Successful hammock experience
Thanks to the information shared by all the folks here, I just had a very pleasant and successful 5-day backpacking trip in the Weminuche Wilderness of Colorado. I thought I'd pay back to the list with some of my experiences and observations. I am fairly new to hammocking.
My hammock was a Hennessy Hyperlite backpacker A-sym (~16.5oz w/o tarp). This hammock worked extremely well for my size and weight (5'10", 178lbs). This was probably my first time backpacking that I actually slept in past first light and did not feel the need to get up early due to body aches from sleeping on the ground. I'm still experimenting a bit on pillows, but I found that a minimalist pillow works best for me. I had an inflatable Montbell that was too much pillow, and using no pillow at all was not quite comfortable on my neck. The best solution for me was when I bunched up my thermawrap jacket and used that as a head pillow. The Montbell inflatable was more useful as a leg pillow.
Given the amount of rain that could be expected at my destination, I upgraded the standard HH rain fly to the new Speer 8x10 cat tarp (~13.5oz). I was able to set this to a nice tight pitch and got a great amount of coverage. I snake skinned my tarp, and also used those nifty figure 9 gadgets to make setting up the fly a breeze, and always set the tarp up first to develop a good routine for camp setup when it is raining. I always tied the rideline tieouts to the trees, and on the side tieouts I used the Jacks 'R Better self tensioning lines. I never had any issues losing my pitch, and I also found the STL's were very useful in providing more range in stake location in case of a rock or other obstruction in the ground.
I tried various solutions for under hammock insulation while preparing for my trip. I initially purchased a Hennessy Supershelter. I found this to be a reasonably easy to use, compact and light solution. My experience matched others in that it provided enough warmth down to perhaps the mid to upper forties. Since my need was for something that could work down to the upper 30's for my upcoming trip, I began to explore alternatives. There seemed to be many alternatives for supplementing the SS system with addiitonal closed cell foam pads. I did in fact order a couple of the GG 3/8" CC foam pads to use in conjunction with the SS. But in the end, for me it boiled down to what is the simplest to use and most compact solution. With the ULA Conduit pack I was using, I had a limited amount of pack space. I decided to order and try out the Jacks R Better Nest underquilt. I already had a No Sniveller quilt and was very happy with it. The Nest/No Sniveller combo for me was the ultimate solution and I never looked back. Weight wise, comparable to the SS with GG 3/8 foam pads (if you go the TeeDee route with the 2 extra pads in a cross configuration). Bulk wise, the quilt much more compact and easier to pack. The quilt mounting system for me was very straight forward and worked right out of the box. I stayed very warm the entire trip. My only issue was that it got too warm at times. I had to tone back on my usual habit of wearing more clothes to bed to stay warm. Removing the Nest and stuffing it into the stuff sack for me was a much easier operation than getting the SS open cell foam pad back into it's stuff sack, I always found that to be a pain. One thing that the SS offers over the Nest combo was a waterproof bottom. Jacks R Better offers a water protective/breathable undercover solution for a few more ounces, but currently the Weather Shield is out of stock. I was initially apprehensive about having a down quilt exposed like this, but it did not turn out to be an issue for me. Admittedly the rain was minimal this trip so I cannot say how well things would work in a torrential downpour. I would like to think that the Speer tarp and DWR finish on the underquilt would be plenty of protection for most conditions.
So at present I feel pretty good about the hammocking solution that I'm using. Going to the Nest really seemed to streamline the amount of gear I carried as well as the ease of my setup and takedown. I am getting a pretty good routine established for camp setup, but still I am a bit slower than my hikiing companions who are using double wall tents. One area that I want to explore more is the use of rings for tying the hammock to the trees. I'm still a bit fuzzy on how to retrofit my hammock for these. Weight wise, If I compare this solution to using a tarp/bivy combo and also including a GG bug netting and 2/3 length inflatable insulated mat for a reasonable amount of comfort I pay perhaps an ~8oz penalty for going this route over the ground route. For me, that is a good compromise for the big enhancement I get in my outdoor experience.
Thanks to all the folks on this list for their help.
a minority view on using rings/buckles
enjoyed the writeup. Reminded me of my recent trip to the White Mountains in New Hampshire.
Here's another take on using rings or buckle w/o hacking the HH rope. The basic idea is to use the webbing and rings to refine the hang, not define it. You can get by with less webbing (6 ft at each end should be ample), at the cost of needing to retie the rings between hangs.
With the webbing threaded through the ring/buckle with a enough standing end to secure with a safety knot (ring) or just grab (buckle), wrap the webbing 'round the tree (a couple of times if diameter permits) and clip with the biner. Now do your first bit of tightening with the rope through the rings. I find that two full turns with 2 half hitches are secure, are easily undone, and can be tied when the rope is under tension (harder to do if you take a couple of turns and then use a bowline). Alternatively you can eyeball the length of rope needed at each end and secure the rings using a couple of turns and a bowline (bowlines also loosen up easily).
Anyway, once you have the basic lengths and tensions set, you can tighten up using the webbing.
Or you can just carry the extra few feet of webbing and not worry about it.
Sounds like my first hammock in the Winds!
Good report, Drew boy! Sounds much like my first hammock adventure last Sept for 1 week in the Wind Rivers, Wyoming. Except I used the HHSS all the way. My first night ever in the hammock was the first night of that trip. That first night worked out poorly do to user inexperience and error. But all 4 nights following that were grand and converted me permanently to hammock hanging. If for some reason you should ever decide to play with your SS again, remember that extra clothing in the undercover will really boost it's range. Though the weight of the clothing may require a little practice tensioning the undercover) Or even better- an almost weightless( considering the added warmth) and super cheap Garlington insulator in the undercover beneath the HH pad will add a ton of warmth.
Also, The Weminuche mention brings memories. Of a long ago trip ( no hammock, and heavy packs!) to Chicago Basin and over a pass down to I think it was a Johnson Creek and out to some large reservoir ( name? Can't remember) south east of Chicago Basin.
Great pics, Griz and Shadowmoss and FF, of the rings/buckles! OK, I see from your post that rope1 is a source for the buckles. Any other source? Webbing from Speer and maybe other places. What is the source for the rings? Also, does anybody know if Lowes or Home Depot carries any workable rings or buckles?