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View Full Version : Girlfriend and I wanting to do a Thru Hike...



Edvvard
05-26-2010, 21:16
Mind you, it won't be until we get out of undergrad... which will be 2 years from now :rolleyes:


We both have some hammocks that we made using the pattern here on this site that we are in love with. We'd like to use those, but have only slept in them overnights at her place and on the TVT. So nothing more than a night or 2 in them in warmer weather.


I'm confused about how to get started on set-up for the AT. We are unsure of insulation as we have both realized the lack of comfort in sleeping in a sleeping bag while hammocking. We read about top quilts and underquilts, but would a peapod be decent enough for us if we start in April and plan to finish up in August/September?

krugd
05-26-2010, 21:23
Sounds like a great plan. Hope it works out for you. I haven't done an extended hike like that and will let others comment on the specifics. A peapod sounds like overkill for much of the hike. An overquilt (use the sleeping bags unzipped) and underquilt in combination would likely work better and be more adaptable to the various weather combinations.

Be sure to get out and do some longer hikes and test your gear before attempting a thru hike. Nothing like a few days in the woods with bad weather to point out the weaknesses of your gear.:)

Edvvard
05-26-2010, 21:41
Should I possibly start with an underquilt and overquilt... then send the underquilt back home a bit into the hike when the weather clears up finally?

I was wondering if a GI poncho liner might be a decent quilt to use for warmer weather later on into the hike.

Mustardman
05-26-2010, 21:52
Lots of people definitely send their heavy winter quilts home after the weather warms up, so you're on the right track. We have a few very active members who have thru-hiked, so hopefully they will be along soon to offer more advice.

It will definitely be helpful to get comfortable with your setup in a variety of conditions BEFORE you hit the trail - that means intentionally camping out when it's rainy or cold or otherwise miserable.

krugd
05-26-2010, 21:53
Should I possibly start with an underquilt and overquilt... then send the underquilt back home a bit into the hike when the weather clears up finally?


I think this is a normal strategy. Of course it depends on the timing of your hike and whether northbound or south. But having a warmer UQ for when you can expect cold weather and a lighter one for when you can count on warm weather is a good idea. Same goes for the overquilt...



I was wondering if a GI poncho liner might be a decent quilt to use for warmer weather later on into the hike.

I've head of others doing this. You might want to try it out. Or, if you have any sewing skills try making a simple DIY synthetic quilt and add some shock cord for suspension.

tight-wad
05-26-2010, 21:54
You have plenty of time to experiment. IMHO you will need more than a poncho any time of year except August in Alabama.

A peapod is basically a bottom and top quilt sewed together. Separate products will give you more flexibility to change with the seasons to heavier and lighter elements.

For an AT thru you will definitely want something thick/heavy on the bottom in the beginning. By the time you get to MD (Nobo) you could change it out for something lighter, then when you get to MA switch it back to the thicker stuff.

Edvvard
05-26-2010, 22:11
You have plenty of time to experiment. IMHO you will need more than a poncho any time of year except August in Alabama.



So a poncho liner won't work then :(

I'm semi decent at gearmaking, so I'd prefer to make our under and over quilts unless it would be way cheaper to buy it.


We are going south to north. Are there any specific patterns for making a top and underquilt? and how much material might i need? I have ordered from speer before for the hammocks, but i honestly have no idea if i should order my supplies from him or someplace cheaper(if there is one) and how much of said material.

And yeah, she and I both have been talking about doing some nasty weather camping next time we get the chance.

Mustardman
05-26-2010, 22:14
When making our UQ's, MrsMustardman and I designed the patterns ourselves, but they were designed after over more than a years worth of hanging out on these forums and absorbing various information about how quilts are made and suspended. Ours are differentially cut, and I calculated appropriate differentials by using a little geometry to estimate the curvature of the hammock and so forth. We honestly didn't save much money over buying commercial ones, although ours are slightly lighter than equivalently sized commercial quilts because we used momentum 90 fabric and cut a bit of weight off the shells.


Edit: forgot to add - we got our fabric from thru-hiker, and the down was a mix of stuff from thru-hiker and speer.

Cannibal
05-27-2010, 08:50
There will only be a short time on the AT where you could get by with little, or nothing, below you for insulation. Even in the dead of summer, you're going to have cool nights. Somewhere in NY (I think) in July I had one of my most miserable nights. It had been warm for weeks, but there was a fairly dramatic cold snap for a couple of nights. The first night it also rained. I had long ago switched out for a summer top quilt and removed 3 layers (of 4) of insulation from my UQ. I was not pleased.

Even if it's just a single layer of insulation, or a sewn-thru down quilt, it will be worth it.

gargoyle
05-27-2010, 08:59
So a poncho liner won't work then :(



Poncho liners have worked for lots of folks, do a search, there are many threads dealing with how-to mod the PL.

welcome.

G.L.P.
05-27-2010, 09:01
There will only be a short time on the AT where you could get by with little, or nothing, below you for insulation. Even in the dead of summer, you're going to have cool nights. Somewhere in NY (I think) in July I had one of my most miserable nights. It had been warm for weeks, but there was a fairly dramatic cold snap for a couple of nights. The first night it also rained. I had long ago switched out for a summer top quilt and removed 3 layers (of 4) of insulation from my UQ. I was not pleased.

Even if it's just a single layer of insulation, or a sewn-thru down quilt, it will be worth it.

i'll 2nd that...
here in PA i can go from HOT as hell...to cold in a matter of a few hours in the summer....

better to have then to not have...i see stormcrow came out with a summer quilt that looks really nice...and Mac makes IX quilts that will fill the bill as well

Edvvard
05-27-2010, 10:46
http://thegpsgeek.com/blog/archives/6 So I saw this... I'm wondering if something like this is made to just cover the very bottom of the hammock, or would it be a good idea to make it wrap around me and use the PL for an overquilt...


