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  1. #11
    Senior Member DaleW's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    Sorry, no free lunch!

    First of all, what does four season mean to you?

    To me it means to be able to camp in snow as well as rain and summer (read bugs) weather. That still leaves the temperature range wide open--- there is cold and then there is freeze your backside solid To get real 4-season coverage, you will probably need two sets of insulation as the sub-zero stuff will be to warm, heavy and bulky for summer use.

    Simple (as in truly coordinated systems) really isn't there with hammocks yet. It is mostly a cottage industry and hammock rigs are usually a conglomeration of hammock, tarp, suspension and insulation that may be from different manufacturers. The bulk adds up. My thumbnail guesstimate has been that the lightest hammock setups are a 10oz-20oz hit over a similar ground setup. That is assuming using a CCF pad vs. an underquilt.

    Budget is a major factor. You can easily drop $600 or more on a state-of-the-art kit. Are you ready for that? You can certainly do it for a lot less, but there will be compromises and it will limit the temperature range and weigh more. With both summer and winter-level insulation combinations you can drop $1000 without too much trouble. Your size and weight will have a real influence on the weight and cost of your kit.

    My own 3-season kit for the Western Cascades looks like this:

    Hennessy Expedition Zip
    Whoopie slings, tree straps and carabiners
    DIY silnylon poncho/undercover

    Bottom insulation:

    Warm weather:
    Hennessey SuperShelter OCF insulation pad (purchased separately)
    Space blanket

    Colder/shoulder season:
    Wilderness Logics 3/4 synthetic UQ
    (or all the above)

    Top insulation:
    32F or 20F synthetic mummy bags

    Tarp:
    Hennessy XL Cape Tarp
    or
    Chinook Guide Tarp

    Wish list: lighter stuff
    Cuben fiber tarp
    Lighter insulation options

  2. #12
    HangingKayaker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Edmonton Alberta
    Hammock
    WBBB dbl 1.1
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    There are a few members around the GTA (Greater Toronto Area, which to most GTA'rs means all of Ontario and quite possibly the Buffalo NY area...lol!!) whomight be able to help you out.
    I became a convert last year, went from the tent to a Blackbird 1.1 dbl. My first ever outside hang was -7c (19f) and I'll never go back to the ground.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Jcavenagh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Chicago Area
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    WBBB DL 1.1 & 1.7
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    Grounder - In your neck of the woods you have to be aware of what trees may be available to hang a hammock. Once you get up to 50*N you find a LOT of black spruce. There may be times that you would not find a safe place to hang a hammock due to the shallow roots and thin trunks. South of 50* doesn't seem to be much issue as you'll find a good mix of deciduous and heftier conifers.
    Those Hillebergs sure do look nice. I researched them 2 years ago when I was looking for a 2-3man lightweight tent. But for me, the samolians were just too steep.

  4. #14
    Senior Member dejoha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Flagstaff, AZ
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    GoLite Poncho Tarp
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    Try a group hang and try everything at once! Lots of options and versatility.

  5. #15
    Thanks again everyone.

    The Clark looks intriguing. I'm wondering why I haven't heard of it before... everyone seems to talk WBBB, HH and DIY.

  6. #16
    Senior Member DaleW's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by grounder View Post
    Thanks again everyone.

    The Clark looks intriguing. I'm wondering why I haven't heard of it before... everyone seems to talk WBBB, HH and DIY.
    They are well made, but heavy and very expensive.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Hooch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Princeton, NC
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    Warbonnet Blackbird 1.7 DL
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    Speer Winter Tarp
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    Novelty? You offend the masses, sir.
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  8. #18
    DivaB's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Newark, OH
    Hammock
    DIY Extra Wide & Long Tablecloth
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    Funky & GG Tarps
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    DIY down UQ
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    continuous L. Amst
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    4,158
    I can relate to the information overload. The best advice I got was from Shug here on the forums who told me to "just do it". So, I did and loved it, and then everything just naturally went from there. I personally don't have the ultra light weight down, eventually I will get there or at least closer. I happened upon this, by trying to find something that would be female friendly for me to take out my 13 year old son and be able to handle on my own. I'm thrilled. It is something I really enjoy, gets me out of the house, gets my son away from the xbox, and I can do it all myself. It is easier than you think, and the people here are the absolute best. Relax and have fun with it. You don't need the best of the best to see if you like it. Try to make it to a local hang just to see what others are using and to get a hands on idea of things. You don't have to stay the night, but its a good way to learn.

  9. #19
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Tupelo, MS
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    Quote Originally Posted by grounder View Post
    Hi folks,

    .................I'm a victim of information overload.

    There are a ton of options and I'm losing my mind (actually... )

    • ........Hammock - Awesome novelty, off the ground, possibility for modularity - i.e. changes from summer to winter. But... man... complicated... and the dreaded widow-maker.

    ......I've looked at HH and the SuperShelter but there's such a mixed bag there... 50% think it's awesome, 50% think it's freezing and stupid. It would be great if the HH/SS combo were "the setup" I could buy and just go.

