Considering a Nunatak Raku
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Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Considering a Nunatak Raku on 12/16/2008 17:48:26 MST Print View

Not sure if this is the right place but I'm looking at the Raku for winter use. I have talked to Tom, and he can supply a 0*F version to me by extending the baffles to 3.5" and adding 3/4 pound overfill. With an epic shell, it would be in the 50-60 oz range (I calculated this, Tom did not state a weight).
Reason: I could replace my sleeping bag, parka, and insulated pants. This would simplify my gear list, obviously save weight, and is rated lower then my current system (so I'd be warmer).
Just not sure if I like putting all my eggs in one basket.
Logic: In the winter, I tend to stop hiking when the suns drops. At which point I set up camp (collect wood or dig a snow kitchen etc), then when chores are complete, I usually just put on all my insulating gear, cook and sit. Not much else. I cook in my tent so I could just bundle up in my Raku and be done for the night.
I doubt there are any users as I have looked far and wide (only a few on the entire net) but would like to hear comments of others who have considered the system or just general observations of why you would or wouldn't go with this.
I should add that last year I wanted to use the Akula but found my parka to be insufficient when the temps really dip.
Thanks!

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Considering a Nunatak Raku on 12/16/2008 20:49:00 MST Print View

Is it capable of performing the functions of a belay parka, i.e., putting it on over other layers during rest periods or the enforced rest of belaying a partner?

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Considering a Nunatak Raku on 12/16/2008 21:00:52 MST Print View

I've gone through the same thought exercise as you, but I've never used a Raku. (I do own and have used a bunch of other Nunatak stuff and can vouch for their quality and Tom's customer service.) Anyway, I've never been able to get past the fact that I keep a bunch of junk in my bag to dry out and/or keep from freezing -- water bottles, gloves, misc. clothing layers, boot linere...the list is endless. I can just picture myself leaving a trail of gear in my wake during a midnight bathroom trip. :(

I'm sure there are work-arounds for this problem, but I've never been brave enough to have Tom make one for me.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Considering a Nunatak Raku on 12/17/2008 07:54:36 MST Print View

Robert,
While it does perform as a belay parka using a 2 way center zipper, I would think this is one of its downfalls. I'm not sure if pulling out a massive ankle length parka and feeding it over yourself using the drawcord footbox would be very efficient. However, typically (or if at all) I am pulling out my parka once...maybe twice (this would be rare) during day. We don't have mountains, we have big rock lumps :) Definitely something to think about though - thanks Robert.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Considering a Nunatak Raku on 12/17/2008 08:03:18 MST Print View

Michael,
Every year I go through this :) I bugged Tom soooo much about a custom Akula that I am surprised he even bothered to get back to me regarding the Raku.
I usually just keep my water bladder by my feet in my bag. The rest of my gear stays under me to act as additional sleep padding. Probably my main concern is it's functionality as a parka. I am curious how easy it would be to take a tent down (or other chores) in the morning while wearing it. It does seem to me that it would be just huge to wear, but since it is a unique piece of gear, I am having trouble finding anyone that has experience with it.
I might take the plunge, I'm on the fence. The 0*F version is a big number to swallow :o

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Considering a Nunatak Raku on 12/18/2008 10:03:53 MST Print View

Steve-
I own (and have used) a Feathered Friends Winter Wren, basically the same thing as your Raku, including arm holes, but without the sleeves. (Come to think of it, I'm not sure mines baffled, either. Seems like a stupid thing to forget.) I have used it as my "mega camp parka," but I generally prefer to bring a spare parka. I just haven't found a good, convenient way of managing the "dress" doing anything other than lingering around camp. Depending on the trip, that might be okay. If you want to wander into the woods to gather firewood or something, though, not so fun. Basically, by the time I get the lower part hoisted up and kind of cinched around my waist it either hangs too low (I'm only 5'6") or is bunched up. I've pulled it up under my arms with reasonable success, though drafts up the bottom were a little annoying. I think there's just too much material there, especially when doubled over, to be fully functional for use. That said, if your other layers will mostly cover your active times, it is a great piece for the sedentary times. I personally wouldn't be comfortable using my only insulation both as a belay parka and sleeping bag--if I'm in parka mode, I'm generally not walking around in a snowstorm, ya know?

So for morning chores like the bathroom break, making breakfast, melting snow, even packing up gear--pretty great piece. When it comes to more active endeavors (I'm using the term leniently) like taking down a tent, I'd shuck the Raku and rely on your other layers. Most likely you'd be relatively warmed up at that point. I do wish my Rock Wren had the arms--nice touch!

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Re: Considering a Nunatak Raku on 12/18/2008 11:17:30 MST Print View

Brad, great input, thank you very much for that.
I had suspected the "active" usability was going to be one downfall. I guess one just has to weigh the pros and cons and go from there. If it wasn't so darn expensive, I'd give it a try...also, it probably isn't too easy a piece of gear to sell if it is not working either.
Thanks again.

