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First Hammock Camping experience (long....)

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  • Steve
    Hi, all. I m fairly new to group – I have been lurking for a month or so. I got my first hammock two weeks ago, tried it out last weekend, and thought
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 24, 2003
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      Hi, all. I'm fairly new to group – I have been lurking for a
      month or so. I got my first hammock two weeks ago, tried it out last
      weekend, and thought you'd probably enjoy a few chuckles at my
      experience/findings…..

      I recently took a job in the Baltimore area. My family is still in
      Atlanta (tough housing market there right now). I go home every-
      other weekend, but have had plenty of time to do some hiking /
      backpacking now that I have no family commitments on some weekends
      (although I'd quickly trade the extra time to get the family
      together!).

      When I moved up, I decided I'd first hike the MD section of the
      AT. I have been hiking alone, so that means double hiking it,
      essentially. (Go out, and then come back!). I've day hiked
      several sections, and now have done 2 overnighters. I'm an old
      `heavy-weight' slowly transferring to lighter weight. A
      month or so ago, I hiked Crampton's Gap to Annapolis Rock and
      back, carrying about 32 lbs. That is down from ~45 lbs a year ago,
      and 50+ lbs several years ago.

      I decided to go the hammock route for 2 reasons: I'm now 45,
      with 45 yo hips, shoulders, and just don't sleep on the ground
      that well anymore, even with a full-length TR guidelite. I've
      read with great interest almost unanimous opinion that hammocks are
      more comfortable. I also wanted to get rid of the 3.5 – 5 lb tent
      (depending on whether I `fast-packed' it or not), and came to
      the conclusion that a hammock is probably the best of both: more
      comfortable and lighter (but I guess I'm preaching to the choir,
      huh?)

      I got the Hennessey backpacker's asym. I ordered it a couple of
      weeks ago, with upgraded ropes (I weigh about 210, and it's rated
      to 200). I got the hammock on Thursday before planning to leave on
      Friday. I had just enough time Thursday night to hang it in a
      cramped space in the garage, put on the snakeskins, and make sure it
      would hold me up. I figured I'd just wing it for Friday - try to
      find a place to put it up before dark...

      I put on at Crampton's Gap (near Burkittsville) last Friday
      night.

      It rained all day Friday – the forecast said rain ending in the
      evening. I left work about 4:00 – drove the hour and a half in a
      steady shower. I stop for dinner and hang out to see if it will stop
      raining. It doesn't! The hotel across the street briefly tempts
      me...

      As dark nears, I figure that I'll just go for it – might as
      well put it up for the first time in the dark in the rain!

      I pull into the parking lot at Crampton's Gap in a steady rain at
      about 6:30. I plan on camping at Crampton's Gap on Friday,
      hiking down to Harper's Ferry and back to the Garvey Shelter area
      on Saturday, then back out Sunday morning for a late afternoon flight
      for a week out of town. The trip is a reasonable 15 miles on
      Saturday and 5 on Sunday.

      I get my gear together and `saddle up' in the rain. I get to
      the shelter area as the last of the light disappears. I've
      assumedthe shelter area will be pretty empty given the amount of rain
      during the day. I find a Boy Scout troop with about 10 boys, one
      couple, a group of 4 guys, and that's not counting the shelter
      full of people.

      I find 2 likely looking trees about 20 feet off the trail on a slope
      away from the various groups. I pull the hammock out of the top of
      my pack and quickly have it hanging [thanks to Shane's Hennessey
      knot video :^) ], stake out the fly, and get the blue pad and
      sleeping bag into the hammock. I pull out a book, my flask of
      scotch, hang my pack off a tree in its pack cover, and change into
      some sleeping clothes. I'm able to do all of this in the rain,
      mostly standing under the tarp / fly, without getting wet. The
      inside of the hammock is also dry. So far, a success!

      I carefully take off my boots standing on my `butt pad,' tie
      off the boots on the ridgeline of the hammock, hanging through the
      entry slit. It's supposed to drop down into the low 40's
      – I really don't want to start the night with wet feet.
      Little do I know…. I ease up into the hammock, slipp back and the pad
      goes one way while the sleeping bag goes the other! I bounce around
      until I'm able to get the sleeping bag mostly on the pad, struggle
      into the sleeping bag (new bag is in order – this one zips on the
      right – even tougher to get in!). Find my book (at this point, under
      the pad), my platypus flask with a good single malt (it's now time
      for a slug!), and settle back. I find the `angle,' but just
      can't quite get comfortable (remember, this is the first time laying
      in a hammock!).

      I take out my contacts and put on my glasses. I take them back off
      and put them under my shirt so they'll warm up. I wipe off the
      fog and slip the small saline solution ad contact lens holder in the
      mesh bag hanging on the ridge line (convenient!), pull out my book
      and start reading.

      I read for a while, and just can't get comfortable. I finally
      notice that my feet are very close to the end of the hammock. I
      glance up and see literally feet of hammock material looming above my
      head. Ah-ha. The head of the hammock is hanging higher than the
      foot! (The head is hung on the tree on the down-side of the slope).

