I'm sure we all have some amusing stories to tell about our first
hammocking attempts. Mine included getting poked in the butt by a
rhododendron. I enjoyed your trip report and I'm glad it ended with
a good night's sleep. Here are some suggestions based on my own
> I find 2 likely looking trees about 20 feet off the trail on a
> away from the various groups. I pull the hammock out of the top of
> my pack and quickly have it hanging [thanks to Shane's Hennessey
> knot video :^) ], stake out the fly, and get the blue pad and
> sleeping bag into the hammock.
Right before you start piling stuff into the hammock, infact before
you tie out the sides of the hammock, sit in it like a chair and lift
your feet off the ground. This helps pre-stretch your lashings and
ropes. You can even lie back on the hammock without getting into it
to see if one end is sagging. Watch the muddy shoes and the bugnet
or you'll get mud and water in the hammock. Now go back and re-
adjust your set up. Do this a few times until you get it right.
> I ease up into the hammock, slipp back and the pad
> goes one way while the sleeping bag goes the other! I bounce
> until I'm able to get the sleeping bag mostly on the pad, struggle
> into the sleeping bag (new bag is in order this one zips on the
> right even tougher to get in!).
I, too, have a right zip bag and on my last trip decided to use it as
a sleeping bag to see how hard it would be to get into in a
Hennessey. After about 3 attempts, I found that if I unzip the bag
most of the way and roll the top open, when I sit down in the
hammock, my butt is actually inside the sleeping bag and I don't have
to do much to get it centered in the bag. Then flip the bag top back
over you and zip it shut. As others have pointed out, using the bag
as a quilt is preferrable. You will have the hood section to contend
with, but that's not too annoying. If you don't want to have to buy
a new bag but find that the bag as a quilt is too drafty, you could
attach a couple of straps to it, ala the Nunatak Arc Alpinist, that
would tuck the sides in and keep out drafts.
As for the pad, it's a lot easier to contend with if you use the bag
as a quilt. Then you've only got one layer below you that's mobile.
I'm using an underquilt now and don't have to deal with the pad.
> I manage to get the pad back under the bag, and can't find a sock.
You can actually use that ridgeline as a slothes line. I drape my
socks, glove, hat, whatever over the ridgeline. When I get out of
the hammock, there is just enough snugness between the reidgeline and
the bugnet to keep theis kind of stuff in place. Hanign a book over
the ridgeline has not proven as successful.
> At least it isn't raining as hard and I manage not to
> trip over the fly tie-line this time.
I changed my fly tie out cord to reflective stuff because I kept
tripping over the thin black cord that came attached to the hammock.
It also makes it easier to find you hammock when you go walking on
the beach on a foggy night :)
> and start what will be one of my most comfortable nights' sleep
> while camping!
Ah, the payoff! It gets easier and faster as you get more
experience. I'm nowhere near Shane's times of 2 or 3 minutes but
it's no longer 30 minutes of fussing.