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  1. #1
    New Member Binford's Avatar
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    My first night in a hammock

    My 10-year-old recently crossed over to Boy Scouts from Webelos. So he'll be doing a lot of hiking and camping. As I'm an adult leader in BSA, I'll likely be along for much of it.

    Last fall I got to poking around here a bunch, read Ed Speer's book and ended up making a couple of hammocks

    I hate sleeping on the ground. Even on a pad, I wake up all achy and miserable. Laying in a hammock, on the other hand, is heavenly. At least when it's not so cold out. To take care of that, I put an ensolite pad in the hammock and then my 1" thick inflatable Thermarest over that.

    In my son's hammock I put an ensolite pad and a military one over that. We tied the head ends of our hammocks to two trees growing very close together in our front yard and shared a tree for the foot end. Since my Silnylon material is still on order, we used a 12' x 9' poly tarp staked out over a guy line above the two hammocks to try them out.

    Last night we gave it a test-sleep. I wanted to test it out in the cold where, if we got too cold, we could just walk back into the house. Better than being out on a BSA campout only to discover we didn't have enough insulation!

    So I crawled in my sleeping bag (REI synthetic mummy bag) wearing a fleece 1/4-zip top and fleece pants. My son had fleece on too and a double-sleeping bag (military style knock-off). We both wore ski caps and wool socks too. The thermometer when we went out there at about 10 p.m. read 34 degrees, but there was already frost on my truck in the driveway. Chance of a light snow was forecasted for that night too. And quite a bit of wind too. Only got the wind though, and a bit of rain.

    Within an hour, I was too hot! I took off my hat and unzipped my bag to mid-torso. It was a really windy night and I had forgotten to take a careful look up the trees for dead branches (widow-makers, they call them around here). So it was a restless night! Not having turned off the porch light didn't help either!

    But I was plenty warm and reasonably comfortable. I really don't like mummy bags, but the hammock doesn't really allow for stretching out anyway, so....

    When I got up, the thermometer read 37 degrees in a light rain. No problem. I'd estimate I'd have been comfortable even down to the low- to mid-20s, based on how hot I got at slightly below freezing. In a good breeze to boot.

    My son said he got a bit cold around his shoulders. Probably his sleeping bag loosened up. His hammock sides also tend to close in around him, so his moisture-laden breath hitting that cold nylon condensed and got the nylon wet.

    Anyway, here's a shot of the setup I took this afternoon before I took the setup down. This is from the foot end. Mine's on the left and his is on the right; both looking bulky from the pads still inside:




    Here's a picture of the rolled-up hammock (mine, the longer one) and the two rolled-up treehugger straps (PacoWarabi design) and the two carabiners:




    All that there weighs in at a respectably light (to me, anyway) 28 ounces. Missing from that is the tarp, of course, which as I mentioned I am waiting on the material for. That should weigh just about one more pound, including the tie lines and stakes, eh? So that would make for a total of just under 3 pounds the way I figure. Doesn't seem all that bad to me. Of course, one has to add in the sleeping pad and sleeping bag, but the tent-campers have to carry that stuff too.

    Based on my experience last night, for ~25-30+ degree camping, I would be able to carry a single 3/4-length 1-1/2" thick Thermarest pad (the new kind that are tapered so will fit even better in a hammock) laid over a Mylar emergency blanket. Those new Thermarests fold and roll into a package about as big as the rolled-up hammock. What a setup that would be!

    So what do y'all think?
    -- Tim Taylor

  2. #2
    Senior Member pedro's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
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    Wilmington, DE
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    It looks good to me! You probably want to put that mylar on top of your mat. Have you made bug nets yet?

  3. #3
    New Member Raven-US's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
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    East Tennessee
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    Welcome to hanger's haven... It'll be a never-ending "tweak-fest" coming up with new add-on features and trying crazy ideas... lots of fun, too. For example, as "heavenly" as it is to lay in a hammock with a pad under you, wait till you try just the hammock with an underquilt... I got that "WOW what have I been missing all these years!" feeling all over again!
    There's no such thing as bad weather... just bad gear.

  4. #4
    New Member Binford's Avatar
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    Thanks! It's been a blast so far. I'm looking forward to an interesting camping season this summer.

    Quote Originally Posted by pedro View Post
    It looks good to me! You probably want to put that mylar on top of your mat. Have you made bug nets yet?
    Hmmm.... Let me think this through here: I figured the Mylar would go under the pad since the pad works by trapping warm air near your body, right? And the Mylar sheet below the pad would reflect that heat back into the pad, and thus you, as I understand it. It would also lay flatter and bunch up less under the pad as opposed to directly below you. That was my thinking about the Mylar, but it's only conjecture as I've not tried it yet.

    I got enough no-see-um netting from Ed Speer to make the bug net, but haven't put it on yet. Ed would sew Velcro strips along the ends and I like the idea of that. I just wonder how easily several feet of Velcro would line up in the real world, ya know? I mean getting it lined up properly while you're in the hammock seems like it would be harder than it sounds. Most of it would be already connected, so you'd leave 2/3 of your entry side undone to get in, I suppose, then lean up and pull it taut as you press it together to close it.