      It's still raining. I unzip the bag, take off my socks (I figure
      it's too much trouble to put on my boots, and don't want to
      get my socks wet), and ease out of the hammock. Cold! (low 40's
      and rain). After slipping the head end of the hammock down 6 inches
      or so, tripping over the fly tie-out, I manage not to curse as even
      more water shake out of the small tree the fly is tied to - going
      down the back of my long-sleep poly tee. I re-tie the fly, then re-
      position the pad and sleeping bag, locate my book, flask and water
      bottle, set down in the hammock, manage to brush most of the leaves
      and trash off my soaked feet, lay back into the hammock as the blue
      pad goes one way, the sleeping bag goes the other. I manage to get
      the pad back under the bag, and can't find a sock. I finally
      check the ground and see it where it slipped through the entry slit
      onto the ground.

      I grumble. This is fun, right? I can't reach the ground without
      getting out of the hammock. I try to step down on my butt pad –
      but it slid down during my last entry. I get out, pick up the sock
      and start the process over….

      Finally get arranged, look up and again see literally feet of hammock
      material hanging up above my head……

      Decide it time for another sip of scotch. Well, make that 2. Might
      as well have 3 while it's out….

      Read for a while. Feet are still uncomfortable. Decide to take
      another shot at leveling out the hammock.

      Refer to a couple of paragraphs above – only I've had several
      `sips' of scotch by now. As I slip out of the hammock, the
      blue pad, sleeping bag, book, water bottle and scotch all decide to
      join me. At least it isn't raining as hard and I manage not to
      trip over the fly tie-line this time.

      Rearrange everything and ease back into the hammock. Manage to get
      in the sleeping bag with it mostly on the hammock! Blast.
      Head's still too high! Repeat the process…..

      I finally settle back into a level hammock, the bag is mostly on the
      pad, I'm zipped comfortably in my bag, find the `sweet spot' in the
      angle, lean back, have another sip of scotch, flip off my light, and
      start what will be one of my most comfortable nights' sleep ever
      while camping!
    • Debby Sherman
      Steve.....Just too funny. Makes me feel just fine about some of my misadventures. Where would we be without our sense of humor? Debby Steve
      Message 2 of 8 , Oct 24, 2003
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        Steve.....Just too funny.  Makes me feel just fine about some of my misadventures.  Where would we be without our sense of humor?
        Debby

        Steve <joiners@...> wrote:
        Hi, all.  I'm fairly new to group � I have been lurking for a
        month or so.  I got my first hammock two weeks ago, tried it out last
        weekend, and thought you'd probably enjoy a few chuckles at my
        experience/findings�..

        I recently took a job in the Baltimore area.  My family is still in
        Atlanta (tough housing market there right now).  I go home every-
        other weekend, but have had plenty of time to do some hiking /
        backpacking now that I have no family commitments on some weekends
        (although I'd quickly trade the extra time to get the family
        together!). 

        When I moved up, I decided I'd first hike the MD section of the
        AT.  I have been hiking alone, so that means double hiking it,
        essentially.  (Go out, and then come back!).  I've day hiked
        several sections, and now have done 2 overnighters.  I'm an old
        `heavy-weight' slowly transferring to lighter weight.  A
        month or so ago, I hiked Crampton's Gap to Annapolis Rock and
        back, carrying about 32 lbs.  That is down from ~45 lbs a year ago,
        and 50+ lbs several years ago.

        I decided to go the hammock route for 2 reasons:  I'm now 45,
        with 45 yo hips, shoulders, and just don't sleep on the ground
        that well anymore, even with a full-length TR guidelite.  I've
        read with great interest almost unanimous opinion that hammocks are
        more comfortable.  I also wanted to get rid of the 3.5 � 5 lb tent
        (depending on whether I `fast-packed' it or not), and came to
        the conclusion that a hammock is probably the best of both:  more
        comfortable and lighter (but I guess I'm preaching to the choir,
        huh?)

        I got the Hennessey backpacker's asym.  I ordered it a couple of
        weeks ago, with upgraded ropes (I weigh about 210, and it's rated
        to 200).  I got the hammock on Thursday before planning to leave on
        Friday.  I had just enough time Thursday night to hang it in a
        cramped space in the garage, put on the snakeskins, and make sure it
        would hold me up.  I figured I'd just wing it for Friday - try to
        find a place to put it up before dark... 

        I put on at Crampton's Gap (near Burkittsville) last Friday
        night. 

        It rained all day Friday � the forecast said rain ending in the
        evening.  I left work about 4:00 � drove the hour and a half in a
        steady shower.  I stop for dinner and hang out to see if it will stop
        raining.  It doesn't!  The hotel across the street briefly tempts
        me...

        As dark nears, I figure that I'll just go for it � might as
        well put it up for the first time in the dark in the rain!

        I pull into the parking lot at Crampton's Gap in a steady rain at
        about 6:30.  I plan on camping at Crampton's Gap on Friday,
        hiking down to Harper's Ferry and back to the Garvey Shelter area
        on Saturday, then back out Sunday morning for a late afternoon flight
        for a week out of town.  The trip is a reasonable 15 miles on
        Saturday and 5 on Sunday.

