Timmermade waterbear hood first look 1
The Timmermade Waterbear Hood

The Timmermade Waterbear Hood is a cottage-crafted down sleeping hood with a twist – a Climashield tunnel for warming the air around your face on extra-cold nights. I used the Waterbear Hood on a frigid eastern Sierra late-winter trip. It kept me cozy in my quilt while providing flexible options for warmth in variable shoulder-season conditions.

Features and Specifications


  • Hybrid down / synthetic insulation construction.
  • Drawstring Climashield tunnel can be cinched closed to create a pocket of warm air around the nose and mouth while not losing loft due to condensation.
  • Climashield tunnel can be tucked out of the way when not in use.
  • Multi-functional garment: wear it around camp on chilly mornings/evenings, during the day during rest stops; it also makes a good bicycle pogie.
  • Internal baffles keep the down secure.
  • Baffles are 20% overstuffed.


  • Weight: 3.1 oz (87.9 g)
  • Shell/Liner material: 10D Argon 67 ripstop nylon (.67 oz/yd / 20.7 g/m)
  • Fill type: 800 FP duck down
  • Loft: 2.5 in (2.54)
  • Length: 15.5 in (39.4 cm)
  • Width: 12 in (30.5 cm)

Product Strengths and Limitations


  • The drawstring Climashield-and-mesh tunnel creates a pocket of warm air around the mouth and nose on extra-chilly nights. This feature sets the Waterbear apart from other down sleeping hoods.
  • The 10D Argon 67 ripstop nylon is silky and comfortable against the skin.
  • Climashield tunnel can be tucked out of the way (back into the hood) when not needed.
  • The garment is well-constructed: the stitches are even and tight, the materials are high-end, and the design is well-considered.
  • Cottage industry customization is available as needed. Options include 950 FP down, entirely synthetic insulation, lower temperature ratings, and a variety of fabric colors.


  • The garment may feel claustrophobic to some.
  • Can be overkill for warm sleepers and many ultralight hikers don’t find a down hood necessary (particularly if they utilize other hooded insulation layers).
  • In comparison to other popular down hoods on the market, it is slightly more expensive.

Compared To…

Let’s compare the Waterbear to two popular offerings on the market: ZPack’s Goose Hood and Katabatic’s Crestone Hood.

ProductTimmermade Waterbear HoodZpacks Ultralight Goose HoodKatabatic Gear Crestone Hood
Weight3.1 oz (87.9 g)1.3 oz (37 g)2.2 oz (62.4 g)
Fill800 FP duck down850 FP goose down850 FP goose down
Material10D Argon 67 ripstop nylon (.67 oz/yd)7D Ventum ripstop nylon (.59 oz/yd)Shell: Pertex Quantum ripstop nylon (.9oz/yd). Liner: Pertex Quantum taffeta (1.0oz/yd)
Unique FeaturesAdjustable Climashield tunnelShell is treated with C6 DWRRemovable underarm straps
Made in...USAUSA (outsourced to GooseFeetGear)USA

All three hoods utilize premium lightweight fabric shells, comparable downs, and similar styles (a crescent-shaped cut around the neck and drawstring feature around the face)

Timmermade waterbear hood first look 5
The Waterbear hood shares the features of standard down sleeping hoods with one big exception: an adjustable Climashield-and-mesh tunnel.

The Waterbear’s addition of the Climashield tunnel adds about a quarter of an ounce. The rest of the weight difference is due to the Waterbear’s box baffles and 2.5 in loft (other, less lofty Waterbear models might be a more accurate comparison, but this is the model I had to test). The tunnel is the feature that most separates the Waterbear from other down hoods, other than that it performs as you would expect any down hood to perform. The Waterbear is slightly more expensive than the Goose Hood and Crestone Hood. The cost is likely a reflection of the size of the Timmermade operation.


Timmermade waterbear hood first look 6
Climashield handles moisture well. The insulation remains warm even after breathing through it all night long: indeed, this is the whole point of the design. I found that any moisture it gathers dries quickly in the morning with a little sunlight.

