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  1. #1

    wanting to get into hammock camping, need help

    over the past few weeks ive been wanting to camp with a hammock mainly because im tired of using the beast of a coleman tent that takes up so much room and is a pain to carry, but i have no idea on what to get. i have a few ideas but im not dead set on anything yet. so far i was thinking of getting a grand trunk skeeter beeter pro, mss patrol and intermediate sleeping bag for $40 that i can use both in the hammock or when im using a tent, and a cheap tarp. im thinking of getting 2 of the walmart backpacking tarp and just hanging them side by side to make roughly a 10x7 tarp for $20. im looking to spend roughly $70-$100 for the hammock and suspension, and around $20-30 for a tarp. anyone have any advice?

    After searching for just a few minutes ill most likely get wilderness logic tree straps and I can make my own whoopie slings, I'm just not sure on how long to make them.

  2. #2
    Moderator Nighthauk's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Chesterfield, Ma
    WBBB RR DBL 1.1 / DIY Multicam SL
    Superfly/HG CF
    Downy Goodness
    Whoopie/Dutch Clip
    Welcome Justin while I don't know much about grand trunks skeeter. I am sure someone will chime in. There is a lot of information here on the forums and even more helpful people. I would check Shug's introduction videos on everything hammock. He did a great job explaining various facets of hammock camping. I would also recommend finding a local hang near you and attending those either for a visit or to stay the weekend. Hammock camping styles tends to vary based upon the individuals so you will see a lot of different setups there. Some that will work for you and others that won't. All based upon personal preference. Again welcome to the forums.
    Husband, Father, and Friend.
    Scout Master and Cub Master for Troop/Pack 705 of

  3. #3
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Gainesville, FL
    DIY Gathered End
    DIY Asym
    DIY Modular Quilt
    Welcome to the madness.

    Before you get into information overload (you will; I'm still reeling more'n a year later and something new comes along nearly every week), think about what you want to do with your gear. Do you want to hike? Bike? Kayak/canoe? Car camp? Cross-country ski? What is the gear supporting?

    The answer to that question will give you a ballpark of what you want and need to complete your goals.

    To give you a personal example of how gear changes with goals, here's something of my story:

    I started here with bicycle camping via road, all in Florida, mostly in the summer--which meant that weight and insulation were not that important, but ease-of-use, a bug net, and good wet weather performance were. I had a decent amount of money to drop into the hammock and everything else, but I didn't have anything resembling unlimited funds. So, since my needs were for a good night's sleep that was fairly lightweight with moderate bulk, I settled on the Hennessy Explorer Ultralight (I'm 6' and range between 185 and 200 lbs depending on my workout regimen), the free PU-coated hex tarp upgrade (I wanted a place to park my bike when it rained at 3 PM like it does from May to October here), and a poncho liner for a top quilt (lightweight, relatively speaking, and would cover most of the temperature ranges we get here in FL for cheap). For six months out of the year, I didn't need any under insulation, so I skipped that at first.

    When things got colder last year, I bought another poncho liner to make into an underquilt. As things got even colder, I sewed it up and added a layer of InsulBright. This was okay for short-range hiking trips (less than 15 miles) and biking trips, but was heavy and bulky.

    This past summer, I tried going up to SC for an hiking trip along the Foothills Trail. I'd intended to complete the 78-mile trail in three days...not so much. The weight of my gear, the heat, and my general fitness level conspired to leave me in bad straits at the end of the first day. Fortunately, I was with someone (FireInMyBones) who had the wisdom to call the hike at that point.

    Since then, I've been working on a DIY set up and pack list that is much lighter than my previous one. I've gone over to an asym minimalist tarp, much lighter stuff sacks, and brought less gear than I was used to. All of this together has shaved nearly ten pounds from my pack. Which is all to the advantage on my hiking trips, making them much more comfortable overall, though I still occasionally bring my huge hex tarp with me when I go on biking trips.

    It's about tailoring your gear to your needs. Take some time before making your initial purchase to think about what you might actually need rather than just jumping in and buying something that you may regret later. If you have a specific budget in mind (it seems that you do), it may be worth thinking about DIY if you have a sewing machine (most call it a "thread injector" here). You can save on tarp and insulation costs significantly with that, and you can tailor what you're getting specifically to your needs.