        I get my gear together and `saddle up' in the rain.  I get to
        the shelter area as the last of the light disappears.  I've
        assumedthe shelter area will be pretty empty given the amount of rain
        during the day.  I find a Boy Scout troop with about 10 boys, one
        couple, a group of 4 guys, and that's not counting the shelter
        full of people. 

        I find 2 likely looking trees about 20 feet off the trail on a slope
        away from the various groups.  I pull the hammock out of the top of
        my pack and quickly have it hanging [thanks to Shane's Hennessey
        knot video :^) ], stake out the fly, and get the blue pad and
        sleeping bag into the hammock.  I pull out a book, my flask of
        scotch, hang my pack off a tree in its pack cover, and change into
        some sleeping clothes.  I'm able to do all of this in the rain,
        mostly standing under the tarp / fly, without getting wet.  The
        inside of the hammock is also dry.  So far, a success!

        I carefully take off my boots standing on my `butt pad,' tie
        off the boots on the ridgeline of the hammock, hanging through the
        entry slit.  It's supposed to drop down into the low 40's
        � I really don't want to start the night with wet feet.
        Little do I know�. I ease up into the hammock, slipp back and the pad
        goes one way while the sleeping bag goes the other!  I bounce around
        until I'm able to get the sleeping bag mostly on the pad, struggle
        into the sleeping bag (new bag is in order � this one zips on the
        right � even tougher to get in!).  Find my book (at this point, under
        the pad), my platypus flask with a good single malt (it's now time
        for a slug!), and settle back.  I find the `angle,' but just
        can't quite get comfortable (remember, this is the first time laying
        in a hammock!). 

        I take out my contacts and put on my glasses.  I take them back off
        and put them under my shirt so they'll warm up. I wipe off the
        fog and slip the small saline solution ad contact lens holder in the
        mesh bag hanging on the ridge line (convenient!), pull out my book
        and start reading.

        I read for a while, and just can't get comfortable.  I finally
        notice that my feet are very close to the end of the hammock.  I
        glance up and see literally feet of hammock material looming above my
        head.  Ah-ha.  The head of the hammock is hanging higher than the
        foot!  (The head is hung on the tree on the down-side of the slope).

        It's still raining.  I unzip the bag, take off my socks (I figure
        it's too much trouble to put on my boots, and don't want to
        get my socks wet), and ease out of the hammock.  Cold!  (low 40's
        and rain).  After slipping the head end of the hammock down 6 inches
        or so, tripping over the fly tie-out, I manage not to curse as even
        more water shake out of the small tree the fly is tied to - going
        down the back of my long-sleep poly tee.  I re-tie the fly, then re-
        position the pad and sleeping bag, locate my book, flask and water
        bottle, set down in the hammock, manage to brush most of the leaves
        and trash off my soaked feet, lay back into the hammock as the blue
        pad goes one way, the sleeping bag goes the other.  I manage to get
        the pad back under the bag, and can't find a sock.  I finally
        check the ground and see it where it slipped through the entry slit
        onto the ground. 

        I grumble.  This is fun, right?  I can't reach the ground without
        getting out of the hammock.  I try to step down on my butt pad �
        but it slid down during my last entry.  I get out, pick up the sock
        and start the process over�.

        Finally get arranged, look up and again see literally feet of hammock
        material hanging up above my head��

        Decide it time for another sip of scotch.  Well, make that 2.  Might
        as well have 3 while it's out�.

        Read for a while.  Feet are still uncomfortable.  Decide to take
        another shot at leveling out the hammock. 

        Refer to a couple of paragraphs above � only I've had several
        `sips' of scotch by now.  As I slip out of the hammock, the
        blue pad, sleeping bag, book, water bottle and scotch all decide to
        join me.  At least it isn't raining as hard and I manage not to
        trip over the fly tie-line this time. 

        Rearrange everything and ease back into the hammock.  Manage to get
        in the sleeping bag with it mostly on the hammock!  Blast.
        Head's still too high!  Repeat the process�..

        I finally settle back into a level hammock, the bag is mostly on the
        pad, I'm zipped comfortably in my bag, find the `sweet spot' in the
        angle, lean back, have another sip of scotch, flip off my light, and
        start what will be one of my most comfortable nights' sleep ever
        while camping!




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      • Rick
        Steve, I enjoyed the story and the humor. You learned most of the lessons either before hand or during your experience. On a serious vein, here are a couple
        Message 3 of 8 , Oct 25, 2003
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          Steve,

          I enjoyed the story and the humor. You learned most of the lessons
          either before hand or during your experience. On a serious vein, here
          are a couple suggestions that might make your next night out even nicer.

