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  1. #1
    beep's Avatar
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    Another hanging convert

    I'm convinced!

    I'm a long-time hiker/backpacker/canoe-camper, pretty well converted to lightweight backpacking (17 lb base weight) moving to hammock land (at least for my solo travels) and willing to take the modest weight penalty for doing so. I'm queued with Brandon for my Blackbird (double 1.1 fabric, mirror image build) and really stoked about the switch.

    I'm sure I'll have questions...(still have to figure out the underquilt thing), but these forums seem like the place to be for support and "insider" knowledge.

    So...some not-so-random questions...
    1. Webbing or rope hangers? Rope is a bit lighter, webbing is a bit less hassle. Recommendations? Most folks seem to go the webbing route from my perusal of the forums so far.
    2. Underquilt recommendations? I'm in Minnesota, so even our "warm" weather is pretty cold by most standards. For early/late season trips, an underquilt seems a necessity. Mid-season seems like a pad will be sufficient.
    3. Pad recommendations? I have a large neoair (25"x76") that I'd like to try in the Blackbird, but it seems that CCF seems a more consistent choice for many forum members.
    4. I see lots of Blackbird users with MacCat tarps. They look great, especially as executed in spinntex. I have an almost-new MLD Grace Duo (Spinntex) from ground-dwelling usage that I plan to try with the Blackbird. I'd prefer to see it in a new use rather than sell it or leave it in my closet. It's a trapezoid shape, though, with the "head" dimensions at 9' 2" and the "foot" dimension at 7' 8", with a 9' 9" ridgeline. Does anyone have experience with a similar shaped tarp? Or concerns that it won't work? I'm thinking it could be pitched with the foot end guyed closer in than the head end for coverage.
    Last edited by beep; 07-05-2009 at 21:46.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Honduras
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    Just some random answers.

    Your tarp sounds a bit short in the ridgeline (hmmm, that sounded kinda personal...). Set it up when you get your BB and see, but that is the main issue I see with it. Then again, I tend to use very large tarps.

    Watch Grizz's videos on suspensions. After watching both you should be in a good position to make a decision. His video has some die-hard webbing folks looking to use cord now.

    If you use a pad in the hammock, look into a Speer SPE. It lets you add wings to the side of your pad so that your arms and sides have insulaltion. Inexpensive and it works well. You can use the pad you now have, and get a cheap *Mart blue CCF to cut up for the wings.

    Welcome to the site and the BB cult.
    Bad spellers of the world Untie!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Big D's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Location
    North Texas
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    Congrats on your decision!
    1) Both work well. How concerned are you about weight? I have both set and use them for different trips.

    2) Your pad will work fine. Look at useing a ccf pad in a T configureation in the shoulder area, if you don't get enough coverage from your pad. 3 foot length is usually enough.

    3) The Yeti is great. It allows xtra clothing or pack to be used in the foot/leg area. The Snug Fit is idiot proof IMO. Again, I like both of these for different trips.

    4) I think your tarp will work fine. You might consider an end cover/poncho at the foot end to provide more coverage/ protection. I have the DD poncho with Jack's mod for this purpose.

    Can you tell I like items that are multi-use? HAHA

    Happy hangin'
    "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." Gen. George S. Patton

  4. #4
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    More randomness...

    The tarp ridgeline is 117", and the Blackbird ridgeline is 101"...that's 16" overlap, or only 8" at each end. As long as the trapezoid shape isn't so aggressive that your feet hang out when you're diagonal, and you have good site selection (i.e. protected by trees/brush from windblown rain), that tarp should be doable. It's worth testing before you drop the $$ on a new Spinn tarp, at least!

    Most people here have been talking about CCF pads b/c they're cheap, light and durable. Very good for sit pads and leg pads when used with a half-underquilt. People who use full-length pads often go to inflatables. Lots of Exped Downmat users here, a handful of Big Agnes Insulated Air Core users, and probably still a few thermarest users.

    Decision on pad vs underquilt is independent of temps. You can get just as cold with either...just depends on how you use it. Colder temps just means thicker insulation...whether it's a thicker pad or a thicker underquilt. Or augmenting your 3-season underquilt setup with a cheap Walmart pad just to get you thru the one or two winter trips you're trying out. So I'd recommending finding out what you think is most comfortable and building your system around that. Cheapest and easiest way to do that is to start with CCF pads...and if that doesn't work for you, you'll KNOW why you upgraded to an underquilt and you're only out $10. Plus $35 for a SPE (www.speerhammocks.com) if you try that (recommended).

    Re: cord vs webbing, it's completely a matter of preference. I carry both depending on what mood I'm in. I tend to like cord better b/c it's lighter and packs smaller, but webbing is a bit less fuss. A bit of knowledge can take the fuss out of cords, though...which is what all the recent threads are about - making cords more convenient in the field.

