SnugPak Underblanket - pushing the limits

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tangara
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SnugPak Underblanket - pushing the limits

#1

Post by tangara » Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:27 am

  • I decided to see how far I could push the snug pak ub in an overnight test. Weather was -3 all night with a wind chill of -22, according to the weather. It was a clear night and the wind varied from mostly calm to gusting about 15 mph every 20 minutes. My insulation was the SnugPak on the outside, a DIY full length down underquilt next to the hammock, and between them, a thin synthetic full-length throw. For the top, a summer DIY synthetic TQ tucked into the thin mummy bag of a MSS. I had a down top quilt in reserve in case that wasn't enough. Testing was out in the open, no tarp - might as well go for it. I'll admit I was afraid, but not stupid. I tested on the deck within 10 feet of the living room door. I'm not vying for a Darwin award (I hope). I tested the underquilt indoors at 60 degrees the night before to see how I tolerated too much insulation from underneath (no problem - only needed a light topquilt.

    The two UQs each have their own suspensions and I've tested both to the same temperatures alone (28). I was warmer in the SnugPak (no chills), because the DIY down quilt is sown through and it will get cold spots. I secured the thin throw to the SnugPak at the middle by pulling some fabric through the side cord-tie to hold it in place. The ends I just let drape over and hoped for the best. Clothing worn was a lot less than I usually wear winter camping. Tee shirt and long sleeved overshirt, thin sweat pants and wool socks and a tube hat that I wore as a beanie (I can open it to pull it down to around my neck if needed). I crawled in about 11 and crawled back out at 5:30.

    It took a while to warm it up when I got in, but nothing terrible, and I stayed warm through the night. My only cold spot was my feet if I brought them up above the level of the underquilt. Normally I'd be wearing synthetic booties and that wouldn't have been an issue. I would also have an extra down jacket or two that I could use to insulate the ends. I had to be careful when shifting around because of letting cold air drop down in again, but I tend not to be a restless sleeper in a hammock, and it didn't happen much. I do think I tolerate a colder temperature in most gear than others do (does that make me a cold sleeper or a warm one?). I had to sleep with my head tucked in. Normally I'll at least stick my nose or eyes out, but it was way too cold. I've been out plenty of times in winter when I was younger in tents or bivvies and spent the night shivering waiting for morning to come. There is no comparison.

    I'm super happy and am confident that I'd be easily comfortable on a winter camp out. I'd never consider camping in the kind of conditions we had last night, even if clear weather was predicted. The main issue would probably be the risk of falling wood as it fractured and cracked. I heard a lot that going on last night. This whole kit is heavy, probably over ten pounds, but in winter, I'd be dragging a pulk and probably a bunch of other heavy gear. I certainly would have a winter tarp and probably take a water bottle heater inside with me, and I'd pick a way more sheltered spot. But now I know if everything happened to go against me I could still be comfortable. Total cost of this kit: $50 SP, $5 throw, $2 DIY down UQ. $7 MSS bag, $5 syntetic TQ, $7 hammock = $76. The only thing new to the setup is the SnugPak. In times past when I was expecting really cold, I'd do a cocoon around the hammock with an old sleeping bag, and that gets pretty restrictive.

    I'm super happy with the outcome of this test.



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sarge
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Re: SnugPak Underblanket - pushing the limits

#2

Post by sarge » Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:23 am

Thanks for posting. Weather up that direction certainly got cold enough to test a few limits, and you definetly put some thought into it.

I've done the whole "laying it in and hoping for the best" thing myself. This pic is from my early days hammock hanging trying not to turn the heat on in the house when outside temps got below 30. That's a Crazy Creek hammock (probably the worst hammock ever made) hanging under my HH Deep Jungle (with the bubble pad), holding a woobie. It worked inside the house, but I think it was shortly after that I bought my first big boy Underquilt.

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tangara
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Re: SnugPak Underblanket - pushing the limits

#3

Post by tangara » Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:13 pm

Wow, that's an "interesting" hammock design. I can see why it might now have made it commercially.

My first UQs years ago were old wool blankets, and then later pile, which I stuffed with other things as needed. That served me well for a long time. I've been thinking about using one of my older or smaller hammocks as a base for making an underquilt. I'd really like to have a setup where I can add in extra layers that would lay nice and smooth when I need bolstering. I also have the old down uq that needs to be redone (moth-eaten outer shell), and I thought I could use one of the hammocks as one layer.

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Rick TDBT
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Re: SnugPak Underblanket - pushing the limits

#4

Post by Rick TDBT » Tue Feb 16, 2016 7:40 am

I am glad I got into this in the later part of all this when the experimenting was going on..watching videos made it a little easier..Soo my first hammock I bought the whole setup, hammock, tarp underquilt all from DD hammocks. Then found out that the hammock was not for me. so threw all that research out the window, but the uq and tarp were still very useful. So back to the drawing board, and enter the forums. Now after reading all that I could possibly stand, I made a switch and never looked back. So the moral to this story is that it only cost me the cost of a hammock to figure out I am gonna have to give my left arm to swing in the trees, and be comfortable. I am nooooo DIY guy, so if you want the best you have to pay up. So I will live vicariously through the rest of you, while my wallet stays empty.. :cry:
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Re: SnugPak Underblanket - pushing the limits

#5

Post by sarge » Tue Feb 16, 2016 8:23 am

Try snaps first.

They're the gateway drug into DIY.

I have an extra sewing machine------
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tangara
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Re: SnugPak Underblanket - pushing the limits

#6

Post by tangara » Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:19 pm

I've been sewing since I was little. My mother was a seamstress, and while I didn't want to sew clothes, I sure did want to make my own backpacks and things. I have a ton of sewing notions around the house. I was considering something button or toggle oriented. If you have a toggle with an adustable shaft, you can add another layer if it has matching button holes or even if it just has ties that can reach the toggle. I'd do the snaps, but that's probably the one thing I don't have many of.

This weekend we were predicted to be at 24 degrees both nights, so I did one night in my old duvet underquilt and one in the Snugpak. Condidtions were the same bothe nights. The duvet won out. I was actually a little chilly in the Snugpak and near morning had to add a thin synthetic "wool" throw (just put four prusiks on the corners, slid it into the Snugpak and tied the pruskis over my ridgeline so the throw was close to the hammock. That's all it took. I was warm enough in the duvet UQ to make it down plenty more, I'd say at least another 10 degrees, but I'd say I've reached my limit with the Snugpak at 26. I had it at 28 on another night and was fine.

I'm doing a camping weekend with my cousins in spring and I'd like to have a workable setup for them in case I can get them addicted, so the winter has been about proofing some of my extra gear and making some extra setups in case I need them.

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bodhran4me
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Re: SnugPak Underblanket - pushing the limits

#7

Post by bodhran4me » Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:57 pm

Thanks for pushing the limits! This is good to know!

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