This Spring sees the release of Mountain Hardwear’s new and updated range of Lamina sleeping bags. Over the years the Lamina range has often taken the tag of being the ‘best synthetic bags on the market’ and rightly so. However until now the range has remained largely unchanged and it was about time for Mountain Hardwear to push on and make them even better.
For anyone unfamiliar with Lamina sleeping bags the big deal is in the way they are constructed using laminated insulation. The Thermal Q synthetic insulation fill is laminated at certain points to both the shell layer and the liner. This effectively eliminates stitch lines which are a potential cause of cold spots and weak points in the bag’s construction. It also makes an already pretty water resistant sleeping bag even more hydrophobic.
This year the Lamina range has gotten even better by the introduction of body mapping into the bag’s make up. Body mapping – placing different materials with particular characteristics in specific zones to maximise user comfort – is nothing new in outdoor clothing. The concept is a good one and makes total sense for sleeping bag design. Indeed many top end down sleeping bags incorporate this approach but I don’t recall it being done with a synthetic bag before. Using the right amount of insulation in the right areas improves the sleeping bag’s overall efficiency and the ratio of warmth to weight and pack size is improved as a result.
With all the development going on within synthetic insulation in clothing and the new fibres coming to the market (discussed here), I fully expect other sleeping bag manufacturers to offer up something in the way of competition for the Lamina range in the near future. Also, as the price of down has increased over the last few years, I think both manufacturers and consumers could start looking increasingly towards the performance synthetic end of the market as a legitimate and more affordable alternative to down.