    The nice thing about tents and bivys is that they're simple. Essentially, just look for a thing, buy it and use it. Is there a simple 4 season hammock setup that'll be simple to pack, deploy, and use that's actually going to work?..........
    Here is a surprise(and good news) for you Grounder: It is (IMHO) simple! It is all of the options and different ways to skin a cat that makes it seem complicated compared to a tent and pad on the ground.

    Now as you say "The nice thing about tents and bivys is that they're simple. Essentially, just look for a thing, buy it and use it.". But really? You have to decide what size, how heavy and how storm proof. Then you have to figure out how much sleeping bag AND pad you are going to need and CCF vs inflatable, etc. And if you are going to be trapped in winter storms, then any Bivy is still going to need a tarp unless you are a glutton for punishment.

    Here is how simple it can be: Choose a non-bridge no net hammock. Then instead of trying to decide which winter bag to use in your bivy, get a large sleeping bag ( or the commercial version of same known as a PeaPod or PolarPod) and wrap it all the way around the hammock. Done, assuming you are within the temp limits of these pods! If not, you will need to add enough insulation(clothing,light bags/quilts) for the temps you are in, just like you would if you were laying on the ice or snow.

    Or ( uh oh, here we go with those options- so many ways to get 'er done!) just take your wide luxury ground pad ( like an Exped wide Downmat) and lift it off the ground and slide it into the pad pocket of a JRB Bridge hammock. Then use your winter bag in the hammock, either as a quilt or sleeping bag. Again, done! All that is different from the ground is that now your "Bivy" is suspended from the trees, and your tents rainfly is now replaced by a tarp. If`there is a problem hanging, you can just drop that "Bivy" and pad back down to the ground/snow, and lower the tarp for ground mode.

    Still with the confusing choices: that HH and SuperShelter will work, or at least it has for a lot of folks. There is one guy here who has used it to minus 27 and been plenty warm. Of course, it is not meant for temps anything like that, so he had to add some down insulation below to boost it. And of course he still had to use his winter bag just like he would need to do in a bivy.

    As already stated, good strong trees might be a problem for you, I don't know. And a widowmaker is frightening, but it is still scary if you are in a tent.

    But admittedly, a tarp in heavy winter storms will require a few extra tricks to know compared to just erecting a 4 season tent. But, if your tarp skills accomplish wind block and the tarp survives ( sheltered area and pitching skills) you now also have this advantage for keeping dry: you are not on the wet ground, and you do not need a flat camp ground. A hill will do. So you are more free to search out sheltered spots where a hill is blocking the wind.

    But take heart: it is not nearly as complicated as it might seem. It's just that there are so many options of how to get er done, and you have to choose one. You will still need your pad for insulation, just like you need it for insulation AND cushioning on the ground. ( OR, you will need a pad substitute, like an UQ, PolarPod or HHSS). And you will still need your winter bag (OR a substitute like a good TQ and separate hood). So nothing has really changed, except you are now elevating your bivy of the ground when conditions allow.

    Considering how you are winter camping WAY up north, there is one unique consideration with hammocks: the air UNDER the hammock can be much colder than the snow or ice or ground. PLUS, if you can not totally block the wind with your tarp, you can now have windchill under you. Just something to think about how to deal with. But it can certainly be dealt with. And with the pad approach, if it all goes to heck, you can just lower your "bivy/hammock" to the ground.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 10-19-2011 at 13:10.
    Apparently, signature that I used from 2006 no longer tolerated so now deleted.

  10. #20
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
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    Jersey Shore, NJ
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    Grounder:

    You are so close to the US (if Google Maps is correct), and there are quite a few hangers in Michigan (including the somewhat unstable Shug). If you are looking to check out people's gear, a group hang is definitely a good bet (just went to my first at Gathland State Park, Maryland this weekend). You can also check out the HF member dispersal spreadsheet at http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...mber+dispersal

    There's also a Google map but I can't find that link. Talk to the members near you and maybe you can arrange to see some gear up close and personal and maybe get a hang in.

    I'm also suffering information overload - on hammocks. However, after my first night in a hammock, I knew I would never go back (unless I'm in the desert or above the treeline). I have never had a bad night's sleep in a hammock, and have a hard time recalling a good night's sleep in a tent.

    There is nothing cheap about hammock camping. Even my entry-level Hennessy Expedition Asym Zip cost $150, which is a lot of money to me (2 kids in college). I've since bought a couple of cheaper hammocks and tarps so I can experiment with suspension systems, insulation, etc. Everyone raves about this tarp or that, this UQ or that TQ, but all I see is dollar signs. Frankly, the cost of materials makes DIY for tarps and insulation look nonsensical to me (if you factor in the cost of MY time and labor).

    If you do dive into hammock camping (and it sounds like you won't), I would suggest checking out what moves in the For Sale forum, and buy that. Try it out and if you don't like it, sell it. Warbonnet Blackbird hammocks seem to sell quickly, and you would probably get a subsecond response if trying to sell a Cuben fiber tarp. Most of the cottage vendor TQ & UQ stuff seems to go fast as well.

    Enjoy your adventures!

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