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12/14/2011 2:25 PM
 

As I was posting some comments on 24hr campfire, I realized we need a dedicated Mountain Serape thread here. I'll start by just re-posting my comments here:

Whether or not to go with this as part of your system does take some critical thinking, and won't be the right choice for everyone. The way I think about this for most trips is as an insulated coat replacement that also supplements your sleeping bag (leave the heavy coat at home and carry a lighter sleeping bag). I suspect that the reason is the trapped layer of air between this and an "inner" sleeping bag, but using this as an overbag is quite a bit warmer than wearing puffies top and bottom inside of your sleeping bag. In colder weather, I actually do both. When you're glassing or have taken a stand, this is a much nicer piece to have than the aforementioned puffy top and bottom. Cocoon yourself up in the thing and live it up. It's kind of like a woodstove in a tent -- Once you've experienced that, you'll be loathe to leave it home ever again even when you're pretty sure you won't need it. I really wanted this to come in at a pound and a half like my original, but the better shell material, slightly bigger size, and zipper I added at the bottom killed that. The functionality added by those features is well worth the extra half pound.

As far as ratings are concerned, there is a "specifications" tab on the product page, but that doesn't necessarily answer your questions.

On waterproofness, the fabric is considered water repellent due to the DWR coating, but not waterproof. It does pass the "cup test" though -- rubber band a piece of the fabric loosely on top of a cup and pour water into the fabric and see what happens. This shell material went overnight without letting a drop through. Because the insulation is primaloft fusion (warmer per weight and more compressible than climashield), the Serape is quilted in a few places. Those quilt lines are going to be water permeable. So, you'll be plenty good in light precip, but I wouldn't expect it to shed serious rain.

Temperature rating? So variable as to be worthless hazarding a guess. I froze my ass off one night trying to use my original prototype as a sleeping bag on top of a neoair trekker in 35 degree temps. I wasn't wearing any insulated layers underneath, the original doesn't have the nice enclosed footbox, good shell material, or greater width of the final product. All of those features make a big difference. When I curled up inside of the production sample for the photo shoot wearing the same thing (longies top and bottom with very lightweight softshell top and bottom) on a snowy (somewhere south of 32f) and windy day laying directly on top of sand, I slowly started warming up and accumulating heat inside of it to the point that it was pleasantly warm inside and I didn't want to get out. Both very subjective evaluations, but it's really the best I can do. There are just too many non-garment factors that go into comfortable warmth.


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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12/14/2011 2:56 PM
 

I am very anxious to receive mine and try it out- it seems like an amazingly versatile piece. This serape is going to kill 4 birds with one stone for me, I can't picture a scenario in which it won't be riding in my pack.

The only real concern I have is how abrasion reistant the material is. Any freedback on your use with it? Any rips or holes, especially when sitting in it?

I am having a hard time trying to figure out how you get this in your pack? Do you stuff it into a compression sack or roll it up like a sleeping bag- what works best?

 
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12/16/2011 4:12 PM
 

Can you tell me how small this compresses down to?  I just ordered a coyote one.

 

  Thanks in advance for the  innovative product.

 

  Regards,

  Scott

 

 
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12/17/2011 12:29 PM
 

We took a bunch of pictures yesterday of the coyote serapes. It is a great color. Anyway, they include a picture of it compressed. Also some pictures of how it works.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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12/17/2011 12:33 PM
 

Finally a little bit of time to get back to this.

My original was nothing more than 1.9oz uncoated ripstop, and it has held up surprisingly well. The only injuries it has sustained were due to an alcohol stove mishap. The material in the production ones is more substantial -- about on par with the heavier sleeping bag shell materials. I think it strikes the right balance between weight and durability.

Stuff sacks and compressibility - We looked at all of our kit and realized that not a single thing we were carrying was in the stuff sack it came with. We usually end up selecting a stuff sack for an item based on the pack it is going in, and where we want it to ride. Long and skinny for the top or back of a pack, shorter and fatter for inside of a pack, looser packed for shoving down around something to stabilize a load. So we decided not to include a stuff sack for this item and keep the cost lower at the same time. Here is about the smallest you're going to be able to get the Mountain Serape. This is a ~$10 REI  ultralight stuff sack that measures 6"x11". Packing in this is as tight as a drum:


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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12/17/2011 1:33 PM
 

This is simple once you have one in hand, hard to describe elsewise. Hopefully the series of pictures will make it clear how to turn the Mountain Serape into a greatcoat. You start out wearing it in simple poncho mode like so:

Then you reach back to the back edges where the zipper is. This is the same zipper that you would use to turn it into a half zip sleeping bag:

