JRB Mt.Washington UQ
First impressions and preliminary testing:
Edit: Probably due to my constant whining about loving a BMBH, but not being able to use it in cold weather so far because I don't have wide pads and my PeaPod or HHSS won't fit, JRB wanted me to give the MWUQ a test. So I happily will do so. This will be primarily for the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock, as I have no other good way to insulate that hammock. But I will also give it a try on some gathered end hammocks, time and temp allowing.
First thing noticed, quality seems impressive. Mine weighed in at 27 ozs on my less than precise scales, not counting stuff sack or suspension. I attempted to measure loft, which is always a bit imprecise for me at best. I shook the loft down towards the center, so that there was very little down in the upper couple of inches, which seemed to be where I would have no contact anyway:
This loft was measured the day after I received it and after it was hung out all night. My BMBH just happened to be hanging in the back yard, so I set up immediately. We had just had 8" of rain in 2 days, with temps in the 30s. So, it had been hanging all night over a swamp, and had a heavy layer of frost over it. By the time I took this pic, it appeared to have pretty much dried out. Please notice that the yard stick is laying on the UQ, compressing the loft by about 1/2". Still, the loft seemed to measure 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 inches, about 5" in this spot. That is a lot of single layer loft.
Within an hour of receiving it, I had it hung in my backyard, which resulted in paranoia over the fact I was hanging this shiny new down quilt over a mud pit and standing water. I probably should have waited for things to dry out, but that may be a while. Installation could not have been much easier or uncomplicated. I simply hung the quilt's suspension shock cords from the BMBH end rings as directed, then attached the quilt to the suspension, and tightened a cord on each end as directed. VERY CAREFULLY, due to much mud down below. I put my PG Cat's Meow in the hammock and crawled in for a short afternoon nap, pulling the bag over me very loosely.
It was not very cold, mid 40s with some wind. I was soon close to overheating, with a strong sensation of heat radiating from below. My back felt like it could almost start sweating. It did not, but just kept getting warmer the longer I laid there. Now, this was admittedly not very cold considering the 0-10*F rating of this quilt, but I had never before felt this much warmth on my back at these temps. So that was a good start, and about as minimal of a learning curve as I have ever seen. Just hang it up, and lay down and be warm.
I left everything out under the JRB tarp, but chose not to sleep out for various reasons. But I went to bed early, so when I woke up about 5AM, I got up and headed out, at 27*F. I was a little concerned about the quilt and bag having been out for 8 hours below freezing with no body heat to warm them. So I got a down quilt that was inside overnight, to replace the Cat's Meow. When I got outside, I found quite a mess. Thick frost had formed on both inner and outer layers of the tarp, the bag and every where inside the hammock not covered by the sleeping bag, and all over the MW quilt. It was about as bad a case of condensation I have ever seen. Not exactly a fair way to test, though I don't know how much, if any, moisture got inside the UQ.
Anyway, I crawled in after removing the frost covered Cat's Meow and replacing with a down TQ, the Golite Ultra 20. I had on Capilene bottoms, and my BMW PG jacket so I could use it's hood, and pulled the TQ up over me to upper chest level. At first my back was a bit cool, not surprising. But after about 10-15 minutes, I was pretty comfortable. I certainly had no more trouble worrying that my back might sweat like during the previous mid 40s in the afternoon. But I was definitely comfortable, and again the longer I lay there the warmer I seemed to get. It is probably better to NOT start with your UQ and hammock covered with thick frost after 8 hours near or mostly below freezing, but it worked out real nice anyway.
Here is a shot after I had spent about a couple of hours in the hammock, and decided to get up at about 0730. Most of the frost had melted from body heat I suppose ( it was still 29*F), but some is still evident inside the hammock.
So even though I was not super warm at 27*F, I still think those were good results. Considering that everything was covered with frost, and well chilled from hanging overnight with none in the hammock. I have no idea if any moisture got inside the UQ or not.
But I was very comfortable. It was great to have my feet well covered by the full length under quilt. And there was no hint of cold feet, a problem I have had with some other set ups. Best of all, if I put my hands behind my head when on my back or side, they were quite warm. I could do this with a small pad, but this is much easier to deal with by keeping my head/elbows/hands warm.
There is a lot of testing to be done yet with this UQ, but the forecast is for a good bit warmer and wet. I will be posting more as I gain experience with the UQ with this hammock and others. So far, so great!
More on set up: With the JRB Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock, there is close to zero set up. That is because it almost appears this quilt is custom designed for this hammock. Though it may well work just fine on many other hammocks, I'm thinking it will take a bit more fiddling around during first time set up. Using the MWUQ with the BMBH, you simply put the quilt loops through the hammock and then clip the suspension biners to the quilt loop. That's it. When you do this and look at the results, it is very close to a perfect fit. Then you make a very small adjustment to a draw string to line a quilt seem up with a hammock seam, and that really is it.
