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  1. #1
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Heads up vendors: my current wish list

    I am copying this from my recent post in a current thread regarding the apparently out of business HammockTent 90 company. I have long been wishing on of our vendors, well known for quality and customer service and USA manufacturing, would jump into these products, assuming they are not protected by patents. The 2 products that come to mind are the HammockTent90 and the Speer Pea Pod(which was also made for a while by TTTG of Switchback hammock fame). I, for one, would be interested in these products if they were available. Here is a copy of what I just posted on this subject. Of course, with either product, improvements in the original are always possible and desired:
    .................................................. .................................................. .............


    Either way, a heads up to USA vendors. Whose up for manufacturing a 90 hammock - similar to the HT90- with a 250-400 lb weight rating, and either with a deep pad pocket, or a small interior pocket on each end meant to keep the pad in place? Or both? And with either no net or a removable net? If you do, I most likely will be immediately buying one from you.

    And while I am making wishes for products from USA vendors, I might as well add: how about a redo of the classic Speer Pea Pod? Long enough to close over the ends of the hammock? Tapered narrow on the ends just like a gathered end hammock, but wide enough in the middle to come around from the bottom and drape down over the sides just enough to make contact with the body. A top closure with Velcro or zipper and/or snaps.

    There is no quilt system, in my experience, that matches this for being guaranteed draft free. It even works great as a warmer weather, lighter system, say 30F or 40-50, then just add some lighter quilts INSIDE the pod when needed. Loosen the pod suspension up to make room for them. Then the entire system continues to benefit from the outer pods draft proof system. I do fine with my regular quilts, but this was the most consistent and worry free way to be warm in a hammock that I ever used. IMO, it significantly improves the freedom from drafts of both TQs and UQs. And one can move around more freely inside the pod without concern for causing a draft while moving in your sleep. I even have a buddy who used a 50F rated Speer Pea Pod with a pad under the hammock inside the pod, to sleep nice and warm in the 20s at least.

    I would have bought another one(or the larger Polar Pod version) long ago if TTTG/Dale, who took over Speer products, had not gone out of business. And I will buy one(as of now, never know about the future) if they were to become available again. OTOH, if someone starts making a USA based version of the HT90 or CrossHammock, I might never use a gathered end again and thus could not benefit from a Pea Pod.

    Added to above quote: How about a product that will do something like this? I never saw any cold spot complaints with this product, and I certainly never had any myself. Of course, I realize market demand is very important, and I might be the only person who is so certain of how superior this system is because of draft proofing, just like being inside a mummy bag, except with all the comfort of quilts. It will, of course, weigh more and be bulkier than an UQ, because it is BOTH a TQ and UQ together, in one piece!:

    ..........................................


    .................................................. ............................

    Last edited by BillyBob58; 06-15-2021 at 13:24.

  2. #2
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    I don't think cottage vendors will be listening. The market decided those products weren't viable, for whatever reason. Now you want cottage vendors to start selling a non-viable product? Sounds like a real pipe dream.
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  3. #3
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilvrSurfr View Post
    I don't think cottage vendors will be listening. The market decided those products weren't viable, for whatever reason. Now you want cottage vendors to start selling a non-viable product? Sounds like a real pipe dream.

    Yes, you are probably right. In fact, you may not have noticed that I already said essentially the same thing in the OP: "Of course, I realize market demand is very important, and I might be the only person who is so certain of how superior this system is because of draft proofing, just like being inside a mummy bag, except with all the comfort of quilts.".

    However, even if the market has not yet caught on to the advantages of these designs does not stop me from stating "my current wish list". They are of course free to ignore both requests. I'll probably have to learn to sew if I am going to have either of these. Although I can at least buy the hammock from a German manufacturer. But, if I got my wishes, I would rather buy them from American hammock specialists like JRB or AHE or WB, etc.

    And the hammocks have indeed caught on a bit, as evidenced by the Amok, though that is still not an American manufacturer(is it?). Plus, it is significantly different from the HT90, though I might yet try it.

    And though the Speer Pea Pod never really caught on, that might be a shame. I never saw a thread titled something like "My back or butt was cold at 40F in my 20F Speer Pea Pod". But we have seen about a million for the more market accepted approach. Plus, old Shug did mighty fine even at minus 40F after he adopted a DIY pod approach. Seemed like about the best he had ever done up until then, and that was DIY! So I suspect there are more than a few folks out there who could benefit from such an approach, as they finally get rid of their mystery drafts. Though it seems few or zero of them know about such an approach. So, true, it probably won't happen.

