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  1. #1
    hawghangar's Avatar
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    Setting the HH thermostat tonight...

    I'm about to do first hang in new HH Explorer tonight - just a backyard setup... trying to start dialing in my insulation system with the temperature.

    Low tonight expected to be around 33F... insulation system is HHSS UC, OCF pad, space blanket, 40F 900down top quilt with silk travel blanket.
    I'm hoping to get a good comfort baseline to get outide temperature in sync with insulation system... and be able to make adjustments as needed. Hopefully, I set everything up OK so that I make it through the night with zero cold spots... may need some beginner's luck.

    I'll report back tomorrow - maybe this benchmark exercise will help others...

  2. #2
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    Enjoy your hang, smart to do it at home, then if there is a problem you just go back into your home.

  3. #3
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    OK, how did it go? I see you were pushing it with that 40F TQ, depending on clothes worn. I'm not familiar with the silk travel blanket and don't know how much that might add to top side insulation?

    Supposed to be 33? When I did my earlier ( 6 years ago ) of HHSS testing, right about freezing seemed to me to be my lower limit for comfort with 1 pad, space blanket and UC. If memory serves, I was not either noticeably warm or cold on my back. I felt like I could not have gone much lower. I think all of my tests below freezing I have routinely added either HH kidney/torso pads and/or fleece jackets etc to the system for large warmth boosts.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 02-09-2013 at 08:19.
    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

  4. #4
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    That's just a bit warmer than my last test. I added an additional OCF pad to the setup. I was warm until about 6:30am when I started to get a bit cool.

  5. #5
    hawghangar's Avatar
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    First experience was not a smashing success or total failure - just need to tweak my system and inspect the setup. Last night, temp got to 31 with windchill down to 25F.

    First lesson learned: As the wind picked up, it was obvious I did not have the tarp edges as low to the ground as they should have been to effectively block the wind. A 2:00 AM re-staking was real cold. I'll check that next time before climbing in the hammock.

    I was never "warm" - not freezing, but not comfortable warm either. I really want to inspect my setup closer in the daylight today (I set it up in the dark last night) to make sure I have a good fit on the UC, pad, and SB. I used a reinforced SB like this one: http://www.cabelas.com/product/Sport...h-All+Products

    I wonder if I would get better heat reflection from one of the thinner mylar space blankets? ...might try that tonight. I'm also considering inserting a synthetic sleeping bag in the UC - not sure if underneath the pad or between the SB and the pad is best?

    The 40F top quilt (Sierra Stealth) actually performed well - as long as I kept it cinched around me tightly. Not sure the silk travel sheet added much - trying to use it in the hammock with a top quilt was a bit of a wrestling match. I wore upper and lower underlayers with a fleece upper pullover + wool socks.

    I hate to change too many variables while I'm trying to get a baseline setup and temperature synchronized, but unless I find a setup problem, I suspect my current gear may be a bit taxed at subfreezing temperatures - as BillyBob has confirmed with his experience.

    One final observation: I may have my foot end a little too high (read many tips to raise it several inches above head end), but how far into the hammock are you laying your head? I seemed to be searching for the sweetspot where my 6'-4" frame could lie level without feet above head or vice versa.

    I plan to make some adjustments and try again tonight... thanks for all the experience and tips shared on this forum. I watched so many setup/rigging videos before my hammock arrived that I feel like I've already set it up 1,000 times.

    Good Stuff.

  6. #6
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawghangar View Post
    First experience was not a smashing success or total failure - just need to tweak my system and inspect the setup. Last night, temp got to 31 with windchill down to 25F.

    First lesson learned: As the wind picked up, it was obvious I did not have the tarp edges as low to the ground as they should have been to effectively block the wind. A 2:00 AM re-staking was real cold. I'll check that next time before climbing in the hammock.

    I was never "warm" - not freezing, but not comfortable warm either. I really want to inspect my setup closer in the daylight today (I set it up in the dark last night) to make sure I have a good fit on the UC, pad, and SB. I used a reinforced SB like this one: http://www.cabelas.com/product/Sport...h-All+Products

    I wonder if I would get better heat reflection from one of the thinner mylar space blankets? ...might try that tonight.
    My 1st thoughts were "that 12 oz sp.B. might be heavy enough to cause some slight sag in the pad. You want it absolutely snug against your back/butt and legs. I would definitely go with the lightest possible space blanket on top of the pad, the cheap ones from Walmart work fine, but the ones from Adventure Medical are a lot nicer and quiet. like this:
    http://www.adventuremedicalkits.com/...ency%20Blanket

    Still, if you were not actually cold in 25 wind chill and small tarp, not bad. I felt you were pushing it anyway with a 40F top quilt. And really those temps are about the limit for me with that system without augmentation, so you didn't do too bad. Sounds like you are almost set. But you might do better with a lighter weight SB.

    BTW, did you notice, was it your back or on top where you felt you could use the most help warmth wise?