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Raku on 12/18/2008 19:20:35 MST Print View

Re: " I do wish my Rock Wren had the arms--nice touch!" I own and enjoy a pair of 5 oz, down-filled, black colored arms from Jacks R Better. Just use the Omni tape tabs on the short elastic straps, put on the arms, and flip the tape up over your head and onto the back of your neck or lower. There is another tape on each arm for a firmer attachment. Or take them off. Very versatile. Very warm.

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Longevity on 12/18/2008 20:44:17 MST Print View

Can one shift the down from the back to the front in a Raku? Would sleeping on ones back eventually "squash" the down there and make the Raku less useful in parka mode? With a regular sleeping bag down degradation under you is not such an issue--you either shake the down toward the top/front, if possible, or don't notice if the insulation under you loses efficiency, since it's alway compressed and not efficient anyway.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Longevity on 12/24/2008 06:53:49 MST Print View

James,
Having never seen the Raku in person, or seen exactly how it is constructed, I am not sure if you can shift the down much. It is obviously baffled, but I'm thinking the arms may interfere with any continuous baffle. Definitely a question for Tom...thanks.

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: Considering a Nunatak Raku on 01/05/2009 06:01:21 MST Print View

Just now I was going to the similar line of thought and decided to revisit this thread.

The main problem discussed here - active usability (while belaying, walking) can be addressed by simple modifications - a full center zip and rethinking the bottom drawcord mechanism.

Imagine:
Unzip the lower half till waist >fold over the lower half >use the bottom drawcord to cinch it around the waist.

I think the lower half extending till knees would function like a skirt.

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: Considering a Nunatak Raku on 01/05/2009 08:32:30 MST Print View

>I should add that last year I wanted to use the Akula but found my parka to be insufficient when the temps really dip.

why not reconsider FF vireo then?

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Considering a Nunatak Raku on 01/05/2009 10:41:01 MST Print View

Hi, Huzefa-
Yeah, that's how I've tried using my FF Rock Wren, and results in the activity problems. Skirt gets in the way, has significant loft.

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: Re: Re: Considering a Nunatak Raku on 01/06/2009 20:32:39 MST Print View

How about "compressing" the lower section by "rolling" it up? That wold take care of bulk/loft. Anyone tried that?

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Raku vs Down Suit on 01/07/2009 20:02:32 MST Print View

Huzefa: Have you done any re-designing of the hooded body suit used by Everest climbers?

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: Raku vs Down Suit on 01/07/2009 21:22:04 MST Print View

>Huzefa: Have you done any re-designing of the hooded body suit used by Everest climbers?

No. Why do you ask?

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Raku on 01/08/2009 19:58:52 MST Print View

I like your design ideas, and was just looking for something exiting in the way of design. I noticed that you want to do the 7 summits in UL style, and thought you might be planning something for the big mountains. Have you thought about making the bottom half of a Raku zip into 2 legs, so it could be worn on an Everest summit bid? Get Nunatak to build it with very light materials?

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: Raku on 01/08/2009 20:50:49 MST Print View

>I like your design ideas
Thanks for the compliment :)

>Have you thought about making the bottom half of a Raku zip into 2 legs, so it could be worn on an Everest summit bid?

Few days back I was searching the forums and found this half bag/ pants combo.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/4455/index.html?skip_to_post=32055#32055


The thing is 2.5" loft of Raku is warm enough for -50F while doing light work. Moving with a backpack it would be too warm so heat loss through lower legs may actually be good. I think it is also comfortable enough for sleeping in snow shelter.

I do plan to make my own bag (unless I win a lottery). In way of redesigning I plan to use silnylon for both inner and outer shell ie VB and bivy combined in the bag. The bag will still loft.

See :Bill's 'Cuben / PrimaLoft One - Sleeping Bag' thread?
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/5855/index.html

He says "I have rolled it tight 3 times so far. It just puffs back up."

From this I conclude that unsealed seams have enough air permeability for lofting.

Sure cuben is lighter but silnylon is as light as I will go on mountains.

Hey send me a PM if you want to talk about about more cutting edge SUL "ideas" for big mountains :)

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Big Mountain Gear on 01/08/2009 22:07:33 MST Print View

My system can't PM, but just for trivia information, did you know that Ed Viesturs had a system just for that part of the climb above 7,000 meters, namely, he and his partner would wear their MH down suits under a custom down quilt, and share their body warmth. At that altitude, I suppose one doesn't think about the awkwardness of sleeping under the same quilt with another guy. I hope you've read Messneer's book on his solo of Everest, and the gear he used.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Big Mountain Gear on 01/08/2009 22:43:26 MST Print View

> he and his partner would wear their MH down suits under a custom down quilt, and share their body warmth.

My wife and I do that in the snow: light summer bags each and a quilt over the top. It works very nicely too.

Cheers