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  1. #1
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    First night in DIY Hammock

    Thanks to all the people on this forum for making this possible. My only camping experience was car camping, so a giant heavy tent wasn’t a problem. I was looking for a way to be able to hike into a camp, and this fits the bill. (Or will once I get all the pieces done)

    All the materials were from www.diygearsupply.com, except the amsteel, which they were out of, and www.reddenmarine.com had.


    10/13/11
    Weather: Rain off and on, lows about 60.
    Location: Backyard
    Clothing: Cotton Sweats and t-shirt
    Insulation: Wal-Mart ccf pad and a cheap mummy bag from Dick’s Sporting Goods
    Tarp: 11x9 ish harbor freight general purpose tarp – on sale for $5
    Tarp suspension: 2 ratcheting straps with a 3’ 3/16th whoopie sling between them
    Hammock: 132”x68” {pre hemmed} 1.1 ripstop gathered end following Knotty’s instructions. Used 550 paracord for the lashing.
    Hammock suspension: 2 DIY tree hugger straps, length of DIY anodized aluminum tube and a .223 cartridge for toggles, 2 7/64th whoopie slings.

    Initial Impression:
    Had a heck of a time getting situated in the bag. Just couldn’t get the bottom to be where it should be. Once I got it flattened out, was comfy, and had no trouble sleeping. About halfway thru the night, finally got the bag right, rotated about 90 degrees so that the unzipped edges were on either side, and the foot end, still zipped about 12” was nice for keeping the feet in. Felt more like a comforter than a bag that way.
    The pad kept wanting to slide out at the foot end. I was sleeping slightly diagonally with feet off to left, and that is where the pad wanted escape. Stayed plenty warm, usually had 1 arm out of the bag.
    Ended up getting up at about 4:30 for a trip to the facilities, and decided that the rain was more than I wanted to deal with to go back out.


    Issues:
    Storage. I took a book, fleece pullover, and pair of wool socks out with me, and had no real place to put them. Also had a light rain jacket. Initially used fleece as a pillow, but it migrated during the night, and didn’t really need it.
    Proposed solution: Ridgeline organizer. I knew I wanted one, but didn’t have a chance to put one together prior to test. Possibly a bag at the end for extra clothes/bulky item storage like a stuffsack.

    Pad Migration: this may be a user issue, and with some learning be resolved.
    After reading for weeks about all the UQs, I just didn’t get it. Why make or pay all that $$ when a $7 pad will work.
    Ok, now I get it. Although it is still pretty comfy when the pad is lined up where you want it, the hammock is more comfortable without it. And when it is not where you want it, gymnastics ensue to get it back. Having the bottom insulation under the hammock now makes perfect sense to me. Move that to the top of the DIY project list.

    Tarp: I hung the tarp in a rectangle, and it wasn’t quite big enough. The ends of the hammock were only barely covered. This is something I am debating making my own, or buying a pre-made. I did stay dry though, and only the gathered end “blooms” got wet. Fortunately it wasn’t windy. I really like all the features that Shug’s winter tarp has, and that is the direction I will probably go. After all, it’s October, and warm to hot weather is a long ways off. Hopefully by summer I will be able to get by with the tiny tarps it seems the more experienced folks here use. Once I get the tarp situated, I will explore the suspension more.

    Insulation: This was probably the warmest night we have had in 3 weeks (60 at 5am), so it wasn’t pushing any limits. T-shirt was slightly clammy when I got up. We have projected lows in the 40s for the next couple of weeks, so I hope to get out on a dry night soon to see how it does. Maybe by then I can rig an UQ out of my son’s sleeping bag or something.

    Bugs: No problem. The skeeters were bad early evening, but I assume the rain helped here. I did use some picaridin. Bug net is on the horizon, but not a priority at the moment.

    Suspension: Probably overkill on the 10’ tree straps, but I didn’t want to be short. I have another aluminum tube, but I couldn’t find it, and the .223 cartridge was just lying there. Figured I would give it a go. It worked. I am very happy with the whoopie sling / marlin spike hitch, just need to find my other tube…


    Overall a fun experience that sheds light on all the areas that need tweaking. The 1.1 oz ripstop held me up, with no obvious trouble. Hard to believe that something so flimsy seeming can do that.

  2. #2
    Banned
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    Great write-up and it sounds like overall it was a good night and a great learning experience.

  3. #3
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Great report. It covered pretty much all of the questions that I had.

    Something to consider, if you decide to keep a minimalist tarp, is that snakeskins or a two-part stuffsack offer end weather protection on the hammock. Since they're going to cover the very end gathers of the hammock anyway, and they're designed to be waterproof, they will help keep the rain out of the hammock even if you hang the tarp less-than-perfectly.

    Just a thought.

  4. #4
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good first night!

    Pads work better in a DL hammock, as they slip less... but yes, an UQ will be better.

    I gave up on Sleeping bag gymnastics, I now use a mummy as a top quilt and an underquilt... I sleep so well, I wake my camp-neighbors sawing logs!

    John
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


  5. #5
    Needs more Hang time Catavarie's Avatar
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    If you want to stick with the pad option, then I'd suggest turning your single layer hammock into a double layer. Pads tend to stay put better between layers than on top.
    *Heaven best have trees, because I plan to lounge for eternity.

    Good judgement is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgement. - Mark Twain

    Trail name: Radar

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  6. #6
    New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnSawyer View Post
    Sounds like a good first night!

    Pads work better in a DL hammock, as they slip less... but yes, an UQ will be better.

    I gave up on Sleeping bag gymnastics, I now use a mummy as a top quilt and an underquilt... I sleep so well, I wake my camp-neighbors sawing logs!

    John
    So are you saying you use your mummy similar to a sock? Or two different mummys?

    Mine will open at the foot and I could thread the hammock through, I just wasn't sure if/how that would work out.

    Thanks!

  7. #7
    Senior Member HappyHiker's Avatar
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    Great 1st night! It takes a bit to figure out the small nuances, but once you're familiar with different methods of dealing with issues, you'll find one that works for you.

    Pads are definitely something that you have to work with for a while before they become manageable - I've used pads for a while (and they work just fine) and just built an UQ to try those out and see how that goes.

    For storage, I use a packcover as a mini gear hammock that hangs alongside for easy access, seems to work real well so far. Everything else gets hung off of my tarp ridgeline or stuffed into my pack and hung from one of the trees my hammock is suspended from. Ridgeline organizers work great for the smaller stuff inside the hammock. Just an idea to try - you might find something that works better.

    Happy Hammocking!

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