Howdy folks. I haven't been around in a while, I've been busy doing stuff like updating my guidebook, hiking, working, etc. Anyhow I thought I might come over here and share something I started playing with the other day...
Background: HOI had mentioned getting a pole mod done to his tarp, and when HOI mentions something, I learned a long time ago it is probably a good idea to pay attention to him. To that point I hadn't really thought much about them, even though I have seen some nice pics of some. A day after that discussion I went on a hike about 100 miles, so I had a lot of time to think about how to do it and be light, the desire was to not add anything, or much of anything to my kit, especially when I am still trying to keep the hammock under a pound. It also helps if whatever I carried could do something else like be a pack frame or a fishing pole, or something.
Then I spent a night at a shelter in the Smokies (no I didn't sleep in the shelter) with a thru-hiker using a LightHeart tent. If you haven't seen one (I know most of you are like me and hardly notice tents) it has a cool way of making an A frame using hiking poles: http://www.lightheartgear.com/LightHeart_Gear/Home.html
I got the idea that maybe I could make a pole mod that used my hiking poles in a similar manner. When I got back I did some looking around and then started playing with it. Today I finished making the prototype mods to my gear and I'm taking it out at the end of the month for 100 miles of the BMT to test drive it:
]Finish product - about 30 grams added to the my entire packing list:
3 grams added to the tarp
25 grams for the pole joiner
2 grams added to the poles
Today when I got home I finished out the project. Test hike coming up the 29th for 100 miles on the BMT.
Outside view of one of the sides. The pole is resting on the ground, the pole strap is staked out.
Toggle attachment made with handy twig. The pole attachment point is only a gram per pole. These poles are carbon fiber ski poles (saves some weight) but I have played with this same concept using adjustable trekking poles - they have the added benefit of being able to change the length based on the terrain you set up on. That said, this works even if the poles don't touch the ground.
Two wear prevention pads are on the tarp now to reduce abrasion on the tarp. I'm using gorilla tape for these. 1 gram per pad. I got the idea for gorilla tape from WV.
Originally I was going to do this elaborate sewing, taping, and gluing project to make the center hold point, but then I got an easier idea. To stitches required for this loop, and it is held on by VHB tape so it is stronger than rivets. It is actually less than a gram, but I call it a gram.
The joiner, or ridge pole (gotta get a name for that) is made from a 12" length of 1/2" Sharkbite PEX pipe bought from Home Depot at ~$1.90 for a 5' length of it. So I have a lot extra if we decide this works and want to add it to other family hammocks. http://www.sharkbite.com/
Initially I was going to figure the optimal angles for the ends and heat mold this stuff (one of the interesting properties of this pipe) but on my first test rig I liked the spring effect it has, so I decided to not modify it in any way - yet...
Oh, and now I have a 12" pipe to use on un-piped springs to make getting water more convenient.
Tarp shown with the head end closed. At this point the bottom is just flapping open so that you could enter and then stake it closed once in. And you still have lots of floor space plus the extra support of a site "spar" to the tarp to help handle high winds.