Finbar Hood FR Marc Pfenning
- Here is my long-overdue IR for your editing pleasure. I have left in
the original date from when i wrote it - should i change that to
reflect the date of posting (today)?
Finbar Hood Field Report Marc Pfenning
Personal Biographical Information
Name: Marc Pfenning
Height: 6' (1.8 M)
Weight: 165 lb. (75 kg.)
Email address: magickfingers<at>magickfingers<dot>net
Region: the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, at the foot of Jay Peak
Date : May 21, 2004
Backpacking background: I have been hiking and backpacking since I was
eight years old. I was very active in Scouting, earning the rank of
Eagle at 15. Most of my teenage weekends were spent on the Long Trail,
either with my troop, with my brother or by myself. I have continued
backpacking as an adult and fulfilled a lifelong dream last year by
thru-hiking the Long Trail, 278 miles ( the length of Vermont),
finishing the hike on my 50th birthday. My hiking style is best
described as lightweight. My base three-season pack weight is around
15 lb. When I hike solo I sleep in a Hennessy hammock; when hiking
with a partner I use a Kelty Vortex 2 tent.
Manufacturer: Innovations by Fin
Model: Sleeper II
MSRP: $40 US
Weight not given by manufacturer.
Weight, total, as received: 6.8 oz (190 g)
Weight, removable fiberfill liner: 1 oz (28 g)
The Finbar Hood is an insulated nylon hood designed to be worn while
sleeping in a hoodless bag. It consists of a red nylon outer shell
which is sewn to a layer of 3M Lite Loft, an inner blue nylon taffeta
shell also sewn to a layer of Lite Loft, and a removable liner of
polyester fiberfill which is 'bare'; i.e. not attached to any nylon.
There is an integral uninsulated 'bib' which extends 7.5" (35 cm.) down
the front and back. 1/2" (1.3 cm.) light nylon ribbons form arm loops
to hold the hood in place during nocturnal tossings and turnings.
There is a nylon cord around the perimeter of the face which draws
tight, leaving my nose exposed, and is held in place by a small toggle-
I have used the Finbar Hood quite extensively, in temperatures ranging
from the mid-20s F (~-5 C) to the low 40s F (~6 C). I find that the
hood is too warm in the higher temperatures unless I take out the
removable layer of insulation. I have mostly used the Hood in
conjunction with a down quilt for sleeping, but have also worn it
around camp in the evenings and early mornings. For such a small piece
of gear, it certainly makes a big difference in comfprt level! Leaving
the Hood on in the morning until I warm up really takes the edge off of
leaving a nice warm quilt. While around camp, the Hood is fairly
restrictive vis-a-vis peripheral vision, and also blocks out a lot of
sounds, but these are small prices to pay for the increased warmth and
comfort. I have experimented using a small document clip in the back
to pull back the extra material and this greatly minimizes the vision
loss. While sleeping, I always start out with the Hood cinched tightly
around my face, but usually at some point during the night I warm up
enough to loosen it, or even remove it altogether. I have often woken
up in the morning to discover that I removed the Hood during the night
without even waking up enough to remember that I had done it. That
tells me that it's pretty easy to take off while I'm wrapped in my
quilt. The shoulder straps had been an area of concern for me until I
received the Hood, but in practice they have never gotten in my way or
irritated my arms at all. They are very lightweight and I don't even
notice them once I have the Hood on.
I tried a few different stuff sacks for my Hood and was amazed at what
a small package it became. I finally settled on the mesh stuff sack
that my 400 ml titanium mug came in, as the Hood easily fits inside and
I end up with a package about 3" (8 cm) around by about 4 1/2 " (12 cm)
long. This fits very easily in any odd corner of my backpack, and the
Hood is definitely worth the small hit in both space and weight. I am
able to get a much more restful sleep, presumably because I am
comfortable and not shivering all night long or waking up a dozen times
trying to get warm.
I sleep in a sewn-through down quilt (Speer Top Blanket) which is only
rated to 50 F (10 C) and I have been able to sleep quite comfortably at
the temperatures I have reported. On one of the colder nights I tried
using the Hood with my 15 F (-10 C) mummy bag rather than using the
bag's hood and I was sweating way too much to be comfortable, so I
ended up taking it off and using the bag's hood.
This little Hood really extends the comfort range of my quilt a lot
more than I had expected that it would. I have also found that the
Hood in the stuff sack makes a passing fair pillow inside a Hennessy
Hammock! Quite a versatile seven ounces!!
handy around camp
greatly extends the comfort range of my quilt
versatile, with the removable insulation
restricts vision and hearing somewhat
I can't think of any others
I would heartily recommend this Hood to anyone who sleeps in a quilt.
I anticipate using it a lot even in the summer, with the removable
lining removed. Many thanks to BGT and to Brother Finbar for the
opportunity to test this useful piece of gear.
I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.