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RE: Hammock Camping Adventures of a recent hammock convert in the wilderness

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  • firefly
    The snow never melted? The locals told me it would and then the skeeters would be gone. I was in the same place a month ago, same hammock. That wind at Aloha
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 19, 2003
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      The snow never melted? The locals told me it would and then the skeeters would be gone. I was in the same place a month ago, same hammock. That wind at Aloha is fierce, huh!!  That's why I camped out right by the trail at Aloha  My first night was at the first lake past Echo lake. I forgot the name. Since the water taxi was available, I ended up going back into Tahoe to get a windshield insulator. I ended up driving all the way to North Lake Tahoe because I got so frustrated with South Lake Tahoe. I stuck that insulator over my Z-Rest, used a Super Kazoo down bag as a quilt, and was toasty warm. Not sure of the temps, though. I really think some similar combination would be warmer and lighter. Thermarests are not light. I have 3 of them. I am going to end up cutting back my Target pad and attaching it to the windshield insulator.
       
      I also had the chance to spray the living heck out of my hammock with Permethrin and I had no skeeter attraction to the hammock, at all. Be sure to let it dry. We had no rain, but I ended up hanging my pack and bear cannister to a strap around another tree. I just happened to have an extra flat strap with me and that's what I did. I could have gone much lighter. I took stuff with me like binoculars, GPS, and too much of the wrong kind of food. I knew better, but I was thinking I was not going far and I have no one to blame but myself. My pack weight was 30 pounds without water and that is ridiculous!  The mosquitoes are enough to keep me away from that area until I know they are gone. They almost ruined my trip.
      As for the wind, we had no rain in the forecast so I just ended up taking the tarp off. I won't use earplugs in the wilderness because if that one in a million a- - h--e decides to visit me I want to be able to hear him coming. That wind is FIERCE there!
       
      Your strap coming loose=not good. You could have cracked a vertebrae or worse. I practised my hanging techniques many times before I got in the hammock over hard ground and I urge everyone to do the same. You should be able to hang that thing half asleep, or drunk, or dodging skeeters or rain. It should be second nature. Thanks for great trip report.  Marsanne 
       
      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
      SafeWater 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 tail 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. 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 "gear loft" (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 underside
      was always wet. The hammock remained bone-dry the first two days, and
      had condensation only the last day (on the netting and underside of
      the tarp), when it was so cold and I'd battened down one side of the
      tarp to the point where it was touching the netting. Nice.

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

      - 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...



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    • Ed Speer
      A great trip report--thanks for sharing. You re on your way now--experience is the best teacher. Now get ready for many years of Happy Hammocking! ...Ed ...
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 19, 2003
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        Message
        A great trip report--thanks for sharing.  You're on your way now--experience is the best teacher.  Now get ready for many years of Happy Hammocking!  ...Ed
         
        -----Original Message-----
        From: nazdarovye [mailto:nazdarovye@...]
        Sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2003 2:45 AM
        To: hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Hammock Camping Adventures of a recent hammock convert in the wilderness

        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
        SafeWater 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 tail 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. 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 "gear loft" (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 underside
        was always wet. The hammock remained bone-dry the first two days, and
        had condensation only the last day (on the netting and underside of
        the tarp), when it was so cold and I'd battened down one side of the
        tarp to the point where it was touching the netting. Nice.

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

        - 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...



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        hammockcamping-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com



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