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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Albemarle, NC
    Hammock
    Bonefire 30F
    Tarp
    ZPacks CF3 w doors
    Insulation
    Bonefire 30F
    Posts
    21

    Need some help and need it soon!!

    Ok,

    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?
    Packed size?
    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?
    Packed size?
    Bug net or no?
    Comfortable?
    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?
    Packed size?
    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?



    Miscellaneous

    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.

  2. #2
    Paul-Stefi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    White House, TN
    Hammock
    Dream Hammock Dangerbirds
    Tarp
    WL Tadpole/Bullfrg
    Insulation
    UGQ 20*Zeppelin UQ
    Suspension
    Whoopie Slings
    Posts
    172
    Images
    24
    One of your limiting factors is the time. you want to leave in 3 weeks but alot of the good gear that is quaility will come from vendors who make things custom to order and often take 6-8 weeks for them to produce and ship with that said I think it can still be done. I cant recommend a tarp because I dont have a Cuben, I went with wilderness logic which you can do in less than 3 weeks. I also went with dream hammock but lead time is about 5 weeks there. You may want to cheack the for sale section or ebay for faster products. I hear good things about Byers new hammocks and you can get those quick. I would make sure to have whoopie slings for suspension they are strong and will save weight. Also check dutchware out there are lots of small light weight items you may want on a long through hike. Sorry not the best advise but I as I said I think your time line is the limiting factor.
    -Paul
    Paul a.k.a. The Costco Kid

    This is my Father's world, And to my listening ears
    All nature sings, and round me rings, The music of the spheres.
    This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought
    Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas--His hand the wonders wrought.

  3. #3
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Albemarle, NC
    Hammock
    Bonefire 30F
    Tarp
    ZPacks CF3 w doors
    Insulation
    Bonefire 30F
    Posts
    21
    I agree. I've considered this when looking at products, as well. If there are glaring favorites in any one area that require a wait, I'm not above taking my tent and having my wife mail the tarp/hammock when it gets here - I was just really trying to avoid having to deal with a learning curve on the trail.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    WaffleBox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Tallahassee, FL
    Hammock
    PolyD SLD Streamliner
    Tarp
    Zpacks Cuben
    Insulation
    20* Burrow/Phoenix
    Suspension
    Str.Anchors/Kevlar
    Posts
    591
    I think the three week timeline is going to be your biggest challenge. As you mentioned, most of the cottage vendors make their gear to order and it can take several weeks. That having been said, I'll do my best to give you advice within your constraints.

    Cuben tarp
    I have a cuben tarp and love it. Mine is the standard hex tarp from Zpacks with no doors. I plan on selling it and getting either the standard with doors or the winter palace from Hammock Gear. I have learned over the course of using this tarp that I want more coverage and I also want doors for a bit of privacy. Doors are also useful in weather conditions where the wind is shifting directions, and they allow you to be a little less careful with site selection. And since they are made out of cuben, there is little weight penalty. However, time is going to be an issue here. I would contact both Hammock Gear and Zpacks directly and ask them how quickly they could get something to you. Maybe one of them happen to have something in stock.

    If you get one with doors, I would go with an 11' ridgeline. If you get one without doors, I'd go with 12'. 11' is technically long enough for an 11' hammock (more discussion on hammock length below), but if the rain is blowing very sideways you run the risk of your hammock suspension getting wet below the water break (discussed below).

    As far as accessories, I would recommend getting some hardware from Dutchware. Check out his continuous ridgeline kit, which is simple to use and he has a video showing you how to set everything up.

    http://dutchwaregear.com/continuous-ridgeline.html

    For guy lines, I would recommend getting tarpworms and Lawson reflective line, also from Dutch.

    http://dutchwaregear.com/tarpworm.html

    http://dutchwaregear.com/lawson-reflective-cord.html

    The tarpworms make for very easy length adjustments in your guy lines, and the reflective cord helps keep you from tripping over the lines if you have to get up in the middle of the night. I recommend orange for the Lawson cord because it is the most visible during dayling.

    I would also recommend some snakeskins, made out of either cuben (which you can get from Hammock Gear) or mesh (which you can get from MountainGoat). They make it really quick and easy to deploy and put away your tarp while adding very little weight.

