Tom Hennessy's Comments on the test
----- Original Message -----
From: ann hennessy <reservations@...>
Sent: Monday, January 01, 2001 2:30 PM
Subject: Comments on test
I am more than pleased with the results of this test. The general consensus
on the new Ultra Light Backpacker 1.5 was even better than expected and the
suggestions for improvements were much appreciated. Yes I know it's a hair
over 1. 5, this was due to a few last minute improvements like the one
piece continuous rope/ridgeline and the larger canopy. Because the material
was wider and users were asking for a bigger fly, I had no choice. Guess
I¹ll have to call it the 1.6 or the 1.5+. I will be looking at all the
suggestions to see what can be incorporated before the new models go to the
stores in Feb.- Mar.
Thanks for your time, serious dedication and obvious professionalism that
all the testers devoted to this test. I was very impressed that all six
testers provided three reports on time. This is a credit to the
Backkpackgeartest group and should be a significant incentive to other
companies who could benefit from your service. I enjoyed reading all of the
reports and was very impressed with each testers scientific approach and
determination to find a solution that worked for their situation and gear
available. It was also interesting to see what chilly parts of the country
the hammock was used in. It¹s interesting to see that some people slept
cold even with lots of insulation and others were toasty even at single
digit temps . Maybe it has something to do with metabolism. We are
planning to include the test results, comments and some photos to a page on
our website. If you still have any photos , please send them to :
637 Southwind Rd.
Galiano Island, B.C.
Dan¹s photos are terrific. Also, the ³winter wrap² hammock cozy (a
rectangle of breathable material which lays over the netting and also
creates another air space beneath the hammock to reduce drafts and contain
heat is a slick idea. We¹ve decided to make the webbing straps 12² longer
for the spring delivery of this new model. This might add another ounce,
but when it¹s right, it¹s right.
David¹s experiments with the Stephenson Warmlite sleeping bag & DAM sound
One concern David expressed was that he felt that the canopy is not designed
for serious wind. A solution provided by one of our writers in our website
letters is to hang weights off the sides of the fly. In this case she used
axes ( a scary thought) but water bottles or stuff stacks with heavy objects
inside should do the trick nicely.
One idea I thought of recently to provide more usable space for cooking and
hanging out is to roll up the hammock around the ridgeline to about 3² in
diameter and then tie it up with the side shock cords, leaving the 7-¹ x
10+¹ diamond canopy available for another purpose such as cooking etc.
Helen¹s use of a bivy sack over your sleeping bag is an idea that has been
discussed previously, but needed to be tested. Do you think the condensation
you experienced was a result of the breathable Gore Tex bivy? We¹re
thinking about producing a sleeping bag with a breathable top surface and
foam pad underneath(more about this later).
We also liked Helen¹s idea of securing her foam pad to the inside of the
hammock. We are working on a possibly diamond shaped sleeping bag which is
held in place at its corners.
Mike has a lot of interesting ideas -
*the 1/2² velcro on the Ultralight is an improvement and can be used on the
Expedition as well.
*the consensus is that closed cell pads provide more warmth than Thermarest
*Mike¹s high degree of incline when pitching the hammock is a new concept
that we find intriguing.
*looking for a wind break in rough weather is very smart
We are also pleased to hear that Mike believes the Hennessy Hammock provides
a more authentic wilderness experience in accord with LNT ethics.
Thanks for the great photos.
The knots attaching the ropes to hammock always tighten down at first ,
which causes some sag and requires readjustment a few minutes after the
hammock is set up for the first time .
The rope vs webbing issue - some smaller, younger trees with tender bark can
be damaged easily by the Dyneema cord, but where bark is tougher and less
likely to be damaged, tying the hammock to the trees with the cords is an
option. Depending on conditions, the straps can be left home to save weight.
At the present time, the cords on all the hammock models are the same length
- about 9¹ at each end but they could be increased to 12¹, but then again ,
Robert also made interesting and extensive experiments with the idea of a
³hammock cozy² which he labeled a ³netting cover². Both of these terms
makes it easy to visualize the concept. We are looking into the possibility
of providing a netting cover as an accessory or providing info on the
website about cover materials that are already available.
Robert went way beyond requirements with his 5 field tests and it was very
interesting to follow his thinking as he made improvements each time to his
cold weather set-up.
The Dyneema cord does not have sheathing and is prone to some fuzzing as the
varnish saturation coating . Apparently, the varnish coat is put on for
cosmetic reasons to control this chaffed appearance. We talked to
technicians at Herzog Rope who explained to us that this can happen when the
cord is worked, but that this does not seriously compromise the strength of
the cord. In fact, he claimed that the Dyneema cord was actually stronger
after it has softened from use than it is in its new varnished condition.
Who¹d a guessed? We did not intentionally send seconds to testers but
these were the first production prototypes.
The larger rectangular fly is something we have decided not to make at this
time because there are several good ones out there and we encourage people
to make their own choice. We are considering making the hammock available
without the fly at a reduced price through the web site so that people can
purchase a larger fly independently if they wish. There is also the option
we mentioned earlier of rolling up the hammock and securing it to the
ridgeline with the fly pitched so that there is room to cook and hang out.
As we mentioned earlier, - but we were in such a hurry to get the
prototypes out to you for testing!
A parts list is a super idea and we agree that some additional webbing set
up instructions on the website or inside the bag deserve some attention
Several people have mentioned a concern that the fly adjusting cords may be
too light; however, there are several good knots that can be used on a
bight that will release instantly with one pull of the end. Because the
cords are strong enough to do the job and light weight is the goal, the
better solution is to use a good quality knot such as a klemheist knot on a
which will allow adjustments.
Thanks, Gerry, for doing a second test - and in the coldest temperatures of
all - 5O. Your quick set-up adjustment with the two 4¹ spectra runners and
caribiniers sounds very good and we will be checking it out.
Without Jerry this test would probably never have happened. I knew that I
didn¹t have the time to get involved with this exciting test group and be
ready for all the shows this winter in New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Munich
Germany and Harrisburg Pa. I really appreciate the format Jerry
established, his excellent choice of testers and the rapport he maintained
throughout the test, and especially the dedicated and professional manner in
which he organized the results.
With talent and commitment like this, the site is a winner.
Jerry emphasized the need for better description of webbing strap set-up and
photo and video support on the website - we¹re going to get to it soon, Jer!
Also, we¹re following with interest Jerry¹s experiments with the outside
quilt and will be incorporating as many as possible of the great ideas from
the testers into the special sleeping bag we¹re designing for the HH.
Jerry¹s also got me thinking more about substituting continuous webbing
instead of rope to support the hammocks, but then there¹s the weight.
We loved Shorty¹s third negative comment about the hammock.
³Third is that this thing is so comfortable that I always sleep in WAY after
the sun comes up and loose valuable trail time. It is easy to find yourself
swaying to a cool late-morning breeze in utter bliss and not get packed up
until eleven AM! Maybe the weight savings gained are destined to be later
afforded to packing an alarm clock.²
All I can say to that, Shorty, .is that maybe the extra rest will translate
into more speed on the trail or maybe I¹ll have to invent a clockless alarm,
activated by a light sensitive switch that will go off exactly at the crack
of dawn every day of the year. Anybody else having this problem?