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Tom Hennessy's Comments on the test

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  • Gear Tester
    ... From: ann hennessy To: Sent: Monday, January 01, 2001 2:30 PM Subject: Comments on test General
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2001
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: ann hennessy <reservations@...>
      To: <geartester@...>
      Sent: Monday, January 01, 2001 2:30 PM
      Subject: Comments on test

      General comments

      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 :
      Tom Hennessy
      637 Southwind Rd.
      Galiano Island, B.C.
      V0N 1P0

      Dan Halsey

      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.

      David Spellman

      David¹s experiments with the Stephenson Warmlite sleeping bag & DAM sound
      really good.

      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.

      Helen Hillberg
      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 Tocci

      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
      type pads
      *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.

      Robert Stanley

      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 ,
      more weight.

      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.

      Gerry Gladu

      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.

      Jerry Goller

      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?
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