- 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
- 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?