The Trip: Ten Lakes in Yosemite NP, 8-9 Oct 05. Elevation ~8700ft.
The Weather: 34F at 9:30pm, 32F at 7:30am. Water frozen on the lake edge and a thick layer of ice in my 3L platypus hanging outside the HH. Low humidity, low wind, no precip. Estimated overnight low temp 20-25F.
The Site: Fairly protected by trees with the tarp perpendicular to the wind. About 15-20' higher than the lake.
- HH UL BP Asym
- JRB Nest underneath
- JRB No Sniveler inside
- MacCat Standard tarp
- 20" x 72" x .5" CCF pad
- Chemical hand warmer
I slept in:
Head: Fleece balaclava, but ended up removing it.
Torso: Coolmax T-Shirt, Polyester thermal top, Columbia Convert midlayer
Legs: Swim trunks, Polyester thermal pants, Red Ledge Thunderlight rain pants
Feet: Alpaca socks, thick polyester boot socks
The night went like this...
9:30pm - I went to bed at 34F. After spending a few minutes adjusting the underquilt, I laid there for a while deciding if I was warm enough...I was right on the edge. As the temp continued to drop, I decided I wasn't warm enough and kept fidgeting with the underquilt's fit.
Midnight - I popped the handwarmer. It helped a little bit, but not as much as a hot water bottle. Of course, it didn't stink like one, either.
1:30am - I was cold enough to bring in the CCF pad. The pad with the underquilt kept me plenty warm to sleep.
7:30am - I woke up after sunrise to 32F.
1. The filled Gear Hammock changes the shape of the HH enough that I always had a gap under my legs. I disconnected it from the side tie-out and put both Gear Hammock ends on the hammock support and this solved the problem.
2. Underquilt fit is extremely important at the lower temperatures (under 40F). Temps down to about 40F are more forgiving of small air pockets between the hammock and underquilt, and I've never had a problem. This night, I felt every gap and it took some more adjusting. I finally got it perfect just before midnight, and I could really tell the difference when I did...warmed up quite a bit. As the temps kept dropping, it still wasn't enough. Shortly after this, I popped the handwarmer.
3. The absolute low temp for me in the Nest/NS setup is 30F. I got some sleep between 10-midnight around this temp (maybe slightly colder), but I was still chilly. The comfortable low temp is probably ~37F...I could be toasty here.
4. The CCF pad was a quick, no-fidget solution to warm me up. However, it added quite a bit of bulk to my pack, and without a SPE I still got a little chilly on the edges. I also removed my midlayer and put it on top of me so it wouldn't get any moisture buildup from the pad. I could feel moisture in my thermals when I rolled over, but it wicked out pretty quickly. I was not overheated when the moisture formed.
5. My tarp tensioners weren't strong enough to use on the MacCat's ridgeline tie-outs when connecting to the HH hammock supports. When I doubled them up they worked fine. (Tying directly to the trees would have worked also, but I wanted to see if I could use the tensioners on the HH hammock supports. I usually the tensioners on the corner tie-outs.)
6. The MacCat seemed to cut the wind very well. In one of the pictures I took, I can't see any of the HH under the tarp. (The tarp's ridgeline was barely above the HH's ridgeline, but the sides weren't pitched low and steep like a storm setup. The hammock was also unoccupied...I should have asked someone to take a picture with me inside. But the point is that the MacCat provided excellent wind protection.)
I almost brought a second bag for backup instead of the pad, so I could use the Nest/NS on bottom, and the bag inside. It would have been much less bulky, but my other bag weighs 40 oz so I picked the 15 oz pad instead.
Extrapolating this, I considered bottom insulation with a pad vs double underquilts. The two overstuffed quilts with suspension system weighs about 45 oz...approximately the same as an Exped DAM with SPE and wing pads. The double quilts would have helped compensate for the sensitivity to small air gaps, and I'm confident that two quilts on the bottom would have kept me toasty that night.
Overall, this was a great trip! Beautiful scenery, relatively easy hiking, and great company. Plus I got to test the limits of my gear...how much better does it get?