    But, you never know, it might! JRB? AHE? WB? HG? Any one? Any one interested? 90 hammocks or Pea Pods with tapered ends to wrap around a GE hammock? Anyone?

  4. #4
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Also, it might indeed be a shame that, as well as with Pea Pods, the market has not caught on to a HT90 style hammock. Because I think there might be 4 to 6 of us(here at HF) who use them, and I think every one of us considers them the over all most comfy hammocks we have used. Yes, a bit tricky to get in and out of, learning curve as usual, but once in: sweet! Nothing can quite compare for side sleeping, legs straight or especially fetal. And the Inner Quilt approach ends any concerns about UQ adjustment or something changing as I move around. If I even want to bother with an IQ rather than the pad. (or, maybe with a pad + IQ combo)

    Also, I think one problem against the success of that company was not the quality or comfort of the product, but that he really was not interested in making it attractive to a larger user base by adding even a slightly a larger weight limit and a few other mods(like removable net) that would have solved any minor issues. I think he made an ULTRA LIGHT hammock for himself and his specific needs, and if some one wanted exactly that(with a 200 lb weight limit), then fine, they could have that. But still had to order from Sweden(or wherever) and also pay huge shipping costs on an expensive product. So that exact product might well succeed in the USA with a 250-400 lb weight rating, and maybe a removable zipper. Even if it was a few ounces heavier.

    Also, if manufacturers looked into Shug's experiments with DIY pods, and made one and tried it for themselves(like Speer did), and saw the benefits, and then told the customers: hey guys, this flat out works when compared to a full length UQ + TQ, then I bet there would be more demand. But, for that to happen, manufacturers would have to find out for themselves if the benefits I tout are real. They could, of course, add some improvements if they felt they were needed. Like an optional zipper instead of the Velcro closure that some folks don't like. Or some snaps to beef up the Velcro, which I actually like. Maybe a dif cut for the UQ part? Even though, unlike many UQs, it functioned fine without that.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 06-16-2021 at 14:50.

  5. #5
    Senior Member P-Dub's Avatar
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    With the recent interest/production of hammocks with built in insulation, it seems like the PeaPod might find a place again... Instead of buying a completely new setup to get "surround sound" comfort, one could use a PeaPod with one's own hammock... just musing...

  6. #6

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    Mr. Bob-
    On the HT90... Perhaps this is mainly my own ignorance on this style of hammock speaking, but doesn't your dream product (almost) exist in the Amok Dramur?
    The two hammocks looked remarkably similar to my designers eye... one being the SUL version with minimal features and structure, the other being the feature laden more stoutly built.

    I realize the XL is capped at 265lbs so your higher weight target may not be realized perhaps, but as someone who works with bigger folks I think it can be easy to forget that mobility during entry and exit is a primary concern. It's also one somewhat addressed already by a more forgiving gathered end.

    That said- I think that the pad itself is also a limiting factor. Getting the right width for larger folks can be a challenge. And the dynamic movement of 'scootin yer boot' into place would likely result in pad failures for those 300lb+ users. Laying on the ground is a much different loading situation than in a hammock.

    I don't see why an Amok couldn't take on a 350lb weight rating structurally speaking, but the challenges I quickly see:
    1-Impact to the function... IE the buckles, seat mode, etc still working as designed.
    2-Finding a suitable pad, likely having to develop (another) custom pad and add to the total weight/bulk.
    3-Addressing the mobility issues and convincing that user that the payoff is worth the trouble of squirming into the contraption.

    Finally- the tough one is cost. Bigger folks pay the 'big folks tax' as is due to limited market share. To compound that problem they also wear things out sooner.
    While it may not be ideal, a good gathered end hammock has some pretty appealing advantages in that other than the increased cost for a double layer... the big guy tax is largely mitigated and should the hammock wear prematurely... the replacement cost is relatively minimal. Your quilts, tarp, nets, etc function across multiple vendor's gear and for the most part don't really cost you anything more than the average user to acquire. Just as important, other than a true disaster if your gathered end wear's out... you won't have to replace them very often.

