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  1. #11
    Senior Member blackbishop351's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qpens View Post
    What is everyone's take on the different underquilts out there...pros and cons...for a homemade Speer type hammock, i.e. JRBs, Peapod....
    Thanks,
    Michael
    qpens
    No comment.
    "Physics is the only true science. All else is stamp collecting." - J. J. Thompson

  2. #12
    Senior Member blackbishop351's Avatar
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    No, I haven't used the Henessy product, but I've got one coming so I'll be trying it soon. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to like it, compared to a quilt.

    Though I haven't used a SS myself, I've seen one in use and I've tried several experiments with pads underneath a hammock. I wasn't impressed at all with the pad fit on the SS, but maybe that was due to user-specific error. My own experiments couldn't get a decent fit at all and were quickly discarded. I would have had to add a LOT of tie-ons to a CCF pad to even get close to the fit of a UQ. From my experience, I don't think a quilt's fit can ever be duplicated with a pad. Then again, maybe I'm not trying the right pad. I do have a bit of trouble believing that ANY 3/8" thick pad could be flexible enough to eliminate (or even significantly reduce) buckling, though.

    I have another issue with pads, and that's convenience. I pack my hammock, sock, and UQ into one complete package, which goes from packed to hung and adjusted in less than two minutes. That same system wouldn't accommodate a pad underneath. Too bulky and stiff, resulting in the wrong packed shape.

    The JRB suspension is extremely light - probably lighter than what's on your SS. Both the JRB and KAQ suspensions use 1/8" or smaller shock cord.

    Thanks for listing the complete weight. I wasn't implying that you were trying to give an inaccurate picture...I just noticed that you were using the SS suspension for your cheap pad, but only listed the weight of the pad. The JRB weight doesn't need to include a weathershield though, because every commercial underquilt at this point uses a DWR shell - plenty water- and wind-resistant. The sil used for the SS actually worries me on the condensation issue.

    Your pad setup is definitely cheaper. But looking at your other numbers, I don't see much of a weight advantage. Add to that the added comfort and ease of packing/setup with a quilt...to me, a quilt is worth the price difference. Especially if it's one I make myself, only costing around $90. The SS underpad/undercover, by the way, retails for $130. And then you're adding a pad to get the same temp range as a quilt anyway.

    Honestly, I'm probably a bit naturally biased against the SS because of the false advertising. I've never heard of anyone who can use that setup to the temps that Tom Hennessy claims. I'm also not the biggest fan of Hennessy's super-commercialization. They do make a pretty nice hammock, though.
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  3. #13
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    One thing to consider on cost is how much you are going to use it. Yeah I dropped the cash on an underquilt, but I already have 3-4 weeks of use on it. Given it's life span and how much hammocking I have in my future, I think it is going to come to pennies to the use.

    Something I think about when I buy high ticket items.
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  4. #14
    I'm halfway into sewing my KAQ underquilt (waiting for Climashield from Thru-Hiker). It's not too difficult. My total cost will be $87 from Thru-hiker and $6 for what appears to be sil-nylon from Walmart. In addition to comfort, I'm trying to avoid dealing with a 27 inch CCF pad in, or on, a Vapor Trail pack.

  5. #15
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackbishop351 View Post
    No, I haven't used the Henessy product, but I've got one coming so I'll be trying it soon. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to like it, compared to a quilt...........

    The JRB suspension is extremely light - probably lighter than what's on your SS. Both the JRB and KAQ suspensions use 1/8" or smaller shock cord.

    ......................... The sil used for the SS actually worries me on the condensation issue.

    And then you're adding a pad to get the same temp range as a quilt anyway.........

    Honestly, I'm probably a bit naturally biased against the SS because of the false advertising. I've never heard of anyone who can use that setup to the temps that Tom Hennessy claims. I'm also not the biggest fan of Hennessy's super-commercialization. They do make a pretty nice hammock, though.
    I'm one that has come pretty close. (And I believe there are one or two others that have posted here or on white blaze who have done a little better than me). I just looked over at the Hennessy site, to refresh my memory. He says "At that point, I attach the underpad and now the system keeps me comfortable down to 35-40*. If I start to feel a chill at 35-40*,
    I add a lightweight reflective emergency space blanket on top of the foam pad. As soon as the space blanket is used, extra heat is generated from your reflectant body heat which improves the rating of your sleeping bag. This is about where I shift to a 30* bag . This will take me down another ten or fifteen degrees, which keeps me comfortable to about 25*. ".

