My hammock arrived yesterday, but alas, my Superfly was backordered. I have been devouring all of the forums and videos and was confident this would be a snap. Well, the short version is that there is a learning curve. I chose a convenient set of trees that were on slightly sloping ground. One tree was downhill from the other. The spacing was at the max reach of the straps. Try as I might, to get the right hang and not drag the ground and still reach high enough on the tree. To top it off, the tree got pitch on my brand new straps. So I gave up and found some more level terrain and used the head high rack on my Jeep as the second tree. Perfect!
The WBBB-XLC with the straps went up very quickly. Now you are talking. But it took me forever to get the 30 degree hang, correct tension on the ridge line, and have the tarp off the ground. It was surprising how a very small adjustment on the strap buckles cause a very large raising or lowering of the hammock. It felt like here was a golden distance between "trees" where everything worked. Since one of my trees could be moved, I found it. I certainly hope that this was just a noob thing because trees in the woods are not so portable.
My plan was to sleep overnight and try out different pads to see if they would keep me warm. The weather here was very warm, in the low 70's, dipping top the upper 50's at night. Since I did not have my superfly, I decided to test out the winter cover and see how it did. Oh oh. Rain is now in the forecast. Not to worry I pitched my 12 ft Noah's tarp that I used on the Alaska motorcycle adventure ride and all was good. My first sleeping pad try was with a 72" x 20" x 1.5 " insulated inflatable pad. Getting it positioned for the diagonal lay was not as quick and easy as I hoped. But once it was held in the second layer, it worked OK. Fast forwarding to 2:00 AM, I found that even in the 59* or so evening, if any small part of my body got off that pad, I could immediately feel it. It wasn't a radical chilling, but it was persistent and resulted in a lingering coolness. I found out that it is going to take more than a 20 inch wide pad to keep parts of me from straying out of the comfort zone.
I experimented with several body positions and was able to sleep on my back, my side, and even on my stomach. BTW, I an about 5'9", 190 lbs. The problem in experimenting with different positions is that my pad moved as I squirmed around. If I wasn't doing so many radical moves, the sleeve should be OK. Being a noob, I tried to reposition the pad while I was still laying on it. I found this is lightly analogous to trying to change your socks while your shoes are still on. Turns out it is very quick and easy to just unzip, swing my legs out and get it right. BTW, getting in and out of the hammock is a learning experience too. There was no problem just sitting down with a gentle plop, but what really worked well was backing into the hammock and letting it swing back a bit until it was butt high, then gently lowering my self down like getting on a playground swing. Same way getting out. This turned out to be the ultimate procedure during my test of the pee bottle. Just swing my legs around, back up until I was standing, then do my thing. Set the pee bottle on the ground then swing back in and go back to sleep. Easy, PEEzy. Much less risky than trying to use a pee bottle in a tent. We made an unscheduled laundry stop on the Alaska trip when something bad happened to my son involving a collapsible Nalgene bottle and a pee break at night.
I hope you experienced hands are tolerantly entertained with my first experience. My target audience for this post is other noobs like me who will be seeing their first hang soon and share some of the things I have not seen elsewhere. I can pretty much guarantee it will be a learning experience the first time. Actually, it is more of a forgetting experience, as in, "Forget that, I'll never do it that way again" as you settle in on what works to get you going. I am having fun experimenting and getting better all the time.