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Adventures of a recent hammock convert in the wilderness

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  • nazdarovye
    As a newbie hammock user, I wanted to relate my experiences on a 4-day trip in the Desolation Wilderness (Sierras near Lake Tahoe; Echo Lake to Barker Pass) a
    Message 1 of 20 , Aug 19 12:39 AM
      As a newbie hammock user, I wanted to relate my experiences on a 4-day
      trip in the Desolation Wilderness (Sierras near Lake Tahoe; Echo Lake
      to Barker Pass) a week or so ago.

      This was my first "real" trip with the Hennessy Explorer Ultralite
      A-Sym. I tried to reduce my load as much as possible, though with an
      Arc'Teryx Bora 65 pack, a full-size, old Thermarest pad, and a First
      Need filter, I was close to 35 pounds total including the 4 days of
      food and my initial 2 L of water.

      I expected it would be warm during the day and moderately cool at
      night, and as I'm a very warm sleeper and wanted to save a bit of
      weight, I brought just a zip-up REI fleece blanket and a silk liner
      (no sleeping bag), plus several layers of clothing including a fleece
      hat and glove liners, but no down or fleece jacket. (I bet you
      veterans can see where this is leading...).

      Unlike many here who've said that their sleep in the hammock is the
      best they've ever had, I'll have to admit that my first night in it on
      this trip was, for a variety of reasons, one of my most uncomfortable
      nights in the woods. I'll also say that, by applying as many
      techniques and tips as I could dredge up from my memory - most of them
      garnered from this group and Shane's and Sgt. Rock's sites - I was
      able to turn things around over the course of rest of the trip, and by
      the end I was starting to truly appreciate the benefits (and comforts)
      of the hammock.

      First night: camping at Lake Aloha, on a spit of land jutting into the
      lake, I set up the hammock between two of the few trees available
      (this is near treeline, and there was still some snow on the slope of
      the opposite shore). I used separate stakes for the hammock and tarp
      tie-outs, and while I did get in, bounce around, and re-tighten the
      main straps, I guess I didn't do a suitable adjustment to the
      tarp...because as I was drifting off, a stiff wind picked up, and the
      tarp began making an infernal racket that lasted all night. Too tired
      to brave the winds and cold, I kept thinking it would eventually stop
      or I would drift off to sleep, and so didn't get up to tighten the
      lines. I was also cramped, having chosen to bring my pack, with its
      inflexible hip belts, inside (though I must say it made a lovely
      windblock, sometime in the middle of the night I got tired of the
      poking and dumped the pack onto the ground through the slit). Also of
      note: temperatures were in the 40s, with winds around 10-15 knots but
      gusting higher quite often. So, between the cold, the flapping tarp,
      the occasional too-inflated-Thermarest- and Bora-wrangling, and
      general first-night trail excitement, I really didn't get much sleep
      at all.

      Lessons learned: pick sites carefully; consider that windblown dwarf
      pines all hunkered over in the same direction might be a clue that
      maybe, just maybe, conditions are a bit harsh at that spot. Stiff Bora
      hip belts don't give nice hugs in the night. Tighten the tarp
      carefully. Don't forget the ear plugs.

      The second night (at Middle Velma Lake) some of the tips I'd read
      online began to come back to me, and I did things differently. I
      picked a spot better shielded from the prevailing wind; attached the
      tarp lines to the hammock body lines to help keep them taut even with
      sagging of the main line; finally understood how to tighten the tarp
      along the ridgeline (and did so); used ear plugs; stuffed the Bora in
      a plastic bag kept outside; and slept the night through rather
      comfortably (if still a bit on the cool side). I used a clothing bag
      as a moveable pad, which I relocated as needed to shield body parts
      from the hammock fabric depending on my sleeping position (e.g., knees
      or butt when I was laying on my side). That worked well, and I'll
      continue to use the clothing bag as added insulation in the future.

      From Velma Lake to our next campsite we were assaulted by waves of
      some of the most voracious mosquitoes I've had the misfortune to meet.
      The third night (on a ridge near Miller Creek), they were so thick and
      persistent that we decided to skip dinner and take refuge in our
      shelters. I got into the hammock and was pleased to find only two of
      the little buggers had gotten in with me. Alarmingly, I could hear
      hundreds of them buzzing within millimeters of my ear as I lay on the
      hammock (an indescribably loud and sinister sound); however, I got no
      further bites. Being on the pad and using a hat as a pillow probably
      helped assure that, and the mosquitoes were definitely not happy with
      this turn of events. Big plus marks for the hammock for keeping them
      at bay and for letting in even less of them than a tent usually does
      during ingress and egress.

      I'm chagrined to report, however, that a bit later, as I turned over
      onto my back, I suddenly felt myself plummeting to the ground - BUMP
      on my butt. It took a second to realize what had happened (the foot
      end hammock strap had come loose), and another horrified fraction of a
      second for it to sink in that this meant facing the enraged
      mosquitoes. Ugh! I set a personal record for re-tying the straps,
      being careful to use something more like the recommended figure-8 knot
      than the clove hitch and snarl I'd used earlier, fed a number of
      mosquitoes, and gratefully got back into the hammock. Another lesson
      learned...