    That's only a little better than my experience. My only question is, when he makes those statements, is he including the torso and kidney pads? Because you may remember he called off the testing on BGT because he had forgotten to supply the people with these pads that go with the full length pad for winter use. After he supplied these pads and the people retested, several of them were quite successful at lower temperatures. Though there was at least one who still could not reach success below about 50° without adding a closed cell foam pad. But I believe there were three others who did much better. So, YMMV.

    Anyway, in my own experience when adding the very light weight kidney/torso pads/space blanket, I'm definitely good to go to the low 30s and probably the high 20s assuming everything is dry, and wind blockage is under control ( Which, by the way, the undercover really helps with). The only problem I had below 30 was with the backs of my calves (SP?) getting a bit chilled while sleeping on my back. This was taken care of with a jacket under the lower pad. But what worked much better was a Garlington insulator under the feet and legs selection of the lower pad, along with a fleece jacket OR a down vest underneath the upper pad. Which of course I would have with me anyway. With these simple additions and an adequate bag on top (5° rated) I had no cold spots underneath me at 18 to 20° (all results under benign of backyard conditions). For one week in the field I slept warm, never noticing any cold spots, in the mid-30s to low 40s. This was without the addition of the kidney/torso pads or anything else other than the basic pad/space blanket, and a cat's meow bag. So really, my experience doesn't seem that far off from what Tom Hennessy claims.

    Since you have a super shelter on the way, I hope you are willing to work with it, give it a chance and learn to like it. Some people here and on white blaze have talked about the simplicity of the super shelter. But for me it was quite a learning curve. Frankly, I hated it at first. Trying to learn to use it (yes I know, really stupid way to go about it) that first night at 10,000 feet, was a kind of a disaster. A bit of hypoxia to the brain, and the undercover and the hammock of the exact same color blended together perfectly, making it difficult to keep things straight. Also, neither I nor the people who were with me could generate faith in the under pad. It just didn't seem capable of keeping a person warm just based on looking at it. But I have since grown quite fond of the super shelter and it's versatility. Though it's still hard for me to see how that skimpy looking pad works as well as it does, especially with the space blanket. And my confidence in being able to soup it up as needed by adding clothing or Garlington insulators has greatly increased. But for me the pad/space blanket/undercover is still surprisingly warm by itself. It's obviously good for me into the low 30s or better, maybe the high 20s, at least with the torso/kidney pad addition. And the down under quilt is good to, what, the high 20s by itself? So it's real hard for me to understand how a half-inch OCF pad and space blanket can be roughly comparable in warmth to 2 plus inches of down loft. But it appears that it is, at least for some people.

    The main concern I still have regarding this system is with getting the pad wet. I worry that would be awfully easy to do, and quite disastrous if you did. Of course, I would have a similar concern with a down under quilt.

    I personally have not had any condensation issues with the sil-nylon undercover.

    I don't see how any suspension could be lighter than the thin elastic cords that make up the super shelter suspension. As light, maybe, but lighter?

    Regarding the addition of closed cell foam pads, for me a pad is always going to be part of my system anyway. One night of that Wyoming trip I had to sleep above timberline where there was no tree in sight. It would have been one miserable night sleeping on the ground at 11,000 feet if I had not had my pads. So I don't see any reason not to go ahead and make that part of my sleep system. And it seems to me that the addition of a RidgeRest in an SPE to the SS easily gives me another 20° or more, which ought to take me to the single digits.

    But I am intrigued TeeDee's technique of adding the GG pads underneath the hammock, on top of the under pad. I never thought this would work, but if it does it might be even easier than the SPE. TeeDee, what kind of temps do you think you can get with that combination? I guess you ditch the space blanket? Or do you still use it?

  6. #16
    Senior Member blackbishop351's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    "At that point, I attach the underpad and now the system keeps me comfortable down to 35-40*. If I start to feel a chill at 35-40*, I add a lightweight reflective emergency space blanket on top of the foam pad. As soon as the space blanket is used, extra heat is generated from your reflectant body heat which improves the rating of your sleeping bag. This is about where I shift to a 30* bag . This will take me down another ten or fifteen degrees, which keeps me comfortable to about 25*. ".
    First off I have a hard time believing that a OCF pad, even combined with an air barrier, would keep anyone warm to those temps. Most people report a floor of around 45* with 3/8" of CCF, which in my estimation would provide the same (if not better) insulation and wind protection as the SS setup.

