Six things I learned this weekend
This may be stuff that you veteran hammockers don't even think about because it's second nature, but here's a few things I learned this past weekend that other newbies may not have thought about yet:
1. If you're lying down inside your hammock (HH style) and you need to sit up to grab something or to get out (and let's say maybe you have a little more "belly" that can make gravity keep pulling you back down), put your feet through the HH slit and use it to anchor your feet (like using a sit-up bench at the gym) and it's much easier to sit up. :D
2. When you pull your tarp stakes out of the ground to pack everything up, if they're coated w/mud or dirt, just use some leaves on the ground as a "cloth" to get the dirt/mud off if you can't just knock it off (which I couldn't this weekend).
3. If you have a homemade stove windscreen (I use a catfood can stove and the thin aluminum sheet metal for my windscreen), the windscreen makes a kickass fan for nurturing a campfire and can prevent hyperventilation when blowing on the fire to fuel it w/oxygen
4. I know this one is purely opinion, but I borrowed Sgt. Rock's idea of using my stock HH tree huggers and spectra for hanging, but I added a carabiner (Black Diamond Light D) into the mix. I attach the carabiner to the tree huggers and then tie my spectra to the carabiner. It was SUPER fast and MUCH easier to tie my figure 8 and keep the tension on the spectra around the biner than threading the spectra through the tree huggers every time. Also, when I tore down...I could skin my hammock, untie it from the biner, but the tree huggers/biners stayed hooked onto the trees, which prevented the huggers from falling on the ground and then me forgetting to pick them up. I will be using this combination for now on. Thanks Rock!
5. It is SO nice to use my hammock as a lounger and just sit down to change in/out of clothes. I love my hammock so much I think I might marry it. :D
6. I do not personally stay warm enough in cold temps if using my sleeping bag as a quilt. I had to finally get zipped up into my bag to retain enough body heat.
Guide Gear UL Bag as an Underquilt
Last week on Thanksgiving Eve I hung in the back yard. Temps got near 40. I had my HH with undercover and underpad. Previously I have added a 3/4 UL Thermarest pad on top of the underpad. To stay warm I had to get in my sleeping bag. This time I had the Guide Gear UL bag so I laid it in on top of the underpad so it became kind of an underquilt and worked with the underpad and undercover. I used my sleeping bag as a top quilt and was quite warm. I can't wait to use my new JRB Nest but it's still in the box and I won't even be able to look at it until Christmas.
A thought about the GG UL bag. It's pretty cheap, airly light and compacts well for packing. You could probably make an underquilt from one without too much trouble and I bet it would be good into the 50's. It might be a good cheap underquilt option for some of the milder weather campers or campouts.