Dan Timmerman dreamed up the Waterbear because he hated breathing frigid air, even in moderately cold temperatures. By enclosing synthetic Climashield insulation in a fine mesh and attaching that insulation to the opening of a standard down hood design, Dan created an extremely versatile system that pairs the warmth and compressibility of down with the moisture resistance of synthetic. By drawing the Climashield tunnel partly or entirely closed, you can create a pocket of warmth around your face that prevents you from inhaling frosty air but still allows for air exchange. The Climashield handles the moisture from your breath exceptionally well, while the down around your head, neck, and ears is as toasty warm as expected.

I used the Waterbear on a three-night trip where overnight temperatures dropped into the teens (I paired the hood with a 20F down quilt, the Nemo Switchback, and the Therm-A-Rest UberLite). I slept in Brynje wool mesh base layers, wool socks, and a cheap off-brand synthetic-blend sweater.

I was skeptical at first: I’m sensitive to things around my face, particularly as I’m trying to sleep. Sometimes even a standard down hood is too much for me, and I tend to prefer a beanie/Buff combo for quilt sleeping. So I had some hesitation going into this test.

It turns out my fears were unfounded. By night two I was mostly used to the enclosure around my face. By night three I was relishing the warmth and flexibility the system provided. I generally started with the Climashield tunnel completely open and cinched it progressively tighter as temperatures dropped through the course of the evening. By early morning I was breathing warm air through a completely cinched tunnel of synthetic insulation and mesh (this has the unintended but welcome side-effect of blocking out a little bit of light, should you decide to sleep later than the sun). While I occasionally found the system to be a tad claustrophobic, the added warmth was worth it for the most part. Many ultralighters find down hoods to be too warm, even with quilts, and prefer some combo of hat/buff/balaclava/hooded insulation layer. If you are one of these people, you aren’t going to want or need the Waterbear.

Timmermade waterbear hood first look 2
The tunnel’s mesh-and-Climashield construction allows for air exchange while maintaining warmth. I was surprised by how breathable the system was, despite feeling a little claustrophobic at times. That being said, if you have doubts about the usefulness of a down hood in the first place, the Waterbear is not going to tempt you.

As much as none of us would like to admit we degrade the loft of our down bags and quilts by pulling them over our heads and breathing into them, sometimes it happens. I know I’m occasionally guilty of it, especially on frigid mornings. The Waterbear hood eliminates the temptation. One thing to note: if you decide not to use the Climashield tunnel at all, remember to tuck it back into the hood; otherwise it will fall into your face when side-sleeping.

The system has all the versatility you’d expect from a down hood: you can wear it around camp or on breaks, and it’s excellent for restless sleepers. It compresses well (as you’d expect from a primarily down product) and fits easily into a quilt stuff sack or anywhere else you want to store it. Some users might find the nylon a little loud around the ears while tossing and turning, but anyone already accustomed to sleeping in a down hood won’t be bothered.

I’m bald, so I had a lot of skin-to-fabric contact while wearing the Waterbear. The premium materials used in the construction feel soft and silky against the skin. The stitches are even, tight, and rock solid. The internal seam running the length of the hood is unobtrusive: it never bothered me while trying to sleep.

Timmermade waterbear hood first look 3
The Waterbear hood is carefully sewn and well constructed from soft 7D Argon 67 ripstop nylon.

The Waterbear Hood has all the hallmarks of an excellent cottage industry product: a smart and field tested design paired with loving execution, ultralight materials, and customizable options. Timmermade also sells a fully synthetic version that weighs in at 2.1 oz (28.3 g) that may be more interesting to warm sleepers.

It may be a few ounces heavier and a few dollars more expensive than traditional down hoods, but cold sleepers, some shoulder-season and winter quilt users, and down hood aficionados will appreciate the ingenuity, versatility, and comfort the Waterbear Hood brings to a cold-weather sleep system.

Where to Buy

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