      That same night, our last for the trip, I found I was just too cold
      again. I donned all of my clothing including gloves and hat, got into
      the silk liner, and pulled the doubled blanket over me, tucking it
      carefully in at the sides. I eventually fell asleep, but sometime
      during the night I began dreaming about what I'd do in case of
      hypothermia! In the morning, I woke up at first light feeling rather
      chilled, and checked the thermometer I'd hung from my ridgeline: 38°F.
      That was inside the hammock, so it was likely even a few degrees
      colder outside. My hiking companion was in a Tarptent with a Western
      Mountaineering HighLite bag and Thermarest UltraLite pad, plus layers
      of clothing; he said that even he was cold that morning. I felt
      fortunate to have remained barely warm enough to have gotten some
      sleep - and not to have ended up shivering and blue. We packed up just
      after dawn and hiked the remaining 4.5 miles to the trailhead and
      cars, keeping a fast pace that warmed us up quickly.

      Final learnings:

      - You can bet I'll be bringing a down sleeping bag in the future
      unless temperatures are guaranteed to stay in the 60s or above!

      - As per advice online, I found that the Thermarest worked best if
      only partially inflated (sadly, it took a night of rasslin' to
      remember this). After my experiences with it, and considering its
      weight and the many other solutions I've seen suggested here, I've
      decided to leave it behind next time. I bought a Target aluminized sun
      screen and am looking forward to trying it out; between that and my
      Marmot down bag, I should be just fine for our fall weather here.

      - The ridgeline is a very useful storage "platform" - I ended up
      hanging my Camelbak reservoir from the ridgeline along with small
      stuff bags, and stored a number of smaller items in the sliding gear
      pocket (a feature I really love).

      - I weigh about 165 including clothing, but purchased the larger
      Explorer version so I'd have extra support and room for gear should I
      wish to keep it inside; in retrospect, that may not have been a
      realistic goal. However, I'm switching to a lighter pack (UD
      Warpspeed), and intend to try suspending it from the ridgeline on a
      future trip, just to see if it's possible to keep everything inside
      but still remain comfortable.

      - The Tarptent had condensation on it every morning, and its floor's
      underside was always wet (it also let in ants, apparently). The
      hammock remained bone-dry the first two days, and had condensation the
      last day (on the netting and underside of the tarp) only because it
      was so cold and I'd battened down one side of the tarp to the point
      where it was touching the netting. Nice. (And the ants all stayed on
      the outside.)

      - I purchased Snakeskins and am adding them to the hammock for the
      next trip (though it was absolutely no trouble to roll the hammock up
      and put it into its original stuff sack, I like the idea of the
      Snakeskins and the added packing flexibility they will provide).

      - An afternoon nap in the hammock on a breezy hilltop was a joy - it
      just wouldn't have been the same in a tent.

      Hope you all found this entertaining. Perhaps some other newbies will
      read my post and will skip some of my mistakes...as well as reread all
      of the posts by the pros to cement the real "best practices"!

      A big thanks again to everyone here and on the other sites I mentioned
      for all of the great ideas. Can't wait to try the hammock out again...
    • colonelcorn76
      ... it on ... uncomfortable ... My first night I almost barfed! When I climbed in, I set it swinging so badly that I almost got motion sickness. (But I m prone
      Message 2 of 20 , Aug 19 9:07 AM
        --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "nazdarovye"
        <nazdarovye@y...> wrote:
        > Unlike many here who've said that their sleep in the hammock is the
        > best they've ever had, I'll have to admit that my first night in
        it on
        > this trip was, for a variety of reasons, one of my most
        uncomfortable
        > nights in the woods.

        My first night I almost barfed! When I climbed in, I set it swinging
        so badly that I almost got motion sickness. (But I'm prone to that
        which is why I fly --- forcing myself to control my reaction to
        abnormal motions.)


        > I guess I didn't do a suitable adjustment to the
        > tarp...because as I was drifting off, a stiff wind picked up, and
        the
        > tarp began making an infernal racket that lasted all night.

        I had the same problem but now I use rubber tubing from a Wrist
        Rocket slingshot (the "Goller Grabber") and haven't had a problem
        since even in driving rain. The tubing takes up the slack no matter
        what.

        Jim
      • Bill Fornshell
        Hi, This is a great idea. When you posted this trick last week?? I think. I went out and got a replacement kit. Walmart sells them. What about a piece of
        Message 3 of 20 , Aug 19 9:21 AM
          Hi, This is a great idea. When you posted this trick
          last week?? I think. I went out and got a replacement
          kit. Walmart sells them. What about a piece of
          rubber tubing on all the guy lines? I only got one
          set for the ridgeline ropes, but have thought about
          putting a piece on all the lines for high wind and/or
          blowing rain. What do you think?? Bill ---

          colonelcorn76 <colonelcorn76@...> wrote:
          > --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "nazdarovye"
          > <nazdarovye@y...> wrote:
          > > Unlike many here who've said that their sleep in
          > the hammock is the
          > > best they've ever had, I'll have to admit that my
          > first night in
          > it on
          > > this trip was, for a variety of reasons, one of my
          > most
          > uncomfortable
          > > nights in the woods.
          >
          > My first night I almost barfed! When I climbed in, I
          > set it swinging
          > so badly that I almost got motion sickness. (But I'm
          > prone to that
          > which is why I fly --- forcing myself to control my
          > reaction to
          > abnormal motions.)
          >
          >
          > > I guess I didn't do a suitable adjustment to the
          > > tarp...because as I was drifting off, a stiff wind
          > picked up, and
          > the
          > > tarp began making an infernal racket that lasted
          > all night.
          >
          > I had the same problem but now I use rubber tubing
          > from a Wrist
          > Rocket slingshot (the "Goller Grabber") and haven't
          > had a problem
          > since even in driving rain. The tubing takes up the
          > slack no matter
          > what.
          >
          > Jim
          >
          >


