I've never owned a hammock/tarp setup. I have read a bit about them and like the idea of making the switch. I was laid off last week and have found myself in the perfect position to try a thru-hike of the AT this year. I have no employer, I have the money, I have the time, and most importantly, I have my family's support. Ergo, I'm going to do it.
With that said, I'm trying to plan the trip and leave within the next 3 weeks. I've decided I want to go with a hammock/tarp setup so I have a lot of questions to ask you guys. I apologize if this topic has already been beaten to death (as I'm sure it has); but, rather than telling me to simply "use the search function," know ye in advance, I'll be searching in the interim, I just wanted to get my specific questions asked now in case I can't find the information I'm looking for. This way, I can come back if people are willing to offer advice and maybe save some of the much needed time over the next few weeks of planning, preparing, and trying to prep my family for 6 months of no daddy/income. Thanks in advance...
For the sake of these questions, please assume money isn't important and my goal is to save weight while still remaining mildly comfortable. Additionally, I'm interested in durable products that would likely withstand a thru-hike on the AT, and the weather it'll present, and if required, can be repaired both quickly and easily in the field. Please also assume, because you'd be correct, that I have absolutely no idea how to set up, take down, store, etc. this setup. Most of the things that you'd skip over telling someone else on this site because it's elementary and 'everyone knows that,' please humor me and include it. I'd hate to get on the trail and have a blowout because I didn't bring a caribiner.
I'm interested in a cuben fiber tarp:
Which would you suggest? Why?
Doors or no doors?
What size/shape and why?
Any accessories that are suggested?
Anything else I need to know?
I've done some research into hammocks and I'm seeing tons of them! I'm 6' and weigh 225 right now and will probably steadily decrease while on the trail.
What hammock and why?
Weight vs. durability?
Bug net or no?
Any suggested accessories?
I'm seeing a lot of insulation options, as well. I plan to take my NeoLite pad with me for GSMNP, just in case, so I can use this in the hammock, if needed, under inflated. I also have a down jacket and pants that I'll be bringing for the first part of the trip as well as a lightweight 0* synthetic bag.
Under quilt and sleeping bag?
Pad/down clothes/sleeping bag?
Under quilt and top quilt?
What set up would you use and why? I'll be switching it out once it warms up, is there something that would work the entire way?
Weight vs. comfort?
Any accessories you'd suggest?
I'm sure I'm forgetting something, what?
What stakes, lines, hardware, etc. should I get?
Any other tips and advice you're willing to offer?
Any pre-trip work needed to make the products better suited for the trail?
How accessible is the gear? In other words, some companies say they have a 4 week wait and I'm leaving within 3.
My plan is to make the purchase ASAP and then give it a few shakedown nights here at the house before going. As I have overstated, I am brutally new to this set up but I really want to use it on my thru because of the comfort it'll offer, ability to set up on uneven and rocky ground, etc.
Thank you in advance. I'll be reading all that I can between now and the purchase, but I'd really appreciate any help and advice you can offer between now and then.