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2298Experiments -- long

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  • David Chinell
    Aug 4, 2003
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      Rita and I were in Amacalola Falls State Park in Georgia
      last week, cabin camping. I took along an HH Expedition and
      my old Nomad Travel Tropical Hammock (plus a mosquito net
      and an 8 x 8 silnylon tarp). I conducted some experiments in
      the forest while we were there.

      *** Pad experiment 1 ***

      I cut a military sleeping pad in half to yield two 24 x 36
      inch pads. I trimmed the corners of these, using a dinner
      plate that was about 12 inches in diameter as a guide.

      The idea was to assemble them into a T pattern once inside
      the HH. One pad laid crosswise under my torso would thus
      provide a 36-inch wide thermal barrier for my shoulders and
      upper arms. The other pad laid lengthwise under my hips and
      knees would be wide enough at 24 inches.

      I did this because I wanted a really wide pad that would
      roll up into the same profile as a narrow pad. It worked
      well, too. Except that the military pad was too stiff for
      use in a hammock. The curled up edges chaffed me, and the
      wide pad held the sides of the HH out into the rain. The
      softer blue pads would work better.

      Even if you started with a shorter pad and made two pieces
      that were only 30, 32, or 34 inches wide, it would still be
      a good system, as the 36 inch width was probably too wide.

      Having two separate pads made manouevering inside the HH
      somewhat easier, but it's still a chore to get the pads
      placed just right. But at least you can put your weight on
      one pad while you adjust the other.

      *** Pad experiment 2 ***

      I cut and rounded two 30 x 40 inch pads from 1/4 foam that I
      bought from Oware. It's like evazote, but may not be that
      actual material. To make these roll up narrow, I folded them
      in thirds, then rolled them up.

      I used one of these pads in my Tropical Hammock, longways.
      It was just too wide to go crossways. One pad placed between
      the layers lengthwise ended up being comfy-cozy. (I fell
      asleep and slept the whole night through.)

      I expected my shoulders to be cold, but they weren't,
      despite not being totally wrapped in the foam pad. I suspect
      this is because the Tropical Hammock is much narrower than
      the HH, so my shoulders weren't being pressed so hard by the
      hammock material. I think one reason we get cold on the
      bottom and sides is because the hammock compresses our own
      body insulation (fat and stuff). Where there's less
      compression, there's less cold.

      *** Knot experiments ***

      I tried a trucker's hitch to tighten the second end of the
      HH. It worked wonderfully for getting good tension with no
      damage to my fingers. The only downside was undoing the
      twist and loop I created.

      The hammock was easy to untie, but the twist and loop got
      pulled really tight, and took some work to undo. This
      wouldn't be a problem for most people, I guess, but I don't
      like to leave any knots in my lines when I take my stuff
      down. Maybe I just like the practice of redoing them every

      So the second time I used the trucker's hitch, I used a
      carabiner in place of the twist and loop. To do this I
      passed four turns evenly around the bearing leg of the
      caribiner then used the carabiner itself as the loop. To
      lock the hitch, I wound three more twists with the part of
      the rope I was pulling on, then the usual three half

      *** Tree rope experiments ***

      I have three hammocks that use casements and cords. To
      attach these to trees, I most often use lengths of static
      rope that I call "tree ropes." I just wrap them around the
      tree and tie them with a reef knot. The knot doesn't really
      have to be tight, because the friction of the rope does the
      work. Then I pull out two or three loops from the middle and
      attach the hammock cord to those (using a hammock knot or
      slipped sheet bend).

      I read (on this list) about using a friction anchor to
      secure ropes or straps to a tree. (You just wrap the rope
      around the tree and loosely secure the free end.) I liked
      the idea, but wanted to combine it with Ed's wrap to center
      the point at which the hammock gets tied to the tree (center
      it on the trunk, that is).

      So I tied a sheet bend in one end of my tree rope. Then I
      wrapped the rope once around the tree, looped it over the
      end, back around the tree, looped it over the end again,
      then used up the rest of the rope wrapping in a single
      direction. When I'd used up almost all the rope, I pulled
      the sheet bend and cross-wraps away from the trunk and
      tucked the free end of the rope down between the wraps and
      the trunk. I tied the hammock line through the sheet bend.

      That worked really well. I dreamed of putting a ring in the
      end of the tree rope so the friction wouldn't keep wearing
      it in one place, but that's overkill. The weight wouldn't
      offset the need to sacrifice six inches of rope ever year.

      What's neat about this method is that it lets you put the
      attachment point in the same place every time, no matter the
      diameter of the tree. It also gives you a natural location
      for drip strings.

      That's all I can remember.

      (I dreamed up a self-centering, knotless hanging system, but
      it's still a dream. If I make it work, I'll write it down.)

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