    What I had figured on doing was hemming all the way around it and sewing three or four small loops along the ridgeline to run the ridgeline through, then let the sides drape over the sides of the hammock with a couple little weights clipped to the sides to let it hang a bit. The foot end would be drawn closed; the head end I don't know. Just hang there.

    Any thoughts? I don't have any bugs to be concerned with yet, but it is something I have to deal with by late spring!

    Quote Originally Posted by Raven-US View Post
    Welcome to hanger's haven... It'll be a never-ending "tweak-fest" coming up with new add-on features and trying crazy ideas... lots of fun, too. For example, as "heavenly" as it is to lay in a hammock with a pad under you, wait till you try just the hammock with an underquilt... I got that "WOW what have I been missing all these years!" feeling all over again!
    I'm a little intimidated by the underquilt concept, frankly. Making a hammock...easy. Making the treehuggers...tedious, but easy. The bug net will be easy too, whether I Velcro it or drape it. Sticking a pad in there is pretty easy too! But making an underquilt and figuring out how to attach it to the hammock properly sounds like it would be pretty hard.

    In my searches here I have come across a lot of ideas for them. Are there any DIY underquilts you would suggest I study?
    -- Tim Taylor

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rushthezeppelin's Avatar
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    Marble Canyon, AZ Near the N rim of the Grand Canyon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Binford View Post
    I'm a little intimidated by the underquilt concept, frankly. Making a hammock...easy. Making the treehuggers...tedious, but easy. The bug net will be easy too, whether I Velcro it or drape it. Sticking a pad in there is pretty easy too! But making an underquilt and figuring out how to attach it to the hammock properly sounds like it would be pretty hard.

    In my searches here I have come across a lot of ideas for them. Are there any DIY underquilts you would suggest I study?
    It does take a little while to get it setup initially but once you have all your shockcords at the right tension to where you don't have gaps it only takes maybe another 20-30 seconds to setup an under quilt.

  6. #6
    Senior Member GvilleDave's Avatar
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    Congrats on the first night! I've just started hanging myself and have a HH Scout size hammock on the way for my 10 yo son. I plan on setting up just like yours above so if he needs me during the night I'm just a few feet away. Plus sharing the one tarp saves weight.

    Thanks for posting the pics.

  7. #7
    New Member Binford's Avatar
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    When I woke up in the morning (still cozy warm), I got out of the hammock and went in the house to start the coffee. My son woke up a little later and said he knew I had gotten up because my hammock was hanging way up high!

    He had a blast and wanted to sleep in it again last night! Would have been a good test as it got down to 27 or 28 degrees.

    The setup sharing the foot tree and hanging the head ends off two close trees worked very well. The tarp we used there is 12 feet long at the ridgeline and 9 feet wide. Those dimensions might be shorter yet as I'm not sure if they were finished dimensions or not. It wasn't really a concern so I didn't measure it. The winds kicked up during the night from his side, blowing the tarp against the side of his hammock. It rained during this time too, but didn't get his hammock wet. The edge of the tarp was low enough. So it turned out to be pretty feasible to share a tarp. I hadn't thought of it for weight savings. I just did it for convenience. And because I only had that one tarp. (At least without holes!)

    Anyway, we hung a water bottle off the edge of his hammock between us (hoping the weight would help keep the sides from covering his face) right about at my shoulder. When I shifted in my hammock, I barely brushed up against the water bottle. That should give you an idea of how we were positioned in relation to each other.
    -- Tim Taylor

  8. #8
    New Member Binford's Avatar
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    Here's a shot from the head end, in case anyone might find it interesting. Or maybe even comical!




    I would be curious to know if anyone has any ideas on how I might prevent the sides of his hammock rolling over the top so far, covering his face. When we whipped the end, we pulled the edges out about 4 inches initially. When we saw this, we cut the whipping and re-whipped it with the edges out only 1-1/2 or 2 inches. That's what this picture shows.
    -- Tim Taylor

  9. #9
    Senior Member Rushthezeppelin's Avatar
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    How wide did you make the hammocks? Perhaps you can get away without them being so wide and thus hopefully get rid of the hammock in the face thing. Another option is to make Asym pullouts somewhat like the hennessy. Only problem is that might make the single tarp side by side pitch a bit harder to do.

  10. #10
    sclittlefield's Avatar
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    If you re-whip it and don't pull the edges out at all you should be free of shoulder wrap - especially if you lay on the diagonal. I tried pulling the edges out and found it was not as comfortable as without doing so.

    Also - this will help more than anything else you can do for comfort. Add a structural ridge-line (I didn't see one in the pics, but I might be missing it if you have one). Play around with the length, and once you get it right - make it permanent. You'll have the perfect sag in the hammock every time. This also significantly reduces the shoulder squeeze you can find in hammocks without ridge lines.

    For your setup - the easiest way to make a ridge-line would be a length of cord (3mm accessory cord should suffice) with loops on either end. Run your straps through the loop so the cord runs from suspension webbing to suspension webbing. Now you've got something to hang things from, something to give you the perfect setup every time, and something to keep the bug netting off your face when you add it.

    Also - as for mummy bags in hammocks... since you really don't get any insulation under you in a sleeping bag (it is compressed under you to the point of giving no insulative value), you could try just using your bag as a top quilt. Keep the bottom zipped up just a bit to give a nice foot box and use it like a blanket. Makes moving around so much easier.

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