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Camping Comfort: Western Mountaineering Cypress GWS and Sequoia GWS Sleeping Bags

This page discusses two Western Mountaineering sleeping bags.

See also Gear for the Mountains.

Western Mountaineering Cypress GWS

As goos as the Western Mountaineering Sequoia GWS is, when I spotted the new Western Mountaineering Cypress GWS , I got excited: it has a very wide footprint including the feet area, and it can be unzipped like a blanket (I am not a fan of tight feet or “mummy bags” and I’ll use a sleeping bag like a comforter when temperatures allow).

That’s what caught my eye: the Western Mountaineering Sequoia GWS has the widest foot box I have ever seen in a down sleeping bag of this quality. Too hot in warmer temps—not really—it lofts so well that it can be “tented” and hold its shape for less cold nights, or used as a comforter (zipped open) and thrown partly aside. That skeptical may have their doubts, but years of using the GWS prove it out up to the 60°F range or so.

Needless to say, I pounced on the Cypress GWS and brought it along. It performed fantastically its first night. The down is incredible. I bought the 6' 6" model with right-hand zipper.

* In Western Mountaineering “underselling” parlance, 850+ down means 910 fill power down—ultra high end and rare to find. That kind of down (I was shown a sample) is very expensive, very light and fluffy, the puff of the puffs when down is processed by grade.

Water resistant? Heck yes, the Western Mountaineering Cypress GWS spent 30 minutes floating on Greenstone Lake for a photo shoot. Hardly a faint dimple in the fabric, what little there was dried out in 5 minutes and I stuffed it back into its back with no worries.

Western Mountaineering Cypress GWS down sleeping bag floating on Greenstone Lake
f14 @ 1/400 sec, ISO 200; 2017-10-14 15:18:07
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8

[low-res image for bot]
Western Mountaineering Cypress GWS down sleeping bag

 

Western Mountaineering Cypress GWS down sleeping bag
Western Mountaineering Cypress GWS down sleeping bag

Western Mountaineering Sequoia GWS sleeping bag

The Western Mountaineering Sequoia GWS sleeping bag is the finest sleeping bag I’ve ever used in my life: superb down quality, very roomy and comfortable. It can also be used like a blanket by unzipping it, which extends its usable temperature range.

Sequoia GWS Sleeping Bag by
Western Mountaineering

The folks at Western Mountaineering have been making world-class down outdoor products for decades (jackets, bags, etc), and their headquarters is right here in the USA, in San Jose, CA. I like to support small companies committed to product excellence any time I can, but in this case, the product is so good that it’s a no-brainer. And it’s Made in the USA.

I don’t like tight fitting sleeping bags especially if I’ve hiked or biked all days; my legs need to move around a bit to be comfortable; I wanted something roomy and very warm, for when the temperatures are sub-freezing down to 0° F.

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In use

I bought the Sequoia GWS to stay warm on my photography expeditions to the mountains. While I typically sleep in my SUV, when it’s 10°F outside, it still gets well below freezing inside, since I crack the windows for ventilation.

I was not disappointed with my first use; with outside temps in the single digits (°F) at high elevation, and my shoes frozen to the rubber floor mats (which had collected some water) inside my SUV, I slept those cold nights with the GWS zipped only half-way up (more or less as shown in the picture). Of course, I was wearing some warm clothes to sleep in (wool pants and one light shirt with an IbexWear wool 'Shak' hoodie), but I did not need double socks or a jacket, etc.

With the Sequoia GWS on top of the Exped DownMat 9 Deluxe, I was a very happy camper, never uncomfortable from a tight fit, because the Sequoia GWS is very roomy for a sleeping bag. And I was comfortably warm using it like a blanket (unzipped half way). I got a great night’s sleep every night.

The loft of the down in the Sequoia GWS is very impressive; it can be used to tent over one’s upper body and head because it holds its loft so well, so it’s super cozy.

 

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