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  1. #1
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    What about a vest?

    Those of you who hammock in cold weather: Have any of you used a vest to boost your sleep system, and if so, how helpful was it?

    I think we are all familiar with using our camp clothing to boost our sleep system, allowing us to use a lighter bag. For instance, I use some light weight Polarguard clothing( 14 0z "parka" and 8 oz pants) that I have with me any way, in which I have been able to sleep down to about 50 by itself in my Super Shelter, no bag. When I have used it in my Pea Pod and Speer hammock, I have been OK down to about the mid to high 20s, even though the Pea Pod is only rated to about 50 on top ( for me, probably about 40-45 with jeans/cotton shirt) due too the air gap created when the Speer's high sides raise the pod top off of my body. So, it seems I get about 20*F or more by adding these clothes to my sleep gear.

    But I am about to use the Pod on a potentially cold trip, but with a Claytor No Net. This narrow hammock allows the PeaPod to drape down mostly right on top of my body, leaving very little to no gap above me. Now it just seems to me that this should give me another 10 or 20*F on top ( I'm not worried about my bottom warmth). Or, about the same as a sleeping bag with over 2.5" single layer loft, which is normally a 20*F rating. Call it 25* to be conservative, and since the Pod is so big. That plus my PG clothing should carry me below 20 with some room to spare, it seems to me. And I might see temps in the teens.

    But here is the rub: I have not been able to test this. By the time I got the No Net, winter was over. So I am a little paranoid about it, since Speer recommends a summer weight top bag for temps below 40 or so. Though of course, that is for use in his hammock which lifts the pod off of you.

    So I have been thinking of carrying some more weight for insurance. I have been thinking of a JRB Stealth or a Speer top bag, even though I feel they would be a good bit more than I need, unless I took the Speer hammock instead. In the meantime, I have remembered this Patagonia down vest I have. It weighs 9 0z, and has an incredible 3.75" of total dual layer loft, at least in the thickest areas. It has a good seal around the neck and waist and pretty good at the arms. I can wear it under my 14 oz PG parka without compressing it's loft, or over the parka, or drape it on top of me around my neck and shoulders where it will loft up to contact the Pod and help seal off drafts if I have the pod breathing hole open. Or, I can just layer it under me down in the Pod to boost the warmth from below which should also help on top. Etc.

    At least that seams to be my theory of how it would or could work. Does any one hear have experience using vests for making a bag or quilt or pod warmer, and if so, how helpful was it? Do you feel that it is a lot of warmth for the weight, or not so much?
    Thanks
    Bill
    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

  2. #2
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    I've used a ThermaWrap jacket that way before - just laid the jacket on top of me, underneath the quilt, to add loft. It worked ok but was kinda a hassle keeping it AND the quilt adjusted when I moved around.

    Sort of on-topic - I just bought some microfleece sleeves from the cycling section at REI. I figure they'll be great for a bit of added warmth in the mornings when I start up but don't want to wear a jacket...I really hate when I'm just getting into the groove and have to stop to take off a jacket. Anyway, these would work well with a vest except for a small section at the shoulder (since most vests are sleeveless there will be a small gap that a T-shirt sleeve would cover). They'll also work well when I'm sleeping b/c I can put my arms out of the quilt but they'll still be covered...kind of a modular approach to both clothing and sleeping.

    Anyway, if you're carrying a vest it's just a thought.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  3. #3
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Years ago when I was learning the layering concept.. before all the new technical fabrics, I was always told the vest was the cornerstone for any layering system. It served to protect the main heat engine, the torso. By keeping the torso warm the extremities will stay warmer. I would assume the theory is still valid but I am still messing around with trying to deal with cool temps.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

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  4. #4
    slowhike's Avatar
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    I haven't used it much yet, but last winter I took advantage of a 20% off sale & bought a half sleeve vest by Montbel.
    I had already got a set of down sleeves from JRB (seconds), & my thinking is that the combo would have some versatility over an insulated jacket.
    The sleeves could be used by them selves & easily removed as Jeff talked about.
    They could be used on my cold feet in the hammock if needed (as talked about by the Jacks)
    The vest could be used with or with out the sleeves. And the half sleeves of the vest completely covers & seals the top of the sleeves.

