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  1. #1
    Member Salt's Avatar
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    Question Help build a shopping list for LD bikepacking gear

    Hi All, I've been itching to upgrade my daily driver hammock for some time, finally leading me to joining the forum and now buying a TQ. Guess it is time to start that shopping list...

    tl;dr
    Hammock: ??
    Suspension: ?
    Tarp: ?
    Insulation: ??
    Accessories: ???
    DIY: ????
    Cottage Vendors: ????


    The reason I'm posting in this subforum is that I plan on taking at least one month+ bike trip this year and am interested in sharing some of your accumulated experience before spending $$($).

    Okay, hammock first! I've been using either a ENO Doublenest Deluxe or this cheap integrated net variant (AZ link). After reading a variety of threads, I'm leaning pretty heavily towards a 11ft symmetrical for comfort and ease, but am not quite sure how much extra weight/bulk comes along with that. Beyond that, I'm 5'9" / ~225lbs and fairly sure I'd like single layer, but definitely unsure about material.

    Additionally, I'm not sure what features are "must-haves" these days. Storage at the top of the triangles seems pretty great (peak shelf?). As does the double ended stuff sack, knotty mod, and integrated bug net. Less sure about a structural ridgeline, double side zipper entry, and UQ hooks. Thoughts on any of these and are there other mods that I've missed?

    For suspension I have been using the ENO Atlas XL and was planning on picking up some 2 inch UHMWPE strapping along with similar material line. Living in the PNW, we do have large trees. What lengths of each should I go for? Also, while I'm still considering whether a continuous ridgeline makes sense, I'd probably like to plan enough line for one. Pretty much planning on using knots for all of this.

    My tarp was another cheap purchase of 10' of nylon with tabs (AZ link). Weight estimates run around 1.5 lbs but I've had some difficulty figuring out how that compares to some of the tarps I've seen on here. This is an area where I'm considering a DIY hex, but would love some pointers/suggestions (material, size, etc.). Advice on lines would be helpful here as well. I'm probably looking for something less-visible than my current, and plan on using my titanium V stakes.

    Insulation wise, I just acquired a UGQ 20F Bandit TQ and am starting to eye UQs... With a fair bit of sewing experience, this is a tempting project. However, the modular SLD Trail Winder is pretty appealing if I decide on non-down. Given the normal temperature ranges I'm exposed to, I think a 30 or 40F would pair well with the TQ. Thinking that the extra bulk/weight of a UQP would make sense for nasty weather and to increase the temperature range a bit. Along a similar vein, a sock seems like overkill but am interested in them for next Winter. Thoughts?

    Finally(?) there are a bunch of potential accessories, both related to the hammock and beyond. The list of items I currently have and seem worth noting include: Crazy Creek HEX 2.0 PowerLounger, Klymit Pillow X, MSR WhisperLite International and Titan Tool Spoon, Sawyer MINI (I think, would be open to swapping this), Snow Peak Wabuki Chopsticks, an off-brand 750ml titanium pot (AZ link), and of course, a homemade first-aid kit. Potential additions that have come up while reading the forum include: gear pouch/saddle bag, gear hammock, snake skins, Tensa Solo, ...?


    All of these questions probably have blindspots that I'd love to have pointed out. There is also a sub-question of whether I should DIY it and/or which (active) cottage vendors y'all have dealt with and would recommend?

    Thanks!

    (Thanks @m00ch)
    Last edited by Salt; 03-01-2022 at 12:48.

  2. #2
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    Don't have time to answer at the moment, but you'd be best off first looking at all of Shug's YouTube videos first. He's the king among hammockers.

    Sent from my IN2025 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    jakev383's Avatar
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    I'll toss my opinions on a couple of these..... And caveat this with a lot depends on budget....