Some comfort specifics: it is probably going to be hard to beat these two products together for most folks. For example, if I lay on my left side with my left hand under the pillow that is under my ear, that hand will be between the pillow and hammock and be toasty warm. ( back to finish this in a couple of hours)
previous comfort factors continued: So, on my side my hand is warm with it under my head/pillow but above the UQ. The entire arm is warm, at least on the UQ side. Now in most hammocks I can not lie with my down side arm in that position anyway, because the curvature of the hammock will not allow it to be comfortable. But, if I could, I would have to figure out how to keep that arm warm. Since it is often above my pad or torso UQ. So this is a pretty Bridge hammock unique position ( and a very comfortable one). And having the UQ coverage well above my head is advantageous in this position.
In the same way, if I lie on my back with both hands under my head or under my pillow, again my hands and arms are nice and warm. Assuming I have on a jacket thick enough to keep my arms warm on top. And this is a very comfortable position indeed. And once again, the full coverage is very advantageous in this position, though I probably could work it out with a pad if I had to. But it is kind of nice not to even worry with a pad, and maybe repositioning it every time I move. At the very least, it just has a feel of luxury, hanging every inch from the top or even above your head, to below your feet and well out to both sides, thickly insulated with down.
I don't think I am going to quit being a fan of either my PeaPod or my short UQ. It is going to be interesting to see if I can come up with a solid preference among the three. I can already see some pros and cons to each approach.
With the partial UQ plus leg pad, there is a weight advantage, though not a huge one. If the short UQ runs about 20 oz ( will vary of course with amount and type of insulation and which brand of short UQ), plus a 6 oz pad, you have about 26 oz, vs 27 oz for this UQ. And maybe another oz for the suspension. So that would be about a 2 oz advantage to the short UQ. But realistically, I would have the pad with me any way. So we are back to at least a 6 oz. weight advantage.
However, it might be at least a little more comfortable and less hassle to have the full length UQ. It feels a little better ( at least in the BMBH), and more importantly there is no worry about it coming out of position as I change positions in the night. Or just having to reposition it. Plus, I don't ever have to reposition the full length quilt, and I do sometimes with the torso length, which has to be positioned pretty exactly. A final benefit I can think of is if it is brutally cold, go ahead and use the pad under the legs ( or full body if you have it) PLUS the full length UQ, to maximize leg and foot warmth.
As to the slight convenience and maybe comfort factor, will that be worth the 6 oz or so weight penalty? Probably not for some, depending on how much every thing else is weighing, and how critical a few oz. is.
Of course, equal overall warmth also needs to be considered along with a few oz. of weight. And that is yet to be determined. But with over 5" of full length and sides loft on the MWUQ, it should be a formidable competitor in that arena. But there are not yet any temps cold enough to test this out.
I'll get to pros and cons vs PeaPod a little later. Fun, fun, fun! :D
Yes, yes... more please
I got my eye on one of these. Looking forward to more test results...
You could really put it through a test!
BTW, what is the loft of the UQs you have been using when it is really cold?
I just got home off of the road and would be out there ... windy and blustery snow and ice and temps dropping fast, but I am passing two kidney stones and am in a bit of agony. Thanks to a wonderful non drowsy pain med I am able to get on and even did my show last night but think I will sleep in tonight.
My DIY UQ has about 4" of loft and I almost always use a pad with it in serious cold.
Shug of the Stones
Yes, you are no doubt in agony, sorry to hear it. Is this your first time with k. stones? Hope you pass them soon!
Yessir it is and They are the only malady that made my Irish Mom take her to ER. Respect to the stones....
Yay! No mud bog- replaced by frozen ground!
I planned to hang for a while yesterday (before Sun eve church) afternoon ( in the WBBB/MWUW combo) about 4:30 PM, with temps still in the 30s but plummeting fast, and huge winds. Then I was going to take the BB down, and hang the BMBH/MWUQ for the colder temps. So I attached the MWUQ to the BB, and could not get it to hang right! Every time I would get in, the foot end would end up on the left side with me trying to hang diagonal. ( I am wondering if there could be anything about the foot box on the BB that could contribute to this problem? Probably just my ignorance) Also, I kept ending up with a gap under my torso. I still don't know what I was doing wrong, I had no problems of this nature the day before( when it was warm!). But the wind was cutting me in half as I tried to adjust the set up. So I gave up and took the quilt down.
