Pouring Rain Experiences
So I have hung in rain a few times since I started hammock camping but only until recently did I set up and take down my hammock while it was heavily raining. Not talking drizzle, I'm talking about a decent rain. I have really wanted to see what it was like to deal with heavy rain and keeping your gear as dry as possible while unpacking and packing it up. This last Tropical storm offered a perfect opportunity to get a little experience in doing this. Id like to start off by saying that I currently use a HH Explorer Deluxe Zip entry with the A-Sym Tarp that comes with it. This type of tarp poses some real challenges for someone who is trying to set up and take down while in heavy rains and still keep the gear dry. Nevertheless, the experience was needed.
So after playing around in the rain all day this is some of my positive results as well as gear flaws that were exposed.
Some things I plan to change in the near future about my setup:
My tarp has snake skins in it so it made for an easy setup. I use Nite-Ize Carabiners.
These have proven to be quite handy because they allow for fast setup of my tarp which puts me standing in the rain for less time. Keepers..:)
So for my tarp and suspension the only thing I really want to change at the moment is the tarp itself. The A-sym is a lighter design but it has minimal coverage of me and my hammock and adds a bit of a challenge to dealing with the rain. So tarp will be changed soon.
Hammock, no issues whatsoever. The Webbing and buckle suspension proved to be quite handy because I could easily and quickly adjust my suspension while minimising my time spent standing in the rain. I had played with my whoopies earlier and figured out real quick that MSH and Whoopies are a real pain in pouring rain. (for me YMMV)
I own a set of carabiners for my straps but I wasn't using them this time and figured out that it is real nice to have biners on the ends of the webbing straps for quick setup and release from the tree. This was the point at which my hammock actually got wet while trying to hold it and get the webbing off the tree. So biners will be coming back on my suspension.
Attachment 51480Attachment 51481Attachment 51482
Bishop bag really needs to be Scotch Guarded from now on. Rain managed to soak through it and get the hammock even more wet while just holding it. One positive thing that really was handy about my bishop bag is that I have a sling strap on my bag so I can hang the back around my neck and free up both hands to stuff it without having to hold the bag. Very Handy.
Overall very pleased with everything. Need a bigger tarp, carabiners are really nice, ring buckles make things quick and easy for me and bishop bags need Scotch Guard and a sling.
On a side note, I am trying to get my pack weight down to UL standards for longer trips and even though webbing and buckles are really nice and easy, I plan to bring my UCRs with mini straps instead of the buckles. I will probably still bring carabiners for quick release of the tree for this setup.
One thing I have really learned is that when it is just drizzling, it is alot easier to set up and take down my hammock but when it starts to downpour, it is a different story. You start to feel rushed and anxious and make simple mistakes that cost you big time. Everything seems to be 5 times harder to do. I really recommend that next time it is dumping rain at your house, run out and try and set up your hammock and stay dry. Its good experience and exposes flaws in your system.
Sorry if this thread didnt really have a clear point..Just really some things that I liked and didnt like in my setup after playing in the rain.
Anybody got some lessons learned or exposed flaws in gear they would like to share?
There are tons of threads on the subject already so I won't rehash it here but I'm a fan of a separate ridgeline for the tarp. I find this quicker and easier to set up and get the tarp centered. The alternative for me has been walking back and forth between the two trees to "loosen here, tighten there" to move the tarp one way or the other. Truly this really isn't a big deal in good weather but in a heavy rain a few inches one way or the other can result in a soggy hammock, especially with a small stock tarp.
My HH goes in it's own set of snakeskins as does the tarp (netting skins). The tarp resides in an outside pocket so I can fish it out and set it up first thing when I hit camp. I may not set up my hammock until nearly bedtime in the hopes the weather clears. In the mean time I have a large dry area under my tarp to cook dinner, filter water, etc. If it's still pouring by the time I'm ready to sleep then it just takes a few minutes to get my hammock hung (using long tree straps, whoopies, and a MSH) and hop into bed.
Packing up in the rain is simply the reverse. I like keeping the suspension separate so it doesn't get the hammock body wet inside the stuff sack.
I do the same kind of "experiments" and get the eye roll and head shake from my wife, but I continue to do such things. Oh well.
I need to try this myself. I'm actually setting on the porch right now while it is pouring down rain but I don't have anywhere to set up in my yard yet.
