My first hangout was a pretty good time! I learned a lot about the things I would like in a hammock, and things I didn't quite like. NCPatrick was kind enough to let me try out an HH Explorer, Tarp, and home made TQ with UQ.
Trugracie welcomed me the first night with a steaming plate of menudo and rice. I knew it was going to be a good time. We talked the first evening about gear, and setups. Quite the learning experience.
The nights didn't get below 38 I believe, but because I wasn't used to the way hammocks were used, my first night was a bit chilly. Because of the underside entry, I was finding it difficult to make the UQ stay in place. I went into my back and pulled out my sleeping bag. After some flopping around, I was able to get in the sleeping bag, and stay warm. The next day Thing1 lead the way for the hike down a yellow blaze trail. Hog-tyed, NCPatrick, MacEntyre, Cooldays, and myself were trying to keep up. We saw some great flora and no fauna unfortunately. We did run into a very nice stream, where we relaxed for a bit, then headed back the way we came. When we got to camp Hog-tyed set up his dutch oven for some apple cobbler, and everyone got out their plates. After the hot dogs and chips we feasted on the cobbler. It was terrible. If you happen to get some of it, just don't waste your time, and hand the plate to me. I'll make sure that the awful stuff gets disposed of in my stomach (kiddin! it was fantastic!!).
After dinner, and a few lessons on how to adjust the UQ, I settled into my hammock and still noticed cold spots. Capitolbill came and adjusted the uq around the me and I was getting quite cozy. I woke up later to rain on my head. The wind was whipping the rain under the backside of the tarp and I was getting quite wet. I didn't know of anything to do, so I unfortunately had to get in the car to stay dry (which was not near as comfortable).
All in all, it was a great experience, and I learned a lot about what I want to do when I take my 2 week AT hike. I believe that I will make a HH clone from the DIY section but without any opening in the bottom. That was the biggest thing that I did not like. I believe I will make my own tarp as well. Probably a rectangle with a set of tie-offs in the center, so that when it rains, I could pull in the corners, and make doors. I'm going to be making my own tq and uq as well, because I am on a budget. I'm wrestling with the compressibility of down, vs primaloft or something of the like. My worry is the down getting wet, and not being able to keep me warm. I found out that I'm not a hot sleeper, more luke-warm.
Things I liked:
Comfort - The hammock was quite superior to the ground and as a creature of comfort, I feel this is the most important quality.
Seeing out - I liked that I could look out over the side at whatever I wanted.
Dry - well not that much when the wind took the rain under, but until that happened, I was very dry.
Did not like: (but could easily change)
UQ - Difficulties with the UQ on the HH Explorer. I'm sure there are ways around it, bit I like the convenience of the other hammocks I looked at where they could adjust from the side.
Bugnet - I would like the ability to be able to take it off if I needed to
Thanks for the great trip! I'm looking forward to when I can make another!
(pics are too big, I have to re-size them)