    While mobility is not ideal... if you lose your balance upon entry; then you simply fall into the hammock or bump your butt on the ground. Yes it can be a bit undignified hauling yourself out, but your weight is well supported while you do it and once you have yourself seated you can walk yourself back to a standing position.

    Ultimately- all products have to solve a problem without creating too many new problems.
    A limited number of folks hammock camp.
    Of those folks, a limited number of them do not enjoy gathered end hammocks.
    Of those folks, a limited number of them will try another hammock (as opposed to other sleep systems).
    Of those folks, a limited number of them will be beyond the weight rating of existing products.

    I tell folks who come for the Big Guy Bridge (as a specific example) that at some point you might simply want to consider a cot or Aerobed.
    Are you using a hammock because it solves your problems... or simply because it is cool/new/exciting?

    It will run you an easy $1000 to trick out an 'alternative' hammock of any type. An Aerobed is $100 on sale and functions just fine at any state park site or hunting cabin with a portable power. And while I am quite proud to have worked with a few dozen 350+ folks who backpack or paddle into a remote location... I think it's reasonable to state that this is not a very large market.

    I'm clearly preaching to the choir here in admitting that a hammock truly can solve problems for many. And remain quite proud of the folks I've been able to literally provide a bed to that they rely on nightly at home. So don't get me wrong overall on the topic... but it's just reality that 99% of casual outdoor users are likely better served by other products or solutions, and that reality will always limit the options.

    Speaking as a sewn goods manufacturer as far as the HT90... that thing looks like a nightmare to build.

    I'm also still unclear what it proposes to do that a (good) bridge hammock cannot do better.
    The Amok offers the 'lounge mode' and having a portable lazy boy chair is a feature I can appreciate... if you simply want an ultralight floating cot... well I know a fella who makes bridges that don't require a pad and weigh less than a HT90. The underlying premise was SUPER ULTRA LIGHT... if you are no longer solving this problem then what is the purpose of the product.

    As fer the Peapod...
    Not to crap on Brother Bones, Sheltowee, or the other new company doing them; The market issue with insulated hammocks is much the same as the 'Big Guy Tax' issue mentioned above. Hammocks wear out. Non-modular systems live or die on the life of the full system. So your barrier to entry is higher and if you 'mess up' hit harder.
    So you trade off limiting your hassles or draft busting vs. modularity of easily swappable components.

    To me the general premise is this:
    The draft issues and setup complications must reach a point where I am willing to give up modularity to solve that problem.

    That creates two new problems:
    1- I have a single piece of relatively expensive gear that requires additional fiddling to alter the temp rating.
    2- I am limited in my sleep positions somewhat by the nature of the product.

    To be fair- I always thought Alex and Jeremy (Sheltowee/Bonefire) understood this pretty well. The point of a hammock is comfort and by integrating only an underquilt... you still get to use the hammock in anyway you see fit. You can use your topquilt to regulate temps... or swap top quilt ratings across the seasons. So you solve the biggest hassle (Underquilt issues) without sacrificing the best feature of the hammock itself.

    What I think Speer missed with a pod... is it generally functions well ONLY if you are already very happy with the underlying hammock and sleep position. If you want to roll on your side, sleep fetal, or simply change positions often then you're going to run into a few more bumps.

    At the moment- the number of fabric options (in both style of weave and weight, colors/custom printed) are driving the market. An integrated system or pod limits your experimentation and flexibility. Or more accurately... you have to go through this process and weed through them to first find the hammock that works for you. Now assuming you make it that far down the hammock rabbit hole and sort out what magic combination works for you... odds are good you've sorted out your insulation well enough along the way as well or you would've quit the game long before you reached the point where you'd look for a pod system. The days of picking a Hennesey or Speer in 1.9 ounce plain ripstop are long gone...

    End of the day... I think that most simply find there are easier ways to solve the problems you mentioned.

    Do I occasionally think that a ultralight bridge hammock might make the ultimate Pod system? Actually I do dream of that, especially for a summer speed hike system.

    But when I do I also realize that it would be a super highly specialized piece of kit... This is when my Vendor brain shuts off and the MYOG part of me realizes that is exactly why I learned to sew in the first place.

    So my only advice to you Mr. Bob: Nobody will ever build your dream gear and solve all your problems quite as well as you can for yourself.

