Looking for a winter sleeping bag? The Western Mountaineering Antelope MF is the one of my choice.
This is not a sponsored review. I paid the full prize minus some gift cards that accumulated over the years. Thanks Mum, Dad, Eva and Marielle!
Thanks to all Transa employees for their great inputs and advice (no affiliate link).
However, this post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission for purchases made to no additional charge for you.
Winter Sleeping Bag:
- Part 1: What to Look for in a Winter Sleeping? Down or Synthetic?
- Part 2: What to Look for in a Winter Sleeping? Form, Fill-Weight and Temperature Rating.
Western Mountaineering Antelope MF Specifications (Size M)
- 13cm Spacing/Continuous Baffles
- 157/99cm Shoulder/Foot Girth
- Full Down Collar
- 18cm Loft
- Temperature rating -15° Celcius
- Down Fill 725g
- 1105 grams Total Weight
- 850+ Cuin
Performance of the Western Mountaineering Antelope MF
Finally, I pulled the trigger on the Western Mountaineering Antelope MF after much contemplation between different brands and products. You can read about my considerations on winter sleeping bags here.
First Night: Quick bivouac next doors -4°C / snow, no wind
Given the freezing temperatures, I used the Western Mountaineering Antelope MF the very same day that I had bought it. The recent snow fall turned the nearby hill into a winter wonderland. The pack size for a -15°C sleeping bag is astonishing. It neatly fits into my Atlas Athlete camera backpack. I used the Outdoor Research Aurora bivouac and a Thermarest Neoair Xlite in combination with the sleeping bag.
Immediately, I recognized that the sleeping bag offers much more space than my summer bag (Sea to Summit Spark II). Yet, it is not too wide which can cause difficulty in warming the air. Even though there is plenty of space to keep batteries and the camera warm, there is no specific pocket to hold gear. Therefore, head lamp, phone and batteries can move around in the bag.
Against the opinion by the guys from OutdoorGearLab, I felt there is no problem of sleeping sideways and pulling the draft collar tight. The draft collar is exceptionally well made and useful in cold weather. There are two tightener one around the hood and another one around the neck. Both together, allow to prevent warm air from escaping.
I slept well and the sleeping bag is very warm. However, I felt that my 3-season mattress was not suitable for snow, which made me change from side to side due to the cold creeping in from the ground. Needless to say, bivouacking is generally colder than staying in a tent. However, I like the minimalist experience of sleeping under the stars.
Second Night: White Out -5°C /snow, light wind
I wrote a blog post about the camping in a white out with my girlfriend. In short, it was warm, but I still needed a better mattress to prevent the cold from the ground. I only used a cheap foam mattress because I gave the Thermarest X-Lite to my girlfriend.
Third Night: Calanca valley in a tent 0°C / dry, light wind
On this adventure two friends and I slept on a mountain pass at 2100 meters above sea level in early fall. Given that we all slept in the same tent and the temperatures remained around zero degree Celsius I was too warm. Probably it was due to the fact that I slept between the others. I was still using the Thermarest X-Lite mattress. Luckily I was able to open the zipper from the bottom and could regulate the temperature.
Fourth Night: Out and About – Bivouacking in the Jura Mountains -7°C / dry, windy
There is also a blog post about this adventure. Furthermore, I edited a video.
It was quite windy, which forced me to retreat to the Antelope MF sleeping bag very early. In the sleeping bag, my hands quickly warmed up and it allowed me to shoot a night time lapse from the bivouac. The morning views were stunning.
Given that I combined a foam mattress (Thermares Z-Lite) to my air sleeping pad (Thermarest X-Lite), I was able to prevent the cold creeping in from the ground.
Fifth Night: Jura mountains wildlife observation -2°C / rain turning to snow, very windy
The following week, I spent another night in the Jura mountains looking for wildlife and slept in my tent. At the same time, I used the tent as a hide. Furthermore, I borrowed the Thermarest X-Therm, which is a very warm sleeping pad. The temperatures did not plummet as low as expected but instead the wind picked up quite a bit. Combining the Western Mountaineering Antelope MF with this mattress, I was too warm in the end. Therefore, I took of my long Johns as well as the Exped down booties. The wind made a lot of noise which made me pack my camp early in the morning with only little sleep.
My only concern regarding this sleeping bag is, that it is too warm for temperatures between 0-3°C where my Sea to Summit Spark II summer sleeping bag is on the verge of being too cold. It highly depends on the circumstances: If you sleep in a bivouac you tend to be colder than when lying between others in a three-person tent. As far as I am concerned right now, I think it will be fine to bivouac in the Antelope to up to 3°C. Warmer temperature than that are no issue for the Spark.
Additionally, I spent one month in New Zealand during winter. Overall, the sleeping bag performed exceptionally well and I mostly was the only person in a tent.
Summary about the Western Mountaineering Antelope MF
- Warmth/weight ratio
- Pack size for -15°C / 5F sleeping bag
- Lightweight 4-season sleeping bag (1105)
- Snug Draft Collar which is a great add-on that many lightweight options lack (such as the Western Mountaineer Terralite)
- Very lofty Hood (no need for a beanie)
- Fit (very subjective! Yet, in comparison to my Sea to Summit Spark II there is a lot more space)
- Two ways zipper
- No internal pocket
- Sleeping bag lost feathers, which pierced the fabric
- Too warm for 0°C in a tent with people
Verdict about Western Mountaineering Antelope MF
The Western Mountaineering Antelope MF is a fantastic sleeping bag for serious outdoor people. Apart from the bag losing some feathers, which pierced the fabric, there is almost no contemplation worth mentioning. In contrast, the pro’s such as the amazing pack size, comfort and incredible loft makes it worth paying the premium. Moreover, I was tempted to buy the Western Mountaineering Terralite, which is suitable for temperatures down to -5°C and would have been enough for most nights. However, its color and the outlook to sleep in really cold conditions convinced me to opt for the Antelope MF.
All in all, I can highly recommend the Western Mountaineering Antelope MF. Among other competitors I looked at Marmot, RAB and North Face sleeping bags.
What is your experience? Do you have any questions?
Winter Sleeping Bag: