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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    1st night in HH - 25F

    Greetings - this is my 1st post to this forum, though I have been a lurker for about a year as I have had "hammock envy" for quite some time.

    Friday: scored my 1st hammock at REI. With the 20% discount had enough dividend to pay for my HH Explorer Ultralight.

    Saturday afternoon: set it up in the backyard - picture taken from my dining room window here. As you can see the tarp pitch was not very taut, but I was in a bit of a hurry as the sun was setting.

    Setup observations: the stock webbing straps are way too short - with a double wrap I had about a 6 inch gap on the red maples in my backyard. All of the lines supplied with the hammock are shockingly thin - it was hard to believe the main support line was going to take my 230lbs, and the tarp tiedowns looked like dental floss... The Hennessey knot was pretty simple to learn - I pretty much had it down after retieing the lines a few times to get adequate tension and raise my initial pitch higher.

    Saturday night: clad in midweight long underwear, fleece pants and pullover, expedition weight wool socks and my windpro hiking gloves I trekked out to my hammock at about 9:30. My wife retired to our bed and cranked up the electric mattress pad another notch and chuckled at my folly. Climbed into my REI 30F Sahara down bag with a fleece liner on top of my Thermarest Prolite-4 (large size). I had read in this forum all about using pad extenders, etc. but I was hopeful the 25-inch width would be adequate, plus the SPE's do not seem to fit the extra-wide pads.

    Weather conditions throughout the night can be seen here. I am fortunate to have a NWS headquarters just 2 miles from my house, and they have a nifty webpage that gives continuous readings. As you can see the temperature hovered just above 25 degrees with winds from 5-15 mph. Some observations from the night:
    - The prolite-4 pad (slightly underinflated) kept me adequately warm from below with the exception of my low back where I suspect there was a crease from the hammock curvature.
    - Pad width was marginal. I had no cold spots when laying on my side, but on my back the outside of my shoulders got chilly unless I crossed my arms.
    - My mummy sleeping bag performed admirably. It was 5 degrees colder than the rating, but with the extra clothing and liner I was warm.
    - I am typically a "roller" at night, switching from left to right side and my back. This is VERY tough to do in a mummy bag on a pad. The bad news: I was only able to roll a few times and still keep the "porthole" of my bag around my mouth and nose. The good news: I had less need than normal to do so due to the lack of pressure points in the hammock. I found myself wanting to shift, but not needing to. I suspect with enough nights in the hammock I could condition myself to stay quite stationary.
    - I found it impossible to stash extra clothing at the head end of the hammock. It kept popping out and sliding down onto my face. How do you keep this stuff in place?
    - Pitch level matters. I followed the advice I had seen in this forum and pitched the head end of the hammock higher than the foot. I had problems all night long sliding towards the foot end, which of course was exacerbated by the slippery pad.

    Question: anyone used a line level to get a reading on their pitch? Seems like hanging one in the center of the ridgeline would be helpful on setup, as its tough to eyeball level.

    Made it through the night with reasonable sleep given the ruckus from the raccoons fighting on my deck, etc. Crawled out of the bag around 6:30AM to enjoy a cup of hot coffee.

    Some might think me a fool to attempt my first night in a hammock in such cold conditions, but given that I was only 30 feet from my back door it seemed pretty low risk and had a pretty positive outcome. I am a happy HH customer, and a new hammock fan.

    One last note: one of the things I found when I started backpacking a few years ago is that the pleasures I have encountered have not necessarily been what I anticipated. Ex: one of the things I enjoy the most about backpacking is the taste of the filtered water from the various streams and lakes (it varies a lot in northern Minnesota). The unexpected pleasure I got from my 1st hammock experience was not the comfort, but the feeling of openness from the visibility around me. I have been a tent camper up to now, and I suppose those of you who have been tarp campers would see this as nothing new, but it was for me.

    Hope to post many new hammock experiences here in the coming years and look forward to your suggestions and ideas.

