Underground Quilts-Zeppelin/Winter Dream
Coming home yesterday after a two week business trip had me excited because I was expecting to find a parcel waiting for me in my PO box.
I was NOT disappointed.
The 0* Zeppellin UQ and a Winter Dream tarp are both just plain cool.
I couldn't wait to try them out ....so today I made a new Amsteel ridgeline, larks headed some shock cord, hooked Dutch Ti biners to continuous loop Zing-it Prusiks, snapped the doors closed, and staked that sucker out!
The rig was completed by rigging quick connect mini-biners and Zing-it to the tarp pull-outs.
At that point I just stood back and grinned. :D
The mass of the Zeppelin blew me away. I'm used to my HG 20* 3/4 Phoenix for warmer weather use. Jumping up to 0* full length UGQ Zeppelin requires a considerable increase in stuff sack size. ;)
Tomorrow I'm headed to the mountains in North Carolina for a real world field test. The nearest listed weather station shows the lows in the 20's for the coming week, but at the elevation I'm planning it will probably be colder.
Taking my 19 year old youngest son with me. We will have two hammock rigs.
The Clark's NX-150 will wear the full length UGQ 0* Zeppelin and the UGQ Winter Dream tarp.
The WBBB will wear the 3/4 length HG 20* Phoenix and the HG cuben fiber tarp. This is my lighter weight summer rig and I'm suspecting that it may be marginal for this trip. But,....we have downy goodness temp boosters such as Luke's down sleeves, Black Rock beanies, down vest, jackets, etc. We will survive.
I'm putting my kid in the North Face 20* Cats Meow bag and I'll use the 20* HG Burrow TQ. The plan is to stick with our own top insulation throughout, but alternate hammock rigs and bottom insulation each night for comparison.
Pics and AAR to follow when I get back next week.
Great gear haul! I recently received a 0* Zep (80" length); just crawled out of mine after another great night's sleep; think I have it fully dialed in now.
Coming from a HG 40* quilt set, experienced the same extra volume scenario. Using a Sea to Summit medium E-vent stuff sack, I can get the uq down to ~8x9". Being waterproof, I think it worth the 5oz penalty.
Tarp rigging recap made me want to order one up; gotta love rigging stuff.
Look forward to to your post-trip report.
When my kids were very young I dreamed of the day when they would be big enough to go on camping trips with me. Along the way, life happened. It seemed the kids were always busy with extra-curricular activities, especially my youngest,... Gavin. In the spring it was baseball season, then came summer basketball camp, then fall baseball season, then winter basketball season, and then spring baseball again. Also, my business kept me busy traveling and out of town. The life I dreamed of with my kids seemed to always be on the back burner.
Now that Gavin is out of high school, looking to find his way in the world,...we finally found some time. The weather forecast was for daily highs in upper 50's, lows in the 20's. By the time we could get going, make a stop at the grocery, Starbucks, bank, and gas stop it was mid-morning on Nov. 14. The 4 hour drive from Nashville to Citico put us there mid-afternoon. We planned to car camp on Doublecamp Creek Rd for the first night. I immediately started hanging two hammocks, two tarps, and getting us set up for the night. Gavin did a great job scrounging up ample firewood.
Because we were car camping the first night we were allowed the luxury of grilling steaks. I set up my Purcell Trench grill, used half a bag of charcoal, a bottle of worchestershire sauce, and the rib eyes turned out perfectly. Unfortunately, the baked potatoes didn't. I dug a shallow hole in the fire ring, wrapped potatoes in aluminum foil, put them in the hole, covered with an inch of dirt. We then built our fire on top of the potatoes. We had a nice bed of coals for about an hour before I even started the steaks. By the time the steaks were done the potatoes had been baking for an hour and a half,...but it wasn't enough. The potatoes came out almost completely raw.
Shortly after eating, Gavin surprised me by announcing that he was sleepy. This is a teenager who normally stays up late,...and sleeps late! He was ready to hit the hammock by 8:00 PM. I stayed up poking the fire until about 9:30 and finally decided that I might as well hit the rack myself.
Gavin was using my North Face Cat's Meow 20* bag in the Clark's NX-150 hammock with a 0* Zeppelin full-length underquilt from Underground Quilts. He was snug as a bug in a rug, and asleep within minutes. I used the Warbonnet Blackbird hammock with 20* 3/4 length Phoenix underquilt from Hammock Gear, and a 20* Burrow top quilt also from Hammock Gear.
Sometime in the night my old man prostate and little girl bladder had me up to pee. I was out wandering around the campsite in my merino wool long johns and feeling the chill in the air. It didn't take long before I was ready to snuggle back into the downy goodness.
By 6:00 AM I was wide awake. I got up, started a fire, got coffee going. I decided to let Gavin sleep, at least for a while.
I noticed that my feet were getting cold. My toes were almost numb, yet the rest of me was fine. It seemed that somehow the circulation in my feet was sub-par. I decided that the coolmax sock liners were to blame. I took off my boots, removed the wool socks, took off the liners, put the wool socks back on, and re-laced my boots. After a while my feet began warming up. I'm still not sure if the liners were at fault or if maybe I warmed up just because the morning sun was warming up.
In the meantime, I already had all my hammock, tarp, sleeping gear packed up. Finally, at 8:00 I woke Gavin up, gave him coffee, and started packing up his stuff. His sil-nylon tarp had lots of condensation as did his underquilt. My cuben fiber tarp had no condensation and neither did my underquilt. The morning sun helped get his stuff dried out, but by the time we were all packed up it was already 11:30.
