Hi there,

I have a couple of newbie questions that I would appreciate some feedback on. I should add that I actually have read dozens of threads across the forum to find this information for myself, only to come up with so many options that simply asking seems like the best way to get measured/sensible advice from those with much more experience than me in this area. So, apologies for that!

I'm a tropical field botanist and have been working the rain- and montane cloud forests of SE Asia and E Africa for over a decade; my set up has always been the UL one-man tent/bivvy route, and I'm only now trying to get into hanging having recently seen a few Aussie upstarts using hammocks on recent expeditions.

I'll be in the US for a wedding in a few weeks, and given that it is the cheapest place on Earth to get high quality gear, I've managed to order a discounted HH Explorer UL and hex tarp that I can pick up on arrival (thought about WBBB, but ultimately price/convenience won out).

My questions relate to hammock suspension and tarp ridgelines.

1) Is the standard HH suspension setup the most convenient for very regular use, bearing in mind that I will be using the UL with its thinner ropes? I was rather hoping to use a quick/adjustable Garda hitch with carabiner and 2 abseiling rings, as I have for other applications, but gather that the thinner lines can slip and even shear with this setup. Any recommendations/alternatives from personal experience (idiot-proof explanations may be required!)?
2) Is it worth having a separate ridgeline for the Hex tarp, or to use the standard HH setup, which as I understand it involves clipping the tarp to the hammock's ridgeline? My research takes place in some of the wettest environments on earth, and separating the tarp from the hammock seems like the most sensible thing to do. If so, what sort of setup might you recommend (I'll be dropping in to REI whilst in New Mexico, so any equipment that can be easily sourced there would be helpful)?
Thank you in advance for your thoughts; the forum seem to have a very supportive (fanatical ) community and I look forward to learning from you!