Spindrift Testing - Chilling in the name of Science!
Got to give the Spindrift a test run last night. Here are some thoughts on the process:
1. Installation: Easy, but a little time consuming. I had no trouble getting the suspension lines through the grommets. I will be making a separate set of shock cords for the spindrift as salvaging the ones off my bugnet is a bit of a pain. Otherwise, it went on without any problems.
2. Ease of setup with the spindrift on: Pretty simple. Threw on my headlight, installed the spreader bars and lynx. It's a little tight with the spindrift on, but definitely not a big problem. It is however a bit of a trial to get a pad in with the spindrift installed. I have a thermarest z-lite and it folds up pretty easy, so it makes things simpler, but I imagine blow up pads would take some planning.
3. Temps: With windchill last night, it got down to about 7f. I decided to test my 30f montbell bag and 20f lynx, no pad. For clothing, I wore a pair of light jogging pants, a very thin merino shirt, a thin polyp shirt, a very light fleece vest, a merino hat, possum down gloves, wool socks and a pair of Grandma fabricated knitted wool oversocks :thumbup1:.
4. Reasoning and Results: I wanted to test this setup to what I would consider a "worst case" scenario. Years back, the Brother and I took a trip to Tonquin Valley in Jasper Park in which the temps dropped by 18 deg celcius overnight and we nearly froze in the middle of summer. Since that time, I've been torn with bringing "overkill" insulation and associated weight and bulk with me on trips to the mountains due to the crazy temperature and condition swings. The Spindrift offers a substantial temperature boost and weather protection with little extra bulk and only 10 ounces weight difference. In my reasoning, I could install it prior to a trip to the mountains, pack my regular summer/3 season gear of 20-30 top quilt, and my 20 degree lynx. If its warm out, keep it unzipped for circulation, but if temps drop, button it up.
Being honest, I'd have to say that it was not the warmest night of my life last night. About 3am, I woke up shivering slightly, did a few crunches to warm myself up and went back to sleep. I was not overly uncomfortable, but a little cool. However, I was pushing my underquilt about 13deg under rating and my topquilt nearly 23deg under rating! I think that is fantastic result for the minimal associated bulk and weight of the spindrift and gives me a real-world baseline for future trips.
5. Overall impression: Exceptional bang-for-the buck if you are looking to get a moderate boost out of your existing insulation or think you may encounter unexpected cold, rainy, or windy weather conditions along the way. It's not a substitution for proper winter gear, but definitely a great supplement to a winter setup. I would install it before a trip, with the knowledge that if things hit the fan, I've got it ready to go. Really impressed!