    Any of the stakes available from Dutchware will work just fine.

    Hammock
    The vast majority of people find that an 11' hammock is the most comfortable length to sleep in. Some people prefer 10', but they are rare. That having been said, I would recommend any of the hammocks offered by Dutchware for your situation. Check them individually re: weight limits but I think that any of them are fine for 225lbs. My main reason for recommending Dutch, aside from comfort, is that he keeps hammocks in stock and ships them very quickly. You will have the hammock within a few days. Many other manufacturers will make them to order and while they make great products, you don't have time for that.

    For suspension, I would recommend the Whoopie Hook suspension setup from Dutch.

    http://dutchwaregear.com/whoopie-hoo...pie-sling.html

    In terms of the combination of lightweight, durable, easy to set up, easy to adjust, this is your best bet. I'd go with 5' tree huggers (unless somebody who has done the AT can advise whether there are lots of really thick trees), and whoopie slings and continuous loops in whatever colors you choose. I personally use green whoopies/loops at the head end of my hammock, and blue at the foot end for ease of setup.

    I would also get one of Dutch's structural ridgelines for the hammock.

    http://dutchwaregear.com/structural-...idgelines.html

    You can get the 110" fixed length one or if you feel like fiddling around with it to get the perfect lay, get the adjustable.

    In terms of bug net, I would recommend the fronkey style bugnet also from Dutch. (I'm starting to think I should be on commission). It's easy to use, effective, and light weight.

    http://dutchwaregear.com/fronkey-style-bugnet.html

    Insulation
    Again, time is going to be a big challenge here. Underground Quilts has both top quilts available in stock ready to ship, though the color selection is limited. It appears all of their stock underquilts are sold out.

    http://www.undergroundquilts.com/instock/default.html

    I can't find any vendors that have down underquilts in stock. Jacks 'R' Better may keep quilts in stock, but I'm not sure. Check with them. Also called Hammock Gear and Underground Quilts to explain your situation and see if they can work with you.

    You can also try a Jarbidge from Kickass Quilts by Arrowhead Equipment. It is synthetic, and will thus be heavier and bulkier, but they may have quilts in stock.

    I'd recommend a 20 degree setup for both top quilt and underquilt. That's the most versatile (you can use them even at much higher temperatures) and they should cover the temperatures you will see on the AT. I'd recommend a 3/4 length underquilt, as it will save weight and bulk. Then just cut a 12" x 20" piece of closed cell foam from the blue foam pad available at Walmart, and slide that under your feet inside your top quilt on cooler nights. You can also use this as a sit pad. When selecting down quilts, the higher the fill power you use, the lighter and less bulky the quilt will end up being. Try to get treated down if possible to avoid issues with moisture.

    Regarding your sleeping pad. You can use it, and it will solve the problem of underquilts being so hard to get on short notice. However, if you do decide to use the sleeping pad in your hammock, I very very strongly recommend a double layer hammock. Dutch only offers one of those, which is the NylonD 1.0 double layer. If you use the pad in a single layer hammock, it will slide around a lot and you will wake up cold. Even with a double layer hammock, you will probably have issues with condensation forming on top of it, getting your quilt and clothes wet. And your shoulders will likely be cold, too. I'd really strongly recommend an underquilt if you can swing it in your time frame.

  5. #5
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Albemarle, NC
    Hammock
    Bonefire 30F
    Tarp
    ZPacks CF3 w doors
    Insulation
    Bonefire 30F
    Posts
    21
    Thank you very much for the informative post, I'll look at that info right away. I had a call into Hammock Gear this morning and I'm awaiting a call/email back.

    I found someone nearby to show me the ropes (weak pun intended). Hopefully I can get something figured out in my timeframe and also have a few nights to shake it down before going. The best part is I don't have any specific schedule so I can adjust, if needed, I'd just rather get on the trail sooner than later because I have to be done by September 20th and I'd really like to take my time and enjoy it.

