May 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm #1303099
This year, I'm thinking of switching from a mummy style back (Western Mountaineering Summerlite) to a quilt, such as the Katabatic Gear Alsek
or a Z-packs hoodless bag
Such bags, would of course, require a hood of some sort.
Right now, I'm looking at upgrading my upper body layering system for 3-season backpacking by integrating a down jacket. The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer is at the top of my list. Looks like it comes in around 7 oz. Got good reviews here:
The question is: Do I want the version with a hood or hoodless? Would a hoodless jacket be more versatile? I would end up having a buy a down balaclava of some sort, such as the one GooseFeet makes for Zpacks:
This one weighs in at 1.3 oz. The thing, it's going to look a bit funky and be mismatched to the jacket.
This is in part an aesthetics vs. function issue here, I suppose.May 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm #1987627
Ive got a goosefeet hood.
It actually weighs 1.6 oz, not the claimed weight.
That said, Ive never used the down hood yet.
Down to mid 20s, I wear my fleece hoody, over a fleece beanie, and havent needed it.
My jacket is a montbell ex light down, 5.9oz. Same thing. Fleece hoody and fleece beanie work great with it too.May 19, 2013 at 4:53 pm #1987658
Eli ZabielskiBPL Member
@ezabielskiLocale: Boulder, CO
I have a Sawatch and Palisade, with an EX-Light hoodless jacket. I use a wool Buff at night.
-Better to hike in.
-Pull it over your eyes to shield yourself from bright moonlight
-Not as warm for the weight
-Doesn't cover your neck entirely.May 20, 2013 at 9:49 am #1987889
Down hood for me. I like being able to wear my hood without having to wear my jacket, or mess with folding it up, and trying to keep the hood on my head.May 20, 2013 at 10:40 am #1987912
Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Man, I say go with a hooded parka over a down jacket/sweater for quilt use. I've tried the hoodless jacket setup with a beanie/balaclava and it never seals up as well as having a true parka. I don't understand how having a hood attached to your jacket in any way makes it less versatile. Additional weight with a parka is usually only 1-3oz for the added hood, over the non-hooded equivalent jacket. In the end it all comes down to preference and making whatever you have work for you.
Nothing wrong with aesthetics over pure functionality- you can strike a balance I believe.May 20, 2013 at 11:05 am #1987927
Steve KBPL Member
@skomaeLocale: northeastern US
I was hood-adverse for years and insisted on wearing a separate hat instead. Now all my cold- and cool-weather jackets are hooded. Nothing seals up better around your neck, cheeks and ears than a hood, and it's unlikely that you'll ever need a warm hood or hat without the jacket. It is just easier to deal with, and more convenient to have an attached hood, which lets you regulate body temps quickly and without hassle.
A lightweight merino beanie covers instances when you won't wear your jacket but want some head warmth just fine without overheating.May 20, 2013 at 11:16 am #1987931
> I've tried the hoodless jacket setup with a beanie/balaclava
> and it never seals up as well as having a true parka.
The ZPacks down balaclava and collar on the Stoic Down Cardigan seals up perfectly. YMMV. I bet the Ex Light would as well.
> I don't understand how having a hood attached to your
> jacket in any way makes it less versatile.
When sleeping, it's not as bulletproof when trying to use your hood without wearing your jacket. I've tried a few different strategies, and the hood doesn't stay on very well – when sleeping, it falls off, twists on my face, etc. A royal pain, IMO.
> it's unlikely that you'll ever need a warm hood or hat
> without the jacket
If you use a quilt or a hoodless bag, this happens all the time.
Also, you can't match your head insulation to the temperatures at night. For example, if you have a 20 degree quilt, but are dealing with 40 degree temperatures, you can't just leave your down balaclava at home – it's attached to your jacket. And now you have to take a lighter fleece hat as well, because the down hood of your jacket is too warm, and no hat at all is too cold. Now you're paying, in weight, for two pieces of head insulation – the hood on your jacket AND a hat.
The downside to using a separate hood, is that it is one more piece to manage. However, I found I rarely need a down hood – it usually stays in the bottom of my ZPacks sleeping bag until I go to bed. If I do use one, it usually goes on once and stays on.
The real problem, I found, is that when it comes down to it, the hood on your jacket is the right amount of insulation for only a percentage of the trips you'll go on. It's not so much the weight saved, but getting the right amount of head insulation without being too warm on the torso.May 20, 2013 at 12:36 pm #1987982
William ChiltonBPL Member
+1 on the ZPacks/Goosefeet down balaclava sealing well.
