Veteran Backpacker ready to take the plunge
I've been backapacking for 25 years and have always used tents. I've got a lot invested in some pretty good gear but the more I read about hammocks and how comfortable they are, the more I want to try it myself.
I'm a back sleeper, and have always had trouble getting a good night's sleep on the ground. After a few hours my lower back starts to stiffen up because my glutes need a fairly deep concavity to sink into. A couple years ago I bought an Exped Downmat 9 pad that was a definite improvement, but I still want something better.
Also, I really like the the idea of being able to set up my sleeping shelter wherever two suitable trees can be found. Finding good tent sites in the backcountry can be very frustrating, and sometimes impossible if you don't make it to an established site or find it fully occupied after a long day's hike. I think a hammock will be both comfortable and liberating.
After some research on hammocks I'm leaning towards the WB Blackbird, but I won't be taking the plunge for a few months. Backpacking season for me generally begins in September. I hail from Chicagoland, and rarely make it out west. Daytime highs much above 60 is warmer than I want to carry a 25 pound pack uphill, and bugs are not my friend. My best sleeping bag is a 20* Western Mountaineering Ultralight, which I'll probably use as a top quilt initially. Since I camp in nighttime temps down to 20 or so, an underquilt will of course be necessary.
I'm looking forward to learning more about hammocks and the art of using them in this forum.