The Hill People Gear Mountain Serape. A great piece of gear.
The Mountain Serape is rather like a beefed up poncho liner with a hood and is a tremendously flexible piece of kit. It can be used as blanket, a poncho, various styles of overcoats, and a sleeping bag. Although it is not waterproof, it could also be used like a tarp to shield you from the rain or sun. This versatility lets the Mountain Serape augment other equipment. In mild to cool weather the Serape can actually replace your coat and your sleeping bag. All this reduces both bulk and weight in your pack and when you are loading up your pack to hunt it is hard to keep it light.
These videos give you a good idea of some of the Mountain Serape’s functions:
And the picture to the lower right shows another permutation for those who need to access chest mounted gear.
During my hunt the weather was never cold enough to warrant wearing anything more than my half-zip top while hiking but the Mountain Serape worked marginally well as a sleeping bag in the roughly 35F, damp, humid, dew-filled nights. To stay somewhat comfortable I had to augment with a poncho liner and all my clothes including the M-65 field pant liners I had brought for sleeping in. This is not a criticism. I was not sleeping in a tent and every morning a third to a half of the bag (serape) was wet through but it still insulated pretty well. I don’t know what system would have performed well in such a wet environment without some covering like a tent, tarp, or bivy bag. In the mornings the Serape dried out quickly once it was in the sun. Should I plan on sleeping in similar circumstances I will bring the Mountain Serape as an outer bag and I will have some sort of covering to fight the dew. Using the Mountain Serape as an outer bag will leverage the weight and insulation of my coat in increasing the warmth of my sleeping bag and this means that I can use a lighter and smaller sleeping bag.
The Mountain Serape worked well as an ambush cloak. Worn as a poncho while I sat and watched for game to pass through a choke point, it obliterated my human shape, kept my butt fairly dry while waiting, and kept me warm as I waited for several hours. One deer came within 15 feet and was looking right at me without understanding what it was seeing (I was also wearing a ball cap and a balaclava). I think it might be too loud for bow hunting. The fabric is smooth, slick even, and quite light but it does have a quiet but present rustling sound when moving. I’m not experienced enough to say it with certainty but I felt like moving would have been too loud with the animal inside of 10 yards. That said, it did not interfere with my draw stroke or the bowstring and cables.
In closing I heartily recommend the Mountain Serape. If you think it would be good for something it almost certainly will be. I think it is a good value when comparing it to the price of the kit it replaces and it works well which is the consideration when purchasing and packing gear for the backcountry.