Behold, the sleeping bag against which we measure all others. This is the gold standard for warmth-to-weight, quality materials and construction, and consistent pinnacle performance. A favorite among staffers since it came out 10 years ago, the Alpenlite has insulated us on trips all over the world. The slant-wall baffle design (down is contained in overlapping chambers that prevent cold spots) is simple yet effective, and the combo of high-quality 850-fill goose down and 12-denier nylon ripstop shell keeps the weight under 2 pounds. “I slept tentless in the Tetons with the temp in the teens, and I was snug as could be,” reports one tester.
The three-dimensional draft collar—meaning the neck baffles connect to the inside of the bag with two separate seams of parallel stitching that prop the baffle up—creates a seal that keeps you warm on frigid nights, and the full-length zipper lets you ventilate on balmier evenings. Bottom line: It’s an investment, like all high-end down bags, but the only thing you’ll regret is not buying it sooner. $485; 1 lb. 15 oz.; 20°F; westernmountaineering.com