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  1. #1
    Senior Member turk's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
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    Turk's Heated Hammock Tent

    The Following is an episode of utter catastrophe. If you were expecting a detailed review of a cool new hammock tent concept, well thought and constructed, rich with images and detailed explanation .... then read no further.

    4 months. 4 whole months of my time and devotion. I talked about it. I sketched it. I even made not 1 ... but 8 miniature scale models in paper.

    I explored 3 full size models using scraps of my enormous blue tarp and ate up countless hours fiddling with different pitching angles and how and where I would place tie outs.

    It began with a grossly huge blue poly tarp I bought in a yard sale. I used it several times this summer for my multi-hammock family hang setup. But all of this .... all of this was but a predecessor to the much bigger and more grand idea.

    I scored a last minute Ebay deal and was able to pick up a Kelty Noah tarp 16ftx16ft for under 50 bucks with shipping. As I waited weeks for it to make its way to me via Canada's archaic, *******ized postal system, my wheels were in full motion for how I would modify this tarp to suit my needs. Here I had a huge square tarp, cat-cut on four sides. When it arrived I moved out everything in my garage and began the transformation. Marking, pinning, trimming, a tie-out here, a new seam there, 2 velcro doors ...installing the fireproof stove jack... etc etc.

    Long story short, I swindled and whined for all I was worth and sent the whole rig to my sister to get professionally sewn seams that would be strong and straight ... unlike my own DIY skills. More weeks of waiting. And then it was ready. In all its glory.

    I had transformed a Kelty Noah tarp into what I hoped would become my winter basecamp shelter + hammock barracks for 2 people. It was beautiful. Okay so I am biased here.... it wasn't gorgeous, but it was the nicest piece of DIY gear I ever made, and certainly the biggest.

    70-some square feet of fully enclosed living space. 5ft 6" high at the ridge. This thing was a beast. The goal of this project was to create a shelter
    large enough to house and entertain a large group of hikers during nasty winter weather. In my limited testing the space was easily heated to beyond habitable hell-like inferno temperatures by my Ti-goat Lrg stove. I wanted the shelter to perform double duty by allowing 1 or 2 people to use it as sleeping quarters. There was so much space, this shelter could have easily housed several more ground dwellers. This would be perfect if someone was testing a winter rig, or had gear failure and needed somewhere warm as a backup option. All said and done, Including enough tie-outs and stakes to survive the worst winds that canadian winters could throw at her (so I thought).... the whole rig weighed in at 4 lbs 7oz.

    So where are all the pics Turk? Let us see the progression of this project. Me, looking for maximum dramatic effect, hoarded away all my pics during the 4 months of production. Not a word did I whisper on any of the forums I frequent. I thought to make a grand appeal to the masses by waiting and constructing in secret... and unveiling only when I could show quality field test results in conditions that would unquestionably show proof of concept.

    Well that little streak of vanity sure cost me....

    Last weekend I was fieldtesting the rig on the north shore of Superior. A bad storm blew in Friday night. Winds gusted in excess of 55 mph. Temps were around 38-39 deg F. I don't know what that feels like when you factor in wind chill. But cold enough I can promise.

    Thunder boomed overhead, big rains. inland lakes flooded. A couple of beaver dams let go and the trans canada highway was washed out in 3 places behind me. No travel on the highway for almost a day. My hammock tent survived .. but barely. I had discovered several major flaws that I was a bit moody over. Namely, I had not thought of separate guy-outs for my stove chimney. Being cautious with DIY gear, I dismantled my stove during the storm after the chimney tore itself loose from the stove. Luckily I didn't burn anything. But that also meant no heat that night. I spent most of the night searching in the dark for heavy objects to put on top of my stakes as they kept working loose in the soft sandy soil. Not a fun time. Got some great pics inside the tent though. My other beef was with my velcro door closures. In heavy winds they were just not strong enough to stay closed. I should have trusted my gut instinct and went with velcro AND ties.

    My choice of location was very poor. I was on an exposed bluff hanging
    from two groves of tightly packed birch trees, the only ones in a wide area.
    This put my hammock tent at full broadside to the storm coming in off of

    On the second morning I spent several hours moving my whole camp to an
    only slightly better location. I was about 20 degrees less broadside to the
    wind, and the soil was perfect for holding my new DIY UBER-long 14" snow stakes I was testing for the first time. The rains had died off, but the wind was relentless. Setting up in that gale took a loooong time. I finally got everyting battened down and bomb-proof, getting ready for my second night. This time I would have company. I was testing out my Panda hammock and also brought my ENO single for my brother to use. That night the winds picked up again. Again, I dismantled the stove to prevent any accidents. With two hammock in the shelter I was a bit apprehensive with how close one hammock was to the hot stove pipe. Again I got some great pictures.

    That night the winds ripped through my hammock tent and shredded it like
    it was tissue paper. All my stakes held fast. All my tie-outs stayed drum taunt. Even my sewn seams weathered the battering without so much as a loose stitch. But when the fabric failed it shredded right down the middle. In the blink of an eye one whole wall got airborne and basically inflated my whole shelter like a balloon. This lasted maybe a minute before it let go in several more places and made one long jagged ribbon of the whole thing.

