So I spent my first night in a smaller 9' x 4.5' hammock last night and I must say, WOW! I was immediately comfortable from the first moment I laid back. My body just fell into that sweet spot with no squirming around to get comfy, and the calf ridge was nonexistent. Before spending a full night in the hammock I had worried that I would be wrestling to keep my TQ in due to the smaller size, but the fear turned out to be unfounded as my quilt didn't shift once.
Now one may say that I simply got lucky with the perfect angle on the suspension, or that my derriere happened to land just right. Well to that I say phooey! I've had this hammock out a few times for short backyard "tests" and each time out I'd had the same results. Now I know that the ridge is still there as the first time I was testing this new rig out I moved around quite a bit trying head left, head right, feet at one end, and feet at the other. During this bout of hammock gymnastics that would make Shug mighty proud (or at least giggle with glee ) I did notice a small ridge in line with my buttocks. In my larger hammocks (10.5' x 5' [DIY: Green Monster] and 10' x 6'[$5 Kmart clearance: Big Red]) the ridge created extends along the entire length of my sizable size 11 feet, in this new hammock (dubbed the Lean Green) the ridge barely reaches my instep measured from the heel. Smaller hammock equals a smaller ridge perhaps?
So a bit of background is in store. I've been doing this hammocking thing for almost two years now and have spent more than a small number of nights in my super scientific test area (the backyard), on the trail, and even in large campgrounds surrounded by rolling metal behemoths, which rumble like sleeping dragons all night long. So while I'm not an expert, I'm no spring chicken with this hanging thing either.
My Green Monster has had a noticeable calf ridge every time I've used it. More nights than not the ridge, has been bad enough that I've had to get out and adjust the suspension at least once, if not twice, to reduce it to a tolerable point. This is with a fixed SRL and setting the foot end much higher than the head, often times as high as my 5'8" body will stretch. This being my first hammock, and being that I made it myself I loved it no matter how much pain it caused me. Kind of like having a child that ends up being a hooligan, no matter what they do you never stop loving them.
Big Red on the other hand was comfortable the first time I hung it. I can barely notice the ridge line as it is so wide that I can go completely to one side of it without much maneuvering. Big Red quickly became my favorite hammock, although weighing in at nearly 17oz with nothing more than suspension it's not my favorite to carry on the trail. With Big Red's large size came floppy side panels that can require a bit wrestling at times to get them off the face when trying to sleep. It's a bit like a large dog that still thinks it is a small puppy. It can break things and knock over the occasional person but that's just because it doesn't realize its size.
In came Lean Green. It started life as the same $5 Kmart clearance hammock. I surgically removed the floppy sewn on side panels and snipped a foot off its length. A bit of stitching and end gathering later it was ready for a test. It's like a new marriage. It gives just the right amount of support and gentle snuggle. So what if it wakes up before me to brush its teeth so I think it doesn't have morning breath. I don't care; I can take a bit of fiction when life is so good.
So while I was lying in the Lean Green hammock last night gently being rocked to sleep I had a thought. What if hammock comfort doesn't come from increased size, but rather proper portioning? Perhaps it's not the length, nor the width but the ratio of the two? I also feel that with the reduced size my butt had a smaller area to land so it naturally gravitated to its proper place causing the lack of sweet spot searching altogether. Whatever it is I have to say that I love my new Lean Green hammock, and can't wait to get some lighter weight material to reduce its weight even further.