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Thread: PeaPod @ 0 deg

  1. #1
    psyculman's Avatar
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    PeaPod @ 0 deg

    I got the Pea Pod out to see how it would do at a little colder temperature than I've used it in the past, mid teens. It was 0 last night. 10 degrees when I set up. At that temperature you don't want to take gloves off! It was a crystal clear night, with snow cover, and a still very bright moon, but way to cold to enjoy that!
    Details as follows:

    Open ended tarp shelter
    WalMart gathered end hammock
    Heavy weight unders, fleece baklava, Borah Gear down pants, wool socks, OH so warm Taiga Gear down booties, EMS down jacket (not a parka weight)

    NO under pad or top quilt to start, only the Pea Pod, that's it.

    1st hour: my back warmed slightly, but not "Sandy beach" warm. CBS very annoying, but I probably could have slept, except I didn't. It did warm up top side, and the enclosed space very well.
    2nd hour: By now the temp. is inching down to zero. I added my DIY car windshield sun screen under pad to the bottom with my back directly on it. END of cold, including CBS. Instantly.
    3rd hour: I wake up feeling cool, not shivering but knowing what direction things are heading. Time to add my Sierra Design Mobile Mummy. Ahhh, better.

    2 am: my feet got cold in the booties.😭 Not good, moved around for a while, and that improved. It was probably poor circulation.

    Observations on the Pea Pod:
    I've used it with a insulated pad before, with out a pad it's probably not going to be comfortable below 30/35.

    1. It sets up fast, no adjustment, just reach out, grab both sides and pull it till you can feel it press up underneath
    2. Breathing with the balaclava pulled up over nose and mouth, and with the Pod well clear, no condensation.
    3. I should have prewarmed with a hot water bottle, that would have made a world of difference. My bad on that.
    4. Using a compression sack, the volume for packing is not bad, considering all the other stuff you don't need. But sled packing is perfect.
    5. Using my Goose Feet down pants, and having parka would be advantageous.
    6. A thermally reflective under pad, or insulated pad is absolutely necessary, even with a insulated pad..
    7. I can't Velcro and snap it closed with gloves on, and, it's a little finicky, especially in the dark, again my hands get real cold, real fast.
    8. It would be nice to have a draft stop on the closure, it doesn't close dependably, and I added more snaps.

    I will refine a few things, and keep using it.

    IMG_20211223_195959.jpg 95ac46f0-8560-4f74-b3da-1b3999e02a89.jpg Screenshot_20211224-024445.png
    Last edited by psyculman; 12-24-2021 at 04:14.
    Since I retired, some times I stay awake all day, some times all night.

  2. #2
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    WOW! A Speer Pea Pod thread and report from some one besides me (or Shug with his DIY pods)! I see the Speer label on it, same as the one I used to have, but which model did you have? The 20F down version, with 2.5" loft top and bottom? I've got to go do something right now, back with more comments and questions later!

  3. #3
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    OK, Psyculman, I'm back with a few comments and questions!

    1: First, I am curious to which model you are using, since Speer made several different ones and temp ratings, and even some synthetic ones. The one I regrettably sold was a 900FP 20F model. It had well over 5" loft (top + bottom on top of each other, laid out on the floor) But Speer called himself a very cold sleeper, and he considered it a 20F on bottom but only 50F on top, due to the fact that the side edges of his deep Speer hammock would raise the pod creating a couple of inch gap that had to be filled. Of course, once filled, it was much warmer. For me, I was always warmer than that on top by 10 or 20 degrees, at least when sleeping in warm clothing. Since I adjusted it so that there was no gap on bottom, I could always easily reach the rated temps for the UQ part, probably easier than with any other UQ I had.

    2: I am also curious about " It sets up fast, no adjustment, just reach out, grab both sides and pull it till you can feel it press up underneath". Mine attached to the hammock ends by some nylon cords(like shoe laces). I varied the tension according to how I planned to use it. Usually, I adjusted with the top velcro closure wide open. I would attach as close as possible to the head end hammock gathered end, and tie a shoe lace knot, cinching down very tight. Then I would pull towards the other end until there was a gap of as much as 6" between hammock and inside bottom of the pod, and cinch down on that end. Then when I got in, the hammock would always sink lower than the pod, and when I closed the top Velcro, the bottom would be just barely in contact with my back, without being snug enough to compress the loft. If I had it too tight, I could reach around and feel and tell that the loft had been reduced from over 2.5" to an inch or less. If it was going to be anywhere near the 20F rating, I would get out and loosen one end maybe 1/2" or 1" further from the hammock's ends, until I had little to no compression. Or, amazingly, so that I even had a tiny gap once inside and closed up. A tiny gap never seemed to cause much problem with the pod, when it would be game over with any normal UQ.

