Re: How about this for sleeping warmth on an AT thruhike...
You have the makings of a good AT set-up. Beginning in March, I'd
suggest a couple small changes:
Take a look at the new Thermarest ultralites that have just come out
in 2004. I understand they have a fabric which does not slide as much
as the present thermarest. This has been a problem in the hammock for
many of us.
I doubt that you will need both a down underquilt and a pad. The
underquilt shown at the ThruHiker site is quite remarkable. I read
the article carefully and was impressed how much work it took to shape
properly. I think that a Speer TopQuilt, clipped with elastic to the
bottom of a hammock will not do nearly as well. It will thin out to
no thickness for much of its coverage or will hang away from the
hammock, allowing cold air between the hammock and the down. I have
tried this, in several ways, without much success.
A better idea might be the "waterproof cover" you are thinking about
to cover the bottom of the hammock. Made out of either silnylon or
even just plain 1.1 oz ripstop, a layer under the hennessy does a lot
to increase comfort on windy cold nights. I find it unnecessary above
about 45 F. Different approaches are the Garlington Insulator and my
TravelPod. If you want links to those ideas, check out the archives
here, or they are both documented on my site at:
A single layer of cloth under the hammock - maybe filled with a little
of my hiking gear, plus the thermarest, makes me comfortable down to
about 20-25F, which is about as low as I would expect to see during a
thru hike that begins in March.
The southern "rain forest" may be more comfortable using an oversized
tarp, like the Hennessy now offers. I would opt for a larger tarp
like this without doubt.
Have fun in your testing and your planning. Let us know how your
trial runs turn out.