I hope many are following the discussion on the 'Bridge' Hammock
I personally believe this is going to be quite a ride and open new doors to enjoy hammock camping. It got me quite excited and I now have a working prototype. The beauty of the design really allows a whole new way of thinking. Today I was working on a completely different approach to using a bugnet but after sewing and ripping and sewing and ripping I decided to work on something else.
A month or so ago I had been reading the archives of the yahoo hammock camping group. I had been reading up on insulation and became intriqued by two things. First was reading about 'opening the windows' of underquilts and second was Youngblood's post here:
Specifically this paragraph
"In general, non-breathable is best in cooler and windy conditions
while breathable is best in warmer and static conditions. We can
either adjust the breathability of our insulation or live with what we
chose when the conditions are not optimum for what we chose. You can
have insulation that you swear by in the right conditions, swear at in
the wrong conditions and it works okay in most conditions... and that
is not all that uncommon. "
This got me to thinking about some sort of adjustable system (that you dont' have to get out of the hammock). Later that week I was eating lunch and noticed some blinds over the windows. You know the type you can lower or raise and/or open the individual louvers. So the noggin just kept on grinding away with all this information. I wanted some sort of system you could reach up and pull or let out a cord to adjust the insulation below you. Well with my HH and my DIY speer, the cuts etc. make that kind of difficult. Enter the Bridge style hammock!
First of all this is easy!!
Basically when you make the hammock itself you can cut another piece of fabric the same size. Basically this is going to go under the hammock like a second layer. Oh and please don't eye the sewing!!! this is prototype work and the black is a previous version that got ripped up
Here you can see how the ends meet
Now in this photo you can see the red line just above the piece of wood. That's were the two ends from the second layer meet. Then the line feeds through the buckle/ring and back down the ridgeline toward the middle.
I will be coming up with a better system to pull both cords at the same time,but to test functionality I just used these cord locks
Okay so it all looks fine and good but what's it do?
Well, you can adjust the height of your insulation. Here the 'windows are open'
Now let's close those windows
So to open and close the windows, I just have to use the lines coming to the center!
What's cool about this is you can put anything you want down there. I was thinking about putting my summer quilt in there. As you can see in the pictures above I have my BA insulated air core in there. Well inside the hammock I hated it. But in the second layer, I can get in the hammock, lower the bottom (if it isn't already) and reach below to make sure the pad is in the right place. Then just pull up the bottom.
Another great thing is weight. You can use any fabric you want because this isn't load bearing. I will probably use 1.1 ripstop and the lightest cord I can find. The shape of the fabric means no waste and it isn't much fabric to start with. For me this will be my bottom protection from bugs (instead of a full bugnet), I'll just have a double layer. BUT it's completely removable.
To add a little warmth, I might use a thin layer of primaloft down there just to keep the chills down. OR I might cut a neat sheet in this shape and use it!
Okay, so the other thing I was concerned with was what Youngblood said in the post linked above "In general, non-breathable is best in cooler and windy conditions while breathable is best in warmer and static conditions."
So I was thinking there could be more than one layer. The first layer could be breathable and a second layer non-breathable. Add your insulation for the range your going for and then you can adjust accordingly. You could start out with the windows all the way open, then maybe shut the breathable window with some medium insulation and if it gets bitter cold and windy you could close the outside window with heavy insulation and non breathing fabric.
Think of them overlayed like these tarps (but upside down) (photo compliments of OES)
Making your own underquilt for this would be super easy. You have the exact shape of the hammock! To save weight you could alos just insulate where you want (the bottom and a little up the sides).
Another thing that can be done is to close in the ends. When cutting the shape just leave some extra fabric on the end so you can fold them around.
In working through this I know I'll need to adjust my next prototype. I'll be using the rings at ends of the fabric like Tee Dee did
This will serve several purposes, but for this adjustable bottom layer it will provide a place for the lines to run through. Right now I have too much friction.
I'm sure this will evolve as I play with it and hopefully as others get involved but to me these are exciting times