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3/23/2012 3:15 PM
 

My favorite part of the Mountain Serape (and wearable quilts in general) is the multi-purpose design allows me to carry less bulk in my pack, if not also less weight. The only problem I've run into is the M.S. alone seems to be only good to around 40-45ยบ by itself as sleep insulation, so I would often end up needing more warmth at night. I'm curious to see how others prefer to use their Mountain Serapes - standalone for warmer trips? As layering during the day and over a (lighter) sleeping bag at night? Add a poncho liner/fleece liner/puffy layers under the Serape at night? I have my own ideas, but I'd love to hear some feedback and ideas from anyone else using one.

Evan/Scot on a related note... any possibility of a warmer "High Mountain Serape", for lack of a better name, with the same design but more insulation?

 
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3/23/2012 3:26 PM
 

I think once you get below 45 degrees its time for a real sleeping bag. With a Serape and a 15-25 degree bag you are set for temps from 0-50 degrees. A serape for those warm summer nights when it will not drop below 45. You could probably add some clothing layers to this to take the Serape below that but I have not played around with it yet. I am going to try to take just a MS on summer backpacking trips this year and do some backyard testing with clothing to see how far I can take it down to. In the 15-40 range its time for a nice sleeping bag either down or syn your choice depending on the climate you are in. When winter hits and its dropping down below 15 degrees its time to put that MS inside your sleeping bag to take it down to around zero. So my point is you can get away with just one nice bag, a serape and your set for all temps. Sorry I really didnt answer your question :)

 
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3/23/2012 3:28 PM
 

Great question. 40-45 degrees (or, expressed another way, about a 20 degree temperature gain) fits with my experience as well. I use the MS in concert with other types of insulation. I routinely run a lighter sleeping bag than I would otherwise, knowing I'll run the MS as an overbag. The sum of this setup is greater than the parts. I think it is because of the layer of warm air that gets trapped between the outside of the sleeping bag and the inside of the MS. Also, you've always got a cocoon of dry insulation (relatively lightweight sleeping bag) next to your skin at night even if you got your MS soaked during the day's activities. It's kind of the opposite from the classic "puffy pants and jacket  you wear inside your sleeping bag" plan.

We have thought about a warmer MS, and I even made and we both tested a prototype. As a garment, it gets pretty doggone bulky and stops draping well enough to really use as a garment. As a sleeping bag, it is now approaching 3 lbs and there are lots of sub 3 lb sleeping bags that will do a better job of keeping you warm at night than the MS. It just seems like you go from having a "both" item, to a "neither nor" item.

Overall, I think of the MS as a coat or coat and pants replacement that is nicer than a coat in a lot of coat situations but also augments or handles sleeping in a way that a coat won't. It's also suitable for emergency use for multiple people in a way that a coat isn't. I don't really think of it as the opposite - a sleeping bag that also doubles as a coat.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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3/23/2012 3:42 PM
 

Another subject to discuss. Most seem to be using a serape as an overbag, I put mine inside. I put the serapes opening the opposite side from the sleeping bags zipper, i think that is most efficient way to use it. Same cant be said if its used as an overbag because it is open on one side. Unless you put the opening under you but you will lose some foot/leg room. Is it best to use it as an overbag if your sleeping bag is down? What are the thoughts on this?

 
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3/23/2012 3:49 PM
 

 Thanks for the responses guys... fits with what I have been finding and what I had in mind for the Serape. 

Big w, I'm with you on the testing - I expect the Mountain Serape will by my sleep insulation for the rest of spring and summer, and I need to do some backyard testing to figure out the exact comfort range. I'm bringing mine on a 2 night trip this weekend, but the temp lows are projected in the 30s now for one night so I may need to change the plans up some and bring some supplemental insulation. Figures that it's in the high 40s and 50s at night for a week until I plan a trip! 

As far as the inside/outside question... I've only used it once as an overbag but with the large size and square cut of the serape, it makes more sense to me over top of a standard mummy bag. Plus as Evan pointed out, if your Serape gets damp wearing it throughout the day then you have your dry insulation close to your body.