    Anyway, that's my (way too long and rambling) advice.

    Welcome to the forums, and don't hesitate to PM me if you've got specific questions. I may not have the answer, but I can probably point you in the direction of it!
    "Just prepare what you can and enjoy the rest."

  4. #4
    Senior Member ibgary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Dangerbird, (custom) thanks Papa
    10x10 DIY
    DIY insultex.
    Woopie, UCR
    Hi Justin, welcome to the fun. My 1st hammock was the Grand Trunk Single. I slept in it last night.
    I made a diy tarp that's 10 x10 for about 10$ in material from Joanns. For tree huggers I use webbing I got at REI.
    If you want a hammock with a built in net,,,,,, well there are a lot of great hammocks out there. I have to many, a Lawson, Byer Mosquito, and ill be ordering a Dangerbird.

  5. #5
    It will be 90% car camping and 10% hike, and the hike will be in the summer when its around 70-80 at night and winter can be anywhere from high 20s to mid 50s and it will be around a 2-3 mile hike. I was wanting to diy a few things but we don't have a sewing machine and it'll be cheaper to buy the gear than buy a sewing machine.

    And its information overload beyond belief. Ive watched the first 4 parts of shugs video and ill watch the rest later and I'm still clueless on most of the stuff on the forums.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Camano Island, WA
    1.4 oz Ripstop DIY
    PLUQ, Mummy Bag
    10' straps
    Just a thought, if you want to diy, but no sewing machine, maybe you could purchase one of the taffeta hemmed sheets from tableclothsfactory and make a whipped end hammock...

    This seems like a good start if you want another approach:
    Last edited by DBLOCK; 12-06-2012 at 10:06. Reason: found a no sew diy reference

  7. #7
    Senior Member Redpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Lite Owl/GT SB
    WL Big Daddy
    Jarbidge, JRB
    I have a Grand Trunk skeeter beater that I just started using. My first hammock, so I have nothing to compare to, but I have been sleeping comfortably for three nights in it. I am 6'2 and 200 pounds. Seems like good quality.

  8. #8
    grannypat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    In the woods outside of Westminster, SC
    DIY, Dutch Argon
    20 Incubator,WL SS
    whoopies, MSH
    Welcome from upstate SC. There is a group hang at Raven Cliff Falls, Georgia, the first part of January. Even if you don't have the equipment to hang, you should stop in and check out the equipment. We also welcome ground dwellers in tents. It is really helpful to see the different suspensions and hammocks, as you really can't go to a retail store and try things out. Plus, you get to meet a lot of great people Hope to see you at a hang one day.
    Keep movin', keep believing and enjoy the journey!

  9. #9

    When I started, I was working with a Scout troop, and found this site:

    This guy had a very basic system. I bought what he used, and slept very well for a year. I later found real camping hammocks, like Hennessy and Clark. This was 2007. I bought a Hennessy Expedition 2.5, and was happy for 5 years. Now, the top of the line appears to be the Warbonnet Blackbird, which is very pricey.

    I would try a basic hammock to start out. I would get the Grand Trunk or the TableClothFactory DIY at first, since these are around 20 - 25 dollars, and a simple 8 by 10 tarp. Most campers use Sil-Nylon tarps or Cubin Fiber tarps, but you will drop over 100 dollars for these. I would not spend the money until you are sure you will do this for a while, and you see what you like.

    One thing is for sure, I would definitely get a copy of the book "The Ultimate Hang" by Derek Hansen, one of HF's leading contributors. I got so much out of this book. It will introduce you to everything you need to think about, from hammocks to tarps to suspensions, whoopie slings, tree huggers, to the why of what we do. Highly recommended:

    Don't let the overload overwhelm. It is a progressive body of knowledge.

    Good luck.
    / \ /+\
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  10. #10
    New Member MidTNHANGER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Murfreesboro TN
    Eno DN
    DIY cat cut
    Whoopsie slings
    Welcome from TN. +1. On SHUGs videos that is more than enough info to get u started. I use ENO hammocks almond with diy as well I have a grand trunks for the kids. My advise keep it simple. And Have Fun. Any day above ground is a beautiful thing. Welcome to the party.
    A man does not climb a mountain without taking some of it away with him, and leaving something of himself upon it.

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