2 advantages of hood-less jackets + down balaclava: the hood is likely to get dirty faster and can be washed separately; if you want to wear the jacket without the hood, you can get a better seal at the neck with a (well-fitting) hood-less jacket than with a hooded jacket with the hood down.May 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm #1987991
John VanceBPL Member
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
I have a Sawatch and a Chisos along with the lighter Katabatic hood. I also have a hooded Golite Bitteroot as well as a FF Hyperion vest.
I much prefer the hood attached to my jacket when worn as a jacket, but in the bag I don't like wearing the jacket/vest to bed. Instead I find it warmer and more comfortable to just drape the jacket/vest over me inside the bag. By doing this however, it renders the attached hood useless for my head.
I have found that a thin balaclava combined with the seperate hood to be fine down to well below freezing and more comfortable than sleeping in a hooded jacket.
I also must admit that I have taken both the hooded jacket and the seperate hood and used them together when it's been particularly cold and windy but have yet to sleep in the jacket. For the additional 1.6 oz or so, I am fine with the detached hood even when I bring the warmer hooded jacket.May 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm #1987995
@thomdarrahLocale: Southern Oregon
I use a hoodless jacket and a Black Rock down beanie, this system is light,versatile and has performed great for me. If neck and face protection is needed I add a wool buff.May 20, 2013 at 1:31 pm #1987998
Jason GBPL Member
@jasongLocale: iceberg lake
It seems to me the perfect solution for your needs is to have GooseFeet gear make you a custom down jacket with a snap-on or zip-on hood. That way the aesthetics are somewhat matching and you have the versatility to only wear one or the other or both. you could still wear your hood while sleeping without have to burn up wearing the jacket+quilt..
–J.G.–May 20, 2013 at 1:44 pm #1988003
How heavy is the Katabatic hood? I'm not sure on the exact amount of down in the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer, but I would guess that the Katabatic one (or the GooseFeet / ZPacks iteration) has more down. Since the jacket with the hood doesn't have an adjustable drawcord, I'm guessing it might fall off during the night. I guess I'll just have to test it to see.
It might simply come down to which jacket I find on sale. :)May 20, 2013 at 1:47 pm #1988005May 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm #1988014
Jason GBPL Member
@jasongLocale: iceberg lake
David, i have a new with tags Ghost whisperer for sale in gear swap.. size large in capri blue. $190 shipped.May 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm #1988015
I need a size medium, but thanks.May 20, 2013 at 2:20 pm #1988018
Oh, one thing you can do to have your hood handy is to stuff it in the pocket of your jacket. This works well with the Stoic Hadron because it has a large kangaroo pocket. Though it does give the beer belly effect.May 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm #1988781
Steve KBPL Member
@skomaeLocale: northeastern US
> Also, you can't match your head insulation to the temperatures at night. For example, if you have a 20 degree quilt, but are dealing with 40 degree temperatures, you can't just leave your down balaclava at home – it's attached to your jacket.
I would suggest then, that you are carrying too heavy of a quilt, since you should plan to use it in combination with your jacket. While a jacket has a less efficient warmth/weight ratio than a warmer bag, it is more useful to have than no jacket and a warmer quilt because you can wear it in the evenings and mornings when it is cold.May 22, 2013 at 7:48 pm #1988890
You make no sense.
In 20 degree weather, I bring a jacket, a ZPacks bag and a down balaclava. In 40 degree weather I bring a jacket, a ZPacks bag and a fleece hat.
If my hood was attached to my jacket, I'm still bringing my jacket either way, but the jacket hood will be too warm (since it has to be warm enough for 20 degrees). So now I'm bringing a jacket with a hood AND a fleece hat.
Trying to use your hood without wearing your jacket is uncomfortable and difficult (the hood moves/twists/fights you throughout the night). If you're going out for a few nights, some which are cold, some which are warmer, you might need to use your jacket with your quilt one night, but it might be too warm another night.
I've used a quilt with a hooded down jacket for 3 years. It sometimes works, but sometimes it doesn't work very well. I sold my hooded down jacket and now use a separate jacket and hat or balaclava and I'm more comfortable overall, and often pack less weight. YMMV.
