My hammock gear is simpler and faster to set up than tent gear, and I have had lots of nice tents. Two trees, two ropes, two biners for the under quilt, if expecting rain add a tarp ridgeline . No more fiddling trying to determine if the ground is flat and if my head is pointed up hill, no need for a pillow, no messing with a air pad, no more condensation and having to dry everything out in the morning. Some of this gear can seem confusing but that is only because like many hobbies people will get extreme about saving three ounces, and in the process add 3 more unnecessary connections.
As for widowmakers they could care less whether you were in a tent or a hammock. If a hammock can bring down a tree then that tree would not survive any wind at all. Healthy trees are fine.
Grounder, if you would like a t#nt company reccomendation I would look at black diamond. They have a good lightweight t#nt that you might be interested in. before I found shug, I was looking into one...well we can all tell which one I ended up with...
Here a link just to make it easier:
Good luck on your venture, but tinkering is how you really learn to appreciate every little detail. Just my 2 cents( even if it's not really worth that anymore)
Wow... lots of great stuff. Thanks to everyone - I can't possibly respond to everyone individually
I haven't given up on hammocks, by any stretch. I'm just trying to figure out that, if I'm gonna dump $500 or so, that I'm gonna get something that's going to work. I /know/ that an Akto tent would work (right now this is the tent I'm settling on) but am very intrigued by hammocks. Staying dry is a very good thing and I do know that being stuck for a few days in a storm in side a one person tent or bivy is not fun... a comfortable hammock would probably be a lot better.
If you want to try on the cheap there is the group hang idea. You can also make a gathered end hammock for the cost of 4 yds of ripstop nylon and 30 ft of 6mm low stretch utility cord. If you can sew or get it sewed there are instructions. If you sewing is not an option you can do the Ed Speer trick of tying a knot in the fabric on each end. Blue plastics tarps are heavy, noisy and cheap. If you don't like this hammock you are a ground dweller. Almost everything is recyclable into something else. If you like the feel but it needs improvement you are on the path to enlightenment and can keep improving things as finances and ideas permit.
What kind of terrain and conditions do you have in mind? An Akto is serious stuff-- I think heavy duty mountaineering when people start talking about Hilleberg tents. You know--- high winds, heavy snow, clinging to the side of a mountain through a storm--- the fun stuff
Originally Posted by grounder
You can get full coverage tarps that will handle some foul weather, but I think of milder stuff for hammocking. To start with you normally have trees, which means lower altitude, milder conditions, more protection, etc. As another poster mentioned, hammocks aren't high latitude rigs either-- no suitable trees. Those areas close to tree line can be dicey as the trees are stunted with branches all the way to the ground, poor spacing and so on.
Hammocks can be cozy and you can set up a tarp in "porch mode" which would make a multi-day camp more comfortable, but not in high winds. They are perfect for days of light rain and drizzle. Some tarp arrangements have beaks or doors on the ends that will keep a lot of sloppy weather out, but I still wouldn't expect them to handle the weather that a Hilleberg is meant for.
If you aren't expecting foul weather, you can get tents far lighter and less expensive than the Akto. Likewise with hammocks.
Here is a full hammock kit rated to 0F. I chose Warbonnet because it is accepted as quality gear and they make all the components for a complete system. Of course there are many other combinations (and the reason for your info overload).
Blackbird double layer 1.1 with strap suspension 27oz $175
(2) carabiners 2oz $15
Mamajamba Tarp 13oz $110
Winter Yeti under quilt 18.5oz $215
Mamba Winter top quilt 26.25oz $275.00
Total 86.75oz (5.4lbs/2.45kg) $790
To get an apples and apples comparison, you need to add a sleeping pad and a 0F rated bag or quilt to the Akto. If you already have a bag it can be used in any hammock system; left hand zippers are best if you use a regular bag--- and quilts are easier to live with.
For an inexpensive 3 season system you could do something like this:
Grand Trunk Ultralight $18 (about 16oz with a re-worked suspension)
Amsteel whoopie slings $18.50
Tree huggers $14.00
2x Camp Nano carabiners $15
Papa Smurf bug net 2.5oz $50
Gossamer Gear Thinlite wide CCF pad 12oz $30
Chinook Guide Tarp 28oz $45
North Face Cat's Meow mummy bag 44oz $125 (typical 3-season/20F synthetic bag)
Total 102.5oz (6.4lbs/2.9kg) $315.50 (note the bag is a huge portion of weight and cost)
Closer to what I have for 3 season:
Hennessy Expedition Zip 48.5oz $129 at MEC! (eh?) Includes suspension and tarp
Wilderness Logics synthetic 3/4 UQ 26oz $115
North Face Cat's Meow mummy bag 44oz $125
Total 118.5oz (7.4 lbs/ 3.4kg) $369
I see I left out stakes and your weight is a factor -- these systems are in the 250/275 lb range. I threw the North Face bag in to get an apples and apples comparison for a complete system. the differences in hammock weight aren't as significant as the other components: polyurethane coated tarps are heavy, and insulation adds up quickly. Cuben fiber tarps and down insulation will knock a lot off the weight--- and your wallet. I camp in a wet cool climate so I lean to synthetic insulation which is a big weight hit for me. I like a bigger tarp than the stock Hennessy, so I'm using a Chinook 9x12 for now. When I come up with a spare $235, I can get a Zpacks Cuben fiber hammock tarp that is just 5oz, taking 23oz off my system with just one component. I do have a Hennessy Cape asym tarp that is 11oz and fine for summer weather. I do use a 32oz/32F synthetic bag for summer stuff too.