    Hammocks - this will largely be personal preference. I used to own an original Warbonnet Blackbird (now handed down to my oldest son) and now own a Dutchware Chameleon. I felt the Chameleon was more comfortable for me, but I'm also in the market for a Blackbird XLC to see if the longer length of the XLC matches the comfort of the Chameleon. I'm still in love with the gear shelf from the Blackbird, but the Side Sling on the Chameleon comes close. The original Blackbird seemed extremely comfortable at the time, since I was also coming from ENO/Chinese hammocks. I then discovered the Chameleon and decided to try it out and made that one my "daily driver".
    Personally I will never own another hammock that does not have at least a detachable bugnet. I honestly leave mine on year-round. The structural ridgeline will come with almost every upper-end hammock you're thinking of when you made this list. This is another item I would never be without - besides the comfort and structure factors (like keeping the bugnet off your face), it's essential for me to hang my ridgeline organizer from as well as my HangTime hook so I can watch movies. TravisRising gave some good advice about Shug's videos - he will keep you busy for weeks while immersing yourself in his wisdom. His video where he used a carabiner on his ridgeline for adjustment was a gamechanger for me.
    It looks like the bugnet one you got from Amazon is around 1.93lbs. The cottage vendor hammocks will be similar in weight (the double layer Chameleon is slightly heavier, but is also 2 layers and has two zippers for the modularity). Since you will be biking (motor? pedal?), will a few ounces change your decision much? Either way - you won't know if you like a hammock until you try it out. I'm very close in body style, but my preferences in hammocks may not match yours - it's a Coke vs Pepsi type thing If you're lucky enough to have a hammock group in your area which is going to have a group hang anytime soon, it may be worth stopping in and seeing the various hammocks. I did this with my kids when we were first getting into the hobby and we came away with a LOT of great ideas and advice (thanks Phantom Grappler!).

    I believe most hammocks come with double ended stuff-sacks these days. I don't have a strong opinion about them vs a stuff-sack - you only have to interact with it for a few seconds at setup and teardown so I have not given it much thought. I did also add a Peak Shelf to my hammock, and that's nice to have as well. I usually stuff my topquilt into my Side Sling along with my e-reader. Phone, battery bank, keys, wallet, Leatherman, etc. go into the ridgeline organizer (phone will also go into the HangTime hook if I want to watch a movies, and I run a cord to the battery pack in the ridgeline organizer). Peak shelf gets things I take off, like my coat and hat.

    One thing I've found with the modularity of the hammock - it's nice to have until you figure out what you like. I've only ever gotten out of my hammock on the opposite side once, and now that I know that I know I like to swing my legs to the left when exiting. I don't want to make this a my-thoughts-and-experiences-review of the Chameleon since a number of other hammocks do not have some of these options while other have different options. I think once you figure out what configuration you like, you won't change it too often. I don't, anyway

    Suspension - I've been through a few options. I've settled on the Dutchware Beetle Buckles. I've done Atlas straps, daisy chains, whoopie slings, Beckett hitches, and probably a few others I'm forgetting. Now I just carry the Beetles, a pair of home-made whoopie slings, and a 6' set of daisychain straps. That seems to be able to get me through just about ever situation I've been in (North Carolina, Florida, Texas). 2" straps are a good idea - a number of state parks are requiring 2" straps now, and I've had one which would not accept 1" straps double wrapped around the tree as 2" equivalent (I think the ranger just wanted to give me a hard time, but whatever). The Beetle Buckles were a new purchase for me a few months ago, so I only have 2 trips on them. I did get the 15' ones for the most versatility and have not had to use the whoopies to extend any distances since. I used to carry the whoopies, daisy chains, and a few home-made dog bones for when the daisy chains would not quite make it all the way around the tree. The whoopies I made are 15' each, but I think I only ever needed over 10' one time.

