Lurking about for a bit - learning a lot and trying to keep up wit da lingo and all 'round here. Have to say, I was pretty excited about my first trip out with a hammock, and it did not let me down! I went up to Fossil Springs north of Phoenix - a sort of natural waterpark with artesian springs, waterfalls, rope swings and travertine caves to explore. Sweet place to hang beneath the shade of the sycamores with the creek rushing by not 15' from my hammock!
Overall, though I have identified some room for improvement in my set-up, I was quite impressed with hanging. Definitely was more fun to hang in the hammock during mid-day siesta time than be confined to one of those hot boxes on the ground!
Bought a pretty sweet little hammock off mikeinfhaz, a Grand Turk Skeeter-Beeter which he had modified to have a structural ridgeline (included a couple of diy tree huggers). The hammock is just the right size for me, and the bug netting was already a benefit at this camp. Used that with a equinox tarp from Campmor - 8x10. Weather was good, so the tarp was mostly for shade and to give my dog a place to feel safe (that turned out to be a waste - she didn't like it under the tarp!).
For the tarp, I ran a ridgeline (the white line in the photos) then tied the ends of the tarp to it with prusik knots - using the tie from the middle of the tarp as additional support in the center. I tried to put a bowline on one end and a truckers hitch on the other, but I kept messing up the bowline, so I have to relearn that knot. Won't stay with me for some reason. I had tarp tensioners on the four tie-outs which I made based on threads here, using figure-9's on those. I need to get longer lines for the tie-outs, however - especially if I'm going to use the walking stick-shade method. That's why the back corner is wonky in the second pic - I didn't have enough line to make it work, so I tied it to a bush. It wasn't wet, so it didn't matter. It was nice to have the tarp out on the second night because the full moon made sleeping a little difficult… The tarp provided moonshade, too!
I made myself an SPE using waterproof nylon I got on the remnants rack at Joann’s for $.45/yard and 2 3/8” blue closed-cell foam pads from Campmor. It worked out was okay, but I was still a little cold with low temps in the upper 40’s. I think partially because the sleeping bag I brought (Big Agnes Yampa) was only rated to 40 degrees, and I sleep cold. I wasn’t too cold to sleep though, especially once I pulled the dog into the hammock (long story, that).
Interestingly, this was one of those rare sites where it was probably easier to find tent sites than trees for a hammock. Because the camping area was heavily impacted, there was lots of bare earth and large trees at long intervals. I found an adequate spot - but in the dark it was a bit of a challenge. Probably wouldn't have been an issue if I'd arrived during the day.
I was impressed as a whole. My solo tent + sleeping pad + sleeping bag would have weighed 6lb 2oz. The hammock + tarp + spe + sleeping bag came in just under 5 lb. Weight savings + a cool place to chill out all day long + a good night's sleep, well, priceless!
I also included a funny pic of the rig my husband set up in the backyard to help me test out the hammock system. Hilarious!