    Course as any of us MYOG addicts will tell you who do it... we have a very specific problem that we never solve either...
    Everynight we dream a new dream

  7. #7
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P-Dub View Post
    With the recent interest/production of hammocks with built in insulation, it seems like the PeaPod might find a place again... Instead of buying a completely new setup to get "surround sound" comfort, one could use a PeaPod with one's own hammock... just musing...
    Thanks for your thoughts, Dub. I have actually been considering if the new designs(Superior Hammock?) like Shug has been crazy about- with the UQ as a part of the hammock, would equal the Speer Pea Pod? It seems to me that design might well negate any problems from drafts or gaps at least as well as a closed off surrounding pod does. I won't be surprised if it does.

    However, the Pea Pod also(assuming the area around the face vent hole is blocked at the neck, which was easy to do) took care of any draft issues on top. I could roll around in that thing as much as desired, and it had no influence on the draft situation. Especially in my early days, I was a champ at moving in my sleep and lifting an edge on my TQ and waking up chilled. I got better, apparently was able to train myself not to do that even in my sleep, and don't really have much trouble avoiding drafts these days. But I did for quite a while, and this was something I never even had to consider with the Pea Pod. If I was using some light TQ(or clothing) inside the pod to take it below it's rating, which I did more than once, it would certainly be possible to lift an edge while moving, but with everything wrapped up by the surrounding pod, if I did so, the result was never noticeable. Same thing if insulation was added underneath.

    However, I have been wondering if the Superior hammock might accomplish the same thing? Doesn't it have a TQ that is meant to snaped into the hammock and it's built in insulation? If so, this MIGHT effectively do away with potential drafts just as well as the pod. So, maybe, I already have a product available to me that would equal my Speer Pea Pod. I simply have to check the system out personally.

    But, I'm not sure, because for me, there was just something so efficient and consistently warm about the way that Speer Pea Pod's tapered ends CINCHED (with thin nylon cords like shoe laces) around the ends of the hammock. It wrapped both ends of the hammock in the same way that we are used to the foot box of our TQs or sleeping bags wrapping around our feet. Any potential cold air sneaking in from the ends of the hammock was simply eliminated, for me at least. It just worked, every time, without any significant attention to having the UQ adjusted just right, or concerns about something becoming poorly adjusted during the night. Simplicity ad consistency. But maybe the entire Superior Hammock system works just as well? I hope to find out soon. If so, then I would have no need for a Pea Pod.

    Although, one thing remains. The Speer Pea Pod- as you can see in the above pics- also provided draft free THICK insulation for my head, top and bottom. Pretty much the equal to a mummy bag's hood used on a pad on the ground. Once I took care of the possible draft near the shoulders thru the face vent by using a jacket to make a neck collar, that thing provided tremendous head insulation. Plus, especially with a narrow hammock, when I went on my side, I could rotate the pod so that the face vent was on the edge of the hammock, and my breath would go outside the hammock and pod and condense in the air outside. (in one of my above pics, I am on my side in the rotated pod.) The Superior would not do that, but of course I can add separate hoods to accomplish the same thing.

  8. #8
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Hi Bill!
    Mr. Bob-
    On the HT90... Perhaps this is mainly my own ignorance on this style of hammock speaking, but doesn't your dream product (almost) exist in the Amok Dramur?
    The two hammocks looked remarkably similar to my designers eye... one being the SUL version with minimal features and structure, the other being the feature laden more stoutly built.
    Yes, you are correct, they are fairly similar. But, I don't know if the Amok is produced and sold in the USA. Is it now? (But, I actually like some parts of it's design better than the HT90: the recliner position, for example.)

    But, the HT90 does not require a pad, and if you use one(most will) you can use several different varieties of pad. Either horizontal or vertical or no baffles, or you can use a short pad. The Amok requires not only a pad, but a specific type of pad and dimensions, requiring baffles that run the length of the pad.

    Also, the pad pocket of the HT90 is unique, with pros and cons. Some might like it and some might hate it. I kind of like it. This poet is deep, and requires a thick pad to adequately fill it. If the pad is too thin, the inner layer will prevent firm contact(by supporting weight) with the pad and then would not be as warm as expected, or maybe no where near it. The converse of that is, though most will prefer how a pad enables the hammock to keep it's shape, it can be(and I have) used it without a pad with a quilt in the pad pocket(an IQ). Or, a thinner, lighter pad can be used, with a light quilt(or clothing) on top of the pad, filling any gap between the pad and the user. I have had some pretty good success with this hybrid approach. Or with a pad alone. It is the most comfy hammock I have used with a pad, especially with a thick inflatable pad(probably also applies to Amok). Even better(with those thick pads) than my bridge hammocks, as it does not raise center of gravity in the least, nor does it make it feel more tippy.

