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EDIT: OWNER REVIEW - Speer Hammock 8.5A

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  • edwardripleyduggan
    Hello Greg, I ve looked over your OR. It s a very interesting analysis. I have used an old-style Hennessy a fair amount myself, including on a ten-day
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 3, 2007
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      Hello Greg,

      I've looked over your OR. It's a very interesting analysis. I have
      used an old-style Hennessy a fair amount myself, including on a
      ten-day thru-hike, but have gone back to tents in the past several years.

      I have one issue with your review, in the context of BGT, and
      unfortunately it is major. Your discussion entails massive amounts of
      projection, which is a "no-no" here. Not only are there a lot of
      obvious signs of this, in the form of numerous instances of "you",
      "one" and "yours," but there is also great deal of speculation and
      projection embedded in the review. It's unfortunate, because it mars
      (and makes extremely difficult to edit) what's otherwise an
      interesting piece.

      Your field experience is solid, but there's a great deal of
      editorializing in the text, which (in another venue) might be OK, but
      not here. I'd like to suggest the following to you. Everything up to
      the "Field use" section is basically OK--a few minor touch-ups needed
      that we could handle in edit. The field section needs to be groomed so
      that matters not specific to your field experience are removed. The
      "Things I Like" and "Things I Don't Like" are far in excess of what's
      wanted or required, and should relate solely to the item you are
      reviewing, not that class of items These sections are not, at this
      juncture, required by BGT). I would suggest that you take them out,
      incorporating anything that is field-experience related in the
      previous section.

      Finally, the "Conclusions" and "Final Thoughts" are far beyond the
      usual summary of the field experience (and involve more projection).
      All that's required here is a brief distillation of the field
      experience, underlining the key aspects of *your* experience. This
      section (though this is a matter of personal style) is often titled
      "Summary" and it should be just that, brief and to the point.

      As your editor, I'm not quite sure where to start. Again, in its way
      this is quite well done, but it simply doesn't conform to the
      standards that are very specifically laid out in BGT's documentation.
      I would urge you to consider the mentor program, as putting this OR to
      rights will take more time than I, as an editor, can invest in this.