Draw the edges together and zip them in front of you. The start of the zipper is right about at sternum level:

Zip the zipper down to the bottom edge, where the zipper starts to turn the corner, and leave it there:

Pull the front half out a little bit to give yourself some arm movement room, and you're done if you want to be. If you're just going to be sitting, you may  not do the next part at all. For sitting, we often pull the front half all the way out so the back half is zipped around us from calf to sternum and the front half is free to drape over our upper body and "tuck into" around our arms, but it is still super quick to get free to bring a rifle to bear:

Finally, if you are going to be moving around much, you'll want to reach down inside the front and cinch the drawcord around your waist to keep the lower half from slipping down and binding while you're walking:

Now you're wearing a greatcoat.

You can easily put a pack on over this (belted or unbelted) for movement. In our experience, you'd have to be moving slowly or be in very cold conditions not to quickly overheat wearing the Mountain Serape while hiking.

Half zip sleeping bag mode is very straightforward. Without wearing the Mountain Serape, just zip that zipper all the way down and around the corner to the back edge. Completely tighten the drawcord in the hood to eliminate drafts. Lay it on the ground. The Mountain Serape will be folded in half and zipped shut on the bottom and all the way up to waist level.


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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12/17/2011 2:07 PM
 

Thanks for the additional pictures. Agree with the stuff sack ideas;  I use the Kifaru compressable  ones.

 

  Be safe,

  Scott

 
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12/18/2011 9:42 AM
 
Have you considered making one from wool? Although it would probably be heavier, it would provide good weather resistance and durability. It would also be better around stoves and fires. Scouti
 
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12/18/2011 11:30 AM
 

I have to say that I would have no interest in lugging a few pounds of wool around that is nowhere near as warm as the Serape. There is no "probably" about the heavy part. This will cure an awful lot of fire mishaps quite cheaply:

http://www.rei.com/product/783045/gear-aid-tenacious-tape-repair-tape

 
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12/18/2011 2:31 PM
 

Actually, the first Mountain Serapes circa 1992 or so where made out of wool blankets purchased from the army surplas store for about 10 bucks. As CCH says heavy as all get out, but warm and versatile. The current design grew out of a desire for a lightweight one with some more features.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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12/18/2011 7:42 PM
 

What are the dimensions in sleeping bag mode?  Trying to figure out if it will fit in my small "summer" tent.

 
New Post
12/18/2011 10:11 PM
 

33"x88" laid flat. when you're in it it will take up less width though.


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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12/19/2011 2:45 PM
 

Got my Mountain Serape in the mail today.  It's a well constructed, great looking piece of kit.  I like the weight of it.  I can already see that several poncho liners, woobies and blankets are going to be sold after the first of the year. Rock on HPG!

 
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12/19/2011 2:58 PM
 

Incidently, while we where taking some side by side pictures of both a foliage and coyote serape this morning so folks have a good idea of how they blend with different backgrounds it was discovered that two serapes will in fact zip together into one large bag, or one giant blanket. Pretty cool for those with a significant other you want to share some body heat with or someone with several kids to slip into it.

Pictures will be posted as soon as we get a chance.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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12/20/2011 11:22 AM
 

  I'll echo what Hansford said after getting my serape this weekend. I have yet to put it to use as a greatcoat, but it's been riding in my daypack. Threw it on top of my blankets in bed last night and it got way too warm. The double serape super bag is awesome BTW.......

 
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12/21/2011 1:44 PM
 

 Got a chance to use my serape for the first time in the field today.

Scenario was a cold, crisp morning in the central Oregon high desert. We arrived at the trailhead just before sunrise- temp was about 12 degrees. Hiked up one of Scot and Evan's favorite training trails- a 900' elevation gain in about 1.5 miles. I was wearing a lightweight merino t-shirt, lightweight merino hoody and softshell pants with a light base layer.

After reaching the top Evan and I stopped to rest before heading back down, temp was about 20 degrees at that point. Pulled the serape out of the pack and wore it over my kit bag and at this point, fairly wet base layers. Within a couple minutes I was thankful to be lounging back wearing the serape with the hood up. It kept me nice and warm with most of my body underneath- I didn't get chilled, and was really quite comfortable. 

After about 10 minutes of rest, I dawned my pack over the serape and headed back down the trail. About half way down I got too warm and took off the serape.

All in all a really positive first time use- I can see this thing riding with me all the time, and seeing a lot of use.

 
New Post
12/22/2011 10:58 AM
 

I realize it's a pretty subjective question, but, how noisy is the DWR material? The Serape sounds like a great way to stay warm on stand (without getting overheated walking in and climbing up), just wondering how suitable it is for treestand use when animals are close by.

