For 30 years, Western Mountaineering has been dedicated to constructing some of the finest and lightest sleeping bags on the market, and the HighLite Sleeping Bag is no exception. Unlike some other bags that claim to keep you warm at certain temperatures but fail to deliver, Western Mountaineering rates their bags conservatively and only builds them with the finest materials available. Designed to keep you warm at 35ºF and weighing in at a ridiculously light one pound, the HighLite is an excellent choice for summer outings and ultralight shoulder-season forays into the wild.
|Western Mountaineering HighLite 40||$305.00 - $315.00|
I just ordered and received this bag after looking at a number of sleeping bag options, including bags from Marmot and mont-bell (I currently own and love a mont-bell UL SS Down Hugger #3). While it has not yet passed the test of keeping my ass warm in the mountains, the HighLite looks like a keeper.
My initial assessment of the quality and the fit and finish is that it is outstanding, and is everything I expected from Western Mountaineering. The fit is roomy enough (which was one of my concerns with ordering this bag), and it feels instantly warm. I really like the baffling and the down distribution. The bag is exremely light at 16 ounces, which is quite important to me. The fabric has a nice feel, and should be durable enough given its lightweight composition.
The half-zipper provides plenty of room for easy entry and exit, and since I sleep in a bivy sack, it's not an issue for me to need to slide in from the top. Additionally, the bivy sack use means that I would not need to unzip it for quilt use, but will just control temperatures with the half-zipper and my clothing choices. The half-zipper is well worth the weight savings for me.
The bag included a lightweight stuff sack that looked to be about 6-8 liters, as well as a very handsome and sizeable storage sack, probably the best one I have ever received with a sleeping bag. Nice touch by WM.
I will be rolling with bag this on my next backpacking outing, and if the warmth is what I expect (and why wouldn't it be, after all, it's a WM bag), I think this bag will be my go-to choice on many of my trips. I will update this review after it has been field tested...
Edit/Update: I returned this bag after only one use, because depite my initial assessment that it was roomy enough, it was just too slim a cut for me once out in the field with it. That might just be that I have gotten used to my mont-bell bag, but nonetheless...
That is no reflection of the quality of the bag, but it just wasn't going to work for me.
A couple other observations: The zipper was fussy, which as we all know sucks in the middle of the night. The fabric was not as comfortable against my skin as the mont-bell fabric. Just my take...
I carried this bag on a 600 mile run across Nebraska this summer. My pack was only 8 pounds with food and water so I needed minimal shelter and adequate warmth if the need arose. I carried a 5 x 8 Integral Designs Siltarp and matching sheet of Tyvek for a ground cloth. The bag did great on nights on couches when people took me in. The box stitching kept the down in place and helped restore loft as soon as it was out of the stuff sack. The 1/2 length zipper was adequate for getting in and out an obviously necessary when keeping a 35 degree bag's weight down to 16 oz! I'm a hair under 6' tall with medium build and the regular fit me fine, though larger people might want to upgrade to the larger size if you want some room inside. One night in a park campground when I slept through a raging thunderstorm under my tarp, the ground got saturated and I could feel moisture coming through the bag. I ditched the shelter at midnight and slept the rest of the night on the showerhouse floor on the shower curtain. I thought for sure the down had gotten wet and would be miserable but the loft was thick enough that I never felt the moisture and it was dry by morning. Excellent product!
I just bought this sleeping bag and used it this weekend for a backpacking trip in Vermont. It is ridiculously light.
The temperature at night was around 50 deg F. I wore light cotton pants, a tee shirt, and a fleece jacket. I also kept the bag completely zipped and the hood draped over my head (not cinched). I also used a ground pad. I stayed toasty warm.
It may seem that I had to do a lot to stay warm (fleece jacket, zipped), but I get cold very easily; so I'm not surprised. My former "summer" sleeping bag was rated for 15 deg F.
For an average person, I'm guessing a fleece and a ground pad would get you closer to 35 deg F.
I'd say I'm satisfied with the bag, especially given how light it is. It also packs down to a small size.
I've had my Western Mountaineering bag for three years. It is just as warm now as it was the first time I used it. It has had a rough life, two thru-hikes on the Appalachian trail and survived the Colorado trail. It has spent half of it's life smashed in the bottom on a backpack, but it still retains all of its loft..!!The only down side is the half zipper. I understand it is necessray for the crazy light weight of this bag, but on warmer nights it stops you from opening up the bag and using it as a quilt.Over all a top of the line bag. I would not hesitate to buy another, if this one ever wears out...!!!!
I have used it on three backpacking trips this summer in the North Cascades of Washington State at elevations between 6-8k'. I think for the mountains it should be thought of as part of a sleep layering system, using your other base layers as needed to increase insulation and warmth. It will save weight and space and my 4 season tent maintains a temp 10-15 degrees above the outside temp so it's range can be extended. I have used Western Mountaineering bags over the last 20 years and have come to trust there quality and temp. ratings. I have an old Alpenlite, Kodiak SDL, and a newer Bison and Puma for shoulder seasons.
At first glance this bag is super light and meets my needs for warmth. I sleep on the hotter side so this bag keeps me comfortable even in the upper 20's anything lower and all I would need is an extra layer and I'm fine. The fact that this bag is made in America made this bag a must buy for me. It compresses down to a little bit wider and about 2 inches taller than a nalgene bottle which saves a TON of space in my pack which allows for more food and other assorted necessities. I would recommend this or the summerlite to anyone looking for a high quality sleeping bag.
The shorter zip doesn't worry me but the zipper disengages pretty easily and is a little annoying to engage it again when you're in the dark or half asleep. It may be to prevent ripping the bag. I tend to run cold so for me I need to wear a few layers to be warm at the temp rating listed. I mainly bought this bag for it lightness and compactness - it certainly does pack down small.
Western Mountaineering get it 100% right and we enjoy their toasty warmth 12 months out of the year.
Beautifuly made right here in the good ole' USA & light as a feather , it will warm ya up when your cold and cool ya off when its hot..... It's damn near perfect.
C.D. Austin Tejas
Unbelievably lite and warm. Attention to detail is awesome. 35 degree designation is spot on. Combine with bivy, pad tarp/tent and you just up your degree rating.