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  1. #1
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    Wide shoulder problems - help!

    Disclaimer: I'm not going to mention any specific products in this question because I don't know what the policies on putting out reviews with a slightly negative light to them. If someone wants to inform of the policy on this, it would be appreciated as I think my information might be useful to others.

    Okay I just got back from a two night trip to Mt. Rogers for the weekend. This weekend was a continuation of my previous experiences with underquilt hammock camping. I had been hesitant to say anything because I didn't have any consistent experiences. The bottom line - my shoulders are getting restricted and it feels like I'm in a sleeping bag that's not wide enough. Sadly, I only fall asleep after I am completely exhausted and then only sleep for a couple of hours at a time. Additionally, when I do wake I usually have to do some adjusting before my shoulders are comfortable enough to fall asleep again. Then the process starts over.

    This is the firs time I've ever done cold weather hammock camping. Up until the last few trips I had always gone with my hammock and my pad which left me quite flexible in how I slept in the hammock. My sleeping bag was big enough to fit the pad inside (yes, inside) with me so it pretty much conformed to whatever angle I was laying, usually on a very wide diagonal to give me as comfortable a lay as possible with little to no shoulder restriction. To give you an idea of what I'm looking for, lay down on a very soft bed. Lay on your back. There, that's what I'm looking for.

    I'm a big guy, but not huge. I'm about 6' 2" 205lbs with shoulders 21-22" across. People describe me as "broad shouldered." Is this a common problem for people? Are certain hammocks more/less restricting than others? Are certain models of UQs more/less conforming than others? I'm honestly kind of disappointed as I dropped quite a bit of cash on this particular UQ.

    thanks for the input folks!
    Last edited by LyttleBryan; 11-15-2009 at 17:34.

  2. #2
    Mule's Avatar
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    I really doubt the UG is the problem, but it could be the way you are laying in your hammock or you may have it hanging too loose. I know that if you make your Speer Style hammock you can NOT pull out the ends when you tie it and it will give you a lot more shoulder room. What kind of hammock are you using?
    The present moment is eternal. I would rather be Here, Now.

  3. #3
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    ENO Double and a Peapod.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyttleBryan View Post
    ENO Double and a Peapod.
    Sorry for your disappointment, LB. I know it is a real drag to spend a bunch of cash and it not be the right combo for you. OK, you didn't want to name the product, but is it the Eno/Pea Pod combo? Hard to know what to say or suggest if we don't know what gear we are discussing. I thought surely you must have got yourself a BMBH, and I thought I might have some ideas, but apparently not?

    I'm about your size, and sometimes use a PeaPod of which I am quite fond. I'm 6'2', 210 LBS SIZE 45 COAT. I have said some time in the past that, with all of it's plus', a roomy open sensation is not particularly one of the pods benefits. To answer "Are certain models of UQs more/less conforming than others?", I would have to say that, yes definitely the Pea Pod is more conforming than a separate UQ/Tq. Particularly if you have it mostly closed up. Not so much if using a separate top quilt which allows you to open the top end a bit more without getting cold.

    However, I don't experience any where near the actual shoulder squeeze you are describing. In fact, no actual squeeze at all. Essentially, in whatever width my Speer hammock is, that is the width of the Pea Pod. It is sized to go around it. I can lay on the diagonal with no real reduction.

    1st, before I go on, we are talking about pod/Eno combo, right?
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 11-15-2009 at 21:02.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyttleBryan View Post
    Disclaimer: I'm not going to mention any specific products in this question because I don't know what the policies on putting out reviews with a slightly negative light to them. If someone wants to inform of the policy on this, it would be appreciated as I think my information might be useful to others.
    'Telling us what you think' isn't forbidden in any way. We try to be courteous and refrain from bashing any maufacturer, but talking about specific design shortcomings is very valid. Be prepared for any users of the same product you review to talk about the fine points and ask questions about how you used it, though.
    I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt. - Cormac McCarthy

  6. #6
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    It is the ENO Double and Peapod, yes. If I let the peapod hang down to the side (not Velcro it up the center) then it creates way too much air and I freeze (it was snowing Friday night). However if I try and velcro it up it creates way too little room for me to be comfortable. I was laying there at 5am trying to think of how to fix it this morning and if I could attach it to the edge of the hammock with clothes pins or something it would probably fix the problem. Doing that would pretty much mimic more traditional under quilts. If memory serves, doesn't the speer hammocks have velcro along their edges? Does the peapod connect to this velcro?

  7. #7
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyttleBryan View Post
    It is the ENO Double and Peapod, yes.
    OK, then, a couple of thoughts. Like I said, though I don't get anything like the squeze you have described, it is not the MOST roomy approach out there. It is big enough to just surround a PeaPod, withouy compressing it, and not muxh larger. It could of course be made larger, but then it would be excessively large for most users and most hammocks.

    The ENO is wide and long compared to the 48"(?) wide, 8.5 foot long Speer. The wider the hammock, the more the hammock will try and pull the top of the pod up above you, the greater the top gap in general. I'm speaking of the top gap that must be filled according to Speer. A more narrow hammock- like a Claytor No Net for ex- allows the pod to pretty much lay down right on your body, which I am thinking will also allow it to flatten out and be wider at the elbows. Conversely, I'm wondering if the extra wide ENO is holding the pod up on the sides so much that, well, if the hammock and pod are "taller" then the pod would have to also become more narrow, to the point of causing shoulder squeeze. Do you have a smaller hammock avilable with which you could test this theory?