    From a physical standpoint, the "space blanket phenomenon" is a completely fallacy when used in conjunction with other insulation. As has been discussed here and on several other forums, the primary mechanism for heat loss is convection, which is why insulation works. While the space blanket does act as a vapor/air barrier, its contribution is likely very minimal when used with a system that already restricts convection. The "reflective" thing, supposedly containing radiative heat, is absolute hogwash. At much, much higher temps than a human being can survive in, radiative heat transfer is still very minor. The only reason space blankets are reflective is that it doesn't add anything to the weight or bulk, and it might contribute a minuscule amount to the effectiveness - so why not. Anyway. Adding a space blanket is not going to give you anywhere NEAR 15* of warmth when you've already got effective insulation - I don't care who claims otherwise. If it DOES add that much, then the system wasn't worth a crap in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    Anyway, in my own experience when adding the very light weight kidney/torso pads/space blanket, I'm definitely good to go to the low 30s and probably the high 20s assuming everything is dry, and wind blockage is under control ( Which, by the way, the undercover really helps with). The only problem I had below 30 was with the backs of my calves (SP?) getting a bit chilled while sleeping on my back. This was taken care of with a jacket under the lower pad. But what worked much better was a Garlington insulator under the feet and legs selection of the lower pad, along with a fleece jacket OR a down vest underneath the upper pad. Which of course I would have with me anyway. With these simple additions and an adequate bag on top (5° rated) I had no cold spots underneath me at 18 to 20° (all results under benign of backyard conditions). For one week in the field I slept warm, never noticing any cold spots, in the mid-30s to low 40s. This was without the addition of the kidney/torso pads or anything else other than the basic pad/space blanket, and a cat's meow bag. So really, my experience doesn't seem that far off from what Tom Hennessy claims.

    Since you have a super shelter on the way, I hope you are willing to work with it, give it a chance and learn to like it. Some people here and on white blaze have talked about the simplicity of the super shelter. But for me it was quite a learning curve. Frankly, I hated it at first. Trying to learn to use it (yes I know, really stupid way to go about it) that first night at 10,000 feet, was a kind of a disaster. A bit of hypoxia to the brain, and the undercover and the hammock of the exact same color blended together perfectly, making it difficult to keep things straight. Also, neither I nor the people who were with me could generate faith in the under pad. It just didn't seem capable of keeping a person warm just based on looking at it. But I have since grown quite fond of the super shelter and it's versatility. Though it's still hard for me to see how that skimpy looking pad works as well as it does, especially with the space blanket. And my confidence in being able to soup it up as needed by adding clothing or Garlington insulators has greatly increased. But for me the pad/space blanket/undercover is still surprisingly warm by itself. It's obviously good for me into the low 30s or better, maybe the high 20s, at least with the torso/kidney pad addition. And the down under quilt is good to, what, the high 20s by itself? So it's real hard for me to understand how a half-inch OCF pad and space blanket can be roughly comparable in warmth to 2 plus inches of down loft. But it appears that it is, at least for some people.
    I'm curious as to how you're using your bag - like 'normal', or piled on top of you like a top quilt? With a 5* rated bag and depending on how you use it, you may be offsetting inadequacies of the SS underneath by barely losing any heat on top at all. Thereby creating a sort of furnace that's keeping your bottom warm too. This does work, by the way - I do it in warmer weather all the time.

    Your description of adding insulation to the system kind of bolsters my point as to the deceptive product description Tom gives. He's selling a product - and NOT a cheap one - that apparently requires modification to achieve the performance he claims. I also have a subconscious "twinge" over spending $130 on an OCF pad and a piece of sil. But probably just the DIYer in me.

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    The main concern I still have regarding this system is with getting the pad wet. I worry that would be awfully easy to do, and quite disastrous if you did. Of course, I would have a similar concern with a down under quilt.

    I personally have not had any condensation issues with the sil-nylon undercover.

    I don't see how any suspension could be lighter than the thin elastic cords that make up the super shelter suspension. As light, maybe, but lighter?
    No argument at all on the water issues. There's lots of info out there on insulation loss with wet down, but I wonder how the SS would perform when wet?

