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  1. #1
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    Question Suggestions and comments on a kit for family / bunking for two?

    I've a family of four, with kids aged 4 and 2. I decided to try camping with the eldest, and thought of trying hammocking instead of tenting. I don't have the gear, and there aren't really any second hand markets here in Finland, so I'm getting them new. After reading a ton of stuff (too much, it feels right now) I decided to make an account and ask for some confirmation and support.

    My goal is to get some kind of balance between cheap enough that I won't be terribly annoyed if this just doesn't work, but also good enough that the comfort isn't sacrificed so much that failure would be inevitable. I'll start with just me and the 4 year old, but in the future the gear would preferably keep working for us when the younger one gets out of diapers (or who knows, maybe it will be so great that I'll try it anyway with full family!). We won't be backpacking, nor car camping, but using electric cargo bikes instead. So weight isn't much of a concern, though we don't have as huge capacity as with station wagons. Out of durable, light, and cheap, I'm aiming for durable and cheapish.

    My kid is quite a wiggler, and I can't stand sleeping with him even in a normal wide bed, so I thought that spreader bars is not going work for us. He did seem to expect a tent, and wants to have walls against unknown terrors, so I think separate trees isn't going to work either. Trees here are small so I thought that either we might find a nice triangle of trees to put us next to each other, or go vertical, bunk style (he's not a wetter, so I feel confident sleeping under him).

    Brands here are pretty limited without excessive postage costs. Pretty much just DD, Ticket to the moon, and Amazonia (and tentsile…). DD Frontline seems like a good choice. It has integrated bug nets, which I want to make sure that he can't just roll out of the hammock accidentally. It also isn't waterproof like some other models, so it should breath better. I would have gotten an Frontline XL for myself for extra comfort, and to see if it would work for both kids in the same hammock, but it is unavailable until July. That said, here's what I though of getting at minimum:

    - 2× DD Frontline
    - Tree huggers for one, and whoopie kit (including huggers and carabiners) to test different suspension
    - DD Tarp 4m × 4m, to let us sleep bunked or sideways under same tarp. And maybe to work with the Frontline XL later. The tarp includes 4 pegs and guy lines, and I'll use the webbing from one of the tarp as ridge lines. Or paracord as CRL.

    I'm not sure if I should also get right away or later:
    - Repair tape or patches
    - Climbing rated carabiners for hammocks (have already light ones for the tarp)
    - Hammock sleeves, or even the XL sleeve to put the tarp in the same one as one hammock
    - Tarp Poles for using the tarp as shade in the yard too
    - More pegs for tarp, to fold some doors

    Amok Draumr will definitely come only later .

    I'm a bit unsure if I should get the DD tree huggers, or something that would have multiple attachment points. They sure are cheap though, Kammok Python 10s would cost triple in here. Also DD seems to be selling a distinct 6mm tarp cord, is there something that makes plain paracord (which I already have) a bad fit?

    I also have self inflating pads to put between the hammock layers, and some sleeping bags. And some waterproof bags. Is there something else I'm missing?

  2. #2
    Member ravenblack's Avatar
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    Have you looked at https://easyhammock.co.uk/ which could be another option for you? There are multiple factors in hammocking that need to be taken in to account if you want to get a positive experience from the get go. Insulation is a very important element and it can get expensive especially when you need multiples.

    Camping in a hammock without insulation under you isn't going to end well, except in the height of summer. And even then a few degrees change in temps with a little wind soon sucks the heat away from you fast.

    Easy hammock make diagonal lay gathered end hammocks with built-in insulation for a reasonable price. Which will also make setting up much easier because the under quilt is built-in.

    If you don't need/want ultra light fancy tarps then DD will solve the tarp issue.

    A standard length +10C Hiker is £190 inc VAT plus shipping costs.
    A standard length -5C Winter Hiker is £220 in VAT plus shipping costs.

    P.S. I have no first hand experience using easy hammock products, and I have no affiliation with them. I have communicated with Matthew via email and he was responsive and helpful.

