Took my HH Super Shelter out for the first official over-nighter last night and thought I would share my experience.
It was time for our monthly camp out with the Boy Scouts and heading up into the snow covered Wasatch Mountains again just didn't sound all that enticing!
Luckily, our rancher buddy let us use one of his gorgeous fields right on the Great Salt Lake. Sadly, I forgot my camera... Sorry.
One of the first lessons you learn trying to hammock camp in the west, is that just because there are trees, doesn't mean you can get to them! The field we were using was surrounded on all four sides by huge River Birch. From a distance, I was stoked! I thought for sure I would find the most beautiful grove nestled between two friendly trees that would offer great protection from the nasty wind that had picked up. However, up close, it was a completely different story! If you know anything about river birch, then you will know that the smaller branches, are covered in 1-2 inch spikes as their natural defense. The other thing about River Birch, is that they have A LOT of those small spiky branches! The massive trunks of the mature trees are usually completely surrounded by spiky undergrowth.
So, much to my dismay, there was not a single spot that I could use... But! As all Scouts do when they must! I improvised! I found ONE nice tree that I could get to on the side of the field, backed my Infiniti QX4 up to the tree and proceeded to turn one set of tree huggers into "cargo-rack" huggers! Yup! One side hanging from the tree, the other side hanging from the rack on top of my vehicle! Worked great!
This was the first time I have used my HHSS and was debating whether I would even need it as the forecast was only calling for low 40s overnight. But I was excited to use it, and man was I glad I did!
The wind picked up early in the evening and only got worse as the night came on. My thermometer registered 37 degrees overnight, and that was not counting for wind chill. The HHSS with supplied underpad and one of my emergency blankets did a masterful job of keeping the wind off of my back side. The wind was really roaring most of the night.
We are pretty used to that out here on the flats next to the lake. The wind comes ripping off the lake and right into town. It can really make a mess of things. (it literally wrapped our trampoline around a telephone poll once!)
I took along my new 0 degree bag just in case as well, and again, I'm glad I did. My biggest learning from the trip was wind can really do you in. In my case, the wind would come ripping under my hex tarp and right through the no-see-um netting, across me, and back out the other side. I spent most of the night tucked completely inside my bag as it was doing a great job of keeping the wind off of my top side. I'm still not sold on the top quilt idea. I still like the idea of being enclosed in my bag and protected on all sides, so if there are other arguments besides weight, I would love to hear them.
Otherwise, since we were car camping, we thought we would treat the boys to a nice, dutch oven, culinary treat. For dinner we had seven bone roasts with potatoes, roasted carrots, and caramelized onions, with fried potatoes and chunked bacon on the side. Dessert was individual apple turnovers sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon. We had extra apples so we threw them into another oven, peel side down, and simply sprinkled them with the leftover cinnamon and sugar. Simple and super good!
Breakfast was a potato, bacon, onion, and cheese souffle with warm buck skin bread to wash it down! (Sugary hand made bread dough, spread out in the dutch oven, sprinkled with lots of cinnamon, sugar, and butter! Yum!)
All in all, it was a nice trip. The wind was nasty and cold, but the boys had a blast running through the thickets and trying (unsuccessfully) to not get wet in the fresh water natural sleughs that surrounded the fields (hence the River Birch).
So, how did the SS do? It performed fantastically well in these conditions. 37 degrees, horrible wind chill, nice toasty back-side!
Roll the bones!