 

 
New Post
12/22/2011 12:03 PM
 

we consider it plenty quiet for stand hunting.


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
 
New Post
12/22/2011 1:30 PM
 

 

Serape – Field Observations - 2011-12-22
Botton Line - Serapes work. Well.
Here’s why.
Conditions:
Morning hunt. Walked about ½ a mile, then, took a spot, and stayed in that spot for 2 hours, from 30 minutes before sunrise, through 90 minutes after sunrise.
Temp at 30 minutes before sunrise was -5 degrees(f), with RH of about 80%+, calm winds, at about 4,400 feet elevation. Sunrise was to a clear sky. The arrival of the sun made no difference in relative comfort that either member could detect. Stayed below zero throughout hunt.
Both members used base layers(top and bottom, one wore merino wool, the other synthetic, all mid weight). One member used a Prima-loft(sp?) sweater over the base layer, the other used a medium weight merino wool sweater over base layer. Shell material ranged from Propper ACPU Level 5 soft shell(top and bottom, recent good deals) to Carhartt heavy canvas pants(treated with DWR stuff). Hats, balaclavas, neck gaiters, winter medium gloves.
Actions:
Both sat on a shooting mat(closed cell foam, perhaps ~3/16 “ thick, 1000 denier nylon cover) made by The Wilderness(Phx, AZ).
The Serapes were packed in, then, deployed once we were at our spot. Serapes were used several ways. One member of the party used the ”great coat” arrangement, with pack removed. One member used the Serape as a cape or poncho over an in place K Scout(+ pockets) pack. The member using the Serape in a poncho arrangement tucked the edges of the Serape in, under, and around their body.
Outcomes:
In both arrangements(great coat and cape), both users reported an immediate sense of increased warmth(subjective, no instruments). Once settled in, both members removed their gloves under their Serape. Both members reported warmer hands almost immediately.   Both Serapes draped over parts of the legs, also increasing warmth. Both used the hoods, cinched and relaxed, and felt increased warmth.  Pretty much, in every way that the Serape was used, both members reported increased warmth. Both wore the Serapes on the hike out, both over their packs.
Assessment, so far:
Versatile. 
Very effective.
Creates some concealment. 
Quiet.
Remarkable design.
Great service from the Hill People(again).
 
Plenty of sign. No deer seen. Back out this afternoon, and again tomorrow.
 
New Post
12/23/2011 12:44 PM
 

Serape just arrived and very impressed so far. The quality is outstanding and it is a lot softer, quieter and water resistant than I anticipated.

Conditions Tested- 40F, Cloudy, Light Drizzle, Wet & Soggy Ground, 10-15 mph Winds.

The 4 Modes:

  • Serape- no brainer, works awesome. Glassed some whitetail on my property and some squirrels panacking for winter. Stayed warm toasty and dry, cinching up the waist shock cord helped keep in core warmth from wind drafts. Felt no wet spots when sitting.
  • Blanket- my dog and I headed out to our ground blind for a few hours to check on activity. I laid out the MS like a blanket and he claimed it pretty quicky, we both enjoyed an afternoon siesta on it. I did not notice any appreciable conductive heat loss while sleeping on the gound in 40F weather.
  • Sleeping Bag- I am 6'3 around 210lbs and was pretty shocked that the MS actually had full overhead coverage for me as advertised. I have very broad shoulders so the top half was a bit snug, but the bag doesn't zip up all the way which makes things more comfortable for bigger guys. One thing that I never saw mentioned that I found out was the zipper ends at the foot area,  opening it a little allows you to use sleeping bag mode while keeping your boots on, which is a great no mess feature.
  • Great Coat- I think I have this down based on the photos posted, but would still like to see a video tutorial. To be honest it felt a bit awkward using the MS in this mode, that was until I dawned my Tara over it which cut the puffy bulkness down significantly. I overheated rather quickly in this configuration but I am anxious to try it when the temps drop here and in a open landscape exposed to the elements.

Set-Up

I don't have a stuff sack yet for the MS, but this is how I carried it. I used the kit bag lifter straps and extra slik clips that came with the KB. I attatched them to the bottom of my Tara to make compression straps. I just rolled up the MS and it rode under the Tara so I could still get to my items within the pack. I am still trying to figure the best way to carry the MS in conjucture with the Tara pack.

 
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Edward Curtis Canyon De Chelly
When humans first set foot in a new continent, they came in small groups under their own power, bringing only the gear they needed. Most simply called themselves The People. Over time, those who chose the rougher freer life of the up country came to think of themselves as the Hill People.
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