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  1. #1
    New Member
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    My first ever hang - The Greenhorn Report

    The Greenhorn Report

    After quite a lot of research and soul searching, I finally decided that the Hennessy Hyperlite gave me everything that I wanted and still stayed within my meager budget. So, I plunked down the old credit card, opted for the two-day shipping, and received it on the second of November. Sweet!

    Note: The folks at Hennessy were super and have been very helpful and above all, very generous. I received my hammock right on time and they have answered all my inquires in a very prompt manner. Kudo's! They have a customer for life.

    When I received my hammock, the first thing I noticed was how amazingly light and compact it was. I'm not a gram weenie and although I'll sacrifice a little weight for comfort, I do count ounces. The Hyperlite actually takes my overnight Base Pack Weight (BPW) down to 8.56 lbs and I can't complain about that.

    First Night:
    I literally have no where to hang my hammock in the back yard and since I live on a very busy street, hanging in the front yard was out of the question. So, I bought a couple large eye screws and mounted them on opposite sides of my garage (length wise). That meant the span from ”tree-to-tree” was around twenty feet. That's pretty excessive, but you can only work with what you've got...so...I took out the webbing straps and got busying hanging my Hyperlite for the first time.

    No, I wasn't able to hang it in two minutes...but I'm not really concerned about speed and I'm not afraid to tie a few knots. I took my time, checking everything out carefully, pausing every now and again to double check my work. I've watched the video of Tom Hennessy tying that figure eight a dozen times, but there's something about taking that initial leap of faith that just made me a wee bit hesitant. Speaking of that, my wife came out to check on my progress and I asked her if she wanted to take it for a spin...”Hell no...you first!”, she replied. I explained to her that it was all perfectly safe and then she asked why the Therm-A-Rest was sitting on the floor right underneath the hammock. I said, “Just in case.” She declined my invitation to take the Hyperlite's maiden voyage...so...I gingerly spread the fabric, poised my *** over the edge, and ever so slighty eased my weight onto the hammock in a sitting position. Then, I held my breath, laid back and...nothing. It held! Woohoo!



    I admit it, I had visions of the eye screws shooting out of the walls, simultaneously striking me in the face and back of the head...or...more likely, one or both of my knots would come loose and I would plummet to the concrete, cracking my skull and breaking my forty-five year old back...or...maybe I was just fearing that the fabric would rip under the weight of my new winter insulation that I securely keep wrapped around my waist (Fat). Regardless of my unrealistic fears, nothing happened, and I was very happy about that.

    So, the next step was to climb aboard. Since the Hyperlite is the only current Hennessy that isn't offered with a zipper, I entered through the tried and true bottom entry. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! My first thought was, “This is pretty comfortable.” So, I decided that I'd try and sleep in it that night. So, around midnight I went out to the garage and mounted up. I have a regular length Therm-A-Rest Pro Lite and a Lafuma 45 degree bag. I threw in the pad, with no air, and then proceeded to go through the gymnastics of getting in a mummy bag, that's already pretty tight mind you, inside a hammock that is swaying back and forth. It reminded my of my Navy days, except without all that nasty pitching up and down.

    I managed to get situated and I was rather comfortable, but I couldn't sleep. I'm a bit of an insomniac anyway, but by 4:30 A.M. I finally gave up and went inside. Part of the problem was that my shoulders were cold. The temperature was hovering around 60F and every time my shoulder would touch the side of the hammock, it would feel quite cold. I was also a bit amped up and simply couldn't turn my brain off, which is pretty typical for me.

    Lessons Learned:
    Believe the hype. Hammocks really are much colder than tents. An under quilt (UQ) would be ideal, but I simply can't afford one at the moment. So, I decided to run out and get a CCF mat from Kmart and add it to my sleep system (more on that in a moment).

    Getting out of the Hennessy isn't as easy as getting in. It's kind of awkward in the beginning, but I'm getting used to it. I think it all depends on how high you hang it and how centered it is between the attachment points (Trees, Poles, etc...) I'm still experimenting, but I'm not sure I'm even hanging it right. The ridge line seems a bit taut, but I assume that it is supposed to be like that, because no matter how I hang it, it's always the same tautness. Then again, I'm limited to distance and height at the moment. It'll get a true test once I get out in the wilderness.

    I can't decide if I should hang it level, feet higher, or head higher...I'm still experimenting.

    Trying to get inside a sleeping bag, inside of a hammock, is doable, but unorthodox and it requires a certain amount of flexibility and skill that is usually reserved for world class gymnasts. I'll use it as a top quilt (TQ) in the future.

