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Western Mountaineering Versalite 10 Sleeping Bag Review

Western Mountaineering Versalite 10 Review
The Western Mountaineering Versalite 10 sleeping bag is the sleeping bag I would choose if I could have only one. It can be used comfortably between 10 and 40 degrees and pushed a little further in either direction. I’ve taken it below 10 wearing some layers and have draped it over me quilt style when temps are warmer than 40. The Versalite is pretty pricey but worth it if it’s going to be your primary or only sleeping bag. I’ve owned mine for six years, during which time I’ve owned a number of other sleeping bags, but the Versalite has remained in my possession for longer than any of the others. The reason I’ve kept it around is that it’s a truly versatile sleeping bag.

Western Mountaineering Versalite 10 Sleeping Bag


Three Season Sleeping Bag for Cold Sleepers

Western Mountaineering is known for its super down sleeping bags and the Versalite 10 is a customer favorite. Loaded with high-end expedition-class features, it's exceptionally warm and comfortable to sleep in. Treat it well and it will last 20 years or more.

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Specs at a Glance

  • Temperature Rating: 10*F / -12.2*C
  • Fill Power: 850 + Goose Down
  • Size: Regular 6′ / 180 cm (also available in 5’6” and 6’6”)
  • Weight: 32 oz / 938 g (34 oz, measured)
  • Fill Weight: 20 oz / 566 g
  • Dimensions: 62″ / 53″ / 39″
  • Packed Size: 8″x15″
  • Collar: Full draft collar
  • Baffles: Continuous
  • Sleeping Bag Shell Fabric: WM Proprietary ExtremeLite Fabric
  • Lining Fabric: 15d ripstop nylon
  • Zip Side: Left (also available in Right)
  • Color: Green
  • Country of Origin: Made in San Jose, California, USA

Sleeping Bag Weight / Fill Weight

The Versalite’s advertised weight is 32 oz, but mine came in at 34 oz on my scale. Hopefully, those extra ounces are all down! The fill weight is advertised at 20 oz making this bag about 67% down. That’s a fantastic fill to shell ratio. Compare that to other similar mummy bags and many won’t come close. As well, 34 oz is very light for a bag that can be pushed to 10 degrees or less.

The Versalite Hood is deep and puffy. Note draft collar inside.
The Versalite Hood is deep and puffy. Note the draft collar inside.

I should note that although Western Mountaineering claims to use 850+ fill in their bags, this is not exactly accurate. When they say 850, they are saying that 850 is the lowest quality down they will ever put in their bags. Often, they are using down ranging between 850 and 970! They never advertise this, however. So, just remember, if you’re buying a Western Mountaineering sleeping bag, you’re getting the absolute best down available; don’t worry about the numbers.

The Versalite has an exceptionally thick draft collar
The Versalite has an exceptionally thick draft collar

Hood and Draft Collar

The Versalite’s hood is deep and comfortable. The drawcord is easy to find in the middle of the night, easy to adjust, and holds well. My only complaint with the hood is the Velcro closure which doesn’t hold all that well. A small snap would be easier to use, be about the same weight, and hold more securely. That said, even though the Velcro pops open sometimes, it doesn’t really matter that much. The drawcord really seems to keep drafts off my face regardless of the Velcro.

The draft collar is extremely poofy and comfortable. It too has a Velcro closure which I’ve never really tried to use, so I can’t say much of anything about it. The collar’s drawcord is made of elastic shockcord, which increases the overall comfort of the draft collar.

The two-way zipper allows you to vent if your feet get too hot (zipper)
The two-way zipper allows you to vent if your feet get too hot (zipper)

Two-Way Zipper / Stiffener / Draft Tube

The Versalite has a full-length, #5, two-way, separating, coil zipper. #5 is an ideal size for a sleeping bag zipper as it’s easy to use and the sliders won’t wear out for years. The two-way zipper means you can unzip the bag from the bottom to vent if your feet get hot.

We’ve all been there.  You try to zip up your bag only to have it snag. Not with the Versalite! Sewn under the liner fabric, next to the zipper on either side is a stiffener. This is a small, probably often overlooked feature, but it really sets this bag apart from many less thoughtful bags. The stiffener means you will almost never snag the zipper on the fabric. Seriously. It never happens!