      Best wishes,


      BGT OR Editor

      > =========================
      > SPEER HAMMOCK 8.5A
      > March 26, 2007
      > NAME: Greg Scholz
      > EMAIL: gforce.hiker@...
      > AGE: 35
      > LOCATION: Central Connecticut
      > GENDER: M
      > HEIGHT: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
      > WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)
      > I started backpacking 25 years ago, hiking with scouting groups and
      > weekend and 50-mile backpack trips. In the 1990s, as president of a
      > Outing Club, I organized and led several outdoor adventures. I
      hiked the
      > Appalachian Trail in 2000 with a variety of gear, some of it
      homemade. I
      > hiked parts of the Florida Trail in 2000. I backpacked the Inca
      Trail to
      > Machu Picchu in 2004, and JMT in 2005. I teach Boy Scout groups and
      > scouting competitions. I enjoy hiking the AT, LT, and MMM in New
      > where you might often find me.
      > Manufacturer: Speer Hammocks Inc., Marion, NC
      > Year of Manufacture: 2006
      > Manufacturer's Website: www.SpeerHammocks.com
      > MSRP: US $125 hammock only, $224 with tarp, $112 make your own kit
      > $77 kit hammock only, $99 tarp separately.
      > Listed Weight: 14 oz (397 g) for hammock itself, 13.5 oz (383 g).
      > Measured Weight: 17.4 oz (493 g) for hammock, 14 oz. (397 g) for
      tarp. Bug
      > netting with ridge line is measured at 4 oz (113 g).
      > Color: Brown with black webbing straps. Tarp is brown with orange
      > cord.
      > Other details: Many pricing and sizing options are available. Pricing
      > varies depending on if you are willing to sew together the hammock
      > You save about $50 per item (tarp or hammock) if you are willing to
      sew it
      > together yourself. Sizing varies by weight and height. 8.0
      designates folks
      > up to 6' tall, while 8.5 are for folks up to 6'5" tall. "A"
      designates up
      > to 250 lbs, while "C" designates up to 350 lbs.
      > Photos shown were taken with the optional Speer Peapod around the
      > but still show the basic setup of what a Speer hammock setup
      generally looks
      > like. More photos of actual hammock are available on the Speer
      Hammocks web
      > site.
      > FIELD USE - Speer Hammock 8.5A
      > I have used a Speer Hammock on several occasions in the field over
      the past
      > five years. Throughout those years I took the hammock on at least
      one trip
      > per year, lasting anywhere from a couple of weekends to an entire
      week at a
      > time. This totaled to about three to four weeks of overnight
      experience in
      > the Speer hammock. The temperatures I experienced in the hammock ranged
      > from warm summer night lows of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (25 deg C) to cold
      > winter night lows down to 2 degrees Fahrenheit (-16.66 deg Celsius).
      > of my experience has been in the fall, winter or spring in temperatures
      > below 40 degrees. All of my experience with the hammock has been on the
      > east coast, most of it on or near the Appalachian Trail.
      Additionally, I
      > have used the hammock in campgrounds and in backyards. Although I have
      > spent more time in a tent than in my Speer hammock over the past
      five years,
      > the primary reason for this is that I traveled more with my significant
      > other during this time than on solo trips. I use the hammock
      primarily for
      > solo overnight trips.
      > Recently, I used this model Speer hammock for five nights on the
      > Trail in North Carolina/Tennessee, with two additional backyard-type
      > in the southern Appalachians. In February, I also used it for two
      > weekend nights in western Massachusetts. In every case I was
      > warm, and dry sleeping in the hammock. It rained two nights on the
      > but I hardly noticed the rain. The tarp was wet packing in the
      morning but
      > was easily kept outside my pack and hung to dry over lunch the next
      day. On
      > the trail the hammock was light, compact, and easy to deal with. It
      is my
      > shelter of choice for extended solo trips.
      > Some concerns I encountered while using the hammock in the field:
      > Having the tarp and hammock flap in the wind while putting it up.
      This was
      > due to having a windy site, which can be remedied if one were to
      hide from
      > the wind, something easily done by setting up on a slope away from a
      > or open area. A tarp with cords flapping and dangling in the wind
      can look
      > like an over-enthused and uncontrollable octopus.
      > My fingers got cold putting up the tarp and hanging the hammock,
      which was
      > due to not having appropriate gloves for the task and taking the time to
      > make sure all of my knots were tied properly.
      > One needs to be careful with nylon, and sil-nylon in particular.
      > it is strong, it can easily be cut by something sharp, or singed by a
      > campfire cinder. The Speer tarp and stuff sacks are made of
      sil-nylon. The
      > hammock is a tougher material, but still needs to be handled with
      care, like
      > most modern backpacking equipment.
      > SUMMARY - Speer Hammock 8.5A
      > The Speer Hammock is a versatile, simple design hammock built in the
      USA by
      > Speer Hammocks, Inc., a company managed by Ed Speer. This company
      > a variety of hammocks and accessories designed by Ed. Ed has been
      an active
      > member of the hammock community in the years since his Appalachian Trail
      > thru-hike in 2001, and wrote the book called "Hammock Camping" in
      2003. Ed
      > brings his 20+ years of hammock camping experience to his hammock and
      > hammock accessory designs.
      > Currently, the Speer hammock itself is made of 1.9 oz/sq yd ripstop
      > fabric in brown. A larger Model C version is made from 3-4 oz/yd
