I recently met up with MacEntyre at the 2011 Fall MAHHA gathering, where he brought my MMG Insulated Hammock Sock with regular SEEP. To update my previous MMG sock review http://http://www.hammockforums.net/...ad.php?t=40427, I looped the end ties and added some micro biners to make it easier to "clip in" the sock.
I also added a small cord lock to the Dutch SEEP shock cord, so on-the-fly adjustments could be made, and to provide a "slip point" to protect the cord in the event it was made too taut.
My rigging for the night from bottom to top was:
1) MARPAT MMG Hammock Sock with Dutch SEEP - no IX
2) AHE KAQ New River UQ
3) ENO SN
4) MARPAT Fleece TQ
5) JRB 10x11 Tarp, pitched low and perpendicular to the wind.
I don't have access to confirm the weather, but there was a 40mph wind advisory and I believe MacEntyre said the temp got down to 50*. Again, I'm not sure what the "real feel" temp was because of the wind, but it did get nippy for sure. The sock did a great job at keeping the wind off of my hammock.
Temperature wise, this configuration was fine, albeit a little chilly, until about an hour before sun up. I had to add my Sea to Summit Reactor Thermalite sack under my fleece TQ. This took the "edge" off the cold and I was fine until sun up. I was awake throughout the entire night due to my buddy's snoring, so I was able to monitor my comfort throughout the night.
Now for the new sock:
The second night I used my new sock on my other rig. My buddy and I switched rigs so I could test it out. This rig consisted of:
1) IX MMG Hammock Sock with regular SEEP
2) Universal IX UQ
3) Eno DN
4) MARPAT Fleece TQ
5) OES MacCat Deluxe with 2QZQ door and pole mods
The new sock is made of black nylon with a layer of IX quilting and the original SEEP. I added my universal When I strung it to the hammock, but noticed there was a HUGE gap between the hammock/IX UQ and the sock. I realized this was due to the fact that they tie outs provided too much length. I ended up attaching a micro biner directly to the sock's end loops and had to even go beyond the ring buckles.
Once I did this, the sock pulled up closer to the body of the hammock/IX UQ, but there was still a noticeable gap.
I attribute this to two things:
1) The sock must be long enough to fit ALL hammocks, of which mine was shorter due to the fact that I set a 35* sag in mine.
2) The bottom edge must have enough material to provide adequate clearance for a person to sit in their hammock, without tearing the material.
I got into the rig with my normal orientation (feet towards the side entry side and head towards the back wall) and immediately noticed that though the gap did get smaller, it was still pretty significant!
Feet and side
My first thought was, "oh-no, this isn't going to work at all!". My next thought was to jump up and try to frantically find MacEntyre to find out what I can do to close up the gap. Prior to running like a screaming banshee, I took a moment to switch orientation (feet towards back wall, head towards entry side) and whoala! The gap closed up and the sock was taught against the IX UQ and the IX UQ was sealed against the hammock!
Feet and side
Based on the results above, I didn't even bother to take a picture of the heed end.
I went to bed thinking I was going to be in for a "toasty" night and that my thin fleece TQ was all that I would need. Unfortunately, IX doesn't work the same way that a down/synth comforter works. I did sleep pretty well at first, but I woke up around 3:00 am to find myself really chilly. I jumped up and clipped in my AHE KAQ in between the sock and my IX UQ, thinking that it would be the solution I was looking for. I got back in an noticed that my back was indeed "toasty", but I was still a bit cold. After about an hour after that I had enough. I jumped up and put the thin fleece TQ away and pulled the KAQ from under me to use as a TQ, leaving only the IX UQ and sock body with IX underneath me. The results...magic.
I noticed that I didn't really need the added UQ to be warm underneath. IX is a funny thing. It's not exactly warm, but it's not exactly cold either....rather, it's more neutral if that makes any sense. I did however noticed that my top was immediately warm and this made everything VERY comfortable inside the sock, wearing a think pair of pants, my Under Armor base layer top and a thin fleece sweater.
By 6:30 am I was starting to sweat, but it was still pretty windy so I vented just my torso area by pulling that end of the SEEP across my body and tucking it "behind" the hammock.
By 7:30 am the wind had died down and I was so warm all over, I pulled the SEEP back to the 270* configuration and snored away for another hour or so!
For me, the perfect combination is IX underneath with a warm TQ on top. I'm a warm sleeper and I like my sheets to be cool. So my perceived notion of the temperature neutral properties of IX really seemed to mimic that sensation for me, while the TQ provided the heat I needed to stay "warm". The sock, with its SEEP panel, cut the wind and afforded me a warm pocket of air around me...exactly the same way it did in my previous report.
Summary, based upon my limited experience are:
1) IX isn't the end-all wonder material I originally thought it would be, but has a solid place in my insulation strategy.
2) IX is a good "temperature neutral" insulator that affords smaller form factor, and is really helpful for warmer sleepers.
3) IX by itself probably isn't good for "cold" sleepers, but can certainly be used to augment their UQs with little space penalties .
4) The sock, in any configuration, does a great job and excels in wet/damp and/or windy conditions.
The insulation strategy that seems to work best for me is to have a warm top cover (full TQ) with a thinner bottom cover (sock + IX). This enables me to better control (fine tuning) and regulate my own body temperature and comfort. If I need a little more of a bump in bottom insulation, I could use the thin fleece TQ in between the IX UQ and sock. If any more insulation is needed than I probably should just go with a down or synth UQ.
I’ve come up with the following strategies, based upon this season’s experience and all things being equal (food/water consumption and clothing).
Condition 1: 70* – 55* = Sock + IX UQ + 30* TQ
Condition 2: 55* - 45* = IX Sock + IX UQ + 30* TQ
Condition 3: 45* - 35* = Sock + 30* Down or Synth TQ/UQ combo – NEED TO VERIFY THIS WINTER
Condition 4: 35* - 25* = Sock + 30* UQ + IX UQ + 30* TQ - NEED TO VERIFY THIS WINTER
*Note: wind, moisture, and clothing will vary the above combinations*
In discussions with MacEntyre, any temp below 20* would require the switch to a canvas sock, due to breathability and condensation properties of the material.
BLUF: I really like the hammock socks and IX combination. They will be the main part of my Spring/Fall configuration, using quilts of varied temp ratings to "dial in" my exact comfort zone. It will also allow me to reduce the amount of pack space taken up by my traditional TQ/UQ combination.
Your results may differ.