On a side note, I've also found that using a down jacket inside a sleeping bag can often lead to breathability problems. Probably due to the 4 layers of nylon. I found I had to fuss a lot more trying to get the right temperature – you'll get there eventually, but it's a bigger hassle. I'll do it if the temperature drops unexpectedly, but I am much more comfortable adding an ounce or two of down into my sleeping bag to make it work for the lowest typical temperatures, as opposed to relying on my jacket most of the time to boost my bag.May 22, 2013 at 8:45 pm #1988909
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Jacket plus hood: leaks at the neck.
Hooded jacket: warm neck.
CheersMay 22, 2013 at 10:56 pm #1988947
K CBPL Member
@kalebcLocale: South West
I have three quilts, 30F, 40F, 50+F and one 15F sleeping bag. I have a MB Alpine light down parka and a hooded ghost whisperer, as well as a slew of other mid layer options. It's essential to have different combos that you can use depending on the weather, especially if you start your hike at 4000ft and get up to 12000ft and camp anywhere in between. I've never thought about using a down hood, if its that cold I'm usually bringing a down hooded jacket anyway. If I had a hood-less down jacket and didn't want to buy another I would probably buy a down hood for quilt use in sub 20F situations.May 23, 2013 at 11:48 am #1989129
Ever tried the ZPacks balaclava? Doesn't leak at the neck – at least not with the Stoic Hadron Cardigan (decent sized collar). The neck part of the balaclava comfortably goes over the collar. It's no different than a hooded down jacket based on personal experience with each choice.May 23, 2013 at 11:52 am #1989134
What trip are you taking where you could camp anywhere between 4000' and 12000'? I find a ~45 degree quilt and a ~20 degree bag to have as much versatility as I need.
The 20 degree bag weighs 17oz. The 45 degree quilt weighs 12oz.
I suppose I could see room for a ~30 degree bag at 15oz, but $325 is a lot of cash, for no significant increase in comfort. The 20 degree bag opens into a quilt very easily and is quite comfortable into the high 30s.
If I did non-hut-trip winter camping, I'd have a 0 degree bag, of course.May 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm #1989285
Thanks all for the replies. At this point, I'm considering either a Zpacks 20 degree bag or an Alsek quilt from Katabatic gear. I've frequently been cold with a 32 degree bag in temps down in the low 30's, so I'd like to just go with a 20 degree bag / quilt so I can use it for all-around 3-season use.
The question is: When would I really need a down hood if I'm using a hoodless bag/quilt? I plan to take an OR Balaclava with me–will this suffice for summer in Colorado (mostly 30+ F)? Of course, the Zpacks hood only weighs 1.6 oz, I believe, but I suppose it's more about saving costs. After a $400 sleeping bag, $200 down jacket, etc., etc., all this stuff really adds up.May 23, 2013 at 8:30 pm #1989300
@sgiachettiLocale: Boulder, CO
I've got a sawatch and a chisos as well. I don't think you can go wrong with an integrated down hood. I think its like .5 extra oz on the ghost whisperer, which seems well worth it to me. I have a katabatic down hood as well, but I prefer the simplicity of the attached hood for three season use. If you do cold weather camping, they you could think about getting a down balaclava to compliment your system.
Even in CO summer, I'd still prefer an attached hood over a fleece hat. Its just cozier. Most nights are pretty mild, but it can still get quite chilly up high, so its nice to have the hood when I need it.May 28, 2013 at 9:13 am #1990392
Jim SweeneyBPL Member
@swimjayLocale: Northern California
I've used a Stoic hadron hooded down anorak plus a 2 oz. KatabaticGear Crestone hood, when sleeping in Sept to 10,000' in the Southern Sierras, with the Zpacks 20 deg quilt. The hooded Hadron (8 0z) is only about an ounce heavier than the hoodless version (so you know it's not stuffed with down), cuts the chill in morning and evening, and seals the neck area well, but not warm enough when temps head toward 20. Crestone used under Hadron hood seals very well (though included bungee cords, which are a great idea when the hood is used by itself, are not necessary in this configuration and a bit confusing at 2 AM and you're fumbling around in a bivy sack trying to let as little warm air out of the sleeping bag as possible.) Palpable sense of relief when Crestone goes on if the night is cold. Seems to be plenty of room under Hadron hood for Crestone without undue compression, and I have a large head.
Another alternative is a Montbell Mirage, whose hood seems adequate by itself.
Either way, I'm definitely +1 on having a hooded down jacket when using a down quilt.
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