Bridge Hammock Undercover Weather Shield
One of the things I really liked about the Hennessey SuperShelter was the protection afforded by the silnyl undercover. The bottom of the hammock is fully protected from blown rain.
However, I didn't want to add another accessory piece for the Bridge Hammock.
I always carry a rain poncho. I remembered that it had been mentioned on the forums that the JRB Weather Shield was made from the same material as the Frogg Toggs or the Dri Ducks. One or the other. I thought I would try one of those.
Searched and found a Dri Ducks poncho. The price was right, $12.00. The Dri Ducks size is good also, 50" wide by 88" long and 8.60 oz. including its built-in stuff sack. At that price for the Dri Ducks, I can easily experiment and modify if necessary.
The first thing I did was to replace those ridiculous draw cords they use with dyneema guy line cord. Note: using a leather lacing needle makes the replacement easy and done in a few minutes. Also, I use 1 instead of 2 cord locks. With the dyneema guy line cord, I could use a smaller cord lock, but I'm too lazy to find one smaller.
I added 6 tie offs, 3 on each side, i.e., the edges with the snaps and which are on the wearers sides. For the tie offs, I simply used a small piece of gaffer's tape: stick to the hem, fold over and stick to the hem on the other side of the fabric with a tab sticking out, punch a hole in the tab formed with the tape. It is coated on the outside with a plastic. No sewing required. I use 4 of the tie offs to attach to the corners of my Bridge Hammock. The remaining 2 tie offs are in the middle and I run some very small diameter shock cord, 3/32" diameter, from one side, over my ridge line and clip into a micro-carabiner in the added tie off on the other side.
I ran some guy line cord through the hems on the bottom and top of the poncho, again using the leather lacing needle. The guy line cord and gaffer's tape tabs brought the weight up to 9.55 oz. Using the hem cords, I cinch the ends up over the hammock ends and tie off to the spreader/hiking poles. The poncho overlaps 4" of each hammock end when cinched up in this manner. In conjunction with the draft stoppers, that seals off the ends. I do this also when using the bug netting and I have total mosquito protection.
Since the poncho is a simple rectangle, the poncho fits the underside of my Bridge Hammocks perfectly.
There was only one remaining problem: the poncho hood. It doesn't have any built-in means of closing the hood. To accomplish this, I pull the draw cords real tight to close off the hood, which leaves a very small opening. I then fold the hood over the opening, loop the hood draw cords over the folded hood and cinch the cord lock down tight on the hood. That closes the hood against blown rain and mosquitoes.
I've always carried a poncho and now the Dri Ducks poncho which makes a fabulous undercover weather shield - it sheds the rain great and is very breathable, so that condensation is not an issue. The Gossamer Gear pads can be laid on top of the poncho and snugged up against the hammock.
The Dri Ducks poncho actually serves several purposes (besides poncho):
- mosquito protection on the bottom and sides of the hammock. Since my bug netting covers the top and partial sides of my Bridge Hammocks, bottom protection is really needed and having a multi-purpose garment, instead of a dedicated accessory, fill the need is appreciated.
- blown rain protection,
- wind break. This is especially appreciated on evenings when the breeze is up and the sun goes down. Even when the temperature doesn't drop immediately, the breeze alone can cool the unprotected underside of a hammock enough to make sleeping uncomfortable or difficult.
- thermal barrier when pads are too much.
- pad support under hammock - it essentially converts my Bridge Hammock into a double layer hammock with a removable second layer. A conventional sewn on second layer wouldn't work for me since I use two pads in a 'T' formation. The top of the 'T' would not fit in a regular sewn on second layer. The 'T' formation affords me lots of insulation for my torso and upper arms. More so than a sewn on pad pocket could.
Not bad for $12.00.