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  1. #1
    Señor Member wisenber's Avatar
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    Down Parka with Less UQ and Shorter TQ

    I have been in the market for a new mountaineering parka recently. When looking over the options, another application came to mind....

    Would a down parka with a hood not work in Winter conditions with a short TQ and a minimal UQ?

    This is the parka that I had in mind.


    I was wondering how many folks have tried this approach. With a parka stuffed with 13 ounces of 850+ down and a hood encased in Epic or Event, would that not keep someone in a hammock warm well below 0 F? I was thinking of using a shorter TQ that would come up above my waist and possibly just using a 3 season UQ. ( I know the rationale is that down compresses and is useless beneath the wearer, but "some benefit" would still be reaped from that much down.)

    I envision wearing the parka with the hood ( and probably a thin balaclava to manage breath moisture), then using a shorter TQ over my legs and a bit above wear the parka ends. I would then combine that with say my 3 season Te-Way for some added insulation from below. While the parka is made of Epic or eVent, I would probably go with a VB shirt to prevent moisture build up in the parka overnight.

    The reason why I am pondering this is to reduce bulk/weight of a Winter pack. The parka is probably warm down to about -25 F or so when not used for sleeping, and it weighs about 30 ounces. I reason that on deep cold trips, I would wear the parka around camp in the evening and morning as I do with my current down jacket, so the weight penalty would be fairly minimal compared to my North Face Nuptse. My legs would require less insulation than my torso, so I figure on testing something like my No Sniveler without pulling it over my shoulders and leaving doubled over in the area that it is folded. With only a 3 season fractional UQ, something would still be needed beneath my feet (might just use stuffsack with extra clothing).

    At any rate, I just thought I serve this one up for comment. If it worked well enough, it could make for a much lower volume pack in the deep cold.


  2. #2

  3. #3
    SlowBro's Avatar
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    I wear a synthetic parka while sleeping for the added warmth and it works fine, but I need a good underquilt to stay warm. The insulation of the parka that is under me is compressed and therefore not giving much insulation from below. The parka lets me use the quilt only over my legs if it's mildly cold and if it's colder I just pull it up. From the wt standpoint, 30 oz is heavier than any quilt that JRB makes, besides, I'm a layering guy so several lighter pieces of gear that I can combine is what I look for. That said, if you are going to be doing serious mountaineering or going to the Arctic then a big parka might make sense. Also, if you just want it and are looking for justification, that will work, too.
    -Mark

    PS- I have not used a vapor barrier system, but from my understanding if you are going with a vapor barrier system then this parka may be overkill unless you expect Arctic conditions. Others more familiar with VB may be able to speak to that.
    -SlowBro
    "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."-Theodore Roosevelt

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mancat's Avatar
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    You can also use a partial length UQ as a top quilt used in the same manner.
    "If animals could speak the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow, but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much."
    - Mark Twain

    "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! NO MORE WOOD!"
    - Mancat

  5. #5
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    I don't know what weight parkas and pants he is using, but this is all Fiddleback has ever done. A 3/8" pad and wearing all of the clothes that he already has with him. He probably does not have a parka that thick though, nor VBs. I think he uses that system into the low 20s in Montana, mostly summer.

    Wonder what the loft of this parka is? The wearable High Sierra Sniveler( you would need a hood), 27-29 oz, is 3.5" head to toe loft, rated to zero to 5. ( not sure why that rating, with the MW4 @ 4" loft rated the same. Maybe one is rated as TQ the other as UQ? But this parka is 30 oz top torso area only, but divided front and back. Anyway, wonder about the loft?
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 11-12-2011 at 17:32.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ewker's Avatar
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    I can't sleep with all of that on me. It is just to confining and I can't move around
    There are times that the only way you can do something is alone – that waiting on the convenience of others means that a lot of opportunities will pass you by
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  7. #7
    Señor Member wisenber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hang um high View Post
    Having done the mountaineering thing, I've found a couple of problems with the down suit approach.
    1.) it is easier to find a parka and a jacket that fits versus a suit.
    2.) There are transition periods when a climber needs a parka but not lower coverage.

    I've used elephant bags and parkas when midway on a summit approach. I've just never tried it in a hammock.

  8. #8
    Señor Member wisenber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    I don't know what weight parkas and pants he is using, but this is all Fiddleback has ever done. A 3/8" pad and wearing all of the clothes that he already has with him. He probably does not have a parka that thick though, nor VBs. I think he uses that system into the low 20s in Montana, mostly summer.

    Wonder what the loft of this parka is? The wearable High Sierra Sniveler( you would need a hood), 27-29 oz, is 3.5" head to toe loft, rated to zero to 5. ( not sure why that rating, with the MW4 @ 4" loft rated the same. Maybe one is rated as TQ the other as UQ? But this parka is 30 oz top torso area only, but divided front and back. Anyway, wonder about the loft?
    That particular model is for Denali and such. That should be warm enough for minus 30 or so. I think the baffles are about 1.5" with over 2" of loft against your body.
    The VB layer would be to ensure insensible perspiration doesn't make it damp.

    As I mentioned, I know the down will compress under me, but it should still add 20 to 30 degrees more warmth than with nothing. That and a 30 degree UQ should get me close to zero.

  9. #9
    Señor Member wisenber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ewker View Post
    I can't sleep with all of that on me. It is just to confining and I can't move around
    How different would that be than a mummy bag in your tent? I don't mean that in a smart way, I'm just really curious about that difference.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wisenber View Post
    That particular model is for Denali and such. That should be warm enough for minus 30 or so. I think the baffles are about 1.5" with over 2" of loft against your body.
    The VB layer would be to ensure insensible perspiration doesn't make it damp.

    As I mentioned, I know the down will compress under me, but it should still add 20 to 30 degrees more warmth than with nothing. That and a 30 degree UQ should get me close to zero.
    I think an easy experiment should tell you how much help you can get from it. Take something with 2" of loft ( from down, single layer ) and lay on one layer on the next cold day. Maybe on the next 40 degree day, which would need about 30*F ( 70-40) worth of protection. If your back and butt are warm enough, you are good to go.

    This, as you know, would be no problem on the ground where a pad was providing nearly all of your insulation anyway. Or, with a synthetic parka which would still compress, but not nearly as much.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

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