      > nylon fabric in green. The hammock is sold with black no-see-um bug
      > netting, a ridgeline (made from no tangle 1/16" orange spectra cord
      ), black
      > webbing (1" wide for "A" versions or 1.5" wide for "C" versions), and
      > velcro-type hook and look fasteners.
      > An optional brown 1.3 oz/sq yd waterproof silnylon tarp is also sold
      > the hammock, or separately for $99. Several other accessories for the
      > hammock are also available.
      > Features that I like that are specific to the Speer Hammock 8.5A:
      > -Top open design allows easy access into and out of the hammock,
      allows for
      > lounging or sitting and reading any time of day, and allows you to look
      > around easily out of the top of the hammock day or night in any kind of
      > weather.
      > -Has deluxe features and optional accessories that are appreciated by
      > experienced hammock campers
      > -Quality construction made in the USA, designed by a veteran, well known
      > hammock camper
      > -Design allows you to set up tarp first, such as in rain and lets
      you keep
      > the rest of your gear dry when setting up or breaking down camp.
      > -Simple design, easy setup with minimal things that can go wrong or
      > -Straps do not damage trees
      > -Component-based design - do not have to carry or use bug net or
      tarp in all
      > conditions, and allows you to use the tarp and sleep on the ground in
      > certain conditions if necessary, unlike other well-known hammocks.
      > -Many additional components or accessories are available for keeping
      > and dry
      > -Unique features of Speer Hammock and accessories provide options
      > unavailable by other hammock manufacturers. This includes top entry,
      > optional use of bug net, and staying warm and dry in a wide range of
      > termperatures.
      > -Can be as warm (in winter) or as cool (in summer) as any other
      shelter when
      > used properly with the appropriate knowledge and accessories.
      > however, my experience does not include sleeping below zero
      Fahrenheit (-17
      > degrees Celsius)]
      > -Can be at least as comfortable as any other type of shelter when used
      > properly
      > -Often better than most other shelter systems in summer conditions -
      > flexibility at minimal weight.
      > -Packs small
      > -Light weight
      > -Owned by a company with a dedicated designer, tester, and
      well-known author
      > in the hammock camping field
      > - Accessories make it an excellent winter camping solution
      > -Many accessories and purchase options available including the Speer
      > (insulated sleeping bag around outside of hammock), Top blanket
      > bag for use inside hammock), Segmented Pad Extender (allows you to add
      > insulation easily), water drip strips, create-your-own-kits, and hammock
      > materials purchases.
      > -Great customer service and phone support
      > Things I like about using hammocks in general (versus other shelters):
      > -I find it more comfortable than sleeping on the ground in most cases -
      > especially when a site needs to be cleared of sticks and/or rocks,
      or if the
      > ground is very hard due to overuse.
      > -Provides versatility of where to camp, where I can set up just about
      > anywhere there are trees
      > -Avoids ground-dwelling critters and minimizes impact to the ground
      > -Follows Leave-No-Trace (LNT) priciples
      > -Allows you to camp out of the wind on slopes or in dense forests to
      > warmer, or in the wind on ridges to stay cooler and/or away from bugs
      > -Allows you to stay dry by being off the ground in wet or snowy areas
      > -Allows you to avoid crowds, mice in shelters, or other undesirable
      > situations
      > -Looks "cool" to the uninitiated in hammock camping
      > Features that I do not like specific to the Speer Hammock 8.5A:
      > -Can take more time to setup than other systems, especially in colder
      > weather, but it can also be relatively quick once familar with setup
      > -Not ideal for folks who don't like to fuss with their shelter, since
      > setting up a tarp, hammock, and accessories can take slightly more
      time and
      > energy, especially at the end of a long day of hiking in cooler weather
      > -Slightly heavier than other ultra-lightweight hammock systems, but not
      > significantly so.
      > Features that I do not like that are specific to hammocks in general:
      > -Takes more experience to learn how to use a hammock properly, but once
      > learned it can easily as good as or better than other systems
      > -One needs to adapt to weather conditions in different ways than other
      > shelter systems, which takes experience with the hammock in various
      > conditions
      > -Hammocks can be heavier in cold weather than other systems due to
      > additional insulation requirements
      > -May be less comfortable for some people who cannot get used to
      sleeping in
      > a hammock
      > -Modern materials (nylon, sil-nylon) need to be taken care of. They can
      > easily be cut by something sharp or singed by a campfire cinder.
      > CONCLUSIONS - Speer Hammock 8.5A
      > Overall, I find that using a hammock provides flexibility and
      comfort, but
      > also requires some special considerations in regards to insulation and
      > technique.
      > COMFORT: Cumulatively, I have slept in this model Speer Hammock for
      > weeks and found it to be very comfortable. During this past December I
      > slept outside for 8 days in North Carolina and Tennessee where it
      got down
      > into the 30's nearly every night. I slept in the hammock in early
      > where it got down to 2 degrees. In all situations I was plenty warm
      > the exception of a minor cold spot under my butt (one of the
      nights). Wind
