- Feb 16, 2017 at 10:36 am #3450776
I am completely happy with most every aspect of my kit, with very little I have not optimized. The one area I am not completely certain about is head insulation with a quilt. I have had great success mixing/matching a 100 wt fleece beaning with a Cap 4 balaclava as the conditions require…adding my hooded puffy when the temps really drop. I have assumed that if I didn’t want to wear the puffy under the quilt, but wanted more head insulation I could just wrap the puffy around my head but have yet to try this in practice.
That said I am still enamored with down hoods and have come *this* close to pulling the trigger every time I see one offered for sale. For those of you with direct experience…is there really any reason to add a separate hood rather than sticking with my current system? It just seems like a duplication of the puffy. Am I missing something?Feb 16, 2017 at 10:41 am #3450777Michael SirofchuckBPL Member
@mr_squishyLocale: Great Wet North
I’ve had similar thoughts about down hoods and it comes down to this: A capilene balaclava and a fleece hat can be used while hiking and at night, thus serving dual purposes. A down hood strikes me as single purpose only. I, too, wear a hoody for sleeping, so with the balaclava, hat, and hoody plus a Buff that I can use while hiking, a down hoody, no matter how light, is extra weight that duplicates the function of other clothing. I should add that generally use a Zpacks sleeping bag or a quilt, so head covering is a vital aspect of my sleeping kit.Feb 16, 2017 at 10:46 am #3450780
Michael – and that is precisely why I don’t own a down hood :) I’m pretty confident in my assessment, but there are a lot of BPLers with a lot more experience than I. Just wanted to make certain I had covered all the bases before smugly assuming I had it figured out.Feb 16, 2017 at 10:51 am #3450784Michael SirofchuckBPL Member
@mr_squishyLocale: Great Wet North
And that’s precisely why I am following this thread as there may be an opportunity for enlightenment.Feb 16, 2017 at 11:35 am #3450787KRSBPL Member
@krshomeLocale: Virginia USA
I have a down hood from Zpacks and I like it, but unlike you guys my down jacket does not have a hood. For me it was cheaper to buy the hood than a new jacket. My next down jacket will have a hood and the down hood will be retired/sold. One thing to add. When I use it it usually cold and windy, I have almost lost it to the wind a couple of times.Feb 16, 2017 at 11:41 am #3450789John VanceBPL Member
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
I too have a down hood as both my vest and jacket do not have an attached hood. I don’t like to wear my vest or jacket when sleeping, but rather drape it over me under the quilt, which makes an attached hood a liability.Feb 16, 2017 at 12:42 pm #3450799Thomas WillardBPL Member
For those with a down hood, how does it handle perspiration? Is there a layer of wicking material inside? I have considered a Black Rock Gear synthetic beanie but then I remember I sweat like a river wearing just my fleece beanie. Hehe. On extra cold nights I slip my EMS merino wool balaclava on underneath.Feb 16, 2017 at 1:02 pm #3450802Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
@JCH I usually think if it is not broke(n), don’t fix it. Sounds like your current kit works.
My down sweater does not have a hood. I used to sleep in a 22 oz down bag which had a hood. When I switched to a quilt, I found that my beanie was not warm enough. I got a climashield hood from MLD. It is somewhat dual use because I can wear it around camp in the morning and the evening. During day I usually wear a brimmed had. On colds day, if needed, have a very thin merino beanie from Ibex to wear that fits under the hat. One advantage of a synthetic hoody is that you can wash and dry it very easily on the trail or at home. Which comes in handy of you sweat a lot, your hair is oily or you are on a longer trip, etc.Feb 16, 2017 at 3:35 pm #3450825Window walkerBPL Member
I use a variety of options to achieve head warmth without needing a separate down hood. 100 wt fleece beanie, cap 4 beanie, and turtle fur balaclava. I have on one occasion worn all at once and it worked OK. Usually the cap 4 or 100 wt beanie over or under the balaclava is enough. Summer trips sometimes I only bring one of the above.Feb 16, 2017 at 4:39 pm #3450842John WBPL Member
I’ve been using a hooded down jacket rolled as a pillow + hood.
Going to order a custom down parka with a detachable hood.Feb 16, 2017 at 5:10 pm #3450846
I’ve been using a hooded down jacket rolled as a pillow + hood
Interesting idea…gonna have to experiment with that.Feb 16, 2017 at 6:31 pm #3450864IanBPL Member
I’m very much down with down but this is one garment where I think synthetic rules the day.
I also have the MLD 2oz Apex Balaclava and can’t recommend it enough. For less than 2oz, during three season hiking, it’s like wearing a furnace . On really cold nights, I’ll wear a buff underneath it and cinch it down to where only my (buff covered) nose and mouth are exposed. This keeps me warm and prevents me from getting my balaclava soaked with condensation.
I don’t want to speak too much to the experiences of other BPLers here, but there’s at least one member who quickly lost the loft in their down balaclava and to my knowledge, the loft never returned regardless of how it was laundered and cared for.
Again, MLD’s is at the 2oz mark so it’s hard to save an appreciable amount of weight by going with down.Feb 17, 2017 at 12:48 am #3450962Owen MBPL Member
I like having my hood separate from my jacket for a few reasons. First, it is a more versatile system, so I can leave the hood at home if temperatures aren’t predicted to drop that low, saving weight. Secondly, it means I can wear my hood while sleeping but not have to wear my jacket at the same time, allowing me to still use it as a pillow or drape it over my body if it’s really cold (maximizing the warmth boost). Finally, I find that hoods often get in the way when I’m not wearing them, making it harder to layer a wind shirt or rain shell over my puffy. For much colder temps with a medium-range down jacket, I would definitely want a hood, but, for me, the disadvantages of having one with one of those ultralight down jackets outweigh (literally) the advantages.
As to which hood and what type, that’s a whole different conversation. I like the EE hoodlum cause it has the front snaps and is synthetic. Easier to wash and easier to manage sweat/condensation. Ones like the Z-Packs hood are much warmer but less versatile. The front snaps make it much easier to hang out in camp or regulate the temperature in there.
All of that said, though, I usually find that a fleece hat is enough for the three-season conditions that I encounter. When it’s really cold I can get away with just burrowing into my long quilt.Feb 17, 2017 at 7:18 am #3450980
Thanks to everyone for your responses.
It seems the main reason for preferring a separate hood is when one also prefers a non-hooded jacket and/or prefers not to sleep in the jacket…this makes perfect sense to me. The issue of down vs synth is a well-worn discussion and luckily for all of us, we have that choice available.
While each made very cogent and well considered decisions in light of their other gear choices, I think I can now retire my down hood lust, move confidently forward and, as Bruce said, stop trying to fix what isn’t broken.
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