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        • firefly
          Jim, Please tell me more about this. Marsanne I had the same problem but now I use rubber tubing from a Wrist Rocket slingshot (the Goller Grabber ) and
          Message 4 of 20 , Aug 19 9:43 AM
             
            Jim, Please tell me more about this. 
            Marsanne

            I had the same problem but now I use rubber tubing from a Wrist
            Rocket slingshot (the "Goller Grabber") and haven't had a problem
            since even in driving rain. The tubing takes up the slack no matter
            what.



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            hammockcamping-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com



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          • web_dawg
            I thought I would un-lurk on this thread since I have a similar yet different solution to the problem. I actually replaced the fly tie-outs on my HH with
            Message 5 of 20 , Aug 20 10:38 AM
              I thought I would "un-lurk" on this thread since I have a similar
              yet different solution to the problem.

              I actually replaced the fly tie-outs on my HH with 3/16 shock cord.

              I have use this to both tie the fly out independant from the HH tie-
              outs, as well as using just the fly (or HH) shock cording to tie out
              both off the same point for cold weather conditions.

              I've never had a problem with wind "flapping" with this arrangement,
              and I have slept in some good breezes, no real storms or gales yet
              though.

              Oh, and BTW, I too recently converted two people to hammocking.
              They just went on thier first weekend circuit with them two weeks
              ago up on the PCT near Pamelia Lake.

              I've got a third guy who I let borrow my HH and he seems sold if I
              can come up with an underquilt for him. So I'm in the midst of
              fabricating one similar to the one at thru-hiker (http://www.thru-
              hiker.com/workshop.asp?subcat=5&cid=72)

              Shane... (not Steinkamp. I know it will be confusing, but is is my
              name too after all ;)

              --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, Bill Fornshell
              <bfornshell@y...> wrote:
              > Hi, This is a great idea. When you posted this trick
              > last week?? I think. I went out and got a replacement
              > kit. Walmart sells them. What about a piece of
              > rubber tubing on all the guy lines? I only got one
              > set for the ridgeline ropes, but have thought about
              > putting a piece on all the lines for high wind and/or
              > blowing rain. What do you think?? Bill ---
              >
            • colonelcorn76
              ... The Hennessey s guy lines for the hammock body are already stretchy cord so I didn t bother adding rubber tubing to those. I ve actually found the hardest
              Message 6 of 20 , Aug 20 7:05 PM
                --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, Bill Fornshell
                <bfornshell@y...> wrote:
                > Hi, This is a great idea. When you posted this trick
                > last week?? I think. I went out and got a replacement
                > kit. Walmart sells them. What about a piece of
                > rubber tubing on all the guy lines? I only got one
                > set for the ridgeline ropes, but have thought about
                > putting a piece on all the lines for high wind and/or
                > blowing rain. What do you think?? Bill ---

                The Hennessey's guy lines for the hammock body are already stretchy
                cord so I didn't bother adding rubber tubing to those. I've actually
                found the hardest part of those is having them keep the tautline
                hitch that I use to attach to the ground stake tight. The covering
                of the cord is pretty slippery against itself so once I've adjusted
                the tautline I take the free end and run it through the hammock body
                ring or back around the stake and tie another couple of hitches to
                hold it in place. I haven't had a problem since doing that.

                The other trick I use is to tie out only one side of the fly. The
                other side I keep flopped over the top of the fly where it's
                stretched. Then I take the free end of the fly's line run it down to
                the ground stake through the loop (I have a short loop of cord tied
                to a hole I drilled into the Y-peg aluminum stake I use), and then
                up through the entry slit in the hammock and tie it off on the
                ridgeline.

                I added a longer cord then the one that comes with the Hennessey to
                make this work but now if it starts to rain in the middle of the
                night I just sit up, reach out for the end of the cord that's tied
                to the ridgeline, pull it hard and then tie it off to the ridgeline.
                Pulling it drags the free side of the fly over and pulls it tight
                with the rubber tubing stretching just like I had tied it out when
                setting it up. Good thing is I then just lay back down again, am
                asleep in 30 seconds, never got wet, never had to get out of my
                sleeping bag. If it doesn't rain I still get the air/breeze and see
                the sky above me.

                Jim
              • colonelcorn76
                ... problem ... matter ... A Wrist Rocket uses two pieces of rubber surgical tubing about 6 inches long separated by a leather pouch. The two free ends fit
                Message 7 of 20 , Aug 20 7:31 PM
                  --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "firefly" <firefly@e...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > Jim, Please tell me more about this.
                  > Marsanne
                  >
                  > I had the same problem but now I use rubber tubing from a Wrist
                  > Rocket slingshot (the "Goller Grabber") and haven't had a
                  problem
                  > since even in driving rain. The tubing takes up the slack no
                  matter
                  > what.