    A double hang with spreader bar would probably make life much easier setting up. Your child will probably sleep differently in a hammock as wiggling isn't as easy. You may also find that the movement doesn't disturb you as much as you imagine?

    If you take to hammocks after that you can look at buying higher end components an dial things in to suit your style. You could use the easy hammocks to introduce the other members of your family or friends to hammocks.



    Last edited by ravenblack; 06-11-2020 at 05:29.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ibgary's Avatar
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    Your triangle of trees should work. I did that with my daughter when she first tried the hammock. Use separate tree straps, that will stop movement transfer. A large tarp, (12x12 ) should cover you both. Kelty makes a 12x12 and larger 16x16.


    Sent from my SM-T720 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenblack View Post
    Have you looked at https://easyhammock.co.uk/ which could be another option for you? There are multiple factors in hammocking that need to be taken in to account if you want to get a positive experience from the get go. Insulation is a very important element and it can get expensive especially when you need multiples.

    Camping in a hammock without insulation under you isn't going to end well, except in the height of summer. And even then a few degrees change in temps with a little wind soon sucks the heat away from you fast.
    Do you mean without any insulation at all, or that the thermal pads Ihave would be insufficient? We are going to start with just summer camping for now.

    Quote Originally Posted by ravenblack View Post
    Easy hammock make diagonal lay gathered end hammocks with built-in insulation for a reasonable price. Which will also make setting up much easier because the under quilt is built-in.
    I certainly can appreciate the easier setup, but the cost would be triple of the DD hammocks. For a price difference of over £100 will go a long way…

    Quote Originally Posted by ravenblack View Post
    A double hang with spreader bar would probably make life much easier setting up. Your child will probably sleep differently in a hammock as wiggling isn't as easy. You may also find that the movement doesn't disturb you as much as you imagine?
    I would have thought that setting up the bar would be more work, but for the benefit of having both hammocks on an accessible level? But I have no problems lifting the 4 year old up. But we can and will certainly try the spreader option too, probably with some branches for starters. Then I'll know how it feels!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibgary View Post
    Your triangle of trees should work. I did that with my daughter when she first tried the hammock. Use separate tree straps, that will stop movement transfer. A large tarp, (12x12 ) should cover you both. Kelty makes a 12x12 and larger 16x16.
    Kelty doesn't sell outside USA, but thanks for the confirmation on the tarp size! And I will definitely use separate straps too, to either get the height set properly in bunk mode, or to help spread the hammocks wider when side by side, even if the tree isn't wide enough without some kind of spreader bar.

  6. #6
    Member ravenblack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hukka View Post
    Do you mean without any insulation at all, or that the thermal pads Ihave would be insufficient? We are going to start with just summer camping for now.
    I made the assumption that you maybe thinking of going out without insulation at first (which seems to be a common mistake (been there myself)).

    I guess it depends on how you want to get into hammocking. Plenty of people use pads but more often than not pads don't provide the comfort many are looking for. I tried a pad for a few hangs and it wasn't for me. It kind of worked okay to some degree but was far from optimal.

    Then I tried a low cost synthetic UQ and that made all the difference. I finally got why folk spend money on quality quilts, and imported a HG UQ. Imho bottom insulation is probably the most important component in the system.

    I certainly can appreciate the easier setup, but the cost would be triple of the DD hammocks. For a price difference of over £100 will go a long way…
    Unfortunately the only way to find out will be by spending your money and discovering what works for you. The problem is it becomes expensive trying to save money only to find something doesn't meet expectations. That early £100 saving often turns into a £50 odd loss once you sell some kit and upgrade. You end up spending the extra £100 unless you get lucky or persevere with kit that doesn't function as well as it could, which spoils the experience.