We drove from Double Camp Creek Rd back up to the Cherohalla, over the state line at Beech Gap, and down into North Carolina to Wolf Laurel. The plan was to spend the second night at Naked Ground and the third night on Stratton Bald. We got to Wolf Laurel at 12:30, hit the trail and got to the rock at the Stratton Bald trail intersection at 2:30, and by the time we reached Naked Ground it was 3:30. The sun was going down fast. It was a scramble to set up camp, gather firewood, go down to the spring at the headwater of Slickrock Creek to filter some water, get back to camp and start a fire before darkness settled in.
Gavin was complaining about cold fingers and toes. He held them to the fire but couldn't seem to get them warmed up. He never has been able to handle cold very well. After eating beef stew he was ready to hit the sack by 7:00 PM.
The cold wind whipping across the ridge at Naked Ground was sucking our heat away. I gave Gavin my Patagonia down vest which I reserve for sleeping only. We decided to try switching hammocks. I reluctantly put him in the WBBB with the 20* 3/4 length underquilt. He claimed that he was warm enough in the Cat's Meow. I settled into the Clark's hammock with my 20* top quilt and the 0* Underground Quilts full-length UQ and could immediately feel the difference with increase in downy goodness.
Another midnight pee, but this time the cold wind made it a very quick trip. I wasted no time getting back into the down. Awake again at 6:00 AM, I started the fire, made a water run, got coffee going, and woke Gavin at 7:00.
More than anything else, I had wanted Gavin to ENJOY this experience. He was enjoying the daytime, but not the cold at night. I offered him a chance to bail. He stated that he'd like to come back in the Spring in warmer weather. I'd rather he learn to like the outdoor experience on his own terms instead of having it forced upon him in uncomfortable conditions. He was not excited about the prospects of moving up to Stratton Bald, and being even colder at higher elevation. I personally look at it as a challenge. I prepare for it, psych myself up for it, then deal with it. But I shouldn't expect him to like being cold on his first off season trip.
We changed our plans. We got everything packed up, took a day hike out to Hangover without the packs. He seemed to enjoy hiking most of all and wasn't cold and miserable in daylight hours. He thought the view from Hangover was pretty cool. We hiked back to Naked Ground, picked up our packs, and headed out. We made it back to the rock at the Stratton Bald trail in exactly one hour. It took another hour and ten minutes to get back to the truck at Wolf Laurel.
We were headed home,.....with the promise to try it again in the Spring.
I'm thinking about going back next week after Thanksgiving,......solo.
Sorry, but I failed to get pics of the gear. We were just too busy racing the clock, or should I say the sun? Trying to get camp set up before dark.
The Underground Quilts 0* Zeppelin is truly FULL LENGTH. It literally covered the NX-150 stem to stern. And boy was it cozy!
I do however, want to experiment with attachment options as time permits. I managed to get it suspended just fine first time out, but I want to find a way to simply clip it in quick and easy, same way every time.
The Winter Dream 11 sil tarp was anchored down in storm mode the first night. That's when it had all the condensation. On the second night I tied it out in porch mode and had no such condensation,.....but it was very windy and cold on the second night.
How cold was it? I don't know, but I left a sierra cup with George Dickel Tennessee sippin' whisky sitting out by the fire ring and it was frozen and crystalized when I got up the next morning!
The cuben fiber tarp from HG had no condensation either night. But, it was tied out both nights with wind airing things out.
I like both my 20* Phoenix from HG and the 0* Zellelin from UGQ. Understanding that they are intended for their own respective weather and temp conditions. But when I take someone other than myself, and have to outfit us both, I have to make do with what I have.
That said,.....there was an obvious difference in warmth of the 0* Zeppelin over the 20* Phoenix.
I used the 20* Burrow both nights and had Gavin in the 20* Cat's Meow both nights.
Neither of us were ever cold while in the hammocks. But outside after sundown, even around the fire, that wind was sucking the life from us.
View from Naked Ground
Gavin likes the Slinglight chair as much as I do.
A funny place for a tree to plant itself.
On Hangover with Stratton Bald in background
Is zeppelin the.warmest full length underquilt available?
And,....my bet is that each maker would make a claim.
I'm sure it probably mostly comes down to money. How much down do you want to pay for?
I'm comparing apples to oranges here. It's really not fair to match a 20* 3/4 HG UQ against a UGQ 0* full-length. Obviously, the 0* UGQ has more down in it.
One thing I'll say about the 3/4 HG Phoenix is that it came with S-biners that directly clip to the hammock suspension and you're done. Just like that. Takes two seconds.
The UGQ suspension is beefier, heavier shock cord. It is first class workmanship and construction. It comes with barrel locks and lots of built in options for adjustment. But, it is going to take some tweaking to be a quick connect affair and I'll have to devise my own hardware solutions, ....carabiners, quilt clips, hooks, etc. I had to putz around unhooking and re-hooking clumsy plastic mitten hooks with cold, numb fingers. I want to come up with a quick detach system. Looks like another order to Dutch or Jacks R Better,......or both.
When I ordered the HG Phoenix I had very little choice in colors. Green or brown, take-it-or-leave-it.
When I ordered from Paul at UGQ I had the choice of almost any color I could want. I opted for a brown to match the forest floor on the outside, but I chose orange for the inner (hidden) color. The reasoning was that in a serious rescue scenario I could use it as a high-vis object easily spotted from the air, helicopter, etc.
On my 0* UGQ, I restrung the primary using one continuous line of shock cord (lengthened for longer Dangerbird); connected to suspension with Dutch quilt hangers; using a single cordlock on the side to adjust. This allows the primary to lengthen/shorten without a knot hitting against the channel opening, affecting tension on either side.
For the secondaries, running the end loop through a small biner connected to suspension so the cordlock is on the far side; pull out and tighten cord lock against biner for tension. So far, this is working great and very easy to setup/adjust.
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