So, my next project after I finish the alpha phase of my pack design is going to be a complete hammock camping system (no, I don't generally think small, why do you ask?), and I was looking for feedback from the collective pool of knowledge that everyone brings to this wonderful forum.
To begin, my priorities for the system (in order):
- Ease of Use
1.) Ease of Use:
By this, I mean that it should be easy to set up and take down, with as little "fiddle factor" as possible. Testing will be required to hit the proper temperature ranges and weight ranges, but I think I have a good leg up on that due to the pool of knowledge available for data mining here on HF.
The system should be able to be scaled up or down as the weather changes, from clear skies and 80+ degrees F down to 0 degrees F and blizzard conditions. While it is unlikely that I will face the low end of that range here in FL, I may (probably will) want to go hiking and camping elsewhere on the east coast, and that may entail such conditions. So, I need to at least have a plan to add on to the system for those sorts of conditions.
The system needs to be able to stand up to a beating. I'm hard on my gear--always have been. So, it needs to be almost as tough as major-retailer gear, or easily field-repairable, or even both (my goal). This means that it's going to be heavier than most ultralight gear (which is fine: I'm not a thru-hiker, and I'm in reasonable shape for someone under 30).
This is the secondary reason that I want to go DIY rather than purchasing from retailers or gear makers (the first being that no one offers exactly what I want out there; most of the cottage industry folks have many, or even most of the things I want, but no single one of them offers all of those things). This will likely take care of itself over the long run, with trials and alpha testing winding up costing nearly as much as (or perhaps even more than) a complete system that is store-bought. However, it won't have the hidden cost of gear that I wind up being unable to sell. I can budget for this in the safety of knowledge that I will have to refine it somewhere down the line.
While I'm in the middle of finalizing my alpha design for my pack right now, I still don't want to have to carry more weight than is absolutely needed. As long as I can keep a five-day trip in three season weather (down to freezing) below forty pounds (20% to 22% of my body weight, depending on fitness level) from the skin out, I'll be okay. To be truly happy with the design, I'd prefer to keep that weight down to thirty pounds (15% to 17% of my body weight). Since I have an idea of what the rest of my gear is going to weigh, I can design around this requirement. Hopefully, compromises here will be few and far between; however, the three requirements above will win out if there is a tie.
Alright, enough jabbering. Time to get to the design phase!
Let's start with the simplest portion of the system: the hammock itself...