On Friday we received a very exciting email: a parcel was ready for pickup at our US post office box. Why was it so exciting? Simple. We only had one thing on order. Our Loco Libre Cayenne Pepper underquilts and Jalapeno Pepper topquilts! I can hear all the “Whuuuuut?”‘s. Lemme ‘splain. No. Lemme sum up. If you’ve read our review of the ENO Ember 2 underquilt (and other kvetching), you’ll know that I was less than happy with its performance AND design. NMBL wasn’t particularly enamoured with hers either. It’s just not a well thought out product. While ENO does have more robust offerings for underquilts, like the adjustable Vulcan, we decided to go with the made-to-spec Loco Libre offerings. They are well reviewed by other hammockers for their design and warmth. With a custom fit cost of only $10US more per underquilt compared to the Vulcan, we took the plunge.
Now lemme ‘splain. First, this isn’t really a review. It’s an un-boxing of the Loco Libre gear, some first impressions, and physical comparison between the Cayenne Pepper and the Ember 2. The Cayenne Pepper, Jalapeno Pepper, and Ember 2 all have synthetic insulation. Both of our current sleeping bags are also synthetic. We don’t ride our motorcycles when the weather drops below freezing so there is no need for us to buy down filled bedding.
To the un-boxing! We were very happy with the the way the items were packed. There was little chance of the quilts being damaged in shipment. As per the label on the top of the box, I didn’t open it with a sharp knife. Thanks for the heads up!
Aren’t those pics great? And by that I mean the subject, not the photography. We were salivating as we pulled the quilts out of the box. I think the stuff sacks are the Argon 90 nylon which the quilts are made of as well. This stuff is wind and water resistant and, according to Loco Libre, is very tough. Good. It has to survive being stuffed into motorcycle cases.
Would you look at those beauties! The underquilts look great right from the get go. The materials seem robust and have a great feel. Both NMBL and I opted for the Woobie Snap bivvy sac option on the underquilts in the event we can’t hang our hammocks. At least we can bed down on the ground with some warmth. Two notables with these underquilts are the primary/secondary suspension systems which stop the quilts from bunching up in the middle and the down filled draft collars that prevent cold air from seeping in on the ends. These no-charge extra features go hand-in-hand with what looks like some quality construction.
See what I mean? It’s a well thought out and well constructed underquilt. I can’t wait to get this out in the wild and keep my backside warm. And my feet. And shoulders. Because it’s shaped like a sleeping bag rather than a… salmon fillet? No kidding. Take a look at the next set of pictures.
In a direct comparison the ENO Ember 2 just doesn’t physically compare to the Loco Libre Cayenne Pepper underquilt. In a hammock you sleep on a bit of a diagonal rather than right down the middle. This flattens out the hammock to give you a nice sleeping surface. Do that with the Ember 2 attached and you’re immediately sleeping with at least one spot on your body uncovered. If you’re tallish like me you’ll be feeling the cold on two or more spots. The Ember 2 just isn’t made for regular adult sized humans. The Cayenne Pepper is customizable to your size and needs. Just contact George and Loco Libre or go on the website and use the underquilt builder. But don’t forget your topquilt.
The Jalapeno Pepper top quilts are built to the same standards as their underquilt compadre’s. The great thing about the topquilt is that it can be used as a stand alone blanket or as an addition to your sleeping bag. More layers when needed are good. NMBL and I are expecting great things from these new tools in our box. We’re hoping to get out this coming weekend and give them a try. The real test will come when we’re out touring. Expect a solid review after that happens, probably on the Victoria Day long weekend.
Thanks for reading!