Many get the bug by buying a cheap single layer recreational hammock like an ENO and take a nap in the back yard. It won't take much more than that to convince you. If you are serious about camping with it, try a cheap one, but don't get caught up with trying to make a silk purse out of it--- if you like snoozing in a hammock, get a decent, well-coordinated system and save yourself from being nickel-and-dimed. You can always use the cheapie for day hikes and picnics. If you are going to get into DIY, the hammock is the least expensive part; it is the insulation that will cost you and the more complex DIY project. You can save on the tarp by DIY too.
The journey begins with the fist step (and an extended hand with a credit card). Enjoy
Prefers life at 12 MPH.
Staying dry with a hammock is a lot easier than a tent. That's one of the reasons that they came into use in the Central and South American jungles.
(The other two being the total envelopment by air, making them much more comfortable than beds before the invention of AC, and the creepy-crawlies that are inimical to humans in those areas.)
Staying warm, on the other hand, is a little bit more of a challenge. Note that these were originally developed for tropical use...
It seems that you are looking for a very simple system for four-season use. In my experience, tenting and hammocking, it just doesn't exist. Either you give up flexibility at one or the other end of the thermometer or you wind up with a complex layering system. What you wind up with, regardless of system, is a sliding scale between temperature ranges, complexity, and price. It's a matter of finding what compromises you're willing to make.
Personally, the comfort of being in a hammock outweighs the drawbacks--but, I also live in an area where temperatures in the teens are considered record lows. That makes insulation and tarp choices much simpler for me. I also live in an area where bugs are a year-round occupation, so an integrated bug net is necessary except for the last week in January . This simplified my choices.
DaleW covered most of the gear choices with hammocking, but I would also like to point you at this thread, which details some set-ups for those who are new to hammocking. Forgive me if you've already seen the thread and it contributed to your information overload.
Even if you do go to a tent, I would recommend buying a top quilt. My logic is that you will end up in a hammock anyway someday, and you will already have a top quilt. That saved me some money when I switched, as I have been a quilt user on the ground for years, and already had some nice gear. Also you can get a high end quilt for less than a high end sleeping bag, for example compare the price of a Western Mountaineering sleeping bag to a Hammock Gear Burrow.
Up there, for hanging your big expense is insulation. Hammocks can be low cost. You could get a Warbonnet Traveler, closeout priced Hennessy, ENO double, etc. Other choices too.
I've seen used WB winter yeti and HG 0 deg Incubator underquilts on sale here as they are too warm for some areas down here.
Thanks again, everyone. You guys definitely put in a lot of effort, and you're also clearly enjoying being "hammock people", which is awesome to see.
I think the latest comments, however, are really helping me lean toward the Akto. DaleW pointed out that this is a heavy duty tent, which is true, but in a solo 4 season tent, there's not a ton of (quality) choice, and I'm pretty picky when it comes to my gear. I want small, light, and tough as a mongoose in the face of a gale force snow storm at -30C. That's a tall order. Plus, I camp alone, which means I rely on my gear more than the average camper. We all know the difference between camping at 30 below in the middle of nowhere during a storm with a group of 5 people and the same conditions but with a group of 1.
In truth, my camping season really starts around september and ends around february. And as FLRider pointed out, staying warm is the challenge with a hammock. Others have been concerned about the availability of good trees, which based on how I camp now, isn't generally a problem, but my desires have been pushing me further north as of late, which wouldn't make a hill of beans worth of difference to the Akto. But even if I don't, weaker trees do mean you have to be more choosy, and with an Akto I could easily camp in a highly exposed field if I didn't like the look of the widow makers. I recently camped on an island with 50km winds with trees whose roots were on rocks... I put my tent far away from any trees
It just seems like I'm pushing a bit of rope here. I'm sure a hammock would work, but using a hammock over a tent certainly doesn't seem like the path of least resistance.
With that said, I'm not giving up on it... I may head to my local MEC (an hour or so away... not so local) and rent a Hennessy, if I can, just to see if I would get hooked. But it's really starting to look like I'm just trying to shove a square peg in a square hole with rounded corners.
But I would like to thank you all again... you're awesome!
(and sorry about the 'novelty' crack You gotta face it, though, you're in the minority, which is what makes you cool and, in Shug's case, a bit odd :P).
(Oh, and I'll definitely think about the top quilt idea next time I think about getting a new bag... the one I've got now is plenty good, but you never know).
I agree with your safety concerns, in that consideration a tent would be safer in extreme weather. I've switched to hammocks even for snow camping, but we do not have the low temps here that you do.
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