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  1. #1
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    Default HH at 25F - What I learned

    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.

    The Gear:
    - HH UL BP Asym
    - JRB Nest underneath
    - JRB No Sniveler inside
    - MacCat Standard tarp
    Backup Gear:
    - 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.

    Lessons:

    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.)

    Other notes:

    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?

  2. #2

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    maybe one of the Jacks can comment on the oldragmountain topquilt.

    great report!

    titanium
    just call me TH
    woman with altitude

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Jeff
    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.

    2. Underquilt fit is extremely important at the lower temperatures (under 40F).
    The only method I have been able to figure out to keep a bottom quilt against me with no air space and without compressing the quilt, is to quilt it to the bottom of the hammock. Between that and sealing the edges so air can not be blown between the quilt and the hammock, bottom insulation can be very warm indeed.
    Walk Well,
    Risk

    Author of "A Wildly Successful 200-Mile Hike"
    http://www.wayahpress.com

    Personal hiking page: http://www.imrisk.com

  4. #4
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    Default

    TH - JRB now puts loops on the ORM so it can be used as an underquilt...that might have been enough to make it through this night without the pad, but that's just speculation since I've never actually seen an ORM.

    Risk - I agree about attaching the insulation. I made a version of your WarmHammock with Primaloft, but I didn't use big enough darts so the insulation compressed. Sure did keep me warm, though.

    I wonder if DWR would be strong enough to quilt only the top layer of DWR to the hammock. I guess if the hammock were occupied when it was quilted, it might be strong enough and a lot of the gaps would be eliminated. That takes away some of the versatility, though.

    Also, the JRB restricts a lot of the airflow coming between the quilt and hammock by the drawstring ends and the ladder-loops that attach to the HH side tie-outs. Still not perfect, but it works well, assuming you don't want to attach it in a more permanent manner like quilting. That should prevent the billowing sail you had with the Taco, at least!

    Are you going to improve your -15F system?!

  5. #5
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    Jeff,

    You discuss making multiple adjustments to the underquilt before finally hitting the sweet spot at which it got noticeably warmer (paraphrasing here). Can you explain what adjustment(s) finally got it just right, or was it just trial and error? I really like both me JRB Nest and my Speer Peapod, but my limited and unscientific experience with both makes me believe that the Peapod is less finicky at colder temps. I have only used the Nest perhaps 5-6 nights with temps in the 40's or below, but have never felt that I had it just right and hanging so as to provide maximum efficiency . . . I usually had cold spots. I felt, and still feel, that this has been not because of any shortcomings in the Nest, but rather imperfect hanging of it by me. On the other hand, I have not had such issues with the Peapod. Presumably since it totally encloses the hammock, it is less suseptible to user-error.

    Since the Nest is lighter than the Peapod, I'd like to work this out so that I can comfortably use it at just as cold of temperatures as I can use the Speer Peapod. I do think this is possible, if I can just work out getting it to hang more efficiently.

    Tripp

  6. #6
    Registered Arkie - Ouachita Trail maintainer
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    Default adjustments to Nest - my experiences

    I have not tried my Nest on my HH at temps quite as low as this report of Jeff's (My temps have mainly been in the mid-40's (F) and one night in the upper 20's.), but my experiences in trying to adjust the Nest have led me to FIRST be careful not to overtighten the Nest against the hammock bottom. I had to remember that when I'm looking at the Nest under the hammock, I'm not IN the hammock and thus, it is unweighted.

    I think I was making it too tight and compressing the down too much. I had cold spots one night, but the next night, I totally changed my approach and hung it a bit looser. This helped tremendously and I was much warmer in basically the same temps as the first night, which were about 40 this particular trip. By 'looser' initial hang of the Nest, I mean attaching the support system to the hammock support ropes at about the hammock knots for a good fit, rather than where I had originally put them quite a bit higher along the hammock rope (toward the tree).

