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RE: Hammock Camping Field use questions

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  • Shane Steinkamp
    ... You can make your own straps, but you don t have to stitch the loops - you can just tie a water knot. In reality, though, you don t need longer straps.
    Message 1 of 32 , Jun 29, 2003
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      > 1) The tree straps seem way too short. According to the HH
      > web site's setup recommendations, you'd need to restrict
      > yourself to a 4" diameter tree to get the strap around
      > twice. They seem woefully inadequate for real field use.
      > If I want a longer strap it means I have to drive to REI
      > (or order it) and spend time sewing up the ends. Is that
      > what you guys have done?

      You can make your own straps, but you don't have to stitch the loops - you
      can just tie a water knot.

      In reality, though, you don't need longer straps. While I wish that
      Hennessy would provide them as standard equipment, the 42" they send you is
      adequate. (They do offer longer straps, but you have to order them or
      request them when ordering the hammock.)

      When using them around trees that are too big, you just use them as far as
      they go. You can either use a fisherman's knot or the 'regular' figure 8
      knot in this configuration. I have a picture of this in my Explorer Deluxe
      A-Sym Initial Report on backpackgeartest.org. We've got pretty big trees
      down here in most of the places I camp, and I've never actually had real

      > 2) What do you do if you're setting up this thing in the
      > rain? According to the design specs, the hammock goes up
      > first, and the tarp attaches to the hammock line.

      That's just a one time job. After that, leave the tarp attached. Get the
      Snakeskins. They ARE worth it, although they can take some getting used to.
      There is a page on my website that gives detailed instructions. See:


      I also talk about this in the Field and Long Term Explorer Deluxe A-sym
      reports on BGT.

      > 3) If it's raining when you get into camp and you haven't
      > eaten dinner yet, what then? (Sometimes I eat dinner on
      > the trail then hike more, but not always). Set up the tarp
      > alone in-between two trees, cook under there, then set up
      > the hammock beneath? What about if it's raining in the
      > morning and the designated breakfast requires cooking (or
      > you're a tea addict like me?) The hammock has to come
      > down before any of this happens.

      When you want to cook, simply string the hammock up, retract the Snakeskins,
      and set the tarp. Grab the hammock bed, roll it up, and tuck it over the
      ridge cord out of your way.

      I've never had a faster or easier setup than using the HH with the
      Snakeskins in this way. I can be out of my wet gear before my buddies even
      have their tarps or tents pitched.

      > In rain or colder weather, I often cook from my sleeping
      > bag. I don't see any way of doing this while using a
      > hammock. This restricts hammock camping to only the
      > warmest of days or nice-weather days, at least for my
      > style.

      You just have to think ahead. Your alcohol stove is ideal for hammock
      cooking. When you wake up in the morning, just switch ends in the hammock
      so that your head is at the foot end. Dangle an arm out of the entrance
      slit, light your stove, and put your water on. Of course, the stove needs
      to be off a little to one side or the other. It takes some getting used to
      in order to successfully carry off this monkey stunt, but it's easy enough
      once you figure it out.

      If you really can't get the hang of that, then get out of the hammock, take
      your morning whiz, pull the sleeping pad out, put it on the ground, pull
      your sleeping bag out, put it on the pad, roll the hammock bed and tuck it
      over the ridge cord, then get back in the sleeping bag to make your tea.

      I haven't used the Hennessy in severely cold weather, but another idea would
      be to get out, take your morning whiz, and drop the hammock suspension lines
      until the hammock bed is resting on the ground. Crawl back into the hammock
      bed and your sleeping bag, turning it around so that you wind up with you
      head at the entrance slit end, and cook like you were in a bivy. You could
      conceivably do this for dinner as well, and then raise the suspension ropes
      when it's time for bed.

      Of course, this is all with the HH and the bottom entry slit. It's a
      complication you pay for with the HH. With a 'normal' top entry hammock,
      like a Speer Hammock, or any number of other hammocks, you simply dangle
      over the edge and cook. Don't get any misconceptions, however, this is just
      as much a monkey trick as with the HH. I've ditched myself out of a hammock
      from time to time with this trick.

      Like I said before, I'm not too keen on doing this anymore. I'd just as
      soon get up, stow the hammock bed over the ridge cord, put my ground cloth
      down (yes, I carry one even when hammocking) put my pad down, sit down, and
      drape my sleeping bag over my shoulders and wrap it around me. I'm still
      toasty warm, but I don't have any of the safety issues mentioned previously.

      > It's not just about sleeping or keeping warm. I can see
      > that hammock camping requires a fundamental shift in
      > approach and thinking about how camp activities are done.
      > I would appreciate detailed stories about how these
      > obstacles are dealt with by you guys that are sold
      > on it.