          - I find it feels better to have my head end a little lower (3 inches or
          so) than my feet. This moves the "sweet spot" several inches toward the
          head and gives my feet more room.
          - Watch for those glasses and other sharps. You don't want one to poke
          through the hammock material. As you have already discovered, if you
          can't find something it is probably right under your bottom. I have
          found my glasses there several times
          - You may find it easier to use the sleeping bag as a quilt. Just unzip
          it until there is a little pocket for your feet and then drape it over
          you. You sleep directly on the pad. This makes something like long
          underwear or fleece long underwear useful in the winter.
          - It won't take many further degrees lower before you run out of the
          protective envelope of the Target pad. You may want to use something
          thicker in addition.
          - I suspect you already know this, but perhaps others do not: Alcohol
          gives a wonderful feeling of warmth without giving any real warmth. It
          causes the surface capillary bed of the skin to dilate and the skin
          feels nice and warm. All the while, you lose heat more quickly. In a
          hammock, where preservation of warmth is really important, this can lead
          to bad hypothermia. It can even lead to delayed or absent shivering,
          which is my personal warning sign that things are going very badly and
          that I need to find another way to get warm.

          I'm glad that the good night's sleep finally found you. Especially in
          the rain, I find it very comforting to look down at all those puddles on
          the ground and realize how very comfortable this is. I remember a night
          last spring, with the snow melting in the rain and the ground soaked
          with water to a depth of many inches...squishy when I walked on it...how
          comfortable I was suspended between trees instead of wallowing in the mud.

          Risk

          Steve wrote:

          >Hi, all. I'm fairly new to group – I have been lurking for a
          >month or so. I got my first hammock two weeks ago, tried it out last
          >weekend, and thought you'd probably enjoy a few chuckles at my
          >experience/findings…..
          >
          >
          >
        • Dave Womble
          Steve, I suspect that most of us hammock users have had similiar experiences. I think we all have to pretty much figure out for ourselves how to setup the
          Message 4 of 8 , Oct 25, 2003
          • 0 Attachment
            Steve,

            I suspect that most of us hammock users have had similiar
            experiences. I think we all have to pretty much figure out for
            ourselves how to setup the hammocks as the instructions that come
            with them are somewhat vague... most of the instructions condense
            down to "adjust until comfortable" and this usually requires a lot
            of 'trial & error' until we figure out a more consistant approach
            that we can live with.

            One thing that I noticed that really makes it difficult is if you
            don't 'center the hammock'. By 'center the hammock' I refer to
            having equal lengths of rope on both the 'headend of the hammock to
            the tree' and to the 'footend of the hammock to the tree'. If you do
            that then the slope of the hammock will pretty much be determined by
            how high you attach the two ropes relative to each other. If you
            don't, then you have introduced a 'joker' into the equation. If the
            ropes lengths are unequal, the end with the longest piece of rope
            will drop lower and the hammock will slope in that direction... but
            only AFTER you get into the hammock. And when you get out of the
            hammock the slope that it causes will probably not be there when you
            back off to get a look at the hammock slope. This can be little
            confusing because you can't see the slope when you are outside the
            hammock but you sure can tell it is there when you get in the
            hammock. So, you just keep trying (sometimes over & over) to raise
            the drooping end so that when you get back in the hammock will be
            comfortable.

            It is much easier if you can 'center the hammock'. You then learn to
            do what Rick suggested and raise the foot end a few inches when you
            set it up so that you get a comfortable nights sleep. If you need
            suggestions on how to center your particular model of hammock, I
            suspect that if you ask someone here probably has already figured out
            a way and will be happy to share that info with you.

