Ive been looking into hammocks for my camping adventures and have been doing exuastive research on the subject trying to get the best product for me. Ive been doing a lot of reading online, and although ive never camped with a hammock, i have not read a single comment from anyone indicating that they would prefer ground dwelling after trying a hammock! Long story short, it sounds awesome and it also seems to me the Clark North American has what im looking for (versatility, relatively insulated from elements). but i have a few concerns and questions and i hope people here who have experience with this product and hammock camping in general could help me out
basically im looking for a light, compact shelter that can comfortably handle most conditions. i do most of my camping in central/west Texas, and in New Mexico, covering pretty much every climate and environment imaginable minus swampland/jungle. Desert, scrubland, forest, hill country, and alpine regions in night time temperature ranges from below freezing up into the 80s F. also, i am in the military and will be changing station soon and i could end up anywhere in the world, so hopefully i can take my next new shelter with me no matter where i end up. what im saying is versatility is key for me.
from what ive read, im not too worried about getting cold in the North American (which is a plus!) in the aforementioned temperature range with the equipment i already have, however i am worried about getting hot! especially in the more humid areas, where overnight temps can stay in the 80s in the springtime. and in the summertime forget it, ill stick with the mountains for camping! is getting hot or sweating a lot in the Clark NA an issue for anyone who has one? that can ruin a nights sleep for me almost as easily as the chills.
also, I very much enjoy desert hiking and often make the trip out to the Big Bend National Park area to get my fix, although up to now i have limited myself to car camping and day hiking. ive been wanting to branch out to primitive camping in the desert (which would give me access to areas of the park i havent been able to experience on day hikes), but if i were to spend $$$ hundreds of bucks on a hammock, i would want it to be my exclusive shelter. i wouldnt want to have to buy that, and then a costly backpacking tent in addition. this is a possible issue, as you all well know trees are very rare in the desert! ive seen pictures and read blurbs about people using sticks and/or treking poles to rig their hammock into a sort of bivy shelter. is this posible or even worthwhile with the NA, or should i not even consider bringing a hammock of any kind with me to the desert or in any other instance where 'going to ground' is likely?
i see the NX-200 version is a slightly bigger, slightly heavier, and more expensive version and i have read some criticism that the NA is a little narrow for many. i am about 6'1" with a slenderish 170 lbs frame, would i be comfortable on the standard NA or should i splurge for the extra head/shoulder room of the NX-200? i like to pack light, but im not an ultralighter and with something as important as a shelter i certainly dont mind packing a few extras ounces for a solid night of rest. at the same time id like to avoid uneccessarily spending more money than i have to.
also, the only knot i know how to tie is that little bunny ears one i use with my sneakers, which actually has a lot of other practical applications... is it difficult to learn how to suspend the hammock?
and along those lines, are the tree straps important or necessary? or is that an extra 6$ i can put towards gas money?
and is the standard rain fly sufficient? again i wouldnt mind springing for the XL if it provides significantly better protection from the elements. few things suck worse than a wet down sleeping bag!
and on that subject, do the drip rings work as advertised and keep water from running down the ropes into my shelter? ive also heard mixed messages on whether the drip rings come standard or not; ive heard you may have to request them upon ordering (which i guess would require purchasing over the phone?). which is the case?
alright. sorry for the ridiculously long post. i just want to be as informed as possible before taking the plunge and joining you tree swingers!
thanks in advance for any helpful info/tips!