Success, Failure and no such thing as 'A Perfect' set up.
- Failures first: I have been working to build a Tarp that would also
convert into a Weather Shield/Shelter or Bivy. The basic design was a
take-off of Youngblood's Tarp Tent design. What I ended up with is a
piece of fabric 12 feet by 11 feet sporting 24 tie-out points and 10
feet of Omni Tape. Pitching it like a tarp is just as easy as a
regular tarp. converting it to the bivy is not so easy. I designed it
to totally wrap around the hammock like a weather shield, but not
touch the hammock. Thus creating an area of dead air around the
hammock. I used a lace-up system on the bottom to achieve this. To
pitch the bivy takes about 20 minutes total. However it is a pain to
get in and out of, you hafta untie and retie each time, either that
or walk out on the fabric. So in and out is very difficult. Plus,
extreme care must be taken to keep it all wind proof, no flapping.
Which means I would need Sling Shot tensioners on 10 of the tie-outs,
big weight penalty, not to mention the sheer number of tent stakes
that are needed. I have abandoned all further design. It will be much
easier and lighter to have a separate Weather Sheild.
The Weather Shield is going to be integral with the FrankenPod. Since
the only time it is really needed is in the extreme winter cold. The
FrankedPod will be from body out, supplex, insulation (synthetic),
and SilNylon, vented at the head using no-seeum mesh. The proto type
is working very well so far.
In Temperatures above 25 degrees I will be using a modified SPE
system. While I orignally disliked the pad system due to the *not as
comfortable as the hammock body* argument I have since revisited this
area of insulation. Why? Well, my FrankenPod really scrunches me up,
especially at the foot. My attempts to make it wider only caused air
gaps in the insulation under me, to which draw cords and or elastic
was used to close the gaps. Anyway, it really didn't work. So, a pad
is more comfortable than being all scrunched up so I built a pad. I
used a military CCF pad as the base. Instead of sewing a full blown
SPE I just sewed the *wings* directly to the pad (I know, a pad with
wings:)). 12 inchers for the shoulder and 10 inchers for the lower
portion. I slept comfortable down to 25 degrees with just the pads
and a top blanket on Saturday. I was very happy, and comfy.
As many of you know I use a *Through the whip suspension* for my
Hammock suspension ropes. While testing the new FrankenPod on Sunday
one of my lightweight poly ropes broke right at the end of the whip.
While it isn't a really big deal, if faced with this in the field, I
would hafta untie and then re-tie the whiping to make the repair. If
it would have happened at 3 am in the morning in 20 degree weather I
would have been very upset. However, my fix was to use good quality
poly webbing under the whiping with about 10 inches sticking out and
then tie my support ropes on to this by way of a sheet bend. This
also makes trying other types of rope easier than before and I still
have the nice look and lay of the support ropes through the whiping.
My new tarp is a 10 X 10 cat cut tarp of Youngblood design. I am able
to create a shelter of sorts, like in Youngblood's pictures, using
these dimensions. However, the head room is quite a bit less than
when you use the dimensions that he used. But I figured it would be
used as a tarp more than a shelter, so I opted for the headroom trade-
I built a Pack Cover/Gear Hammock of Jeff's design, 60 X 42 inches
out of SilNylon. It also holds about 5 gallons of water! That gear
hammock is REALLY handy.
The top quilt is synthetic and can also be used as a camp robe, it's
a recycled sleeping bag.
My sewing skills have really improved, expecially since I found the
book on the sewing machine. Lots of good tips in that thing.
I have started buying my thread in the embroidery spools, 1100 yards
compared to 225 yards per spool, for only about double the price.
My next trip is in two weeks. Can't wait! :)
BTW, everything I used on my last trip was made by my hands, now THAT