            Youngblood


            --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "Steve" <joiners@b...> wrote:
            > Hi, all. I'm fairly new to group – I have been lurking for a
            > month or so. I got my first hammock two weeks ago, tried it out
            last
            > weekend, and thought you'd probably enjoy a few chuckles at my
            > experience/findings…..
            >
            > I recently took a job in the Baltimore area. My family is still in
            > Atlanta (tough housing market there right now). I go home every-
            > other weekend, but have had plenty of time to do some hiking /
            > backpacking now that I have no family commitments on some weekends
            > (although I'd quickly trade the extra time to get the family
            > together!).
            >
            > When I moved up, I decided I'd first hike the MD section of the
            > AT. I have been hiking alone, so that means double hiking it,
            > essentially. (Go out, and then come back!). I've day hiked
            > several sections, and now have done 2 overnighters. I'm an old
            > `heavy-weight' slowly transferring to lighter weight. A
            > month or so ago, I hiked Crampton's Gap to Annapolis Rock and
            > back, carrying about 32 lbs. That is down from ~45 lbs a year ago,
            > and 50+ lbs several years ago.
            >
            > I decided to go the hammock route for 2 reasons: I'm now 45,
            > with 45 yo hips, shoulders, and just don't sleep on the ground
            > that well anymore, even with a full-length TR guidelite. I've
            > read with great interest almost unanimous opinion that hammocks are
            > more comfortable. I also wanted to get rid of the 3.5 – 5 lb tent
            > (depending on whether I `fast-packed' it or not), and came to
            > the conclusion that a hammock is probably the best of both: more
            > comfortable and lighter (but I guess I'm preaching to the choir,
            > huh?)
            >
            > I got the Hennessey backpacker's asym. I ordered it a couple of
            > weeks ago, with upgraded ropes (I weigh about 210, and it's rated
            > to 200). I got the hammock on Thursday before planning to leave on
            > Friday. I had just enough time Thursday night to hang it in a
            > cramped space in the garage, put on the snakeskins, and make sure
            it
            > would hold me up. I figured I'd just wing it for Friday - try to
            > find a place to put it up before dark...
            >
            > I put on at Crampton's Gap (near Burkittsville) last Friday
            > night.
            >
            > It rained all day Friday – the forecast said rain ending in the
            > evening. I left work about 4:00 – drove the hour and a half in a
            > steady shower. I stop for dinner and hang out to see if it will
            stop
            > raining. It doesn't! The hotel across the street briefly tempts
            > me...
            >
            > As dark nears, I figure that I'll just go for it – might as
            > well put it up for the first time in the dark in the rain!
            >
            > I pull into the parking lot at Crampton's Gap in a steady rain at
            > about 6:30. I plan on camping at Crampton's Gap on Friday,
            > hiking down to Harper's Ferry and back to the Garvey Shelter area
            > on Saturday, then back out Sunday morning for a late afternoon
            flight
            > for a week out of town. The trip is a reasonable 15 miles on
            > Saturday and 5 on Sunday.
            >
            > I get my gear together and `saddle up' in the rain. I get to
            > the shelter area as the last of the light disappears. I've
            > assumedthe shelter area will be pretty empty given the amount of
            rain
            > during the day. I find a Boy Scout troop with about 10 boys, one
            > couple, a group of 4 guys, and that's not counting the shelter
            > full of people.
            >
            > I find 2 likely looking trees about 20 feet off the trail on a
            slope
            > away from the various groups. I pull the hammock out of the top of
            > my pack and quickly have it hanging [thanks to Shane's Hennessey
            > knot video :^) ], stake out the fly, and get the blue pad and
            > sleeping bag into the hammock. I pull out a book, my flask of
            > scotch, hang my pack off a tree in its pack cover, and change into
            > some sleeping clothes. I'm able to do all of this in the rain,
            > mostly standing under the tarp / fly, without getting wet. The
            > inside of the hammock is also dry. So far, a success!
            >
            > I carefully take off my boots standing on my `butt pad,' tie
            > off the boots on the ridgeline of the hammock, hanging through the
            > entry slit. It's supposed to drop down into the low 40's
            > – I really don't want to start the night with wet feet.
            > Little do I know…. I ease up into the hammock, slipp back and the
            pad
            > goes one way while the sleeping bag goes the other! I bounce
            around
            > until I'm able to get the sleeping bag mostly on the pad, struggle
            > into the sleeping bag (new bag is in order – this one zips on the
            > right – even tougher to get in!). Find my book (at this point,
            under
            > the pad), my platypus flask with a good single malt (it's now time
            > for a slug!), and settle back. I find the `angle,' but just
            > can't quite get comfortable (remember, this is the first time
            laying
            > in a hammock!).
            >
            > I take out my contacts and put on my glasses. I take them back off
            > and put them under my shirt so they'll warm up. I wipe off the
            > fog and slip the small saline solution ad contact lens holder in
            the
            > mesh bag hanging on the ridge line (convenient!), pull out my book
            > and start reading.
            >
            > I read for a while, and just can't get comfortable. I finally
            > notice that my feet are very close to the end of the hammock. I
            > glance up and see literally feet of hammock material looming above
            my
            > head. Ah-ha. The head of the hammock is hanging higher than the
            > foot! (The head is hung on the tree on the down-side of the slope).
            >
            > It's still raining. I unzip the bag, take off my socks (I figure
            > it's too much trouble to put on my boots, and don't want to
            > get my socks wet), and ease out of the hammock. Cold! (low 40's
            > and rain). After slipping the head end of the hammock down 6
            inches
            > or so, tripping over the fly tie-out, I manage not to curse as even
            > more water shake out of the small tree the fly is tied to - going
            > down the back of my long-sleep poly tee. I re-tie the fly, then re-
            > position the pad and sleeping bag, locate my book, flask and water
            > bottle, set down in the hammock, manage to brush most of the leaves
            > and trash off my soaked feet, lay back into the hammock as the blue
            > pad goes one way, the sleeping bag goes the other. I manage to get
            > the pad back under the bag, and can't find a sock. I finally
            > check the ground and see it where it slipped through the entry slit
            > onto the ground.
            >
            > I grumble. This is fun, right? I can't reach the ground without
            > getting out of the hammock. I try to step down on my butt pad –
            > but it slid down during my last entry. I get out, pick up the sock
            > and start the process over….
            >
            > Finally get arranged, look up and again see literally feet of
            hammock
            > material hanging up above my head……
            >
            > Decide it time for another sip of scotch. Well, make that 2.
            Might
            > as well have 3 while it's out….
            >
            > Read for a while. Feet are still uncomfortable. Decide to take
            > another shot at leveling out the hammock.
            >
            > Refer to a couple of paragraphs above – only I've had several
            > `sips' of scotch by now. As I slip out of the hammock, the
            > blue pad, sleeping bag, book, water bottle and scotch all decide to
            > join me. At least it isn't raining as hard and I manage not to
            > trip over the fly tie-line this time.
            >
            > Rearrange everything and ease back into the hammock. Manage to get
            > in the sleeping bag with it mostly on the hammock! Blast.
            > Head's still too high! Repeat the process…..
            >
            > I finally settle back into a level hammock, the bag is mostly on
            the
            > pad, I'm zipped comfortably in my bag, find the `sweet spot' in the
            > angle, lean back, have another sip of scotch, flip off my light,
            and
            > start what will be one of my most comfortable nights' sleep ever
            > while camping!
          • Steve
            Thanks for the suggestions, all. I will say that the 2nd night went much better - although I still haven t figured out the most comfortable tension - guess
            Message 5 of 8 , Oct 25, 2003
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              Thanks for the suggestions, all. I will say that the 2nd night went
              much better - although I still haven't figured out the most
              comfortable 'tension' - guess it'll come with experience!