    For added insulation, I have on occasion put a space blanket between the Nest and hammock. I have not noticed any problems with condensation thus far when doing this.

    Hope this helps... YMMV, of course.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by trippclark
    Can you explain what adjustment(s) finally got it just right, or was it just trial and error?
    This is gonna sound complicated, but it's really not...it's just tough to explain over the internet. Of course, it's not as simple as throwing a pad in the hammock, either.

    There are lots of variables affecting how it will hang for each individual and each site, so it was kinda trial and error to get it right, but I think the same tricks would work for everyone.

    A few of these I did before I even got in. The only things I did after I was ready for bed was tighten the suspension on the foot end and move the velcro position.

    Here are some of the things that might help:

    - Tightening the drawstrings on the end too much creates a pocket of air at that end...tighten them only enough to snug the quilt to the hammock. Remember that you might have a gap between the Nest and hammock while unoccupied, because the hammock will stretch and sag when you get in.

    - If you can't tell whether or not there's a gap under your back, ask a buddy to check for you. If no one is around, grab the HH along the bugnet seam and pull it towards you until you can see the Nest. Then grab the Nest through the bugnet and pull it up around you. Hold it there for a few seconds. If there's a gap, you should feel it get warmer pretty quickly. If it stays the same or gets a bit cooler, you're probably compressing the insulation and there isn't a gap there.

    - Also, the quilt will tend to pull into a straight line from your butt (lowest point of contact) to where the suspension attaches to the HH rope. Tightening the suspension increases that angle, which tends to increase the gap under your back and knees. Not a big deal in 40F+ for me, but this time I found a different way to use the shockcord so that angle is as small as possible. It's simple to do but kind of tough to explain, but I'll try (eventually I'll post a pic). Attach the shockcord to the HH like the directions say. Before attaching the biners to the quilt, wrap it once around the very end of the hammock fabric (kinda like a half-hitch), then pull separate the two strands of shockcord and attach to the Nest as directed. This way, I could tighten the tension without changing the angle, and the direction of force remained more vertical and closer to the hammock's body, rather than pulling further and further away from the hammock.

    - Use the right hole in the ladder loop. Along with this, I've found that tying the HH side tie-outs higher (rather than staking them to the ground) helps keep the Nest more snug along the bottom.

    - Finding the right amount of tension can be tough. One thing that helped me was that after adjusting and climbing in, I put my hand through the HH slit and felt how much space was between the hammock and Nest under my butt.

    - This night, I somehow had a nice fit along my back until it got to my butt, where I had a small pocket running from my butt to my legs. Attaching the Nest to the HH entry slit velcro helped keep the Nest snug to the hammock without compressing it. Later, I made an adjustment from inside the hammock by moving the quilt's velcro closer to the foot end before attaching it. That left about 3" of HH velcro attached to itself (next to my butt), then the Nest attached to the HH for the rest of the way.

    That was the final adjustment I made to get the best fit, and probably the easiest since it was done from inside the hammock.

    I think you're right about the PeaPod completely enclosing the hammock. When I get a good fit for the Nest on my homemade Speer-type, I think it's a bit warmer than on the HH because it wraps me up better, too. Basically, with the Nest on a HH you're wasting any insulation you're not actually laying on at the time, because it's open to the top (although the insulation is still there for when you roll around, which is very important). In a Speer, it wraps around you more, so more of the insulation is constantly in contact with your body, so you're using it more efficiently. The PeaPod works on the same principle, which may be why it has less of a fidget-factor for you. (I've never used one, but I'd love to test it when I get the $$$!)

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goalkeeper31
    ...and one night in the upper 20's.
    That's great...upper 20s is pretty cold for a hammock.

    Not that it's a competition or anything...we're all just having fun camping and sharing info.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goalkeeper31
    For added insulation, I have on occasion put a space blanket between the Nest and hammock. I have not noticed any problems with condensation thus far when doing this.
    Did you lay it in there flat, or did you crumple it up, fold it, or do anything else to make it loft up some? Did you notice a significant increase in warmth?

