Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Lightweight and compressible for a synthetic bag, comfortable, warm
Cons: Larger pack size, small zipper won’t mate with other bags
Best Uses: Backpacking, big wall climbing, extended wet weather trips
We love the Mountain Hardwear Ultralaminina, and were pleasantly surprised at how well it performed in the mountains, which is why it wins our Top Pick award for best synthetic bag. Mountain Hardwear really paid attention to detail with this bag by doing everything they could to lighten it up and make it backpack ready. It is the lightest synthetic bag in this review and is also lighter than the duck down Kelty Cosmic Down 20 - Women's sleeping bag. We found it very warm and comfortable – making it a great candidate for backpacking trips when there’s extended wet weather in the forecast. We put this bag through its paces by bivying outside on cold windy nights in the High Sierra, and we stayed toasty.
It’s liner fabric is soft to the touch, and the hood and chin draw chords are easy to use in the dark. It fit our testers great, and we like the hood. For those big wall climbing ladies out there, this bag is a great choice. The only drawback to its lightweight design is that its zipper is not a standard size and will not mate with other bags for when you have company in your tent.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
A compact and lightweight synthetic bag, this is the bag to choose if you are a frequent backpacker but want the durability, attractive price, dampness handling ability of synthetic insulation.
We were pleasantly surprised at how warm this bag kept us! Admittedly, we were nervous taking the Ultralaminina out in the high country, because it felt so lightweight and we weren’t sure it would keep us warm enough. Mountain Hardwear uses increased insulation for its women’s version of this bag in combination with welded Lamina construction to enhance the bag’s loft and eliminate cold spots, which seems to do the trick. This bag is equally as warm as the much bulkier Cat’s Meow, and much warmer than the other synthetic bags in this review. We also found it warmer than the Kelty Cosmic Down. We really put this bag to the test when we slept out under the stars on a windy night. The Ultralaminina’s materials seem to effectively block the chilly Sierra wind, keeping warm when the temperature got down to 32°F.
Mountain Hardwear has gone to great lengths to make this a very lightweight option for a synthetic bag. They have pared down the size of the zipper, shortening it and using one with smaller teeth. The only problem with this is it won’t mate with any other sleeping bag when you want some cuddle time in the backcountry. The Ultralaminina also uses a very lightweight exterior fabric, making it the lightest synthetic bag we tested. We wouldn't hesitate to carry this with us on a multi-day backpacking trip.
The shell and liner materials of the Ultralaminina were our favorite of the whole review. It is very soft against the skin, making it extra hard to get out of the sleeping bag on chilly mornings. There is plenty of room in the bag to move around and wear extra layers. We like the fit, and the hood feels cozy. Our 5’5 tester thought it could have been an inch or two shorter to save even more weight.
Rab Neutrino 400 – Women's, the Ultralaminina seems to subscribe to the less is more philosophy, with which we also agree. We love the materials used to construct this bag and the attention paid to lightweight details like the small zipper. We particularly like the hood construction, which uses different diameter cords for the hood and chin sections, making it easy to adjust by feel in the dark, when it really counts.
Because of this sleeping bag’s weight, compressibility, and warmth, we think this is the most versatile synthetic sleeping bag in this review. We are much more likely to take this sleeping bag on a backpacking trip than the Marmot Trestles or the Slumberjack Latitude. Because it is synthetic, we would also be more willing to bring it on an extended trip where wet weather is likely. Many outdoor education institutions that run multi-week trips like NOLS or Outward Bound would benefit from using a bag like the Ultralaminina. Due to its durability, we also would not hesitate to take the Ultraliminina on a big wall or car camping trip.
As mentioned above, this sleeping bag has many applications. The best, however, would be for big wall climbing trips where a synthetic sleeping bag is essential, and this one is light and warm. The Ultralaminina is also a great choice for extended backpacking trips where lwet weather is in the forecast, particularly in climates like the North Cascades.
This sleeping bag is on the high end of synthetic bags, but you get what you pay for. At $240 it is relatively expensive, but we think the quality materials and construction are worth it. If you want a less expensive option, and are ok with sacrificing a bit of quality for a synthetic sleeping bag that is a little bulkier but just as warm and almost as light, check out Best Buy award winner the The North Face Cat’s Meow 20 - Women's.
We love this sleeping bag! It feels and fits great and stays warm in all kinds of conditions. After being nervous to take this skimpy feeling bag in the backcountry, it proved its worth on windy cold nights. This bag is versatile enough to take backpacking or car camping. We are happy to award this bag our Top Pick award for best synthetic sleeping bag.
Other Versions and Accessories
The Ultralaminina comes in regular and long versions, as well as a men’s version, the Ultralamina. Mountain Hardwear also offers the Laminina/Lamina line, a cheaper alternative to its “Ultra” cousins.
— Jessica Haist
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: October 31, 2013
Credit: Mountain Hardwear
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