My Son and I took our hammocks out for the weekend with his Cub Pack. He in a Skeeter Beeter and I in my SB Pro. Basically, the weekend was a success and I'm glad to find I think hammock camping is going to be a great way to go for us.
We rolled in and found a great spot with a cluster of trees and hardly any under growth. We decided to hang the hammocks sharing a common tree and going out to two others. We hung the hammocks first and then hung the Campmor tarps with Figure 9's. These figure 9' are great! We swapped the SB stock rope with 1" poly-pro webbing which did a great job. Some stretching and knot-tightening so I need to figure a better way to wrap the tree-huggers to make for easier removal. I spent entirely too much time untying them on Sunday. The 10'x10' tarps worked pretty well except that I never got around to seam-sealing the center ridge tie out before leaving. I ended up pitching both tarps on the square since we were expecting a good chance of rain and wanted to ensure maximum coverage. In hindsight since the SB Pro is 10'6" long, I should have hung mine on the diamond (@ 15’ ridge line) to extend more coverage out over the suspension ropes. I think I would have had reasonable coverage on the sides. I'll probably invest in a larger tarp for mine later though.
I pitched the tarp a low the first night and probably a little to narrow since during rain the water was running off too close to where I would stand while getting in and out of the hammock. Wider is definitely better.
We used CCF pads in the bottom of the hammocks. My Son used the $6 smooth blue pad and I opted for the $12 wider, egg-crated pad from Walmart. My son slept on his sleeping bag. I just laid a blanket over the pad and we were both comfortable all night (perhaps a little on the warm side but not uncomfortable or sweating).
The first night I struggled with a headache all night that just would not go away. I believe it started earlier in the evening though sitting in a folding chair that had my neck cocked forward too much. Should have taken a few aspirin before bed and I think it would have been fine. Other than the neck, I had no problems getting comfortable in the hammock. I'm usually a stomach sleeper but both nights I stayed on my back the entire time with no discomfort. Woke up flexible and with no pain from pressure spots as I would have if I'd been on the ground. We had a little rain the first night but no leaks were found in the tarps.
The second day I raised the ridge of the tarps to allow more head room and to also allow me to tighten the support lines that had stretched and tightened over night. While doing this I inadvertently created a spot on the ridge that allowed water to gather and seep through the stitching on the center ridge tie out. This was the most disappointing event because the rain that brought this to my attention was during the day and it would have been perfect to lay in the hammock reading while the rain passed. As it was, the drip was right in the center of the hammock. Once the rain stopped, I pulled the seam sealer out of the back-up tent I brought and sealed the tie out in case there was more rain that night. Of course there wasn't any. Since we couldn't hang in the rain, we walked up to a pavilion above the camp and sat there playing backgammon and munching a bit. It was nice to sit there with a 10 year old and listen to his thoughts for a while without the usual competing “noise” from the world.
The second night was much more pleasant as I took a few aspirin before bed. Morning was a bit harder getting up but that was due to the late night of boys telling jokes around the camp fire. You think "fart jokes" will ever dye?
Breaking down the site was fairly easy and my son was able to take his down all by himself except for the tree huggers which were very tightly knotted after two days of pulling on them. I need to determine a better way to wrap the tree huggers. We were still done breaking down before the tents.
A word about the tents. Most of the tents were flooded by the rain over the two days. We had a few puddles form under the hammocks but in the sandy soil, they drained and dried quickly once the rain stopped. We were both literally "High and Dry". Our packs were lying on tarps under the hammocks and stayed fairly dry. Would have been dryer if I had widened the footprint of the tarps above the hammocks.
The only negative I really have about the SB Pro is the fact that the side-wall on the SB Pro has about a 3" extension which I believe is to provide extra width. As another poster mentioned, this side wall makes it difficult and painful to get in and out of the hammock as well as making it virtually impossible to sit in the hammock like a chair due to the pressure exerted on the back of your legs. I don't think letting the hammock sag more will help this. To me it's a major issue and I've inquired to Travel Hammock about making an Skeeter-Beeter out of the parachute nylon that the SB Pro is made of. In my mind that would give you the best of both models. I don't know if the extra width is needed on the SB Pro anyway. While lying in the hammock the hammock edge extended well above my face so I would have to sit up to see over the side. It's possible the side wall that is the problem isn't even needed. My Son's SB is perfectly comfortable to sit and lay in but only goes to 250 pounds. I think making the SB out of parachute nylon would do the trick for me.