  9. #9
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    No competition felt on this end.. just wanted to be precise.

    On the space blanket front, I just layed it in there basically flat. It probably had some crinkles and I didn't try to change that as I was thinking about the ideas that were brought out in the Garlington Taco ideas. That discussion kinda put it forward that crinkles might trap little pockets of air and those mean insulation, of course.

    I didn't put any extra crinkles or folds in it though. It did provide a noticeable difference, too. Not huge, but noticeable.

  10. #10
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    Hey, something I have been thinking of over the summer is finding a method to mark my support lines for the hammock in the place where the JRB support system should be for proper fit. I have noticed the same thing about getting the fit wrong if you get too much tension and figured there has got to be a good way to mark that off so there isn't a lot of fiddling around when you set up in colder weather. Optimally it would be a way I could do it in the dark. I thought about super tight x-small zip ties but I'm not sure they would stay put. I also don't want to do anything that would possibly compromise the support lines' strength.
    SGT Rock
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  11. #11
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    I'm not sure there is a single place you could mark, since the position of the side guys also affect the fit, and the sides are tied in a different position with every setup (unless you stake to the ground every time). Maybe that won't have much of an impact, though...it's definitely worth trying! Let us know how it turns out!

  12. #12
    Musta notta gotta lotta sleep last night. Heater's Avatar
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    I like the idea of a hammock but it just seems like an awful lot of trouble.

  13. #13
    Section Hiker, 1,040 + miles, donating member peter_pan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by titanium_hiker
    maybe one of the Jacks can comment on the oldragmountain topquilt.

    great report!

    titanium
    TH,

    Jeffs notation that the Old Rag Mtn quilt now comes with mounting loops and tabs to permit use as an under quilt as well is correct.... The ORM quilt is now 3+ inches thick and 800 pf down and has an overstuff... Last years model was 2.5 and 750 respectively... At 24 oz it is a much lighter way to get to lower temps than doubling the Nest and No Sniveller...

    However realize that the Nest and No Sniveller quilts are now 2+ inches thick, or 25% thicker than the original 1.5 inch models... When doubled this combination is 4+ inches, or 25% more than the current ORM. Therefore current, Three Season set doubled is warmer than ORM, but heavier...

    We think the range of choices has clearly increased with the product improvements to the ORM ... Also, the addition of the Shenandoah Universal Blanket/ quilt ( sew thru with 1+ inch of 800pf) in late last summer now provides a full family of inter-changeabe and combinable quilts, with models of 1+, 2+, and 3+ inches of 800pf down.

    General rule of thumb for ratings is 1 inch is good to 52-50 degrees, 2 inches is good to 32-30 degrees, 3 inches is good to 15-20 degrees.

    The good news is you now have choices....The bad news is you have to choose.

    Hope this answers your question/comment...and remember I'm biased.

    Pan
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  14. #14

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    Thanks pan-
    Austexs- yeah, there is SOME trouble- but then again so is there with a tent/anysystem. there is a learning curve- these guys are the pioneers also- when they work something out, they post it on the internet, making it easier for us. I think the basic three response among hammock campers say "use a tent in cold weather" - "go for the hammock even in cold" - "don't go out in the cold"

    titanium
    just call me TH
    woman with altitude

  15. #15
    Section Hiker, 1,040 + miles, donating member peter_pan's Avatar
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    Default Good fit every time.

    This is easy….

    If you have had one of our quilts for six months or more please go read the installation instructions on the Products page of our web site… You should find it a little clearer and slightly different than earlier instructions.

    The key to a good fit every time, in 60 seconds or less, is to get the base setting identified. This is best done at home and with an assistant. It is also best if your hammock has been used enough to settle to its initial stretch size.

