I made a tarp, gathered end and a bridge hammocks and wanted to do some testing. I packed up my items, got the dog and went to a local park to try things out.

First thing I learned was that if I want to test a bridge hammock, I need to remember to bring the spreader bars. Well, it is not a total loss, I still have my gathered end hammock.

I wanted to see how a self-inflating pad would do in a bridge hammock in case I had to go to ground. Well, I put it in the gathered end. It did make my shoulders a little more comfortable, but it prevented me from laying diagonally. If I tried, my torso would only be partly on the pad. It also made it necessary for me to have a pillow. Without a pad, I don't require one. In my opinion, a pad is not a good choice for gathered end hammocks.

2nd thing I learned was that I believe my tarp is wider than necessary but I think I want it a bit longer.

I'm thinking that I would need to pitch it perfectly to ensure that rain doesn't get to the hammock. I'd rather be able to be less perfect with more coverage.

3rd thing I learned was about sleeping bag vs quilt. My bag is a Mountain Hardwear Ultra Lamina with dual 1/3 length zippers. Where it is possible to get into the bag, it was kind of cumbersome. I will be making a top quilt. I never liked the mummy bags in a tent. I always felt to confined, especially at the feet end. I was thinking about making a top quilt with a wider foot end, but then during my test hang, I realized that the hammock kind of prevents me from spreading my legs, so the wider foot box won't be needed.

I also wanted to figure out my guy lines. I was having difficulty with prusik, klemheist and taut line hitches securing to what I believe is thin amsteel. If I got the knot wrapped tight enough with enough turns to hold, it didn't want to slide or would invert. I tried with a Blake's hitch in a 6-2 configuration and that seems to work.

I tried it with three different setups:
The first one is for the amsteel is looped around a stake and tied to itself.

The second way is for the amsteel running from the tarp with a loop of mason line Blake's hitched on the stake.

The third way is the same line as above, but the mason line is attached to the tarp with a lark's head.

I've learned that just using the amsteel looped around a stake is not the best. I have to use more line and I can't get the tarp as close to the ground as the other methods. Something I want when I need to go to ground.

The other two ways both worked well. I think I like the mason line on the tarp, since I can tighten or loosen while still under the tarp.

I also used homemade Dutch Flyz for the ridge line. I like this method. I don't like my DIY Flyz. I think the line goes over sharp edges and will be damaged if I continue to do it this way. I recently loss my job, so I don't want to be buying items until I am at work again, at that time, I will get some Dutch Flyz.

The final thing I learned was that my dog loves the park.

She's just running around enjoying everything.

She's just fascinated by everything, especially me laying in a hammock.

Now I will just have to remember to bring the spreader bars so I can redo these tests with the bridge hammock. Though I love the gathered end, I think a self-inflating pad will do better in a bridge.