Questions from a newbie
I'm new to backpacking and potentially hammock packing as well, and I have a couple of questions, specifically about the BRB Hammock.
I don't mind tent camping all that much, but I also feel like there could be a better way. I currently own a 1 person Kelty tent which weighs just over 3 pounds for the whole getup (tent, fly, footprint, stakes), and keeping in that same weight range is what I'm looking to do.
What has dissuaded me from considering hammock camping is the potential for banana back; just about every picture on the net shows one. I didn't want to have to rely on sleeping in just the right spot, at just the right angle in order to maybe get a "semi-flat" sleep. It just wouldn't work for me.
Hence my curiosity being invigorated by the BRB Hammock. It's a suspension design with a truly flat sleep. I would make one using the very detailed DIY articles, but my laziness abounds.
But since I am new to even the idea of hammock camping, I don't know what I would need in order to have a fully operational hammock, complete with weather protection, the first time I try a hang. In short, the last thing I would want is to unpack my new gear, get it outside, just to find out that I need "x" in order to properly test it.
It's obvious that I would need the hammock. The bug net is also key, especially during the spring/summer. The suspension system and straps. I believe that all of the preceding is included with the BRB, including the strap setup to allow for knotless hanging.
But that is all I can come up with, because I don't know the nuances of the BRB system in order to know what else I might need.
I would buy the BRB and the JRB 11x10 tarp, but I'm sure that lines (for the tarp), etc are also necessary, but I'm not sure. What else might I need? I'm not looking for anything other than a base system to get me going. I'll add those frills later.
I have read that keeping warm can be a problem for hammock camping, and have noticed that there are various quilts available. That said, I plan on doing most of my camping here in Kentucky, and possibly in surrounding states, and plan to do most of that camping when the weather is firmly in the "warm - hot" section of any given weather scale. When does using a quilt become "necessary" in order to avoid unpleasant hangs due to being cold? I'm sure that this is a very relative question, but a range is all I'm looking for.
Any help would be appreciated.
A pretty comprehensive read on hammock camping can be found here: http://tothewoods.net/HammockCamping.html Notice there is a section called "Weights" where Jeff compares hammock and ground setups.
Welcome to the site, and enjoy the most relaxing hobby one can find! Just a few comments based on what I read...Forget the bannana back thing! Laying in a hammock is very comfortable, even if there is some curve in your back. Also, most of us lay on a diagonal, not right down the middle. The result is a decievingly flat lay.
But if you want to lay very flat, go with a bridge. I believe this is the type you are interested in. It is called the BMB, right? (http://188.8.131.52/index_files/BMBH.htm) You will probably need a larger tarp for a bridge hammock than a end gathered hammock, but I see no reason the JRB 11' X10' wouldn't be big enough.
If you are camping when it is nice and hot out, there are probably plenty of times you can go without an underquilt. However, on those nights, I would make sure to have some sort of bug protection on the outside.
If you go with a JRB BMBH then
- definitely go with a tarp on the larger side, e.g. the JRB 11'x10' or the Speer Winter Tarp
- since you're just interested in "basic" for now, and almost surely you have already a sleeping pad, then you can most likely slip that pad into the pocket provided for it on the BMBH. Underuilts are great, and when you become fully indoctrinated you see the wisdom of reduced length quilts, but for getting started you can forgo that cost, no problem.
- Any sleeping bag that zips most of the length of the bag can be used in a hammock, but the preferred method is to unzip it, and open it up as an overquilt.
Chances are that after picking up a BMBH and a tarp you'll have almost all of what you need.
That said, I'm told JRB is running a sale on their quilts right now...;)
I will also re-iterate what Narwhalin said. We don't do bananas here. Properly laying on your back in most camping hammocks you are largely flat, with a slight rise up your spine. It's kind of like be stretched out in a lounge chair that folds way back.
I feel sure that if you email the Jacks and tell them what you want (a complete, turnkey setup of a bridge hammock and 11x10 tarp including all necessary lines, stakes, etc.) they'll email you back a list of exactly what to order. Then you can check the list against what you might already have.
Originally Posted by Hector
In fact, this advice is so basic and useful, that I'm not sure why I didn't think of it myself.
I'm a rare breed around here in that I'm not nearly as comfortable as I would like to be in most gathered end hammocks. The JRB bridge solved that problem for me.
Good advise given above. A pad in a bridge hammock with a pad pocket is as
comfortable as using only an underquilt IMO. I wouldn't rule out colder weather camping such as winter camping. That's when the real fun begins in a hammock IMO.:cool:
I certainly haven't ruled out winter camping (in fact I'm quite interested), but I haven't quite gotten there yet (this is my first season backpacking), and my hiking partner, who is a moderately experienced backpacker, has no interest in going out in the cold. I, myself, am okay with the cold, but I don't want to be out if it's below 25 or so, I just don't see the point, especially when I can be at home snuggled next to a fire with my wife and kid.
Originally Posted by FanaticFringer
If you aren't in a hurry I would reccomend one of the hammocker get togethers called "hangs" that occur sporadically if one is convenient for you. KY, TN, and Springer Mtn have been sites in the past year. Let people know you are coming and someone will have a hammock for you. Ed Speer is a manufacturer and often attends these events.
Another alternative is to pickup a Hennessy Explorer (the original model) on ebay. I bought one used that looked new for $85. It is my "truck/canoe" hammock. I don't backpack with it 'cause I have a lighter model but it is the one I hang on the backporch with. If hanging isn't for you, that hammock can be sold for what you pay for it likely.
Right, the only issue you are likely to have in any camping hammock is hyper-extension of the knees, which is easily cured by having a jacket or something under your knees, or just by having your legs in a "figure 4" or "frog leg" type of position. After which profound comfort is the usual result.
Originally Posted by GrizzlyAdams
Some folks also need something under their neck, rather than a pillow. All of the above varies with the person ( height, etc) and the hammock. Though it is easily dealt with in most any hammock by lying on the diagonal, the BMBH does not require dealing with it, as you are flat. Which also make it easier to lie on your side, for those wishing to do so. Some folks have trouble with the width of the BMBH. I am about to give one another try, as I loved everything about it except the width in the shoulder/chest region. But maybe I was doing something wrong, or maybe my 8 lbs and ongoing(hopefully) weight loss will help.