Pouring Rain Experiences
I am using Dehoja's continuous "revolving clothesline" type ridgeline on my tarp. It has allowed me to set up the tarp right the first time, every time. Very important in the rain.
Tarp lives in the outside pocket of my pack and snakeskins or a few elastic hair bands keep it in control and allow for quick deployment.
You can have the convenience of carabiners but at much less weight by using Dutch clips.
I keep my hammock suspension separate so that I can adjust my suspension before I even remove the hammock from it's stuff sack.
I like your idea of a neck sling for the bishops bag!
Thanks for your excellent post. It's always great to hear the community's collective thoughts.
Look at the mini line locks instead of the figure 9's, they're faster to set up and much lighter.
Yeah My tarp sits on its own ridgeline also..Works very well for me. Get the same head shake from my wife..lol
Originally Posted by zukiguy
Thanks for sharing this XTrekker. Good write-up and I appreciate hearing your experiences. Per Mad and JollyGreen, mini-locs can adjust from under the tarp and Dutch clips are worth their weight in Ti. Now, I've got to try this too!
I understand the looks. A couple years ago I was "caught" doing the same thing. There's no way to explain it to the wife and we've been married 35 years today!
After we started camping with hammocks back in 2001 we decided right then and there that in a down pour it was no better than a tent for protection and maybe a separate tarp to supplement the minimal HH tarp a the time would be a good idea. That lead to a lot of different set ups and trying things others on HF were doing back in the day.
Now I have no desire to use a minimal tarp. Some of the things I've learned to do that work for me when deploying in a downpour are:
1) If I'm hiking normally the tarp (Superfly) is in skins and in an outside pocket.
2) If I'm hiking and it's raining I put that tarp more to a side pocket or even in the large pocket of my Packa (perfect for my liking).
3) I get ready to set up camp, just reach back or in the pocket and get the tarp out. Tie off one end to a tree (continuous ridge line set up) and stretch it out to the other tree. Still at this point pack and myself are dry in the Packa.
4) Deploy the tarp from the skins, adjust spacing if needed, stake out the four corners.
5) Depending on the conditions ... it could be in the porch mode or more in the down position but which ever one ... I'm in out of the rain in a nice large space.
6) Now I reach back in my packa to get and put down my little floor mat (small piece of water proof material about 3'x5", in the side pocket of my pack).
7) I take off my packa and pack. Packa hangs at the end of my tarp and pack goes on the mat.
8) Now I am still dry and can take my time to rig the rest of my kit. If I need to go back outside I can always slip my Packa back on.
When it's time to pack up it's basically the reverse. If it's still raining that is. When I get all but my tarp packed up, on my back and under the Packa ... I then pull the tie outs and let the tarp hang. I'll roll the corners toward the middle and that let's a lot of water funnel out toward the middle. Sliding the skin over will actually force more water out that rolled section. Then I do the reverse side and I have the tarp still attached to the trees and in skins. I take one end loose and fold the skinned tarp in two foot lengths. Then take the other end loose and now I have a wet bundle. I carry a stuff sack or have actually used a plastic grocery bag ... to stuff the wet tarp in. This bagged bundle I reach up under my Packa and put in the side pocket of my pack in the Packa. I once missed the pocket and it went into the bottom of the Packa pack cover and rode really well right there.
That's how I do it and like I've said before ... where I hated backpacking in the rain ... because of hammocks, larger tarps and the Packa ... I really don't mind it nearly as bad.
Oh and I most definitely use straps more these days with Dutch Clips. Reduces the fiddle factor of whoopees in the rain like the OP mentioned.
Mini-locs? Can someone link a pic...
Originally Posted by Loki
That sounds quite handy that you can adjust the tarp from under the tarp. But the question I would be more pressed to ask is: Does it allow for installation of the tarp quickly and easily? If so then I will most definitely have to get myself a pair.
I'm a newbie, and finding camping via hammock really invites experimentation.
My first night in a hammock included several hours of a drippy rain. No wind, just straight down. Fortunately, I was well-positioned under the tarp and remained dry.
Shortly afterwards, someone showed me a setup w/a separate ridgeline on the tarp and prusiks w/the mini-s-clips. Next time out, I'm all ready to give that a try.