 
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3/23/2012 3:52 PM
 

evanhill wrote

We have thought about a warmer MS, and I even made and we both tested a prototype. As a garment, it gets pretty doggone bulky and stops draping well enough to really use as a garment. As a sleeping bag, it is now approaching 3 lbs and there are lots of sub 3 lb sleeping bags that will do a better job of keeping you warm at night than the MS. It just seems like you go from having a "both" item, to a "neither nor" item.

Makes sense, I did wonder if making it thicker would be problematic as a garment... that's cool that you've already prototyped it and tested it out. Should have known you'd be on top of that :D

 

 
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3/23/2012 4:06 PM
 

Not as on top of as many things as we'd like to be, but we do keep after it.

Regarding overbag, I put the zipper directly underneath. That way there aren't really gaps on either side. There's also good coverage around the head area if I want to sleep with an arm out. The zipper isn't that stiff, the drape around the footbox turns out just fine. Plus, you've got to be careful inside of a sleeping bag not to overcompress both sets of insulation. Not all sleeping bags are big enough. I think you get more heat gain out of it as an overbag than an inner bag too.  You spend enough nights out, give them both a shot on successive nights and see what you think.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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4/15/2016 11:06 PM
 
Looking to revive a long dead thread. Anybody have anything to add to this in the last three years. I'm thinking about a basic system where I use a 35-40 degree bag along with a Serape when needed to get me into the 20s. Especially if I have other clothes on. If it works, that would cover about 95% of what I would encounter here in AZ. I know getting out and trying things is the best way to figure it out since it is mostly depends on the individual. It is just that I have not had much time to test since I spent last year recovering from surgery, and the last ten months has been spent with my first born. Time not being on my side as of late, I am trying to dial things in a little better for the few times I do get out.
 
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4/23/2016 7:16 PM
 
I use a MS over a REI 45 deg down bag. Underneath is a poncho with a reflective mylar. On top of that is a Klymit recon o-zone pad. Keeps me comfy in the high Sierras. If it gets nasty a SOL ultralight bivvy goes over for an additional 30 deg boost
 
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4/26/2016 10:04 AM
 
Ccombs wrote:
Looking to revive a long dead thread. Anybody have anything to add to this in the last three years. I'm thinking about a basic system where I use a 35-40 degree bag along with a Serape when needed to get me into the 20s. Especially if I have other clothes on.

 

This is my exact config from spring through fall here in CO. It's overkill a lot of the time. In fact, I'm thinking about switching to just a mountain serape plus arcteryx atom LT and puffy overpants (the latter of which I don't currently carry) instead as a lighter weight, less warm, more flexible solution. I don't assume it's going to give me enough margin of warmth but we'll see.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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7/6/2016 5:53 PM
 
Has anyone experimented with some of those silk sleeping bag liners inside a MS? I've been wanting to try that out as a way to get a bigger temperature boost out of the serape but still keeping the system light weight.

Something like this https://www.rei.com/product/797114/sea-to-summit-thermolite-reactor-extreme-mummy-bag-liner
 
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7/7/2016 6:06 PM
 

Any liner, silk or otherwise will add a few degrees, maybe, but I think the liners are more useful for keeping your bag/quilt clean than anything else.  The BEST way to  "warm-up" a Serape (or any other sleep system) is with a hooded vest.  The hood on the vest should optimally, be as thick as the bag/quilt in loft.

This is why I've never "warmed up" to the Serape concept.  The hood is in the wrong place, IMO.  You need it more when you're attempting to sleep than when you are awake.  A synthetic quilt, like the Jack's R'Better No Sniveler (the JRB is down) with a head hole to use as a great coat, and a hooded synthetic vest is an optimized system, with no weight penalty.

 
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7/7/2016 6:27 PM
 
I've found the Mountain Serape to work just fine for me down into the low 30s using a puffy coat like my Wild Things EP Hooded Jacket or Hi-Loft Parka, along with either a Wild Things EP Half Bag, or WT puffy pants and booties. Worked great for me and has lots of versatility. In fact, I used the serape/puffy suit combo as my sleep system two winters ago in Colorado at an HPG Winter Gathering. That was in my SO-6 Tipi with a Shepherd Stove....but it was in the 20s outside. I felt fine with that even after the stove ran out of fuel in the wee hours. I've also used a Western Mountaineering Hot Sac liner in mine with good results. I personally think the serape is one of the single most versatile pieces available out there.

Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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2/1/2018 4:06 PM
 
evanhill wrote:
Ccombs wrote:
Looking to revive a long dead thread. Anybody have anything to add to this in the last three years. I'm thinking about a basic system where I use a 35-40 degree bag along with a Serape when needed to get me into the 20s. Especially if I have other clothes on.

 

This is my exact config from spring through fall here in CO. It's overkill a lot of the time. In fact, I'm thinking about switching to just a mountain serape plus arcteryx atom LT and puffy overpants (the latter of which I don't currently carry) instead as a lighter weight, less warm, more flexible solution. I don't assume it's going to give me enough margin of warmth but we'll see.

Evan, did you ever get around to testing the MS with your Atom LT top and bottom? 

 
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2/2/2018 1:13 PM
 

Evan, did you ever get around to testing the MS with your Atom LT top and bottom? 

No, sorry. Might need to get back on that!


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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2/11/2018 9:28 AM
 

Ok, so I decided to test this setup on my most recent trip (https://youtu.be/an7LiBVBE3s)

I didn't have a thermometer, but based on temps in surrounding towns at the same elevation, overnight lows were somewhere between 17 and 25. My system was:

- pad with an r value of 5

- medium mountain serape

- atom lt top, patagonia puffy pants, wild things primaloft booties, baselayer, wind cheater

- outdoor research wilderness cover

- night 1 was open air, night 2 was inside my shelter. I think night 1 was a little warmer. There was a decent coating of frost inside my shelter on night 2.

I broke my own rule -- my goal is to have a sleeping bag rated for the expected temperature and then for the mountain serape to be margin of error on top of that. I figured the overall rating of my sleeping system would get me into the high teens so I didn't really have enough.

Bottom line, I woke up cold but not chilled a handful of times each night. Not so cold I couldn't get back to sleep, but not toasty warm. Interestingly, my feet were never cold. So the system did work.

Deeper analysis - It only would have cost me about 6oz more to have my 20 degree TNF cat's meow instead of the atom and puffy pants. I would have happily gone for that and slept like a baby all night long. Beyond that, I didn't really like having two sets of wearable insulation layers. When I went for a day hike, I opted to take atom lt instead of mountain serape. But then when I actually laagered up in the middle of the day, I was kicking myself for not having my serape instead. Then what would I have done, left my coat in camp? What was the point of it being a coat then? Part of the idea with the sleeping bag is that it is the dedicated dry insulation that you try never to get wet, whereas with all wearable layers, which ones do you dedicate to being always dry? Beyond that, keeping the atom lt pulled down and covering my kidneys while I slept ended up being a little bit of a chore. So... I tried and technically it worked, but I'm not going to be doing it again.

What I did like was the outdoor research wilderness cover instead of a rain coat (costs an extra half a pound, but gets you SO much more). I also think I'm going to beef up my "reserve" base layer a bit. I always have a mid or heavy weight base layer stashed in my tent bag that is a deep backup over my two using base layer tops. Depending on temperature, I will put this piece on over my dry "using" baselayer to sleep in for some extra warmth. On this trip, I realized it probably would cost me little if any weight to upgrade that from a heavy weight wool blend baselayer to a lightweight grid fleece which would be a LOT warmer. I also had forgotten how much I like puffy pants for the shoulder seasons. I already knew I liked to carry them in winter even though I don't carry anything more than a serape for insulation year around.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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2/11/2018 10:22 AM
 
Great video, and great information Evan.

Thanks for taking the time to AAR the trip, and gear.

-Seth
 
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2/11/2018 10:21 PM
 

Nice video Evan,

This is very timely, as I am planning a early Spring backpacking trip on the AT and was hoping to just use my Serape, Wild Things Happy suit jacket, pants, and booties for sleeping. I've used this setup before with a cheap USGI "patrol" bag and was too warm for temperatures in the 30's. I've upgraded my pad from a Thermarest Pro Lite to a Xtherm Max and am hoping the increased R value from 2.4 to 5.7 helps offset any temperature rating I loose going from the sleeping bag to the Serape.

I've slowly gotten away from bringing a large sleeping bag, and much prefer wearing my insulation around camp if the conditions are dry enough to not need the emergency blanket of a super warm sleeping bag (if my clothes were to get soaked).