    We tend to get carried away with minute details on this site b/c there are a lot of engineers, gearheads, tinkerers, etc. Hammocking is really very simple. And all the engineering gearhead talk usually ends up getting boiled down to a very simple and usable solution anyway. But some people enjoy the end product and some people enjoy the process that gets us there...we have both on this site and that's what makes it so fun.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

    - My site: http://www.tothewoods.net/
    - Designer, Jeff's Gear Hammock / Pack Cover by JRB

    IMPOSSIBLE JUST TAKES LONGER

  5. #5
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    Middlebury, IN
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    whoop dutch!
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    Beep, welcome to the forum. You have some fellow gophers living near you. One 'whoa buddy" guy, in particular. I would feel honored to be that close to shug. I have never personally meet him, but feel I know him thru his videos and posts here on HF. P.S. he is a singer, too! Check shug's videos on the warbonnet. He is a plethera of info.
    Ambulo tua ambulo.

  6. #6
    beep's Avatar
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    ...from the new guy

    Thanks for the many thoughtful responses.

    Re: Shug

    I'm a fan of his videos. While he plays up the zaniness, he also offers good information. He plays a mean mandolin, too! He's close enough (<10 miles from my location) so that we may actually have a chance to meet one of these days.

    Re: tarp

    I can see where the "short" ridgeline (!) for the MLD Grace Duo may be an issue for hammock use. I'm eyeing the MacCat Deluxe as a good solution here, but having to breathe deep over more $. (Sigh)...Hmm...I'll bet I could sell the MLD tarp on the BPL forum...then recycle the money for the OES tarp.

    Re: Underside insulation

    I appreciate the suggestions and will experiment. These forums have a wealth of accumulated experience, so that's a huge advantage.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ikemouser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beep View Post
    Thanks for the many thoughtful responses.

    Re: Shug

    I'm a fan of his videos. While he plays up the zaniness, he also offers good information. He plays a mean mandolin, too! He's close enough (<10 miles from my location) so that we may actually have a chance to meet one of these days.

    Re: tarp

    I can see where the "short" ridgeline (!) for the MLD Grace Duo may be an issue for hammock use. I'm eyeing the MacCat Deluxe as a good solution here, but having to breathe deep over more $. (Sigh)...Hmm...I'll bet I could sell the MLD tarp on the BPL forum...then recycle the money for the OES tarp.

    Re: Underside insulation

    I appreciate the suggestions and will experiment. These forums have a wealth of accumulated experience, so that's a huge advantage.
    As far as underquilts check Shugs Yeti its a 2/3 (superlight), for full there are alot of options: JRB, Speer, etc.

  8. #8
    beep's Avatar
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    Latest Act of the Newly Converted!!

    OK...I'm sure few here will be surprised. I confess to falling to temptation!

    1. I put my MLD Grace Duo tarp up for sale on the BPL forum.
    2. I joined Brian's work queue at OES for a new Deluxe MacCat SpinnUL tarp.

    So that leaves me with the Blackbird/MacCat combination on order with estimated completion 2-3 weeks. That's looking mighty tasty to my eyes!

  9. #9
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beep View Post
    OK...I'm sure few here will be surprised. I confess to falling to temptation!

    1. I put my MLD Grace Duo tarp up for sale on the BPL forum.
    2. I joined Brian's work queue at OES for a new Deluxe MacCat SpinnUL tarp.

    So that leaves me with the Blackbird/MacCat combination on order with estimated completion 2-3 weeks. That's looking mighty tasty to my eyes!
    Hey beep ..... you will not be sorry! Brian's talents are top of the line. And you can still pitch it on the ground if your super-lightweight mode kicks in. But I attest ..... I have not ground slept since going hammock. For real. Truth my fellow Minnesotan!
    Shug
    Whooooo Buddy)))) All Good in the Backwood Hood.

    Shug's YouTube Videos

  10. #10
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gargoyle View Post
    Beep, welcome to the forum. You have some fellow gophers living near you. One 'whoa buddy" guy, in particular. I would feel honored to be that close to shug. I have never personally meet him, but feel I know him thru his videos and posts here on HF. P.S. he is a singer, too! Check shug's videos on the warbonnet. He is a plethera of info.
    Thankee gargoyle .... if you have seen me on vid then that is me!
    I love the word plethera .... but honestly I just go out and practice a lot. don't know much. Learned it all here on HF!!!!!
    Do love me some singin'.

    Quote Originally Posted by beep View Post
    Thanks for the many thoughtful responses.
    Re: Shug
    I'm a fan of his videos. While he plays up the zaniness, he also offers good information. He plays a mean mandolin, too! He's close enough (<10 miles from my location) so that we may actually have a chance to meet one of these days.
    Maybe we could meet at a park in town and workshop some time. PM me!
    Whooooo Buddy)))) All Good in the Backwood Hood.

    Shug's YouTube Videos

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