FAQs


Cleaning

How do I wash my Western Mountaineering product?
Please check out this page for detailed care instructions.
Can I get my gear professionally washed?
Yes! There are many repair/product care companies that can professionally wash & reloft your bag. Check with your local retailer about washing experts near you.
How do I keep my bag clean during use? / How do I avoid down clumping due to dirt and moisture?
Liners! Liners are a great way to extend the use of your bag before needing to wash it. This is crucial for extended trips & thru-hikes. We make some light & cozy liners that you can check out here.
How often should I wash my bag?
Washing frequency depends greatly on the user and is usually necessary after approximately 30 nights of use. As you use your bag dirt and moisture becomes trapped in the down causing the loft to depreciate. This will make the bag look flat and unlofted. Depreciated loft reduces the insulation of the bag making it sleep colder. This is a sign that the bag is ready to be laundered.
How do I remove specific stains?
If you have a particularly tough stain try to use a down friendly soap like nikwax or reviveX to spot scrub the area with a cloth. If the stain is odorous you may need to wash your product as the odor might have penetrated the down.

Storage & Care

What is the best way to store a down bag when I am not using it (should I hang it or keep it in the storage bag?)
Every Western Mountaineering bag comes with a large storage sack that allows the bag to stay lofted inside of it. Hanging is also acceptable as long as the bag can stay lofted. Keep it in a cool dry place out of the sun. Always make sure your bag is totally dry before storage. NEVER store a bag wet.
Will my bag be ruined if I keep it compressed?
Contrary to popular belief, bags stored compressed can get their loft back as long as they were stored dry. NEVER store a bag wet. If you accidentally store a bag compressed, take it out and shake it vigorously. If the down is very compacted try putting it in the dryer on no heat with tennis balls. If this still does not fully get the loft back the down may be clumped due to moisture and dirt from use and is in need of washing.
My shell doesn’t bead water like it use to. What’s wrong?
All of our shell materials are treated with a fluorocarbon free Durable Water Resistant finish (DWR). This treatment allows water to bead off the shell fabric. During use the DWR will wear off. If your DWR has worn out you can reapply it with a spray on DWR available at most outdoor gear shops. DO NOT use a wash in DWR as this can damage the natural oils on your down. Only use spray on DWR. DWR lifespan will vary depending on activity level.

Repair

How do I get my gear repaired?
We can fix most issues at our factory in San Jose. Common repairs include rips/tears, overfill and zipper repair. Please contact [email protected] for the proper forms and info.
What is covered under warranty?
Western Mountaineering offers a manufacturer lifetime warranty. This means that any defect caused by manufacturer error is completely covered. This does not cover wear and tear or misuse. For example a rip from use in the field is not covered, but a broken stitch is covered. Here is more detail on warranty.
How do I fix zipper problems?
To avoid damaging your zipper, make sure to always align the bottom of the zipper before sliding up. Do so by checking to make sure the tapes at the bottom of the zipper of even. If you have zipped your zipper up properly and the coils do not stay attached (zipper bursts open) then your slider is probably worn out. To fix this in the field pinch your slider so that the two halves the zipper coil slides through are closer together. This is only a temporary fix as the worn out slider will become loose again. Replacing sliders is very easy to do. If you think you need a replacement slider please email us and we would be happy to mail you a new slider set with instructions!
Can I repair small tears myself?
Yes! We love repair tape like tenacious tape or tear aid. If you have a tear less than two inches long repair tape can fix it nearly permanently, lasting through multiple washes and years of use. Make sure to cut a circular patch to avoid corners that can peel off easily.
How much do repairs cost?
Repair costs vary depending on severity of repair. We repair at a loss in order to provide the best support possible to our customers. See the below table for general estimates on various common types of repairs. These costs are not case specific estimates. Real cost can vary.

Customization

Do you do custom work?
We do not do custom work, however we can overfill a bag  and we sell expanders for extra width!
What does overfill do/how do I get overfill?
Overfill adds additional fill to your bag. This increases the warmth of the bag by 3 to 5 degrees. It will improve warmth for active sleepers since moving during sleep can shift down. Overfill also improves loft duration. During extended use down becomes clumped with moisture, dirt, and oils. Overfill prevents this by adding more fluff. Check out this list of overfillable items and the cost:

Bag Name Overfill Fill Weight Price (w/o shipping)
MityLite 2 oz $31
SummerLite 2 oz $31
Tamarack 1.5 oz $25
MegaLite 2 oz $31
TerraLite 3 oz $45
UltraLite 2 oz $31
AlpinLite 3 oz $45
VersaLite 3 oz $45
Alder MF 2 oz $31
Sycamore MF 2 oz $31
Apache MF/GWS 2 oz $31
Badger MF/GWS 3 oz $45
Ponderosa MF 3 oz $45
Antelope MF/GWS 3 oz $45
Sequoia MF/GWS 4 oz $57
Kodiak MF/GWS 4 oz $57
Bristlecone MF 5 oz $73
Lynx MF/GWS 4 oz $57
Puma MF/GWS 5 oz $73
Cypress GWS 5 oz $73
Bison GWS 5 oz $73
Does Western Mountaineering do alterations?
We do not do alternations. The complexity of our products makes alterations exceptionally difficult. In case you think there is a warranty issue with the fit of a garment, reach out to [email protected]
Can I get my bag in a different/custom color?
Nope. When we cut fabric we do so in very large batches making it incredibly difficult to do individual color variations. Besides it’s dark while you’re using your bag, who cares what color it is!