    OR, I would initially adjust it for an even larger gap to start with, and then add a puffy jacket or lightest quilt I could find to fill that gap. Then I had a spectacular amount of loft that I'm sure would take me well below zero if I had ever got the chance to test it. But the coldest I ever got a chance to test it was +10F. I had a space blanket under the hammock, between hammock and pod. On top I had a summer weight synthetic liner bag( 40F? 50F?). Near dawn, I felt I was just on the verge to being a little cool. I thought it was maybe 0300 and maybe 15F. I got up to go in the house, but then realized it was almost sunrise, so I got back in and closed the Velcro almost totally on top. Having almost no breathing vent warmed me up a lot, and I went back to sleep toasty for a couple of hours until time to get up. So, warm air escaping around that face vent can make a huge difference, and it probably also helped the pod to function like a mummy bag's hood. Other ways I have dealt with that laying a puffy jacket or vest over my neck/chest area, to act like a mummy bag's collar.

    I have a friend that has a 45 or 50F Speer Pea Pod. He has used that for years to be toasty warm by augmenting when needed. For example, he adds a pad under the hammock and adjusts the pod just tight enough to snug the pad up to his back. Then he uses a 25 or 30F bag as TQ. The pod keeps him free from draft, and adds a little insulation to his pad and TQ. He has been very toasty at least into the low 20s, I think even below that.

    One other draft defeating trick that I have experimented with, but never really used. Using a separate hood or very warm hats, I have closed the pod snugly around my neck. Works best with a zipped up jacket to keep the Velcro from irritating my neck. Now all my breathing vapor is outside the pod, and I am just as draft proof as in a mummy bag. Or, the neatest trick of all: With my narrow and NOT deep Claytor hammock, I roll on my side with my face right up to the edge of the hammock. Then, I rotate the pod so that the opening vent is to the side and even a bit below- but right up against- my nose and mouth. My breath vapor goes straight to the outside where it condenses. All of the pod down lays right down on my head, neck and shoulders. Since cold air sinks, with the opening now to the side instead of on top of me, things warm up a lot. Big time warmth.

    Thanks for this thread on a subject that has not been covered much, or at least by some one besides me. I feel so much less lonely and outcast now. I hope you play with it some more and report results to us!

  4. #4
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    "7. I can't Velcro and snap it closed with gloves on, and, it's a little finicky, especially in the dark, again my hands get real cold, real fast.
    8. It would be nice to have a draft stop on the closure, it doesn't close dependably, and I added more snaps. "

    If you don't already, try this trick:
    1: first, already have the foot end Velcroed and snapped closed a good bit before you get in. Leave just enough open for you to sit down, lean back and pull your legs/feet in.
    2: Grabbing both edges of the pod at about chest or neck level, pull it tight towards your head, then while maintaining a fair amount of tension, just touch the Velcro edges together. It might help to lift up your feet/knees/legs into the top closure to have something to brace against. Then, repeat from the head end, now pulling the edges towards your feet, touch together and close. After having done this(just takes a second once you are practiced at it, actually faster than a zipper) run you hands up and down the Velcro area to make the closure even tighter. All that should be left now is a small opening by your face, which you can adjust to your preference, from wide open to a dime sized vent. Or even none. Very surprisingly, that one time I spent a couple of hours with zero vent(other than the Velcro itself which is not all that air tight), I had no noticeable condensation or loss of loft the next morning. But, I was worried that I would. I only did it because I knew I would be up in a couple of hours and could dry out if needed. But boy did closing all the way add noticeable warmth, a lot!


  5. #5
    joe_guilbeau's Avatar
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    I feel ya!

    It will be 82-def F here in San Antonio tomorrow. Too much heat in the doldrums of August is generally the problem here (low 90's at 11-pm).

    I have a Waterproof shell (-)17-deg F Exped Waterbloc 1400-series 850 down bag with 40-ounces of down. Vapor Barrier is required.

    One of the helpful prep tasks for me is to boil up some water, and make two 16-oz Better Than Bullion Chicken "soup" drinks spiked with Dave's Insanity Sauce (one drop only) to get the metabolism kicked up a notch and dilate the blood vessels.

