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Intro -- a total novice with questions

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  • shy_in_sunnyvale
    Hello, I m a newbie on the list, and to backpacking, and I am very curious about switching to a hammock from a tent. When I read that hammocks let you sleep on
    Message 1 of 7 , May 31, 2005
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      Hello,
      I'm a newbie on the list, and to backpacking, and I am very curious
      about switching to a
      hammock from a tent. When I read that hammocks let you sleep on your
      side, my jaw
      dropped. I'm willing to try almost anything if it means I can sleep
      on my side! I've been
      perusing the archives, and I've ordered Ed Speer's book, but I have a
      couple of questions/
      observations...

      First, it's been really hard to find photos of users lying on their
      sides in the hammocks.
      The notable exception is the Speer hammocks page (thanks!). Although
      it looks
      comfortable, it also looks claustrophobic! I don't expect the
      spaciousness of a tent, but
      could someone comment on that aspect? Are some hammocks roomier than
      others? From
      the outside, it looks like a Hennessy hammock may not gather up
      around the occupant so
      much.

      Second, does anyone know of a place near San Francisco or San Jose,
      CA where I could
      actually try out a hammock? (I assume it has to be an asymmetrical
      hammock for side-
      sleeping?) Although REI online has Hennessy hammocks, I've not seen
      them in my local
      store. I'd rather not shell out big bucks for a hammock (and
      associated underquilts/
      Peapod/Supershelter/etc) without testing one. I'd just like to lie in
      one and see what it
      feels like.

      Thanks in advance for any tips. I've really enjoyed reading about
      everyone's adventures
      and experiments in the archives.

      - May

      PS -- A bit more of a bio of me: I'm a graduate student in mechanical
      engineering. My
      husband is a former Eagle Scout who really got me hooked on hiking
      and camping. We
      took a backpacking class with our local Sierra Club last year and
      really enjoyed it, so now
      we're trying to plan more backpacking trips. We're also getting our
      dog conditioned to go
      with us. I have *never* slept comfortably in a tent, so I really hope
      I can make a hammock
      work! My husband is rather skeptical, which is another reason I'd
      like to find someplace we
      could try a hammock out...
    • AndrĂ© Corterier
      Hi May, from my very limited experience with hammocks - in that it is limited to Hennessy Explorer Asyms - they do allow me to sleep on my side (though I
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 1, 2005
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        Hi May,

        from my very limited experience with hammocks - in that it is limited
        to Hennessy Explorer Asyms - they do allow me to sleep on my side
        (though I usually don't) and do not feel claustrophobic at all. A
        friend of mine is a side-sleeper and complained that the hammock
        (same type) does not allow him to pillow his head on his hand the
        same way because the hammock body does curve upward - usually he has
        his elbow stick out horizontally when asleep on the ground or his
        bed, which doesn't work in the hammock. He adopted a quarterback/side
        position with his elbow sticking out and up at a 45 degree angle
        which he said he slept well with (I could tell, he was still snoozing
        when I got up).

        REI does not sell in Germany, but I believe they have a generous
        return policy? If so, I'd suggest ordering one and trying it out in
        the yard. That should allow both you and your husband to try it out
        for an hour or a night - if it works, you keep it, if not, you send
        it back.

        André

        --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "shy_in_sunnyvale" <mql@m...>
        wrote:
        > Hello,
        > I'm a newbie on the list, and to backpacking, and I am very curious
        > about switching to a
        > hammock from a tent. When I read that hammocks let you sleep on your
        > side, my jaw
        > dropped. I'm willing to try almost anything if it means I can sleep
        > on my side! I've been
        > perusing the archives, and I've ordered Ed Speer's book, but I have
        a
        > couple of questions/
        > observations...
        >
        > First, it's been really hard to find photos of users lying on their
        > sides in the hammocks.
        > The notable exception is the Speer hammocks page (thanks!). Although
        > it looks
        > comfortable, it also looks claustrophobic! I don't expect the
        > spaciousness of a tent, but
        > could someone comment on that aspect? Are some hammocks roomier than
        > others? From
        > the outside, it looks like a Hennessy hammock may not gather up
        > around the occupant so
        > much.
        <snip>
      • Rick
        Hi Shy, I seldom sleep on my back. In a hammock I don t spend much time completely on my side either. Instead, I tend to sleep with my lower legs completely
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 1, 2005
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          Hi Shy,

          I seldom sleep on my back. In a hammock I don't spend much time
          completely on my side either. Instead, I tend to sleep with my lower
          legs completely turned to my side and my back at about a 45 degree
          angle. It sounds strange, but the hammock supports this sort of
          position very well. Its a lot like sleeping while leaning on my wife's
          shoulder.

