I posted a while back with some questions and concerns regarding my HH. I got a lot of good suggestions and had a chance to try them out on a 4 day canoe trip this weekend.
Before I left I cut off all the tarp tie outs on the hex fly and replaced them with stronger nylon webbing loops (the tie rings were resewn in place). I had one of the original tie outs rip on my first set up, and another was about to go, so I thought that's it, I'm redoing them all because I don't want a failure in the field. I also replaced the stock tie out "string" with shock cord and a plastic tensioning bracket, and the stock ridgeline rope with something a little beefier (I prefer to tie knots with a rope I can get my hands around. I then made an SPE type thing with four wings to fit around my thermarest out of an old bed sheet.
The first night I made sure that my foot end was slightly higher than the head end, and that I tied the tarp below the tree huggers, and I placed my sleeping pad at a slight angle to the long axis of the hammock. Well, I must have done it exactly right, because I was lying flat, was able to side sleep, and had a reasonably good nights sleep. The SPE worked like a charm, kept my shoulders and hips warm, and everything stayed in place. The other two nights were the same, the third being the best sleep of the trip. Just before bedtime on the third night there was a brutal thunderstorm and there was heavy rain for about an hour and a half. I am happy to report the hammock (and all the stuff inside) was dry.
That all said, I do have some other questions. When tying the tarp below the huggers, I find that when I stake the tie outs the ridgeline of the tarp pulls down on the ridgeline of the hammock and there is a significant angle created in both ridgelines. The tarp ridge also rests on the hammock ridge. When I get in the hammock, my weight pulls the hammock down and just clear of the tarp, and all the lines are separated, and everything looks good. Is this what others experience? Iím guessing that this initial set up stress on the tarp and hammock is not a big deal? It does sit like that for up to a few hours before I get in.
I found that in a wind the tarp gets blown against the hammock. If it is windy and rainy, will I get wet in the hammock if the tarp touches the hammock? I could set the tie outs wider, but I am afraid that would expose the hammock too much if the wind hits it right. Would adding a middle tie out reduce the chances of the wind pushing the tarp against the hammock? I like the idea of shock cord tie outs, but they may allow the tarp to move too much in the wind.
In all, I am reasonably pleased with my first tripping experience with a hammock. There are advantages and disadvantages compared to tenting, but I think that I like the advantages of hammocking better than the advantages of tenting, and I find it slightly more comfortable. I am disappointed in the amount of modification Iíve had to do to the tarp (when I went out to buy the replacement tie outs I ran into a guy who had just bought an HH and had the tie outs rip the first time he set it up too), but the modifications were not huge in terms of work, but worth a great deal in terms of piece of mind. Iíll keep at it, and Iím sure the set up and the quirks specific to hammocking will become second nature to me.
Thanks to all who helped!