Overnight weather: Clear 37 degrees, morning dew, 10 mph wind died to calm overnight
Configuration: WBBB-XLC 1.1 DL with 23" wide Klymit Static V pad R1.9; 19 degree REI Radiant Sleeping bag
Testing: Pad on top, not in sleeve. XLC Winter Cover
Pad on top
I found that there are some benefits to having the pad on top vs inside the sleeve. The Klymit pad has large roll ziz-zag pattern that allows sleeping bag to fill the voids, effectively increasing the R value. When inside the sleeve, this won't happen. Also since the pad is raised, the bag can fill the edge void and provide side insulation. In addition. it is easier to verify that I am centered on the pad and adjust the pad and my position as needed. Another big benefit is that by extending my head barely over the end of the pad, my neck was much less strained. This worked great and I was very comfortable on both back and side sleeping. I had a few Cold Spot moments with my feet and CBS, but was able to quickly alleviate them by rubbing my feet together or rubbing the area that was cool. I was always centered on the pad. An insulated pad would solve this I am sure. Fluffing the bag hanging over the edge of the pad helped extend the effective width of lower insulation. It was cold enough that my face was chilled and I had to bury it in my bed.
CONCLUSON: I think I would be fine with a SL hammock. More testing need for stuffing sleeve with clothing, etc.
THE GOOD: The XLC optional winter cover (WC) really looks nice. It ships as camo. It lets light in but keeps wind out. Since my tarp has not yet arrived, I went bare as a test even though I could have rigged up my Noah's tarp. At dusk, the temperature was dropping into the upper 50's and a 5-10 knot wind was gusting. It was cold with the net fly. Switching to the WC stopped that entirely and I was no longer cold. This was mainly due to wind blockage since my internal temperature gauge matched my external temperature gage. It lets light through, but you can't see in or out. It was very pleasant and comfortable inside. It was a nice night and I unzipped the WC at my head area and enjoyed the view of the night sky and bright moon. Later the temperature dropped to 37 degrees and I was OK, though not always toasty warm.
THE BAD: The claimed 5-10 degree temperature increase inside the hammock did not happen. It was the same temperature inside as outside. To be fair, I did not have a tarp and cannot be sure if the surrounding air was completely still though I felt no gusts. This matches my earlier quick tests at a warmer OAT where I saw minimal temperature gains.
The major problem was condensation like I haven't seen since my early days with a PVC cheapie tent with several breathers inside. It completely coated the lower surface of the WC. Since the cover is suspended on the ridgeline well above me, I was dry. There was no condensation on the pad or hammock lower portion. But when I got up at 4:30 AM for a nature call, brushing against the surface could not be avoided. My shoulder and hat got wet despite my best efforts to move the fly out of the way. I ended up finishing the night in my bed in the house since I didn't want any more water to get on my gear.
CONCLUSION: The winter cover is not working for me so far and is a disappointment. I need to repeat the test when my Superfly comes next week and see what influence that has.
Your Experience Please?
I found sparse information on the web about the XLC Winter Cover. I think many, including me, would appreciate any feedback, tips and techniques based on your experience.
Thanks for reading