Originally Posted by FreeTheWeasel
Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm trying. I'm really trying.
BillyBob: I don't have the kidney/torso pads and I suspect that is my problem. I thought I could use my heavy, stiff (by comparison) inflatable pad under the Hennessy pad but inside the undercover. That didn't work which is good to know. When I get the chance, I'll experiment with lighter, thinner pads on top of the Hennessy pad. I have an extra one now because one ripped and Anne sent me a new one. I'll try doubling them to see if that makes life better.
I've been avoiding the space blanket, but I'll have to try it. I hate the crinkle sound and I tend to move a fair amount.
By the way, my test reports are in no way meant to slander the Supershelter. I do like the system but I'm having trouble getting to colder temperatures. It is perfectly workable for most of the weather the average camper is going to see. It gets cold here, unpredictably, and so I get to try all kinds of different configurations. I have total confidence using the system as low as 50 F. Lower than that, and I have to start modifying my behavior which isn't bad, just something I need to work out.
Hey FTW, you have certainly been giving it the old college try, but it's only worth so much effort and cold nights when there are other methods available. But the mystery to me is how you had success at or near freezing using the SS in it's most basic form. As you said:
I have used the supershelter down to 36 F (recorded on thermometer) and somewhere around freezing (frost on the ground). Both times, I was wearing thermal underwear, socks, a hat, and I had the sleeping bag hood pulled up tight around my face so that only my nose and mouth stuck out. I did not have any extra insulation underneath. I had only the open cell foam pad and the undercover. In those cases, I was pretty comfortable.
Now that's a long way from cold at 40. I responded to your above post with:
OK, your 1st experiments listed above sounds closer to my experiences. Maybe even better if you were not using the 2 oz space blanket. If you got 32-36* from just the open cell foam and undercover, then you did about as good as can be done. I think I remember that during my "controlled experiments", the backs of my calves got a little cold at 38* with just the one OCF pad and no space blanket.
So that was really doing pretty darn good, at least as good as rated by TH, particularly with no SB
. So the mystery is: Why such poor results since then? I know you attribute it to a better sleeping bag and hood the first time, but that should really have little effect on a cold back, especially if the bag is down. Read my account in the ONP trip report of the night I did not run the side ropes thru the pad loop, so that it got pulled off to the right. My bag was plenty warm on top, as was the rt side of my back-- but the left side of my back was way too cold to get thru the night. Once I corrected my error in set up, I was once again pleasantly warm everywhere. No amount of bag was going to make my back comfortable if that pad was not right. I'm thinking that somehow, during your first testing, you got things inadvertantly adjusted correctly, but that has somehow gone awry sense then. And trying to use a thermarest pad underneath has just made it worse.
BTW, I finally got some official temp readings for my Sept Olympic NP trip. It turns out the first night was the coldest (temp wise anyway: fog and rain may have caused the last night to seem colder). It was 40*, coincidentally. We set up in the pitch black night, by headlamps. I did not use the space blanket
that night, and I don't think I used the kidney/torso pads, but I'm not sure. Just some light weight long johns and sleeping bag as quilt. Zero sense of cold back or anywhere else, just toasty warm. Also, the SB is a noisy pain when getting it settled on top of the pad. But once I'm in the hammock, I never hear it.
It seems to be working better for you to just use an UQ, and a pad(s) and SPE would for sure get you as warm as you need to go, with or without UQ or SS. But you have paid for the SS, so I hope you figure it out enough to AT LEAST do you right to 40. Particularly as you started out OK to 32 without SB
. Have you thought about calling Tom H. and describing your difficulties? He can be pretty helpful about how to use his designs.
Good luck and keep us posted!