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  1. #1
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    The ground be damned!

    Well, I just got back from my first overnight in the woods in my DIY hammock. It was a great success. I began and ended the trip with a soak in McCredie Hot Springs. The air was too cold (35F-40F) for most, it seems, because I had the run of the place.

    I drove up into the mountains on a logging road and followed some elk tracks down a ditch, tromping about 1/2 a mile through about a foot of snow just before sunset. If it weren't for the time, I probably would have stopped to improvise some snow shoes. As it was, my boots and pants got a bit soaked. It wasn't forecast to go below freezing, though, so I wasn't too worried about it. The elk trail passed through a corridor of fallen and young pines. I set up parallel to the tail and to a fallen tree. It was very windy, and I hoped the fallen tree would help block the breeze. Setup was quick and easy, except that the ridgeline for my tarp wasn't quite long enough to span the 25' gap between the trees I had selected. Luckily I had some spare cord. I tied an Army surplus wool blanket under the hammock as an underquilt and put a self-inflating pad in under my unknown-rating-but-warm synthetic mummy sleeping bag. I also had half a blue walmart pad under my shoulder area. I hung a string of LED lights (from dealextreme.com) on my hammock ridgeline for light. I bought these intending to use them in my tent, but this was way better--lights up the entire interior of the tarp.

    I expected to be disturbed in the middle of the night by passing elk, but I guess if it happened I slept through it. After a while my feet warmed up and I slept like a log all night. It was WAY more comfortable than sleeping in a tent and I even got warm enough that I needed to vent a little. Although, I did experience a some calf-pressure and shoulder squeeze (didn't really feel squeezed, but my chest did feel tight in the morning). I think I may have made my hammock a little short... I'm 6'6" and I went with 10' because that was supposedly the length of the Blackbird (which I heard being recommended for tall folks). I think I might give this one to the GF and make another one 11' or 12' long and see if that improves the comfort any.

    Here are a couple of crappy cell-phone videos:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ROsGsHm01g

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oPqWL-GXqY

    Any colder or windier and I really would have to say that a tarp with doors is a necessity (seemed a like a luxury before I actually got out there in the snow). I'm definitely tempted to buy/make one. If I do lengthen my hammock any, I'm sure to need a longer tarp anyway. I also think I'm going to ditch the synthetic bag and try making a 'sock' out of an old down bag. Worst case, I make it into a topquilt and use the excess down filling to make an underquilt.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ChrisH's Avatar
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    That's awesome JB! Can't wait to experience that for myself!

  3. #3
    lonetracker's Avatar
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    sounds like you are hooked x2.hammocks and making them and related gear.
    thats the same way i like to camp,wander thru the woods till i find a place i like.only way to go.
    bill
    diyin to hang

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bradley's Avatar
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    The ground be damned!
    Well . . . althought it realy is . . .

    . . . we still need to be able to walk on it . . .

    otherwise how would we get to our next awesome hang

    PS glad you had a wonderful time
    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

  5. #5
    Senior Member ShadowAlpha's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good time! thanks for sharing
    I like the string light idea

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Thanks for sharing. Nice country. Does the wool blanket cut the wind much?

  7. #7
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    Sounds like a wonderful time! The wool blanket probably kept your shoulders warm where they hung over the pad. Very nice!

    (I like the lights! I might have to find a string of cheap LED lights and re-purpose) them.

    My most comfortable DIY hammock started it's life as a piece of ripstop 11'6" long, and it's very comfortable, and it's shorter than I expected due to the surprising amount of sag. From looking at you in the video, it looks short (looks like your feet are almost extended over the end.) Your 11' tarp might be fine, just add Grizzbeaks. http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ad.php?t=14154

    I found that sleeping bags are too confining to make into a peapod and still be able to lay diagonally, but YMMV.

    Chocolatier took a mummy bag and cut it into an Underquilt, you can do an advanced search and find it. I don't like being confined to a mummy bag anymore, so I will most likely convert my down mummy into a TQ as well. I'd love to see what you do... While you're cutting up your bag, might as well make the hood into a down cap...

    Thanks for sharing.
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bradley View Post
    Well . . . althought it realy is . . .

    . . . we still need to be able to walk on it . . .

    otherwise how would we get to our next awesome hang

    PS glad you had a wonderful time
    Ah yes, perhaps I spoke too soon...

  9. #9
    Senior Member KerMegan's Avatar
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    how about "-Sleeping- on the ground be..."

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayS View Post
    Thanks for sharing. Nice country. Does the wool blanket cut the wind much?
    Yeah, it does surprisingly well at breaking the wind. Army surplus blankets are pretty dense wool. Still, when I really heavy wind blew under my tarp, I felt it. One could probably add a layer of nylon on the outside to windproof the whole setup...

    Pros and cons of the wool blanket:

    Pros:

    It kept me warm.
    It's multiuse (wear it around camp, in front of the campfire)
    It's not flamable.
    Wool retains much of its warmth when wet.

    Cons:

    It weighs at least 5 lbs.
    It's fairly incompressible.
    A wool blanket is probably not as warm as several inches of down...

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