Originally Posted by Rhino-lfl
I have a post in the pads section, I was at 17 degrees F last night with just a SPE in my Clarks with a 25 degree bag and plain old sweats. It was probably colder then that, but that was what the digital therm said when I went in to pee. I have no doubt that with a real bag, real cloths, and a real rain fly that wasn't too close so it caused condensation, I could do below zero.
Yes, I know where you are coming from. My warmest test night so far has been with the SPE and a thermarest ultralight 3/4 length pad on top of a Ridgerest in my Speer. It wasn't quite as cold as your experience, but I was really warm at 22*. So warm I was actually able to use the bag as a quilt for the first time. And it was so dirt simple and bombproof, while I was at the same time set up completely for ground duty if needed. I have also been very succesful combining just a ridgerest/spe with the most basic SS, very comfortable at 18*. I feel like that combo would go pretty close to zero, and certainly would with the adition of another 3/4 pad. However, until last night, all of those tests were strictly backyard and wind was not a factor. I think it was a pretty big factor last night.
But all of this experimenting and posting about the HHSS is just for the purpose of seeing how far I can push this item I already have, While still avoiding a pad. Rather than spending more money on an underquilt. And then going thru its learning curve.
But in fact, despite all of the posting I have done on the SS tests, I may indeed be on the verge of finally switching to the Speer for winter use. With my SPE for now, and maybe later an underquilt or Peapod. Now each system ( Speer with pads vs. SS) has it's benefits. Especially for those who are really averse to pads, or who might want the extra spash up and wind protection that the SS provides. I have not been able to make up my mind between the two so far. But just recently I have realized what seems to be an aditional benefit for the Speer and probably top loaders in general. And this may be a big enough bonus to switch me over
: I have come to realize it is much easier for me to get into my mummy bags in a top loader. If I decide to get in the bag by sitting down and putting my feet in, then standing up to pull the hood over my head, the HH can really fight you by squeezing my legs, especially while I am sitting. And other techniques I have used to try and get in the bag while fully in the hammock can also be a challenge, particularly when it is dark. But with the Speer, it always seems to go pretty easy to sit down on the spe, work my legs into the bag, stand up, pull the bag up, sit back down and lay down in the usual fashion. Though the steps are the same, it seems to go much easier without the bottom opening doing battle with me. Or, it also seems pretty easy to just lay the bag out in the speer, with the top drapped over the opposite side. then I just sit/lay down in the usual fashion, zip the bag up and I am there. This is never easy inside the HH. This bag convenience factor may be enough to finally make me switch for winter use.
I know most of you will tell me to forget the mummy bag and just get a top quilt. But I really enjoy the large amount of extra protection provided by the sealed neck/shoulder area- with hood cinched down to blow hole- that a mummy provides.
What kind of and/or how many pads did you use at 17*? Apparently you did have some condensation problems?