This week, my fiance and I decided to take our hammocks out for an overnight in Steele, Alabama, to do some camping and climbing. This was her first night in her new Warbonnet Blackbird, and I'd had a few nights in mine.
Weather: Lows in the mid 20s overnight with some serious wind gusts. This was by far our windiest night camping in quite a while and it caused some complications. More on that later.
Her setup: Warbonnet Blackbird with Speer 8x10 tarp. She was pitched parallel to the direction the wind was blowing, with the wind blowing in from her foot end. We staked the tarp low and tight, and after a bit of tinkering decided to cross the foot-end tieouts to close off the foot end and reduce the drafts. For the middle tieouts, we used the Warbonnet shockcord tieouts, down to the stake, and then looped back up to the tarp. This seemed to work really well and saved a pair of stakes. She slept in a Big Agnes 0 degree down bag, with an Exped Downmat 7 in the pad slot, wearing Capilene 3 baselayers. She described the night as "toasty".
My setup: Blackbird with Warbonnet cat cut hex tarp (basically the superfly without the doors). Pitched low and tight, but there was no way to close off an end, so I was pitched perpendicular to the wind, so it was hitting the broad side of the tarp. I was sleeping in an REI PolarPod 0 degree synthetic bag, with an Exped Downmat 7 DLX in the pad slot of the Warbonnet, wearing Capilene as well. I was generally warm, except the pad still has a tendency to slide up to my right side, out from underneath me.
On to the problems:
Getting the tarps pitched well in the gusting wind was a royal PITA. We used Figure 9's for all our guylines, and to tension the tarp's connection between the trees. During setup, with the tarps flapping around wildly, the figure 9's would keep coming lose, and everything would lose tension. Honestly, the figure 9s did not impress me on this outing. I ended up finishing them off with slipped half hitches, which seemed to improve the holding power. I also haven't completely decided on the best way to connect the whole guyline setup with the figure 9s and will be playing with that more.
I also used my Trangia alky stove to do all of our cooking and heating of water, and it was very inefficient on fuel, due to the wind. The little windscreen that comes with the stove was pretty ineffective, and I'm thinking of picking up one of the aftermarket windscreens to try out. Luckily we were car camping and I brought along a big metal bottle of the fuel, as we ended up filling the stove four or five times in one night.
Despite the problems, I slept like a log, and was well rested for an amazing day of climbing on some beautiful southern sandstone. The biggest downside was - I was so darn comfy I stayed in the hammock past 9 am, and wasted away a few hours of climbing time!