              Off to take my 8-year old on a Cub Scout camping trip!

              Steve

              --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "Dave Womble" <dpwomble@y...>
              wrote:
              > Steve,
              >
              > I suspect that most of us hammock users have had similiar
              > experiences. I think we all have to pretty much figure out for
              > ourselves how to setup the hammocks as the instructions that come
              > with them are somewhat vague... most of the instructions condense
              > down to "adjust until comfortable" and this usually requires a lot
              > of 'trial & error' until we figure out a more consistant approach
              > that we can live with.
              >
              > One thing that I noticed that really makes it difficult is if you
              > don't 'center the hammock'. By 'center the hammock' I refer to
              > having equal lengths of rope on both the 'headend of the hammock to
              > the tree' and to the 'footend of the hammock to the tree'. If you
              do
              > that then the slope of the hammock will pretty much be determined
              by
              > how high you attach the two ropes relative to each other. If you
              > don't, then you have introduced a 'joker' into the equation. If
              the
              > ropes lengths are unequal, the end with the longest piece of rope
              > will drop lower and the hammock will slope in that direction... but
              > only AFTER you get into the hammock. And when you get out of the
              > hammock the slope that it causes will probably not be there when
              you
              > back off to get a look at the hammock slope. This can be little
              > confusing because you can't see the slope when you are outside the
              > hammock but you sure can tell it is there when you get in the
              > hammock. So, you just keep trying (sometimes over & over) to raise
              > the drooping end so that when you get back in the hammock will be
              > comfortable.
              >
              > It is much easier if you can 'center the hammock'. You then learn
              to
              > do what Rick suggested and raise the foot end a few inches when you
              > set it up so that you get a comfortable nights sleep. If you need
              > suggestions on how to center your particular model of hammock, I
              > suspect that if you ask someone here probably has already figured
              out
              > a way and will be happy to share that info with you.
              >
              > Youngblood
              >
              >
              > --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "Steve" <joiners@b...> wrote:
              > > Hi, all. I'm fairly new to group – I have been lurking for a
              > > month or so. I got my first hammock two weeks ago, tried it out
              > last
              > > weekend, and thought you'd probably enjoy a few chuckles at my
              > > experience/findings…..
              > >
              > > I recently took a job in the Baltimore area. My family is still
              in
              > > Atlanta (tough housing market there right now). I go home every-
              > > other weekend, but have had plenty of time to do some hiking /
              > > backpacking now that I have no family commitments on some
              weekends
              > > (although I'd quickly trade the extra time to get the family
              > > together!).
              > >
              > > When I moved up, I decided I'd first hike the MD section of the
              > > AT. I have been hiking alone, so that means double hiking it,
              > > essentially. (Go out, and then come back!). I've day hiked
              > > several sections, and now have done 2 overnighters. I'm an old
              > > `heavy-weight' slowly transferring to lighter weight. A
              > > month or so ago, I hiked Crampton's Gap to Annapolis Rock and
              > > back, carrying about 32 lbs. That is down from ~45 lbs a year
              ago,
              > > and 50+ lbs several years ago.
              > >
              > > I decided to go the hammock route for 2 reasons: I'm now 45,
              > > with 45 yo hips, shoulders, and just don't sleep on the ground
              > > that well anymore, even with a full-length TR guidelite. I've
              > > read with great interest almost unanimous opinion that hammocks
              are
              > > more comfortable. I also wanted to get rid of the 3.5 – 5 lb
              tent
              > > (depending on whether I `fast-packed' it or not), and came to
              > > the conclusion that a hammock is probably the best of both: more
              > > comfortable and lighter (but I guess I'm preaching to the choir,
              > > huh?)
              > >
              > > I got the Hennessey backpacker's asym. I ordered it a couple of
              > > weeks ago, with upgraded ropes (I weigh about 210, and it's rated
              > > to 200). I got the hammock on Thursday before planning to leave
              on
              > > Friday. I had just enough time Thursday night to hang it in a
              > > cramped space in the garage, put on the snakeskins, and make sure
              > it
              > > would hold me up. I figured I'd just wing it for Friday - try to
              > > find a place to put it up before dark...
              > >
              > > I put on at Crampton's Gap (near Burkittsville) last Friday
              > > night.
              > >
              > > It rained all day Friday – the forecast said rain ending in the
              > > evening. I left work about 4:00 – drove the hour and a half in a
              > > steady shower. I stop for dinner and hang out to see if it will
              > stop
              > > raining. It doesn't! The hotel across the street briefly tempts
              > > me...
              > >
              > > As dark nears, I figure that I'll just go for it – might as
              > > well put it up for the first time in the dark in the rain!
              > >
              > > I pull into the parking lot at Crampton's Gap in a steady rain at
              > > about 6:30. I plan on camping at Crampton's Gap on Friday,
              > > hiking down to Harper's Ferry and back to the Garvey Shelter area
              > > on Saturday, then back out Sunday morning for a late afternoon
              > flight
              > > for a week out of town. The trip is a reasonable 15 miles on
              > > Saturday and 5 on Sunday.
              > >