    Tarps - for the first couple years, I used a FreeSoldier tarp (Amzn link). My kids still use these. Weight is not a large factor for me - I usually end up carrying a fair amount of my kids' gear and all the food for the three of us, so a few ounces will not matter to me a whole lot. I do make them lug their own tarps though!
    I did recently upgrade to a Warbonnet SuperFly tarp, which I bought off the used-market here on this site (from Two Speed - the tarp I bought is the same one in his video). It's a LOT lighter (half!) and packs smaller (again, almost half the size). I really like this one. I wanted doors on mine, and was also in the stage to upgrade my tarp to something a little nicer when I bought it.
    Materials will also kind of depend on conditions and preferences. Each has it's pros and cons. Mine is a sil-poly, so I use some shocks cord in the tie-outs since when the tarp gets wet it will stretch slightly. The shock cord keeps it taught, plus allows some cushion when the wind whips it. Sil-nylon would not need the shock cord, unless you want the cushion factor for winds (my opinion anyway). I do use a single snakeskin, and I leave the lines on my tarp when I pack it up so when I go to unfurl it all the tie out lines are right there and I can use stakes or nearby trees to attach them to. I think the snakeskin cuts down setup and teardown time in half. I've used paracord ridgelines for the tarps in the past (I can find the Corporal's Corner video on his quick-deploy ridgeline if you want), but I moved to Zing-It for the SuperFly, coupled with some Dutchware Tarp Flyz. I find that the Dutchware hardware is just faster than using knots, toggles, etc. And it all weights almost nothing.

    Other gear you may want to think about.... Camp chair? If you're a coffee drinker, how are you going to make it? First aid kit - even just some Tums, Motrin, and a few bandaids will be a God-send when you need it. Toss in a roll of tape - I use Gorilla 1" wide duct tape; easy repairs or even for bandages. I also always carry 25-50' of paracord with me, just in case. With the duct tape and paracord, I feel I can improvise myself out of a lot of situations I'd never thought of!

  4. #4
    Member Salt's Avatar
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    Thanks for the thoughts so far!

    Quote Originally Posted by TravisRising View Post
    [...] you'd be best off first looking at all of Shug's YouTube videos [...]
    Definitely gone through some of these and I'm sure more will get queued up along the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by jakev383 View Post
    [...] And caveat this with a lot depends on budget.... [...]
    Yeah, I've been in graduate school for the past half decade and keep a tight budget. However, I do realize quality can cost, and am looking for a setup that will hold up while staying comfy.

    Quote Originally Posted by jakev383 View Post
    [...] Hammocks - this will largely be personal preference. [...] at least a detachable bugnet. I honestly leave mine on year-round. The structural ridgeline will come with almost every upper-end hammock [...]
    Thanks, these type of details definitely help. Also noting that WB and DW are clearly top ranked cottage vendors right now. SLD seems to be up there as well, and I have a place in my heart for Hummingbird since they release their designs as open hardware.

    Quote Originally Posted by jakev383 View Post
    [...] Since you will be biking (motor? pedal?), will a few ounces change your decision much? [...]
    Pedal power! A few ounces here and there do eventually add up, but you are correct that I'm not going for an all-out-UL setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by jakev383 View Post
    [...] you won't know if you like a hammock until you try it out. [...] stopping in and seeing the various hammocks. [...]
    Certainly, and I'll keep my eyes out for places to try some out. However, I assume most of the modern hammocks will be significantly more comfortable, and as I'm already well sold on this style of camping, figure that whatever purchase I make will last a good while.

    Quote Originally Posted by jakev383 View Post
    [...] most hammocks come with double ended stuff-sacks these days. I don't have a strong opinion about them vs a stuff-sack [...]
    The stuff-sack / slug-sack concept is somewhat appealing for "packing" everything away during days that one wouldn't want to do a full tear-down. I'm just not sure that it would compress fine for actual transport.

    Quote Originally Posted by jakev383 View Post
    [...] add a Peak Shelf to my hammock [...] stuff my topquilt into my Side Sling [...] run a cord to the battery pack in the ridgeline organizer [...]
    I hadn't realized that peak shelfs could be "added on". The idea of a side sling large enough to store a top quilt is intriguing. Definitely like the idea of using these different areas in tandem. Question, is the peak shelf generally on your head side or...?

    Quote Originally Posted by jakev383 View Post
    [...] One thing I've found with the modularity of the hammock - it's nice to have until you figure out what you like. [...]
    This makes sense and does give me some pause. I could see the hammock after this one being a UL asym that is tiny and easy for a last minute grab/go.

