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  1. #1

    Starting Again In Japan

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm not exactly a noob. I've been a member here since 2007, was reading the forums since it first started and have been lurking for all these years, plus I've spoken with a number of you in the past, like JustJeff and Sgt. Rock, and I've already made quite a few hammocks over the years. I've been hammocking since 2000. But this is my first post to the HF. Mostly I hang out at BPL and some of you may know me from there. I've been meaning to post for a long time, but as people progressed here I just felt more and more inadequate in being able to say anything useful. So I've remained silent.

    I stopped hammocking for a while after I found that I wasn't quite comfortable with the setup I had and could never get the issue of cold under control. But this was back when Risk was posting on his website and my last hammocks were all Risk-like designs. A lot has changed since then, amazingly so.

    Recently I've been rethinking how I want to incorporate hammocks into my ultralight backpacking system, thinking that a hammock would make a fantastic solution to finding campsites on the very steep, rocky slopes of Japan, where space is a premium and shelters with big footprints often mean you have to sleep on uncomfortable sloped ground while all the smaller spots have been claimed by someone else. The problem is that sometimes it isn't practical to find two trees or boulders that would make good hanging points in the usually alpine regions where I hike here, so I have to quite often go to ground. I've been tarping a lot over the last few years, using a shaped tarp (Gossamer Gear SpinnShelter or MLD Duomid) and a waterproof/ breathable bivy (MontBell UL Bivy). It's light, versatile, and safe even up high.

    What I've been wracking my brain over is the possibility of making a bivy/ hammock, that works well as both a bivy and a hammock. Since hammocks are essentially the same thing as a bivy, just that they hang, I thought it would be a good additional utility to my kit, allowing me far more choices in where I take shelter when in the mountains.

    I've looked all over the forums for threads on this topic, but am confused by which keywords to use, since using "bivy" and "hammock" just produces too many results. I'm thinking of making a hammock out of two layers of light grade Tyvek, so that I can get a waterproof breathable fabric (Tyvek breathes quite well), and sandwiching between them two, foot-wide strips of 1.1 ripstop nylon to give lateral strength to the fabric. The top Tyvek fabric would have a slit at about face-level to allow the hammock, when used on the ground, to open up like a bivy, but when lying in it as a hammock, both layers would be underneath, giving the hammock the strength it needs to carry my weight (I'm not heavy, only 70 kg).

    This part I think I can work out on my own, but it's the new suspension systems that have sprouted over the last few years that is really confusing me. I'm not sure what kind of end attachments to use, gathered, knotted, line through end channel, bridge style... Or whether to use a Whoopie Sling, UTC, or simple knots. Or what kind of line to use, Amsteel Blue, Dynaglide, or that other yellow one that Grizz mentioned in one of his videos. I'm even unsure whether I should make these myself (is a Whoopie Sling difficult to make... I've watched the videos, but wonder if I should trust my life and weight to something like that that I make... my sewing skills are quite good... I've made a lot of hammocks and tarps). There is so much information that I'm overwhelmed and feel I've been away for so long I've lost touch with the latest developments in hammocking.

    I basically want to go as light as possible, but still be comfortable and somewhat durable, want the set up to be as simple and non-fiddly as possible (after climbing in the mountains all day I just don't have the energy to deal with a whole array of knots and lines), and I'd like the construction to be easy enough that it is difficult to make a mistake.

    WOuld anyone be able to offer any advice? If this is another noobie thread start that annoys long-time posters here, forgive me. I have to get started somewhere.


    eyes to see, hands to touch, legs to walk, and head for the clouds
    Last edited by butuki; 07-28-2010 at 21:58.

  2. #2
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    near Memphis, TN
    WB Traveler
    ZPacks CF
    Te-Wa / HG / WB
    Whoopie Hooks
    92're a *long* time lurker!

    Your bivy/hammock idea is intriguing. I hope you'll post about it when you complete the design.

    To keep everything as light as possible, you'll want to use a spliced Dynaglide suspension, attached via a lark's head knot to your gathered end. That's the lightest/simplest approach.

    Spliced slings (be them either whoopies or UCR's) are incredibly easy to make. And the ones you make yourself are certainly as good as those you buy. It's all about the availability of cording. If you have access to Dynaglide locally, then you should make your own. If not, then ordering some pre-made slings might be easier.

    Have you watched Sgt Rocks new YouTube video about his sub 1lb hammock setup? It has a lot of this all pictured, and might give you a jumping off point to continue.

    We look forward to hearing more... And congrats on de-lurking after sticking around for so long!
    I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt. - Cormac McCarthy

  3. #3
    Senior Member Poppabear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Lexington Park, MD
    Warbonnet Blackbird 1.7
    Zpacks Cuben Fiber
    Leigh's UQ
    Welcome in from the dark. Whoopie slings look complicated but in truth are very easy to make. Made with the right materials they are extremely strong and safe. I have no reservations about hanging from the ones that I have made. I did a little informal testing with the first ones that I made. I strung a DIY hammock with them and started laying 50 lb bags of sand in the hammock. I stopped at 350 lb as I was afraid the hammock itself might fail. There was absolutely now signs of problems from the whoopies.

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