SS vs. down UQs
I was just wondering how people feel about the HH SuperShelter as a viable option to down underquilts? After a year or more at this site, there are now a bunch more people with UQ experiences, but I think still relatively few with actual SS experience. It seems to me that when I first started posting here, the SSs were held in fairly low esteem compared to UQs. And that probably included me, after my initial week of use, especially my first cold night which was a total failure. So I pretty well assumed that the UQs, though a good bit more expensive, would be far superior.
But as I continued experimenting with the SS, I decided it would easily work for me ( when set up correctly ) into the 30s, and was easy to "soup up" with light weight, cheap approaches that could take me to the 20s or even lower. But except for maybe a couple of folks, I always had the impression I was alone in that belief.
Though I am currently enamored with my PeaPod, a very efficient and easy way to be warm in a hammock, I still think highly of the SS. I feel that, especially considering the price, and additional wind and water resistance you get for the weight and bulk, and probably more security from water than down, it is a reasonable alternative to down UQs.
What do the rest of you folks think? Whether you have actually tried it or not, what are your impressions/
Well, I already messed up my own poll. I should have included options for "used a SS, never used a down UQ, but feel the SS is a viable alternative to down UQs", And I would select that option if it was there! DUH!
I will state at the outset of this reply that I haven't used the SS, and the following is based only on my impressions and reading about the experiences of others.
I like the idea of the SS. It seems very straightforward, if possibly a bit tedious to adjust. It very much fits the bill of lightweight, cost-effective gear that by all experienced accounts is capable of being comfortably used to temperatures at least as low as 20°F.
The drawbacks, in my understanding are three-fold. First is the potential tedium of setup. That can, of course be overcome with experience and practice, but isn't intuitive. Second is durability. Given the thickness of the pad, it seems like it would need to be replaced periodically. The cheap cost mitigates this almost to irrelevance. Third, and most importantly in my opinion, is that it is a solution solely for a HH. It doesn't offer the option of being used on hammocks of differing design. While the HH is somewhat ubiquitous and very popular, I prefer not to use a HH on every outing and so I chose an insulation system that works with all the hammocks I do use.
I haven't used it and wasn't too impressed when I saw one in person.
Part of the problem with so little talk about them might be the inexperience with them, or it might be that the people posting a lot do not use hh. It seems to me that a lot of people start with them, than more on.
I have a JRB Nest, a fellow scouter has the SS. He mostly likes his, and I like mine. He often has condensation inside the undercover. I've never had condensation issues. He takes more time setting up his SS and dealing with the pad than I do setting up my UQ (pre-installed and stuffed). I think the SS is a better windbreak. We both live in southern Ontario and regularly handle temperatures in the 30s & 40s with no extra insulation, pads, or clothing. We both add pads when the temperature drops into the 20s and colder for added insulation and wind protection.
well i voted for the 1st choice but in my own words i wouldn't have put it quite that way<g>.
i've never used a SS so i'm just going on reports from others as well as my experience & other's experience w/ other types of wind breaks, including socks.
but after hearing the favorable experiences you & some others have had w/ the SS, i'd have to not say much against it w/o trying it<g>.
Interesting responses already. And really interesting is AngrySparrows response- even though he has never used one, his "impressions" pretty well, more or less, sum up my real world experience. On the negative, he writes about the apparent tedium of setting one up, and that's true. But IMO it only applies to the initial learning curve. After I had successfully set it up correctly a few times- after a bit of trial and error- there was never again anything to it. The undercover stays on year round, and it just takes me a couple of minutes to get the pad and SB set up correctly. But once fall/winter temps are present, I leave the entire thing set up and all goes in the stuff sack, sometimes including the sleeping bag. So my set up at the end of a hiking day is not much different than sk8rs_dad's is with his quilt. I just string up the hammock and the SS is 90% set-up- I might have to re-tighten some elastics that came loose in the sack. That adds an extra 15 seconds.
But, many a person here has reported a learning curve and some tedium setting up their UQs and getting them to be as warm as they hoped they would be.
And as for durability, after a year and a half, my fragile pad is beat to crap, and has several holes that I fixed with seam sealer. It looks bad, but function appears unaffected. A major hole in my PeaPod would have more dramatic results! :eek: Also, I soaked my kidney pad the other day, holding it under water and under a faucet. I gently squeezed it out and laid it out in a room with some winter sun coming in a window, and within the hour it was bone dry.
But I may need to vote again. ( You can choose multiple options ). I don't know what I was thinking- is there any reason why I can't count my PeaPod as a down UQ? I think I can, it is just a variation of same. So I will vote as a "used both, consider SS viable option".
Now I "LIKE" ( LOVE?) my pod more than my SS. It's just hard not to love all that fluffy 900FP down, and such a quality product. First of all, I can stay warmer at very cold temps without having to fool with it- it's just easier, a simpler approach, and it already gives me a good bit of top warmth, meaning I can take a much lighter bag. It is meant to handle colder temps without having to add clothing, Garlington insulators, space blankets, etc. OTOH, if I want to push it beyond it's ratings, I do it in the same way as the SS. Just add SBs, clothing, pads, whatever, underneath or light quilts on top. And it just seems easier to do all of this with the pod than the SS. I can do it with either, but it is less involved with the pod, because the pod- being supported along the full length on top as well as the ends, provides more support for the stuff I might shove underneath. For really cold temps, it's more convenient in most ways. And this baby is WARM!
Having said that, the SS is still a competitor with pros and cons, IMO. It weighs about the same as the bottom half of the pod. It's pad will probably work better if soaked than down will, and the undercover provides some wind and rain protection compared to the pod. It packs down plenty small if you compress the pad. And it is way cheaper, though not nearly as cheep as a ccf pad and SPE. And it's plenty comfortable, with none of the problems people sometimes have with pads. So considering all of the pros and cons, it is definitely a viable alternative even to the PeaPod, it seems to me at the moment. Particularly for temps above 35-45*, especially in really wet weather, the SS might be the preferred choice for me.
Well, crapola! I am just not a skilled pollster. I made it multiple choice, but I guess you have to make all choices at your first shot. It won't let me go back and add " used both, SS is viable alternative". So just use your imaginations and see that I made that choice, as well as "more bang for the buck".
Before finding this site, my dream was to purchase a HH. But, I just could not force myself to go down the HH path ($$$) without trying it out.
After seeing my first HH (it was on a week hike on the AT), I bought 3 yards of 1.9 ripstop at Hancock fabrics, and some webbing, and started playing. Its been "Speer", or the highway ever since.
Haven't regretted taking that fork in the road, but in hind sight, I've probably spent much more $ than just buying off the rack. BUT... I've had a lot more fun!!!
Hey! You talkin about me? :p
Originally Posted by hammock engineer
I have both, and so far I am not having good luck with the quilt. The SS seems to do a much better job keeping out the wind. However, I am not certain you can take it down to temps the quilt can go into.
I am still experimenting with both and will post my findings in my blog in the coming days.