Just got my KAQ New River UQ-First Impression
I'd been looking for my first UQ for a while and was going back and forth between synthetic & down, full vs 3/4 etc and finally decided on the KAQ New River (3 season regular length) after learning more about it in the forums and knowing that it's good below 30 (plus being in my budget). So, right after Valentines Day, I went ahead and ordered it. I got the shipping confirmation on 2-21 and USPS delivered it to me on the 26th. Came in house after work and there it was waiting for me on the counter. Carefully I opened it and let it be free from the confines of the shipping box. It lofted up immediately and I checked out the quality workmanship and attention to detail. Also came with all the hanging hardware so it was good to go.
I had to do a quick test, so I headed out to my backyard (35 degrees in Michigan yesterday) with my eno single and did a quick setup. Unrelated note: I just added a whoopee ridgeline and it made for an easy setup. With the two included caribiners, I clipped it on, made some adjustments with the shock cords to cinch it in a bit, tossed in a down sleepng bag as a topquilt (next on the purchase list), made a few more adjustments and hopped in. This might have taken me less than 2 minutes tops. Once in, everything felt good and fit well...could even feel the heat trapped between the bottom of the hammock and the UQ. I did see that having the additional loops on the side of it are handy for cinching it up even more to the bottom and I actually used a temporary shock cord to do that. I'll have to rig up something more permanent eventually.
Packing size: I knew it wouldn't pack down as a small as a comparable down UQ, but I was surprised about how small it would pack. I used a kelty medium compression bag and got it around football size. I'm not real comfortable about keeping it compressed for an extended period, but I think it would be ok for a typical backpacking day. I also just packed it loose, along with my kelty noahs 12, rei radiant 20 down, eno single, jetboil, katydyn water filter in my REI Flash 62 pack and it barely filled half of it when I shoved everything in haphazardly. My thought is that loose and stuffed in is the way to go with this TQ.
About the temp rating: The one I bought is the standard UQ (no apex or 4 season). Most of my backpacking is 3 season, with very few winter trips. Michigan weather varies I've always gotten along with a 20 or 30 degree synthetic or down bag during my March to November season. In reading the forums, I know this will get me below 30 and I'm sure 20 is very doable. This weekend we've got projected lows of 16 degrees Saturday night, so if I can't get out to the woods, I'll go with plan B and do a backyard hang. Update will follow after proper testing. Nothing like some new gear to really get you looking forward to spring. Thanks to Paul and everyone at Arrowhead for making a great piece of gear :) Pics of the KAQ New River UQ attached.
The new UQ....priceless
Setup view (yes, that's a playhouse in the background but it makes a great winter storage shed)