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Finbar Hood FR Marc Pfenning

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  • 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2004
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      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
      Age: 50
      Gender: Male
      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.


      Product Information

      Manufacturer: Innovations by Fin
      URL: www.finnovations.org
      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)

      General Description

      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-
      lock.

      Field Testing

      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!!

      Pros

      very warm
      lightweight
      very stuffable
      handy around camp
      greatly extends the comfort range of my quilt
      versatile, with the removable insulation

      Cons

      restricts vision and hearing somewhat
      I can't think of any others

      Conclusion

      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.
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