Went out to Henry W Coe State Park here in California for a one night trip with my first hammock, a HH hyperlite bottom entry with whoopie slings. I used my old go lite 20 degree quilt and a JRB nest UQ.
It was a perfect weekend to be out at the park and test out my new gear. Day time temps were in the mid 50's and at night it got down below freezing and made me glad I had brought 20 degree equipment
My friend and I ended up camping in a nice stand of trees in Mahoney Meadows where I hung my hammock between two trees on the leeward side of the hill with lots of protection from the wind. It was a great site with a view of the stars but lots of protection from the elements. The colors of my hyperlite blended in perfectly with the surroundings to the degree that my hiking partner had a tough time finding me in the morning. If I had not hung my backpack on a nearby tree she siad she would not have been able to find me at all.
My poor hiking partner was on her first backpacking trip and learned quickly why I no longer sleep on the ground in a tent. She about froze to death from conductive heat loss even with a thermarest pad and a 30 degree sleeping bag. Her first words of the morning were " get up" followed by "when can you make me a hammock to test?" LOL Looks like I made a convert on my very first outing.
As this was my first time out with my hammock in a backpacking situation I wanted to share my observations with everyone as well as what I have learned from the experience.
First off, I will never, ever buy another bottom entry hammock. It was strange getting into the thing and getting out in the middle of the night to deal with the dreaded Cold Butt Syndrom while trying to get my shoes on and not dirty up the hammock at 4 am was a nightmare. The UQ suspension did not want to stay tight and I did not get the nest's omnitape sealed correctly to the HH velcro so ended up with CBS in the middle of the night as cold air leaked between the layers. I also had a constant leak of cold air at the entry unless I laid just right to keep it sealed and since I move a lot in my sleep this was a major issue. After readjusting the UQ I slept better but still had some issues with the UQ suspension. Needless to say I was not very happy with the way the JRB suspension adjusted to keep the foot end of the nest in place. The head end was perfect and once I fixed my mistake with the entry point that area was OK for what it was. The foot end would not stay in place and the suspension kept sliding toward the hammock dropping the foot end and causing the area where my feet were to push the hammock out of the UQ.
Overall the hammock and whoopie slings performed as expected. I can see what many people are saying about the stock asym tarp requiring experience to use well. I had it on its own ridge line, using the dutch hardware ridge line from whoopieslings.com which rocked by the way, pitched below the hammock about 4 inches, and still would have gotten a little wet if it had rained on me. Coming from being a SUL tarp camper, it surprised me how differently I have to think about my tarp pitches when using a hammock. Going to need more trips to build my experience L
My plan is to go on to create a DIY hammock from what I have learned from this trip. First of all, I need a standard top entry hammock without an attached bug net for easy exit and entry. Looking at making a slightly longer version of Srg. Rocks Ghost hammock for my 6' frame. I only stop later at night to pitch camp so bugs are rarely a problem and permithen takes care of that. I want to create both a HUG and one of Fronkey's nets and test them out for trips with people who like to stop early and hang around camp. Secondly, I ordered a HG 4 season tarp for the extra coverage and pitching options. Finally, I learned my legs and feet are prone to getting very cold and I roll at night. This seems like a combination of issues that would make a 2/3rds under quilt and pad in my TQ a bad idea for me. As a result I used the last of my tax return to get a 20 degree HG TQ and UQ. My original plan of trying to use a 30 degree TQ went out the window once I experienced my first night in a hammock.
Even with a full UQ and a 4 season tarp I calculate my base weight to be about 7 lb, well within my ultralight range. This is a little lighter then what I carried for this trip, which was a very comfortable weight on my back all day, so I think I will be pretty happy with this setup. Only time will tell.
Unfortunately my old camera died in the parking lot, RIP Camera, so I was unable to take any pictures during this trip.
Thanks for all your input everyone. All your advice made for a successful and informative trip.