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  1. #11
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    Sep 2020
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean McC View Post
    I bought a topquilt from Hangtight and I have to say I was not super impressed. I bought a heatseeker just to evaluate if I thought it was a good match for me. And at $110 is was a good price for sure. But is not reasonably close to my 20 quilt (with over stuff) from UGQ (which was about $400 fwiw). The workmanship was nice. It just was not that warm. And where it is warmest is only right in the middle. But it is a fairly thin down blanket with a second blanket sewn in for the only center section of the quilt. This was not super obvious in the pictures as the pictures have the 'sides folded' towards the center silver section. Just be aware that the center silver section is only what you can see and the rest is less than half the loft.

    I sleep pretty cold and am a restless side sleeper. So it did not work for me (and the night was only in the 40s). I had this paired with my 20C Wooki. I was sort of car camping (walk in a maybe 1/4mi) so I had my UGQ with me as well. I switched about 1AM.

    The Hotshot looks like it has more uniform insulation. But it is also ~$170. At that price point, my next 'budget experiment' is likely to be Outdoor Vitals. The Stormloft looks like a better product imo for not that much more money.

    As an intro piece of equipment. It was OK. And for the price it will be nice to have as a down blanket. So I am not upset about the buy (hence not slamming it in a review on the etsy site). But it is not closely equivalent to a high quality quilt. In the end, it was still a 'cheap sleeping bag'. I would give it 4/5 stars but only because of the price. And if I needed a solid winter quilt I would give it closer to two.


    edit: FWIW, I am essentially buying equipment for four as the rest of the gang has decided they like hammocks as well. This given me a great opportunity to experiment and I experiment first on myself. If I could get a top quality TQ for ~$100 instead of $400 it is going to save me a thousand dollars. As a result I am very interested in 'good deals'. But I will not take my kid 10miles into the wilderness with the heatseeker as his only top insulation. It failed that test for me.
    This is why I recommended the Sierra Designs Mobile Mummy. It exceeded all my expectations for winter camping in all temperatures that a sensible person would consider camping in. Also, can't really over emphasize a good set of thermals.

    Sent from my IN2025 using Tapatalk

  2. #12
    Senior Member Ldog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Hammock
    DutchWare Half-Zipped (Hexon 1.0)
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    HammockGear CF Hex
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shug View Post
    You may need a bigger backpack.
    Winter insulation equals bulk. Synthetic is even bulkier.
    Shug

    Or a pulk!

    http://www.laughingdog.com/2008/01/b...pulk.html#more
    L.Dog
    AT 2000 Miler/ 1752 Hangin' Miles
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  3. #13
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Jersey Shore, NJ
    Hammock
    Dutch PolyD
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    HG Winter Palace
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    When I first started hammock camping, all I had was synthetic insulation. Luckily, I had a 90 liter North Face backpack, and it was always crammed full. One night I went hiking in the NJ Pine Barrens to my campsite about 4 miles away. As I was hiking, I saw another night hiker coming my way. Suddenly, he stepped off the trail, giving me a wide berth. It was weird, and I asked him, "What are you doing?"

    The hiker replied, "Sorry, I didn't want to scare your horse."

    "Horse? What are you talking about?" I ask.

    Then he looks closer and sees that I'm not riding a horse - I'm just carrying a massive 90 liter backpack! That was when I knew I had to get all new gear. I immediately switched to a 50 liter backpack, and if it didn't fit in the backpack, then it stayed home. I got my first set of down quilts - an HG 20* Phoenix and Burrow. I later got some HG 40* and 0* quilts, and was able to customize pack weight depending on the weight of my quilts. I can now go from a 20 lb. pack weight to 30 lb. just by switching quilts (depending on how cold it is). And there's also car camping - where weight is irrelevant.

    Down quilts are a real life saver - they've made quite the difference in my life. It took several years to save the money for down quilts, but I haven't regretted it.
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. #14
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hammock
    WB Eldorado
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    DW Rectangle DCF
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    WB Wooki
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    5

    Having trouble with the "bulk" of my Winter setup...