    Instead of a hot water bottle, I will have a second SST 16-oz vacuum of the same concoction when the cold awakens.

    A pad inside the bag is a smart way to go.

    We all sleep differently, and temp ratings on sleeping bags are generally useless in my opinion, when one is cold, either the metabolism needs a kick start, or the ounces of down need to be above three-lbs for my comfort.

    I change sleep positions often, so a tight fitting mummy bag is not comfortable.

    Here is the thing though, we Texans are acclimated to the the heat, winters are wet down here, so we struggle with temps below 0-deg F. when on adventures.

  6. #6
    psyculman's Avatar
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    on point 1.
    I bought it from an HF member, a long time ago, it was in the original wrapper, which is long gone. It is down, but no specs. I think it was made in 2007. I will try to see if I can dig up the purchase on PayPal. I should have shook the down to the middle, its a little bunched at the ends. I thought a PeaPod was just a PeaPod.

    Point 2.
    The WalMart hammock I use it with is pretty long, so, the elastic cords on the ends of the PeaPod nicely clip onto the hammocks continuous loops, and the fit is just where it needs to be so its not quite touching the bottom of the hammock. Next time I will take up a little more of that slack to get it up close, as you suggested. The hammock presents a little bit of a problem, because it is overly deep, and it's sides are way high, so getting a grip on the sides of the PeaPod can be difficult, especially in the dark. But I do need to play around with that starting tension/fit. It would be nice to be out there with someone else to dial in the adjustment, but I haven't found anyone else as nutty as me. Yet.

    And...
    Those are good suggestions concerning the draft/closure situation. I used a full size pillow, so that lifting my head out of the Pea Pod closure was almost automatic. Zero condensation. Happy about that! You are right, the velcro closure is not real trust worthy, and the thin fabric of the PeaPod gets entangled in the velcro very easily, so, no stick. snaps get messed up that way too. You almost HAVE to take gloves off to seal that thing up, and darkness doesn't help either. The hammock stretched a bunch, I should have readjusted it, but it was so cold, I did not want to mess around and get overly chilled, because I need all my heat to warm up the Pod. But, it's all an adventure. I will be letting you know in the future if anything positive develops.

    joe_guilbeau:
    Yes, I should have had a plan for wake up/warm up. Hot bullion with Tobasco, or cayenne maybe? Oh, and EVERYONE struggles with -0 adventures!
    Since I retired, some times I stay awake all day, some times all night.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Yes, I always found a deeper/wider hammock to be more of a challenge with my Speer Pea Pod. Mainly because the wider and deeper the more the side edges of the hammock would lift the top layer of the pod, causing a gap between my body and the pod which required filling at anywhere near the pods rating of 20F. I was able to get by with just the puffy clothing I had with me anyway on trips with lows in the high 20s. I would put my down vest and somewhat puffy 12 oz polarguard on backwards with zippers open of course. That way none of the down loft was crushed and made useless beneath me, and with my arms still in the sleeves, the vest and jacket would be puffed up to the max and fill that gap, and most importantly block the warm air escape around my neck and shoulders. However, that was with my narrow, and NOT deep, Claytor No Net. So any gap was very small, but I still had significant warm air escape from my face vent. But, wearing my jackets and vest in this fashion pretty much solved that, as did almost totally closing the vent.

    I got by in the upper 20s that way, but adding a separate TQ worked much better. And even 40-50F TQs gave me luxury warmth in the 20s, and at least adequate warmth(also wearing warm clothes) at 10F. I always thought I could have maybe gone a bit lower, but maybe not much. Or maybe not any. But, a 30F or 20F TQ( or bag) would be a totally different story. With either of those, I was always confident that I could go to lower temps thanI was ever going to encounter.

    So, on the one hand, those top gaps are a potential big problem, changing the pod I had top temp rating from 20F(2.5" top loft) to maybe 30 or even 50F. Depending on hammock depth/width. And as you pointed out, wide enough and it can even get tough to close the Velcro and keep it closed. But, on the other hand, if I was planning on adding a TQ any way, that gap was zero problem and maybe even a benefit. It just gives me a good space for mt TQ to loft up with zero down compression. Say for example my hammock lifted and caused a 2.5" gap above my body. Now say I was adding a WB Diamondback TQ rated at 20F with 2.5" loft. That will fit in and fill that space with zero compression, and now I have 5" single layer/top loft. That is some serious deep winter warmth, probably as much as minus 20F or even more, depending on the user of course. Or, add a 40F TQ, potentially now 1.5" TQ loft plus 2.5" pod loft = 4" loft. That is still a below zero top warmth rating, but probably with some loss of warmth since maybe the starting gap is not quite filled. Or maybe it is if I am wearing puffy clothing which would also reduce my staring top gap to less than 2".

