Gear

The gear I use while Hiking

UltraLamina 15 Review

This is a review of the Ultra Lamina 15 degree bag from Mountain Hardwear.

UltraLamina pic #1

UltraLamina pic #1

I have used this sleeping bag a lot. Most of you can tell just by looking at the pictures. It is starting to look sorta pitiful. It has seen multiple section hikes and when Im not using it someone in my group probably is. Its been compressed a ton and has until recently been my go to bag.

UltraLamina pic #2

UltraLamina pic #2

Im going to be honest. I do not like this Sleeping bag. There are to many things I dislike about it to give it a good review. However I want to discuss the good things first. This bag has a great hood. Cinches really good and is very comfy through the night. I have the six foot version. I am 5’6. It is plenty roomy for me. I can sleep on my back, side or stomach without feeling restricted. It’s a nice looking bag. There are no cold spots in this bag. The insulation is consistent throughout the bag. I love not having to fret about the bag getting wet. One night on a section it got wet because I had the bright idea to put a trash bag around the foot area to keep water from getting to it. I woke up and the lower half was a little more than damp. It dried fast, kept its insulating properties and didn’t lose its warmth.

UltraLamina pic #3

UltraLamina pic #3

Another great thing about this bag is it packs down crazy little. I have yet to see another synthetic bag pack down this small. Its crazy. People say down packs down smaller than synthetic and that is very true. But this bag brings the competition between down and synthetic closer. That said I just purchased an EE Revelationx 30 from Tim at http://www.englightenedequipment.com and that quilt packs down 1/2 the size of this bag. You may be thinking, ” Yea but it is rated at 30 and the ultralamina is rated 15 so that makes sense that it packs smaller.” Wrong. The UltraLamina is not a 15 degree bag. It is more like a 25 degree bag. Here is were I begin the negatives of this bag.

UltraLamina 15

UltraLamina 15

I have never experienced such hate towards such a small object. A zipper. When I have to urinate and the zipper of this bag refuses to let me do so it is terribly irritating. When the mice in an AT shelter get at my hiking bag and I cant get out of my sleeping bag to get at those little peckers it is terribly irritating. When I wake up in the morning and it takes me 5-10 minutes to get out of my bag because of the zipper it is terribly irritating. Point made. The zipper is terribly irritating. It gets worse. I thru’ed Georgia’s AT in May 2013 and stayed at mountain crossings. I slept using this bag but it was warm in the hostel. Maybe high 60’s and due to the fact that the zippers (which are on both sides) only zip down 1/3 of the bag my lower body was super hot. Why couldn’t they use one zipper and make it 2/3 length rather than having 2 zippers at 1/3? It gets worse. this bag says its rated at 15. This is not true. Its good maybe to 25. I sleep just slightly warm when I have enough nourishment and when I used this bag in the teens my feet were frozen. March 1st 2013 near blood mountain temps dropped to about 18 degrees. I wasn’t terribly cold but I wasn’t warm. Yes, I used a pad. Yes, I was in a tent.

Conclusion: I give the Mountain Hardwear UltraLamina 15 a 4 out of 10. I do not recommend it. I have retired it. And I probably wont sell it. Its not versatile. It’s not warm. The bags temperature rating is at least 10 degrees off. However it is somewhat light 2lbs 10oz and packs down pretty small. Its definitely not worth the 260.00 it sells for. Do yourself a favor and buy a different bag. Last thing. This is not a Mountain Hardwear issue. They make great gear. I have another bag made by them that is exceptional and a rain jacket that is top notch. This particular item though, kinda sucks.

Advertisements
Categories: Gear | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sleeping Bag (MH Phantom 0)

This review is for the sleeping bag on the right of this picture. Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0 degree bag.

Phantom pic #1

Phantom pic #1

I’ve used this sleeping bag for only one section hike. I usually try to stay away from weather that would require me to use a 0 degree bag. I used this bag in the Himalayas. The weather never got lower than 20 degrees but I’d rather be safe than sorry. So I haven’t used this bag anywhere near its temp rating. All I can say is a was super toasty in the 20’s at night and have no doubt this bag would be comfortable down into the single digits.

Phantom pic #2

Phantom pic #2

This bag has 800 fill goose down, its a snug cut. I wouldn’t recommend this bag for a large build person. Rather Id push them to one of Montbell’s stretchy bags. This bag comes in at just over 2 1/2 pounds which is very good for a 0 degree bag. Mountain Hardwear really overdid it with this bag. It is a beautiful piece of gear. I enjoyed taking it out of my pack every night. Its just easy on the eyes. It takes some time for it to fluff up after being compressed all day but when it does the loft is quite impressive. However when compared to a Western Mountaineering bag or feathered friends I’d assume its not as high quality. Still, its a dependable, light, and warm bag.