                  A Wrist Rocket uses two pieces of rubber surgical tubing about 6
                  inches long separated by a leather pouch. The two free ends fit over
                  the aluminum frame of the slingshot which is form fit to go over
                  your wrist for support and then up through your fist. Surgical
                  tubing is very stretchy and tough (as in not breaking).

                  So, what I've done (courtesy of Jerry Goller who taught me this in
                  the first place...which is why I call it the Goller Grabber) is cut
                  off the tubing where it attaches to the pouch (Jerry "undoes" the
                  loop that it makes but I find it's easier to cut it and make a new
                  loop around the ring on the fly).

                  I take a nail or other pointy skewering tool and poke a hole in one
                  wall of the tubing about a half-inch from one end (the whole goes
                  through only one side of the tubing...not both). Then I feed the ong
                  end of the tubing through the plastic ring the fly cord was attached
                  to (I forgot, I untie the cord from the fly ring when I start this)
                  until the ring is just below the hole I just skewered through.

                  Then I reach through the opening on the short end of the tube (near
                  the skewered hole) with a pair of needle nose pliers, out through
                  the little skewer hole and grab the long end of the tube (which puts
                  the plastic ring under the pliers). Then I pull the long end of the
                  tubing through the little hole and out the top of the tube. This
                  traps the ring in the tubing and when I've gotten the tubing pulled
                  all the way through it ends up rolled over itself just like when
                  it's attached to the leather pouch. It will never let go of the ring
                  this way. The only way to get it off is cut it or break the ring.

                  Now I take a 1/4" nylon spacer (Home Depot/Lowes -- 25 cents each or
                  so) and run the old fly cord up through the center (a nylon spacer
                  is a hard plastic cylinder with a hole running the length -- the
                  1/4" dia one is about an inch or so long and has a hole running down
                  the length about 3/32" or so in dia---big enough for the cord). I
                  tie the cord with a couple of knots. Then for insurance I superglue
                  the knot. The knot has to keep the cord from being able to be pulled
                  back out the spacer but not much larger than the diameter of the
                  spacer or you can't get the spacer in the tubing.

                  Next step is to put a little dish soap on the spacer and push it
                  into the open end of the tubing until the spacer is all the way into
                  the tubing and the rubber closes in around the cord that extends out
                  the spacer. The soap makes it easier. Or if it gets difficult I'll
                  use the needlenose pliers to grab the leading edge of the tubing and
                  pull it over the spacer.

                  All done, there's a 5 inch rubber tube with the fly ring captured in
                  something like a larkshead running to the cord which is held captive
                  in the nylon spacer.

                  When setting up the fly I tie it out so the rubber tubing is pretty
                  extended (stretched). Then as the fabric loosens up or rain
                  stretches the fabric, the rubber tubing contracts on itself and
                  tightens the fly...it becomes self-tensioning.

                  This works regardless of the type of hammock you're using. It just
                  happens I have a Hennessey.

                  If anyone's interested I could put together a PDF file with step by
                  step pictures or see if Shane is interested in posting the
                  instructions over in the hammock section of his site.

                  Jim
                • colonelcorn76
                  ... tie- ... out ... The rubber tubing s advantage is in the weight. I don t think I ve added much more than an ounce to the weight of the cords. Jim
                  Message 8 of 20 , Aug 20 7:41 PM
                    --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "web_dawg" <web_dawg@y...>
                    wrote:
                    > I thought I would "un-lurk" on this thread since I have a similar
                    > yet different solution to the problem.
                    >
                    > I actually replaced the fly tie-outs on my HH with 3/16 shock cord.
                    >
                    > I have use this to both tie the fly out independant from the HH
                    tie-
                    > outs, as well as using just the fly (or HH) shock cording to tie
                    out
                    > both off the same point for cold weather conditions.
                    >

                    The rubber tubing's advantage is in the weight. I don't think I've
                    added much more than an ounce to the weight of the cords.

                    Jim
                  • firefly
                    I would like this in step by step, posted on Shane s website, and pictures would be even better if not too much trouble. Marsanne A Wrist Rocket uses two
                    Message 9 of 20 , Aug 21 6:59 AM
                      I would like this in step by step, posted on Shane's website,  and pictures would be even better if not too much trouble.  Marsanne

                      A Wrist Rocket uses two pieces of rubber surgical tubing about 6
                      inches long separated by a leather pouch. The two free ends fit over
                      the aluminum frame of the slingshot which is form fit to go over
                      your wrist for support and then up through your fist. Surgical
                      tubing is very stretchy and tough (as in not breaking).

                      So, what I've done (courtesy of Jerry Goller who taught me this in
                      the first place...which is why I call it the Goller Grabber) is cut
                      off the tubing where it attaches to the pouch (Jerry "undoes" the
                      loop that it makes but I find it's easier to cut it and make a new
                      loop around the ring on the fly).

                      I take a nail or other pointy skewering tool and poke a hole in one
                      wall of the tubing about a half-inch from one end (the whole goes
                      through only one side of the tubing...not both). Then I feed the ong
                      end of the tubing through the plastic ring the fly cord was attached
                      to (I forgot, I untie the cord from the fly ring when I start this)
                      until the ring is just below the hole I just skewered through.

