Snake Skins worth it?
:D I have been pretty intrigued with the snake skin concept, and they seem potentially great, but I am still wondering if it's worth the few oz. extra wt. There are quite a few variables that might effect their usefulness. For use with the standard HH/rain fly attached to the rope, that seems like the way to go. the convenience factor should be great. Supposedly they would be a great help in setting up and taking down in the rain. But does it really work out that way? If the rain is pouring down, could you really wrap up the hammock and the rain fly and into the skins without getting the hammock soaked? And the reverse, setting up in the rain. Can you actually get this thing unwrapped and the fly staked out without soaking the hammock?
Then there is the tarp variable.I have a MacCat deluxe. I love it's stabilty in the wind, and overall increase in coverage compared to the stock tarp ( though not in length). However, I have not completely decided to dump the stock rainfly, or possibly may end up using a slightly larger version of the diamond style type tarp. (Is the JRB any larger/longer on the ridge line than the explorer UL - which is137" on the ridgeline?) The reason I haven't decided is because of just two stakes and being able to use my 2 hiking poles to raise the sides of the tarp on each of the single guyout points. But another major reason I have not decided to switch is because the original HH fly is designed to work with the snake skins. What about a larger tarp like the MacCat deluxe. Would it still work with the skins? You could probably get it to fit with larger size skins, but I'm wondering if it would wrap up easily and correctly into the skins since it is way wider at the side guy out points, rather than coming to a point like the stock Asym HH tarp?
Another variable with either tarp is tying to the tree instead of the HH ropes. I suppose if you did this you would not wrap the tarp up in the skins? If so, would the skins still offer enough added convenience while wrapping the hammock only, to be worth the extra weight?
And Shane S. says another good benefit is the skins covering the rope in heavy rain, keeping it from wicking down into the hammock without having to use a string for wicking to the ground. That might be helpful whichever tarp you used, tied to tree or rope.
Then there is the whole SuperShelter thing. But just figuring out the questions from above is good enough for now.
So, I hope there are 1 or 2 folks with a lot of snake skin experience ( or homemade versions). If so, what do you think? Worth the extra wieght? Any problems? Any thoughts on some of the possible variables mentioned?
Originally Posted by BillyBob58
I have 3 skins. 1 of which is homemade (thanks BlackBishop)
They are definitely worth the small weight penalty.
I have my Black Cat tarp (thanks again BlackBishop) that I use skins in. It does not fit perfectly at the ends but still works great.
I would not put both the hammock and tarp in skins together cause of the rain issues you mentioned unless I was using a stock tarp on a trip that was certain to not rain. The consensus is that you are better served to almost always tie your tarp to the tree. Or to the hammock and tree as Brian at OES suggests. Skins work great in this fashion as well as with the hammock by itself.
I use snakeskins (homemade, same size as HH #2) on my tarp. I never liked the idea of wrapping my hammock up with a potentially wet tarp, though. I've gone completely over to what Jeff calls the "blackbishop sack" - my idea I guess - for my hammock/UQ/sock. I'm actually considering making a smaller bb sack for my tarp too, but there are definitely things about the snakeskins I like. I'll probably try the bb sack on my tarp at some point so I can make an informed decision.
As far as the skins protecting your hammock by keeping the supports dry, I think that's a completely fallacy. Think about it. No matter what, your supports are wrapped around a tree and exposed. In a heavy rain - when you'd be worried about this in the first place - the water will simply run down the inside of the skins and drench your hammock anyway. The only solutions I would consider truly viable would be a GOOD dripstring - compressed across the whole girth/width of the support - or a buckle/ring suspension which would eliminate the problem altogether.
Overall, here's my .02 : Ditch the stock fly. The MacCat will give you better coverage and pitch tighter every time. The pole issue you mentioned really isn't one - you can use your two poles to elevate one side of the MacCat and get just as much ventilation. Always tie to the trees, not the hammock. This eliminates WORLDS of complications with both the tightness of the tarp pitch and added stresses on the tarp itself. Use your HH skins on your tarp and go a different route for hammock storage. My HH #2 skins were a bit too short for my BlackCat, but not by much. They'd probably fit one of Brian's tarps fine - mine is a bit longer.
Anyway. You did ask for opinions! :p
I still use snake skins on my tarp but I no longer use them on my hammock. It's quicker and easier for me to cram it in a stuff sack. I like the "Blackbishop sack" but I have not gotten around to making one yet.
I had and idea of kinda "hammock burrito". It would consist of a silnylon tube approx. 12" long and 4-5" in diameter. There would be a drawstring at each end. Basically your support lines would exit from each end of the tube with the hammock in the middle. To use it you would open one end, tie the support to the tree, and then open the other end and slide the hammock out and tie the other side up. Does that make sense?
I use a HH Snakeskin # 4 on my Explorer UL and a #3 for my Mac Cat Deluxe. I love the flexability this offers.
One problem is that the #3 does not fit the MC Deluxe length wise when I string the tarp up. So it is not perfect for stringing the tarp up and leaving it stored but ready to go in the event of rain in the middle of the night.
Does anyone know of a place I could buy a longer Snakesking for the MacCat?
Originally Posted by DGrav
I would think you'd have to make them yourself or pay someone to make them for you.
Hennessy is the only one making them anymore, as far as I know, and I don't think they offer any sizes long enough to cover a MacCat completely. From what I've seen, their sizes are for girth not length.
Originally Posted by DGrav
I'd thought about that too, but I think the "bb sack" accomplishes the same thing and makes for a more water resistant - and maybe easier to use - storage system.
Originally Posted by headchange4u
I made noseeum skins to fit my tarp. Work really well for me. It alows my tarp to air out thought the day.
I made a BB sack and have one trip under my belt with it. I like it. The skins were becoming a pain after awhile.
How do you handle sealing up the small hole on the bottom of the BB sack?
Originally Posted by blackbishop351