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  1. #1

    Red face Suggestions Please - Handy Hammock for Bike Touring Trip?

    Hey There Hangers,

    I am both a novice hanger and a first-time bike tourer (great combination. I'm planning a cross-USA bike tour this summer/fall. I am planning on using my DreamHammock Thunderbird as my shelter for the trip - doing mostly stealth camping, some campsite camping, CouchSurfing/Hostels when possible, and Motels in a pinch.

    Since I plan on traveling accross the northern states, I suspect I will be able to find trees for the majority of the trip. However, I'm concerned there might be a few nights were I get stuck going to ground. So instead, I'm considering getting a portable hammock stand for these occasions. It looks like the Handy Hammock is really the only product out there right now that is useful (i.e. light enough) for bikepacking.

    I'd great appreciate some community input on this idea from any of you more experienced hangers. Also, if any of you have bikepacking experience with your hammock, I'd love to here from you on your general experience or suggestions.

    Cheers!

    P.S. - If anyone out there is willing to sell or rent their Handy Hammock to me for this trip, you would be my hero!

  2. #2

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    The HH stand is probably the best option, but you should have eyes wide open if you decide to go that route. The stand has a few major downsides.

    The first is that it doesn't provide a great place for your tarp. If you use the stand to secure your tarp at best you'll have a very loose tarp when you load the hammock (since the struts will flex and move a little under load), and at the very worst you could tear your tarp. A hiker with hiking poles can use their poles for their tarp support, but a cyclist will have to come up with something more creative. If you don't mind a really loose and flappy tarp, then this may not be a big deal.

    The second downside is that there is a large learning curve in order to use it effectively. It's a marvel of engineering, but it requires pretty precise deployment and it isn't easy to set up until you have it fully dialed in. I'm not joking when I suggest that you budget for a couple full days of practicing with it, and modifying it for your DH. You didn't mention your hammock length, but everything with the HH stand is harder with an 11' hammock. It is designed for shorter hammocks and if it isn't modified properly and set up perfectly a person with an 11' hammock will be brushing the ground. Factor in your inexperience with hammocks and suspensions in general and you're definitely looking at some challenges and an investment of time and effort getting up to speed in its use. Be sure to read up on the modifications described at the Ultimate Hang web site.

    Lastly, the stakes for the HH can be difficult to use in ground that is too hard, wet or soft. If the ground isn't right, you may end up on your butt.

    With proper expectations and an understanding of its limits it's a great stand. If I was you I'd probably try to figure out a way to just bring one strut along. Setting up one side of the HH (if you have a single tree) is a lot easier than setting up the whole thing. Finding two trees the right distance apart isn't always easy, but finding a singe tree usually isn't that big a challenge.

  3. #3

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    There is a nice writeup on it, including lots of illustrations and pictures, at TheUltimateHang.com (link provided). I've toyed with getting one to help make sure I never have to go to ground.

    DM's words were very helpful to me also. Thanks! I especially like the idea of using one tree and one stand. That would make it easy for my wife and I to hang from the same tree.

  4. #4
    Herder of Cats OutandBack's Avatar
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    Since you are on a bike where weight is important but not quite as much as on your back I would recommend taking an air pad over the portable hammock stand. It would be lighter, more durable and can be setup anywhere it's flat.
    O&B
    May your mileage in the backcountry exceed your post count.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by OutandBack View Post
    Since you are on a bike where weight is important but not quite as much as on your back I would recommend taking an air pad over the portable hammock stand. It would be lighter, more durable and can be setup anywhere it's flat.
    Wise words, though you'd still need to solve how to hang your tarp and/or use your hammock in bivvy mode.

    The HH stand is around 2.2lb. Guy line mods to actually make it usable might add a couple more ounces. You can certainly get a pretty comfortable pad in that weight range.

  6. #6
    Herder of Cats OutandBack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanglingModifier View Post
    Wise words, though you'd still need to solve how to hang your tarp and/or use your hammock in bivvy mode.

    The HH stand is around 2.2lb. Guy line mods to actually make it usable might add a couple more ounces. You can certainly get a pretty comfortable pad in that weight range.
    If you flip your bike you can use that in place of a tent pole for your lean-to. Remembering that going to ground is an emergency situation so it won't be perfect.

    OP although I am not a roadbiker x-country rider here is a few things I haul when bike packing with my hammock gear, it might help.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/outand...57631519909619
    Last edited by OutandBack; 05-13-2015 at 15:46.
    O&B
    May your mileage in the backcountry exceed your post count.

  7. #7
    Senior Member novasquid's Avatar
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    anybody want to split the cost of a handyhammock stand, and we each get one stand to play with? seriously, pm me if interested.

  8. #8
    hutzelbein's Avatar
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    A bit late to the party, but I have been cycle-touring with a 10' WBBB and a HH stand last year. I can confirm most of what DanglingModifier said.

    The stand is a bit fiddly to set up, but you'll get the hang quickly. Definitely practice at home before you start your trip - but that is always advisable.

    The poles flex quite a bit, which means that if your hammocks has a fixed ridgeline and a bug net that is held up by it, you might want to add some shock cord to the RL to keep the net out of your face. I ran a second shock cord ridgeline through my hammock, but later thought that this is overkill, really. If I'm going to do it again, I would just attach a small piece of shock cord to the ridgeline to keep it taut.

    It's also correct that the stand has no obvious attachment for the tarp. I bought extra tarp poles, but after some thinking, I would like to try running the tarp ridgeline through the holes of the pole tops and see if this could work. There are only two things you would need to take care of:
    1. the distance from pole to pole needs to be wide enough to easily accommodate the tarp. You are probably going to have to change the floor string measure out to fit your hammock (I assume it's 10' or longer), so make it long enough for the tarp, too.
    2. don't attach the tarp ridgeline to the poles, but run it through them and fix it to the pegs in the ground. The ridgeline should be able to slide freely through the poles. This way the flex of the poles should not have too much of an effect on the tarp -- at least that's what I'm thinking.

    If you expect to use the stand on sandy ground, get the sand pegs as well.

    And carry a tent peg mallet. If there are stones in the ground, you can be sure that you will hit them with your pegs It's not advisable to pound the stakes in with the help of a stone, because the head is made of plastic and will break.

    I'm actually not sure if I would take the HH stand on my bike again, because it is not exactly quick to set-up. Most of the time I found trees, and I had a small tent with me anyways.

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