                      Then I reach through the opening on the short end of the tube (near
                      the skewered hole) with a pair of needle nose pliers, out through
                      the little skewer hole and grab the long end of the tube (which puts
                      the plastic ring under the pliers). Then I pull the long end of the
                      tubing through the little hole and out the top of the tube. This
                      traps the ring in the tubing and when I've gotten the tubing pulled
                      all the way through it ends up rolled over itself just like when
                      it's attached to the leather pouch. It will never let go of the ring
                      this way. The only way to get it off is cut it or break the ring.

                      Now I take a 1/4" nylon spacer (Home Depot/Lowes -- 25 cents each or
                      so) and run the old fly cord up through the center (a nylon spacer
                      is a hard plastic cylinder with a hole running the length -- the
                      1/4" dia one is about an inch or so long and has a hole running down
                      the length about 3/32" or so in dia---big enough for the cord). I
                      tie the cord with a couple of knots. Then for insurance I superglue
                      the knot. The knot has to keep the cord from being able to be pulled
                      back out the spacer but not much larger than the diameter of the
                      spacer or you can't get the spacer in the tubing.

                      Next step is to put a little dish soap on the spacer and push it
                      into the open end of the tubing until the spacer is all the way into
                      the tubing and the rubber closes in around the cord that extends out
                      the spacer. The soap makes it easier. Or if it gets difficult I'll
                      use the needlenose pliers to grab the leading edge of the tubing and
                      pull it over the spacer.

                      All done, there's a 5 inch rubber tube with the fly ring captured in
                      something like a larkshead running to the cord which is held captive
                      in the nylon spacer.

                      When setting up the fly I tie it out so the rubber tubing is pretty
                      extended (stretched). Then as the fabric loosens up or rain
                      stretches the fabric, the rubber tubing contracts on itself and
                      tightens the fly...it becomes self-tensioning.

                      This works regardless of the type of hammock you're using. It just
                      happens I have a Hennessey.

                      If anyone's interested I could put together a PDF file with step by
                      step pictures or see if Shane is interested in posting the
                      instructions over in the hammock section of his site.

                      Jim



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                      hammockcamping-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com



                      Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                    • chcoa
                      Good report Nazda, I had a simular experience, as far as the cold thing goes, on my first night in my HH ultra asym. I totally underestimated the temps at the
                      Message 10 of 20 , Aug 21 9:53 PM
                        Good report Nazda,
                        I had a simular experience, as far as the cold thing goes, on my
                        first night in my HH ultra asym. I totally underestimated the temps
                        at the elevation I was camping and froze my little tushy off. Lucky
                        I was car camping and had a few extra blankets in the truck. One area
                        where I went wrong, and subsequently my reason for posting, is I only
                        used the sun reflector shield under me. No pad. This was not enough
                        so you may want to look into a light closed cell pad also and attach
                        the two or something. The reflector by itself was not enough for me
                        at 40 F with clothing, wool blanket, and fleece blanket. It might be
                        okay with your down bag, but again it's on the bottom, so I doubt it.

                        I look forward to your adventures. I'm learning as I go too! :)
                        jamie in az