    Second Night:
    As I said, I purchased a cheap CCF pad from Kmart. It was 70”x20”, so I laid it out lengthwise and then cut it in half. I then placed each half next to each other just above the entry point and then positioned the Therm-A-Rest on top of and between the two CCF Pads. This provided extra insulation for my torso and prevented the annoy cold spot on my shoulders. A cheap solution to the problem, but as I said, an UQ is ideal.

    This night I opened the garage doors, so that I could test everything in cooler conditions. However, it was warmer this night and even with the doors open, the temperature still hovered around 60F all night. Like the previous night, I slept in only my base layer, but I added a knit cap and used my fleece jacket as a pillow. The pillow was a welcome addition and the hat kept my head warm and toasty. I also re-rigged the hammock, this time with the feet a few inches higher and few inches closer to the attachment point. Once again, I was comfy, but I couldn't sleep. When I did it was only for short periods of time and by 6:00 A.M. I gave up. The good news was that I did not experience the soreness that I usually do lying on the ground or in a bed for that matter. The bad news was that I was exhausted.

    Lessons Learned:
    The CCF pads really did the trick though and using the sleeping bag as a TQ was great. It gave me more freedom of movement and I was surprisingly very warm laying directly on the pads.

    Third Night:
    Pads and and sleeping bag as a TQ worked pretty well. So, no adjustments there. However, after digging around in the forums again, I decided to rig the hammock higher. My attachment points are exactly six feet off the ground, but twenty feet apart. Consequently, I don't have a lot of hanging options. I've tried head high, feet high, so what's next...let's try perfectly level. So, I re-rigged the hammock, trying to get it perfectly centered and level. I even went so far as to hang a string level from the ridge line at the center point of the hammock.



    Exhausted from my previous nights lack of sleep, I fully expected to collapse and wake up sometime next week, but...once again I had a difficult time falling to sleep. I even resorted to ear plugs, which helped with the distracting road noise, but it took me longer to fall asleep than I expected and I woke up an hour and a half later. I wasn't cold or uncomfortable, I was just unable to fall into a deep sleep. Anyway, I fought it for awhile, dozing on and off, trying various positions, but I just couldn't stay asleep. By now my bad hip was bothering me and so I decided to get up, stretch, and reconfigure my pads.

    It was pretty darn chilly this night. Around 43F outside and 53F inside the garage, despite the rear door being fully open. The main garage door was only slightly cracked, in an effort to reduce the road noise. Still, when my socks hit that cold concrete, I was eager to get back in the hammock. Plus, it had been raining all day and night, so it was a pretty damp cold. Still, I was plenty warm with just the pads and TQ, although, I regretted leaving my knit cap off. I ended up waking up with a headache that pretty much lasted all morning, but I digress.

    I readjusted the pads, eagerly crawled back in, and tried a few new positions...oh yea...I decided to blow up the Therm-A-Rest this time. It was probably about 80% inflated. This time I felt much flatter and although I still had the sensation that my toes were above my head, I was able to get into a very comfortable fetal position. Note: Because of my bad hip, I usually sleep with a knee pillow, but I never carry it with me on my hiking/camping trips. I might reconsider that now. Anyway, it didn't take me long to fall back asleep, but I woke up around 4:30 A.M. With a slight twinge in my hip. Flipped over onto my back and slept solid until around 7:30 A.M.

    When I woke up, I was still on my back, but pretty much centered in the hammock...burrito'esc. This is something that I noticed almost every night. I'm not sure why I keep ending up on the center line, but it has happened pretty much every night at some point.

    Note:
    The pads really work well at providing that extra bit insulation and the Therm-A-Rest stays pretty much in place, although it did slide down just a few inches during the night. Tonight it will be even colder and tomorrow, when I'll be in the woods, it's supposed to drop down to 38F. I'd be lying if I weren't a little concerned about staying warm. So, I plan on having plenty of fuel for my campfire, just in case.

    Lessons Learned:
    When it's chilly, make sure to forget your knit cap.

    I actually enjoy the process of rigging the hammock with old fashioned knots. I know it isn't the quickest or easiest way of doing it, but there is something about doing it old school that gives me a lot of satisfaction.

    I tied a small piece of gold ribbon to the snake skin on the “head” of the hammock. I also plan on tagging the tarp as well, in the event that I pack it separately.

