Well, I just got back from a couple of 5 to10 degree precipitation-free nights in PA experimenting with a bunch of things… here’s what I used:
Ultralight travel hammock (6” shorter than most HH hammocks) with added structural ridge line
Standard HH silnylon tarp
HH Super Shelter overcover (OC)
Jacks ‘r Better torso length underquilt (TUQ)
1/4 ” gg foam pad – the really wide one, tapered a bit
3/8” torso gg foam pad, placed over the ¼” pad
15 degree mountain hardware phantom down sleeping bag
…and I wore a lot of clothing, too…
So, the rationale for this crazy mix is that I want to go as light as I can each of four seasons, while being fairly comfortable, and to use (or abuse!) stock equipment. Since I only section hike, I can always comfortably predict a temperature range and bring only what I need. I even use the HH tree hugger suspension approach to save weight. I also want to be able to use the same equipment in different combos, from the hammock with bug headnet, to just the underquilt , to the underquilt and the torso pad, to the underquilt with both pads, then finally, everything with the super shelter overcover. And the torso UQ is nice and light and was perfect as a down parka…
Now, about that overcover. I’ve been hinting about wanting to try it, and now that I have, I think it may be really helpful. There’s no doubt that an overcover helps a tremendous amount -- it must be the lightest way to make a heatable space around a hammock – I’d really liked using it when I was using my HH. So, I threaded the overcover through the hammock suspension lines,and laid it over my structural ridge line. I then used the OC shock chord loops to fasten the OC to my suspension line. Then I tied a 1’ long piece of shock chord to each of the overcover side pull out points. I ran the OC shoulder piece of shock chord through the TUQ side pull out carabineer location, and the OC foot piece of shock chord through the lower TUQ carabineer. The first night I hung my (wet from snow) trail shoes from the shock chord, and they were close to the right weight… but they were sooooooooooo frozen solid in the morning I short of regretted that move. Anyway, the one foot of shock chord to the shoe allows the OC to be lifted up when you get into the hammock on the head side. Once inside, if you lay on the “HH” typical diagonal, the OC gets pulled into place and provides really nice coverage… and you can lift it up on either side to see outside – which helps a lot with the claustrophobia of the OC on a standard HH. You can also take both “weights” and put them on one side or the other to provide partial protection, or to just get the OC out of the way… and if you lie slightly off the diagonal, you can get increased ventilation along the edges of the OC. I need to think more about the weight thing, though… something a little bit lighter than my trail shoe would work better – my guess is that next time if everything isn't frozen to the ground I’d find some rock to use.
I think this system would work best with one of JRB’s heavier UQ’s, since that would just be simpler -- but I do love my new torso length, and plan to use it all the time... and I think that a silnylon OC like the one manufactured by HH has lots of advantages… on any hammock.