Evan, have you used the Hilleberg Bivanorak and/or have an opnion? It looks similar the the OR Wilderness cover, but has actual sleeves. The downside is it cannot be made into an emergency tarp like the OR Cover.

 
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2/12/2018 5:21 PM
 
Scot has had a Bivanorak (BA) for years, and now I have the Wilderness Cover (WC).

- they both go great over a serape
- BA has a lighter weight material and is probably lighter weight overall. Can't decide if that is an advantage or a disadvantage in this case.
- WC material is heavy enough to be a sun shade as well as a rain shade. A real plus in the desert.
- I think the sleeves of the BA are a big advantage for obvious reasons. But the WC setup may not be as bad as a coat in the rain as it looks.
- I think the front zip of the WC is a big advantage because 1) tarp / blanket mode 2) bivy sack mode (put the feet of your bag into the hood of the WC and orient it so you get a full length side zipper on your bivy sack 3) easier to get in and out of

Between the two, I don't think I have a clear preference at this point. Scot has a lot of experience with the BA, whereas I've used it once or twice. I've only got a little experience with the WC. Time will tell between the two.

Further notes on the WC:
- it's not big enough to be a bivy sack around your pad and bedding. you have to be OK with your pad getting wet if you are using it as a wet weather bivy sack. I don't see much issue with the pad getting wet. It's essentially a pool toy anyway.
- Tarp mode is intriguing, but I haven't cracked the code on it yet. Pretty sure the supplied tie outs are in all of the wrong places. I spent a couple of hours before this trip trying to make it into a minimalist hooped shelter. Finally decided that, even though it extends all the way from bottom of sleeping pad up a little past head with plenty of livable space in the torso, I wouldn't set out with it as my primary shelter without modifications. That being said, I think with some modifications it could be pretty doggone good. Or, you just call it a bivy sack and move on with your life. Even if you don't really want to pitch it like a tarp, there's a whole lot of utility in a big waterproof blanket.
- make very sure that you have a clear breathing hole out from underneath the WC when you're using it as a bivy. Breathing inside of it will quickly wet it out and soak the outside of your "sleeping bag".

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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2/19/2018 2:31 AM
 
evanhill wrote:
Scot has had a Bivanorak (BA) for years, and now I have the Wilderness Cover (WC).

- they both go great over a serape
- BA has a lighter weight material and is probably lighter weight overall. Can't decide if that is an advantage or a disadvantage in this case.
- WC material is heavy enough to be a sun shade as well as a rain shade. A real plus in the desert.
- I think the sleeves of the BA are a big advantage for obvious reasons. But the WC setup may not be as bad as a coat in the rain as it looks.
- I think the front zip of the WC is a big advantage because 1) tarp / blanket mode 2) bivy sack mode (put the feet of your bag into the hood of the WC and orient it so you get a full length side zipper on your bivy sack 3) easier to get in and out of

Between the two, I don't think I have a clear preference at this point. Scot has a lot of experience with the BA, whereas I've used it once or twice. I've only got a little experience with the WC. Time will tell between the two.

Further notes on the WC:
- it's not big enough to be a bivy sack around your pad and bedding. you have to be OK with your pad getting wet if you are using it as a wet weather bivy sack. I don't see much issue with the pad getting wet. It's essentially a pool toy anyway.
- Tarp mode is intriguing, but I haven't cracked the code on it yet. Pretty sure the supplied tie outs are in all of the wrong places. I spent a couple of hours before this trip trying to make it into a minimalist hooped shelter. Finally decided that, even though it extends all the way from bottom of sleeping pad up a little past head with plenty of livable space in the torso, I wouldn't set out with it as my primary shelter without modifications. That being said, I think with some modifications it could be pretty doggone good. Or, you just call it a bivy sack and move on with your life. Even if you don't really want to pitch it like a tarp, there's a whole lot of utility in a big waterproof blanket.
- make very sure that you have a clear breathing hole out from underneath the WC when you're using it as a bivy. Breathing inside of it will quickly wet it out and soak the outside of your "sleeping bag".

 

 

Thank you, I think for my uses (used over the pack while walking in a downpour, hunting from a tree stand) that the BA may be better for me. 

 

Thanks again!

 
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