    But, yes, the Amok accomplishes a lot of the same things. I'll try and respond to some of your other comments later. Thanks for your thoughts.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    JustBill: "I'm also still unclear what it proposes to do that a (good) bridge hammock cannot do better.
    The Amok offers the 'lounge mode' and having a portable lazy boy chair is a feature I can appreciate... if you simply want an ultralight floating cot... well I know a fella who makes bridges that don't require a pad and weigh less than a HT90. The underlying premise was SUPER ULTRA LIGHT... if you are no longer solving this problem then what is the purpose of the product."

    Bill, I have not had the pleasure of trying a Big Guy Bridge, so you might be correct. But I am very experienced with all JRB bridges as well as the WBRR. They are among my fav hammocks. So, while your hammock may solve all issues, here are the differences I see comfort wise between the HT90(my earlier model is rated 220 lbs) and any of my bridge hammocks(and I think there are some others who would say the same):
    1: Vast shoulder room, with or without a pad.
    2: Vast shoulder room but without spreader bars.
    3: Superior side comfort and room, particularly for fetal. My bridges are(for me) among the best hammocks in that regard(except maybe for knee room in fetal), but the HT90 is even better, as well as being better than any of my GEs in that regard.
    4: A very thick pad, if used, has no negative influence on center of gravity, as it hangs below the hammock in the deep pad pocket.
    5: If a quilt(InnerQuilt, IQ) is added to the pad, or used by itself, there is no danger of it becoming poorly adjusted, or a gap or draft developing, as I move around in the night. No risk of a quilt suspension being influenced by temps or age. It is not going to sink any lower than the support of the about 3" deep pad pocket will allow it. I added Kam Snaps to the pad pocket and one of my quilts to make it easier to keep the IQ spread wide to the sides. Others simply wrap a quilt around a pad, as is sometimes done with a TQ on the ground. It stays put, and gaps do not develop for me, so far.
    6: a thick, short pad can be used, with clothing or quilt in the pad pocket for legs and feet.

    That is all I can think of right now. There are also cons, and sometimes I prefer my bridge or GEs in some ways. But even though I very much like my bridge hammocks, these are some possible advantages I see with the HT90 compared to them.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    JustBill:
    What I think Speer missed with a pod... is it generally functions well ONLY if you are already very happy with the underlying hammock and sleep position. If you want to roll on your side, sleep fetal, or simply change positions often then you're going to run into a few more bumps.
    I used mine on a number of GE hammocks, always worked about the same, as long as I could get the net(if any) out of the way. So, as far as a hammock wearing out or chaging hammocks, it was the same modularity as any other TQ + UQ. It was just a GE hammock shaped(tapered ends) TQ + UQ sewn together. It was the best thing I ever used for giving me freedom to move around without causing anything to go awry. Of course, the bigger, and especially wider or deeper, the hammocks, the more challenging things might become getting it to work with those hammocks. Which is probably why TTTG also offered a wider, longer Polar Pod. And why Shug added an optional widening panel to his WM sleeping bag to make it easier to add insulation during DIY pod use.

    Although, that last part(hammock size) has both pros as well as cons. Some folks - like a buddy of mine- always used the pod as a means of controlling drafts. So they would use less thick and heavy pods, maybe rated 30-40F, intending from the get go to add insulation as needed. Or in the case of my buddy, his pod was only rated to 50F. But by adding insulation inside, he had abundant draft free warmth into the 20s at least. So, if the plan is to add insulation as needed, then a deep and fairly wide hammock like the Speer for which the Pea Pod was designed, may actually have an advantage. The sides of the hammock lift the top quilt part of the pod, causing a gap and potential cold on top. But if the plan is to just fill that 1 or 2" gap with a light quilt anyway, then that gap is just a perfect place to add down which will not have any compression from the top layer of the pod. And once that has been done, the warmth rating(which the pod could not reach it's rating on top if the cold top gap exists) is now much increased from the original, now actually a good bit warmer than rated. So when it comes to hammock size, within certain limits at least, pros and cons for pod use.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 06-16-2021 at 14:42.

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