Having spent too many hours sitting at home this winter rather than out hiking the trails, I knew that I was badly out of shape and would certainly be in a world-of-pain once I finally got my self and my stuff to the trail head.
Having gone more than 6 months since my last backpacking trip, I decided to indulge myself with almost every not-really-needed, much-less-a-necessity piece of gear, going into my backpack. Additionally, since this was to be my first self-supported multi-day solo trip, I also had to lug much more fuel and food than usual. To see how foolhardy I was, I actually stepped on a scale to find out: how fat I had become (don
t ask); how heavy --+50#-- my pack weighed .
The short version of the trip was that I thought I was going to die before I crashed only half way out to my proposed hang site....and simply did a stealth hang when I decided I could go no further. The next morning I actually made it to my first night's destination. The following morning, I started taking much of the excess gear back to my car so that I was only carting 35# not the killer 50#. The rest of the time, I did day hikes with a 25# pack trying to get back into shape.
But I digress. Just before I went for my first A.T. hike of the year, I got a brand spanking new Warbonnet Superfly Camo. The weather here in Maryland has been rainy, stormy (yep, we had tornadoes here in Maryland too), and vacillating from warm to cold; so I knew that this trip would be a good test of the Superfly.
The Superfly came with it's own stuff sack so getting it into my pack was easy. Having read of other peoples experience with getting one of the new Warbonnet's flys... .I spent some time at home: putting bungee cords on the tie outs, along the stake points; and added some figure 9s with reflective kelty cords where I thought they would be needed.
When I arrived for my first (unplanned) hang, the weather was threatening, my tongue was hanging out, and all I could think of was: "Poor Me!" (Please cue the violins here, LOL
I got my headlight on, threw up the Superfly, pulled my hammock out of its snake skins, and put my dead butte into the hammock for a good night's rest. Mother nature decided that this first night, like every night and most of the days which followed, would bring high winds from variable directions, thunderous downpours to continuous drizzles. Temps ranged from the low 70s to the 40s, winds ranged from 0 to approx. 25 mph, and the humidity/dampness was constant at nearly 100%.
What I learned. When the wind and rains were mild, using my trekking poles on one side of the Superfly, and using the pull outs on the other side of the fly, gave me a really nice view and made the enclosure seem more like a screened in porch. For the rest of the time, pulling the sides down tent-like worked really well. Having watched one of Shug's videos, I tried his trick of partially closing one end of the fly's doors (the side facing into the wind) ...while staggering the two doors on the other end (away from the wind) so that the door on one side of the fly was 2'-3' inside of the other. By leaving some of both ends of the fly open, air circulation was great; but rain penetration was pretty minor. The staggered door configuration worked really well for me to be able to get in and out of the fly/hammock; but still keep most of the weather outside.
Unlike most of the Virginia A.T. I have been backpacking on previously, this Maryland part of the A.T. had a forest floor with very deep duff (decomposing leaves) with only a few protruding large rocks. Checking out my MSR ground hog tent stakes after the first night showed that all most all of them had pulled nearly out....even though most of them had been buffeted from the fly by bungee cord. Adding 8-12# rocks to the top of the stakes kept them completely in place for the rest of the trip.
I was very impressed with how well the Superfly was made and really appreciated how well it worked. My only regrets are that the camo coloring of my fly is really much darker than the surrounding forest (in summer or in winter); and I wish that I had bought a bishop bag to go along with the Superfly....'cause that sucker really flags around (and those numerous figure 9s can cause some serious damage) when the wind is really blowing.
All in all, I highly recommend the Superfly!