          I don't find the hammock claustrophobic. Just the opposite. When
          looking at a picture of a hammock what I usually see is the side.
          However, when in the hammock what I see is up. With a quilt instead of
          a sleeping bag, I actually feel much less claustrophobic than in a
          sleeping bag. And under a tarp, I feel much less claustrophobic than in
          a tent.

          I did write up a solution to your dilemma of not wanting to shell out
          big bucks, but wanting to see if a hammock is comfortable. Here is the
          link:

          http://www.imrisk.com/testhammock/testhammock.htm

          Which, by the way, is a good picture of how I sleep on my side.
          (Missing in the picture are a good pad and my quilt.)

          Have fun learning how to hammock camp. It has allowed me to camp when I
          had just about given up on camping.

          Risk

          shy_in_sunnyvale wrote:

          > Hello,
          > I'm a newbie on the list, and to backpacking, and I am very curious
          > about switching to a
          > hammock from a tent. When I read that hammocks let you sleep on your
          > side, my jaw
          > dropped. I'm willing to try almost anything if it means I can sleep
          > on my side! I've been
          > perusing the archives, and I've ordered Ed Speer's book, but I have a
          > couple of questions/
          > observations...
          >
          > First, it's been really hard to find photos of users lying on their
          > sides in the hammocks....



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • jwj32542
          ... http://www.geocities.com/jwj32542/HammockCamping.html ... Less so than in a tent, for me. I can see the ground, I can see out the sides of the tent, I
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 1, 2005
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            --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "shy_in_sunnyvale" <mql@m...>
            wrote:
            > First, it's been really hard to find photos of users lying on their
            > sides in the hammocks.

            http://www.geocities.com/jwj32542/HammockCamping.html

            > it also looks claustrophobic!

            Less so than in a tent, for me. I can see the ground, I can see out
            the sides of the tent, I watch the rain fall and don't get wet, I
            look for wildlife, I don't fell closed-in like in a tent. That's in
            my homemade Speer w/o the bug net. Adding the bug net does close
            you in a little, but still less than a tent because you can see
            through the net and watch what's going on outside...a 360' view if
            you don't have your tarp pulled down to storm conditions.

            > Are some hammocks roomier than
            > others? From
            > the outside, it looks like a Hennessy hammock may not gather up
            > around the occupant so
            > much.

            Depends on what you mean by roomier. Henessey puts side tie-outs on
            his so the sides pull away from the user, but it still has bugnet.
            In a Speer you can remove the bugnet, and if I hang mine right, it
            naturally opens in the middle. I often lay my head on the side
            (like Youngblood in the picture linked above)...can't get more open
            than that!

            You can make most any hammock feel roomy if you pitch it right.

            > Second, does anyone know of a place near San Francisco or San Jose,
            > CA where I could
            > actually try out a hammock?

            REI is HQ'd in Seattle...I assume they have them in CA. Btw...which
            part of SF? I'm moving to Monterey on 10 June (after a few delays,
            I think we're actually driving out on this date!). We're gonna take
            two weeks and do some site-seeing along the way. Any gotta-see
            recommendations?

            > (I assume it has to be an asymmetrical
            > hammock for side-sleeping?)

            Not at all. Youngblood is in a homemade Speer in the pic above, I
            always fall asleep on my back, move to my side (kinda fetal), and
            often roll onto my stomach right before I wake up.

            > I'd rather not shell out big bucks for a hammock (and
            > associated underquilts/
            > Peapod/Supershelter/etc) without testing one.

            Ditto the previous advice on buying a HH from REI and returning it
            if you don't like it. Check Risk's TestHammock page to make a cheap
            Speer-type to see how comfortable it is. Then get Speer's kit if
            you can sew and want to save a hundred bucks.

            You'll have a hard time testing PeaPods and underquilts as they
            don't sell them in stores. You might be able to hook up with
            someone and try theirs, or make it to a Hammock Hangers meeting.
            I'll let you try my JacksRBetter set when I get out there if you
            want to meet up somewhere.

            Jeff
          • Bruce W. Calkins
            I sleep on my side in my older model Hennessy. It looks to me that every hammock style has individual sweet spots. It may take a bit of experimentation to
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 1, 2005
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              I sleep on my side in my older model Hennessy.
              It looks to me that every hammock style has individual sweet spots. It may
              take a bit of experimentation to find the perfect hammock.

