This is actually Part I in a series on my quest to build a comfortable hammock camping set up for my Beloved who thinks that roughing it is staying at a Motel 6. The requirements are that it be roomy (i.e. not claustophobic), totally bugproof, totally snake proof, reasonably critter proof, and shady. Packability and weight are secondary concerns as its primary use will be for car camping (but if it is reasonable packable and somewhat light, that would be a plus). Hopefully, the ultimate result of this project will be something that can be legitimately called the "Taj Ma Hammock."
As I already have a Crazy Creek tarp which is a bit on the heavy side and an ENO DN that I had recieved as a gift, I determined that these would be the core of the project and went looking for mosquito netting that would fit the bill. I didn't have to look far. I'll let HoosierGuy's review stand for itself, and there's a good deal of information and pictures there that I will not repeat here. While this review is primarily aimed at Grand Trunk's Mosquito Shelter's suitability for use in a specific project, there may be information here that I hope you find useful.
After reading Hoosier Guy's review, I began surfing the interwebs for information, pictures, and reviews with little result. The product is new and retails for $80.00. For most hammock campers there are mosquito net products at or near that price point which are better suited to thier purposes, so there seems to be little interest in it for what we would consider a "normal" application. But, when I found one on special at an Amazon dealer (Rodeo Beach) for under $70.00, and being deeply devoted to my Significant Other, I took a leap of faith. Service was not as prompt as what I generally recieve from HF Cottage Vendors and members, but it was acceptable for the retail market.
I took it, the ENO DN, and the Crazy Creek tarp to work yesterday with plans to set the whole arrangement up at a local park.
It comes packed in a stuff sack a bit bigger than a nalgene bottle. When I say packed, I mean packed.
To give you an idea just how packed it is, this is it laying out on an 8 foot long picnic table:
Right here, I'll skip right to the end and mention that I did not even try to get it back into the stuff sack as I plan on using a lazy slug to pack it and the tarp, so I can't attest to whther or not its possible to do.
The ridge line is a bit dissapointing for something that is supposed to hang something 12 feet long.
I'll note here that I did attempt to hang the shelter by itself between two trees about 18" diameter at 15'-0" apart and the ridgeline was not long enough. This wasn't a big issue for me as I had hoped that I would be able to hang it from the Crazy Creek tarp. The idea was supposed to be that I could hang this first:
and then use the internal loops at the ends of the tarp to hang the net from
I rigged the tarp where I thought it should go, based on GT's claim that the net would be "big enough to stand in" (more on that later) and strung the GT ridgeline between the internal loops. That didn't work well as the ridgeline sagged and the net slipped down to the center and it was difficult to get the ridgeline tight enought to keep that from happening. I removed the ridgeline and attached a White Mountain Cinch Strap to each end with some extra biners, then clipped it to the tarp's tree strap.
That at least got it hanging.
But this is unacceptable as a solution as it does not allow me to deploy the little beaks at the end of the tarp which I was hoping would cover the ends of the net to protect it from rain. The other problem was that I'd strung the tarp too high for the floor of the net to touch the ground. I loosend the tree straps enough to get the floor down to the ground, which was wen I found another dissappointing thing about this particular net: the outside edge of one of the stake loops had been sewn into the netting. Not a terrible thing and easily fixed, but I hope its not something endemic in all of these nets, or an indication of GTs quality control overall.
Once I got it all up with the floor on the ground, I hung the DN using the same cinch strap suspension I used for the tarp and this was the result:
As it is right now, it is most definetly NOT big enough to stand in, at least for my 5'-11 frame. Luckily, Significant Other is a good deal shorter than I.
I got inside and got a nice flat lay on the diagonal and to my surprise the interior was wide enough that the net was not touching any part of my body, which is a big plus.
It does look like the project can continue with the Mozzy net as an integral part of the whole. I will, however, make some modifications to parts and processes.
1. Hang the net independently using cinch straps and buckles and a Zing-It ASR. I plan to hang the net first and stake the floor down before raising the tree straps to full height. I'm going to see if Gary at White Mountain can make me some custom straps for it so that I can hang it with a loop that will allow the hammock suspension to go inside it, as well as the beaks on the tarp.
2. Hang the tarp next to get it snug down on the net and, if required, make provisions to use the interior loops to help hold the net up so as to gain maximum height inside the net. This may require an internal ridgeline to support the center of the net. It probably won't be required, though.
3. Hang the hammock last so that it can be centered inside.
I do think that this is light enough that I could use it on an overnight. I'd not use it as a matter of course, but if Scout The Wonder Dog accompanies me, it might make a good place for him to spend the night.