    Quote Originally Posted by jakev383 View Post
    [...] Suspension [...]
    It sounds like we have a bit of differing opinions regarding suspension, but I appreciate your thoughts and could definitely see myself going through a variety of options to dial this aspect in.

    Quote Originally Posted by jakev383 View Post
    [...] Tarps [...] It's a LOT lighter (half!) and packs smaller (again, almost half the size). [...] shocks cord in the tie-outs [...] snakeskin cuts down setup and teardown time in half. [...]
    This is the type of thing I'm very intrigued by. Those are some huge savings in important areas and it sounds like the decisions were a good ones. Definitely planning on incorporating shock cord to the tie-outs and a snakeskin for future trips!

    Quote Originally Posted by jakev383 View Post
    [...] Corporal's Corner video on his quick-deploy ridgeline [...]
    This one? That's basically how I deploy my ridgeline, except that I avoid the toggle and add a slip.

    Quote Originally Posted by jakev383 View Post
    [...] Other gear you may want to think about [...]
    Ah yeah, I have a Crazy Creek HEX 2.0 PowerLounger for a camp chair. Not a daily coffee drinker so figure that some instant and tea packets will suffice. Always carry a homemade first aid kit, tape, and extra cord!


    Thanks again for all of your feedback! Excited to receive some more.

  5. #5
    LowTech's Avatar
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    Just to have an idea of pack down size,
    I'm able to put my wide, 11', not light weight, hammock w/ a fronkey bugnet, small gear sling, ridgeline organizer, in a version of a snake skin,
    plus my 12', not light weight, tarp w/ doors in a mesh snake skin,
    and a bag of UCR suspension pieces,
    All in a 13lt bag that fits a handlebar harness easily.

  6. #6
    jakev383's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salt View Post
    Thanks for the thoughts so far!

    Thanks, these type of details definitely help. Also noting that WB and DW are clearly top ranked cottage vendors right now. SLD seems to be up there as well, and I have a place in my heart for Hummingbird since they release their designs as open hardware.
    You're welcome! I have not had any direct experience with WB, but SLD and DW have been fantastic. I even got to meet Dutch at one of the North Carolina hangs - super nice guy.



    Quote Originally Posted by Salt View Post
    Certainly, and I'll keep my eyes out for places to try some out. However, I assume most of the modern hammocks will be significantly more comfortable, and as I'm already well sold on this style of camping, figure that whatever purchase I make will last a good while.
    I agree - I think you'll be happy with just about any hammock you end up with. I think I'm on my 2nd year with the Chameleon and have had no issues whatsoever.


    Quote Originally Posted by Salt View Post
    I hadn't realized that peak shelfs could be "added on". The idea of a side sling large enough to store a top quilt is intriguing. Definitely like the idea of using these different areas in tandem. Question, is the peak shelf generally on your head side or...?
    They're here, or at least that's where I purchased mine from. There's a video on the page on how to install, and I think installation will be almost identical on all ridgeline hammocks.
    I personally keep my shelf at my head side. I've seen others (like the Schill Brothers on YT) who have them at both ends, but I think they did that because the DW SideCar and SideSling were not out for the Chameleon yet.


    Quote Originally Posted by Salt View Post
    This one? That's basically how I deploy my ridgeline, except that I avoid the toggle and add a slip.
    Yes, that's the one. The nice thing about it is you have those options I've used toggles, sticks, carabiners, just girth-hitched it, etc. Whichever was most convenient at the time.

    Have some fun with it - there's always the 2nd hand market too, to save some cash. I got my bugnet as a "blemish" from Dutchware and saved a few bucks, or at least enough to negate shipping.

  7. #7
    Member Salt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowTech View Post
    Just to have an idea of pack down size,
    I'm able to put my wide, 11', not light weight, hammock w/ a fronkey bugnet, small gear sling, ridgeline organizer, in a version of a snake skin,
    plus my 12', not light weight, tarp w/ doors in a mesh snake skin,
    and a bag of UCR suspension pieces,
    All in a 13lt bag that fits a handlebar harness easily.
    Woah, that looks great! It always astounds me how well compression sacks work...