    I got off relatively lightly mostly through reading about other peoples experiences and gear selection. I'm in the UK and like you have limited access to local good quality hammock gear. I made some bad purchases...bad in the sense of losing money, but each mistake taught me something. My mistakes became my loaner/backup system.
    I would have thought that setting up the bar would be more work, but for the benefit of having both hammocks on an accessible level? But I have no problems lifting the 4 year old up. But we can and will certainly try the spreader option too, probably with some branches for starters. Then I'll know how it feels!
    It's not really any more work other than lugging the extra weight. You can do a double hang without any spreader bars by placing the straps so that the suspension lines fall on the outs side edges of the tree. In your case that may be a good method to try as you could set the height of each hang independently. It will be more fiddly and you will need a tree with a wide enough girth. I'm pretty sure there is a thread of two on here explaining that method if it interests you.

    I'm not saying the Easy Hammock is the best or right solution it's just another option and it's available in the EU. It's seems like a great way to start as it removes some of the pitfalls, but it also introduces some. For example having the hammock and quilt combined isn't as flexible as a component system. You damage either and the whole rig is out of action. If you need less insulation you can't swap out the quilt.

    For a casual hammock user it could be a perfect solution if the quilt is sufficient for the temps they expect to experience.

    Personally I haven't used a DD hammock, but from talking with folk quite a few seem to upgraded their DD hammocks to one or another US cottage vendors hammock, like a warbonnet or DW etc. Other seem happy with their DD's (taller guys tend to be the ones up grading the most). Only way to know for sure is to layout the cash and try for yourself.

    Based on your OP I thought you wanted a quick way into hammocks that offered fairly optimal results.

    Hennessy hammocks are another option which is relatively easy to get in Europe. I started with a couple of Hennessy's and had a very reasonable experience. I still have one to loan out and as a backup.

    I camp out quite frequently in all seasons and knew it was something I was committing to, so biting the bullet and importing some gear made sense to me eventually. If I knew then what I know now I could have saved several hundred pounds. Those mistakes taught me a lot so in that respects it was money well spent.

    Unfortunately no one can say for sure what will work for someone else as our expectations, circumstances and budgets etc. all differ.
    From a pure cost perspective it's hard to beat what DD hammocks offer.

  7. #7
    cougarmeat's Avatar
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    First, don’t believe any hammock that says “Double hammock” with the idea that it is for two people at once. It just means it’s probably wider than “standard”. What you want to do is rig the hammocks so they both come off the opposite sides of the same tree, not off the middle. So if you imagine a lollipop with the stick dropping down from the middle of the circle - that is NOT what I mean. But that is how a person might set up one hammock. Now imagine something like a skateboard where a horizontal line (the board) is tangent to the wheels (the circle). That’s what I mean by the line coming off the side. The separation between the two hammocks is the diameter of the tree. That way, two hammocks can be close but independent. Mr. Wiggly will not keep others awake.

    The challenge is covering both with one tarp. Not much of a challenge but something that has to be worked out.
    In order to see what few have seen, you must go where few have gone. And DO what few have done.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenblack View Post
    I made the assumption that you maybe thinking of going out without insulation at first (which seems to be a common mistake (been there myself)).
    I've understood that it's a bad idea even on warm days, but I had the impression that quilts are used mostly for the superior insulation, and that pads are still nice for a flatter feel even with the UQ. Good to know that it might actually compromise the feel, and UQ without a pad might work better.

    Then I tried a low cost synthetic UQ and that made all the difference. I finally got why folk spend money on quality quilts, and imported a HG UQ. Imho bottom insulation is probably the most important component in the system.
    We will be years away from camping outside summer time, I think. But I'll keep that in mind. What would you say is the minimum quality / cost of the UQ, if not aiming for freezing temperatures, but say, around 10°C lowest?

    That early £100 saving often turns into a £50 odd loss once you sell some kit and upgrade […] My mistakes became my loaner/backup system.
    I'll try to keep a positive look, and think that as a happy problem, compared to just wasting all the money even at the starter gear when the family is miserable sleeping outdoors . More seriously though, I was thinking that a modular system would help, and that the DD hammocks would be at least serviceable later with guests or something like that, as yours are. I was really considering the Draumr too, for myself, but managed to rein in my mania a bit.