    I definitely wonder about the condensation issue. Maybe the OCF absorbs or wicks the moisture away before it can collect on the sil? If so, does the water stay in the pad? That could be a problem - extra weight and evaporative heat loss, for starters. Condensation is my main problem with the space blanket, too. What little benefit you might get from it is immediately overshadowed by evaporative loss from condensation. I might be the only one I guess, but every time I've used a space blanket I've been laying in a pool of condensation within 30 minutes or so. Not good.

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    Regarding the addition of closed cell foam pads, for me a pad is always going to be part of my system anyway. One night of that Wyoming trip I had to sleep above timberline where there was no tree in sight. It would have been one miserable night sleeping on the ground at 11,000 feet if I had not had my pads. So I don't see any reason not to go ahead and make that part of my sleep system. And it seems to me that the addition of a RidgeRest in an SPE to the SS easily gives me another 20° or more, which ought to take me to the single digits.
    I can see how carrying a pad would be a necessity for you, and in that case I'd try and make as much use of it as I could. Where I hike, I never have a problem finding a place to hang. I might have to do some extra hiking, but 99% of the time 10 extra minutes will find me an acceptable spot.

    I got my SS in the mail today (thanks, JohnnyQuest!) and I'll be trying it out as much and as objectively as I can. I guess that means I'll have to dust off my HH - another reason I'm not fond of the SS I do love my Speer-type.

    The main reason I wanted to try the SS, honestly, is that I'm currently using a homemade Gearskin. When I first used the pack (at Mt. Rogers) I had enough bulk with my gear alone that I didn't need a pad to give it structure. Now that I'm cutting down the size of my kit though, the pack is having trouble keeping its shape - and consequently giving me problems. I was hoping the SS would be an insulation option that could provide my pack with some additional structure, but I'm out of luck there. The pad is entirely too flexible to help my pack at all. Oh well. Back to the ol' drawing board!
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  7. #17
    Senior Member blackbishop351's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeeDee View Post
    First off I'm not replying to BB since he still refuses to believe experience. I have no hope that the SS will ever do him any good - he has developed a mind set.
    If that were true, I doubt I would've gotten one to try out... And no, I don't necessarily trust other peoples' experiences. At least not the experiences of a couple of individuals. I trust my OWN experience and the information I can gather from LARGE groups of people. I also tend to be very critical of pretty much everything, and I see a lot of potential problems with the system. I'm not saying they'll necessarily BE problems once I get some testing in, but like to see issues coming before they get here and I'm very wary of hype. Seems like a lot of hype around the SS and not a whole lot of successful results. Just going on what I've read - kinda the whole point of the Forums.
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  8. #18
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    Are you looking to sell your Super Shelter?

  9. #19
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Had anyone heard of the torso and kidney pads before the Manufacturer's Comment on BGT? I never saw any mention of them until, as the testers started saying the SS was only good to the upper 40s, the test was put on hold while these extra pieces shipped.

    TeeDee - also unlike down, the OCF in the SS underpad doesn't lose its loft when wet. Given that the hammock body is water resistant, the system should be pretty usable even when wet. Still damp, certainly, but usable.
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  10. #20
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    blackbishop First off I have a hard time believing that a OCF pad, even combined with an air barrier, would keep anyone warm to those temps. Most people report a floor of around 45* with 3/8" of CCF, which in my estimation would provide the same (if not better) insulation and wind protection as the SS setup.
    I'm definitely with you on that, Bro! It's hard to believe. It seems impossible, which is probably why I hated it when I 1st got it. I did not trust it at all. But I can assure you that I kept quite comfortable for several nights in the Wind River Mtns. of Wyoming last Sept. at temps definitely below 45*( of course, folks vary. Before I froze the 1st night in a hammock, I was known as a warm sleeper).

    This was without the kidney/torso pads or any extra insulation underneath. Only the undercover, underpad and and space blanket, and a 20* NF Cats Meow Mummy bag. Used as a mummy bag when I had the energy to fight my self in there. Actually, NF calls it a 15* bag due to its Endurance shell, but I don't believe it for a minute. It's still a Cats Meow, and I have been a little cold in it under the stars, on the ground with a 2" thick thermarest, with fleece on, hood cinched down, at 27*.

