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  1. #1
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    First time thru hiker and hammock swinger - Lots of questions!

    Hi all,

    I'm new to the forum and to hammock camping, so please bear with me and my ignorance! I'm planning a thru hike of the AT mid march and was blessed to be gifted a Hennessy Hammock Ultralite Backpacker by a trail angel who I met. She said I needed to figure out a type of system for insulation, and she also gave me a Jacks R Better "shell" (I don't know what else to call it. maybe undercover?) and a down sleeping bag that she said I could cut up and sew to create an underquilt.

    I have no sewing skills, so would this be as easy as having a friend who does sew the sleeping bag (measured for fit) to the shell/undercover?

    I was doing some web surfing and saw that HH is offering an insulation system (#1 SUPERSHELTER 4 SEASON INSULATION SYSTEM) for $99 and wondered what your thoughts are on that. Would it be better for me to create my own underquilt than to purchase something like this? It seems that I already have the major components to create my own insulation system, including undercover, space blanket, and I could easily get a hold of an underpad. Would that be a good route to go?

    I don't know if this helps, but I have a Montbell Super Stretch Down Hugger #2 (25°) sleeping bag. I saw from Just Jeff's page that some people pull their sleeping bag over their hammocks. What do yall think about that?

    I can reasonably expect the temps to range from low teens and above, so I'm hoping I can find something to keep me warm enough to hammock in that weather! I appreciate all your help. I am sure there are threads in this forum that can answer some of my questions, but seeing as I'm so new to this it can be a bit overwhelming and I could use some fresh answers from you seasoned hammockers.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Watch Shug's videos

    Do a search on "sleeping bags" and "underquilts"

    Do a search on "underquilts" and "pads"

    Review CERTAIN's and Wendy's (SHIMMY's) AT journals on trailjournals.com

    Both completed their AT thru-hikes sleeping in theor hammocks most nights (as opposed to ithe hammock being a back-up in case of full shleters)
    Love my JRB BMB

  3. #3
    Banned
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    try to find tim marshall, javan dempsey, or GLP. one of those 3 guys would probably be able to sew your gifted sleeping bag into an underquilt at a reasonable price...

  4. #4
    Senior Member G.L.P.'s Avatar
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    to be honest i would not cut up that bag... that is not a cheap bag
    and with the way the montbell bags are made it would be hard to pull off since it stretches you might not get the fit you want
    besides i would keep the montbell as is..you can use it as a TQ unzipped ... or as a sleepingbag if you need to sleep in a shelter so you can kill 2 birds with one stone with that being said
    you pretty much have everything you need but a UQ ...
    i'll also say stay away from the HH supershelter...they do not work for everyone ... and if you plan on upgrading your hammock down the line you can't swap it out and put it on another hammock i would go with an UQ
    you can get a Synth UQ from AHE for $125 that will get you down to 30F
    and with the JRB undercover you have and some extra cloths you should be able to get down to 20F easy also with the 2/3 UQ you will need a short section of pad for your feet...this also can be used if you need to sleep in the shelter

    now if you have some money to spend i would say go with a 3/4 down UQ
    it will pack down better then the synth UQ
    a down uq will run you around $200 ......remember...you will be sleeping in your hammock for a good 6 months...so i say spend as much as you can and get something nice
    but the synth UQ for $125 is the best bang for your buck if you don't have alot of money
    It puts the Underquilt on it's hammock ... It does this whenever it gets cold

  5. #5
    Senior Member G.L.P.'s Avatar
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    Also i will add that if your leaving for your thru hike in march i would get a UQ fast and go do a few overnight test runs .... you don't want to learn the hard way out on the trail
    get use to setting up and how to use the rainfly also you don't want to find out on the trail that you lack proper insulation ...
    also if you plan on using a space blanket you want to try that out on a test run as well.. being a SB will act as a vapor barrier you don't want to wake up on a cold morning all wet from condensation ...not cool

    i guess what i'm getting at is...get your UQ fast and get out and do some dry runs so your ready for anything on the trail

    good luck on your thru hike
    It puts the Underquilt on it's hammock ... It does this whenever it gets cold

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Hope to meet you on the trail.
    Bat
    Beginning my NOBO trip on the AT on 2/28/12.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the info, GLP! I should clarify that the sleeping bag that would be cut up is not the montbell ULSS#2 lol. I would not do that to such a pricy bag! Actually, the wonderful lady who gave me the HH and jrb undercover also gave me a down sleeping bag she had originally intended to convert to a quilt. It's already partially cut up. I don't have the know-how to convert it to an underquilt, so am wondering if I should just bite the bullet and get a ready-made one. Unless, as Wags suggested, you might be able to help me there!

    I was looking at the Flamethrower underquilt and it looks really good. It's a pretty penny, but if absolutely needed I could afford it. I'm open to cheaper alternatives until then. I was thinking of creating my own supershelter with the jrb undercover, hennessy hammock underpad, and emergency thermolite bivy (same properties of a space blanket but more durable).

    Open to more suggestions! On a different note, would you recommend that I change out the stock tarp that goes with my hennessy hammock?

    Thank you for helping this newb out! I definitely need to test run before I head out on March 15. See you on trail, Bat!

  8. #8
    Senior Member G.L.P.'s Avatar
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    It puts the Underquilt on it's hammock ... It does this whenever it gets cold

  9. #9
    Senior Member Doctari's Avatar
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    I'd like to also add: Practice, Practice, Practice with all of your hammock gear. Some (Including me) have experienced "droop" with the underquilt where the bungee cords suspending the Underquilt will slowly let your UQ get lower & lower. My first time with this I had set up my new quilt One time in the back yard, Then, when on a winter camping trip I got cold from about 5" of Droop, but I didn't know how to adjust the quilt, to add to the problem, my flashlight lasted a full 0.002 seconds so I could barely see the shadow that was my hammock. I managed to figure it out, but I never did really get warm again that night. NOW: I can set up, adjust & take down everything, totally blindfolded. Lesson learned, , , the hard way!

    Did your HH come with the standard tarp? If so, you may want to upgrade to a larger tarp. Practice setting that up too.

    Set up everything, attach the underquilt, Lay in the hammock for a minute, get out, take everything down & put it in your pack. Repeat. do it till you are sick of doing it, then do it 10 more times. OK, now do it in the middle of the night, no flashlight & no moon. Do it again!

    If you do this, you will thank me somewhere on the trail. Some day when you are tired, it's dark (sudden cloud cover?) & cold out, you will find a good place to camp & before you know it you will be set up & wonder how that happened. You are welcome! Ive been there & done that, so I feel your pain!


    Have a great hike!
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, you’re home.
    PAIN is INEVITABLE. MISERY is OPTIONAL.

  10. #10
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    Ttrocks I will spot you six days head start Ready set, start your hammocks!
    Bat
    Beginning my NOBO trip on the AT on 2/28/12.

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