Last night was my first official hammock hang on my DIY hammock! Needless to say, if I ever had any doubts about hammocking, they have all been expelled! As you may be able to tell from the pictures, the materials I used were not exactly ideal; however, I have ordered some better suspension and some material to make a proper tarp, so I hope to have some better gear in the future. But for right now, lets take a look at my first (slightly ghetto) hang:
Temperature Highs of 35º lows of 27º
Hammock DIY Double layered, gathered end hammock. Thanks to diygearsupply.com, Just Jeff's hammocking instructions, and Hancock Fabrics for providing instruction and materials!
Insulation I used a big, cheap sleeping bag unzipped as an underquilt; I actually attached the ends to the ridgeline, which made it almost like a pod. I then stuffed my Slumberjack 30º mummy bag into my 30º military issued jungle bag (part of the Military Modular Sleep System) and used a Grabber All-Weather Blanket as a top quilt. You may think this is a bit overkill, but I just moved to VA from Hawaii, so I am not used to the cold!
Tarp This is where my set up starts to move into the realm of ghetto. I used a big, see-through piece of thin plastic that I believe is supposed to be used for painting. I then attached it to the ground by tying the ends to some unidentifiable cord I found under my bed and secured it to the ground using some stakes I scavenged from a tent. It was loud, but it was proud! And I'm sure had there been any precipitation, I would not have been as soaked as I would have been had I not put it up!
Here is a picture from inside the tarp:
Suspension This is the part where all the experienced hammockers start to cringe! My "ridgeline" consisted of a lovely piece of frayed, slightly torn nylon webbing that I found tangled in a bush two years ago on the Clark Fork River and a piece of very, very stretchy rope of unknown origin that I used to use to tow kayaks. I also used 550 cord, shoe string, and the aforementioned piece of unidentified cord I found under my bed! In case there are any hammockers reading this that are even more beginner than I am, this is not an ideal suspension set up!
Here is a picture of my "suspension":
Although my setup was a little less than ideal, I absolutely enjoyed my first hammocking experience, and I look forward to learning and hangin' a lot more! Here is what I learned from my experience:
1. DIY is loads of fun and a lot easier than I thought! I don't think I've ever even used a sewing machine before, but I was able to quite successfully make a hammock. It is far from perfect, but I am very happy with it! (And besides, who really cares about dimensions and proportionality anyways?)
2. It is possible to hammock in the cold! I know 27º isn't exactly harsh, winter temperatures, but I still thought it was cold enough to make me a little nervous! I was very impressed with how warm I was able to stay in the hammock, and with some better insulation, I think I will be quite comfortable!
3. Wow, condensation, like, actually exists! Even though I had read about condensation, I was still very surprised to find a thin layer of moisture on the underside of my All-Weather blanket. I slept with a balaclava over my mouth (I think I learned that from Shug), and I do think that probably helped collect a bit of condensation.
4. And last, but certainly not least, making hammocks can be lonely; bring a friend!
I'd love to improve on my hammocking experience/design, so if anybody has any comments, criticism, words of wisdom, sarcastic remarks, questions, musings, advice, etc., please feel free to let me know! I do have a couple of questions in particular:
1. I found that I kept sliding down into the middle of my hammock, so that my feet were really close to the whipping at the foot end, but my head was a good 3-4 feet away from the top. Does that mean I have too much sag?
2. I'm sure this is a very simple question, but how do you stay flat in a hammock? I have been trying to lay diagonally in the hammock, but I felt like the center line of the hammock was really tight, and it was making my knees uncomfortable. Does this have to do with the whipping?
There are a lot of people here on Hammock Forum that helped me a lot through their threads and posts, so I'd like to say a big thanks to all of you! Really, you don't know who you are, and I don't remember who you are, but if you have ever said something useful here on hammock forum, thanks for sayin' it!