      You'd think so, but the fundamental shift is actually an illusion. A
      hammock setup is just a tarp, like any other tarp, with the addition of the
      hammock bed. The hammock bed rolls up and tucks under the ridge cord, you
      can put it out of your way for cooking or other chores. Think about it - if
      you removed the hammock bed, you'd just have a tarp with a ridge cord.
      Don't let the addition of the hammock bed throw you off. I carry a diamond
      shaped ground cloth when hammocking. This is for when I have to use the
      hammock as a bivy when I can't hang it. This ground cloth allows me to
      simply setup like a 'normal' tarp, however for cooking or doing other camp
      chores that are a pain to do in the hammock itself.

      I tend to be one that doesn't mind the cold, so I'm not into irritating
      myself by cooking inside my sleeping bag. I rarely do this any more because
      I have found it to be dangerous - and to my mind it would be even more
      dangerous with a liquid fuel stove of any kind. The last place you want to
      be when you find yourself set on fire is zipped up in a sleeping bag. One
      man died recently in just such a situation.

      Having said that, I've also given up hiking in the cold. If the temperature
      is going to be below zero, I just won't go out anymore. It just isn't worth
      it to me anymore. That doesn't mean that hammock camping is impossible,
      though. I've slept in a hammock all the way down to -29 degrees. On that
      trip I was using a closed cell foam pad about 5/8 inch thick, wrapped in
      thin plastic, which was then wrapped in two wool blankets. I was toasty
      warm, but I also had ALL my clothes on, and a slightly complicated tarp
      setup. (This also meant that I had a heavy sledge to pull during the day,
      but that's better than carrying a heavy pack.)

      Regular camp chores are easy. If the weather is good, then there aren't
      many tricks. If the weather is bad, then the hammock rig actually shines.
      When you're soaked to the bone, it's really nice to be able to set the
      hammock up, strip everything off and hang it on the ridge cord to dry, then
      have a dry place to sit and relax for awhile. I really appreciate this
      during lunch breaks in the rain, which is frequent down here in the early
      afternoon. My non-hammocking hiking buddies (heathens!) are always envious
      when I set the hammock up as a lounger for rainy lunch breaks. They also
      appreciate it when I let them sit under me rather than huddle miserably in
      their ponchos...

      The lounge chair configuration works with ALL hammocks and should NOT be
      overlooked. It is, in my opinion the second best thing about hammock
      camping. It will literally drive your hiking buddies green with envy that
      you set your shelter up at EVERY break and have a sheltered place to sit.
      In addition, you can set up camp everywhere that they can, and MANY more
      places that they cannot.

      Hammocking doesn't make you better than them, but it quickly becomes
      apparent that it makes you smarter... Everybody might out hike you, but you
      out sleep them - and in the end sleep is the third most important
      consideration on long hikes, following hydration and nutrition. I've
      actually seen more long distance hikers wash out due to improper rest than
      anything else - but it's a statistic that you never see mentioned. Long
      after your buddies have exhausted themselves, you will still be sleeping
      well at night, and that makes an incredible difference in your mood and your

      There are a lot of pages available for a lot of 'tips and tricks'.
      Definitely peruse Sgt. Rock's website: www.hikinghq.net. There are a few
      pages on my website too, besides the How To Hennessy Hammock pages.

    • J Cornelius
      Not nearly as hard as I will the first time I get to do it! Of course, that will be after the initial shock of finding myself asleep on the roof of my
      Message 32 of 32 , Jul 2, 2003
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        <snort> Not nearly as hard as I will the first time I get to do it!  Of course, that will be after the initial shock of finding myself asleep on the roof of my hammock wears off ROTFL!




        Abnormality is THE normality at this locality


        -----Original Message-----
        From: colonelcorn76 [mailto:colonelcorn76@...]
        Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 11:09 PM
        To: hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: Hammock Camping Field use questions


        --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "J Cornelius" <dojers@c...>
        > No offense but how the hell did you do THAT?????????  I¡Çve had
        mine on
        > a good rock but it has NEVER rolled - course, I also tie the sides

        > Jodi

        Dunno or I wouldn't have done it twice more. I figure I probably
        rolled over a couple or few times over the course of the night. I
        like starting to fall asleep on my back until I'm just dropping off
        when I roll over onto my side. I think I roll back on my back during
        the night and then back on my side. If the roll is violent enough
        it's possible to yank the tie-out if I haven't done an appropriate
        knot (the elastic doesn't really hold a taughtline hitch very well).

        I'm gonna laugh my ass off when you do it the first time.


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