    Thanks again for the info and I'll get on it straight away.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    NC, USA
    Posts
    173
    Quote Originally Posted by WaffleBox View Post
    Regarding your sleeping pad. You can use it, and it will solve the problem of underquilts being so hard to get on short notice. However, if you do decide to use the sleeping pad in your hammock, I very very strongly recommend a double layer hammock. Dutch only offers one of those, which is the NylonD 1.0 double layer. If you use the pad in a single layer hammock, it will slide around a lot and you will wake up cold. Even with a double layer hammock, you will probably have issues with condensation forming on top of it, getting your quilt and clothes wet. And your shoulders will likely be cold, too. I'd really strongly recommend an underquilt if you can swing it in your time frame.
    I agree with the vast majority of this post. Dutch ships quickly and should have most of the items you need. I would also think about the vented sock - that will allow you to extend the temperature range of your setup. I'm not sure I would be comfortable with a 20 degree setup on the AT, especially with little-to-no testing beforehand.

    Best of luck,
    jdk

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Hammock
    HH Explorer Asym Zip
    Tarp
    WB Superfly
    Insulation
    HG 20 TQ/UQ
    Suspension
    Whoopie All-in-One
    Posts
    109
    Remember that you can post in the Want-To-Buy section, and can PURCHASE (but not list) in the For-Sale section, even with less than 50 posts. Used gear can usually be to your door in less than a week.

  8. #8
    12trysomething's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Central NY
    Hammock
    Snipe, Netty, Argon
    Tarp
    Tadpole, Cuben, SF
    Insulation
    HammockGear
    Suspension
    Dutch DooDads
    Posts
    1,573
    I would keep this simple and call Adam at hammock gear and Dutch at Dutchware. Dutch thru'd and Adam had to stop for a family emergency. Both can supply you with the best of both advice and gear. Tell them what you are looking for and I will bet they come through.
    "Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm" "I'm growing older but not up"

    My YouTube Page BackpackingAdventures My FaceBook Page BackpackingAdventures

  9. #9
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Denville NJ
    Posts
    7
    i'm a newbe here too but been a ground dweller for a while. everything is preference and there's no perfect set up weather a hanger or a ground dweller because we are all different shapes and sizes. some sleep cold some sleep warm, some are shorter, taller, skinnier, heavier, have health conditions bad knees taller torso ect. ect. etc. 3 weeks to buy purchase set up try out carry around learn how to pack you pack test it out at home and try carrying for long days and many mile try-ell hikes is a big undertaking.doesn't mean it can't be done. i'm sure people with more experience hanging can help you out. they may be able to point you in the right direction. there are probably alot of people gearing up right now so things will sell fast and wait times longer. can always start later and shorten your time in town, flip,or sobo to gain more time to dial in your gear hope you find some answers here so someone can point you in the right direction. happy trails

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Hammock
    11' PolyD
    Tarp
    WB Superfly
    Insulation
    DIY Top/Incubator
    Suspension
    Whoopies
    Posts
    157
    Considering the time constraints, I'd look at one of Dutchwaregear.com's hammocks. If they are in stock he typically gets them out the door really quickly and you could have it with a couple of weeks time to play around and get used to it. I don't know that I'd be comfortable on a through hike with gear that I haven't had time to test and get comfortable with personally. Dutch also sells a "fronkey" style bugnet if you need the protection since his hammocks don't have an integrated bug net. I just purchased a PolyD hammock from him and love it. It's actually my current favorite hammock of the four I own and, go figure, it's the cheapest as well. mine weighs in at about 10 Oz. with stuff sack prior to suspension. I'd go with his whoopie slings as a suspension for a through hike. I can't comment on a cuben fiber tarp as they have always been out of my price range but they definitely save weight. You can get by with the pad and sleeping bag, especially if you are planning on taking the pad anyway. A quick tip here is to sleep with the pad inside your bag so it doesn't shift around as much, or get a double layer hammock that you can put the pad in between the layers, though this adds weight. I prefer an underquilt but there is a little bit of a learning curve with them so I'd hesitate to recommend them since you won't have time to test them. Again, a good underquilt, unless you can find one used on the forum, will take several weeks to get to you since they are custom made. In the meantime, I'd recommend a youtube search and watch all of Shug's hammock videos. He explains a lot of the basics really well and it's entertaining. When I got started I purchased "The Ultimate Hang" by Derek Hansen and read it to help me understand the basics as well. I highly recommend that book, a quick easy read that really explains the basics well. His website, theultimatehang.com also has some great videos and articles for beginners. Best of luck on your trip and the preparations prior to leaving.

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