    --Kurt

  2. #2
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwpapke View Post
    - Pitch level matters. I followed the advice I had seen in this forum and pitched the head end of the hammock higher than the foot. I had problems all night long sliding towards the foot end, which of course was exacerbated by the slippery pad.
    I'm afraid you've got that backwards. The foot end should be a little higher with a HH, for exactly the reasons you've discovered.

    Quote Originally Posted by kwpapke View Post
    Question: anyone used a line level to get a reading on their pitch? Seems like hanging one in the center of the ridgeline would be helpful on setup, as its tough to eyeball level.
    I haven't seen anyone mention using a line level, but I can see how that it might help when you're getting started. With a few more hangs under your belt, you'll have a better feel for it and shouldn't need one.

    Also, I think you'll find that you can get a better pitch with your tarp if you take at least one end of it's ridgecord and tie directly to the tree. That prevents it from sagging as much when your weight loads the hammock.

    Welcome to the forum!
    Last edited by angrysparrow; 03-02-2008 at 08:21.
    I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt. - Cormac McCarthy

  3. #3
    Senior Member cgul1's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
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    Kurt,
    Welcome
    I am a relative newbie, so I will let the senior staff advise..
    I have the same hammock, the ropes on the HH are fine I weigh about the same, (you have probably seen the following tips lurking...) you may want to get longer tree huggers, some lash into a carabiner for ease of setup, I ordered some this week.
    I went with the JRB nest and snivler, I also have 1/4 thinlight pad. 25-30 degF I usually have polyprop long UW and stocking cap etc
    As far as gear, I have a Just Jeff gear hammock and I looking to add zipper(s) to bugnet for easier access. some good posts on both here,

  4. #4
    Senior Member FanaticFringer's Avatar
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    When I first read your post I thought your first night in your HH was -25 F
    That would have been quite a first hang indeed.
    I remember someone mentioning using a line level way back. Don't remember the details. The easiest way is to eyeball it or mark how high up the hammock comes on your torso/head with your finger and compare that height to the other end of the hammock.
    Foot end should be a little higher than the head end.
    "Every day above ground is a good day"

  5. #5
    Senior Member Fiddleback's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanaticFringer View Post
    When I first read your post I thought your first night in your HH was -25 F
    That would have been quite a first hang indeed.
    Me too! Minus twenty-five is pretty cold, even here in western Montana. I was wondering how the Kurt was able to type...

    Welcome to enlightenment, kwpapke. A great first post!

    FB

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    I had the same experience with a 25" wide Thermarest. It's OK on your side but the shoulders become chilly when lying on your back. The only real way to solve the problem is to get pads with extenders or buy/make an underquilt. I've tried both and so far I'm happier with the underquilt. I figure if it's cold enough I can always use a pad to supplement the underquilt.

    Welcome to the forum. BTW....my very first hang was under almost the same conditions with a 25" pad.....in the backyard natch. Results were identical minus the slipping. (Got the head lower part right)

    Miguel

  7. #7
    Peter_pan's Avatar
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    Welcome to the hanging gang... footend 2-3 inches higher for sure.... make sure any pad is uninflated.

    Clip anything that you want to stay in the corner into the 2 inch loop in the corner with a mini or micro biner.... look close there is a loop there.

    Pan
    Ounces to Grams.

    www.jacksrbetter.com ... Largest supplier of camping quilts and under quilts...Home of the Original Nest Under Quilt, and Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock. 800 595 0413

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwpapke View Post
    As you can see the tarp pitch was not very taut,
    personally I tie both ends of the tarp to the trees - somewhat below where the hammock is tied to the trees

    Quote Originally Posted by kwpapke View Post
    Setup observations: the stock webbing straps are way too short - with a double wrap I had about a 6 inch gap on the red maples in my backyard. All of the lines supplied with the hammock are shockingly thin - it was hard to believe the main support line was going to take my 230lbs, and the tarp tiedowns looked like dental floss... The Hennessey knot was pretty simple to learn - I pretty much had it down after retieing the lines a few times to get adequate tension and raise my initial pitch higher.
    a couple things here that I do - I almost never double wrap the tree huggers because its much easier to adjust the hammock (raise/lower pitch) if the tree huggers are only looped once - that way one can just grap the support rope from the hammock to take the pressure off the tree hugger straps and then raise or lower the strap as desired - the only time it may be necessary to double wrap is when the tree is leaning away from the hammock
    wrt the tarp tiedowns - you may wish to try some elastic lines for self tensioning to keep some tension on the lines after you get into the hammock and everything sags
    wrt the thin support lines - this is some of the reason people use a 'biner to tie to for these lines - it keeps the line from cutting the treehugger straps.