    Maybe off on a tangent here, but aside from the bulk of the items themselves, having a stuff sack for each item tends to consume more space in your pack than having one bag for all the items that need to stay dry.

    If you stuff everything into a larger pack liner or sturdy trash bag, you can push the lot down at the bottom of your pack where it will fill up the space in your pack (without creating the air pockets that tubular stuff sacks tend to) and can stay there until you need it at the end of your day for camp set up.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Last edited by iPlod; 10-31-2022 at 02:19.

  5. #15
    New Member Dai The Hanger's Avatar
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    Oct 2022
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    Wales
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    WB BB XLC
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    Hi Doq,

    Excuse the timing - I just joined but while I know you probably have some solutions already, I thought I might have something that can help.

    The only aspect you mentioned wanting to reduce was "bulk". Cost is clearly an issue here, as it for many of us so buying new kit for that trip you were heading on would also be a problem. You never mentioned whether this was a trip by car or on foot to your campsite, so I'll assume it's on foot - if you were just driving there, then I guess bulk wouldn't be an issue.

    First of all, the two things to keep in mind are capacity and volume, where volume is how much space is needed by the kit choices you have (contents) & capacity is what your current pack is able to carry (container)... Basically if you have a 1/2 pint glass & try to put 1 pint of fluid in it, then your capacity if greater than your volume & you're going to need to do some mopping. I know, it sounds over-simplified but bear with me - I'll stay on point though, which is the question of "bulk".

    The winter needs are obviously more than those of the warmer months & so it's going to need more kit, to wear & to keep warm while hanging. So this generally means that the volume will grow for those trips. If the capacity (i.e. the pack) stays the same, then it's going to be a tight fit, depending on the size of the pack. So there are a few choices, some of which have been mentioned but worth revisiting, without the recommendation of other kit, which doesn't help as buying is/was a restriction.

    1. Compression sacks - As already mentioned though, these can make you kit bulkier since while they shorten, they can also made items wider. Synthetic gear doesn't fare too badly but down items often suffer as it damages the loft. Depending on what you use them for though, they can be handy. For instance, I use regular dry bags of various sizes which allow me to squeeze the air out as I load them, which lets me really decrease the size while maintaining waterproofing. Dry bags as small as 2L are available but I keep mine generally between 5-20L each. They are cheap & so can be built up slowly over time if needed.

    2. Pack size - Cost is an issue but you do need to be able to carry the additional winter items, so if the volume is too small, then you may need to expand. Christmas is coming, so that might be an angle that can help of course. The compression using careful squeezing of air in your dry bags, can also help. Organising your pack better by loading bulkier items first & then putting smaller items in between them can too, depending on your loadout of course.

    Some people strap waterproof items to the outside of the pack. It's not been for me since I left the military but if it's tightly attached, then that can be an option. Use of a bungee or good strap cinching is essential though - don't be "that guy" with kit dangling off you & swinging about, as momentum could be an issue on the trail, especially when turning to look behind you. The last thing you need is falling over with a load on the trail so strap it down tight.

    Waterproof items can be attached outside as well since they don't need to be inside to protect them. Waterproof jacket & your tarp fall into this category & are both items you may need in a hurry, so it makes sense to be able to carry them outside the main pack but as before, secure it well as losing them is a pain.

    3. Adjust Capacity or Volume - There are those people who literally count grams with the kit they carry. I'm not one of those guys (each to their own) but I do carefully consider what items I actually need depending on the route, terrain, season & weather forecast before each trip. Literally make a list but also justify why it's needed. Be honest about it but allow yourself a luxury item or two. For me, that's usually a book. That wai, if I need to ditch weight or "bulk" badly enough, then the luxury item is first to go

    It may be that you do need to consider a bigger pack over time. That's something you can get feedback on in these focums, I'm sure. Try some out in local outdoor stores. Most are helpful & will let you try things on for size. Some will even let you try it out with a load as well. That way, you can see what fits & what might work for you before you buy. (I just explain to them that I have advice from online forums & over the next few weeks, would like to try some out. Good stores will be okay with this & will actually help you out). Where you buy your pack is your choice though. When deciding on the pack, consider things like the fit, the back length, the weight of the paack empty, but also consider your future needs. May be better to go for a "Jack of all trades" but that fits your physique & budget. That way you won't have to go through this exercise again later. Also look for YouTube reviews of them to get a better picture & take special note of the reviewer's body type, since if you find one who's similar to yours, then that might be more relevant on how comfortable it is.

