Which Clark to buy
I posted this on the Yahoo Clark Group forum, but I thought maybe there were more or other Clark users here that may not be visiting the other one:
I had mentioned in my last post that I was going to stay with the
Claytors, but this morning I got a message from Clark Outdoor
Products. Whoever wrote the email is certainly inspiring and has
changed my mind; I am going to order one soon.
Now my only holdup is what to buy. I go in the winter a lot so the
NA seems good for that, but I have a couple of underquilts. Having
them makes me lean toward the Tropical. And since I am leaning toward
the tropical, why not go all the way to the Ultralite? Of course I
plan to get the XL tarp.
What do most of you veterans use?
Is there a significant difference in quanlity and durability? What
makes up the extra weight between the UL, Trop and NA?
Camo? what are your thoughts. I think I will miss the extra two
feet length of the Claytor, but then maybe that is why I have a hard
time getting something just right under my neck in a Claytor.
I notice the tropical and UL have mesh instead of fabric on the
head end. I think I would prefer the mesh. I like to see out into
camp. That was one of the big reasons I liked the Claytor, it is a
Finally, what add-ons are you all using? Do you use webbing and
cinch buckles or the like?
Please help me to make the right choice by sharing your feelings
about the model you own. The Clark seems so different than the others.
I appreciate this. Mule (Steve)
you'd rather switch than fight
(sorry, the title is a reference to a cigarette ad...maybe you had to be there...)
So Mule, what motivates the move away from Claytor? Is it anything other than not being able to get something "just right" under your head?
Something to consider here...for my bridge hammock I sewed up something really simple for back and head support. The idea is to be able to recline in partially upright position to read. But it turns out to be good also at raising my head slightly when I'm more fully stretched out.
It consists simply of a piece of 1.1 oz fabric 3.5 or 4 feet long and 34" wide, hemmed, with a strip of 1/2 webbing sewn at one end. The webbing has loops, which makes it easy to clip the webbing ends to the hammock's rings.
The fabric stretches down into the hammock body, where I'm sitting on it (for reading) or laying on it (for head support). The tension between its connection to the rings and my body weight is making the back rest.
This just might scratch where you itch. It would take you all of an afternoon to make a bridge hammock and find out. And/or we can get a hang going in Feb. or March and you can try mine out.
Grizz, Thanks for the idea. That certainly seems like a good fix and a simple, lightweight way to sit up and read.
Actually, I am happy with my Claytor, but I have had a stiff neck for almost a month now, and it has been causing me some really stabbing pain headaches too. I have slept out in the Hoosier National Forest three nights and one night at Neo's campout since the pain and stiffness began so I don't think the hammock itself is causing the problem.
It is actually the passion used by Clark owners that intrigues me. Many seem to agree it is superior in many ways. I am not sure.
Your Bridge Hammock also intrigues me. Frankly. I am waiting on you to perfect the Bridge and watching your posts and learning from them. The way the hammock seems to be presently is that it is narrow and heavy and would not allow me to easily get in and out. I didn 't get in yours to try it at RRG, so I am just guessing.
Some of the enticing comments Clark owners are making are things like, "Have you seen many Clarks for sale?"
The negative side of this is that the Clark is so short. That puts me off a bit. I have that ENO Double that I haven't even spent a whole night in yet, too. I have been lending it out. I love the way the Claytor is made to see out of. I can easily see everything around me. I don't know if that's a throwback to jungle live in Nam, but I know it is very important to me. The Clark may not give me this freedom due to the ends being closed, and the Bridge seems to be also a deep design where I could not see over the edges.
I hope to get out with some of you soon. Mule
Well I have been using the NA for a few years now. I love my set up very much but there are a few things that I feel could be improved on.
1. I also have the extra large fly but never use it. I prefer to use my homemade 10x11 tarp. The XL for all it's grandeur was not large enough. I always felt a little too exposed. Plus I live very north of most of these guys so I needed the extra cold weather protection.
2. The stock ropes that come with the NA were lovely and very strong, but a pain to use (I'm not the best with knots). Plus at the time Clark was not offering any kind of strapping system. So I made my own DIY suspension system similar to the slap straps that ENO offers. With the descending rings that Just Jeff suggests. Much easier time with set up and take down. I bought 1 small bishop bag from my local MEC store to use as snake skin.
3. For cold weather sleeping I use a DIY Speer SPE. I don't use an UQ in the standard fashion. The NA comes with 6 pockets underneath which is supposed the be the solution to not having to carry an UQ. Yes and no. Great Idea for gear storage and the like but who wants to have to unpack everything from their bag at night just to stay warm, when you have to pack it all up the next morning? I don't, so my solution was to make six down "pillows". I reclaimed down from old coats at used clothing stores, then sewed them into shapes roughly 2/3 of the size of each of the pockets. Leaving me a little room for gear and boots. They weight next to nothing and pack up with my hammock.
4. I like the width and the length of the Clark alot. I don't have to angle myself the way I had to in a HH. I find I can sleep almost flat if I hang it right. I'm only 5'5'' so I can't tell you how it would work for a taller person. Myself I sleep like a dream.
5. I really like the weathersheild protection that the NA offers over the ultra lite. I find I stay warmer, dryer and happier with it. I have tried a lot of other hammock systems and this is my favorite. Everything I need is contained in 2 small stuff sacks. Hammock and pillows in one, and straps and tarp in the other.
I think the Clark NA is an excellent product, it just needs a few modifications, but hey who among us is happy with the stock model. Everybody tinkers to get it right. I would highly recommend it!
The down pillows are a great idea! I wouldn't have thought of that.
Welcome to the Forum!
I had a Clark ultra-light which I sold. I liked the concept but with the shorter length and width, it was not very comfortable.I am 5'11" tall and about 235 lbs. I couldn't find a use for the pockets underneath and the fact that you can see thru the bottom material plus the larger needle holes where the pockets were sewn bothered me. I changed the ropes out to rings and webbing and modified the way the tarp connected to the hammock using 1/8" shock cord which gave me more coverage with the XL rainfly.
I don't feel that the workmanship was superior to a Claytor and at the price, it doesn't seem like a great value. Just my opinion.
I own a clark NA and i would have to say that the tropical would be the best of the three hammocks.
1 the tropical does have the option of a removable weathershield which is nice so you dont have to tak it if you dont want to
2 the tropical has the netted head end that the north american does not.
3 i have never found a use for all 6 pockets i just dont carry that much stuff..... me and a friend both tried to fill them with no luck. so the two at either end works better.
4 the tropical clark is compatible with all of ed speers peapods and his new snugfit. even the snug fit designed for the speer hammock i have tested it on my NA and wished i had one more velcro pocket at the end of the hammock to finish secureing the underquilt.
5 clark claims the pockets will keep you warm. but only down so far so you will need an underquilt or a pad anyway so why not get one that works great in the summer and add insulation as you need for winter?
6 the clark may not look like it is 300 dollars worth of better but i have put my NA through alot of abuse and it is built like a tank
7 the rain fly....... dont buy the XL you will only replace it with a better tarp anyway the XL fly on mine weighs 13 oz and it does not cover you well enough if it is staked to the ground.. getting a speer winter tarp or a JRB winter tarp and use a rope to hold up the ridge line on the clark it can be done easily.or if you have a peapod like i do you wont need the ridge line up you can tuck it all inside the peapod to take up any extrap space at your feet and you will stay nice and warm.
I am 5'9 155 pounds and i dont feel it is too short for me but that may just be my preferance
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