Hey Hangers All,
The Forum has been hopping of late with lots of new members and lots of planned hangs and lots of folks taking Fall Trips.
I was invited along on a hang and asked to bring along my old friend, work co-hort and fairly new hanger Wanderin'Fool.
He got interested in hammocks a year or so ago due to camping with his son in Boy Scouts. We spent time on the phone and I gave him ideas and stuff ..... but I got tired of trying to describe stuff so I sent him here .... HF!!
He dove in ..... read everything ..... touched in with me a fair bit but not much. I felt like an AA Sponsor.
WF proceeded to buy terrific gear .... he got a BlackBird, Yeti, a JRB Hudson River TQ, Macat Tarp and a Jetboil. A ULA Circuit.
He researched them all. Read about all of it.
Wanderin'Fool was ready to go..... Whoooooo Buddy. Took him on the NCT in Wisconsin last year. Easy first trip.
This weekend we did the Superior Hiking Trail here in North Minnesota and it was 11-12 mile days in rugged terrain.
So .... I gave some guidance but he sussed most out on his own.
Not enough to have all the right gear .... You gotta know how to use it and have confidence in gear and yourself in the piney woods.
We were able to tweak clothing systems in what was cold/cool/windy hiking days. some cold rain too. Perks a hike up some.
His meal bag was lighter and better thought out.
Wanderin'fool deserves a field promotion. Had a drip from his tarp .... due to having a pole mod added from 2QZQ and he did not seam seal the mod. A wee drip. He dealt with it. Confidence and the ability to improvise in action.....!!!
It was a terrific time on the trip and we got to hang with other hangers and WF got a chance to get tips and to check out their backpacking styles. MrGreen, Stormcrow, pizza, Fin and some new folks as well. Even tenters.
With Wanderin'fools permission he has allowed me to post some of his Noob Thoughts!
I consider him a "Noob No more".
WF feeling good in the woods...From one Noob to another... What I learned on the Superior Hiking Trail.
I will leave the details of this SHT trip to the more experienced of the group. I would like my trip report to speak to the Noobs on the list, of which I am included.
It was my first trip on the SHT and only my third time on the trail with my hammock. To be honest, I was so focussed applying my hammock skills and learning new skills, I do not feel I fully appreciated the beauty of the SHT. I will definitely repeat this section in the future. I was fortunate to have been able to hike with experienced HF members and outdoorsmen: MrGreen, Shug, StormCrow, Fin, Pizza and Northman.
I was brought to the hammock by my friend of many years, Shug. However, I think he will be the first to tell you that I have not solely relied on his hammock experience to further my experience.
Hammock Forums is our Encyclopedia Britannica. The HF home page search window is your priceless source to the woods for pleasure and survival. The research I have done on HF has made me a better hammocker and really helped shorten my learning curve to the woods. There is no quick route to hammocking and rarely is there one solution to a matter.
Google and youtube are awesome supplements to HF.
A few things I learned on HF and the SHT...
Watch how experienced hammockers work the woods. Do not stare; it is creepy. Questions are fine, but learning by example and "doing" is the real key.
Your clothing system is all about layers and knowing when to remove and add. I never fully understood how often I would have to adapt my clothes system while on the trail and at camp.
Your hammock is more than a sleeping system... it is your thinking space, storage space and social space.
Letting your feet hang higher than your head is not just for comfort, it is a necessity to reduce the swelling in your feet and legs after hiking to your hammock camp site.
Mountain House meals taste better in the woods, than in your kitchen at home. Bring black pepper.
You must seam seal any mods to your tarp ridge line BEFORE it rains in the woods. A rain coat draped over your hammock ridge line, under the tarp drip, keeps you dry in your hammock. (Thanks Shug)
When you pack your backpack under your tarp, do not stand hunched over. Sit in your hammock and pack your bag as it lays on the ground in front of you. D'oh! (Thanks Stormcrow)
A single jetboil fuel canister will boil two cups of water for six meals (including a hot beverage) and four additional cups of tea... and still have quite a bit of fuel left over. No need to run the heat wide open.
You can pack light and still eat very well (MrGreen, the Hammock Gourmet, is proof of this)
Your bare hands at 38 degrees feel warmer than wet hands at 50 degrees.
Wrist warmers are awesome.
You can build a fire when it is raining. (Thanks Fin)
When you get to camp, do your set-up and chores right away–it makes for a more enjoyable camp site experience. (Thanks Pizza)
Reflectix is your friend.
A zipper pull wrapped, or shock cord tied in a prusik knot, around your UQ shock cord (above the hammock ridge line) about four inches from where the UQ wraps over your hammock's gathered end... will prevent your UQ from rolling off of your shoulder while sleeping.
Water tastes better out of your own DIY gravity filter.
A TQ and UQ combination are very comfy and warm.
It's not about having an expensive hammock and gear... it's about having a hammock and gear that works.
When a fellow hammocker's dog peaks over your hammock and rests his warm snout on your nose, BEFORE you are awake... you are thankful that you emptied your bladder earlier that morning. (Thanks Northman)
You can do all the research in the world, but nothing or no one is a better teacher than actually getting out in the fresh air and working your hammock and gear in the woods.
Can I hear a Whoooooo Buddy on that!
I gotta go proudly hand sew my SHT patch on my pack now...
Enjoying some porch mode....
Levitating his JRB Hudson River TQ
All secure in sector seven,