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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2007
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    Hilo Town, HI
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    Figuring Out My Hammock, Hawai'i

    This is a thread to track my experiences learning to use my HH ultralite a-sym and accessories. (Which started a little over a year ago.)

    I am really enjoying it, when I'm able to use it. Unfortunately I don't get many opportunities since I can't use it at home, and camping is illegal in the forest reserves here without special permits. I have no interest in campgrounds. I'm only able to use my hammock during a few rare overnight volunteer conservation work trips.
    Last edited by bkrownd; 01-14-2009 at 22:32.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Hilo Town, HI
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    Ka'u Forest Reserve, October 2007

    My first experience with the HH ultralite asym was two nights in the Ka'u Forest Reserve, during a three day expedition flagging a bird survey transect and doing plant surveys.

    Setup and teardown was a breeze. Getting organized inside was not a breeze. I quickly regretted bringing my sleeping pad since I could never arrange it inside. Had trouble getting my sleeping bag arranged and getting myself into it, as well. Getting dressed inside was also too much of a hassle, so I learned how a private site is important. The only knot I knew was the bowline. It was a major pain in the rear while setting up since it could not be tied while loaded, but it worked OK. All necessary learning experiences.

    I was very comfortable all night, and absolutely loved the view out the bug netting! As soon as the first bit of light appeared at dawn I started waking up, and once the 'oma'o (hawaiian thrush) got noisy I was perfectly awake. I was still using my old marmot trestles 0F bag, but don't remember being cold like I have been in recent trips. The temperature was probably in the mid-50's at night. This forest had a fairly solid and high canopy, so there was little to no wind. It did not rain at all on this trip, so I was unable to catch any water with my tarp.

    I found OK spots to set up both nights. The first camp site was a bit torn up by pigs and difficult to get around due to deadfall. The second camp site was more level, and I got a choice spot. Both times I was happy to get a private place away from the others with the nearly unlimited choice of locations I enjoyed.

    The other two crew members were tenting, and I gave them a tour of my setup. They weren't hammock users.
    Last edited by bkrownd; 01-14-2009 at 23:35.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2007
    Location
    Hilo Town, HI
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    The Nature Conservancy's Honomalino Preserve, September 2008

    The next time I was able to use the hammock was nearly a year later during an overnight at The Nature Conservancy's preserve at upper Honomalino, where they're restoring a large tract of middle elevation mesic forest after a century of ranching and logging. We were planting native plants in the former pastures, and watering plants put in earlier in the summer.

    I found a great private spot out of sight of the cabins and the trails. The first problem I had this time was that it was difficult to find a good spot where I could tie off all my lines because young 'ohi'a trees are very bushy, with branches all the way to the ground and loose flaky bark. The branches either prevented tying lines securely to their trunks, or stuck into the sides of the tarp or hammock. After a lot of starting over the hammock was finally up and looking good. I used really simple knots this time, and they were satisfactory because it never got wet. I really need a tiny knot book to bring with me.

    Before I got in the hammock at night I laid out in the dewy kikuyu grass looking up at the stars, trying to feel a bit less sticky after the day's sweaty work. "Wet Ones" just weren't adequate, but the rain dew on the soft grass was working its magic. After about an hour I was refreshed and started to get up when an unseen barn owl in the branches above me scared my pants off by suddenly letting out its trademark ghoulish scream! Yikes!

    The elevation was about 4300 feet, and during the clear calm night the temperature was probably about 45F. By now I had a nice Marmot Helium 15F down bag, but it was an uncomfortably cold night. The down bag compressed beneath me more than my synthetic bag did, and half of me was too cold while half of me was somewhat hot due to overcompensation. Perspiration and discomfort resulted. That was when I decided I absolutely needed a down underquilt of some sort.

    The view out the bug net top of the hammock was again wonderful, as were the slight cool breezes across my face and the singing of crickets. No rain again, and no wind. Fortunately I wasn't trying to collect the dew on my catchment tarp to drink, because the local birds fouled it in the morning. I gave one or two tours of my hammock the next morning. They pretend that they aren't jealous, but I don't believe it.
    Last edited by bkrownd; 01-14-2009 at 23:42.

  4. #4
    Senior Member fin's Avatar
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    Torture, talking about laying in the dewy grass in Hawaii, when it is going to be -40 wind chills here tonight!

    Nice commentary, so far. Looking forward to more escape from this brutal winter through your descriptions/observations.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2007
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    Kanea'a, North Kohala, October 2008

    The next outing was an overnight on windward Kohala, at Kanea'a. We were cutting down strawberry guava, shooting feral cattle, botanizing and collecting native plant seeds for reforestation stock. This area has long been where the ranch pastures meet the edge of the Kohala Forest Reserve, and feral cattle have been trashing the native forest badly. While everyone else set up their tents in the boring pasture (ech!), I was able to find a private and incredibly scenic knoll in the forest for my hammock, where the historic Kehena Ditch met a stream. It was the dry season, so the waterfall and stream were not flowing, but the scenery was still wonderful.

    Setting up was a breeze because the spot I found was absolutely perfect for a hammock. (A tent would not have fit!) I tied off on the trees and exposed tree roots. I didn't have to worry about feral cattle bothering me up on the top of the little knoll. It was a dream site. The only bummer is that there are no native birds in this area. Nice crickets singing at night, but only a handful of alien junk birds in the morning. Needless to say there was also the occasional bellow from the feral cattle off in the forest.

