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Thread: Speed Tips

  1. #21
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    I agree with most of the comments.

    Practice setting up and tearing down so you can do it in the dark by feel, i.e., everything should come out in the order you need it and you should be able to put your hands on it immediately without looking. It always annoys me when I violate this and put my sleeping clothes on the top of my pack when they should be the last thing I need to unpack ;-)

    Always looking for the same width trees means you don't have to adjust your suspension -- it's already adjusted (except for a tiny tweak if you need it).

    I'm not a super experienced hammocker but I can have my pack hung, my hammock hung, my chair out, my cook system set up and be in the chair reading in 15 minutes. Maybe I could shave a minute or two off that but that's OK by me. Part of setting up camp is transitioning from hiking to camping and putting everything up is sort of Zen since I don't have to think about any of it.

    P.S. This reminds me of one of the rules I remember reading about office organization. "Never touch a piece of paper more than once". You pick it up and throw it out, file it, read it, whatever. But you never put it back in a pile to be handled again. If you are taking things out of your pack an not immediately using them and are finished with them, you're not doing things in the simplest order.

  2. #22
    Really it's the same as everything else in life.

    1) Preparation.

    Experiment to find the methods and techniques that work for you. Find the knots that you like to tie. The more times you tie and dress a knot, the easier it will be for you to visually scan and know that you did it correctly.

    Once you get your system together, leave as much of it together as practical as you tear it down and pack it away. For instance, when I pack up, I leave the tarp attached to the ridgeline. I leave all the guy lines attached to the tarp tie out points (I do hank them up when I am packing up). I leave the under quilt attached to the hammock when I stuff it back into the bag. That may mean a bit of "fluffing up" and "dressing" the system...but that tends to be faster all around compared to tearing down into individual components every time.

    2) Consistency.

    Develop your system and stick to it. The more times you do something "the same" way, the better at it you will get.

    Because of the benefits of training and repetition "the same" is often better than "better."

    3) Practice, practice, practice.

    Do not practice until you CAN get your setup "right." Practice until you CAN NOT get your setup "wrong." Those are very different standards.

    4) Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.

    Haste really does make waste. When I rush (racing rain, or darkness, or just fatigue) is when mistakes tend to happen. Work needs to be repeated, parts are broken or lost, etc.

    A "well oiled machine" means that you have economized for effort and movement -- not that you are just moving quickly. If you need to "circle" your setup four or five times during the setup...work to bring that number down. Pack more things together, and make fewer trips from end to end.

    Taking a couple minutes to clear the space BEFORE you setup is a GREAT investment in time savings later on.

    I need to visit each tree two times during my setup and teardown -- once for the tarp, once for the hammock. If I find myself going back and forth more than that, it is a hint that I am not as organized as I need to be.

    Some other general hints:

    Stuff sacks. Use stuff sacks that are at least 50% larger than you need them to be. You can squeeze them down AFTER they are packed. But it is "half" the effort to stuff something into a bag that is bigger than it needs to be.

    Starting with the system fully setup, pack it into your backpack as you take it apart -- and then everything will be "layered" to allow for a smooth setup in the reverse order. I always setup my tarp first -- rain or shine. That way it is the first thing out of my pack and the last thing to go into my pack. That consistency helps me to be smooth in both setup and teardown. Having the rain (or sun) off your head while you are setting up helps to avoid "rushing." Haste is when things tend to go wrong.

    Use color to your advantage. Make your tarp lines different colors than the hammock & bugnet lines. That allows you to quickly scan and see that everything is in its proper place and setup correctly. Having different color stuff sacks allows you to quickly locate the next bag that you need, and to know that you have everything in the backpack when you pack up (e.g. one yellow, one white, one green, and one blue...check, everything is accounted for).

    Bring what you need with you. It may be all "bush-crafty" and "ultralight weight" to make your own pegs...but it is SLOW. Having a "fully contained" gear bubble is faster at the expense of increased expense and weight.

