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786RE: Hammock Camping Newbie to the group

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  • David Chinell
    Mar 4, 2003
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      David:

      First let me compliment you on your writing skills. Your
      post was a pleasure to read.

      I've used a variety of hammocks and pads, and share your
      dislike of the intrusive feeling of the pad, even when it's
      well-behaved. Here are the things I've experienced and
      observed. (My apologies to the rest of the list, who have
      heard me say these things many times already.)

      You may be able to eliminate the pad entirely if you get a
      Pea Pod sleeping bag from Ed Speer, or if you build one
      yourself. This is a bag that goes around the outside of the
      hammock. Since the insulation below you isn't compressed, it
      keeps working, and you stay warm. I've taken mine down to
      the low 40s without a pad.

      Alternately, you might add a Garlington Insulator shell and
      suitable insulating material to your rig.

      My simple hammocks (Tropical Hammock from Nomad Travel, and
      Crazy Crib from Crazy Creek) both have two layers of fabric.
      I slip my closed-cell foam pads between the layers, and they
      do stay put. The closed-cell foam conforms better to the
      hammock shape than a Therm-a-Rest.

      Sewing a liner onto your hammock would probably work, but
      take care to verify the required size by experiment, rather
      than relying strictly on calculation.

      When I sleep directly on top of a pad, I use a special
      technique for turning. I push my fist against the pad,
      support part of my upper body weight on my fist, turn my
      torso, then lower myself back to the pad and arrange my hips
      and feet. This keeps the pad under me. It's almost an
      unconscious move by now, and I doubt I even have to wake up
      to do it.

      Finally, I can recommend the Mountain Hardwear BackCountry
      in any length. This is a combination pad -- part
      closed-cell, part open-cell. It has a fabric casing. The
      casing is slippery on the bottom and grabby on the top, so
      it tends to follow me as I move. This is more a
      consideration for closed hammocks like the Hennessy.

      This pad also has a great shape for hammocking. All the
      extra corners and width are already removed. I've cut the
      corners from all my closed-cell pads so each is completely
      round at both ends. This shape also seems to do well in a
      hammock.

      Hope this helps you. There are LOTS of experienced and
      enthusiastic hammockers on this list, and you're bound to
      benefit from their knowledge. I sure do.

      Bear
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