When I got back that night, the wind chill was even worse. But I put on my winter clothes, and tried it again. First, I rehung the suspension and paid careful attention to that. I finally got things where it seemed like the foot of the UQ would stay where it was supposed to be. I went to bed at 11pm, 23*F, heavy winds. (My backyard test area is very exposed, no trees to block wind or rain.) Wind chill was my main concern. I really didn't have much faith in being comfortable, do to my lack of skill with the foot end, and the wind. I wanted to minimize variables, so I took no chance on top warmth, and took a heavy synthetic bag with wind proof shell, plus good clothing and a balaclava, and a hot water bottle.
What can I say? I was surprised, and I was warm at temps that went well below 20*F plus whatever windchill, which was stout and probably about 0-5*F. I have a cheap tarp from Harbor Freight hung, but there was a lot of wind getting by anyway, past the ends or under the bottom edge of the tarp. I leave this tarp out because I don't want to rot my good tarps from constant UV exposure. The good tarps are for brief tests only, and my actual trips. On the strongest gusts, my hammock would be obviously in motion, blown sideways( I had disconnected the BB side tie outs). Other times the tarp would be forced into contact with my left side.
That is a lot of wind chill. Still, the only other time I remember being this warm at these temps was with two pads in an SPE under me, and wind was not a factor that time. Also this warm at 10*F in my PeaPod plus top quilt, but I added a SB below and winds were very mild. And the pod was closed, which isn't nearly as roomy as this approach, and a negative for claustrophobics. Pros and cons, as always.
I did get occasional cold spots on my legs when I moved or especially when I went to my side, but they were not bad enough to ruin my sleep, and it was sometimes maybe related to quilt positioning. But there was never a hint of cold on my torso. I think I still have a lot to learn as far as set up for the foot end.
Once again, I notice that a big advantage of this approach is my arm and hand warmth. I did not have my gloves on, but was able to keep an arm or hand out of the quilt, with one or both hands under my head/pillow, without a hint of cold. Plus the quilt did not move when I did. I never had to adjust it, assuming I got the foot end in the right position to start with. I had a pad handy ( lack of confidence in leg/foot warmth) but never had to resort to it.
So even though I was 5 or 10*F above the 0-10*F rating of this quilt, and thus not a max out test, I think the wind chill was the main factor to consider last night. That, plus my inexperience with non pod style full length quilts and foot end adjustments. Regardless, I was warm a bit below 20F plus wind chill. This seems to me pretty good results all things considered. I look forward to a good test with the BMBH, which I think will result in even better results.
making progress + BB58's mod
It was great to have some time today, during a lull in getting ready for all of the family coming for Christmas day dinner, to play around with the MWUQ and Black Bird, when it was not raining and bitter cold and windy, even a little sunny. So I could also get the tarp out of the way. All my previous attempts at initially setting up this quilt, as a JRB underquilt novice, were under trying inclement conditions. That is fine for practice before going in the field, but it's no way to break in new eqipment which might have a learning curve.
So I seem to have gotten rid of my problems withy the quilt pulling to the left on the foot end( I don't know if I have mentioned that problem here, or in other threads, but I did somewhere). I think I pulled this off by biasing the foot end suspension cords to the left side, and vice versa for the head end. Hard to put in words, but it seemed to help a lot. No more foot end pulling away from my feet to the right on the BB. Big improvement.
Next I kept experimenting with foot end tension. The Jacks said not to tension the foot drawstrings too tight, as it would cause the quilt to pull away from the hammock body. But when I left it with a foot or so between edges as recommended, it seemed to me I could see excess daylight down at the foot end when I lay in the hammock. Plus, I would still have a pretty good gap under my left lag and to the left side.
One thing I did was move the foot end closer to the middle, head end more towards the head. This still left my feet well covered, and with 8-10" separation between left and right, visible daylight seemed minimal and the left leg gap was smaller. Things were improving steadily.
Finally, I tried a mod I had been thinking about. I attached two grip clips to the quilt fabric edge on each side of the quilt ( l+r) on the foot end, about a foot closer to the middle from where the suspension connects. Then I attached some thin shock cord to one grip clip, ran it over the ridge line to the other grip clip, and moderately tightened it up. I got in and no more gap on the left side at all, and just minimal under my left leg. I now felt the heat dramatically radiating up into my left leg, as I had been from the get go under my back. It also seemed to cover my butt a bit better before the small gap under the legs started. I don't know if this made things better or worse on the foot end, since I could no longer see down there, because the quilt was now pretty much in contact with my legs. I will continue experimenting with these adjustments and this mod at colder temps. ( I got this idea from something WBG told me to do to get a better seal on his torso UQ) This all ended up making for a very comfortable, toasty 54*F nap, with nothing on top except my cotton shirt and blue jeans.
This is a very nice, warm quilt. Mostly, none of the above is needed with the BMBH, only with the BB. And I did already spend a cold windy night( <20*F) in the Black Bird without the above adjustments and tricks, and I was OK. But I felt like I was not reaching the quilts potential. I think I'm much closer to this potential now.
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