TLDR at bottom, pics here
So I have been stalking both /r/hammocks and hammock forums for aprox 8 months now. After camping last year and enjoying it a lot I have been looking into all sorts of equipment to enrich my experience.
I would consider myself more of a car camper, mostly because i have smoked cigarettes for 12 years and dont have the stamina to walk long distances without turning into a giant ball of death.
Anyways, I have been looking into hammocks since about september of last year. I have bee reading all of the discussions and reviews I can get my hands on and have ordered myself a XLC Blackbird Double 1.7, that I still have not received shipping info on...
Quite anxious to get out there for a hang I saw that The Dangler was hosting a group hang over in Point Reyes, CA. This was perfect since I live in San Francisco so I decided to join. I was quite glad I did, apparently no one else was able to make it.
The Dangler informed me that he would bring me one of his extra hammocks since I told him I did not yet get mine. He even brought a second extra hammock in case one of my friends showed up. Which he didnt, not that I blame him, informing him the day prior to the hang.
The plan was to meet The Dangler Friday, he would arrive far ahead of me, since I was stuck at work till 4pm. He was going to bring something to grill, and I would haul the Charcoal the 2 miles from car to camp.
After I slowly found my way over to where we were supposed to park, I located the parking permit the dangler had hidden for me on his truck. I gathered my gear in my crappy osprey pack that i use for school, grabbed the bag of charcoal, and hoofed it up the trail.
It was beautiful, not too hot, great views all around... walking uphill for aprox 1.5 miles, after htat the ground leveled out and I was almost there. Upon reaching the site I found the dangler all setup with hammocks hung. I walked up and introduced myself. It was of course, slightly awkward, as you might expect for two people meeting that have never truly spoken before. This faded quickly with some discussion of hammocks, knots, a tour of the hammocks (a HH expedition asym classic for me, and a nice DIY setup for the dangler) The Dangler, of course, had the best view from his hammock, and who could blame him.
I at this point walked around and took some pictures of his setup, his great view, and the setup he had out for me. We than started putting up my tarp, I have a Kelty 12x12, which worked decently well... this was my first time ever using the damned thing.
After that the sun was already about down, we than cooked the chicken that The Dangler brought, had some Jameson I brought, played some cards than turned in.
It was quite an experience for me, first time ever sleeping in a hammock, first time outside in a hammock. well, i wish i could say my first time was brilliant... but no.. it sucked pretty hard... I had read all about cold winds sucking the head out from underneath you, and The Dangler had provided me with some reflectix. I simply had a frackin 30 degree bag, on a night that likely reached 47 degrees with good gusts of wind likely 10-15mph that started around 3am.
Un-accustomed to sleeping in a hammock, with a crap sleeping bag, reflectix moving whenever I did... I got cold, first the back, than my side that i moved to, than the other side, than my back again... toss, turn & repeat until 6am. I was tired of the wind, so I simply got up. put some warm clothes on and took some crappy pictures with my iphone (the dark ones u cant see much).
I played with the tarp (kelty 12x12) setup for a bit, making a ridgeline out of some 550 cord I had, tried to make doors (which worked quite well, and i will use it next time) Around 7am I took some more pictures, these are the ones you can see a bit better.
It was a beautiful sunrise.
sometime after that The Dangler got up, we made coffee & had a bite to eat. I than packed my bag and headed back to the car (I had a bday party to go to that day, so I had to split early)
The trip was quite rewarding for me even though I only slept perhaps an hour and a half. I learned, first hand, what it is that people discuss so much ere on the forums and /r/hammocks... the sapping cold from below, the difficulties of side sleeping, problems having your pad/insulation directly underneath you, non-removable bug net, etc.
At the end of the day I was glad that I had purchased the hammock I did, a xlc bb double 1.7, instead of what I had originally planned on, a HH. I look forward to the double layer (to shove a pad/reflectix) underneath until I feel I can justify the $ for a UQ. I look forward to the extra foot of room, the expanded foot box, the shelf for storage, the solid fabric cover. This trip had justified my purchase, before it even shipped... and it still hasn't...
I walked back to the car, took some pics along the way. Had a great time there, learned a lot, had a great drive back to SF.
TLDR: Was fun, cold at night, learned a lot, looking forward to my own hammock arriving. see pics