    4. Ways To Adapt for Warmth - Someone already alluded to this but again, it's something I hold as key. The ability to add lightweight (and low bulk) options to help you. It's not easy to buy good thermal layers in the UK so I was lucky enough to find what I need on my last US trip. Again it needs to be budgeted for but if done effectively, it can actually reduce things you need to carry. For instance, I have a lightweight base layer that I can fit into a small 2L drybag - AND have space to spare. I can use those as soon as I get into camp & have my pitch set up. Keeps me warm & let's me start drying out my normal day clothes without the need to mess up my hammock or sleeping gear. it's also low enough in bulk to let me carry more than 1 set, which is handy for layering & additional warmth. And THAT is great for increasing warmth when I sleep as well. A spare small woolly hat also goes in that pack for me, with 1 set of thin & 1 set of walking socks. Fleece material gloves are for use in camp & all the methods & items above serve to help you insulate in & around camp, without increasing bulk.


    That's about all for now but my focus has been to concentrate on the concern you had about "bulk". All of the suggestions about are adaptable. Even dry bags can be ommitted & use of things like regular bin-bags can be used instead (Well, that's all we had in the Army, believe me. Haha), so there are ways to adjust depending on your budget.

    I hope this gives you some ideas to think about or experiment with, though by now given the age of the thread, you've likely already resolved your question but thought I'd see if these ideas help.

    Dave





    Quote Originally Posted by Doqueryn View Post
    My Winter Hammock camping setup seems really bulky.
    Here is my setup.
    Attachment 189584

    1. Warbonnet Eldorado Hammock
    2. Part 1 of my DIY Gemini underquilt (had to use Sam's club synthetic camp blankets, couldnt find costco down)
    3. Part 2 of my DIY Gemini underquilt
    4. Inexpensive 14.7ft x 12ft amazon tarp
    5. Kelty Discovery 30 Sleeping bag

    Trying to figure out how I can reduce this down in size.
    I realize, I've gone mostly synthetic, which is a good bit of bulk, but it's what I have been able to afford.

    Spring and Fall I can go without the 5 and just used the Gemini setup.
    My concern is this next weekend, lows are 40, which is fairly cold, so I am thinking I need the full setup.

    Thoughts on the 1st place I should target for cutting down size?

    Perhaps a OneTigrus underquilt or something amazon affordable like that?
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  6. #16
    cougarmeat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Bend, OR
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    I might have missed it, but no one mentioned a pulk (sled). There comes the point where you refocus on the goal, "getting your gear to camp", rather than the method, "I have to carry it on my back". As you load up your pack - even though the winter gear adds more bulk than weight - you still put more load on your body, snowshoes, or xc skis. So you probably sink more into the snow - slower, more fatiguing, travel.

    I'm just learning this route myself, but the times I've been snowshoeing pulling a sled, it was clearly easier for me than carrying the same gear on my back. As a trial - far less expensive than a new, larger, backpack - you can get a plastic kid's toboggan. YouTube videos show the hoop-up as simple as running line from your waist or light pack hip belt, back to the sled via two approximately 5 - 6 foot PVC pipes.

    A more formal product, the JetSled (jr. size or Jet Sled 1 - the next size up) is commonly used.

    Give pulling your gear on a sled a try before investing in a larger pack. It may work for you; it may not. But it's worth an investigation. If it doesn't work for your gear, you can always use it to haul firewood to a winter (snowbound) camp area.
    In order to see what few have seen, you must go where few have gone. And DO what few have done.

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