    So, that top gap is not necessarily always a problem, it might even be a benefit. Depending on what other equipment I am planning to use with it. (But, sometimes it IS a problem that must be solved)

  8. #8
    psyculman's Avatar
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    I weighed the PeaPod I have. 32 oz. It is green on the outside, and silver on the inside. I am doing a search of HF "for sale" archives, but it is very slow going, I can't do a search to filter only PeaPod in the archives, so it is one page at a time. It doesn't seem like 'for sale' or 'sold' posts are recorded in my post history, because none of my purchases of HF items are visible. and there have been a LOT! Thank you guys!


    Yes, there is heating of that top gap space, I didn't have a measure of it, but will have a thermometer inside next time. It must have been pretty warm, because my hands warmed up quick. I may use my Grand Trunk Hyper-lite 10 oz. next time, it's super minimal. Just not quite comfortable. I never had any frost inside the Hennessy SS system, WITH a tarp draped to the ground, and closed off ends. Inside the hammock, using the Hennessy over cover, even with -7 outside, it only got down to 46 inside. Yes, there is considerable condensation though. So venting is necessary, and presents heat loss, no way around that. Temperatures so far this season have been disappointingly warm, and far from adventurous. Piddly snow too. Hope it gets normal soon.

    Research is ongoing
    Last edited by psyculman; 12-26-2021 at 06:51.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psyculman View Post
    I weighed the PeaPod I have. 32 oz. It is green on the outside, and silver on the inside. I am doing a search of HF "for sale" archives, but it is very slow going, I can't do a search to filter only PeaPod in the archives, so it is one page at a time. It doesn't seem like 'for sale' or 'sold' posts are recorded in my post history, because none of my purchases of HF items are visible. and there have been a LOT! Thank you guys!


    Yes, there is heating of that top gap space, I didn't have a measure of it, but will have a thermometer inside next time. It must have been pretty warm, because my hands warmed up quick. I may use my Grand Trunk Hyper-lite 10 oz. next time, it's super minimal. Just not quite comfortable. I never had any frost inside the Hennessy SS system, WITH a tarp draped to the ground, and closed off ends. Inside the hammock, using the Hennessy over cover, even with -7 outside, it only got down to 46 inside. Yes, there is considerable condensation though. So venting is necessary, and presents heat loss, no way around that. Temperatures so far this season have been disappointingly warm, and far from adventurous. Piddly snow too. Hope it gets normal soon.

    Research is ongoing

    OK, that tells us a lot, as would measuring loft. I remember my 20F model(green outside/silver inside) was 41-42 oz, though I think it was a 900FP model. So an 800FP 20F would be slightly heavier. (When TTTG/Switchback took over Speer products, their 20F pods were about 36-38 oz, lighter fabric I suppose, but that was way after 2007, so I doubt you have one of theirs. Plus theirs looked different, yours looks just like mine.

    So, at 32 oz, it appears you have a 30F or maybe even 40F model. If so, it sounds like you did extremely well at 0F! Added a few items, and pushed it to 0F without shivering, apparently. Not bad for a 32 oz pod. Which is the weight of 2 full length 40F WB TQs or less than a full length tall 40 TQ + UQ. And you were at 0F. Not bad.

    I hope you get to experiment some more, adding various TQs and UQs and/or puffy clothing and such. And/or space blankets/VBs. I look forward to seeing how you do. Though I'm not sure why I am interested, as I sold my pod a long time ago and for me now it is either a Superior Gear insulated hammock, or bridges or 90 hammocks on which a Speer Pea pod is useless. Of course, IF I had serious cold to deal with, I don't see why wrapping a pod around my SG would not give it a huge boost.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Psyc: "2 am: my feet got cold in the booties.�� Not good, moved around for a while, and that improved. It was probably poor circulation. "
    Oh, BTW, though I am sure I am repeating myself: for those cold feet, even in booties, add a couple of bread sacks vapor barriers over thinnest socks, then other insulation like big, loose wool socks and.or booties. The difference can be amazing. Also, soup up head insulation. A slightly over heated brain shunts warm blood to extremities.

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