By: Dr. Jim and Mary Clary
I cannot begin to count the number of times that I wanted to take my Slumberjack sleeping bag with me on stand in Colorado to keep warm. Heck, I even thought of cutting arm holes in it and chopping off the bottom so that I could walk around... but, I wasn't willing to sacrifice my best mountain bag.... so, I piled on more layers of clothing, fired up the hand warmers and accepted the fact that I would eventually get cold while in the stand or in my blind.
At first glance, the Thermal Cloak looks like an oversized sleeping bag. Well, it isn't. It is an incredibly well-designed personal blind that will keep you warm during cold or wet weather while in a tree stand or ground blind. In fact, in our tests here in NM during the spring turkey season, it also served as a personal blind that moved when we had to move. And, for the record, the spring turkey season in the Rockies of our state is cold. It may be warm down in the flatlands, but up high, we get all kinds of nasty weather. Wind, rain, snow, and hail... take your pick. It is almost like hunting during the fall deer season. As such, our tests this spring were quite severe and relevant with respect to the effectiveness of the Thermal Cloak.
Every hunter knows that sooner or later, when sitting in a blind or hunkered down behind a bush or tree, you get "cold soaked." Thermal packs help, but we never really get warmed up once the cold sets in. That is why when we used the Thermal Cloak it was such a pleasure. The Cloak kept both the cold and wind out... In fact, we almost dozed off a couple of times that is how comfortable we were.
When you look at the initial picture of the Cloak on the website it appears to be nothing more than a modified military mummy sack. Nothing could be further from the truth, except that it is warmer than a mummy sack with the head-to-toe160G insulation.
The arm holes have magnetic closures which keep you warm while on stand, yet permit a very silent opening when you need to shoot or move about. The open foot design at the bottom is not only a safety feature to ensure that you don't trip, but allows one to move about quickly when needed. And, the built-in toggles allow you to cinch up the bottom for greater mobility.
There are a lot of little "extras" on the thermal cloak that make it a very good buy for hunters and outdoorsmen. The seams are taped to ensure proper sealing to keep out the weather and the cloak is safety harness compatible for security in tree stands. The design of the collar and hood retain your peripheral vision and hearing and lies flat for shooting. This is a major plus, as the hoods on most jackets and parkas are obnoxious and interfere with shooting. As one would expect, the Kryptek® camo pattern really does allow you to blend into the surrounding environment... and it is waterproof.
We found an additional benefit of the Highlander Thermal Cloak.... it rolls up compactly and fits into our SJK Flush Lumbar Daypack. This makes it very easy to carry the Cloak up the mountains to our hunting area and back out in the afternoon without risking it getting torn up in the process. In case you don't have a daypack, they have included a compression stuff sack with the Cloak. And yes, there is ample room under the Cloak for insulated outerwear, like your regular jacket... and the 32" heavy-duty zipper (#8) in the front is very handy for... well, if you are a guy, you get the idea. There are front pockets for hand warmers in case you are a guy like me that gets really, really cold.
THERMAL CLOAK SPECIFICATIONS:
· Weight: 2 lbs 15 oz
· Length: 66"
· Mobile Length: 50"
· Chest Girth: 71"
· Carry Size: 7" x 15"
· Also available in Blaze Orange
Our only regret is that the Cloak was not available thirty years ago. It provides excellent protection from the elements, while functioning as a personal blind, and will keep you warm during all those quiet moments on stand, whether you are after turkey, deer, or elk. Unless you live in the tropics, this is an essential piece of equipment for anyone who wants to stay warm while out in the boondocks. The MSRP of $199.95 is not a high price to pay for the security and comfort afforded by the Thermal Cloak.
And no, Jim didn't get a turkey, but he stayed warm.