous time on the earth of light-weight tenting gear. Sub-two-pound tents are in every single place, impossibly tiny sleeping pads are the norm, and sleeping luggage and quilts one way or the other preserve getting lighter with out sacrificing heat. It’s promising to see mainstream manufacturers providing bikepacking-friendly variations of a few of their merchandise, and the supplies used are sometimes extra environmentally pleasant, with extra recycled supplies and fewer dangerous chemical compounds getting used.
I’ve used many exceptionally good sleeping luggage and quilts over time, however in my expertise, a number of the greatest have been from Western Mountaineering. They’ve been manufacturing sleeping luggage within the US for over 50 years and live on as a small unbiased firm with intently held roots and dedication to their craft. The geese that provide the model’s down are by no means live-plucked or force-fed, and their provider in Europe raises the geese for breeding, not strictly for poultry, so they often have for much longer, happier lives.
With greater than 30 luggage, Western Mountaineering has one of the crucial intensive lineups we’ve seen. Narrowing down on what bag most accurately fits you will depend on your physique dimension and form, how a lot room you need, the temperature score, the bag’s form (large, rectangular, mummy, and so on.), and the burden and packability of the bag. They’ve clearly given their designs and development strategies an distinctive quantity of thought over the past 50 years, utilizing phrases like “Reverse Differential Hood” and “Differential Reduce” of their product descriptions, referring to a bigger piece of material contained in the hood for unfastened down placement and a small internal shell material within the physique to remove extra material and chilly spots.
The down they use is nearly at all times above 900 fill-power, though they state 850+ on their luggage to compensate for real-world efficiency. All of their Extremelite luggage, together with the FlyLite reviewed right here, use a steady baffle development, which suggests the chamber on the highest and backside of the bag are linked and down might be moved all through. This enables some adjustment relying on the situations and the place the person desires the insulation positioned. Plus, it saves weight.
Western Mountaineering Flylite Evaluate
The flylite was first launched in 2020 in a restricted version platinum colour (pictured right here), however they ended up deciding to maintain of their lineup after receiving such optimistic suggestions from their clients. Right here’s how they describe the Flylite: “It was designed as a product to have a good time our 50 yr dedication to fabricate the lightest, most compressible sleeping luggage on the earth. We really feel that this sleeping bag is a product to indicate the worldwide light-weight gear neighborhood (triple crown through hikers, path runners, bikepackers, and pals with cool names like “Psycho Haiko”) that we have now been listening and taking your suggestions into consideration. Our effort has resulted on the earth’s lightest weight down sleeping bag that’s absolutely baffled (i.e. no quilted/sewn via development).”
It’s constructed from a light-weight 10-denier material lining and 10-denier nylon taffeta shell material with PFC-free DWR with Polish 850+ goose down and an excellent mild #3 YKK half zipper. The regular-length model weighs simply 395 grams (just below 14 ounces) and packs all the way down to the dimensions of a Nalgene. In response to Western Mountaineering, the Flylite has a decrease restrict score of 36°F (2°C), making it a stable three-season bag for many elements of the world. Regardless of its weight and pack dimension, it nonetheless has an insulated draft tube alongside the zipper, an insulated collar to maintain your heat inside, no sewn-through seams, and, as at all times, it’s made within the USA.
The Flylite’s design is purposeful and sheds any pointless weight however nonetheless manages to really feel like a correct sleeping bag. Having spent my justifiable share of nights of their extremely light-weight Nanolite quilt, which weighs simply over 300 grams, I used to be completely happy to have extra protection and a correct hood with no noticeable enhance in weight. Normally, I discover a sleeping bag with a hood to be hotter than a quilt and no matter gear I take advantage of to maintain my head heat. It may not pack down fairly as small because the Nanolite, however I’ve nonetheless managed to stuff it into Western Mountaineering’s XXXS (4.5L) stuff sack with out compressing it down absolutely. For reference, the 6’6″ Flylite and stuff sack weigh in at 480 grams.
Just like the Nanolite, the Flylite usually makes use of much less insulation than different light-weight sleeping luggage, with a fill weight of simply 231 grams (8.15 ounces) on the mannequin I examined. It’s regular to see fill weighs nearer to the 310-gram (11-ounce) mark for a similar temperature score in comparable light-weight luggage, however most aren’t absolutely baffled or as environment friendly. I’ve but to expertise any chilly spots whereas utilizing the Flylite and likewise discover it lives as much as its temperature score due to the insulated prime collar and zipper collar. Whereas I can hardly name the 36°F (2°C) consolation score a real three-season bag right here in British Columbia, it’s appropriate for many summer season, spring, and fall situations, and I discover it extra versatile than a quilt.
Many components decide a sleeping bag’s weight, compressibility, value, and efficiency. Whereas the supplies and sort (and high quality) of insulation are key, the development of the bag’s baffles might be a very powerful. There are numerous baffle sorts, however the most well-liked embrace stitch-through, boxed, and steady. Sew-through or sewn-through baffles use a seam that connects the outer material to the liner, separating the down. It’s the most cost effective methodology, however relying on the variety of seams, may end up in chilly spots because it creates areas with no insulation. Boxed baffling makes use of a light-weight materials between the outer material and liner, creating containers of insulation and minimizing chilly spots.
Western Mountaineering’s Extremelite line and most within the Microfiber line use steady baffles. In contrast to boxed baffles, which maintain the insulation in place, steady baffles have chambers on the highest and backside of the bag which are linked, permitting the person to regulate the place of the down relying on the situations and preferences. The result’s an extremely light-weight bag that’s barely extra versatile however does require some consideration when the insulation finally ends up someplace apart from the place you need it.
Discover a comparability chart beneath that includes well-liked mummy sleeping luggage with hoods within the 35°-40°F vary, all of that are light-weight and packable, displaying key specs for every.
Sleeping Luggage In contrast (6′ / 180cm variations)
Whole Weight grams / ounces
Fill Weight grams / ounces
TEMP RATING °F/°C
Western Mountaineering Flylite (Steady Baffles)
Western Mountaineering Highlite (Field Baffles)
Sea To Summit Spark (Field Baffles)
Therm-a-Relaxation Hyperion (Field Baffles)
Huge Agnes Pluton UL 40° (Field Baffles)
RAB Mythic 200 (Field Baffles)
- Light-weight and packable
- Purposeful temperature score for many seasons
- Draft tubes, zipper, and hood are helpful
- Made in USA
- Down insulation received’t work for some people
- Not fairly a correct three-season bag for some elements of the world
- Steady baffles require some consideration to place down
- Temperature Ranking: 36°F (2°C)
- Materials: Nylon/Goose Down
- Weight: 395 grams
- Place of Manufacture: USA
- Value: $460 USD
- Producer’s Particulars: WesternMountaineering.com
Though the Western Mountaineering Flylite is rated solely barely hotter than the Nanolite, its considerate design touches, correctly insulated hood, and helpful zipper make the slight enhance in dimension simpler to swallow. Quilts are nice for maintaining pack dimension and weight all the way down to a minimal, however there’s one thing good about climbing into a correct sleeping bag that helps me go to sleep and preserve sleeping via the evening whereas tenting. The Flylite has confirmed to be a stable three-season sleeping bag for many situations right here in British Columbia and was simple to succeed in for when packing for the Australia tour that Emily and I are presently on.
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