    What are your thoughts about regular versus wide for the hammock? Is the hammock version of a snake skin still mesh or a different material? Do you find yourself not setting up the bugnet often enough to warrant it being separate?


    Quote Originally Posted by jakev383 View Post
    [...] I even got to meet Dutch at one of the North Carolina hangs - super nice guy. [...] I think I'm on my 2nd year with the Chameleon and have had no issues whatsoever. [...]
    That's rad, thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by jakev383 View Post
    [...] They're here [...]
    Ahh, that totally makes sense and definitely seems like something I'd add to basically any hammock!

    Quote Originally Posted by jakev383 View Post
    [...] there's always the 2nd hand market too, to save some cash. [...]
    Definitely interested in the 2nd hand market, as can be seen with the TQ. That said, at least part of me is wondering whether getting a hammock and UQ made together won't allow for the best fit.

    Aside from watching the FS forum, any suggestions for finding/buying 2nd hand?

  8. #8
    LowTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salt View Post
    Woah, that looks great! It always astounds me how well compression sacks work...

    What are your thoughts about regular versus wide for the hammock? Is the hammock version of a snake skin still mesh or a different material? Do you find yourself not setting up the bugnet often enough to warrant it being separate?
    And I don't even have them compressed, they are just stuffed in a dry bag.
    If I was going to get something just for bikepacking I'd probably go w/ a hammock that was not as wide. All of my gear was purchased before I started acquiring bikepacking bags. It was more for kayak camping. I do like wide hammocks because I like to get pretty diagonal. My lady's hammock is much less material as she lays more inline and a wide just had too much extra material.

    The hammock skin is actually an item that was made by Dream Hammock that I don't find on their site anymore. It's a double ended stuff sack that has a tube of thin material sew on to one end of the stuff sack. It lets me skin the hammock first and then stuff it in the sack. Again not the best for making this light and small but it works to skin the hammock (w/o quilts, well maybe a summer UQ) for times when I'm leaving camp for a local paddle or ride.
    Found a YouTube showing it. https://youtu.be/89RuwDVJaII

    I spend a lot of time in the desert, so a bugnet is not something I need all year, just occasionally. A separate bugnet also lets me adjust the "sag" of the hammock as much as I want. An integrated net means the ridgeline length is preset.

    If I went smaller and got rid of the extra frilly stuff I'm sure I could stuff a netted hammock and tarp into an 8lt bag (w/o compressing).

    Quote Originally Posted by Salt View Post
    That said, at least part of me is wondering whether getting a hammock and UQ made together won't allow for the best fit.
    That's the thoughts behind the Superior hammocks. Built w/ integrated quilts.
    Last edited by LowTech; 03-01-2022 at 20:44.

  9. #9
    jakev383's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salt View Post
    Definitely interested in the 2nd hand market, as can be seen with the TQ. That said, at least part of me is wondering whether getting a hammock and UQ made together won't allow for the best fit.

    Aside from watching the FS forum, any suggestions for finding/buying 2nd hand?
    I've seen some decent stuff on eBay and Craiglist (I see a WB Superfly tarp on eBay now, as well as a full Ridgerunner setup). I thought Whiteblaze forums had a for-sale section, but I no longer see it. Some of the backpacking/hiking forums will have a for-sale forum which will occasionally have hammock gear and tarps, too.

  10. #10
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    I'm not a bikepacker (yet... I've given it some thought) but if/when I do there's no doubt I'll bring the same UL philosophy to that pursuit when it comes to gear. Seems to me there is a direct correlation between low weight/volume of UL backpacking and UL bikepacking.

    I found this guide which looks like a pretty good starting point, and being a UL backpacker I already have the camping and hammock gear so it'll boil down *mainly* to bags/panniers/brackets for the bike.

    Having done a fair amount of road and MTB cycling in the past I know there's more to it than that. But I think those gaps in knowledge and experience could be bridged easily.
    Five Basic Principles of Going Lighter (not me... the great Cam Honan of OZ) Instagram (me!)

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