    Quote Originally Posted by kwpapke View Post
    I had read in this forum all about using pad extenders, etc. but I was hopeful the 25-inch width would be adequate, plus the SPE's do not seem to fit the extra-wide pads.

    Some observations from the night:
    - The prolite-4 pad (slightly underinflated) kept me adequately warm from below with the exception of my low back where I suspect there was a crease from the hammock curvature.
    - Pad width was marginal. I had no cold spots when laying on my side, but on my back the outside of my shoulders got chilly unless I crossed my arms.
    I use 20 inch CCF pad(s) without the SPE - just stuff extra clothing etc around my shoulders/torso

    Quote Originally Posted by kwpapke View Post
    - My mummy sleeping bag performed admirably. It was 5 degrees colder than the rating, but with the extra clothing and liner I was warm.
    - I am typically a "roller" at night, switching from left to right side and my back. This is VERY tough to do in a mummy bag on a pad. The bad news: I was only able to roll a few times and still keep the "porthole" of my bag around my mouth and nose. The good news: I had less need than normal to do so due to the lack of pressure points in the hammock. I found myself wanting to shift, but not needing to. I suspect with enough nights in the hammock I could condition myself to stay quite stationary.
    I don't even try to zip up a mummy bag in the hammock - much easier to use it as a quilt and use a balclava/hat combination for my head - easier to move around in the hammock but as you already saw you tend not to need to move much once you are settled - in my case it has gotten to the point that I don't move from my sleeping on the back position all night (much to the distress of nearby people listening to my snoring)

    Quote Originally Posted by kwpapke View Post
    - I found it impossible to stash extra clothing at the head end of the hammock. It kept popping out and sliding down onto my face. How do you keep this stuff in place?
    - Pitch level matters. I followed the advice I had seen in this forum and pitched the head end of the hammock higher than the foot. I had problems all night long sliding towards the foot end, which of course was exacerbated by the slippery pad.
    extra clothing is used to insulate the shoulders/torso - once stuffed beside my body it does not move much - some people stick extra clothing in a stuff sack and put it under their knees for some relief from the feeling of hyperextending the knees
    as others have noted foot end higher than head end is the way to go

  9. #9
    Rat's Avatar
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    The loop Peter Pan is talking about is part of the Ridge Line tie up; it is pretty tight (unless the hammock is unloaded) and pretty high up in the folds at the end of the hammock. I tied a piece of cord to the loop so that it hangs down where it is a little easier to get to and I stuff my extra clothes into a stuff sack and then just use a slipped sheet bend to tie off the cord I have hanging down. It's not that I have an aversion to having a carabiner in my hammock but the same thing can be accomplished with a short length of cord.

    You can also use a piece of cord and tie a Taughtline Hitch to the ridge line with a little piece hanging down; then you can pull it to the middle of the hammock, tie your stuff sack (or whatever) to it and then slide it way up past your head. I do the same thing on the foot end to hang my shoes out of the slit so they can dry and not be full of ground dwelling bugs (rolly pollies) in the morning.

    Many times I have slept on the ground cowboy style in the past and enjoyed the views. I find that sleeping with just my hammock sans tarp is much more rewarding; same wide open views but lots more comfort! It's Cowboy style in comfort!

    Welcome to hammock crowd.
    "I aim to misbehave." - Capt. Mal Reynolds
    Mind of a Rat Youtube Channel

  10. #10
    Senior Member Hector's Avatar
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    Yeah, I used a line level on the ridgeline once. I've found it's easier to just hang it so it looks okay, climb in, lie in position, figure out what needs to go up or down, get out, grab a tree hugger and slide up or down the trunk a bit to get it right. Only takes a minute and never misleads you.

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