Western Mountaineering Kodiak MF Review
Manufacturer: Western Mountaineering
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Our Analysis and Test Results
What does 30 ounces of 850 fill down look like? When unstuffed, laid out and fully lofted, it creates 7 inches of insulated space on top of your body, making this bag exceptionally warm. Western Mountaineering doesn't use EN ratings or give any sort of comfort range. Their website just states that the Kodiak is a zero degree bag. After testing many brands, we feel that Western Mountaineering is conservative with their temperature ratings. Upon learning that the Kodiak had a similar rating as some other 0 degree bags, one of our testers couldn't stop laughing.
The extra room in the Kodiak's interior that makes this bag so comfy does decrease it's thermal efficiency, since there is more uninsulated dead space in the bag, especially if you're a smaller person. If you're in cold weather, you're likely to have a puffy down jacket and other insulating clothes with you to fill that extra space. If you're an alpinist or Ultralite Backpacker, check out a smaller, more efficient bag.
The Kodiak tipped our scale at 45.65 oz or 2.85 lbs. There are other bags of similar weight, but when you look at the fill weight compared to the weight of the materials, the Kodiak really shines. Of the 46 oz, a whopping 30 oz is dedicated to down insulation, and a mere 15.65 oz remains as the weight of the materials. The Microlite XP shell fabric, zippers, and drawcords are exceptionally lightweight and functionally durable, though we'd suggest you look before you lay down and keep this bag away from sharp rocks, thorns, and your dog.
Western Mountaineering knocks it out of the park with this one, and thanks to 66" of shoulder room and a soft, thick draft collar, the Kodiak earns top marks in the comfort metric. If you're a big dude, the extra room is a must, but smaller folks can really take advantage of the extra space if they're side or stomach sleepers, since there's so much room to move around. You can also use the extra space to keep essentials like water, batteries, and extra clothes warm through the night.
The hood has plenty of loft and stays in place with two cinch cords, creating a nice air hole without letting cold air in around your neck. The two-way zipper allows for venting if you overestimated how cold it might be, and if you unzip the bag all the way, it makes a pretty cozy down blanket for two.
With a little work, we were able to stuff the Kodiak into the same compression sack we used for for several bags that had higher temp ratings. Despite the extra fabric that makes this bag roomy, it still manages to be competitively packable, leaving plenty of room in your pack for other wintertime essentials. We're still scratching our heads at how the roomiest bag in our review is so compressible.
The Kodiak employs the same Microlite XP fabric as other quality WM bags, a material that our testers have found acceptably water-resistant, having used Western Mountaineering bags for many seasons. Light rain, mist, and frost have never soaked through to the down, and the outside of the bag dries out quickly in the sun. Except for sleeping in an inch of standing water or camping exposed to a downpour, you'll stay dry in this bag.
The down fill doesn't have a hydrophobic treatment. Keep in mind that if you need a zero degree bag, rain isn't the kind of precip you're worried about. Also, if you're excited about dimensions of the Kodiak MF, but you're concerned about wet weather, Western Mountaineering offers a version with Goretex Windstopper fabric, though it's a little heavier and more expensive.
We've sung the praises of Western Mountaineering's snag-free zipper action and mega lofty draft tubes in the past, and we're happy to keep the tune going with the Kodiak. The firm seam tape on either side of the zipper does an excellent job of protecting the draft tube from snagging, even during late-night, disoriented unzipping in the dark. The draft tube is huge, preventing cold air from creeping in through the zipper. As we mentioned before, the cinch cords on the opening of the hood and the and the draft collar keep the hood in place, only exposing your nose and mouth for a comfortable, oxygenating sleep.
This bag doesn't have a small, zippered pocket. A pocket is nice for keeping track of earplugs, headlamps, or batteries inside your bag. With the Kodiak, you'll need to bring a tiny stuff sack for those items.
Owning the cream of the crop is a big investment, and the Kodiak will set you back a hefty wad of cash. This bag, along with several other bags we've reviewed form Western Mountaineering, is one of the best sleeping bags money can by. Several of our testers have owned one for years, storing them in their included storage sack, and they've remained lofty and kept us warm on many adventures. Their warranty doesn't cover normal wear and tear, but if you send them a clean, damaged bag, they can make repairs.
Western Mountaineering has been at it for a long time, and their product line up doesn't change very often because their designs are so good. With the Kodiak, they created an extremely roomy, warm bag, that is still lightweight for long, human-powered journeys. If you have a larger body frame, this bag is a must. If you're smaller, prepare yourself for the most luxurious nights you've ever spent in the backcountry. We get to test some amazing sleeping bags in this category from great manufacturers, and sometimes comparing them feels like splitting hairs. That being said, the Kodiak is easily our favorite, winning our Editors' Choice Award.
— Matt Bento
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