              Bruce W. (Black Wolfe)


              > I'm willing to try almost anything if it means I can sleep
              > on my side!
              > From the outside, it looks like a Hennessy hammock may
              > not gather up around the occupant so much.



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            • Steve Joiner
              Hi, May. While I was happy to see that REI began carrying a few camping hammocks a while ago, I think they stink at marketing them and understanding how to
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 1, 2005
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                Hi, May. While I was happy to see that REI began carrying a few camping
                hammocks a while ago, I think they stink at marketing them and understanding
                how to sell them. Local stores here (Atlanta, GA) do carry them - but they
                have nowhere to hang or demonstrate them - and I haven't yet found a store
                associate that has slept in a hammock.....

                That said, If you're interested in a Hennessey, order one from them on-line
                and have it delivered to your closest REI - no shipping charges to you. Try
                it out and if you don't like it, use their 'no questions asked' return
                policy and give it back to them!

                Now, if they'll only expand their product line and offer Speer, Jacks r
                Better, and other products!

                Steve
                -----Original Message-----
                From: hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com
                [mailto:hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of shy_in_sunnyvale
                Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2005 2:00 AM
                To: hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [Hammock Camping] Intro -- a total novice with questions


                Hello,
                I'm a newbie on the list, and to backpacking, and I am very curious
                about switching to a
                hammock from a tent. When I read that hammocks let you sleep on your
                side, my jaw
                dropped. I'm willing to try almost anything if it means I can sleep
                on my side! I've been
                perusing the archives, and I've ordered Ed Speer's book, but I have a
                couple of questions/
                observations...

                First, it's been really hard to find photos of users lying on their
                sides in the hammocks.
                The notable exception is the Speer hammocks page (thanks!). Although
                it looks
                comfortable, it also looks claustrophobic! I don't expect the
                spaciousness of a tent, but
                could someone comment on that aspect? Are some hammocks roomier than
                others? From
                the outside, it looks like a Hennessy hammock may not gather up
                around the occupant so
                much.

                Second, does anyone know of a place near San Francisco or San Jose,
                CA where I could
                actually try out a hammock? (I assume it has to be an asymmetrical
                hammock for side-
                sleeping?) Although REI online has Hennessy hammocks, I've not seen
                them in my local
                store. I'd rather not shell out big bucks for a hammock (and
                associated underquilts/
                Peapod/Supershelter/etc) without testing one. I'd just like to lie in
                one and see what it
                feels like.

                Thanks in advance for any tips. I've really enjoyed reading about
                everyone's adventures
                and experiments in the archives.

                - May

                PS -- A bit more of a bio of me: I'm a graduate student in mechanical
                engineering. My
                husband is a former Eagle Scout who really got me hooked on hiking
                and camping. We
                took a backpacking class with our local Sierra Club last year and
                really enjoyed it, so now
                we're trying to plan more backpacking trips. We're also getting our
                dog conditioned to go
                with us. I have *never* slept comfortably in a tent, so I really hope
                I can make a hammock
                work! My husband is rather skeptical, which is another reason I'd
                like to find someplace we
                could try a hammock out...




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                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • dlfrost_1
                ... The HH asym models have extra fabric at the feet and head to allow you to more easily sleep off-axis, which means flatter. The Hennessey also has elastic
                Message 7 of 7 , Jun 1, 2005
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                  --- In hammockcamping@yahoogroups.com, "shy_in_sunnyvale" <mql@m...>
                  wrote:
                  > First, it's been really hard to find photos of users lying on their
                  > sides in the hammocks.
                  > The notable exception is the Speer hammocks page (thanks!). Although
                  > it looks
                  > comfortable, it also looks claustrophobic! I don't expect the
                  > spaciousness of a tent, but
                  > could someone comment on that aspect? Are some hammocks roomier than
                  > others? From
                  > the outside, it looks like a Hennessy hammock may not gather up
                  > around the occupant so
                  > much.

                  The HH asym models have extra fabric at the feet and head to allow
                  you to more easily sleep off-axis, which means flatter.

                  The Hennessey also has elastic tie-outs on the side that attach to
                  the same stakes that you put out for the canopy. They pull the
                  hammock apart and give it a more open feeling. But you're still
                  sleeping in a sewn-in enclosure, which might bother sensitive
                  individuals.

                  I notice the closed-in feeling most when using the fly. Just replace
                  it with a larger one that hangs up higher, like Ed Speer recommends.
                  You could also make your own hammock with a free-hanging bug net--no
                  velcro, you just sweep the thing aside when you get out.

                  Doug Frost
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