Technical Details & Performance

Why isn’t Western Mountaineering using hydrophobic down in any products?
We have found in our own testing that the performance enhancements of hydrophobic treatments on high quality down are widely overstated. High quality untreated down already has naturally water repellant oils on it left by the geese (makes sense since geese spend a lot of time in water). These oils help repel water and keep down lofted. More importantly is that these oils last indefinitely. Hydrophobic treatments wash out like a DWR and remove the natural oils during the application process. Because of this, and the water resistant capability of our shell fabrics, we feel that hydrophobic down does not provide a considerable impact on performance and could actually inhibit performance over the lifetime of our products.
Does WM use ethical down?
Don’t worry! We believe in and have been using ethical down for decades. We personally audit our main supplier twice per year with random unscheduled visits. This farm is highly ethical; the geese are raised to old age for their eggs, get to roam the grounds during the day and nest in a specialized insulated barn. During nesting the mature mother geese molt their down in order to insulate their nest. This down is collected while the geese are out feeding during the day. Because our down comes from large mature mother geese it is unparalleled in loft power AND the most ethical it could be!
What’s the difference between Extremelite/Microfiber/Gore WindStopper? What should I choose?
Extremelite is our lightest fabric, but the least water resistant. Microfiber is far more water resistant and more breathable than Extremelite, just slightly heavier. We consider it a perfect middle ground between weight, durability, water resistance and breathability. Gore WindStopper is the heaviest least breathable fabric however it is multiple times more water resistant than the other two fabrics.

Extremelite is suitable for all 2 season uses and ideal for weight conscious adventurers. The fabric is highly water resistant for the weight and can withstand most condensation summertime users encounter inside tents. Microfiber boasts high versatility due to its increased water resistance and breathability. Cow boy camping? Need something suitable for warm nights and wet nights? Microfiber is ideal. Gore Windstopper is for situations in which you will encounter high moisture or precipitation. These bags are not water proof, but will hold up to any condensation and even light precipitation. Their less breathable shell means they are not ideal for warm nights.

Stats on fabric performance:

Extremelite
Denier: 12
Weight: 0.74 oz/y^2
Hydrostatic head: 1200 mm

Microfiber XP
Denier: 20
Weight: 1.35 oz/y^2
Hydrostatic head: 2000 mm

Gore WindStopper (bags)
Denier: 20
Weight: 1.7 oz/y^2
Hydrostatic head: 12000 mm (yup 3 zero’s)

What loft power do you use?
Western Mountaineering is specialized enough that we can ask for our suppliers to give us the best down they can get. This creates an average yield that is almost always above 900 fill power. We state 850+ on our products because even though the down tests out at 900 or over, the ‘real’ loft power is different.  Once the down is inside a bag or jacket baffle it is compressed slightly by the fabric. Loft is also affected by real world humidity conditions that are not present during loft testing.
What bags can couple/how do I couple bags?
All 6’0″ and 6’6″ bags are compatible as long as one is right zip and the other is left zip. 5’6″ bags can be zipped to 6’0″ and 6’6″ bags, but will not line up properly at the top of the zipper. To couple unzip both bags completely. Then attach each zipper side to the opposing side and zip up! Semi rectangular bags can also be zipped together. If you have an older bag with a #7 zipper you can use a 5 to 7 zipmate, available to special order at an Western Mountaineering dealer, to attach it to a bag with a #5 zipper.
How small of a stuff sack/compression sack can I get and what is the best way to stuff it?
We purposefully build our included stuff sacks bigger than they need to be for a hassle free experience. If you want to minimize compression size, we recommend a stuff sack 25% smaller than the included one or a compression sack that has a compressed volume of half the included stuff sack. Though there are no disadvantages to temporarily compressing your bag, make sure to never compress it for long periods of time while wet.
How do continuous baffles work?
Every bag in the Extremelite line and most in the Microfiber line have continuous baffles. This means the chamber on the top and bottom of the bag are connected and down can be moved throughout. On a warm night slide down below you for less insulation, and on a cold night slide more to the top for warmer sleep!
How accurate are Western Mountaineering temperature ratings? Do you use EN rating?
We independently verify our temperature ratings through our own testing, customer feedback and design knowledge. Most of the items in our catalog we have been making for years, which means we have lots of prior knowledge from everyday consumers on what ratings are accurate. We have also EN tested our bags. In every case the EN rating is lower than our posted rating. This means our ratings are more conservative. We do this to ensure that almost everyone will be happy in our bags at the temperature we publish.

Other Questions

What size bag should I get for my height/build?
We build our bags to fit the height stated, for example a 6’0” person should perfectly fit in a 6’0” bag. Many people prefer to have a few inches of wiggle room so users might prefer one size larger. For width we have all our interior dimensions stated in the catalog. The chest measurement is taken at the widest part of the bag, the hip measurement is half way down the body of the bag and the foot measurement is around the widest part of the footbox.
What are the requirements for becoming a Western Mountaineering Dealer?
Western Mountaineering dealers must have a brick and mortar retail location and fill out a dealer application. Email [email protected] for more info.
I don’t see any “buy now” buttons for the products featured on your website. Can I buy products directly from the Western Mountaineering factory?
As a way to support local specialty gear shops and loyal dealers of Western Mountaineering, we do everything we can to drive sales to them instead of competing by selling our product directly. Please check out the dealer page to find the dealer nearest to you.




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