A stiffener sewn along the zipper keeps it from snagging.
A stiffener sewn along the zipper keeps it from snagging.

On one side of the zipper is sewn a full-length draft tube. It lies across the zipper quite precisely when the bag is closed and effectively seals out the cold.

Sleeping Bag Shell / Lining

The Versalite shell is made from Western Mountaineering’s proprietary 12d ExtremeLite nylon ripstop. This is a tightly woven fabric that repels water quite well even long after the DWR finish has worn off because it has such a tight weave.  The liner is a very comfortable 15d nylon taffeta with no DWR treatment. This combination of fabrics is a great balance of weight and durability. I personally wouldn’t want lighter fabrics on a bag that I plan to keep in my life for 20 years. And you really can keep Western Mountaineering sleeping bags that long.

Versalite 10 Comfort

I am 5’ 11”, 160 lbs, and the Versalite 10 bag fits me perfectly. The 62” shoulder girth is a great balance of thermal efficiency and comfort. The mid-section of the bag is 53” which allows some space to bend my knees, and the 39” footbox is simply perfect. I don’t know why the footbox is so good, but it’s the best I’ve encountered on any bag or quilt.

The hood is non-constrictive and conforms well to my head and shoulders
The hood is non-constrictive and conforms well to my head and shoulders

I’m probably thin enough to get away with the 59” shoulder girth offered in other Western Mountaineering bags like the Ultralite 20, but the weight savings and thermal efficiency probably wouldn’t override the comfort of the Versalite’s 62” width for me. I’ve also used a couple of Western Mountaineering 64” girth bags including the Alpinlite 20 and the Megalite and they’re very comfortable but they take a while to warm up.

My Use/Temp Rating

I’ve had my Versalite for six years and have used it in temperatures ranging from about 0 to 50 degrees. Typical winter temps where I hike on the Colorado Plateau range from 15 to 30 (sometimes much lower), and I’ve used this bag most often in the 25-degree range. On one high-humidity, 25-degree night sleeping on the banks of the Dirty Devil River in southern Utah, I shivered all night in the Versalite. Why? Dehydration. On a 15-degree night sleeping on some windswept badlands, I slept like a thousand baby angels inside this bag. I was well-hydrated and well-fed. It makes a difference.

The draft tube sewn along the edge of the zipper very effectively keeps the warmth in and the cold out
The draft tube sewn along the edge of the zipper very effectively keeps the warmth in and the cold out

Last year I took this bag on a solstice trip through the Kanab Creek Wilderness. The first night was spent in the back of a truck where it was about 8 degrees. I slept fine, but I could feel some cold creeping in through my Therm-A-Rest NeoAir and my nose felt like a frozen strawberry stuck to my face. The bag itself, however, kept my body warm.

It was about 25 degrees most nights during the trip and I never zipped the thing up; I just wore my parka and used it as a quilt. This was ridiculously comfortable but left me wondering if it was a bit silly to be carrying a 34 oz mummy bag if I wasn’t going to zip it up. I should note that I used a NeoAir/Zlite combination on this trip, which is heavy, but I like the reliability of foam in the winter. It reduces anxiety knowing that there will always be something between me and the icy earth. I was also inside a single-wall pyramid.

The Versalite staving off a dawn chill in the Stansburys
The Versalite staving off a dawn chill in the Stansburys

I feel comfortable saying the Versalite can be taken to 10 degrees or a little less on a pad, inside a shelter. I will continue to use it in temps ranging from 5 to 20 degrees or thereabouts. It’s also a great three-season bag for cold sleepers. I know people who often use this bag when temps are right around freezing. Some folks sleep cold and enjoy the extra down even in the 30s.

Sleeping Bags vs Quilts at Low Temperatures

So, when am I going to choose the Versalite over a quilt? Only if I know it’s going to be below 20 degrees. Recently, for example, I pulled my truck up to a trailhead at 11:30 at night. The elevation was 8,500 feet and the temperature about 15 degrees. I slept that night in the back of my truck in my Versalite wearing only socks, baselayers, and a fleece and was very warm. Then I left the Versalite in the truck and carried my Nunatak Arc UL 20 into a canyon where the nighttime temperature was 17 degrees. Wearing all my layers I was just barely warm enough, wishing I’d chosen to carry the extra weight of the Versalite for a decent night’s sleep.