                        --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "nazdarovye" <nazdarovye@y...>
                        wrote:
                        > As a newbie hammock user, I wanted to relate my experiences on a 4-
                        day
                        > trip in the Desolation Wilderness (Sierras near Lake Tahoe; Echo
                        Lake
                        > to Barker Pass) a week or so ago.
                        >
                        > This was my first "real" trip with the Hennessy Explorer Ultralite
                        > A-Sym. I tried to reduce my load as much as possible, though with an
                        > Arc'Teryx Bora 65 pack, a full-size, old Thermarest pad, and a First
                        > Need filter, I was close to 35 pounds total including the 4 days of
                        > food and my initial 2 L of water.
                        >
                        > I expected it would be warm during the day and moderately cool at
                        > night, and as I'm a very warm sleeper and wanted to save a bit of
                        > weight, I brought just a zip-up REI fleece blanket and a silk liner
                        > (no sleeping bag), plus several layers of clothing including a
                        fleece
                        > hat and glove liners, but no down or fleece jacket. (I bet you
                        > veterans can see where this is leading...).
                        >
                        > Unlike many here who've said that their sleep in the hammock is the
                        > best they've ever had, I'll have to admit that my first night in it
                        on
                        > this trip was, for a variety of reasons, one of my most
                        uncomfortable
                        > nights in the woods. I'll also say that, by applying as many
                        > techniques and tips as I could dredge up from my memory - most of
                        them
                        > garnered from this group and Shane's and Sgt. Rock's sites - I was
                        > able to turn things around over the course of rest of the trip, and
                        by
                        > the end I was starting to truly appreciate the benefits (and
                        comforts)
                        > of the hammock.
                        >
                        > First night: camping at Lake Aloha, on a spit of land jutting into
                        the
                        > lake, I set up the hammock between two of the few trees available
                        > (this is near treeline, and there was still some snow on the slope
                        of
                        > the opposite shore). I used separate stakes for the hammock and tarp
                        > tie-outs, and while I did get in, bounce around, and re-tighten the
                        > main straps, I guess I didn't do a suitable adjustment to the
                        > tarp...because as I was drifting off, a stiff wind picked up, and
                        the
                        > tarp began making an infernal racket that lasted all night. Too
                        tired
                        > to brave the winds and cold, I kept thinking it would eventually
                        stop
                        > or I would drift off to sleep, and so didn't get up to tighten the
                        > lines. I was also cramped, having chosen to bring my pack, with its
                        > inflexible hip belts, inside (though I must say it made a lovely
                        > windblock, sometime in the middle of the night I got tired of the
                        > poking and dumped the pack onto the ground through the slit). Also
                        of
                        > note: temperatures were in the 40s, with winds around 10-15 knots
                        but
                        > gusting higher quite often. So, between the cold, the flapping tarp,
                        > the occasional too-inflated-Thermarest- and Bora-wrangling, and
                        > general first-night trail excitement, I really didn't get much sleep
                        > at all.
                        >
                        > Lessons learned: pick sites carefully; consider that windblown dwarf
                        > pines all hunkered over in the same direction might be a clue that
                        > maybe, just maybe, conditions are a bit harsh at that spot. Stiff
                        Bora
                        > hip belts don't give nice hugs in the night. Tighten the tarp
                        > carefully. Don't forget the ear plugs.
                        >
                        > The second night (at Middle Velma Lake) some of the tips I'd read
                        > online began to come back to me, and I did things differently. I
                        > picked a spot better shielded from the prevailing wind; attached the
                        > tarp lines to the hammock body lines to help keep them taut even
                        with
                        > sagging of the main line; finally understood how to tighten the tarp
                        > along the ridgeline (and did so); used ear plugs; stuffed the Bora
                        in
                        > a plastic bag kept outside; and slept the night through rather
                        > comfortably (if still a bit on the cool side). I used a clothing bag
                        > as a moveable pad, which I relocated as needed to shield body parts
                        > from the hammock fabric depending on my sleeping position (e.g.,
                        knees
                        > or butt when I was laying on my side). That worked well, and I'll
                        > continue to use the clothing bag as added insulation in the future.
                        >
                        > From Velma Lake to our next campsite we were assaulted by waves of
                        > some of the most voracious mosquitoes I've had the misfortune to
                        meet.
                        > The third night (on a ridge near Miller Creek), they were so thick
                        and
                        > persistent that we decided to skip dinner and take refuge in our
                        > shelters. I got into the hammock and was pleased to find only two of
                        > the little buggers had gotten in with me. Alarmingly, I could hear
                        > hundreds of them buzzing within millimeters of my ear as I lay on
                        the
                        > hammock (an indescribably loud and sinister sound); however, I got
                        no
                        > further bites. Being on the pad and using a hat as a pillow probably
                        > helped assure that, and the mosquitoes were definitely not happy
                        with
                        > this turn of events. Big plus marks for the hammock for keeping them
                        > at bay and for letting in even less of them than a tent usually does
                        > during ingress and egress.
                        >
                        > I'm chagrined to report, however, that a bit later, as I turned over
                        > onto my back, I suddenly felt myself plummeting to the ground - BUMP
                        > on my butt. It took a second to realize what had happened (the foot
                        > end hammock strap had come loose), and another horrified fraction
                        of a
                        > second for it to sink in that this meant facing the enraged
                        > mosquitoes. Ugh! I set a personal record for re-tying the straps,
                        > being careful to use something more like the recommended figure-8
                        knot
                        > than the clove hitch and snarl I'd used earlier, fed a number of
                        > mosquitoes, and gratefully got back into the hammock. Another lesson
                        > learned...
                        >
                        > That same night, our last for the trip, I found I was just too cold
                        > again. I donned all of my clothing including gloves and hat, got
                        into
                        > the silk liner, and pulled the doubled blanket over me, tucking it
                        > carefully in at the sides. I eventually fell asleep, but sometime
                        > during the night I began dreaming about what I'd do in case of
                        > hypothermia! In the morning, I woke up at first light feeling rather
                        > chilled, and checked the thermometer I'd hung from my ridgeline: 38°
                        F.
                        > That was inside the hammock, so it was likely even a few degrees
                        > colder outside. My hiking companion was in a Tarptent with a Western
                        > Mountaineering HighLite bag and Thermarest UltraLite pad, plus
                        layers
                        > of clothing; he said that even he was cold that morning. I felt
                        > fortunate to have remained barely warm enough to have gotten some
                        > sleep - and not to have ended up shivering and blue. We packed up
                        just
                        > after dawn and hiked the remaining 4.5 miles to the trailhead and
                        > cars, keeping a fast pace that warmed us up quickly.
                        >
                        > Final learnings:
                        >
                        > - You can bet I'll be bringing a down sleeping bag in the future
                        > unless temperatures are guaranteed to stay in the 60s or above!
                        >
                        > - As per advice online, I found that the Thermarest worked best if
                        > only partially inflated (sadly, it took a night of rasslin' to
                        > remember this). After my experiences with it, and considering its
                        > weight and the many other solutions I've seen suggested here, I've
                        > decided to leave it behind next time. I bought a Target aluminized
                        sun
                        > screen and am looking forward to trying it out; between that and my
                        > Marmot down bag, I should be just fine for our fall weather here.
                        >
                        > - The ridgeline is a very useful storage "platform" - I ended up
                        > hanging my Camelbak reservoir from the ridgeline along with small
                        > stuff bags, and stored a number of smaller items in the sliding gear
                        > pocket (a feature I really love).
                        >
                        > - I weigh about 165 including clothing, but purchased the larger
                        > Explorer version so I'd have extra support and room for gear should
                        I
                        > wish to keep it inside; in retrospect, that may not have been a
                        > realistic goal. However, I'm switching to a lighter pack (UD
                        > Warpspeed), and intend to try suspending it from the ridgeline on a
                        > future trip, just to see if it's possible to keep everything inside
                        > but still remain comfortable.
                        >
                        > - The Tarptent had condensation on it every morning, and its floor's
                        > underside was always wet (it also let in ants, apparently). The
                        > hammock remained bone-dry the first two days, and had condensation
                        the
                        > last day (on the netting and underside of the tarp) only because it
                        > was so cold and I'd battened down one side of the tarp to the point
                        > where it was touching the netting. Nice. (And the ants all stayed on
                        > the outside.)
                        >
                        > - I purchased Snakeskins and am adding them to the hammock for the
                        > next trip (though it was absolutely no trouble to roll the hammock
                        up
                        > and put it into its original stuff sack, I like the idea of the
                        > Snakeskins and the added packing flexibility they will provide).
                        >
                        > - An afternoon nap in the hammock on a breezy hilltop was a joy - it
                        > just wouldn't have been the same in a tent.
                        >
                        > Hope you all found this entertaining. Perhaps some other newbies
                        will
                        > read my post and will skip some of my mistakes...as well as reread
                        all
                        > of the posts by the pros to cement the real "best practices"!
                        >
                        > A big thanks again to everyone here and on the other sites I
                        mentioned
                        > for all of the great ideas. Can't wait to try the hammock out
                        again...
                      • nazdarovye
                        Thanks, Jamie. I ll be giving the reflective pad a try sometime over the next couple of weekends with the Marmot bag, so I ll report back how well it works.
                        Message 11 of 20 , Aug 21 11:30 PM
                          Thanks, Jamie. I'll be giving the reflective pad a try sometime over
                          the next couple of weekends with the Marmot bag, so I'll report back
                          how well it works.