              > > I get my gear together and `saddle up' in the rain. I get to
              > > the shelter area as the last of the light disappears. I've
              > > assumedthe shelter area will be pretty empty given the amount of
              > rain
              > > during the day. I find a Boy Scout troop with about 10 boys, one
              > > couple, a group of 4 guys, and that's not counting the shelter
              > > full of people.
              > >
              > > I find 2 likely looking trees about 20 feet off the trail on a
              > slope
              > > away from the various groups. I pull the hammock out of the top
              of
              > > my pack and quickly have it hanging [thanks to Shane's Hennessey
              > > knot video :^) ], stake out the fly, and get the blue pad and
              > > sleeping bag into the hammock. I pull out a book, my flask of
              > > scotch, hang my pack off a tree in its pack cover, and change
              into
              > > some sleeping clothes. I'm able to do all of this in the rain,
              > > mostly standing under the tarp / fly, without getting wet. The
              > > inside of the hammock is also dry. So far, a success!
              > >
              > > I carefully take off my boots standing on my `butt pad,' tie
              > > off the boots on the ridgeline of the hammock, hanging through
              the
              > > entry slit. It's supposed to drop down into the low 40's
              > > – I really don't want to start the night with wet feet.
              > > Little do I know…. I ease up into the hammock, slipp back and the
              > pad
              > > goes one way while the sleeping bag goes the other! I bounce
              > around
              > > until I'm able to get the sleeping bag mostly on the pad,
              struggle
              > > into the sleeping bag (new bag is in order – this one zips on the
              > > right – even tougher to get in!). Find my book (at this point,
              > under
              > > the pad), my platypus flask with a good single malt (it's now time
              > > for a slug!), and settle back. I find the `angle,' but just
              > > can't quite get comfortable (remember, this is the first time
              > laying
              > > in a hammock!).
              > >
              > > I take out my contacts and put on my glasses. I take them back
              off
              > > and put them under my shirt so they'll warm up. I wipe off the
              > > fog and slip the small saline solution ad contact lens holder in
              > the
              > > mesh bag hanging on the ridge line (convenient!), pull out my
              book
              > > and start reading.
              > >
              > > I read for a while, and just can't get comfortable. I finally
              > > notice that my feet are very close to the end of the hammock. I
              > > glance up and see literally feet of hammock material looming
              above
              > my
              > > head. Ah-ha. The head of the hammock is hanging higher than the
              > > foot! (The head is hung on the tree on the down-side of the
              slope).
              > >
              > > It's still raining. I unzip the bag, take off my socks (I figure
              > > it's too much trouble to put on my boots, and don't want to
              > > get my socks wet), and ease out of the hammock. Cold! (low 40's
              > > and rain). After slipping the head end of the hammock down 6
              > inches
              > > or so, tripping over the fly tie-out, I manage not to curse as
              even
              > > more water shake out of the small tree the fly is tied to - going
              > > down the back of my long-sleep poly tee. I re-tie the fly, then
              re-
              > > position the pad and sleeping bag, locate my book, flask and
              water
              > > bottle, set down in the hammock, manage to brush most of the
              leaves
              > > and trash off my soaked feet, lay back into the hammock as the
              blue
              > > pad goes one way, the sleeping bag goes the other. I manage to
              get
              > > the pad back under the bag, and can't find a sock. I finally
              > > check the ground and see it where it slipped through the entry
              slit
              > > onto the ground.
              > >
              > > I grumble. This is fun, right? I can't reach the ground without
              > > getting out of the hammock. I try to step down on my butt pad –
              > > but it slid down during my last entry. I get out, pick up the
              sock
              > > and start the process over….
              > >
              > > Finally get arranged, look up and again see literally feet of
              > hammock
              > > material hanging up above my head……
              > >
              > > Decide it time for another sip of scotch. Well, make that 2.
              > Might
              > > as well have 3 while it's out….
              > >
              > > Read for a while. Feet are still uncomfortable. Decide to take
              > > another shot at leveling out the hammock.
              > >
              > > Refer to a couple of paragraphs above – only I've had several
              > > `sips' of scotch by now. As I slip out of the hammock, the
              > > blue pad, sleeping bag, book, water bottle and scotch all decide
              to
              > > join me. At least it isn't raining as hard and I manage not to
              > > trip over the fly tie-line this time.
              > >
              > > Rearrange everything and ease back into the hammock. Manage to
              get
              > > in the sleeping bag with it mostly on the hammock! Blast.
              > > Head's still too high! Repeat the process…..
              > >
              > > I finally settle back into a level hammock, the bag is mostly on
              > the
              > > pad, I'm zipped comfortably in my bag, find the `sweet spot' in
              the
              > > angle, lean back, have another sip of scotch, flip off my light,
              > and
              > > start what will be one of my most comfortable nights' sleep ever
              > > while camping!
            • David Chinell
              Steve: Thanks for taking the time and trouble to write well. A great read. Bear
              Message 6 of 8 , Oct 25, 2003
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                Steve:

                Thanks for taking the time and trouble to write well. A
                great read.

