I used to think hammocks were just for taking naps until I met a backpacker last year who used one instead of a tent. What an improvement! I camp mostly from a kayak around the upper Great Lakes or Quetico park, so there are a lot more trees than there are flat spots big enough for a tent. No more wet and dirty ground cloths to pack, no foam pads to stow, better ventilation, easier to clean sand out of, more space left in the kayak, rain fly can be used to cook under, etc. Why would I ever want to go back to a tent? After looking through this forum last year, I got a Clark North American with the XL fly. I just wanted to list some new user comments about the North American while everything is well, new to me.
1. Cave Diver 2's videos were a huge help and probably were the #1 reason I got the North American versus other models.
2. I've slept in temperatures down to the 50's and even one night in the 40's and did not get cold. I did fill the under-pockets with clothes and / or blown up ziplock bags. On the 40 degree night, I had to close the weather shield most of the way because of the cold draft above my sleeping bag. I think the upper 40's are probably the limit, though. I'll probably use the space blanket wrapped under the hammock like Leaping Lizzards showed in his post if it's going to be in the mid 40's or lower again. I'm also thinking about getting a second, smaller space blanket to lay over the sleeping bag for colder nights.
3. I've found that getting the sag set right is the most important thing for comfort. I had to use more sag than I would have originally thought. The key is to keep adding more sag until the bug netting is just taught and forms a complete open triangle above you without the sides touching each other. This has to be checked when you lay in the hammock. When the sag is too tight, the sides of the bug netting touch each other and there isn't enough tension in the screens to ventilate and it gets hot. My shoulders also felt scrunched when I didn't have enough sag. Get the sag right, and there is much nicer air flow through the screens than my tents ever had.
4. I'm most comfortable when my feet are almost as far as they can go towards the foot end to the hammock. I'm 5'11', so this leaves a lot of room behind my head, but it puts my shoulders in a wider part of the hammock and it keeps the pockets in better position to insulate under my back and hips.
5. The XL fly is plenty wide and worth getting, but the head end of the hammock seems too exposed if rain gets blown from that direction. Wind and rain can change direction during the night, so I bought a small backpacker's nylon tarp and made my own tarp extender to cover about 2 more feet towards the tree. (See attached photo.)
6. Using the drip rings and half hitches to adjust sag worked easiest for me just like whoever posted it said it would. When they were adjusted like the post showed, they stayed adjusted without slipping.
7. My old cheap net nap hammock is now my gear hammock that I tie under the Clark to hold things that are too dirty or bulky to put into the pockets. (See photo.)
8. Thank you to everyone who took the time to post what they've learned with their Clark's. It has all helped me immensely.