winner: HHSS ( kind of at least )
OK, that may be a little over simplified, but still, I was wishing for my SS (and the netted hammock that I would have used with it). Or at least the JRB Bridge with MW4, though I'm afraid that would have been way to hot. Still, all things considered, the Pod ( NO TQ) still got the job done. So here are the details:
Me and my friends from NC were heading to the Sawtooths of Idaho last week. (trip report soon) My friend was- for the 1st time- taking his ~ 19-20 year old son. His son wanted to take his HH Expedition bottom entry, which he was used to and happy with, though he had some other no net options. But whatever he took, he needed some bottom insulation, and needed to borrow whatever I was not using.
In the end, after going back and forth between options of Claytor/pod vs WB synthetic Yeti vs HHSS( always a main contender) and bridge/MW4, I ended up deciding on what I took to similar country last time: Claytor No Net/PeaPod, no TQ, using only the warm clothing I had with me anyway. And counting on Permethrin/Picaridin/ and head net if needed. So my friend's son ends up using one of my #2 large SSs on the smaller Expedition hammock. The lows at nearby Stanley ID, elevation ~ 6500, varied from 31 to 49 during the trip.
Two things went wrong the 1st night. My headlight batteries went dead at the 1st night car camp at Little Redfish Lake( batteries replaced next A.M.). At the same time, I now realized that the pods Velcro did not seem to be sticking at anywhere near full strength. I also found out that ( maybe because of the lack of Velcro stick power ) that it was VERY difficult to get the Velcro closed with no head light or moon and going by feel. Don't know why: you would think it would be easy enough to feel the appropriate surface, pull tight and touch them together. But just "touching" was not hacking it this night- as it has in the past- I needed to be able to visibly push the Velcro edges together. Otherwise it would not close or stay closed. By the middle of the night, the moon had come out and that helped. But even after I had a head light again, this remained an unpleasant hassle the rest of the trip.
In the mean time we had quickly got the SS on the HH. Actually, the youngster had got it on pretty much right 1st time all by himself ( had the pad in backwards and the SB under the pad). We got things straightened out, and he was good to go the rest of the trip. The #2 SS was too big, which worried us a little at 1st, but in the end, all was good. He stayed warm and toasty with no condensation issues. He chose to leave the over cover behind, and it was indeed never needed. He had a 15* bag as quilt. One WM space blanket over one full length HH OCF pad and the under cover. At 1st morning pack up he took my advice to just stuff it all in one big sack, removing only his big synthetic bag. At the end of the trip I heard him telling his dad this would make a nice gift some Christmas or birth day.
One morning at the end, I got up for breakfast and noticed him sawing logs inside the netted HH, just looking totally content, and I thought “dang, I wish I had just brought the HH and SS and separate TQ(or JRB Bridge).”. Because I was paranoid every night about mossy bites despite Picaridin on exposed skin, and I did not liking sleeping in the head net, which I mostly did not do. Plus the unexpected Velcro hassle had me thinking I should have made another choice. Oh well, still got 'er done!
Can Velcro be restored? Also, I have from day one considered installing a couple of light duty snaps to beef up the Velcro, especially on the ends where it is hard to reach after laying down. I was glad for the pods infinite ventilation, because being too hot was more of a problem than being too cold, even without a TQ. I never even used my down vest or puffy clothing to stop drafts after the 1st night, was not needed. The pod closed ( after a battle to get it closed! ) down to a 6” diameter breathin vent was warm enough. Or, sometimes I slept in my puffy clothing, just using the pod as an UQ, or maybe closed over my feet. So once again just a PeaPod – with warm clothing as back up- proved more than warm enough- with a narrow hammock and no TQ- down into the lower 30s.
But so did the HHSS. And due to the hassle factor of the Velcro ( never had trouble with it before) and paranoia about all of the mossies, I would have enjoyed either my HHSS or bridge/MW- both with nets- more and was wishing I had either of them. But, due to the over kill of the MW4, I might have been to hot, plus it is 28 oz. As it was, in the pod I had to remove the space blanket because my back felt too warm, and it still felt plenty- almost too- warm some nights. So the HHSS would have been perfect for this trip. Hindsight etc.