    You can do a double hang without any spreader bars by placing the straps so that the suspension lines fall on the outs side edges of the tree. In your case that may be a good method to try as you could set the height of each hang independently. It will be more fiddly and you will need a tree with a wide enough girth.
    Yeah, that is definitely the first option, if we manage to find big enough trees. I'm just not confident that there will be any, so I'm assuming that we will go with bunking or a triple tree triangle.

    For example having the hammock and quilt combined isn't as flexible as a component system. You damage either and the whole rig is out of action. If you need less insulation you can't swap out the quilt.
    Hadn't even considered the damage aspect. But yeah, component system seems more appealing. At least as long as the pitfall is not having the gear that matches the combined hammock, and not that I just can't set them up properly…

    For a casual hammock user it could be a perfect solution if the quilt is sufficient for the temps they expect to experience.
    Speaking of, are there any comfort downsides on using our existing sleeping bags, apart from wasted weight when the downside compresses and isn't as insulating? Or is UQ + quilt just superior, no matter the weight?

    Other seem happy with their DD's (taller guys tend to be the ones up grading the most).
    Yeah, if it were available, I would get the Frontline XL right away to test. I'm just shy of 180cm, but I'm sure that rest of the family has no problems with short hammocks. But it's ok. If I'm discomforted, but the kids love it, we are on a good path. I'll just get the XL, or something more expensive altogether when we expand from two, to first three, and then four hammocks.

    Based on your OP I thought you wanted a quick way into hammocks that offered fairly optimal results.
    Well, it doesn't have to be quick. I'll keep on learning, and just hoping that I haven't missed something crucial.

    Hennessy hammocks are another option which is relatively easy to get in Europe. I started with a couple of Hennessy's and had a very reasonable experience. I still have one to loan out and as a backup.
    Hadn't tried looking for those at all, thanks for the tip. I'll check their line, and google for some resellers in EU.

    I camp out quite frequently in all seasons and knew it was something I was committing to, so biting the bullet and importing some gear made sense to me eventually. If I knew then what I know now I could have saved several hundred pounds. Those mistakes taught me a lot so in that respects it was money well spent.
    If we end up liking camping so much that it will be more than a summer holiday activity, I'll happily pay for the gear again, and thrice too. A single spa holiday, or a cabin trip turned into a camping trip will pay for the gear right away. Trip abroad will cover deluxe gear for the rest of our lives, I guess. Though I still personally will goad the kids into visiting Legoland someday

    Thanks again for all the tips!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    I started with kids with hennessy cub zip for 50USD each all inlcuded, I just used the pad supported by underquilt protector from underneath, these I made myself





    The next year I decided to invest much more, and made myself adult hammocks for everyone with fronkey style bugnets From the beginning I used 2 tarps and we made it 2+1 tree for kids and us adults too.
    I also bought proper down insulation from Cumulus for everybody. We spend a lot of time out there in the forest, I dont regret any penny, and I knew I will need the light, and small equipment that we can carry with us.



    Man I ended up with one room full of hammock equipment Been there, didnt know where this will take me. But hey, there is no money better spent

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cougarmeat View Post
    First, don’t believe any hammock that says “Double hammock” with the idea that it is for two people at once.
    Definitely not going there. We all like our own space while sleeping as it is. Even if it's Clark Vertex Ultra, still no. I *might* try out tentsile someday; that seems to be the only hammock that I could rent around here. But I'm not looking forward of finding a site with perfect enough triangle of trees able to withstand those forces. If I happen to see a site like that, I'll make a note, and maybe then come again some other weekend.

    Now imagine something like a skateboard where a horizontal line (the board) is tangent to the wheels (the circle). That’s what I mean by the line coming off the side. The separation between the two hammocks is the diameter of the tree. That way, two hammocks can be close but independent. Mr. Wiggly will not keep others awake.
    Yeah, like belt around cogs. We will do that, if we just happen to find right trees for that.

    The challenge is covering both with one tarp. Not much of a challenge but something that has to be worked out.[/QUOTE]

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