    If I let the peapod hang down to the side (not Velcro it up the center) then it creates way too much air and I freeze (it was snowing Friday night). However if I try and velcro it up it creates way too little room for me to be comfortable. I was laying there at 5am trying to think of how to fix it this morning and if I could attach it to the edge of the hammock with clothes pins or something it would probably fix the problem. Doing that would pretty much mimic more traditional under quilts. If memory serves, doesn't the speer hammocks have velcro along their edges? Does the peapod connect to this velcro?
    No. That Speer Velcro is designed originally for the bug net and also possibly for the Speer Snugfit.

    I am also thinking the Eno's length is also a problem. I think the ENO dbl is over 30" wider and over a foot longer than a Speer. If the ENO has high walls when you lay in it, those walls will lift and narrow the (EDIT) PEA POD. If you try to attache the pod to the ends of the ENO just like a Speer, the extra length will tighten the pod in that direction, also possibly resulting in an even more narrow pod. So, as with my Claytor or HH Safari, you will need to rig some cords which allow you connect to the pod 1/2 foot or more from the ends of the hammock. To give you some slack so that the pods length ( and width, after hanging,) is not stretched overly tight compared to how it would be on the Speer hammock. I have to use such cords with my Pea Pod/Claytor ( 10 feet long) or HH Safari. If I just connected to the POD to the end knots on these hammocks, the pod would be pulled too tightly on the ends, causing it to be more narrow in the middle. Which you obviously don't want.

    No mater which hammock you hang it too, the Pod's length should be adjusted so that it is pretty close to what it would be on a Speer hammock. It should be hung loosely enough so that there are 6" or more space between the hammock bottom and the inside of the pod. Then when you get in and the hammock sags and you close the Velcro, the pods inner surface is just barely, or almost, pulled up to just barely touching your back. But NOT TOO snug against your back.

    Keep experimenting with the slack you are putting into the pod at set up. And if you can find one, try it on a more narrow, and maybe even a shorter, hammock. Good luck!
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 11-17-2009 at 07:56. Reason: ridiculous amount of typos
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  8. #8
    Senior Member gargoyle's Avatar
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    Sleeping inside your bag and with the pad inside sounds constricting to me. Toss the pad and try using your bag unzipped as a quilt, should work better. The pod should be plenty of insul. hanging loosely on the bottom.
    Questions..were you warm.??
    Have you slept in your pad/bag combo before?

    If you just lay your bag on the floor and climb in and zip up, is it constricitive? Now add the pad and do it again.
    Do some testing at/near home with just the pod alone to see if that is where the problem lies. Then just the bag. Then bag/pad combo.

    Try some overnighters in your back yard to tweak your system. Some times on trips I'm so worked up with planning, preparing, worrying about tomorrow, etc, I can't fall asleep. tweaking your system at home or nearby will allow you to find your "sweet spot" without jeopardizing a trip far from home. Good luck and report back.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gargoyle View Post
    Sleeping inside your bag and with the pad inside sounds constricting to me. Toss the pad and try using your bag unzipped as a quilt, should work better. The pod should be plenty of insul. hanging loosely on the bottom.
    Questions..were you warm.??
    Have you slept in your pad/bag combo before?

    If you just lay your bag on the floor and climb in and zip up, is it constricitive? Now add the pad and do it again.
    Do some testing at/near home with just the pod alone to see if that is where the problem lies. Then just the bag. Then bag/pad combo.

    Try some overnighters in your back yard to tweak your system. Some times on trips I'm so worked up with planning, preparing, worrying about tomorrow, etc, I can't fall asleep. tweaking your system at home or nearby will allow you to find your "sweet spot" without jeopardizing a trip far from home. Good luck and report back.

    The sleeping bag and pad combo are what I use in the Summer time when hammock camping. There is a surprising amount of room in the Exped Wall Creeper sleeping bags.

    In the late Fall/Winter I am using a Peapod with the Exped open as a quilt. I was cozy warm all night except when I tried loosening the peapod to allow more shoulder flexibility.

    I have used the peapod now 3 trips in a row. I wanted to get a few trips in before coming to any conclusions. This post is the result of those trips.

  10. #10
    Senior Member E.A.Y.'s Avatar
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    I've not used a peapod so the following are semi-educated guesses on my part.
    However, I do have hammock with the same dimensions as an ENO-double.

    I'm about 6 feet tall and 250 lbs, so I like the roominess of the long wide hammock. I usually use an underquilt (homemade) and a unzipped sleeping bag in it.

    I'm thinking that when you are in the sleeping bag with the pad inside the bag, you can orient yourself any way you want relative to the long dimension of the hammock. So you can avoid any shoulder squeeze by lying more diagonally.
    I certainly sprawl all over in my hammock and something like the pea pod would not suit me at all since I believe it would restrict how diagonally I could lie in the hammock by constraining the amount the hammock sides could spread out.
    I had unanticipated problems with a sock-style bugnet I made last winter - I did not realize how deep I needed to make the bugnet to accommodate the amount of sag I wanted and the corresponding amount of "limb sprawl". And that was in a shorter, narrower hammock than the double. I believe I would have the same problem with anything that totally enclosed the hammock.

    I thought that my homemade underquilt (and the JRB I picked up earlier this year) would also restrict where I could lie in the hammock but I have not found that to be the case. I can just reach over the edge of the hammock and scoot the underquilt around where I need it.

    I don't know if a purpose-made underquilt would work better for you than a fully open Peapod used as a large underquilt since I am not familiar with the Peapod. Hopefully someone can address that question.

    Of course, this is a good time of year to re-sell winter hammocking gear.

    Not every hammock solution suits everybody.
    Last edited by E.A.Y.; 11-16-2009 at 13:57. Reason: read OP's follow up post more carefully :)
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