    TIP:
    I placed two of my daughters hair ties (used for ponytails) over each end of my tarp. That way I can roll up the tarp and then slide the hair ties over the tarp to keep it rolled up. This allows me to I have the hammock open, but keep the tarp in place for an emergency. If you already have your stakes or attachment points laid out for the tarp, it takes about ten seconds to unfurl and re-pitch the tarp. Maybe someone else has already posted this as a tip, but not bad for a Greenhorn...huh.


    Fourth Night:
    To be continued (tonight)...



    P.S. I welcome any tips, tricks, advice, and constructive criticism. I'm a fairly experienced hiker, but a complete Greenhorn when it comes to hammock hanging.


    Specs:
    Me: 5'8” 190lbs (Yes, I know...I need to shed more than a few pounds.)
    Hammock: Hennessy Hyperlite
    Suspension: Stock Hennessy w/Webbing Straps
    Insulation: Two torso length CCF pads and a Therm-A-Rest Pro Light (Regular)
    TQ: Lafuma +45F sleeping bag (I augment with additional clothing)
    UQ: None

    See "The Greenhorn Report" album for related pictures:
    Click Here.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bdbart's Avatar
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    Looks Great...... Love the "hair ties" idea as a sudo snakeskin

  3. #3
    Senior Member Poppabear's Avatar
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    Sounds as if you have learned something new with each successive hang. Sown you will have it down to a science and will be sleeping the whole night through.
    Terry

  4. #4
    TZBrown's Avatar
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    It is all a learning experience, that really never ends.

    You are making discoveries, and progress in the right direction, it will just take some time to find what works best for you.

    I usually have my foot end higher than the head, when you slide into the low point of the hammock your feet will be up slightly which works best for me

    Good luck

    TZ
    Life's A Journey
    It's not to arrive safely at the grave in a well preserved body,
    But rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting,
    Woo Hoo!....What a Ride!

    My PHOTOS

    My VIDEOS

  5. #5
    MAD777's Avatar
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    Smart idea to test your system at home, first. I like the idea of hair ties for the tarp. I am going to use those for the small tarp that I am making right now. I just took a break to scan the forums. One can't miss even a day here; you never know when they are going to completely re-invent hammock suspensions or something.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bradley's Avatar
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    Thank you for a MOST EXELENT report,

    ya-gone-done-an'-did-good . . .

    Bradley SaintJohn
    Flat Bottom Canoe
    Start A Biz

    The Transition from Ground Sleeping to Hammocks
    is the Conversion from Agony To Ecstasy,
    and Curing Ground-In-somnia.

    "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show you great and mighty things . . ." Jeremiah 33:3
    ΙΧΘΥΣ

  7. #7
    New Member
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    Oct 2010
    Location
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    UPDATE

    Fourth Night:
    My fourth consecutive night was pretty much more of the same, but I slept much better, even though it was a bit colder. I'm starting to become disenchanted with using pads though. I'm also concerned that I might be cold on my first official overnight. Hanging in the garage isn't the same as being out in the woods. Still, I have consistently slept better each night and I love waking up without the usual soreness that is associated with sleeping on the ground.

    Fifth Night:
    This is my fifth consecutive night in the hammock, but first official night "out" in the woods. I drove down to Merchant's Mills Pond State Park, a hidden gem, located in North Eastern North Carolina. Nice trails and they have a great back packers camping area. It's a short 2.5 mile hike to the camp site and when I arrive I'm amazed to see two hammock campers there! COOL! So, I stopped by and introduced myself. Evelyn and Julie were great hosts and I really enjoyed chatting with them. Like myself, Evelyn was fairly new to hammock camping and she also owned a Hennessy. Julie had a really cool DIY hammock and under quilt. Plus, she made both of their packs and I was envious of her ability to produce such quality work. I wished I had the time and talent to make my own gear.

    Long story short, the weather turned quite cold once the sun went down and I decided to turn in around 10 P.M. When I made it back to my campsite, I was already sensing that it was going to be a miserable night. The cold was really starting to set in and I was a bit concerned. However, I was much more comfortable once I got settled in the hammock. Around 11:30 p.m. I woke up with freezing feet. The temperature was about 40F, but my feet were really cold. As it turns out, it didn't have the foot end quite high enough, so I had slide down in the hammock and my foot box was actually up near the netting. So, I got out, readjusted the hammock, warmed my feet and dove back in. I then wrapped my feet in the only remaining clothing I had, a pair of rain pants, and hunkered down.