Or... could i modify the PL to be for the warmer months to be used as a peapod... then use the thing i'm going to make as a peapod on the colder months?

Sorry, i'm really confusing myself i think :(

SmokeHouse
05-27-2010, 12:40
UnderQuilts are preferred and it sounds like you have time to get the gear you need, but a pad can be used also. I prefer a EVO pad when warmer. JRB has them for 9.95.

Edvvard
05-27-2010, 13:01
UnderQuilts are preferred and it sounds like you have time to get the gear you need, but a pad can be used also. I prefer a EVO pad when warmer. JRB has them for 9.95.

That sounds good to me.

I hear I can send my underquilt ahead or something along those lines in case it is needed later on.

Would I be using the same overquilt throughout the whole hike? Or might that get a bit too warm?

And would I need a double layered hammock if i were to use that specific pad? Or could I still use the single layer i have in mind.

Quoddy
05-27-2010, 15:16
I'm a firm believer in under quilts and top quilts. For both warmth and comfort they can't be beat. A shoulder to thigh length underquilt is sufficient with a sit pad under the feet and lower legs in a single layer hammock. For the variations in temperature you'd be seeing on a thru hike ideally you will need two sets of gear. A zero to 5F under and over quilt for the cold portion, and then both in a 35F configuration for the warmer months. Unlike a sleeping bag, the quilts can be vented/loosened up for warm conditions and remain comfortable.

Edvvard
05-28-2010, 02:20
I'm a firm believer in under quilts and top quilts. For both warmth and comfort they can't be beat. A shoulder to thigh length underquilt is sufficient with a sit pad under the feet and lower legs in a single layer hammock. For the variations in temperature you'd be seeing on a thru hike ideally you will need two sets of gear. A zero to 5F under and over quilt for the cold portion, and then both in a 35F configuration for the warmer months. Unlike a sleeping bag, the quilts can be vented/loosened up for warm conditions and remain comfortable.

Ok, well... would I be able to make a 20 degree OQ and UQ and get by during the whole trek? Assuming I wear a warming base layer that is. I figure i may as well use the setup the whole hike and just loosen it for warmer weather.

bear bag hanger
05-28-2010, 06:07
I did the AT in 2004 with a ULHH and a 3/8 in blue pad. I started Feb 27th and finished Sept 11. I now use an JRB underquilt most of the time and am very happy with it. My recommendation is to start with a good underquilt and send it back about May 30th or so and then go with a pad the rest of the trip. A double layer hammock is helpful, but it's heavier and not required for the pad. Would recommend lots of weekend trips to work out your kit. There may be one or two nights when you could live without any insulation, but it won't happen very often. During my trip I had maybe two nights when the temps went down below 20 when I was uncomfortably cold, but I don't remember every going a whole night without the pad.

The biggest problem with going only with an underquilt on a six month hike is lack of anything to sleep on when you decide to stay in a shelter. Most of us, including myself, plan on never staying in a shelter, but some day, the weather will be really bad and you'll be really tired and the shelter may be your only option. Sometimes you can hang inside a shelter, but be careful when doing so. It's really embarrassing to accidentally pull down a whole shelter on top of your sheltermates!

TwoShoes
05-28-2010, 08:03
It's really embarrassing to accidentally pull down a whole shelter on top of your sheltermates!
A little bit of personal experience?:scared::lol:

carolinasbackpacker
05-28-2010, 08:31
Just did a section Hike in NC and would have been cold at night without my pad. High 40's to low 50's above 3,000 ft at night

Cannibal
05-28-2010, 08:59
Most of us, including myself, plan on never staying in a shelter, but some day, the weather will be really bad and you'll be really tired and the shelter may be your only option.
Nope, Nuh-uh, no way, not gonna happen, forget it. :D
I never slept on anything other than my hammock. Even when I did pull a board out of a shelter wall and fell, I put my hammock right back up. Then again, I ain't right. :laugh:

bear bag hanger
05-28-2010, 23:49
A little bit of personal experience?:scared::lol:

No, but I once came to a shelter which had been pulled down by someone who hung off one of the rear corners of a shelter and a tree. No one got hurt, but it wasn't for a lack of trying.

Edvvard
05-29-2010, 10:26
Are those shelters not very rugged?

bear bag hanger
05-30-2010, 05:41
Most of them are very well built. They aren't built by engineers or with much thought to design - just easy and fast to put up. The one that was pulled down, I think, was a 2X4 framed plywood afair with more than 24" frame spacing.

If your planning on hanging using a shelters frame, then you have to know a little bit about the forces a hammock can have and what is needed to keep things from pulling apart. I would never hang from a single 2X4. For me it has to be doubled 2X4s or a 4X4 or larger. You also have to look at what's holding the beams, etc. together. If the nails are placed such that the nails are taking the full force of holding things up, then you might not want to hang there.

KerMegan
06-01-2010, 13:25
I don't recall ever seeing a picture of an AT shelter that was not surrounded by trees (of various sizes and descriptions).. did he just want to be that close to the shelter?
KM
(now the muir shelter in CA is in the middle of a rock field, but that is far from the AT..)

Doctari
06-01-2010, 14:15
My thoughts are, as you are going to wait 2 years for your thru: Get what you need for hiking NOW, learn to use that for NOW, & don't plan (as much) for what you will use in 2 years. At the rate things are developing with hammock & backpack gear, who know what will be available when you thru hike.

Some examples of recent developments:
WhOpie slings, Ring buckles, Warbonnet Blackbird, Kevlar backpacks, Kevlar (type) cords & rope, Super efficient & lightweight alcohol stoves.

Even Sil Nylon has some new competitors coming "down the pike".