This past weekend was kind of nice. Just the kind of weather you want for a bit of a ride and to play around with some new hammock gear. No pressure, no time constraints, and no “get this right or you’re going to have a very uncomfortable, sleepless night”. Those suck so it’s best to avoid them.

So off we went, after I repaired the end of my thumb which I attempted to remove with a Fastex buckle on a bungee. We made our way to Spanish Banks Beach for a ride in the sun, an afternoon at the water’s edge, and some great hanging action. And by great hanging action, I mean laying about. In a hammock. In comfort. Bliss!

Spanish Banks Beach is always nice. For our readers unfamiliar with Vancouver, Spanish Banks is on English Bay looking north onto the North Shore mountains. This time of year when the weather is nice you can see the snow capped mountains and the bay is busy with the boat traffic of commerce and pleasure. It’s a beautiful place to go for a walk, especially when the tide is out and the sand banks are exposed. It’s even better when you can get a hammock up in a copse of trees to hang by the ocean and watch the world float by.

The ride out was wonderful. The sun was shining and we weren’t in a hurry. We just trundled along with our hammocks and new underquilts tucked into one of our new duffles. Getting out with new gear is always exciting but a good ride is better. Even in a bit of weekend traffic a ride is cathartic. Other riders obviously thought the same thing since there were loads of bikes out on the road. It’s motorcycle season for sure.

After meandering our way through Point Grey then past Jericho and Locarno beaches, we turned into the Spanish Banks west parking lot near the off leash dog park. There were a bunch of good trees right there in front of us so we unhooked the duffle and walked over. Yep, it was about perfect. A bit of a long hang but it was great for setting up the new Loco Libre Cayenne Pepper underquilts that you saw in the great un-boxing.

As you can see in the pictures above the underquilt doesn’t look like much when you’re first setting it up. It’s just a rectangle that goes around the hammock with some primary and secondary rigging. That’s it. It attaches at both ends with a small carabiner holding the shock cord that suspends it. From there you can adjust it along the length of the primary shock cord, which runs the length of the underquilt on both sides. Then set it in place with the secondary adjustment so that it doesn’t slowly migrate and bunch up in the middle. It’s a simple design that takes no time at all to set up. I actually found it easier to put up than the Eno Ember.

This next set of pictures shows the fine adjustment for the Cayenne Pepper. The shock cord at the top is the main suspension line which runs the length of the quilt on both sides through a channel. This allows the user to adjust it along the length of the hammock so that it can be centered. The shock cord just down from the main suspension is the secondary line. There is a matching set on both ends of the quilt which gives you the ability to lock the quilt in place along the length of the hammock. It prevents the quilt from sliding along the main suspension line where it will end up in the middle in a big bunch.

The lower piece of shock cord is a draw-string for the draft collar. The Cayenne Pepper, like all the Loco Libre underquilts, has down filled draft collars that you can cinch up around the ends of the hammock. This stops cold air from invading your snug sleep. In the second picture, with me in the hammock, the draft collar hasn’t been properly adjusted yet. In the third picture you can see that it’s now snugged right up to the hammock. At this point you’re in full burrito mode. It’s so warm and comfy!!

NMBL all snug and comfortable with a Loco Libre topquilt and underquilt

Finally, you can see how well insulated NMBL is with the Cayenne Pepper underquilt beneath her and the hammock and the Jalapeno Pepper topquilt on top. Having the insulation underneath like this makes sure that the loft of the insulation (synthetic in this case) is not lost due to compression. The Argon 90 shell of the underquilt is wind and water resistant, helping to keep you warm even on those foul weather nights.

The Jalapeno Pepper topquilts are made from the same Argon 90 material and synthetic insulation that the Cayenne Pepper underquiilts are made of. The great thing about a topquilt is that you don’t have to struggle to get into it like a sleeping bag. Just hop in the hammock, tuck your tootsies into the foot pocket, pull the rest of the quilt up to your chin and you’re there. It even has a collar you can do up around your neck to keep the chill out. If you need some extra insulation you can always add a sleeping pad.

The other piece of gear we tried out on this little excursion was the Mosko Moto Scout 60 duffle bag. We stuffed it full of our hammock gear: hammocks, straps, underquilts, topquilts, rigging, and rain flies. The Scout fits our entire sleep system perfectly with room left over for other things. It was easy to strap down onto the bike with our Rok Straps as there are strap channels built into the side of the bag as a part of the beaver tail strap system. This makes it very easy to mount and remove from the bike.

As you can see from the pictures, it looks pretty skookum on the back of the bike. Even better, it’s on there solid. That bag is not going to move. The strap channels do a great job keeping everything in place. You’ll also notice that the bag is not drooping over the side of the bike seat. That’s because the base of the duffle is reinforced. Here’s hoping that it stays rigid through many years of riding.

A great feature with these Mosko Scout duffle bags is that they have this nice long chimney for top loading and securing. This makes it really easy to stuff full and roll down to the point where you can clip the fastex buckles on either side. If you can’t roll the top over three times, it’s over full. If you can, you’re good to go and the bag will be waterproof.

The Mosko Moto Scout 60 (and its little brother, the Scout 25, which we also have) is a well built piece of motorcycle gear. Like the Mosko Reckless 80 that I picked up last year, the dry bags are built of welded seam 22oz PVC. This stuff is tough and darned near puncture proof. As we use these duffles we’ll get a better idea of how the perform. Look for a full review once they’ve been through some tough days and weeks on the road. I’ll have a complete review of the Reckless 80 in short order. It’s been on the road a lot and I’ve got lots to say about it.

This post is just a dry run for these pieces of kit. NMBL and I are looking forward to really putting them through their paces. Our first major trip of the year will be May long weekend to Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. TTFN

DES out.