    The elevation was probably around 2800 feet, and perhaps 55F at night. I should bring my tiny thermometer to check these things. Again I slept cold because the down bag compressed beneath me too much. I compensated a bit by wearing more layers this time. There was a bit of wind, but I quickly got used to the "thwap" and flutter of the tarp and it only woke me up momentarily a couple times in the early morning. Not a problem. However, I was lucky because this area is often misty and foggy, and if there was fog blowing through I would have needed to put up my big tarp on the windward side to keep from getting soaked.

    I gave a lot of tours of my site the next morning. This is the outing where I learned that one of the other guys was a former friend of Hennessy decades ago. None of the others liked hammocks, but I'm positive they were jealous of my awesome site anyway!

    I actually bothered to take a photo of my hammock site this time, but it doesn't do justice the wonderful location and views all around:

    Kehena Ditch:


    Unfortunately my most recent outing was in a bog, and I couldn't bring the hammock because of weight restrictions and uncertainty about setting it up in the bog forest. I really missed it, but the cabin at least had a nice lanai I could sleep on outdoors. (Can the hammock straps even work when the tree trunks are covered in 3 inches of moss with slime underneath instead of normal bark? The ground was over a foot deep boggy sphagnum moss.)

    My next outing will be the palila survey on Mauna Kea in February, and we will be based in an arid scrub forest at Pohakuloa on the leeward side of the Saddle, about 6500 feet elevation. 3-4 nights, probably. It may be around 40 degrees at night, and the wind can really whip through there if it's stormy. Last year the weather was quite nice, and I'm hoping we'll get lucky this time as well. I finally ordered an underquilt, and went all-out and got a rain shield for it in case of blowing fog. My big problem at Pohakuloa will be setting up in a private enough area where nobody will steal my hammock!
    Last edited by bkrownd; 01-14-2009 at 23:40.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishinFinn View Post
    Torture, talking about laying in the dewy grass in Hawaii, when it is going to be -40 wind chills here tonight!

    Nice commentary, so far. Looking forward to more escape from this brutal winter through your descriptions/observations.
    Thanks. Spent most of my life in Minnesota, etc and visit yearly. I miss the real Minnesota seasons and New England autumns badly, and loved snowshoeing and the crisp winter nights. Always visit La Crosse for Thanksgiving, when the weather is (usually) wonderful there. Never realized how important seasons were to my internal clock and perception of time and nature until I moved here, where there aren't any seasons. I'd really like to move to Duluth some day, and spend many years wandering in the Great North Woods and the boreal forests. Still have a few years of exploring to do here, though. It is a BIG island, but getting smaller as I visit more new places.

    Wish I could post more of these by hammocking weekly in the forest reserves. I spend all my free time in the upper elevation native forests here, doing bird counts and searching for rare native plants. Unfortunately camping in the forest reserves is forbidden, and the local hunters would turn me in if they found me setting up camp guerilla-style.
    Last edited by bkrownd; 01-14-2009 at 23:43.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Denver, CO
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    Those shots are beautiful!
    Trust nobody!

  8. #8
    Senior Member NCPatrick's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    Winston-Salem, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd View Post
    Thanks. Spent most of my life in Minnesota, etc and visit yearly. I miss the real Minnesota seasons and New England autumns badly, and loved snowshoeing and the crisp winter nights. Always visit La Crosse for Thanksgiving, when the weather is (usually) wonderful there. Never realized how important seasons were to my internal clock and perception of time and nature until I moved here, where there aren't any seasons. I'd really like to move to Duluth some day, and spend many years wandering in the Great North Woods and the boreal forests. Still have a few years of exploring to do here, though. It is a BIG island, but getting smaller as I visit more new places.
    I hate it for ya, having to live in Hawaii and all instead of Minnesota...

    (kidding, nice reports - thanks!)


    "Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities."
    - Mark Twain
    I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
    - John Burroughs

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Bayview Township
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    bkrowind, Thanks for the post & pictures!
    One of the primary reasons I purchased my 1st hammock was for a hiking/backpacking trip to Molokai. Trip has been postponed due to a coworkers unfortunate accident. Probably a good thing. Needed more time & experience with this whole concept. Like you discovered the cold bottom side issue. One issue that I think I've resolved is the cold butt yet overheated situation with the bag (Marmot Helium). I don't use the bag. Converted over to quilt use. Easier to get into and more flexible in climate control. Plus less mass and pack volume for similar warmth.

    Live along the SouthShore of L. Superior east of Duluth by ~100km. -13F this AM. Superior/Duluth was -23F. Seasons are nice, but this winter has returned to "normal". Good snow and cold. You really want to move to Duluth? Shoveling snow daily. The feeling of a rock hard cold truck seat. Forgetting to plug the block heater in. The ? will the truck even start? And it's only January!
    Noel V.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rigidpsycho's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Lexington, Ky
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    Love the pictures, it makes me want to go back for another visit. I was in Waikiki in '07 for my daughters Make-a-Wish trip. I almost took my hammock, but my talked me out of it b/c we were going to be so busy with all of th activities that were planned for us while on our trip.
    Chris

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