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  1. #1
    Senior Member jbphilly's Avatar
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    (Hypothetical) reasons to upgrade hammocks

    I got a Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter a few months back after looking into lighter options than tent camping. Long story short, I love that thing. The comfort difference is just ridiculous.

    I went back to ground camping to try and get myself used to it since I'll be on the ground for at least three weeks of an upcoming two-month trek, and aside from how good I feel while lying down, the biggest difference I notice is how it is waking up in the morning. In the hammock, first light comes up and I'm awake, on my feet and ready to roll. On the ground, it's 8 AM and I'm still having to kick myself to keep from throwing a t-shirt on top of my eyes to let myself sleep another hour. The difference, of course, is how well I slept during the night.

    Aside from the unfortunate fact that I'm in an area where trees can be hard to come by, I'm totally sold on hammocks. And hey, since I'm using a foam pad for insulation, that's not a huge deal since I can go to ground any time, and just use the hammock for its bug net. Back home, except for when I venture into deserts and such, I see no need to ever sleep on the ground again.

    Anyway, given that I chose this hammock based on it being the cheapest option that had an integrated bug net, but that it doesn't seem to be a very popular one and that everyone raves about more expensive models, I'm kind of wondering what exactly you gain by getting something more pricey. I don't have the money to get another hammock now, nor do I really want to since I'm happy with this one, but I am just wondering about the topic.

    As I see it, the hammock I chose (Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter) has the following things going for it, as opposed to the things all hammocks have in common - comfort, less impact on the environment, ease of finding a site assuming you're in a wooded area.
    -Lightweight - including bugnet and suspension (which involves ropes and steel s-hooks, and which I'll probably trade in for something lighter at some point) the whole rig weighs 20 ounces. Add a one-pound tarp plus some stakes and I'm set for way less weight than almost any tent.
    -I weight about 140, and the weight limit is 250 so it can easily support the weight of me, my pack, and probably a little kid or dog, should the need ever arise (I hope not. That doesn't sound comfortable at all)
    -If I don't want to use the bug net, I can flip the hammock over and just use it as a net-free setup. It appears some of the more expensive models actually don't have this option!

    And here are some potential things I could gain by upgrading:
    -Some models have a double bottom which would allow me to slide my sleeping mat in, rather than lying right on it and having it shift around under me.
    -They could probably be wider, which might allow me to, if needed, put my pack into the hammock with me. As it is I don't really have the space to do that comfortably. Given that I like the psychological security of having my stuff in with me, not to mention the ease of getting something out, this is a potential plus - but I'm not sure if having a wider hammock would make it work more comfortably.

    So what other potential pluses would there be to "upgrading?" Of course I use the term in quotes because it seems to me I have just about everything I need after having gone with the cheapest option on the market. Also, what do people think of my assessment of the pros of my current model plus a more upmarket one? Hope to get some interesting comments and discussion.

  2. #2
    Bubba's Avatar
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    Its whatever you find comfortable. If you can get a good night sleep without getting bit then there is no real need to upgrade. On the other hand you never really know what you are missing until you try something else.

    People have a tendency to get caught up in gear. I myself have justified upgrading gear (not just hammocks) when I didn't really need to. If you have the means and it keeps you engaged and having fun in a hobby then that is the only real issue for me. When I stop having fun is when I slow down, take a break from it or stop altogether.
    Don't let life get in the way of living.

  3. #3
    Senior Member RePete's Avatar
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    Your comfort in your hammock really is your issue. If you are happy with it then there is no need for you to "upgreade." Its like a car. If you are happy with your minivan there is no need for you to buy a Lexus. Every hammock has its pros and cons.
    Pete.
    The opinions expressed by this user are not those of a competent individual. If they were that would mean I know what I am talking about.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rolloff's Avatar
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    I've pondered this question a lot and have come to determine that like the 50cc scooter world, much of the posts coming in are from individuals who more often than not larger than I am, both height and weight. Often times my set up is different for optimum performance.

    If you are less than +6' and less than +200#, then you may very well find one of the smaller narrower hammocks will suit you just fine, and you can cash in on the weight savings as well.

    That being said, Shug looks to be about my size. He rigs, and seems pretty happy in his WBBB. That should probably speak volumes by itself. I'm also for supporting the cottage industries as much as possible too.

    There are several HF members who are painstakingly designing, testing, hand making and crafting some of the best equipment available in this field. Don't be bashful. Shoot them a PM or E-mail and at least get a quote from some of these guys. You will simply be amazed at what gear makers like Papa Smurf and others can do for you for around $100 bucks. Most if not all are already reviewed somewhere in the HF's.

    Talk about the acid test. If it gets legs in here, it will certainly walk on the trail!
    This place you say your lookin' for
    It might have washed out with the rain
    Might not be there anymore
    Might not be the same

  5. #5
    ^shane^'s Avatar
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    Try and try and try until you find the hammock that fits.

    So far I've had a WBBB 1.7 Dbl, a WBBB 1.1 Dbl, and now a TTTrailGear Light Hiker. If the Light Hiker doesn't work for me, I'll just keep trying till I find the hammock that "fits" me.

