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  1. #1
    New Member Rylan's Avatar
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    Gear Success in Snow & Low Temps

    I just returned from my first cold weather test of my new gear. I was on the AT in North Georgia with 5 other dads and 14 boy scouts. I was the only hanger so needless to say, I was being observed. I was also the deeply experienced hiker; so if what I was doing didn't work and I had to dive into a tent with someone, I wasn't going to appear very experienced! My credentials were on the line.

    By late afternoon of our first day, the temps had dropped into the 20's and everything was covered in snow. For a bunch of Alabama boys, we couldn't have been more thrilled. Snow at Christmas time is unheard of and hiking in it could be a once in a lifetime experience.

    I've had a problem with the bottom of my hammock (and therefore my underquilt) dropping just under the edge of my tarp. In that position it just takes a little breeze and all the warmth in the underquilt is sucked away. For me, when that part of my body suddenly gets cold I wake up in shock. With temps going into the teens and a stiff wind, I was a little worried but I had a plan.

    With shock cord guy-lines on the tarp (learned from the forum!) and tying the tarp lower on the trees than the hammock straps, the hammock AND the tarp lowered together when I laid down. Now with perfect coverage of the underquilt, my new MacCat Deluxe tarp in SpinUL was going to do the trick! As always, some fine tuning was needed in the middle of the night. God hadn't placed the trees so my tarp would be perfectly horizontal to the wind. The angle was only inches off but it made a difference. The back wall of the tarp was catching the wind, ballooning out like a sail and funneling the wind right through my bedroom.

    I wound up crossing the guy-lines of the tarp in the leading end and pulling the trailing ends farther apart. That gave the floor plan a triangle shape and worked. No more bedroom breezes. The next night I pitched the ridge-line of the tarp a few inches lower than the ridge line of the hammock, on the wind side. (Really did that sentence make any sense?) This made the side of the tarp on the wind side longer. I pulled the wind side down sharply and raised the non-wind side. This provided lots of room on one side and gave me more of a view of the snow- covered forest. I didn't fully understand my genius till sunrise came, and I had the only view in town!

    In bed I wore a wicking T-shirt and underwear, fleece thermals, shells and a cap and neck gator, but the real warmth was from my new Jacks R Better down. Recently I got their Mt. Washington 3 Short to use as a 3/4 length underquilt, their No Sniveller wearable quilt and down sleeves. I put the sleeves on my feet and calves. I put a small foam pad seat in the foot-box of the No Sniveller to help insulate my feet and draped the roomy quilt over myself. I was never cold or even chilly. I was warm. Very warm. Very comfortable.

    In the mornings I always have the problem of when to change from my insulated night wear to my less insulated hiking wear. If I change too early I'll freeze in camp and if I wait too late I don't get packed up in time. Problem solved. Before getting out of my hammock I took off my thermals and put on my shorts, T-shirt and shells. Then put on my warm wearable quilt and down sleeves. Now in the windy low teens, I tended to camp duties and packed my gear and all the while I was actually getting hot.

    In front of the Boy Scouts and their dads my reputation was intact. I looked like the experienced hiker that they wanted there to help and teach them.



  2. #2
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Great report! Sounds like an awesome way to wake up as well...I really like tarps that are small enough to get a good view, especially of winter snow scenes. Thanks for posting.
    “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

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Great job!
    That first test of your cold weather skills is intimidating to be sure. But, there's nothing better than waking-up to a winter wonderland after a nice warm night's sleep. Congrats! Single digits are next and we're sending another winter storm your way. It'll be here tonight.
    Trust nobody!

  4. #4
    New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rylan View Post
    God hadn't placed the trees so my tarp would be perfectly horizontal to the wind. The angle was only inches off but it made a difference. The back wall of the tarp was catching the wind, ballooning out like a sail and funneling the wind right through my bedroom.
    That's happened to me a few times and it sure can make it cold. I'm buying a Speer Winter Tarp to remedy the situation. I'll still use my MacCat Deluxe when cold weather is not an issue.

    Thanks for the trip report.

  5. #5
    mbiraman's Avatar
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    great report Rylan. I just recently heard a couple of your podcasts, the one's where your talking about your new direction into the hammock world. They were fun and it sounds like you had a good first winter experience. I'm hoping to have my first winter hang in a few weeks. Keep my fingers crossed.
    " The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it."

    “The measure of your life will not be in what you accumulate, but in what you give away.” ~Wayne Dyer

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  6. #6
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
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    Hey Rylan! So glad the trip was a fun challenge and that you persevered!
    Way to "treak" the tarp in those trying situations .... that is what it takes to tarp.
    Ain't the snow fun ....???
    All secure and proud of you,
    Shug
    Whoooo Buddy)))) I Love Onions, Grits, Greens, Livermush, NC Style BBQ, Potted Meat, Anchovies, 'Naner Puddin", Peanut Butter Pie, Red Velvet Cake and Cocoa and Straaaaaawwwwberrrry Milk and Coffee Crisps....
    I Hope Heaven has a Bakery!!!!



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  7. #7
    Senior Member ricegravy's Avatar
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    Is that "hoarfrost"?



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  8. #8
    New Member JJMurphy's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing this, Rylan. I would love to see photos of your set-up. If you don't have them from this trip, may your next trip be as successful - and with visuals.

    Enjoy your holiday.

    JJ
    JJ Murphy
    www.WriterByNature.com
    Giving Nature a Voice

  9. #9
    New Member Rylan's Avatar
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    I didn't have any pics of my gear from the latest hike. I asked the others who were snapping pictures to send me copies but I haven't seen any yet??? So I set it up out front and took a few shots. Shug made the hammock and I've got the 3/4 underquilt on it. The front porch is being held up with my new Gossamer Gear Lightrek 4 poles. This is my first hike with them and I really did enjoy having them with me.



    I too have been checking out that winter tarp. The ability to close off the doors would eliminate that problem of perfectly aligned trees. And really what's a few more dollars in gear??? I've also been thinking through how to suspend myself and my oldest son under one tarp. He will move up to Boy Scouts in a year and half and I need to have this figured out by then. I thought about getting another hammock and he and I suspend from 3 trees. I also saw the Clark 2-Person Vertex but I can't figure out the best way to pull this off.

    Shug, the snow was VERY fun. This is only my 3rd or 4th time hiking in the snow in my whole life. Down South snow is so rare and timing a hike in it is just luck. I consider myself lucky and absolutely cherish every second I've been in a snow covered forest! We gonna do a January hike? I need to study how you do some things. I walked around most of the time with a block of ice in my platypus. It froze so fast I couldn't use that water bottle. My baby wipes froze, my water filter froze, my food froze, it was a challenge. I kept having to think two steps ahead and was usually several behind.

    I've taken advantage of some slow time here at Christmas to publish another podcast. This is the last one with Jolly. We talked a little gear but mainly general hiking stuff. Next I'll work on the talk with Shug.






  10. #10
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Great pics. Search HF for hanging two folks under one tarp...lots of folks here have tried to figure that one out. Basically you have two options - side by side or vertically. Vertically works ok for the smaller kids from what I've seen posted. Side by side works well for me...there are a few ways to do it. There's a pic of how I do it here: http://www.tothewoods.net/HikingPict...partRange.html and a blurb about it here: http://www.tothewoods.net/HammockCampingSuspension.html
    “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

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