    With the hammock hung and the under quilt installed. If using the Nest, connect it to the HH Velcro last. There will be 2-3 inches of extra omni tape beyond the HH slit, fasten it to itself. Have someone get in the hammock and assume your normal position. Check the fit. Inspect and feel for the gentile contact of the under quilt to the hammock bottom (Easy there…that is a friend or loved one in the hammock). Tighten or loosen the suspension system as necessary. The suspension system should be girth hitched over the little sock cover where the rope and hammock material meet. The closer to the material end the better. If using a HH BUL, HH Exped, HH ELR, HH AR you will need to shorten the suspension shock cord. This is best done by folding the cord in half, then tying an overhand knot to form a blight of 3-5 inches. Hold it in place first, estimate the size of blight needed then tie. Remember the knot will take up length, adjust accordingly. Do not cut off the extra, you may need it for other applications/hammocks. This approach is different than earliest instructions to slide the girth hitch further out the hammock line… The new approach keeps a constant good angle to the natural hammock profile .

    Final check for fit…use two hands, one between the under quilt and hammock, the other under the under quilt…Check first for the gentile contact with the weighted hammock and second for the amount of loft your quilt should have. You can now install every time correctly the first time.

    And now a alternate thought…Our first under quilts had loops at the exact proper spot for the under quilt corners to be fastened with mitten hooks…Mitten hooks break, and can cause ripped material… DO NOT USE MITTEN HOOKS…

    It is very easy , using the supplied minibiners of the suspension system, to determine where a small loop of gros grain ribbon could be sewn to the hammock to allow for a perfect clip up ( And eliminate one or both of the shock cords). This is easily done with a needle and thread using a whip stitch over the edge of the hammock and the folded loop of material…or use a machine if available. It is best to use these loops on the head end and a shock cord on the foot end. The shock cord approach on the foot end is necessary to enable the automatic repositioning after entry for those using rectangular quilts. This the way I personally suspend my under quilts and or Weather Shield.

    This is a lot of words to describe a simple one time calibration…try it, its easy.

    Anyone needing clarification and/or assistance if you PM me you phone number I’ll call (our dime) and walk you through it.

    Pan
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    WWW.JACKSRBETTER.COM home of the Nest and No Sniveler underquilts and Bear Mtn Bridge Hammock

  16. #16
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    Quick question - Why would you want to use these underquilt/overquilt systems instead of something like a sleeping bag with a closed cell pad underneath it in the hammock? It it just because you get more room to stretch out, or is it a true warmth thing?

  17. #17
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    More like comfort and such.
    SGT Rock
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  18. #18
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    I find underquilts much more comfortable because I'm sleeping directly on the hammock body, rather than on a pad. Pads aren't as soft, sometimes buckle a little bit, and you have to move the pad if you want to move your body inside the hammock. Plus, I get a little bit of condensation when I sleep on a pad, but this is greatly reduced if I use the bag as a quilt and don't have it between my body and the pad to soak up the moisture.

    That said, CCF pads are a very cheap, light and simple (although bulky) solution, especially if you find a way to keep your shoulders warm (like a SPE or wing pad). When I get some money and time, I'm going to test a DAM/SPE combo and see how it compares to underquilts.

  19. #19
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    Pan, are there differences in the ways the various quilts attach as an underquilt? For example, I can't tell from the pix on your site whether the ORM has a slit, but it doesn't look like it does, so how do you use it for an unferquilt? Which do you think is easier for someone to put up, the Nest, the summer blanket, or the ORM?

    Thanks.

  20. #20

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    hmm... why an underquilt? cause pads are hard- rigid- my body likes to mold to the hammock a bit. pads restrict you. and also- I would find myself getting cold with my three/quarter length pad- (thermarest) it forces you to lie in maybe uncomfortable flat positions- I like the freedom for comfort that a padless hammock gives.

    titanium (ooh... lets see, my friends go up to the states in a week's time, then after a week, they come back- BRINGING MY NEST!! I'm excited. it will be almost exactly on my birthday! what a gift! -from me to me )
    just call me TH
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