    The remainder of that night shall remain forever buried in memory. I won't even speak of how terrible it was. My stove was damaged and parts were eventually found hundreds of yards away. My brand new camera, the same one containing every picture I had taken since day 1 of this project somehow got stepped on in the chaos of the tent ripping itself to pieces. It was partially crushed and soaked with dew when found in the morning. Several pieces of expensive clothing were never found. Some small items were lost or broken.

    And what did I have to show for it ....... nada .... zip .... zilch.

    A ruined hammock tent, damaged and lost gear .... and not a single picture
    to share with anyone. My one consolation prize .... a single gritty picture my brother snapped on a disposable camera on the second night just to finish the roll. So here it is ..... enjoy

    I will be starting over ....... not for awhile. I am still to mad about it.
    But I have new ideas..... things I wish I had done on the first one. Things I could have done better...
    So it wasn't all for nothing I guess. I will try again. Maybe in a month or two.

    In the mean time ... JRB had a surprise for me .. one that will fully occupy my free time.

    thanks for letting me vent.
    Last edited by turk; 10-12-2007 at 18:04.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Denver, CO
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    SuperFly or MacCat
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    THAT was a great story with a really sad ending.

    So sorry to hear about the violent way your creation was taken from you. But, what a great idea and build. I can't wait for the second chapter!

  3. #3
    Dutch's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Reinholds, PA
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    I'm sorry bout the tent Turk. Oh and the camera, stove, and clothes. Although I feel for you because have had DIY projects not go so well. Don't make me tell you the story of the very uncomfortable hammock thong. You do get a consolation prize though because the story is funny as heck in a sadistic way. I bet the 2nd version will be better anyhow.
    Peace Dutch
    GA>ME 2003

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Doctari's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Cincinnati, Oh
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    I love the concept! I wish I had thought it up, I think.

    Sad about the mishap!

    I too can't wait for installment #2!!
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, you’re home.

  5. #5
    I hate to hear about your mishap Turk. I still think the concept has merit for some places in the arctic/subarctic. I served in the 4/9th Infantry in Alaska for two winters in '77 and '78. Areas we trained in the winter near Ft. Wainwright (Fairbanks) and nearby Eilson AFB seldom had any significant winds to deal with in the winter. 200 miles south in the Alaska Range was a completely different ballgame, as anyone who has read Minus 148 knows well. The Great Lakes probably generate their own weather like those mountains do. I do hope your stove wasn't trashed, or at least can be fixed. I'll keep you posted on the Wallcreeper bag. I wish I knew more about parachutes, when I fondle my Macat it feels like the ram-air parachute we used to use (the MC-4) and that thing was one of the few parachutes at the time that could be opened at 25,000 ft and not blow cells. My point is that Kelty Tarp just didn't have the tensile/shear strength required for that storm, maybe silnylon would've survived it, I don't know. Kifaru uses some stuff they call paraglider fabric, maybe it is strong enough.

  6. #6
    omg these disasters make good stories

    here's something i heard recently in my kids superhero movie that fits:

    "the only people who never fail, are those who never try"

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Dearing, Georgia
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    We live and we learn...your concept has made you an inspiration to many...your loss has strengthened your passion to make a better DIY product...your story will remain with us and help us learn from your experience...Thanks for sharing this with us...
    Alex Williams
    Acts 10:13 "Arise Peter, Kill and Eat."
    Job 14:15 "Call upon Me and I shall answer you."
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  8. #8
    Senior Member GrizzlyAdams's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    DIY Bridge, v0.n, where n is large
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    Thanks for the story. What a disappointment that has to be.

    With every major project, I learn how to do the next one better. Sometimes the next one never comes for me, other things crowd that out. For you, the next one is coming. The concept is too compelling, the desire to have a comfortable place for yourself and friends out where little comfort is normally to be found, too strong.

    You'll bounce back and provide that haven. And when you do, and the group is sitting around warm on the outside, with a nip of something for warmth on the inside, you'll tell this story again, and then you'll laugh.


  9. #9
    slowhike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Winston-Salem, NC
    DIY, gathered end , w/ spreader
    DIY w/ pull-outs
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    yep, i'm sorry too, to hear about that rough trip & losing so muck stuff & work.
    but like the others said, you've gained a lot of experience w/ that project & the next will be greatly improved.
    extremely good idea BTW.
    don`t leave the CREATOR out of the creation!

  10. #10
    I was thinking today this wild guy i work with is from the military, he was telling me how fun digging trenches is, thats how he said he normally camps or hunts is in a dug out fox hole, says it's warm and comfy

    I've never made one but I told him I'd get an E-tool (entrenching, folding shovel) and try it with him sometime, of course depending where you are this isn't always an option but I bet a fox hole would make a well insulated heated hammock room, you could have a pretty wind proof tent or tarp roof depending how deep you dug it out and the terrain, or maybe just a small trench just for the stove

    this guy wants to convert me to sleeping in a fox hole and I'm trying to convert him to a hammock.. maybe i'll just dig a trench and hang my hammock on top of it

    anyhow if trenching is an option you might try that

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