    As far as BillyBob's question about using the vest for part of the sleep system, I regularly use what ever type insulative clothing I have to sleep in as needed.
    I think keeping it in place could be a problem if it's used as part of the quilt layering, but as long as the temps are that marginal that I don't feel that I need to wear it, it probably wouldn't be that big of a deal.
    If it got cold enough that loosing that layer would wake me up, I'd probably just put it on.
    don`t leave the CREATOR out of the creation!

  5. #5
    BurningCedar's Avatar
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    I've regularly worn a Patagonia Micropuff vest in cooler weather while sleeping and feel that it does add measurable warmth. Your down vest should be loftier and warmer yet.

    I never tried using the vest as a quilt. I move quite a bit when I sleep so I very much doubt that I'd be able to keep in on top of me.

    Probably doesn't help your bottom-side much due to compression of the loft -- but I feel the added warmth is well worth the small extra weight penalty.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Tim - is that the down half-sleeve jacket? I want a synthetic one (Thermawrap) but can't find it online, even on the Mont Bell America website. Wonder why they made a down one and not a synthetic one...

    Thinking about cutting the sleeves off the jacket but my wife just said she'd kill me. Hrm. Guess I'll have to buy a new one to cut the sleeves off of...
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  7. #7
    slowhike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Jeff View Post
    Tim - is that the down half-sleeve jacket? I want a synthetic one (Thermawrap) but can't find it online, even on the Mont Bell America website. Wonder why they made a down one and not a synthetic one...

    Thinking about cutting the sleeves off the jacket but my wife just said she'd kill me. Hrm. Guess I'll have to buy a new one to cut the sleeves off of...
    Yep, it's down. I asked about a synthetic version too, but they don't make one for some reason???
    Let us know how that goes when you show the wife your new half sleeve operation
    don`t leave the CREATOR out of the creation!

  8. #8
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowhike View Post
    I think keeping it in place could be a problem if it's used as part of the quilt layering, but as long as the temps are that marginal that I don't feel that I need to wear it, it probably wouldn't be that big of a deal.
    If it got cold enough that loosing that layer would wake me up, I'd probably just put it on.
    I also think it would be a problem. But, unzipped in single layer mode, it is wide enough to tuck under my shoulders like a quilt, and over my light PG parka and it had occurred to me that it might be useful to serve as a sort of "neck collar" like mummy bags have, cutting down on escape of warm air from chest level thru whatever breathing hole I have on the PeaPod. At least if I am on my back. Zipped up in double layer mode would make an even better seal, but would be even more difficult to keep in place.

    I'm sure I would be much better off with a top blanket or quilt, as recommended by Speer. But of course more money and even more weight. I am just trying to figure out if this thick vest would serve as a sort of "half" top blanket, in effect, whether worn or draped over. Though in theory I won't really need either unless there is almost record cold, due to the extra warmth that I should get from the Pea Pod not being held several inches off of my body when I use it with the more narrow hammock. The theory is fine, too bad I wasn't able to test it.

    Of course, I could just take my summer sleeping bag as a top quilt, and that would end all doubts. But that 25 year old synthetic bag with stout shell and Quallofill is way too heavy.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 09-01-2008 at 08:24.
    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

  9. #9
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurningCedar View Post

    Probably doesn't help your bottom-side much due to compression of the loft -- but I feel the added warmth is well worth the small extra weight penalty.
    With the addition of a space blanket down inside the PeaPod, I don't expect much need for more warmth down there. But if I did, I could just put the vest down there and adjust the PeaPod so that there would be no compression, and pick up an additional several inches of loft.

    Plus, I'm thinking that because of the increased need for bottom layer warmth relative to top- reported by many here- that if I am extra warm below, it might have the effect of decreasing the warmth layer needed on top? I have noticed over a couple of winters here at the forum, many people have reported sleeping at much colder temps than there sleeping bags or top quilts were rated for, as long as the bottom portion was especially well insulated. One that particularly comes to mind is the very warm sleper Cannibal, using what was (I think) about a 30 degree old Coleman bag ( plus whatever clothes) at about zero, with no tarp, but with the WB UW below.

    And I am pretty well convinced that the vest, down in the UQ layer of the PeaPod, will work exactly as though the Pod was almost twice as thick in that part under my upper legs to lower back. Or where ever I place it.
    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

  10. #10
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    My camping here in Minnesota is c-c-cold in the winter! I also have a Montbell half-sleeve down vest and use it all the time. My preferred method is to put it on backwards, arms through sleeves so that is over my chest, neck and stomach. That way it stays in place and provides great warmth. Have used it on my feet at times and also as a pillow!
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