My 10-year-old recently crossed over to Boy Scouts from Webelos. So he'll be doing a lot of hiking and camping. As I'm an adult leader in BSA, I'll likely be along for much of it.
Last fall I got to poking around here a bunch, read Ed Speer's book and ended up making a couple of hammocks
I hate sleeping on the ground. Even on a pad, I wake up all achy and miserable. Laying in a hammock, on the other hand, is heavenly. At least when it's not so cold out. To take care of that, I put an ensolite pad in the hammock and then my 1" thick inflatable Thermarest over that.
In my son's hammock I put an ensolite pad and a military one over that. We tied the head ends of our hammocks to two trees growing very close together in our front yard and shared a tree for the foot end. Since my Silnylon material is still on order, we used a 12' x 9' poly tarp staked out over a guy line above the two hammocks to try them out.
Last night we gave it a test-sleep. I wanted to test it out in the cold where, if we got too cold, we could just walk back into the house. Better than being out on a BSA campout only to discover we didn't have enough insulation!
So I crawled in my sleeping bag (REI synthetic mummy bag) wearing a fleece 1/4-zip top and fleece pants. My son had fleece on too and a double-sleeping bag (military style knock-off). We both wore ski caps and wool socks too. The thermometer when we went out there at about 10 p.m. read 34 degrees, but there was already frost on my truck in the driveway. Chance of a light snow was forecasted for that night too. And quite a bit of wind too. Only got the wind though, and a bit of rain.
Within an hour, I was too hot! I took off my hat and unzipped my bag to mid-torso. It was a really windy night and I had forgotten to take a careful look up the trees for dead branches (widow-makers, they call them around here). So it was a restless night! Not having turned off the porch light didn't help either!
But I was plenty warm and reasonably comfortable. I really don't like mummy bags, but the hammock doesn't really allow for stretching out anyway, so....
When I got up, the thermometer read 37 degrees in a light rain. No problem. I'd estimate I'd have been comfortable even down to the low- to mid-20s, based on how hot I got at slightly below freezing. In a good breeze to boot.
My son said he got a bit cold around his shoulders. Probably his sleeping bag loosened up. His hammock sides also tend to close in around him, so his moisture-laden breath hitting that cold nylon condensed and got the nylon wet.
Anyway, here's a shot of the setup I took this afternoon before I took the setup down. This is from the foot end. Mine's on the left and his is on the right; both looking bulky from the pads still inside:
Here's a picture of the rolled-up hammock (mine, the longer one) and the two rolled-up treehugger straps (PacoWarabi design) and the two carabiners:
All that there weighs in at a respectably light (to me, anyway) 28 ounces. Missing from that is the tarp, of course, which as I mentioned I am waiting on the material for. That should weigh just about one more pound, including the tie lines and stakes, eh? So that would make for a total of just under 3 pounds the way I figure. Doesn't seem all that bad to me. Of course, one has to add in the sleeping pad and sleeping bag, but the tent-campers have to carry that stuff too.
Based on my experience last night, for ~25-30+ degree camping, I would be able to carry a single 3/4-length 1-1/2" thick Thermarest pad (the new kind that are tapered so will fit even better in a hammock) laid over a Mylar emergency blanket. Those new Thermarests fold and roll into a package about as big as the rolled-up hammock. What a setup that would be!
So what do y'all think?