    I am not counting the 1st disastrous night, the only night where I caught the actual low on my thermometer. On that 22* night I froze, but no doubt mostly due to total user error. I woke up shivering ON THE MOSQ. NET , if you can believe it! I had layed my 3/4 thermarest selfinflator in the undercover, and it only pulled the undercover away from the pad/hammock. I guess I got on the net while thrashing trying to get in my mummy bag. But I can't really blame any of that on the SS in retrospect. But I woke up dog cussing hammocks in general and SS specifically, swearing never again! Thank goodness things got steadily better as I learned the system despite my brain hypoxia.

    From a physical standpoint, the "space blanket phenomenon" is a completely fallacy when used in conjunction with other insulation. As has been discussed here and on several other forums, the primary mechanism for heat loss is convection, which is why insulation works.
    I'm sure all that is true. All I can tell you is that I can feel an immediate and significant difference when I add it. Maybe it's all in my head. In the backyard experiments ( now using the 5* bag), I was good without the SB at 38* EXCEPT for the backs of my calves, which got uncomfortably cool after about 4 hrs. But otherwise OK. With the SB on there, I did not notice the calf problem untill the high 20's.


    I'm curious as to how you're using your bag - like 'normal', or piled on top of you like a top quilt? With a 5* rated bag and depending on how you use it, you may be offsetting inadequacies of the SS underneath by barely losing any heat on top at all. Thereby creating a sort of furnace that's keeping your bottom warm too. This does work, by the way - I do it in warmer weather all the time.
    Maybe so. I always start out "normal" mainly so that I can use the hood. But often once I realize I'm going to be warm enough, I switch to quilt style. Sometines I use the so-called 15* bag that I used on the Wyoming trip.

    Your description of adding insulation to the system kind of bolsters my point as to the deceptive product description Tom gives. He's selling a product - and NOT a cheap one - that apparently requires modification to achieve the performance he claims. I also have a subconscious "twinge" over spending $130 on an OCF pad and a piece of sil. But probably just the DIYer in me.
    But, the thing is, I don't have to bolster it at all to get into at least the mid to high 30*. Even without the SB, only my calves got cold at 38*. And that's not too bad. 40* or above, no problem period in my individual case. Unless you call the SB a "bolster", but Tom calls it an important part of the system. And it does only weigh 2oz. Though I do think Tom should emphasize the addition of the OCF kidney/torso pads for use below 30*. Then again, there have been a couple of folks ( can't remember who) doing great well below 30 with just the basic system.



    No argument at all on the water issues. There's lots of info out there on insulation loss with wet down, but I wonder how the SS would perform when wet?
    Me too.

    I definitely wonder about the condensation issue. Maybe the OCF absorbs or wicks the moisture away before it can collect on the sil?
    Not with the SB on top of the pad. I think the morn after one really cold night I saw a small amount of condensation on top of the SB. But I never noticed any of it in the hammock, or even on the Sil. So far. yet.




    I got my SS in the mail today (thanks, JohnnyQuest!) and I'll be trying it out as much and as objectively as I can. I guess that means I'll have to dust off my HH - another reason I'm not fond of the SS I do love my Speer-type.........I was hoping the SS would be an insulation option that could provide my pack with some additional structure, but I'm out of luck there. The pad is entirely too flexible to help my pack at all. Oh well. Back to the ol' drawing board!

    The main reason I wanted to try the SS, honestly, is that I'm currently using a homemade Gearskin.....
    Yeah I was wondering why you were getting one, since you didn't seem to have a very high opinion of the SS. I figured you maybe were going to give it a test for the sake of science and advance of knowlege. But now it doesn't sound like you will be fooling with it much. If I didn't already have one, I'd try to buy it from you. Like you, I love my speer. I took a break on the trail in it on todays dayhike, it was great! I remain torn between the Speer and the HHUL Explorer. I'd be swayed a little more towards the Speer if I could figure how to use my SS with it. One end of the undercover has a very small diameter opening that the spectra rope goes thru, and I don't think the Speer straps would go thru there. So unless I stick with SPE and pads, that will man an underquilt, quite a few more dollars, a litle bit more weight and a new learning curve! Not that it might not be fun. Or maybe a PeaPod. For $365.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 03-29-2007 at 20:48.

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