      > did not seem to be an issue, and no precipitation occurred. Laying down
      > diagonally in the hammock is just fine, even for my height of 6'4".
      I could
      > sleep on my back or side, but not on my stomach. My back felt fine
      the next
      > day. Each morning I felt well rested, and actually didn't want to
      climb out
      > of the warm nest of the hammock in the morning. I like the freedom of
      > climbing out of the hammock from above rather than below. I didn't feel
      > trapped in any way.
      > WEIGHT ANALYSIS: This is the year 2007, and a plethora of
      ultralight gear
      > exists that wasn't available just a few years ago. Overall, weight of a
      > hammock system isn't bad, but it could be better given today's
      choices in
      > ultralight gear. This problem does not only affect this particular
      > but it affects hammocks in general when compared to tents or tarp
      > and mostly just when camping in "colder" temperatures where additional
      > insulation is required. Your decision will have to be comfort and
      > flexibility versus weight efficiency, and may also depend on type of
      > I don't mind carrying an additional pound or two for the benefits of a
      > hammock, but not everyone would agree. The comfort and flexibility
      is worth
      > it for me.
      > FLEXIBILITY: A hammock allows a lot of flexibility as to where I can
      set up
      > my camp, as long as there are trees. Still, I need to be careful to
      > enough room to set up the tarp and trees spaced apart the appropriate
      > distance. The hammock also doesn't have to be used as a hammock,
      but can
      > be used on the ground as a bivy (or burrito as some call it) if its
      > particularly cold.
      > WEATHER: As long as the hang-site isn't too windy, the hammock can
      be set
      > up in most places where a tarp strung between sizable trees can be
      set up.
      > It can also be set up in some places where you wouldn't want to
      sleep on the
      > ground. If it was raining or snowing I would have to put up the
      tarp first,
      > then do everything else under the shelter of the tarp. This is
      in-line with
      > the benefits of using a tarp. If it was too cold I would just sleep
      on the
      > ground under the tarp. I could wrap myself in the hammock, and
      sleep on top
      > of the foam pad.
      > UNIQUE FEATURES: The top entry provides an easy way to get in and
      out of
      > the hammock, and allows you to lounge in the hammock and still talk
      to other
      > people in camp. Unique accessories made by Speer Hammocks Inc.
      allows you
      > to customize how you use the hammock in various situations.
      > COST: The Speer hammock gear is slightly more expensive than other
      > available. However, this is not out of the ordinary for quality outdoor
      > gear. You can use gear you already have in combination with the
      > and can choose what gear you want to buy from Speer Hammocks. Speer
      > Hammocks sells kits that will reduce costs if you choose to sew and/or
      > assemble your own gear. For do-it yourself-ers, you can get the
      hammock and
      > tarp kit for $112 to save you half the price. This might be a
      > inexpensive way to get into hammock camping, by using your own
      sleeping bag
      > and pad inside a hammock of your own creation when summer camping.
      > FINAL THOUGHTS - Speer Hammock 8.5A
      > The Speer Hammock is straight-forward to set up and use, and
      actually quite
      > fun. There's something unique about hanging between two trees and
      > yourself to sleep. Still, there are some compromises to make when
      using a
      > hammock. As when using other gear, you need to adapt to the conditions
      > (temperature, wind, rain, bugs, etc), but you also have the benefits of
      > flexibility to set up where a tent cannot, such as uneven or rocky
      > or even over very wet areas. You also wouldn't have to flatten or
      pack down
      > snow or find a level spot to set up a tent.
      > Although some people aren't sold on hammock camping, I recommend
      people who
      > are interested in hammock camping to give this hammock system a try.
      > Hammocks might weigh a little more in colder weather than comparable
      > tent-based systems. They might also take a little longer setting up.
      > However, I believe a hammock provides greater flexibility, comfort,
      and has
      > a unique "fun" factor. Throughout the year you can take just the
      gear you
      > need for the conditions, rather than having to carry too much all of the
      > time or not enough some of the time. It's not for every situation or for
      > every hiker out there, but definitely worth a try. If you get hooked on
      > hammock camping, you just might not go back to sleeping on the ground.
      > I recommend a Speer hammock if you are looking for a comfortable way to
      > sleep outdoors and/or want some flexibility in where you camp. For
      > weather, it is a little more expensive to get into hammock camping in
      > general, since you will need more insulation and optional
      accessories for
      > cold weather. Hammocks aren't necessarily for everyone (couples for
      > would have to string up two hammocks side-by-side) but if you do want to
      > give hammock camping a serious try, this is a great system for both
      long and
      > short distance backpackers of all shapes and sizes.
    • edwardripleyduggan
      Greg, BTW, the BGT references on the issue of projection (as this may not be obvious) may be viewed at
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 3, 2007
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        BTW, the BGT references on the issue of projection (as this may not be
        obvious) may be viewed at


        (Item 3 - POLICY - Projecting)


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