APPLICATION TO TEST: Blue Ridge Camping Hammock
Please consider my application to test the Blue Ridge Camping
Hammock, I have read, and will comply, with the rules in revision
#1202 of the BGT Survival Guide.
My tester agreement is on file.
Name: Mike Lipay
Height: 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight: 190 lbs (86 kg)
City, State: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I've been hiking and backpacking since the '60s. I enjoy hiking solo,
with my kids, or with the Keystone Trails Association�s group and
trail-care trips. I have taught LNT skills, wilderness survival, and
outdoor first-aid. I am no ultra-light backpacker (my pack typically
weighs 29-40 lbs (13-18 kgs) loaded), although I am always looking
for ways to cut down on the weight. I'm a low-techie, preferring a
hiking staff to trekking poles, compass to GPS, fire to fuel; but I
am open to new products when there is a distinct advantage over more
I would really appreciate the opportunity to test the Blue Ridge
Camping Hammock. I just started hammock camping last year, with my
current hammock being one I made by following the instructions in Ed
Speer�s book Hammock Camping. I am really getting into the light
weight aspects, but what has been even more important is the freedom
from having to find a flat area devoid of obstacles (rocks, roots,
etc.). In the mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania flat, obstacle
free areas are few and far between. My introduction into hammock
camping has been a 3-season blessing (may become 4-season next
winter). As such, my particular point of view regarding testing will
be from a won-over novice.
What intrigues me the most about the Blue Ridge Camping Hammock is
it�s canopy bug net and rainfly. My current setup has an irritating
bug net that sits on my face under even a light breeze. My current
rainfly is also an irritation, suffering from just the problems that
the Blue Ridge Camping Hammock is said to eliminate: water blowing up
under the tarp. All-in-all, the BRCH seems to be the perfect solution
to all of the problems I have found with my home-made version, and I
would truly enjoy finding out if it lives up to it�s advertising.
What I will be paying particular attention to:
- QUALITY: The material the hammock and rainfly are made from, and
the quality of the stitching. The smoothness of the poles, the ease
with which they snap together, and how well the shock-cord stays
inside the poles. I have found that it is not unusual to have the
shock-cord pop out of the poles if they are not properly seated.
- EASE OF USE: How easy is it to attach the support lines of the Blue
Ridge Camping Hammock to the trees, and to set the hammock to the
proper tension? I have worked with a number of systems over the past
year trying to come up with a perfect method. Systems seem to range
from difficult to attach to the tree, to those which go on easy, but
have serious give requiring re-tensioning as soon as you settle into
the hammock (to keep your butt from rubbing the ground). Also, how
easy is it to attach the bug net, and the rainfly, then to get into
the hammock without being �bugged� by the net and fly. How quick does
the entire setup go up? I find this to be important during the rain
since, unlike in a tent, your sleeping surface can become seriously
wet if it takes too long.
- COMFORT: Problems I have notices with comfort, and have had to
overcome with my homemade version, include: overcoming the �cocoon�
feeling if the sides of the hammock come in too tightly against my
shoulders; adjust-ability of either end of the hammock to obtain just
the right leveling between head and shoulder -- can�t stand it when
my feet are higher than my head and my feet begin to tingle as the
blood leaves them; does the bug net and rainfly stay off of my face
during calm and wind; does the rainfly keep the water from entering
through either end, or from up underneath the hammock; is there
storage for pocket items, this is a primary concern for me so that
items in my pockets (car keys, etc.) don�t press up against me, or
create pressure points which may puncture the hammock material.
- ENDURANCE: The biggest problem which I envision in this area,
assuming quality materials go into the hammock, bug net, and rainfly,
is in the cords used to attach the hammock to the trees. Tree bark is
quite rough, and I have seen it take it�s toll on more than one set
If there is a choice, I would prefer the forest green as I prefer to
blend into the background, rather than stand out.
- CURRENT RESPONSIBILITIES
I am currently monitoring the Tenacious Tape test.
I am currently testing the MSR Lightning Snowshoes (to end soon), the
Gregory Mountain Triconi Backpack, and the GoLite Whim rain pants,
none of which will interfere with my testing of the Blue Ridge
I would like to thank Lawson Hammock and BGT for the opportunity to
test the Blue Ridge Camping Hammock.
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