If there’s anything we covet more than a tasty meal in the backcountry, it’s a comfy, warm place to sleep. Mountain Hardwear succeeds in giving the ladies a good night’s sleep by offering bags such as the UltraLamina 15, which concentrates insulation in areas where women tend to lose the most heat, including the chest and feet.
This 15-degree bag is filled with Thermic Micro synthetic insulation, which is a combination of hollow and solid staple fibers. Our tester, who used the bag on cold Montana nights, said it maintained ample loft that was cushy and comfortable, but also compressed down easily when she jammed the bag into a stuff sack. Rather than using sewn seams that pinch insulation, the company stabilized the fill by welding the seams to make the bag as lofty as possible.
Granted, the comfort of a bag depends on many factors beyond its construction and temperature rating, such as an individual’s core body temperature and whether the person tends to sleep hot or cold. With that in mind, our tester, who tends to sleep hot, reported that the bag felt warm when temperatures dipped into the 20s, and she didn’t wake up in the night shivering or feeling cold spots.
Even though the bag is made for pretty chilly weather, it felt comfortable in a wide range of temperatures, from the 20s to the high 40s. Once the mercury approached 50 F, the bag felt a bit too warm, but that’s to be expected.
One thing our tester really liked about the bag was the feel of the materials. The UltraLamina 15 has a nylon taffeta lining and a micro ripstop nylon shell, which felt silky soft to the touch. It was nice to slip into after a busy day outside, and our tester said she warmed up quickly with the aid of nothing but her own body heat. Although the shell fabric and liner fabric were both on the lightweight side (20 denier) they showed no signs of wear or tear.
Designed for cold, damp conditions, the UltraLamina has a mummy shape and zippers on both sides that only extend down 23 inches. The short zippers not only help to make the bag lightweight (2 pounds, 15 ounces), but they also limit potential openings where cold air could seep in.Each zipper also has two zipper pulls so you can stick your arms through but still stay in the bag. This allows you to do tasks like reading or cooking while keeping you warm (rather like a high-tech Snuggie).
While all mummy bags are built to hug the body, some are slightly roomier than others. Our tester—who has a medium frame—said the UltraLamina 15 was a bit snug from the hips on down. “I had to hold the bag when I rotated my body so the bottom of the bag would stay on the ground,” she said. “But once I was on my side, it wasn’t too tight or uncomfortable.”
When she zipped herself up in the bag completely, there was ample protection around the face so the zipper didn’t scratch her. Centralized by the top of the left-hand zipper are two pull cords to tighten the hood — one tightens the upper hood to halo the face and the other tightens the bag around the bottom of the face. Both were fairly easy to access, but easier to use with both hands rather than just one.
One of the most significant advancements in gear has been the development of high-end, hardcore products to suit a woman’s body, and this is evident in sleeping bags. Thank goodness for fewer cold, sleepless nights in bags built for a woman’s shape and size.
SNEWS® Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $205/regular; $215/long
For more information:www.mountainhardwear.com