  3. #23
    cougarmeat's Avatar
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    >Use color to your advantage.

    On hammocks that have a head end - like a ridge runner or BlackBird - I use colored Amsteel; "Head is Red". Same for mini-miners on UQ's. Ridge Runner and HG quilts have a head end.

    If you don't want the swap out the original Amsteel, you can use a colored biner or, for the UL gals, a small loop of colored thread, to indicate the head end of gear.
    In order to see what few have seen, you must go where few have gone. And DO what few have done.

  4. #24
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    Make sure you pack up any lines and suspension cords well. Few things waste more time than untangling lines.

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shug View Post
    Camp more and practice more.
    Make sure you can get the tarp up quickly for those wet days.

    Shug
    This is best way to get good.

    My suggestion is always pack your pack the same every single time. That way you know where things are even in low light situations. Whatever order you setup your hammock take down in exact opposite order and place in backpack in that order.

    for me when packing up
    1. top quilt first in bottom of pack
    2. underquilt next
    3. clothes I won't need until night time
    4. hammock then seal up trash compactor bag in bottom of pack
    5. tarp goes in side pocket and hammock straps stuffed in same pocket as tarp
    6. Everything else loaded in pack

  6. #26
    OneClick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shug View Post
    Camp more and practice more.
    Make sure you can get the tarp up quickly for those wet days.

    Shug
    Having a system comes in handy. Tonight I'll drive 4hrs after work. Roll into some random public land in thick pines where I've never camped, after 1-1.5" of rain all day. Heaviest at 9pm right when I get there. Nice pines but probably thick with ferns and crap underneath. She'll be messy. Setup will be quick as possible.

  7. #27
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneClick View Post
    Having a system comes in handy. Tonight I'll drive 4hrs after work. Roll into some random public land in thick pines where I've never camped, after 1-1.5" of rain all day. Heaviest at 9pm right when I get there. Nice pines but probably thick with ferns and crap underneath. She'll be messy. Setup will be quick as possible.
    In that kind of situation it's nice to get dinner someplace before arriving at the trailhead and then hike in a bit, throw up the tarp and hammock and climb in... and hope for a nice morning!
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

    Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. Leo Babauta

  8. #28
    Senior Member mab0852's Avatar
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    I've found you can avoid a lot of time by standardizing your hang. I know I want trees 5-6 paces apart. At that distance I know exactly how high to hang my straps and my stuff goes up exactly as it was taken down without any tweaking. Then it's just packing and access efficiency. I use one ultrasil pack liner in my bag. Sleeping clothes, pillow, and anything I need in the hammock go in the bottom. On top of that, I put my hammock, underquilt attached with top quilt zipped inside. I compress the whole thing in the pack liner and shove it in my pack. My tarp and stakes are in mesh snake skins on the outside of my pack. If the weather is nice I put up the hammock first and then string the tarp. This is quicker since I'm not walking under and around my tarp. If the weather is iffy or bad, I string the tarp to get dried in and then I pitch the hammock. I have my Blackbird XL lines set to match my tarp guylines so I can just pop them over the stakes once the tarp is set or go without. I also keep a mini pocket lantern on my ridgeline. If I'm pitching in the dark, I hang the hammock first and turn on the lantern so I have working light while getting everything sorted. On my hammock straps I have Dutch clips and beetle buckles so I can toss it around the tree and make any micro adjustments (usually don't have to touch them). On my tarp I have Dutch hooks and fleas on the ridgeline and shock corded fleas on my guy lines. I can probably be setup and lounging in my camp chair in less than 3 minutes. In ten minutes, I can setup my wife and I and have a fire going. For those rare occasions when I actually need to adjust stuff, having a reference point on your body for the height of each end of your hammock really saves time since you can set it once and be good without having to go back and forth. One other speed trick I use on long hikes is to boil water to add it to my meals on the last rest break before I stop to make camp. I throw the soaking food in the cozy in my pack's brain and by the time I get to camp and setup, my meal is hot, rehydrated and ready to eat. Nothing beats getting to camp, instantly kicking off your shoes and having a hot meal. It also makes sure I'm not cooking and cleaning in the dark.