    I'm also considering inserting a synthetic sleeping bag in the UC - not sure if underneath the pad or between the SB and the pad is best?
    Underneath the pad! You only want very light weight stuff on top of the pad IMO, and always under the SB. I can almost guarantee you that, if you can keep the weight of that bag from causing the UC to sag resulting in a gap, that will keep your back warm WAY below freezing. It would me any way. I have had a fleece jacket and down vest plus the HH kidney/torso pads keep me toasty at 14 or lower with no tarp in a 6f windchill. An added sleeping bag below would go way beyond that. ( but I had a 5F windproof bag on top)

    The 40F top quilt (Sierra Stealth) actually performed well - as long as I kept it cinched around me tightly. Not sure the silk travel sheet added much - trying to use it in the hammock with a top quilt was a bit of a wrestling match. I wore upper and lower underlayers with a fleece upper pullover + wool socks.
    Well you were well below the rating of even a 40F sleeping bag, and a TQ can add it's own challenges and learning curve when it comes to draft control. Si I'm not surprised you were not exactly "toasty". But any bag or quilt can be pushed well beyond their ratings by addition of adequate layering. That's why I think you did pretty good.

    I hate to change too many variables while I'm trying to get a baseline setup and temperature synchronized, but unless I find a setup problem, I suspect my current gear may be a bit taxed at subfreezing temperatures - as BillyBob has confirmed with his experience.
    Well, some folks have used a HHSS basic system quite a bit- actually WAY - lower than me, but then others have not been able to do as good as me. So, who knows. I think it was originally considered by it's designer as a system good to right about freezing. However, while I was OK for back warmth to freezing without adding anything extra below, I had a more than warm enough sleeping bag on top, rated to 20 ( Cat's meow). Plus, don't forget this: if a mummy bag is rated to 40 or whatever, that usually includes excellent head warmth and draft control from a hood and often a neck collar. A quilt rated for 40F will include none of that. so if you are going to be as warm ina 40F quilt as you would be in a 40F bag, you must add equal head insulation and obtain equal draft control.

    One final observation: I may have my foot end a little too high (read many tips to raise it several inches above head end), but how far into the hammock are you laying your head? I seemed to be searching for the sweetspot where my 6'-4" frame could lie level without feet above head or vice versa. I plan to make some adjustments and try again tonight... thanks for all the experience and tips shared on this forum. I watched so many setup/rigging videos before my hammock arrived that I feel like I've already set it up 1,000 times.

    Good Stuff.
    You have it right for you if you do not at all slip towards the foot end or middle of the hammock as you sleep. feel free to experiment. When I started out level, I would end up way down towards the foot end after an hour or two. Plus, an elevated foot end seems to help with some other comfort issues. You can try level and see how it goes. But if comfort or position problems develop, don't hesitate to jack it up a few inches or even a lot more. Usually my feet are a tad higher, but that works good for me.

    Here is the $20,000 question: did you have significant condensation problems? If the answer is "no", then you might be a born HHSS guy! Everything else is just a matter of adding enough insulation for the temps and making sure you have not added so much weight so as to cause a sag and a gap.

    Good job for the 1st cold night!
    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

  7. #7
    hawghangar's Avatar
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    Thanks BillyBob for the good suggestions and encouragement.

    Tonight, forecast lows are in the low 40s with rain. I think I'll retry the standard HH setup of UC, OCF pad, with a SB sheet - see if I get a better pad-to-back seal with the lighter SB sheet.

    I'm concerned that my old synthetic sleeping bag is too heavy to use as an UQ without pulling the OCF pad away from my back... going to avoid that setup for now - especially with the slightly warmer night.

    Also going to add a stocking cap on my head tonight... with the TQ, I could feel a lot of cold on my head and face - suspect I had significant heat loss through head.... might add a wool blanket to supplement the TQ.

    I didn't have any condensation issues last night. I'll be interested to see how this setup performs in the rain tonight as well. Is all this trial and error normal to get the optimum setup dialed in?

  8. #8
    hawghangar's Avatar
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    Just curious:

    What would be the effect of draping a sheet of SB over your TQ to give a warm weather TQ a bit more range in colder temps? Condensation nightmare?

  9. #9
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawghangar View Post
    What would be the effect of draping a sheet of SB over your TQ to give a warm weather TQ a bit more range in colder temps? Condensation nightmare?
    Most likely! Most SBs are VBs(vapor barriers) and the rule of thumb for using VBs is to keep them warm. IOW, as close as possible to your body warmth. Condensation happens when warm vapor from your bod meets temps below the dew point. The you get dew!

    For some folks ( like me ) the VB effect of the light weight VB ( the space blanket ) over the HHSS OCF pad works great ( keeps most of the body moisture from condensing down in the HH OCF pad and whatever other insulation ( down jackets or whatever ) you might have stuffed down in the UC and under the pad. Plus for some of us VB clothing works great for a big warmth boost plus keeping all insulation dry and warm. It is worn next to the skin or most likely with a very thin layer of long johns/socks. This thin layer will be sacrificed to moisture and will get at least damp or even soaked. It is mainly to decrease the unpleasant sensation of plastic or coated nylon against bare skin. But the moisture can go no further and evil evaporative cooling is stopped "cold" so to speak, and the moisture can not get into your real insulation, keeping it warm and dry and puffed up to the max.