                          I've been thinking of doing a thru-hike of the Northville-Lake Placid
                          trail in October (grew up in upstate NY and go back every year), and
                          need to get this sorted out before then, since it will be a lot colder
                          at night than it gets here on the CA coast. I'll be experimenting with
                          a bunch of warmth solutions for the hammock - lots of great ideas on
                          past posts here to work through.

                          Has anyone here had good success with an underquilt that doesn't
                          require custom sewing? E.g., a neat sheet pinned to the bottom of the
                          hammock body? Just curious to hear the latest word on what works best...

                          - Steve
                        • colonelcorn76
                          ... pictures ... Shane, do you have bandwidth for this? Willing to post my pics/instructions if I do the HTML work? Jim
                          Message 12 of 20 , Aug 22 9:58 AM
                            --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "firefly" <firefly@e...>
                            wrote:
                            > I would like this in step by step, posted on Shane's website, and
                            pictures
                            > would be even better if not too much trouble. Marsanne

                            Shane, do you have bandwidth for this? Willing to post my
                            pics/instructions if I do the HTML work?

                            Jim
                          • Shane
                            ... Sure. You build it, I ll post it. Shane
                            Message 13 of 20 , Aug 22 12:27 PM
                              > Shane, do you have bandwidth for this? Willing to
                              > post my pics/instructions if I do the HTML work?

                              Sure. You build it, I'll post it.

                              Shane
                            • chcoa
                              Steve, Before my first post I started with the first message and worked my way through all the messages that looked interesting. There is a lot of winter stuff
                              Message 14 of 20 , Aug 23 9:46 PM
                                Steve,
                                Before my first post I started with the first message and worked my
                                way through all the messages that looked interesting. There is a lot
                                of winter stuff in the Jan - April posts. The reason I came to the
                                group was because I was considering perchasing a hammock and had read
                                all the reviews on Backpackgeartest.org and wanted to know more.
                                Shane directed me here. (thanks again Shane).

                                My first night in my HH wasn't as good as I would of liked as far as
                                cold, but comfort was great. I was hooked right away. My solution
                                so far, and please take into account I'm a newbie, a non-sewer, and
                                live in a pretty mild state (no zero below), is the Neat Sheet. I
                                have only tried it once and other than a few issues was pretty happy
                                with it. The issues were minor and I have been working on changes.
                                I'm looking forward to cooler temps to try it again.

                                Hope my info helps.
                                Jamie in AZ

                                --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "nazdarovye" <nazdarovye@y...>
                                wrote:
                                > Thanks, Jamie. I'll be giving the reflective pad a try sometime over
                                > the next couple of weekends with the Marmot bag, so I'll report back
                                > how well it works.
                                >
                                > I've been thinking of doing a thru-hike of the Northville-Lake
                                Placid
                                > trail in October (grew up in upstate NY and go back every year), and
                                > need to get this sorted out before then, since it will be a lot
                                colder
                                > at night than it gets here on the CA coast. I'll be experimenting
                                with
                                > a bunch of warmth solutions for the hammock - lots of great ideas on
                                > past posts here to work through.
                                >
                                > Has anyone here had good success with an underquilt that doesn't
                                > require custom sewing? E.g., a neat sheet pinned to the bottom of
                                the
                                > hammock body? Just curious to hear the latest word on what works
                                best...
                                >
                                > - Steve
                              • ciyd01
                                I was going to do my first solo trip this weekend but I ve been suffering from really severe headaches all week and, when one of them woke me up this morning,
                                Message 15 of 20 , Aug 23 10:30 PM
                                  I was going to do my first solo trip this weekend but I've been
                                  suffering from really severe headaches all week and, when one of them
                                  woke me up this morning, I knew that a weekend of sunshine and wind
                                  and blowing salt and sand (it was supposed to be a beach hike) was
                                  not in the cards. So, here I am, bummed, medicated and not seeing
                                  stars.

