Currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand (06/12/2013) - 31200km cycled

3 Nov 2013

Sleeping Bag Review: Mountain Hardwear Lamina 20

Posted by Will

Bought for the princely sum of: £80
Used for: 20 months
Limited to: -7C
Insulation: Artificial
Weight: 1.7kg
In short: Good value, non-expedition level sleeping bag. Very durable, although in my opinion an optimistic temperature limit.

p1060718-800As any seasoned camper will tell you: there’s nothing better than wriggling down into a soft and warm sleeping bag on a chilly night after a long hard day’s physical effort. I couldn’t agree more. So it is crucial that any cyclist or traveller planning to spend time in a tent sets off with the right bedding in their pack. Otherwise, they will be denied one of the true pleasures of camping. And sleeping bags are useful not only for campers but also for those visiting budget hotels in less-developed, cold-climate countries (parts of South America, China and Nepal for instance). Blankets are usually thin and central heating non-existent. Consider taking a sleeping bag.

Onto the product in question: the Mountain Hardwear Lamina 20. Mountain Hardwear is the manufacturer, Lamina 20 is the model name. The ’20′ is a reference to the limit temperature in Fahrenheit which equates to roughtly -7 Celcius. Does the Lamina 20 live up to its limit? Well, ‘limit’ is an elastic concept … how cold are you supposed to feel before you’re past your limit of endurance?

I would say the temperature limit of -7C is optimistic. I’ve slept at -7C and felt cold and that was wearing thermal underwear. Of course, sleeping bags lose some of their insulation over time and the Mountain Hardwear Lamina 20 is no exception, yet still, as new, I feel this sleeping bag pushes the limit by claiming -7C. In the 20 months it’s served me, it’s severest test was within the first two months in northern Scandinavia in late March. It sufficed, but just. However, raising the temperature a notch it performs fine and is perfectly warm at 0C.

Containing artificial insulation, the Lamina 20 can be machine washed (although it’s not advisable to do this regularly), performs well when damp and is a great deal cheaper than the goose feather alternative. I have been especially pleased by the inability of water to penetrate the outer layers. As my tent has started to fail in recent months, puddles of water sometimes collect at my feet, yet this never soaks through the protection of the Lamina 20. That’s a real plus point.

p1020620-800I’ve also been impressed by the durability of the sleeping bag and the sleeping bag container sack which both remain perfectly intact. No stitching has come undone in the sleeping bag, not a single tear or rip has perforated the bag, nor has the zip come close to breaking despite many of my agitated yanks at it in the middle of the night. A broken sleeping bag zip must be one of the most annoying blights of any camping trip and in this respect the Lamina 20 is faultless. The sleeping bag container sack hasn’t ripped either, despite sometimes being exposed to sharp branches and bushes when I’m travelling light. It’s pleasantly spacious enough to fit the sleeping bag so the horrible job of stuffing the bag back into its sack when sleepy in the morning is to some extent bearable.

The price will no doubt be one of the greatest draws of the Mountain Hardwear Lamina 20. At only £80 and by now probably much cheaper it represents one of the best warmth/price ratios on the market. The weight at 1.7kg isn’t a downer either – most similarly priced, similarly temperature-rated sleeping bags weigh the same. It’s only the expensive down sleeping bags that significantly beat the Lamina 20 on weight. And the stuff-size is reasonable too, fitting comfortably at any angle in an average-sized backpack. The small bulk of this sleeping bag was one of the main reasons I chose it since space for me was tight.

So, if you know you’ll be using a sleeping bag regularly and that the haphazard nature of travel will beat-up your equipment, then seriously consider this ‘bag’. If you’re camping anywhere seriously cold then forget it … it’s just not warm enough to take on an expedition. For the Average Joe traveller with an eye for adventure and on a budget, I would throughly recommend the Mountain Hardwear Lamina 20.

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