Phantom pic #3

Phantom pic #3

In pic #3 you can see the hood. The hood cinches tight and the draft collar is very effective. I did not feel any heat loss from the bag through the cold nights in the Himalayas. I have yet to sleep in another sleeping bag that has as nice a hood as the Phantom does. The guys at Outdoorgearlab concur. They say, “The Phantom is equipped with the best hood design of any sleeping bag weve tested. Specifically, it was the only one that remained comfortable when the hood and neck baffle were fully cinched.” I have found these guys to give somewhat reliable reviews and couldn’t agree more with their opinion on this bag. Here is their review, http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Sleeping-Bag-Down-Cold-Weather-Reviews/Mountain-Hardwear-Phantom-0

Phantom pic #4

Phantom pic #4

Here in pic #4 you can see the loft of the bag after it had been setting out for a while. The sleeping pad I was using with this bag was a Thermarest Ridgrest SOL. Nothing fancy. I only wore underwear to sleep. This is the regular version of this bag which is good for people 6 ft and under. Im only 5’6 so this was plenty for me. I was able to wiggle around, sleep on my side, stomach or back. I even tossed some clothes in the bag to keep it warm through the night so that putting close on in the morning wasn’t horrifying. It was not constricting to me at all. For a larger male this may be different. Now this bag is not cheap. The street price looks like it ranges from 380-580. I got this bag with a coupon on sale. I ended up paying only 240 for it.

Phantom pic #5

Phantom pic #5

Phantom pic #6

Phantom pic #6

Now to talk about the packed size of this bag. Its kinda huge. Like I wouldn’t be able to carry this in my Golite jam 50. I have to switch to my osprey Aether 60. Now I don’t really know What size is good for a 0 degree bag but the two pictures to the right show the size of this one. You can make up your mind if it is good or not. I’ve thought about selling this bag many times because I hardly use it. But I got it for so cheap and I know that one day I may need it again and wouldn’t forgive myself if I got rid of it. So for now, it sits in my closet. Hope this review helped you. As a conclusion I would recommend this bag to a friend. However I wouldn’t recommend it at 580.00 dollars. At that price one could buy a western mountaineering bag. I would recommend it for around 380.00 dollars. You just need to find it on sale.

Conclusion: I give this bag a 7 out of 10 only because it is so expensive. If you can find it for less than 380.00 then it is a 10 out of 10 bag. For 585.00 you can buy a kodiak MF from Western Mountaineering that will be better than the Phantom 0.

Categories: Gear | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tarptent Notch

This has been my shelter for a little under a year and I could not be happier.

Tarptent Notch Shelter

Tarptent Notch Shelter


This thing has two Vestibules and both open and close. This works amazing as I can enter from one side and store my pack and other items in the other side. Unlike the Tarptent Contrail where you enter and exit where you store your gear. I am only 5’6 so I might not be the best person to talk about how spacious it is but it works for me. There is plenty of room. My head never brushes the mesh inner when I sit up. It is a two piece tarptent and can be taken apart. You can use only the mesh if you want however using only the mesh requires to extra quylines to attach to the tops of where the trekking poles hold the tent up.

Now the only downside to this is that it uses two trekking poles. So if you are not a two trekking poles person ufortuantely this tarptent is not for you. Also if you end up breaking a pole then you are going to have a major problem. I would recommend this strongly to the person that uses aluminum style trekking poles since a break with those usually only means a bend. If you use carbon fiber and you break your pole it will shatter and you will be left with a droopy tarptent. I’ve been in storms, in heavy rain and high humidity with this tarp and have yet to find a problem warranting me to look into a different shelter. The condensation is not nearly as bad as many make it out to be.

It is lightweight at 26 ounces and is silnylon. It does stretch a little a night but thats really not a big deal. I use the 8 inch stakes rather than the 6 inch because when I hike in Florida the soil is much softer.

Conclusion: This tarptent rocks. I give it a 9 out of 10. A 9 because I did need to seem seal it myself and I feel like its to expensive. I mean its more expensive than the rainbow and the rainbow has tent poles and can be free standing. I don’t know. Maybe Im missing something. But yea, this tarptent rocks.

Categories: Gear | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.