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18579RE: [Hammock Camping] update PeaPod experience

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  • Ed Speer
    Jan 6, 2008
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      Hi Billybob, glad to see you putting that PeaPod to the test! Of course,
      I'm a big believer in that sucker & I use mine a lot in all kinds of
      conditions. It really is highly adaptable to varying conditions, and just
      as you found by completely closing the PeaPod, it can easily be adjusted for
      the conditions. When first attaching the PeaPod, I like to leave some open
      air space between it & the hammock, then if it's going to be cold, I fill
      that extra space with down blankets, CCF pads or unused clothing like
      jackets, rain pants, sweaters, pack covers, etc-the extra warmth is amazing.
      Even dead leaves can be added! In fact, packing the PeaPod with dead leaves
      can take you well below zero F without carrying any additional weight! In
      the winter, I carry several trash bags so I can even use wet leaves if
      necessary. I hope you get to experiment with some of these innovative
      techniques with your PeaPod...Ed



      Moderator, Hammock Camping List

      Author, Hammock Camping book

      Editor, Hammock Camping Newsletters

      Owner, Speer Hammocks Inc



      From: hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com]
      On Behalf Of billybob38801
      Sent: Saturday, January 05, 2008 1:47 AM
      To: hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [Hammock Camping] update PeaPod experience



      I thought I should post my most recent results in some real cold a
      couple of nights back.

      First, let me say that I am still having minor difficulties adjusting
      the "loft compression vs no air gap" conflict. IOW, it seems that if I
      adjust the PeaPod sag any where near where the pod barely contacts the
      hammock bottom with me in it- or even with a small gap, then I don't
      seem to have full loft right under my butt. So, I'm still working on
      that, and so far I can't quite figure it out. Also, I would like to
      know, if I can't have a very close fit without some loss of loft, then
      which should I sacrifice? Would I be better off with a air gap of an
      inch or two under my lowest point, and have full loft? Or the reverse,
      better off with a "snugfit" and some loss of loft of an inch or so?

      I should also say that I am probably an average sleeper temp wise. I
      used to be very hot natured, warm sleeper. But as I have gotten older, I
      definitely have much less tolerance for the cold. So, maybe I am now
      about in the middle, but who knows?

      Any way, the forecast low was 14-16*F. It was 11PM when I hung the
      hammock and put on the PeaPod by head lamp. Really quite easy to do, I
      just adjusted it for about the same distance from end knots as some
      previous experiments had shown to be correct. I was using a structural
      ridge line for consistent hang. Then I hung my tarp. It was already 19*,
      and by the time I did this I was starting to get quite a chill. There
      was also a bit of a wind chill all night, probably and additional 5* or
      a bit more.

      So, I hopped in and Velcroed up. I had on light thin long johns, 1 layer
      of medium wool socks with liner socks and vapor barrier on standby, neck
      gator, hat and Bozeman Mountain Works Cocoon Polargard pants ( 8 ozs )
      and hooded jacket ( 14 ozs.) that I had used on previous tests without
      quilt. But this time I added a 25 year old quallofil summer bag that
      has about 1-1.25 " SINGLE layer loft, used as quilt. The original rating
      was either 40* or 50*, I don't remember. And sense it was already 1*
      below the PeaPod's rating, I added a 2 oz space blanket to the pod,
      which covered the bottom and well up the sides of the hammock. I closed
      the Velcro down to about a 6" opening above my face, got on the diagonal
      a bit and tried to sleep, always tough for me to do in the back yard,
      for some reason. But not in the woods in a hammock, where I sleep like
      the dead! Once again, though it felt like the pod did not quite contact
      my low point ( very small gap), when I reached around the outside, it
      only felt like there was no more than 1 - 1.5" loft. I said to heck
      with it, as I figured there would be plenty of days on the trail where I
      would be too tired to fool with fine adjustments. Let's just see how it
      goes. I figured I would have to go in later, too cold.

      It took about 10 or 20 minutes before I realized that I was starting to
      over heat. So I let my hood down, and then I was just plenty warm, but
      not starting to sweat. I did my usual fitful backyard style sleeping,
      but plenty warm, I had to admit. Once during the night, I was not quite
      comfortable enough around my shoulders, having my usual trouble with
      draftiness when using a quilt, especially when I would move briefly to
      my side. I never have much luck using sleeping bags as quilts as far as
      drafts around the shoulders. But I would just snug the quilt up and be
      fine again until I moved too much, plus at some point I pulled the hood
      back up.

      Finally, I woke up at what I figured was about 0130 or 0230. I was no
      longer toasty warm, but I was not uncomfortably cold. Just barely cool,
      top and bottom. So I figured that's it, I'll go in and get some good
      sleep. It's probably about 16* and I have established my lower limit
      with this set-up. So I turned on my head lamp, looked at my watch, and
      lo and behold it was 0430! So I had made it through most of the night
      without getting uncomfortably cold, just barely cool. Amazingly for me,
      even though I had a big drink of water right before bed in hopes of
      staying hydrated in the cold, I had not even had to gt up and take a
      leak over 51/2 hours. So I decided to just ride it out until 0600, when
      I had to get up for work anyway. But as the night was nearly over, I
      decided to take a risk on condensation and closed the pod completely.
      Boy, that made a very noticeable difference pretty quickly. In a few
      minutes, I was agin warm on top, and still just ok on the bottom. I fell
      back asleep, but then car noises woke me up again at 0500, and now I
      realized I really did have to take a leak, so I just got up. I looked at
      my thermometer, and it read 10*! Plus, according to the weather folks,
      there was an intermittent wind chill of zero* to 5*.

      Folks, I don't know about you, but I think that is pretty darn good
      performance for that amount of gear in a hammock! It definitely worked
      as advertised. And I wonder if I can do better if I ever get better at
      getting a "snugfit" with out loft loss on the bottom?

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