HH asym tarp configuring
Hey everyone! I just spent last night sleeping in my backyard in my HH experimenting for a trip in a few weeks. The temp was between 25 and 30 F. I used the HH underpad and undercover with a fairly low quality sleeping bag (550 fill goose down, 2.6 lbs total, rated to 30F). In it I wore cotton long underwear and a fleece sweater. I was cool enough that when I woke up at 2 am I decided that my warm bed was a better place to spend the rest of the night, but not cool enough that I could not have handled a night in the woods.
Anyway, that is just FYI. My real question here is how to adjust the HH rain fly, that just doesn't seem to get taut no matter what I do. The thing is, no matter how I adjust it, the center line always has looseness to it, though the sides seem to tie down just fine. Any suggestions? I didn't get wet, but with a heavy rain, I can't see this working well. What am i doing wrong?
For the tarp most people replace the stock tarp with an aftermarket tarp. I replaced mine with a Maccat Deluxe tarp and I feel it is the best decision I made about my Hammock. Also there are some people that go with the stock tarp and have no problems at all. I think the stock tarp is adequate and would do a good job. I just felt that the greater coverage the Maccat offered was more suited to my style. It gives me a covered place to eat dinner pack up the hammock eat breakfast.
Sgt Rock went through a hurricane with the stock tarp, so it can work. (I think it had downgraded to a tropical storm when it hit him, but still.)
The problem with sag is that you put the tarp on the supports. Then when you get in the hammock, you weigh it down...and the angle of the supports changes. And when the angle changes, it brings the prussiks closer together...which causes the sag.
One answer is to use tarp tensioners (elastic bands) on the corners. A better answer is to forget about hooking the tarp to the hammock supports and hang the tarp directly to the trees. The stock tarp might be a bit small to do that with.
Tying to the trees also has another HUGE advantage...you can keep it in an outer pocket during the day. Then when you have to set up camp in the rain, you can hang your tarp and get under it....then set up the rest of your camp under your dry tarp. You'll have to get out by the trees to actually tie it up, but everything can still be under your tarp while you're working.
And when you take it down in the morning, you can pack up everything else under the tarp and out of the rain. Then throw the tarp in an outer pocket and start walking.
So tie the tarp to the trees and it won't sag like that.
I agree with Jeff, keeping the tarp separate from the hammock, whether in the stuff sack or loose in the top of your pack is great. If you use snakeskins, I don't like mixing dry hammock and wet tarp?! But being able to set up the tarp separately (before) your hammock should ensure that it stays dry during setup.
I like to tie one end the trees and one end the the hammock slider. That way, you can keep the adjustability that the slider gives you, while losing most of the sag factor. That way you get the best of both worlds.
Thanks guys. Good ideas. Brian, I like your idea of the 'best of both worlds'. I worry that tying directly to trees will cause the system to lose a bit of its water proofness, though, as the tarp and hammock will no longer be so close and snug. also, centering both perfectly will take a bit more time, but I guess as long as the hammock is dry, no matter. I'm going to sleep out again tonight and use a different sleeping bag and see what happens. we arent' expecting rain, so frankly, I'm not going to use a tarp. That's the glory of the backyard!
Sleeping under the stars...I sleep w/o the tarp every chance I get. It's a little more risky on the east coast that it was out west b/c it rains more often.
I have had the best luck as Just Jeff has said. I inserted an 8 inch piece of shock cord at one end of the tarp tie-outs and both side tie-outs. The tarp stays taught even when it's wet and has some give in the wind.
I have found that tying the tarp lower than the hammock support makes the height right when the hammock is occupied. With a taut-line hitch on each end I can adjust the tarp so it is centered on the hammock- helpful if it's raining and you set the tarp up first.
I have continued to experiment with the stock HH UL Explorer tarp, though I have a MacCat deluxe. I don't exactly know why I do. Maybe some stubborness, knowing that some people have claimed more than adequate success with the original design. Sgt. Rock in his hurricane, etc.! Also the possible benefits of only two side tie outs and the convenience of being attached to the suspension already when using skins. and it is 7" longer on the ridgeline than my MacCat deluxe ( 137" vs. 130"). Pros and cons. MacCat is superb, especially in wind, but for some reason I keep playing with the original.
I had much more success once I added a ridgeline to the fly, tightened as needed with a truckers hitch, and when I started hanging weighted stuff sacks to the side guy outs as Hennessy recommends. This gave me a much sharper A-frame, and the weighted stuff sacks cut down wind flapping a good bit, and kept things more snug thru the night. Though usually, there would still be a few wrinkles and folds.
But today, I finally followed the advice of the folks here. ( With the HH fly, I already did this with the MacCat) With the hammock hung normal HH style, fly on ridgeline, I attached some thin cord to the HH fly ridge end rings and attached to tree, and when I tightened, this naturally pulled the fly ring off of the prussick hook. I hung the tarp lower lower than the hammock suspension. This left the hammock ridge tight up against the fly. After tightening the extra fly ridge cord, I was amazed at how tight and neat this fly looked. Finally! It never looked so great. With just one guy out point per side, I'm sure it will still move more in the wind than a MacCat or some others, but today it seemed far more wind resistant than ever before. And just to look at it, it looked as tight as any tarp I have seen. When I lay down in the hammock, the hammock ridgeline, which had been tight up against the fly, was now only about half a hand length lower, or about 4" or so below the tarp ridge. Coverage of the hammock seemed more than adequate.
Anyway, with a little work and experimenting, this fly can be made to work better than you would at first think. I'm thinking that even if I do stick with the setup convenience of fly attached to spectra ridgeline, it would be easy enought to have some cord available for tree attachment if it looked stormy.
Though now, MacCat, HH original or Hex Tarp- whatever- I'm thinking of sticking with tree attachment and getting a separate set of skins just for the tarp. That might still be a very quick and convenient set up method. I wonder what size skins would be right for tarp only? I guess it would vary with stock tarp vs. one of the larger ones. Anyway, something to consider.
I found the thickness of the HH #2 skins to be more than adequate for my BlackCat - that's without trim or rings, though. The problem I had was the length; my tarp is 144" on the ridge. Wouldn't have that issue with a MacCat though.
Originally Posted by BillyBob58
Originally Posted by BillyBob58
Congratulations.... your hanging conversion is a major step closer to complete.... You have internalized the oft bellowed mantra of the experienced... "Tie to the trees"....It has been a while since we shouted this point....
There is a Post Script also.... "When absloute maximum coverage is required (from any tarp/fly) tie to the trees below the point where the hammock itself is secured".... normally 6-8 inches is about right for a 12-14 ft hang.