    I woke up again around 4:30 a.m. and checked the temperature. It was hovering around 36F and although I wasn't terribly uncomfortable, I remember thinking, "this isn't working for me." I want to be more comfy than this. I certainly don't mind wearing a few extra warm clothes, but if the temperature had dropped much more, it would have been rather unpleasant.

    Lessons Learned:
    The CCF pads will work well down to about 50F and then I suppose it depends on your cold tolerance. If necessary, I can manage it down to about freezing, but I wouldn't want to.

    It only took five days, but after five consecutive nights of "Pad Gymnastics" I've grown tired of it. The pads must go...I want an under quilt!

    EPILOGUE
    I woke up Monday morning, got my daughter off to school, took care of a few things around the house, then my son and I headed up to Yorktown for an impromptu visit at Jacks-R-Better. When I got there, I met the two Jacks and was promptly given the nickel tour. Then we went to the back room where I got an in depth demonstration of how the under quilt works and after a brief "road test" I was sold on the idea. I honestly don't know how long I was there, but I'm sure I took up way too much of their time. However, they answered all my questions and never gave me the impression that I was keeping them from anything. I really appreciated the time they spent explaining everything to me and I ended up leaving there with a Winter's Nest UQ and a Hudson River TQ. Oh yea, I also got a Jeff's Gear pack cover (I love things that multi-task!).

    So, I'm all set...for now. I'm completely hooked on hammock camping and the addition of the Jacks-R-Better UQ/TQ actually dropped my big four down to just over 6 lbs. My cold weather BPW is now exactly 11 lbs and my warm weather BPW is just over 8.5 lbs. More importantly, I've dramatically increased my comfort level and that's really what I hoped to achieve by purchasing a UQ/TQ. The reduction in weight was really just a happy accident.

    Thanks again to Evelyn and Julie. I hope to meet you guys on the trail again sometime and thanks to the fine gentlemen at Jacks-R-Better for all their help and guidance. Also, I'd like to thank Hammock Forums and everyone here who have either directly or indirectly helped a poor old hammock Greenhorn like myself.

    Cheers!
    Troy

  8. #8
    New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by daltontr View Post
    Specs:
    Me: 5'8” 190lbs (Yes, I know...I need to shed more than a few pounds.)
    Hammock: Hennessy Hyperlite
    Suspension: Stock Hennessy w/Webbing Straps
    Insulation: Two torso length CCF pads and a Therm-A-Rest Pro Light (Regular)
    TQ: Lafuma +45F sleeping bag (I augment with additional clothing)
    UQ: None
    UPDATED Specs:
    Me: 5'8” 190lbs
    Hammock: Hennessy Hyperlite
    Suspension: Stock Hennessy w/Webbing Straps
    Insulation: Jacks-R-Better Winter Nest UQ & Hudson River TQ

  9. #9
    Senior Member Buffalo Skipper's Avatar
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    daltontr, I am looking forward to hearing your next report out with the UQ and TQ. I imagine it will be a very different experience.

    The Jacks have a great reputation, as do so many of those in business supporting us here on the hammock forum. Glad to hear you had a good time with the Jacks.
    “Indian builds small fire and stays warm, white man builds big fire and stays warm collecting firewood”—unknown

    “The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea”—Karen Blixen

  10. #10
    kc7fys's Avatar
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    I guess I'll add my maiden voyage to this thread.
    WBBB with stock webbing suspension in the rugged no-mans-land of my back yard. Temps very mild down to 50F/10C. Light breezes. I didnt' deploy my tarp in order to see the sky. My DIY UQ worked great. I sewed on a grosgrain gather at the head with a center pullout to the hammock suspension. This particular shock cord clip is not easily removable, so maybe not the best choice for Research And Development--but it worked great.
    I recently moved from a HH to the WB, and I'm very pleased with the side-access. I needed to tweak my UQ several times, and this made it possible. The foot end of the UQ needs tweaking. It comes about to mid-calf when I have my feet in the foot "cul de sac" of the WBBB. Sometimes I got my feet to the side.
    A heavy old mummy bag served as my TQ.
    Early in the night I found myself thinking, "Hm. Will I ever fall asleep? If I don't, this whole hammock thing's going out the window." But I did sleep and hat issues were the only problems.
    Not miserable enough to get out of the hammock, though--just on that terrible edge between uncomfortable and comfortable enough not to go out in the cold and get my hat.
    Photos:
    A fun hang for my first ever time out.
    Jonathan
    Attached Images Attached Images

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