Review Sites & Camping Opinions

The difference between thermic micro and thermal.Q from mountain hardwear

I was recently shopping for a cold weather sleeping bag when I found the Lamina -30 at Not in stock so I drove to every store in Fairbanks, AK that sold camping goods. The very last place I went was the only on with the lamina -30 in stock - huzzah! But they had two different varieties - one filled with "thermic micro" and one filled with "thermal.Q". The shopkeeper could only tell me that the lamina was great because they didn't use "shingled" insulation; he claimed the lamina's sheets would maintain its loft about half a year longer than bags with shingled insulation....okay, but that still didn't help me pick between the two insulation types. I spent an hour in the shop on my smartphone trying to find any differences between the two - no luck. I chose the thermic micro because it was the one the shop guy handed me after our talk. I took the thermic micro home and tested it out. Then I discovered the thermal.q bag was half a pound lighter than the thermic micro bag so I returned the micro and got the q. Yes, the q has benefits, but also things I really don't like. I wanted to detail them here in case anyone was interested. I'm rating the bags themselves (supposedly the same fill weight) but I think my observations extend to the insulation too.

Thermic micro bag had better colors - black on bottom, asymmetric pattern on top - I liked it a lot! Just didn't like the light grey inner hood - oils will eventually discolor I feel. Thermal.q bag has a light grey bottom - arahhhh, hope I can keep it clean. Dark blue inner hood inner - not a color I like but harder to dirty. Will the dark absorb heat more and would the grey have reflected heat back at my head? Don't know.

thermal.q is half a pound lighter than thermic micro (but listed fill weights are the same). Does that mean the outer shell of the micro is half a pound heavier?!?! woah!

thermic micro's comes with compression sack, thermal q only has stuff sack. Thermic micro compression sack is a liter smaller and is the type with a buckle&strap and 2 tightening straps. The thermal.q stuff sack only has a drawstring. Thermic micro compressed somewhat easily and fit in the sack nicely. Thermal.q was ridiculously hard to fit in the sack (even though the bag was slightly bigger), very hard to compress. Hopefully, that means thermal.q may last longer because the inner air pockets don't like to stay compressed (like a very stiff spring) - it's the air/loft in the insulation that 'holds the heat in'.

The outer tiny zipped pocket in the thermic micro is lower on the torso than in thermal.q and I'm getting cold hands already thinking about using the thermic micro.

Inner pocket you can access during the night: thermic micro is wide enough for a old style flip phone. thermal q's has about half that width.

Thermic micro's inner fabric feels nicer than the thermal.q.

Thermic micro's drawstrings (hood and collar) act more solid than the thermal.q's

Lastly, a very unscientific test: zipped myself up in the bag and stood until I felt too hot and needed to escape (full disclosure, each bag tested on separate nights). Thermic micro: uncomfortable, pass-out hot happened fairly quickly. Thermal.q: never happened; oh I did become toasty warm, but never uncomfortable.

I'm keeping the thermal.q because half a pound can feel significant -  a bag of nutter butter cookies is half a pound. Bag temperature ratings shouldn't completely be trusted so I expect this is a solid -15F bag (and I never plan to really camp any colder than that, even if my bag could keep me alive). Testing thermal.q next week in a remote cabin, January interior Alaska.

thermic micro, old -
thermal.q, new -

Random tidbits - Camping, hiking, skiing

Wood stove: expect to burn 3-4 wood bundles a night (volume of the bundles sold at supermarkets, about 10 pieces each I'd say)
<16 duralogs warmed a cabin at -10F up to 55F in 5 hours (total burn time of 16 duralogs was roughly 8 hours).
Me: I drink about a liter of water every 5 miles of skiing/hiking
Thermolite mummy liner is crap. Keeps bag clean I'm sure but only adds couple of degrees of warmth (2-5F - tested with thermometer in 75F room). Feels really great though; much better than the swishy nylon of sleeping bags. Heavy. I'm going to try both fleece and/or silk liners on my next trips.
Skiing - ate about 17 cliff shot blocks skiing 12 miles.
Hiking - ate 30? shot blocks hiking 20 miles.
Mountain Hardware Lamina sleeping bag needs to be paired with a sleeping pad. I slept in a wood stove heated cabin approx 8 ft from stove on a wooden bunk bed, bottom bunk (outside temp -20F in the morning, inside temp never rose high enough to melt the snow from my pack 8ft away from the stove). In middle of night, could feel the cold seeping into my bag where my body compressed the bag's insulation (was wearing lamina sleeping bag, thermolite liner, fleece pajama pants, capilene 4 bottoms, merino wool top, fleece top, & c9 compression cold weather top).
Mountain Hardware Lamina on 1 restridge sleeping pad on snow with fleece liner: not comfortable for side sleeping, could feel cold spots through the pad (~10-20ish degree weather; my breath froze on the tent walls). feet cold in morning (no hot water bottle the night before, used chemical hot feet packs which were completely cold in the morning)
Mountain Hardware Lamina on 1 thermarest sol sleeping pad & downmatul 7 on snow with fleece liner in 30-35 degree weather, on snow: too hot! no cold spots (no breath froze on the tent walls), had to take of my light fleece gloves in the middle of the night, hands outside of fleece to stay cooler. really like that thermarest had such a small volume. downmat was uncomfortable in my room with the pack as a pillow (sidesleeping) but it wasn't bad actually camping (feet hanging off mat, resting on hot water bottle) our 3 person Hilleberg tent was about 50F in the morning (35F outside)


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