    But in the HHSS, there are 2 VBs: the space blanket and the sil-nylon UC. If you remove the "warm" close to skin space blanket(SB) VB, then your body vapor can just keep on trucking through the HH pad until it hits that "cold" VB, the UC. And condensation is nearly guaranteed!

    Same thing if you put a VB over your your TQ, only worse I think, because warm moist vapor rises. And when it hits that cold outer layer, it will condense just like it does when it hits your tarp. Unless it is a safe distance from your TQ, your insulation will get damp or wet or soaked and you will freeze. A sealed up VB ( that you understand how to use ) under your quilt or inside a bag might add 20F to your warmth ( clothing or VB liner ) and keep your insulation dry. Over your quilt - unless there is another VB inside the insulation next to you - can prove disastrous.


    Tonight, forecast lows are in the low 40s with rain. I think I'll retry the standard HH setup of UC, OCF pad, with a SB sheet - see if I get a better pad-to-back seal with the lighter SB sheet.

    I'm concerned that my old synthetic sleeping bag is too heavy to use as an UQ without pulling the OCF pad away from my back... going to avoid that setup for now - especially with the slightly warmer night.

    Also going to add a stocking cap on my head tonight... with the TQ, I could feel a lot of cold on my head and face - suspect I had significant heat loss through head.... might add a wool blanket to supplement the TQ.

    I didn't have any condensation issues last night. I'll be interested to see how this setup performs in the rain tonight as well. Is all this trial and error normal to get the optimum setup dialed in?
    No condensation? WhoooHooo! The trial and error is normal for most of us, but one day it will dawn on you just how simple and effective this concept is. There really is about zero trial and error or fiddle factor with the basic HHSS if you understand what you are doing. If you just get it attached according to HH directions, there is really nothing else to do or adjust, it either works for you or it doesn't. All of the trial and error comes as you start adding stuff to it to extend it's warmth!

    And you didn't even have good head insulation and were not all that cold below 30 in just a 40F TQ? Well you are doing super, I don't see how you could have done much better.

    Forget about that bag in the UC, you don't need all of that. That is like what kwpapke used when he did minus 27F! All you need for a stout boost is whatever jacket or vest or insulated pants you don't need to sleep in to be warm enough in your TQ. Just put those under the pad. You would not believe how much a zipped up ( for double thickness ) fleece jacket can add. Put light stuff like extra wool socks on top of the pad, under the sb right about kidney level.

    Do you have a zip model hammock? If so, with the bag or whatever you might add, just reach out after you are in and feel below the hammock. Then you can make sure there are no gaps between you and the pad, and that the UC is touching at least some of the pad - but there will be some air spaces in some spots that is normal. Unless of course you have added insulation under the pad. In which case the UC can not touch the pad. But then just make sure the added insulation is touching the pad, held up by the elastics in the UC. But don't sweat it too much, unless you add something pretty heavy like a synthetic sleeping bag, it is probably not going to sag too much.

    Consider getting a JRB down hood, other wise wear the thickest head gear you can find. Good luck!

    Oh: if for some reason you find you have a little gap or just feel the pad is not snug enough to your back, you can tighten up the suspension by tieing loops in the pads elastic cords. Or you can use the old style UC hook up: take the UC's end elastic loops and attach them to the prussick hooks meant to tension the tarp, and tighten up some, even enough to support a sleeping bag. Just be careful and don't pull too tight and maybe damage something!
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 02-09-2013 at 22:32.
    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

  10. #10
    hawghangar's Avatar
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    Improvement!

    Much better results last night! Temp was only in the mid to upper 30s, but wind was howling and steady downpour of rain most of the night.

    The Hex fly kept me and hammock completely dry - no rain infiltration problems.

    Use of the thinner SB sheet as opposed to the SB "quilt" the night before must have helped keep the OCF pad against my body - could tell a noticeable difference in underside warmth. Thanks BB for this suggestion. I had a very slight cold spot in butt and feet areas but not uncomfortable - just noticeable.

    Adding a stocking cap on my head made a huge difference as well - won't forget that again.

    Next biggest challenge is learning to tie the fly down effectively in high winds. I thought I had taken the tarp edges "to ground" with only about 8 to 12 inches of tie down cord between ground stake and tarp edge. But either the wind shifted, or the tarp/suspension stretched with rain, and I got an annoying tarp flap and a LOT of wind coming across my face. Would it have been better to just stake the tarp corners direct to the ground (i.e., no cord) to ensure no wind got under the tarp? Or does the tarp need the tie down cords as "shock abosrobers"?

    I did notice that you can lay in a warm hammock a LONG time tyring to decide whether a tarp flap is annoying enough to get out in the cold and fix it - or just put up with it.

    All said, night #2 was better than night #1 - still have some tweaking to do and a lot to learn, but enjoying this. Thanks for all that share experience and lessons learned!

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