    It's not about the name of the gear, or the status of the manufacturer. It's about what works for you. If the Skeeter Beeter works, you may not need to upgrade.
    "One of the best things you can do in this world is take a nap in the woods." ~ Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

    "While it may be a lot of work, the view is best from the summit." ~ an anonymous staff member of Philmont Scout Ranch

    Enjoy the day
    Shane

  6. #6
    Senior Member jbphilly's Avatar
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    Regarding one of my questions - would a wider hammock actually make it more comfortably to fit a pack in the hammock with me? That's one of the main benefits I can see of something bigger.

  7. #7
    Doctari's Avatar
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    I love my skeeter beeters, Yea, I got two of them.
    #1 is retired from trail use as it is over 4 years old & I had MANY nights in it, now it's my at work hammock.
    #2 has been loaned (semi permanently) to a friend.
    My #3 Grand trunk hammock* is my "Drat, I have to sleep inside tonight" hammock in the bedroom. It too is a great hammock.

    I suggest you hang on to what you have & "upgrade" if/when you really NEED it.

    *The Hybrid.
    Last edited by Doctari; 02-19-2011 at 00:38.
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, you’re home.
    PAIN is INEVITABLE. MISERY is OPTIONAL.

  8. #8
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by odds View Post
    Its whatever you find comfortable. If you can get a good night sleep without getting bit then there is no real need to upgrade. On the other hand you never really know what you are missing until you try something else.

    People have a tendency to get caught up in gear. I myself have justified upgrading gear (not just hammocks) when I didn't really need to. If you have the means and it keeps you engaged and having fun in a hobby then that is the only real issue for me. When I stop having fun is when I slow down, take a break from it or stop altogether.
    Ditto that! I have got quite a few other hammocks since my 1st one back in Fall 06. They all have their advantages and individual pros and cons, and I use different ones- and enjoy them- all of the time. Still hard to pick an all time, hands down favorite for all conditions.

    But the last few days I have decided for sure that it is just hard ( for me anyway) to beat my original set up- a HH UL Explorer with Super Shelter. ( or probably with other insulation like JRB MW4- but not with a pad). I know the HHs are not big favorites here any more ( I think they used to be way more popular). But I am extremely comfortable in mine, and how much more comfy can you get once you are extremely comfy? Which I was from the 2nd night in the field with this set up.

    Admittedly, it took me a long time to decide this. Part of this "back to basics"( or at least back to beginnings) for me is the fairly recent discovery of how to position myself for a REALLY comfortable side fetal position. I always thought the back sleeping comfort was about as good as it gets in this hammock. But side sleeping was not always up to some other hammocks, though mostly OK. For example, I used to turn on my left side with my head and feet in the same position as normal diagonal(head left, feet right) for the HH, then maybe go fetal. But this always still had at least some side discomfort, even in fetal and more so with legs straight. Several other hammocks were superior for side sleeping.

    But finally one day I did the above but turned on my right side and fetal. Bingo! That is 100% comfortable for me, with no side issues at all. Now I have even done the same on my left side, by reversing the diagonal- my head to the right of the hammock. I am probably not going to be able to more than 100% comfy. It is more comfortable than my bed, which is very comfortable already. ( BTW, I'm pretty sure this will work for me with some other hammocks, I know it does with my Speer. Still, already at 100% so...)

    My bridge hammock is more comfortable on my side with legs straight (hands down winner in this category) as are some of my other hammocks. But I don't much care if I have to go fetal, so that is not a biggy. My JRB BMBH might also actually be- believe it or not- a slight bit more comfy than all my other hammocks when on my back. Especially for reading when scooted way to the head end, or lounging in various ways. That is the closest sensation to being in my recliner reading. And of course zero calf pressure. I usually have VERY little calf pressure in the HH Explorer after I fuss with things a bit, but there is usually some. But a small knee pillow gets me back to zero, so again not a biggy. I admit there is something I really like about a bridge overall, but still hard to beat my 1st hammock for comfort.


    So all that is left are things related to features or maybe insulation. There are shelves, and nets/zippers that work really well. Pad pockets and such. Or, if I want to use a pad for some reason, I am going to use the BMBH, end of discussion. Or, then there is the no hassle perfection of how the JRM MW4 UQ fits on the BMBH. Unmatched ease and consistency of UQ use in my limited experience. Or how about how great a PeaPod works on my Claytor No Net, also very comfy?

    So there are lot's of good hammock and insulation combos, and I have had(and still do) have lots of fun with various approaches. But if I had never found anything other than my original HH Explorer UL used with the Super Shelter, I would be perfectly happy. I have cut the net off ( I think the net is WAY superior on the WBBB) and use a WB net if I need a net). I kind of wish I had not cut it off and had got a 2Q zip mod. But I always had trouble with the HH net wanting to be too close to my face. Also no problem with the cavernous BMBH net!

    So I could have just stuck with my 1st set up and been fine. But, I would have missed a lot of fun!
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  9. #9
    Member
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    Based on what you're written, there doesn't really seem to be much reason for you to get another hammock. The WBBB have an integrated shelf and footbox but they're also expensive.

  10. #10
    MacEntyre's Avatar
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    I like to spend less money on hammocks, and more money on insulation. I've probably spent 10 times more money for UQs and TQs than hammocks.
    "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." - Ben Franklin
    www.MollyMacGear.com

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