Let me be clear, I don’t have draft issues with quilts, so that’s not why I choose the Versalite at these temperatures. The combination of its efficient cut, the huge amount of down, and effective hood give it an advantage over most 20-degree quilts.


The Western Mountaineering Versalite 10 sleeping bag is extraordinarily versatile and can be used to cover all three-season conditions. While the Versalite is pricey, it is completely worth it if this will be your primary (or only) sleeping bag. The materials and craftsmanship are fantastic. The dimensions are a perfect balance of comfort and thermal efficiency. The draft collar is comfortable and effective. The hood is super poofy and comfortable. The design leaves almost nothing to be desired.

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Disclosure: The author owns this product.

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  1. Thanks for the review. All of my sleeping bags accumulated over the years are gone now with the exception of my WM Mitylite. That bag gets used in the summer when I camp by bike and use a tent (I use a hammock/quilts for backpacking). The Mitylite is worth every penny I paid for it, as it keeps me warm at the appropriate temperatures and packs down small. I have taken a couple of trips during the winter the past few years and if I continue, I am going to start using a tent for those trips. Which in turn I would probably return to a sleeping bag. The fact that you find the Versalite flexible enough for higher temperatures is encouraging. I will take a look at it or some of the other WM bags for winter trips.

  2. The velcro closure on the draft collar has always baffled me when trying to secure it, late at night in the dark. My Versilite is several years old so maybe they have improved that by now.

  3. Ben, at 5’11” you look a little snug in the hood pic. Can you even close the opening up all the way? I’m 6′ and have to use a long WM bag. WM’s size recommendations are a bit off in my opinion. Otherwise, a nice bag.

    • I guess it does look tight when I’m sitting up like that. Should have taken a selfie laying down. The size is fine for me though. I can close it up all the way just fine.

  4. This bag looks like a good compromise “3 1/2” season bag.

    Years ago I got the WM Megalite also because it was versatile, its larger girth permitting me to wear puffy clothing for more insulation.

    After a frigid 25 F. night on the PCT at 8,500 ft. I sent it back to the factory to be overstuffed and now it is easily warm to 20 F. I’ve used it comfortably to 15 F.

    The newer version of the Megalite has a “half” neck collar (on the inside top) which is enough for temperatures down to 10 f. or so with proper added clothing.

  5. This review article comes at the perfect time as I am about to pull the trigger on the versalite. I’m debating if I should grab the 6’6” version since I am 6’ tall.

    • Hard call. Unless you plan to store wet boots and water inside, I’d go with the regular size. You will be warmer if there’s less bag to heat up. Of course, you’ll probably own this bag for the next 10-20 years and during that time, you’re bound to shrink. :-)

    • I’m 6’1″ and just got a 6’6″ (Alpinlite) and I’m glad I went larger.

    • I’m 5`9″. Have several 6 foot WM bags. For the Versalite wish I had gone with 66. When fully tucked in with hood and neck synched in, my feet feel like they are poking into the loft. If you can, try one on

  6. Hey Phil, great review, a favorite of mine.

  7. I have 4 Western Mountaineering bags for my Wife and I. 2 Ultralites, a Summerlite and a Highlite. Also 2 pairs of their down pants and 2 pairs of their down booties. We are lucky to have had IME in North Conway as a longtime WM dealer. My oldest Ultralite is nearing 20 years old & still looks like new. No tears or rips in any yet despite the thin fabric. Down bags certainly can have a long life. I still have a few of my old bags which I use as comforters at home. EMS Ultralite, Sierra Design 200 and Snow lion Expedtion & North Face Bigfoot from the 70’s. Also GoLite and Marmot from the last 20 years. Maybe a few others in the gear closet, I’ve lost track! Of everything that I have owned over many years WM are still the best.

  8. I have enjoyed this bag for about a year now, pricey, yes. But the minute you look and feel this bag and see the build quality, It’s understandable.The zipper is a breath of fresh air ! Just fantastic !

