Shug's pod adventures forced me to (at 10 PM last night) takedown my Uber comfortable JRB bridge hammock/MW 4 and put up my Claytor No Net and Speer Peapod. No supercold temperatures like Shug and the Minnesota adventurers experienced, of course. But how do you make for a challenge when the forecast is only for +20? By using less insulation on top: no TQ.

My previous experience with this set up in the wilds of Wyoming was using: 20° Speer Peapod, one space blanket underneath, my Bozeman mountain works 14 ounce Polarguard jacket (either worn or fluffed up on top of me, maybe worn backwards) an 8 ounce pants, a 9 ounce down vest, and some kind of hat. I recall that on the first night (coldest night) with a low around 27F I was just barely warm enough on top. (Sleeping under the stars, no tarp) I definitely was not toasty warm, but was not too cool to sleep. The rest of the week I was just fine, with lows a few degrees warmer than that first night.

The plan for what would be different last night, at similar temps, would be replace the space blanket with a MMG IX UQ. Also, instead of my Polarguard stuff, I wore a thin Merino wool base layers with heavy fleece top and bottom (Mountain Hardware monkey fur top, Moonstone pile pants). And a 25-year-old Patagonia pile balaclava. Then I used my Uber light Polarguard jacket(same as previously) on top to fill in around my neck as needed. It was 28° when I went to bed, with a forecast low 21°.

The pod and IX was too dang hot! I read a couple of chapters with the pod mostly open around my chest area, hands outside the pod in order to hold the book where I could see it in my headlamp. I really stayed quite comfortable for this entire reading period. I was amazed that my hands stayed warm holding the book outside the pod, without gloves. Then it was lights out, close the pod up. I maintained a several inch breathing hole throughout. It wasn't long till the balaclava I had to come off. As with previous experiences with this Peapod and Claytor No Net hammock, I was once again amazed at the amount of heat that seems to be "generated" in the head and neck area. Then I had to start increasing the size of the vent hole to maybe 6 inches in diameter. Then I turned on my left side with legs straight and then fetal. Pod rotated with a breathing hole off to the side. Very comfortable, very very warm. Top and bottom for the most part. In fetal, I felt some coolish areas around my knees, which I'm assuming is because my knees were compressing the pod loft in that area. But still overall very warm. Most of the time I was too warm on the verge of sweating. Also it did not get as cold as forecast, I don't think it got any lower than 26 or 27. Wind was not a factor. So okay, obviously I should have removed a layer or two. But I was having my usual lousy backyard sleep, so after about four hours – considering I was so dang warm it was no challenge – when I had to get up to pee I just went inside.

Now this was a way warmer experience than I had previously with a very similar overall set up insulation wise. So I guess it was the IX under quilt? Do you guys think that two layers of IX (Molly Mac Gear first-generation with Insultube added) between hammock and pod (instead of a space blanket used previously) could add enough heat from the bottom to make it feel almost too warm on top? (IX weighed about 8 ounces – and might or might not act as a vapor barrier – compared to the two or 3 ounces of space blanket) On bottom it just felt toasty warm and was comfortable. But then I was well within the rating of the Peapod on bottom anyway. All of the sensation of being too warm seemed to be on top, most especially in the head and neck area. By the way, I did not notice any condensation at all. Loft in the head and neck area seems as puffy as usual. Of course it wasn't very cold.

A claustrophobic would not like this system. Using something like a JRB BMBH with adequate top quilt and separate hood is a much more "open", less restricting experience. But it sure is warm for the weight.