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  1. #1
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    Thru Hike hammock recommendation

    Well my wife and I are planning a thru hike in 2010 on the AT and I've been thinking of hammocks as an option for our shelter because I like the options it gives us. She gave me the ok to buy one and now I'm wondering which one I should get. I'm going to try it out some in the backyard and hopefully on many trips this summer and let her try mine out and if she likes it enough, we will go with some hammocks. If not, back to the ground for us

    At first, I thought I would go with a hennessey ultralite or hyperlight since these seemed to be the lightest, but lately I've been reconsidering and looking at the Speer Hammocks or the JRB bridge hammock with a large tarp. The large tarp seems like it would be fantastic on bad weather days. I'm leaning towards the JRB bridge with the JRB 11'x10' tarp. Any objections or praises with this hammock?
    Or recommendations for a hammock and tarp to thru hike with?

    My main concern is keeping warm. We are planning to start in maybe February. Do you think something like the JRB no sniveller quilt and hudson river underquilt would work ok with a cheap blue pad and a few clothes or should I look towards a heavier quilt?
    I'm planning on getting a hammock and tarp soon, and if we like them enough (seems like we will from other's experiences with hammocking) then we'll probably get quilts and underquilts later on.
    Anyone wish they had a smaller tarp or larger tarp than the one they took?
    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I used my homemade speer and the JRB bridge hammock on my thru last year. Both have good and bad points and are great hammocks. The hh are not as good of an option in my eyes. It's nice when the bugs are away not to have a netting.
    Is that too much to ask? Girls with frikkin' lasers on their heads?
    The hanger formly known as "hammock engineer".

  3. #3
    tight-wad's Avatar
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    Try it, you'll like it.

    Never done a thru, but have spent countless sleepless nights on the ground and in shelters. A hammock is SOOOO much more comfortable for a soloist, but ... not so good for snuggling. But... Eno does sell a double nest????

    My hammock/tarp/quilt system is very close in weight to a bivy/bag/pad depending on number of stakes, etc., but, for me, any weight penalty is worth the extra comfort.

    Quilts will do the job to keep you warm. "Coffee" was being modest, make a fat Red River Gorge top and bottom quilt (go to Just Jeff's Homemade Gear - Hammock Engineer's Red River Gorge Quilt) and you will begging for relief!

    Plus, you're talking about 2 years from now, no telling what the folk on this forum will invent before then!

    Go for it!

  4. #4
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    I would get a large tarp for thru hiking. You will like a nice large space if it is foul out and you are forced to spend your time "indoors." Also, it will allow you to better batten down the sides to really protect you if need be.

    As far as the hammock goes, I would say make your own. It is very simple and you have two years until departure. I learned to sew by making a hammock, and about two months later, I have made about 6 hammocks, a bugnet, and two tarps. I would have never thought I could do this, but it is easy, and the ones I have made were mostly copies of the Speer hammock from Jeff's site: Just Jeff's Hammock Camping Page But the most recent one was a copy of the HH that Headchange4U describes here: http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/d...-tutorial.html

    You could spend about $20-25 instead of $100-200+ and it is easy! Then, as you get better, you will be able to tackle bigger projects like the quilt mentioned above. You two will be two snug bugs for sure with hammocks, nice big tarps, and fluffy down quilts. IMO, it is the ultimate setup. For me, though, the price of those items is cost prohibative, so I will make them myself!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Iafte's Avatar
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    I would try to get yourself to one of the hangs and try a few out before buying one. We all have our favourites and will recommend those, in the end it comes down to your comfort.
    Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. ~Steven Wright

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the input Coffee, glad to hear someone's used the JRB bridge on a thru and liked it.

    tight-wad, we've thought about the snuggling part, and not being able to zip our bags together for extra warmth, but if we're more comfortable in the hammock, we'll probably be better off. We'd be in two separate hammocks with tarps. I know it's two years from now and the latest greatest will be out, but I need a solo shelter for the summer and I wanted to see how the hammock goes. It'll give me two years to figure out what I like best and what works best for us.

    Narwhalin, large tarp it is then. As for making my own gear, I'd love to do that, and maybe I'll look into doing it and getting a sewing machine, sounds like I should get an older one. But I'm slow with projects and they don't seem to get finished quickly either, I still need to put my bicycle back together that I'm fixing up I did make a test hammock, but that had no sewing involved... So I think I'll go the route of buying something first, and perhaps I'll look into making some gear later. Maybe my wife and I will both make our own hammocks someday!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iafte View Post
    I would try to get yourself to one of the hangs and try a few out before buying one. We all have our favourites and will recommend those, in the end it comes down to your comfort.
    I was thinking about trying to make it out to the GA one at panther creek falls soon. I know it comes down to what I like the most, but recommendations usually help me when I'm making new purchases.

  8. #8
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    I want to strongly second going to a hang. There is a chance to be able to test probably any and all hammocks, tarps, quilts, and accessories. Like someone mentioned, we all have our favorites (and will suggest them to people who want a suggestion) and that just shows how individual a choice this is!

    I think you will appriciate the versatility that hammocking offers you with regards to campsite selection. I had a friend who ran into some folks who were tarping and having bad experiences with rivers coming through under their tarp when it was raining and they were really demoralized. Clearly, they were not choosing very good sites to sleep. Finding a good site when you are sleeping on the ground puts quite a bit into the equation: level, no sharp objects (this can take awhile!), won't flood in a rain, etc.

    Compare that with hammocking, and the whole situation changes. The river now runs under you! (You will still need to keep the gear dry, but it is much easier to reposition your gear vs. yourself who should be sleeping soundly. ) It is best if under the hammock and tarp it is relatively flat so you can best utilize the space, but it doesn't have to be. The ability to stop in many more situations is a huge asset in a situation like a thru where you can suddenly need to hunker down or just generally need flexability.

  9. #9
    HappyCamper's Avatar
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    Yes, go to a hang, go to a hang! I was lucky enough to go to a hang when I first started and the amount you learn in one weekend is A LOT! Recommendations are good but going to a hang is even better!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    WARBONNET!
    Love my warbonnet on the AT; it's lightweight, comfortable, and really cool. .

    I wouldn't even try this hike with a really small tarp. It is so nice to be able to ride out a storm without getting wet and being able to block the wind on those mountain top hangs in early spring. Worth every single ounce extra on your back, I promise. A large tarp will really help with staying warm; site selection is a close second, but with the right tarp you can sleep just about anywhere.

    You will see tons of hammocks out here, especially 2 years from now; I can't even imagine. Good luck on your upcoming hike. Whatever you do, DON'T OVER PLAN! This place is at its best when it's a surprise every day and above all else...HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Trust nobody!

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