Mountain Hardwear Lamina Z Torch 5º Sleeping Bag Review
First of all, let me say that this is a great bag! I've had it for over a year and used all across the US and in all conditions and temperatures on all sorts of adventures, so I feel that I can speak to it well.
Pros of the Mountain Hardware Lamina
When it comes to things I like about this bag, I may not mention things that I would expect to be normal of a good sleeping bag. I really want my pros list to be things that appear to be above and beyond normal. Thus, just cause I don't mention something, doesn't mean it's not good.
First of all, it is a decently warm bag, although I find that it may be rated a little colder than is realistic, but not by much if so. Granted I sleep colder than most, but I took that into consideration. Coldest weather I've been with it was around the 15º F mark and I slept fairly well, but awoke in the night more than normal due to being momentarily cold. This was with me in a warm base layer, in a tent pitched on snow, on-top of a 3.5 R-rated air mattress, totally zipped up, beanie on. It's always good to understand that temp ratings aren't indicators of comfort, but extremes. So I'm not saying that I expected to be toasty warm at 5º, but I was surprised that I was still remotely cold around the 15º mark considering the other factors. Again, this will vary from person to person.
Secondly, the material is good and handles moisture well. Unlike some materials, where you're afraid it will rip or snag if a butterfly lands on it, I tend to feel quite confident this material holds up well to abrasion and 'stretching' from things like stuffing it, etc. Furthermore, the zippers don't have too many issues. The zipper air guard does occasional get caught, but not enough to truly complain. I like that is the double-zipper (one at feet as well), but this is becoming fairly standard on sleeping bags.
As I said, those are the main pros that standout, but unless otherwise mentioned below as a con, assume that it's a good feature of the bag.
Cons of the Mountain Hardware Lamina
One thing to mention that isn't a con of the bag, but is a con for me and I wish I had paid more attention to before buying the bag, is that it is a very big fit when it comes to a mummy bag. So unless you want the wiggle-room, I'd find something that fits more narrowly and is thus more heat efficient. In the future I will be paying more attention to this. So just be aware it is a broad-shouldered fit. On a skinny guy like me (155lb, 5' 11") it leaves lots of dead air space.
I will say that I'm not a big fan of the drawcord because it's difficult to work once already totally zipped up in the sleeping bag. The mechanism spring is stiff and the drawcord is tough to handle. Maybe I just have issues (and that is always a possibility with me), but it seems more difficult than it needs to be. The release spring is stiff and requires a fair amount of effort to release (can be a good thing since it holds it tight) and the string tends to be facing away from you when at rest, meaning that once zipped up and trying to reach outside the bag, it's an odd angle.
This may not be an issue for some people, but the small pouch on the outside of the bag for cellphones or batteries causes me disappointment. Because it's on the outside of the bag and thus the outside of the insulation, it doesn't keep things warm. So, if I were to use it for batteries or phone, my power levels will all be zapped by morning time. If you're just putting keys or something in there, I guess it's fine, but for me personally, I'd rather have it be on the inside so I can keep certain things warm and away from condensation/damp.
Furthermore, I don't feel that it is as compressible and light as they make it seem when advertised. For someone like me who does mostly backpacking and hiking, I need something more compressible and more lightweight and this is the reason I'll soon be upgrading to a quality down bag like either Feathered Friends or Western Mountaineering (I haven't decided yet). Compared to other synthetic bag at this temp degree, it's quite compressible (what they say, I haven't compared in depth). However, it's not a bag I'd recommend for backpacking due to this. Spend a little more and get a down bag that compresses.
I hope that helps give a bit of insight to a few features. If it's helpful, I also have this video review on my youtube channel, but I basically cover the same stuff (but included visuals and examples):
Furthermore, see how I created the header photo inside a studio