                                  Since I didn't hike, I decided I would work on my underquilt design.
                                  I'm shooting for one which has a slit compatible with the HH asym
                                  design. I cut out the pattern using some cheap white cotton fabric I
                                  had on hand and tomorrow I'm going to attach that to the hammock and
                                  see if I can make it work. If so, tweak the dimensions and then mock
                                  one up using some quilt batting and more cheap fabric. If not, back
                                  to the drawing board.

                                  If I can get the mock ups to work, I'll make a real one, test it and
                                  then post some pictures and instructions. Maybe I'll start making
                                  them for a living. There has to be at least a dozen hammock campers
                                  out there and, like a virus, we are infecting others!

                                  Winter is coming and I don't want to sleep on the ground! It's
                                  already started cooling off a bit here. Night time temps are around
                                  50 and daytime highs are in the 70's. With a summer bag, I can get a
                                  good feel for how warm my underquilt will be.

                                  ciyd

                                  --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "chcoa" <jdeben@h...> wrote:
                                  > My first night in my HH wasn't as good as I would of liked as far
                                  as
                                  > cold, but comfort was great. I was hooked right away. My solution
                                  > so far, and please take into account I'm a newbie, a non-sewer, and
                                  > live in a pretty mild state (no zero below), is the Neat Sheet. I
                                  > have only tried it once and other than a few issues was pretty
                                  happy
                                  > with it. The issues were minor and I have been working on
                                  changes.
                                  > I'm looking forward to cooler temps to try it again.
                                  >
                                  > Hope my info helps.
                                  > Jamie in AZ
                                  >
                                  > --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "nazdarovye"
                                  <nazdarovye@y...>
                                  > > Has anyone here had good success with an underquilt that doesn't
                                  > > require custom sewing? E.g., a neat sheet pinned to the bottom
                                  of
                                  > the
                                  > > hammock body? Just curious to hear the latest word on what works
                                  > best...
                                • Lenny Nichols
                                  Pictures are still in the Photos section under Jerry s Self-Tensioners. Lenny Nichols, PMP
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Feb 21, 2004

                                    Pictures are still in the Photos section under Jerry's Self-Tensioners.

                                    Lenny Nichols, PMP

                                  • Ralph Oborn
                                    Maybe I m missing something, but couldn t you do the same thing with a bit of elastisized rope? a thin bungee cord or something? Seems to me it would also be
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Feb 21, 2004
                                      Maybe I'm missing something, but couldn't you do the same thing with
                                      a bit of elastisized rope? a thin bungee cord or something? Seems to
                                      me it would also be lighter.

                                      Ralph

                                      --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, Lenny Nichols <lnichols@u...>
                                      wrote:
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Pictures are still in the Photos section under Jerry's Self-
                                      Tensioners.
                                      >
                                      > Lenny Nichols, PMP
                                    • Bill Fornshell
                                      Yes. Or the rubber tubing stuff they use to put around your arm when they take a blood sample. ... __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo!
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Feb 21, 2004
                                        Yes. Or the rubber tubing stuff they use to put around
                                        your arm when they take a blood sample.


                                        --- Ralph Oborn <polecatpop@...> wrote:
                                        > Maybe I'm missing something, but couldn't you do the
                                        > same thing with
                                        > a bit of elastisized rope? a thin bungee cord or
                                        > something? Seems to
                                        > me it would also be lighter.
                                        >
                                        > Ralph
                                        >
                                        > --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, Lenny Nichols
                                        > <lnichols@u...>
                                        > wrote:
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > Pictures are still in the Photos section under
                                        > Jerry's Self-
                                        > Tensioners.
                                        > >
                                        > > Lenny Nichols, PMP
                                        >
                                        >


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                                      • John Kennedy
                                        You can get one of these slinshots for $3 plus shipping here: http://www.jekco.com/product.asp?3=3193 Thanks, John ... Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Feb 21, 2004
                                          You can get one of these slinshots for $3 plus shipping here:  http://www.jekco.com/product.asp?3=3193
                                           

                                          Thanks,
                                          John

                                        • Bill Fornshell
                                          Thanks John, Now I think I remember that the low price of the slingshot was a big reason for using that for the rubber. Simple, easy to get and cheap. I should
                                          Message 20 of 20 , Feb 21, 2004
                                            Thanks John, Now I think I remember that the low price
                                            of the slingshot was a big reason for using that for
                                            the rubber. Simple, easy to get and cheap. I should
                                            get a bunch of them and leave one in each AT shelter I
                                            come to. Maybe it would help reduce the mice
                                            population and feed the fresh meat starved hikers. I
                                            have been told mice taste like chicken, or was that
                                            possum tastes like chicken? Bill

                                            --- John Kennedy <mrprez@...> wrote:
                                            > You can get one of these slinshots for $3 plus
                                            > shipping here:
                                            > http://www.jekco.com/product.asp?3=3193
                                            >
                                            > Thanks,
                                            > John


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