  9. I’ve had an Apache 15 for over ten years. A friend was so taken with the zipper that I found him one as well. It is trustworthy, warm, and good to at least 10 degrees. Over 40 it is a little warm. Great company, great products.

  10. After reading this review, having prior experience with another WM product (Mitylite) and much “hemming and hawing” – I pulled the trigger and purchased the Versalite. I finally had a chance to take it out for a test the past few days and was thoroughly impressed. The overnight temperature dropped to 9F and I was warm the entire night other than some mild chill on my legs. I wore a long sleeve wool t-shirt and my old Patagonia expedition weight capilene long johns (which are not so expedition weight anymore ;-) ). This chill on my legs has happened with other quilts in cold weather where I am plenty comfortable on top. So I think it is my choice of leg cover and not the Versalite. Also I used a hammock, so expect it to perform the same or better in a tent. Bottomline, is that I am very satisfied with this purchase and if it allows me even close to the range that Ben outlines – that will be just gravy.

  11. Having read this review (and others) about the Versalite, I’m wondering if temperature ratings are far less important than the quality of the materials and craftsmanship? More specifically, for a 3.5 season bag, would the WM Versalite, rated at 10F, likely out-perform many other so-called 0F bags?

    I ask because I was unpleasantly surprised to find that my 3 year old REI Magma 15 didn’t do well at all on a recent trip in the White Mountains (November ~25F, flurries, camping near a pond, XTherm pad) or recently in the Sierras (September ~20F, very windy, near lakes). While I like the REI bag for its small packing size, I’m pretty sure I cannot trust it on a forthcoming section hike of the Arizona Trail next March where temperatures are consistently in the 20s. Prior to reading this review, I was thinking that a 0 degree bag is what I need; now I’m not so sure. And, if I can drop some weight for a “true 20 degree” bag, then maybe this is what I really need?

    BTW, good points in the review about the importance of hydration and eating to generate heat.

    • Design and craftsmanship are important but individual physical/physiological differences and differences in hydration/eating, humidity, wind, and numerous other factors can affect your warmth level from day-to-day. When in doubt, get a bag rated 10-20 degrees warmer than you think you need. Sleeping bag ratings are useful in that they let you compare bags to one another but that doesn’t mean you’ll experience the “predicted” temperature rating, especially if you turn out to be a cold sleeper.

      • Thanks Phillip. I clearly have a case of paralysis analysis, but given two sleeping bags in 20F, this one from WM with a 10 degree rating and another from a “very good but theoretically-lesser-cache-brand” 0 degree bag, say a Nemo Sonic 0, a Sierra Designs Nitro 0, or a Rab Neutrino 800 — would the 0 degree rating win over this bag, a presumably solid 10F — assuming that all other factors were equal?

  12. I have a Versalite that is about 25 years old. Used mostly for Sept trips to the Wind River Range in WY. Lows ranged from low 40’s to the teens. Usually quite comfortable. A few cold spots more recently, but I might not have distributed the down properly and I turn a lot.

    My Versalite is heavier than the current. Think I paid $375. Sent it back to have some down added as I thought it might be time. They accidently overfilled it and lofted it so much I couldn’t get it in the same drybag and it took up a lot more volume in the pack. They kindly removed some. I have a 6’6″ and am 5’10”. My thinking was extra space for drying clothes, water bottle, etc.

    Wouldn’t mind something lighter in my older years, but this is close to 2 lb 2 oz so certainly remains a great bag. Great company.

  13. Great review Ben! Separately – your review of the SWD Longhaul 50 convinced me to purchase that and I just finished the PCT with it this last weekend! It’s a wonderful pack.
    I hiked the PCT with an EE 20 degree revelation quilt and froze my butt off on so many nights. I worked to perfect the straps but in my case, I lose so much weight on long hikes (AT and now PCT), that I’m a bag of bones that gets cold easily. The same happened to me on my AT thru hike and I had EE add more down but the cold nights continued even when well above it’s rating. Several folks I hiked around on the PCT had the WM Versalite 10 and indicated they slept comfortably whether it was 10 degrees or 50 – in their underwear alone no less. I’ve been dreaming of this pricey bag for much of my PCT hike. I will keep an eye on sales and if I feel prosperous, perhaps I’ll pull the trigger. All the best Ben. … Bob Pritchard

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