Recently did the Standing Indian Loop, went from the SI backcountry info booth to glassmine gap on the AT via the Long branch trail, went south on the AT to standing indian mt, then took the lower ridge trail back to the info booth. total trip was about 20 something miles, spread out nicely over three days two nights.
Hammock set up was this: 50 degree older model speer pea pod, go lite ultra 20 quilt, eno double nest, 1/4 thinlite GG pad, no modifications, and then the ole homemade 8x 10 sil tarp with small beaks. this was actually my first trip with this exact setup, but i had used basically all of this gear before.
We actually camped thursday night at wildcat knob on the Coosa Trail in GA, where it began to rain late at night well after we set up camp. early in the morning i noticed moisture coming down my straps, and the howling wind had blown some rain on to the end of the pea pod. (this was my windiest set up ever) i noticed no drop in warmth, to that point. the tarp was hung low and wide, to accomodate a friend who was sleeping in a tyvek bivy. So, the tarp set up could have probably stopped the blowing rain if i hadn't been so nice.
From there we headed to the standing indian camp ground, to meet the rest of our group and start the real hike. we started in the cold rain, and busted out six miles non stop to big spring shelter. From there, i set up the hammock again, running out from the shelter to hang the tarp, then the hammock, then the insulation, etc. I set the tarp up more to my needs as my friend stayed in the shelter. Pea pod foot end was still moderately damp, hammock straps were still damp, and hammock ends were moderately damp and even the hammock body may have been, sometimes its hard to tell the difference between slight dampness and extreme cold. this was probably my least comfortable night, temps could have been well into the forties. my feet kept getting cold, as the thinlite insulation did not reach them. the foot end of the pea pod was wet, so i think it was losing a little warmth. i did tie drip strings which seemd to help but not alleviate the problem of strap run off. I slept in a silk layer, a wool layer, and a montbell windshirt, as well as a fleece balaclava and a insulated bp lite balaclava. i stayed warm on top but was a little cold at the foot end and a little cold on my backside. my wet socks which i thought would dry between the hammock and peapad felt like chunks of ice on my back. they were moved.
still slept well enough to be the first one up and cooking breakfast.
The next night and final night i slept without the tarp, as eveything had dried off pretty well during a long sunny day. earlier in the day, i dried the tarp and hammock at albert mountain, until the placed was invaded by seriously 20 small children and about twenty adults. i was having to dig for my gear while saying excuse me fifty times to small kids.
That night went pretty well, i was able to get the thinlite insulation to stay flat under me. This was the main problem i noticed with it: it wants to ball up and wrinkle when you get on top of it, and when you get out it looks funky with all kinds of creases etc. i was able to move around and still feel it spread out underneath me. not bad for being so **** flimsy.
overall things i liked, with gear: the golite ultra twenty is great, has similar specs to some JRB gear with a significant price reduction. Got it for 190 on Backcountrygear.com, last i checked they now go for 180. thing is warm and toasty, never had an issue the whole trip with top insulation. And, the pea pod was usaually open from about my waist to my neck. the BP lite balalclava, although rediculously expensive, but not as bad as some others, is a now a staple of my hammock hanging. I could poke my head out the pea pad, and lay it back on the pea pod behind me, like having a big down pillow with a synthetic balaclava on top. use your imagination.
dislikes: I was wishing fairly often that i had brought the ole insulated big agnes pad. i then could have used the thinlite just for my feet. so here it is lack of back insulation. could have been a lot different.
Main issues: Water coming from the straps and getting in the hammock, storing the hammock and the straps after a wet hang, trying to aviod further moisture transfer, BTW< i use speer webbing and do the speer style hang.
drip strings helped on night two but had their limits. i also noticed water coming down the ridgeline.
i am thinking of going to ring buckles, this may help stop water transfer as well as separate the hammock and straps.