Well, I had a great first hang, thanks to everyone on Hammock forums. This is such a great community!
This was a simple overnight camping trip, no hiking, so it was a great opportunity to hang for the first time. HUGE thanks to Brian at Butt In A Sling for getting my order out so quickly; it arrived just in time for me to do a quick test setup before my trip, which is good because I discovered the need for a couple carabiners to easily connect the included whoopie slings to the hammock.
After driving north from Phoenix, AZ for a little less than 2 hours, we arrived at Munds Park and began to set up camp. I quickly discovered that wind can be a huge problem when setting up a tarp and hammock. It was blowing at about 25 mph, with gusts up to 50, according to the weather report. Fortunately, it died down to nothing in the evening and stayed dead all night. I should have just waited to set up but oh well.
Since the forecast said it would get down as low as 36*F that night, I layered up on clothing, slipped my inflatable pad inside my cheap rectangular sleeping bag, and slept in a mummy bag on top of that. I was quite warm all night. I did find it a pain to keep the pad in the right place; it kept wanting to slide down or slide off the edge of the hammock where my feet were, trying to lay diagonal. Has anyone ever tried putting that non-skid stuff you put in drawers on the bottom of a pad to keep it from sliding around in a hammock? I wonder if that would help. Other than that and finding out my eye glasses had slipped off my ridgeline and were then under my butt, things were great. Fortunately, my glasses are very bendable and were fine, just needed to be bent back into shape. I did feel like I kept sliding down toward the foot end and I recall reading some advice to hang the foot end a little higher, I was just too lazy to get out in the middle of the night and adjust it, plus my flashlight had died. Thinking about it though, would hanging the foot end higher have an effect when using a ridgeline? Would the ridgeline cancel out the effect since it controls the sag?
As you can see, I definitely need help with setting up a tarp, but I think it would have been much better if not for the wind. It's strange I did not find any mention of wind being a problem in my pervasive reading of the forums, but I didn't specifically search for it either. Thinking back, I seem to recall a video saying to set up the tarp first, which may have helped, and not staking the edge of the tarp flush with the ground probably would have helped, so I think I learned some valuable lessons and was none the worse for it.
BIAS Camper Hammock Package Review
Since I have nothing to compare it to, I'll not spend much time on reviewing the hammock, other than to say it's great! I can't believe how small it packs up and how light this thing is. The all in one package was great for me as a newbie. It was very easy to use the included tree straps, toggles, and whoopie slings. At first, I was confused by the included ridgeline but a great response from Brian at Butt In A Sling made it clear. I set the hammock up a little high but the whole setup did not seem to stretch at all overnight. I love the suspension system and am very glad I went with the BIAS package deal. I think it's a great option, especially for newbies. Maybe an instruction sheet in the package would help, as I would have been lost if I had not read so much on the forum beforehand.
I slept at least as good as I would have in a tent and I think if the sliding down and adjusting the pad had not been issues I would have slept straight through the night. I can't wait for my next opportunity to hang. Thanks again everyone!