  9. #29

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    I'm not "comprehensively fast" because I seem to have a perverse habit/talent for picking trees that aren't ideally spaced, and often with huge PNW diameters. This forces some improvisation/creativity that I probably enjoy secretly even if it slows me down. (I still go back-and-forth between webbing and UCRs.)

    But once that's over it goes super fast. I have an all-in-one suspension from the sadly shuttered BoneFire, meaning that tarp and hammock connect to the same single lines coming off the trees, with offsets pre-calculated. Suspension and tarp are on the outside of my pack for drying and speed. I hang the tarp in its sleeve first: Dutch hardware. Once that's correct, I know the hammock will also hang right (also Dutch hook). The BoneFire whisper hammock with its integrated 30F underquilt, my topquilt, Igneous Socks, pillow, and optional UQP all emerge zipped up from a single JRB stuffsack between the size of a canteloupe or a volleyball depending on TQ rating. Hang it and done, unless cold/windy/wet enough to deploy the UQP that lives between layers of the hammock, or unfurl and stake out the tarp.

    The integrated UQ serves to open up the hammock without it needing to be guyed out, but to help keep the net off my face I will grab a stick and connect the head side tie-out, leaning the stick such that it pulls the netting gently away: no stakes required.
    --
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    http://tensaoutdoor.com/

  10. #30
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    Practice is the big one. Knowing what comes next and doing it is always faster than standing there with a puzzled expression. .................................................. .................................................. ..............................
    Much of what I learned about packing speed and efficiency came from a couple of guides with the American Alpine Institute. Back in the 1990s some friends and I were taking an 8-day course for glacier travel and crevasse rescue (Mt Baker/Colfax glacier) and one of the things that impressed me most was how mind-bogglingly fast these guys were when it came to de-camping. That became a separate lesson that was not on the syllabus, but the philosophy has been applied many times over for backpacking.
    Hey Cmoulder, was that the group out of Bellingham, WA? I climbed Baker with one of their guides June 87 or 88. But I also took a back country ski course with a group with a very similar name out of Donner Pass, CA a year or two before training with the Bellingham group.

    If we are talking about speed, I was blown away by something I saw on Baker. After parking at about 3500 ft, we had spent a few days camped on a forested ridge right about 5000 ft, along the glacier that we trained on ( Coleman Glacier? not sure) The deep snow started like 10 ft above our camp. On the morning before our final ascent, we climbed to the 7000 ft level to a flat area, made camp, and did some more glacier rescue training before supper, with the plan to get up about 0100 for the final climb. While we were training, sometime in the afternoon(couldn't say when, or how early) we saw a group of several men approaching from below, presumably from the parking area at 3500 ft, then snow climbing from 5000 ft to where we were camped. Turns out they were Germans. They made camp maybe 50 yards closer to the peak than us, VERY quickly dug out a big snow trench, laid a tarp over the trench and buried the edges with snow, put most of their gear under the tarp, and started on up the peak. They proceeded to climb the final 3800 vertical ft of snow and ice, and come back down before we hit the sack that night. They broke out a 6 pack of beer, drank it with some food that did not need cooking, and crawled under their tarp into the snow trench. They were already gone when we got back down off the peak the next morning. I doubt it took them 5 minutes after they got up to break camp, all they had to do was roll that 1 tarp up and load their packs. Heck, it probably didn't take them much more than 10 minutes to make camp.

    Those guys were amazingly fast. Of course, they did not each have a hammock and a tarp, just the entire group under one tarp laid out flat on the snow, over their trench. But I have never seen anything as fast as both their camp set up, and I'm sure their tear down as well, and their speed climbing and descending that ice/snow covered peak.

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