More Newbie Help
Okay - I know you folks get this all the time... Hammock newbs who are completely lost in the dark. You are all just so good at giving advice though - how could I not ask!
So after literally countless hours researching which hammock system I think would work best for me, I have found that I am just as confused, and possibly even slightly more overwhelmed, as I was when I started my research. Every time I think I find an answer or make a decision, I see or learn something new. Needless to say, I am exhausted. So I have decided to cave, make an account, and just throw my situation out there to see if any of you veterans have some advice for me.
I am doing a NOBO Appalachian Trail thru hike next March. I am looking for a lightweight hammock system that can get me through the wide range of temperatures that I can be expecting, and will not scare the living crap out of me by being insanely complicated (I am 100% inexperienced with hammocks - I am very very willing to learn, but probably couldn't handle something too x-treme).
I am a female, 5'1, weighing about 130lbs. I, of course, would like to have a cost effective solution that doesn't break the bank, and I am still willing to throw a few extra bucks around if I think it will make for a better situation.
I know that everyone has their personal preferences on what works best, so there is no right or wrong answer, but I would still love some advice!
I think the best advice that can be given is to make your way to group hang nearby and look/try out a few options. The HF members are always willing to "talk shop" :) Even if you have to be a ground dweller for the trip they'll be nice.
You have a little more than 6 months to figure your system out. Take your time, start out with the least expensive rig you can find because it's more than likely you will change what you have as you learn. Don't worry about weight until you get some experience and start to figure out what you want. There are exceptions, but generally the lighter the gear, the more expensive it tends to be. Unless you get into making your own. Buy something cheap from Walmart or Campmor and get to hanging in your back yard. The basic setup is a hammock, pad, sleeping bag and a tarp. If you've done any backpacking, then you probably arleady have the last three and you can find hammocks for under $20. Being small as you are will definately be beneficial while trying to find the smallest and lightest setup that works for you. You might want to search for posts and articles by people who have thru hiked with a hammock. There are a lot of opinions as to which type of hammock, insulation, weather protection, etc is the best. Read them all. One common opinion is that you will want insulation options as you thru hike through the different seasons. Best of Luck and Happy Trails!
NOSAM35 has given great advice. The olny thing I can add is if you haven't seen Shud's how to video's, you need to. This link will take you to all of them in one place. http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ad.php?t=15516
Fat fingers, small keyboard, that should be "Shug"
Leah, I agree that you should go to as many group hangs as you can before you decide. Hammock forum members are the nicest folks you'll find and you will be able to try all sorts of hammocks and they will show you the pros & cons of each. It also seems that hammock hangers are universally great campfire cooks; another good reason to attend ;)
Bring your tent to the hang; you won't be an outcast. They will find you a nicely sloped area full of rocks and roots that ponds water - I'm kidding! They will help you clear the rocks! :D
I'm gonna also suggest what the others have suggested since you have some time before your trip. Find a group hang and try some stuff out. Also one of the local outfitters here has a few ENO's set up for folks to look at and try out... maybe you could look into something like that if getting out to a group isn't something you can do as easily as some.
Also I'd definitely check out Shug's videos Ugene had suggested and check out Just Jeff's site ( http://www.tothewoods.net/HammockCamping.html ), and Derek Hansen's book The Ultimate Hang (http://theultimatehang.com/ ) before seriously jumping into any purchase and hopefully it will end some of the confusion you are finding. Something I'm still learning is you have to dial your own system in and find what works best for you since no two people are the same, sleep the same, or even like the same color. Also something I'm learning is not to be afraid of buying something and it not working for me or me simply not liking it. What doesn't work for one will most likely work for someone else and I see used gear here gobbled up almost as soon as it is posted.
Was there something in particular you were getting confused on that maybe we could help shed some light on?
P.S. This thread is also a good start :http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...t=8921&page=16
Originally Posted by mrmike65
lol it took me 2 years to pick what hammock i want, even then i still made my own rainfly
I'm guessing that you'll benefit most by talking to hammockers who've thru-hiked. Using (and carrying) a hammock day in and day out has to be vastly different from short term use. Read trail journals! (Don't listen to me. I've never gone to ground or slept in a shelter or been part of an interesting, itinerant (maybe "weird") subculture. I know a lot about hammocks, but it may not be what you need to know.)
I'll add that if you are going to a group hike let folks know and there is a fair chance somebody will let you use their "spare" setup.
You might also find it worthwhile to look at a couple of threads about DIY hammocks and subscribe to Joann's web page for the coupons. One can make a no sew hammock for less than $20 worth of nylon, 25 ft of good rope, and a $3 12ft tie down strap for a tree hugger.. From there the sky is the limit, so to speak.