Whether you need a waterproof-breathable toaster for the worst conditions or an ultralight summer sack for the best, we've got good news: This year's bags are tricked out with a host of features that will let you sleepand even cook and readmore comfortably. Exhibit A: the Gear of the Year Mountain Hardwear UltraLamina 32, a fast-and-light bag with dual-entry zips that allow you to use your arms without sacrificing precious body heat.
Mountain Hardwear UltraLamina 32 (32°F) $175 mountainhardwear.com
1. Last year, Mountain Hardwear wowed the sleeping-bag world (OK, us gearheads) with its welded-insulation Lamina series. Even non-sleeping-bag geeks will appreciate this upgrade: The UltraLamina 32 is lighter (2.1 pounds) and compresses down to almost two-thirds the size of its predecessor.
2. Hardwear chopped up its synthetic insulation into smaller pieces. The new stuff (called Thermic Micro) compresses tighter and springs back fasterwhich allows the UltraLamina to use a bit less fill and still get the necessary loft. It's also more comfy, draping around the body in the same way down does.
3. The benefit of welded insulation: With glued rather than sewn seams, fill doesn't get pinched together to create cold spots. As a result, the UltraLamina squeezes even more warmth out of less insulation than traditional sacks. Welded construction also helps improve the shell's water resistance.
4. Cup of coffee sounds good, getting out of your warm bag sounds bad? Make your joe without braving the cold. The UltraLamina's dual-entry zippers allow you to stick your arms out of the bag so you can sit upand read or play cards or boil waterwithout losing trapped body heat.
5. Features include the most snag-free zippers we've seen, a stash pocket big enough for a headlamp and iPod, and a mummy cut that testers deemed just rightefficient, not claustrophobic. Warning: Most bags are optimistically ratedand this one's no different. If you're a cold sleeper, consider the UltraLamina 15.