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wet again

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  • marta_clark
    I went backpacking last week to the Standing Indian area. Wednesday night we had a really heavy rainstorm. Really heavy--the northward trek of a tropical
    Message 1 of 35 , Jul 11, 2005
      I went backpacking last week to the Standing Indian area. Wednesday
      night we had a really heavy rainstorm. Really heavy--the northward
      trek of a tropical storm, I think. I had the Speer hammock set up in
      a thicket of rhododendrons mixed with larger trees. After the
      problem my husband and I had in the early spring with water running
      down the hammock straps, I had tied a strip of banana on each strap,
      and they were in place for this trip.

      Because I was expecting nighttime temperatures in the 50s and 60s, I
      was sleeping on the 1/4" full-length pad and inside a Marmot summer
      sleeping bag, one which has no insulation, just an outer layer of
      nylon and an inner layer of light fleece. As the wind picked up and
      started making the trees sway, I woke up and noticed that my feet
      were damp. I assumed that was from rain blowing in under the tarp.
      In the morning, though, I found that quite a lot of water had run
      down the straps and had actually pooled under the pad. (I had put
      the magazine I was reading between pad and hammock, and it was soaked
      through.) I was pretty dry because the pad had protected me.

      So I'm kind of concerned. It was no problem on this trip--it's the
      middle of the summer and pretty warm; everything was synthetic, not
      down. But I'm losing the confidence that I can keep dry in a big

      One theory--I had tied the straps really high, so the lines were long
      and descending at a steep angle towards the hammock. Would a tauter
      pitch and less of an angle help prevent the water from overwhelming
      the dangling bits of cloth?

      Another theory--the high winds had whipped the lightweight strips of
      bandana up so they were not dangling properly anymore, and therefore
      were not causing the water to drip down.

      BTW, my hiking partner was in a Hennessy and he got wet, too. We cut
      the trip short so we could go home and dry out our stuff. He's
      working on a design for a water barrier, using sailboat hardware.

      On the other hand, I'm pretty sure I would have gotten wet in my
      tarptent, too. When I got up at 6 a.m., there was water pretty deep
      all over the ground, which was sloping). Water was coursing down the
      trail a couple of inches deep and cascading off logs and rocks in
      little waterfalls. I'm sure it would have flooded into the tarptent
      unless I had done an unusually brilliant job of locating it in a
      perfectly-drained place.

    • gtvlfed
      I know I m a little late wading in :~) on this topic but today is my first day back from a 3 week kayak trip off Canada s west coast and the subject is very
      Message 35 of 35 , Jul 25, 2005
        I know I'm a little late wading in :~) on this topic but today is my
        first day back from a 3 week kayak trip off Canada's west coast and
        the subject is very relevant. The particular area we were in is
        reputed to receive 324 inches of rainfall a year... and it felt like
        they received all of that in the 21 days we were there!

        At the last minute before departing, I butchered an old tarp to make
        up some "end caps" and I'm very thankful I did (pic is in the album
        Neale). I kept them rectangular so I could play around with shape and
        configuration. The top corner of the caps tied off a few inches inside
        the tarp peak and, for all the reasons discussed in this thread,
        effectively prevented water running along the tarp ridgeline and
        dripping over the hammock. I got no water blowing in the ends - and we
        had gale-force winds on several occassions. Because they're not needed
        all the time and I appreciated being able to adapt the set-up, I'm not
        sure I'll actually attach them permanently to the tarp as I'd planned
        but I'll certainly move to a more triangluar cut.

        I tried cord and bandanas to wick the water from the HH hammock lines.
        Both worked fine for me. I actually had more difficulty stopping the
        flow down the tension lines for my JRB nest system. In future I'll
        discard the stock suspension cords (I believe they're too long and
        hang the quilt too low in rainy conditions) and use much shorter lines
        to attach just upstream of the hammock-line joint. I eventually
        discovered that using the snake skins to cover the lines until they
        were under the tarp worked fine but I still got light moisture
        travelling into the ends of the down underquilt. The other issue with
        this solution was that I could no longer use the snake skins to furl
        the hammock once they were wet - they'd certainly soak the hammock
        during storage which would be a pain when expecting multiple days of rain.

        My question to the group is this...

        When we add the extras to stay dry and warm (ie. a separate tarp
        requiring additional stakeouts rather than the HH integrated,
        under-quilts, under-covers and end caps) - none of which goes into the
        regular snake skins so each element requires just that little extra
        time to put-up and take-down, are there ways to economize on the
        time/effort required to set up? I was a whole lot more comfortable
        than my tenting colleagues during this trip but then they were set up
        and relaxing with a cup of tea a whole lot sooner than I was. It pains
        me for the hammocks to be out-done on this one dimension. How can I
        make hammocking even more virtuous by (radically?) shortening the set
        up time? Tips? Techniques?

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