Jacks 'R Better Weather Shield
Weight (advertised): 7.7 ounces (bottom),
6.7 ounces (top) 14.3 ounces total.
Peter Pan and Smee are the makers of the very cool
No Sniveling Under Quilt I
tested in 2004. Recently on a hike along the Appalachian Trail I
experienced very cold conditions with snow and ice, and wind. At the time I
experienced some biting wind blowing in from the side. I was using my JRB No
Sniveler under quilt and a pad with my Nunatack BCB, but the wind would
occasionally get in and cool me down as I tried to get that initial heat
generation going in the hammock. At the time I started thinking that maybe in
this weather; a hammock might need a second layer outside the quilt to control
The Weather Shield system has the same quality of workmanship that I found in
the No Sniveling quilt. The main material is a beige microporous polypropylene.
The bottom shield is 78”x50” and has a reinforced edge and attachment loops made
from black grosgrain nylon ribbon with green parachute cord as the drawstrings
on the end. The stuff sack is sil-nylon with a very light cord for the
My initial test was simply practicing attaching the Weather Shield. To do this you simply loop the suspension system over the main line and hook it to the corners of the bottom. Then you can either pass the side ropes of the Hennessy Hammock through the side attachments or pass the side attachments through the plastic rings of the hammock and push a small stick into the ribbon so that it is held on the opposite side of the ring. To ensure a proper “hammock to shield weld” you move the suspension cords out or in on the hammock main line it is so simple! If you are already using a JRB under quilt (Nest or No Sniveler) then you basically attach it the exact same way. To get into the hammock with the bottom shield on, simply push it off to the side and climb in, once you are in and you pull your feet in, the shield will slide back into place.
One thing I have noticed is that with each thing you add to the JRB under
quilt/weather shield system, the support system stretches. It is necessary to
change the placement of the support system further out the more weight you add
because of this. It is possible to also get a set of larger diameter shock cords
to make a beefier set of suspension devices if you want.
My first trail test was done in the GSMP on a night that got down around 25°
F with very little wind and fairly dry conditions. That night I slept without
any pad, just an under quilt, over quilt, and both shields; all I wore a long
sleeve top and shorts. I slept VERY comfortable and there was absolutely no
repositioning of the pad that I often have to go through when using a pad. I
don’t know if I was any warmer, but it was easier to get into bed and it was
more comfortable to me without the pad.
When I dried out in the rig while wearing wet poly pros in two hours, well that should tell you something about the warmth of the system and the moisture management since there was absolutely no moisture in either the under quilt or the over quilt, nor was there any on the inside of the Weather Shields. The microporus polypropylene really breathes well and passes warm moist air well. The only condensation present was a little on the bottom of my tarp.
The final test involved another Camp Shelby FTX. I went to bed at 0345, and my digital thermometer read 27.5 F and there was frost on almost everything. I was only wearing light polypro long underwear and wool socks. I was using my Hungry Howie Quilt, a JRB No-Sniveler, and the JRB Weather Shield. I was a little cold around the shoulders so I got out and adjusted the suspension system since the weight of both the quilt and the Weather Shield seemed to be pulling down a little more than planned on the suspension system - and then it was just right.
Comparing a pad to the Weather Shield: just the bottom at 7.7 oz and the 2.0 ounce Suspension System are already in use, that comes out at about 9.7 ounces. There are very few, if any effective full length & width pads at that weight that could do the same thing.
So, taking this into account, the JRB system opens up some new possibilities to test:
1. Temperatures above 70˚ F: Just the Weather Shield Top and Bottom?
2. Temperature 50˚ to 70˚ F: Weather Shield bottom and a quilt for the top?
3. Temperature 30˚ to 50˚ F: JRB "No Sniveling" quilt and a top quilt?
4. Temperature 10˚ to 30˚ F: JRB "No Sniveler", Weather Shield top and bottom, and a sleeping quilt?
5. Under 10˚ F: Maybe I'll need another quilt or pad.
If the temperature drops again this winter, I intend to put this to a better test. So far I am very excited about the plan to get away from a pad and spend more time in the hammock.
So far my major complaint is the color. I am used to subdued, darker colors for my hammock so I blend in better. The Weather Shield color catches and reflects light a lot more than most of my other stuff. If possible I would like to see some color choices like dark green.
Final point, if you are trying to save money, the Weather Shield bottom is
$45 plus the suspension system at $7.50 total cost $52.50. Add a pad (something
like a $8 Wal-Mart closed cell foam pad at 24"wide) to create a very low cost
alternative to summer comfort and the Hennessy Hammock Super Shelter option. If
you aren't fully committed to always sleeping in a hammock, this gives you a
back up for shelters and such. You might even figure out how to hold the pad in
place between the hammock and the Weather Shield bottom to make the hammock more