RE: [Hammock Camping] wet again
- Marta, the wet weather gear tester! That must have been quite a storm
Marta! It would test the nerve of anyone. I've noticed that with
long-lasting heavy rain, a lot of water coming down the tree trunk will
run/soak along the straps. With a pool of rain water inside the hammock, I
too suspect it came down the strap/s rather than being blown in. The Speer
Hammock is made with ripstop nylon that is hot calendared on one side (the
shinny side). Hot calendar is a fabric technique applied at the
manufacturing mill and it involves near-complete melting of the nylon fabric
to produce a stronger and less breathable fabric-it will briefly hold water
that's not under pressure like a tiny puddle. It may be that a lot of rain
water came into your hammock and then passed thru the bottom of the hammock
leaving wet hammock but only a tiny puddle at any one time. You're lucky
you had the foam pad! Years ago I wasn't so lucky!
I doubt that the angle or length of the hanging strap is the culprit since
water would soak down the length of the strap at any angle or length. I've
notice before that tying a bandana or sock as a drip catcher can result in
the flat strap being folded back onto itself and I've wondered if water
could still make its way past the bandana or sock. In other words, the
more-absorbent bandana or sock is only in contact with one side of the
webbing strap-this leaves room for some water to continue downward along the
webbing strap pass the drip catcher. I always make sure my bandana or sock
is in full contact with both sides of the strap, so I've never tested the
'folded strap' scenario, but I have wondered what would happen if I left the
strap folded at the drip catcher. Could this be what happened to you? I'd
really like to resolve this mystery since we all could benefit...Ed.
Moderator, Hammock Camping List
Author, Hammock Camping, The Complete Guide
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From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
On Behalf Of marta_clark
Sent: Monday, July 11, 2005 8:01 PM
Subject: [Hammock Camping] wet again
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
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- 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?