First Hang in my WB Blackbird by Newbie
Last night I did my first full night in my new WB Blackbird 1.1dbl. as a test run in my backyard. I could bailout if things got too cold. Before that I only had time to try it out for a nap and I wanted to see how it would compare with the Grand Trunk Ultralight. I want to say, all the things I have read here on HF were true! the comfort difference (for me) was wonderful, I really like the foot box and I could stretch out without any side pressure. The double zipper, shelf and tie-outs are great as many have said! The Blackbird rules!
Only a couple of problems:
Temps were mild down to 54 degrees so I didn't expect the problems I had with cold. I used a Lawson 1/4" EVA pad between the hammock double layers and an old down bag not rated as TQ. I was wearing fleece pants and LS shirt with socks. I tried sleeping directly on the hammock and pad with nothing between me and the hammock as I have read about, the down bag on top. The bag was almost too hot at first, but as the night cooled off I woke up at 2:30AM and discovered that I was very cold on the bottom. I was surprised! From what others said I thought the 1/4" would be fine down to 40ª but I felt cold coming through the foam. So, I added my Thermarest pro on top of the foam and slept inside the bag to have it around me. I slept almost toasty the rest of the night.
The other issue which I expected, was that the 24" wide pad was too narrow and I did have cold shoulders and arms where they touched off the pad. 40" wide would have been much better. And I even noticed my feet feeling chilly off the pad, and this is only at 54ª, summer temps for some of you.
Now I am unsure how thick the foam pad needs to be to stay warm down to 40ª? Would 1/2" be enough? Any suggestions on how I can improve things?
All in all, I had a wonderful time! Watching the stars and the full moon was like a spotlight it was so bright! Be lulled to sleep by the sweet sounds of street traffic, car brakes and crickets. Thanks to all you HF members.
There are plans for a sleeve to go over your pad that includes "wings" to make it wider for the hips and shoulders. I just used duct tape (fail) and it didn’t take me long to get frustrated enough to get an underquilt good to 40*, then another good to 20*, then made a 3/4 synthetic one myself for fun last week. For me, and many, the UQ is the way to go. I flop from side to side (the DangerBird is good for that) and don't care for the wall in my face so swap diagonals as well. No reasonable pad is going to work for my style of sleeping so quilts are pretty much it.
I get to listen to coyotes and great horned owls and sometimes a screech owl in my back yard. Traffic is mostly far off. I just love it. Learning about hammocks is about the best thing that's happened since becoming a widower.
I've always been amazed at how low some people can go with a 1/4" pad. I'm just the opposite...I swear heat quits going to my back the moment I lay down in a hammock. A 1/4" torso pad only gets me to 65*.
The point of my post is that only your experiences will tell you how much insulation you need for a given situation.
Thanks gmcttr, I thought that I was just a weenie! My half inflated Thermarest was adding about 1/2 to 1.0 inches. If I want to add another foam pad to my existing 1/4", what thickness would you add?
I had my first night in the WBBB Multi cam last week and had to bail, I think it got down to about 40, I was using a PLUQ and got way to cold. I abandoned the PLUQ and picked up a TQ and UQ. I never could get comfortable with a pad in any of my hammocks.
Did you use your HG Burrow and Phoenix UQ and how did they do? BTW, not sure what brand PLUQ is?
So the first night in was with a DIY Poncho Liner Under Quilt PLUQ, many have said it is good for them down to low 40's and it may be but I bailed, it was just too cold on my back. That night I used my synthetic 40* North Face bag, I was fine on top but full on Cold Butt Syndrome. Search the forums for DIY No Sew PLUQ, if interested. Since then, I spent a 55* night with my HG 40* Burrow, sweet and toasty, no looking back. Third night, same scenario. My 20* Phoenix just came in, I have only been able to dry fit and test hang, have not overnighted yet. My plan is to use this set up for 70% of my camping, the remaining 30% is warm weather no UQ at all. My hopes are thru venting I can use the Phoenix for all my UQ needs, we will see. It has been a 4 month journey of tweaking and selling, buying, returning, etc...to arrive where I am today. I went from ENO SN to DN, to 3 different BIAS DL's to the WBBB. I think I am dialed in now. I firmly believe without this forum, I would have abandoned the hammock for camping with the ENO SN. There is some really good info here, keep reading.
Originally Posted by GnomeBuddy
Bet you liked that first go! Hammocks are great but you learned what I did over my first year, that being cold isn't fun.
I ordered 1/2" closed cell foam form the Foam Factory on-line. I got it wide and long enough and let me tell you, 1/2" foam will keep you warm down to the teens! However, it was too bulky to roll up and tie to the bottom of my pack.
then I ordered a 1/4 foam from the same source and it works well and i was able to actually fold it in half and then roll it and tie it under my pack. Works suprisingly well if I have the right clothing, sock, etc in synthetic layers, however, I quickly realized why they talk about the under quilts so much. They're just so much more efficient and convenient although costly.
I started with a 3/4 20 degree Phoenix; it was amazing, now I have my second, it's a full length zero degree from the same company.
Until you want to spend the money on an UQ, you may want to consider buying/using two layers of 1/4 closed cell foam. It "may" be flexilbe enough to get it rolled/packed and I'm sure a 1/2" will do the job!
Welcome to the club!
Testing new gear is always a good idea before taking it into the woods, way to go.
I started off with pads and as soon I could afford it I got UQs, much more comfortable than pads. My wife still likes to use her old sleeping bag as a TQ
Thanks for all the good advice! I am going to look into an UQ as soon as I can get the $$ together.
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