                Bear
              • ciyd01
                Steve, I m sure we all have some amusing stories to tell about our first hammocking attempts. Mine included getting poked in the butt by a rhododendron. I
                Message 7 of 8 , Oct 25, 2003
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                  Steve,

                  I'm sure we all have some amusing stories to tell about our first
                  hammocking attempts. Mine included getting poked in the butt by a
                  rhododendron. I enjoyed your trip report and I'm glad it ended with
                  a good night's sleep. Here are some suggestions based on my own
                  hammocking experience.

                  > I find 2 likely looking trees about 20 feet off the trail on a
                  slope
                  > away from the various groups. I pull the hammock out of the top of
                  > my pack and quickly have it hanging [thanks to Shane's Hennessey
                  > knot video :^) ], stake out the fly, and get the blue pad and
                  > sleeping bag into the hammock.

                  Right before you start piling stuff into the hammock, infact before
                  you tie out the sides of the hammock, sit in it like a chair and lift
                  your feet off the ground. This helps pre-stretch your lashings and
                  ropes. You can even lie back on the hammock without getting into it
                  to see if one end is sagging. Watch the muddy shoes and the bugnet
                  or you'll get mud and water in the hammock. Now go back and re-
                  adjust your set up. Do this a few times until you get it right.

                  > I ease up into the hammock, slipp back and the pad
                  > goes one way while the sleeping bag goes the other! I bounce
                  around
                  > until I'm able to get the sleeping bag mostly on the pad, struggle
                  > into the sleeping bag (new bag is in order – this one zips on the
                  > right – even tougher to get in!).

                  I, too, have a right zip bag and on my last trip decided to use it as
                  a sleeping bag to see how hard it would be to get into in a
                  Hennessey. After about 3 attempts, I found that if I unzip the bag
                  most of the way and roll the top open, when I sit down in the
                  hammock, my butt is actually inside the sleeping bag and I don't have
                  to do much to get it centered in the bag. Then flip the bag top back
                  over you and zip it shut. As others have pointed out, using the bag
                  as a quilt is preferrable. You will have the hood section to contend
                  with, but that's not too annoying. If you don't want to have to buy
                  a new bag but find that the bag as a quilt is too drafty, you could
                  attach a couple of straps to it, ala the Nunatak Arc Alpinist, that
                  would tuck the sides in and keep out drafts.

                  As for the pad, it's a lot easier to contend with if you use the bag
                  as a quilt. Then you've only got one layer below you that's mobile.
                  I'm using an underquilt now and don't have to deal with the pad.

                  > I manage to get the pad back under the bag, and can't find a sock.

                  You can actually use that ridgeline as a slothes line. I drape my
                  socks, glove, hat, whatever over the ridgeline. When I get out of
                  the hammock, there is just enough snugness between the reidgeline and
                  the bugnet to keep theis kind of stuff in place. Hanign a book over
                  the ridgeline has not proven as successful.

                  > At least it isn't raining as hard and I manage not to
                  > trip over the fly tie-line this time.

                  I changed my fly tie out cord to reflective stuff because I kept
                  tripping over the thin black cord that came attached to the hammock.
                  It also makes it easier to find you hammock when you go walking on
                  the beach on a foggy night :)

                  > and start what will be one of my most comfortable nights' sleep
                  ever
                  > while camping!

                  Ah, the payoff! It gets easier and faster as you get more
                  experience. I'm nowhere near Shane's times of 2 or 3 minutes but
                  it's no longer 30 minutes of fussing.

                  ciyd
                • subypower
                  hello steve, first my name is scott and i am in b-more too, if you need a hiking partner let me know i need one to, as a matter of fact i am thinking of doing
                  Message 8 of 8 , Oct 27, 2003
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                    hello steve,

                    first my name is scott and i am in b-more too,

                    if you need a hiking partner let me know i need one to, as a matter
                    of fact i am thinking of doing a MD AT hike in a few weeks. which
                    will be solo most likly, unless i find someone else to go. and as a
                    tree hanger going with a ground hugger does not make much sense.

                    i am a lightweight ( sort off ) with some heavyweight equipment as
                    well, currently using a HH asym, but still with synthetic sleeping
                    bags. i cant seem to trust down bags there just does not seen like
                    there is enough there to keep me warm.

                    feel free to email me at a 9144me@..., so we can talk

                    scott

                    aka white knight
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