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  1. #1
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    First Overnight Hang: Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro - What I learned

    I decided to take my dad out to the Los Padres National Forest here in CA to try our first overnight hammock backpacking trip. It was a lot of fun packing in 50lbs in those high elevations (totally joking), but the trip was a learning experience. I ended up carrying my tent (which is nearly 10 lbs) just in case we could not rig up the hammocks or whatnot.

    With that said, I went with the Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro for the fact that it was 10.5 feet long which is great for me (I am 6'4" tall). It was affordable and included bug netting at a great price. First impressions were that the suspension is horrible and could be very dangerous. The knots were coming undone so I had to re-rig everything off of the bat. I replaced the stock carabiners with lighter ones and made some tree straps from ratcheting tie downs (heavy duty ones that hold 1500 lbs). I thought I had everything all planned out for the trip so we made our way out 5 miles into a hike-in campground. The problems started from here.

    First, the only trees available for me to hang the hammock in had to be in a designated campsite. I could not legally just go off trail and use some of the abundant pine trees... Go figure. We only had 1 or 2 spots to choose from, and all of the trees were MASSIVE in circumference. So my straps were not long enough on all of the trees. I had to rig up part of the straps by doubling 550 paracord just to make the straps long enough.

    Second, the rope that comes with the GT Skeeter Beeter Pro is so stretchy it almost reminds me of bungee cords. Even when doubling it It would still stretch dramatically. Lucky me I brought along 150 feet of 550 paracord. What i ended up having to do was double the 550 cord, along with the stock skeeter beeter cord from each end of the hammock to the tree straps. once I got that all squared away it did not stretch at all so that was great.

    Third, the trees I selected all had dead limbs. I had no workaround for this because again - I could not legally camp out of the campsite or campground for that matter. But lucky us again, no wind and no limbs were falling all night anywhere that we could hear.

    So the night went on. We both used no tarp, but set up ridgelines just in case so we could throw our tarps over in the event the weather got bad. We both had closed cell foam as an underquilt, and then sleeping bags on top of that. The night got down into the low 40s Fahrenheit, but we were actually quite warm (my dad had a north face down bag and I had a marmot trestles 20 synthetic bag). However, neither of us could get any sleep throughout the night. This may be attributed to the fact that we are typically side or stomach sleepers - and we were zipped up into our sleeping bags. For me, even when I was able to lay on my side, I felt like the hammock sides were putting too much pressure onto my head and feet. So I would revert back to my back and could never get to sleep that way. My dad had some of the same issues himself.

    I dont know, maybe we did not have the hammock hang set right... But it was a very discouraging day/night to say the least. A long hike out in the morning with no sleep was not going to be fun. Maybe it would have been comfortable if we both had actual underquilts, and used the sleeping bags as a top quilt. Along with a quality tarp (as opposed to the 2 pound 8X10 walmart ones we hiked in). But that is more money to invest that I do not have.

    I may just be a tent camper myself afterall.

    But I wanted to give my report of the Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro. Be prepared if you buy one to upgrade the straps and suspension. Otherwise, the quality of the hammock itself and the bug netting is awesome.

    If anyone wants to see the video/trip report I put together and see how I hung the hammock, I put a video on youtube of the trip. It is listed in my sig. The video is the latest one on my channel called "Overnight Backpacking Trip". Take care
    Last edited by beactivelife; 05-20-2012 at 23:25.

  2. #2
    Needs more Hang time Catavarie's Avatar
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    The first thing I saw on the video is it looked as if the hammocks were pulled rather tight. Letting the hammock sag more could increase your comfort level and let you get on a diagonal in the hammock, which provides a flatter lay than laying in line with the hammock.


    Otherwise, looks like a great place to hang.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Hiknhanger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catavarie View Post
    The first thing I saw on the video is it looked as if the hammocks were pulled rather tight. Letting the hammock sag more could increase your comfort level and let you get on a diagonal in the hammock, which provides a flatter lay than laying in line with the hammock.


    Otherwise, looks like a great place to hang.
    +1 on the tightness of the setup. I bet that was uncomfortable! I have heard of many folks taking extra pieces of strapping if they anticipate large diameter trees. You can interlock the loops from the main piece and the addition to extend the length. If you are sure you won't be dealing with bigger trees, you can leave the extensions home. I am jealous! I wish I could get out in the woods! What a cool looking location.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiknhanger View Post
    +1 on the tightness of the setup. I bet that was uncomfortable! I have heard of many folks taking extra pieces of strapping if they anticipate large diameter trees. You can interlock the loops from the main piece and the addition to extend the length. If you are sure you won't be dealing with bigger trees, you can leave the extensions home. I am jealous! I wish I could get out in the woods! What a cool looking location.
    You bet it was. Again, I think I made it so tight because I was worried the cords would stretch through the night. Next time I will try to hang the straps higher and give the lines more slack.

    Thanks for the tip about straps, I may give this another go and bring along double the length straps.

    Thanks again, this is a beautiful area to hike and camp in. Take care

  5. #5
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    thanks...

    Quote Originally Posted by Catavarie View Post
    The first thing I saw on the video is it looked as if the hammocks were pulled rather tight. Letting the hammock sag more could increase your comfort level and let you get on a diagonal in the hammock, which provides a flatter lay than laying in line with the hammock.


    Otherwise, looks like a great place to hang.
    Thank you. It was a great place. I think I pulled the hammocks so tight because I was worried the paracord would stretch - and to be honest it did not stretch much at all when doubled over. What I should have done is maybe raise the tree straps higher and give thelines more slack for more of a dip in the hammock hang.

  6. #6
    titanium_hiker's Avatar
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    also to the great advice on the hang- try unzipping the sleeping bag and using it as a quilt- that way you're not confined.

    550 paracord will also stretch.
    my hammock gear weights total: 2430g (~86oz)
    Winter: total 2521 (~89oz)
    (see my profile for detailed weights)

    gram counter, not gram weenie!

  7. #7
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    good advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by titanium_hiker View Post
    also to the great advice on the hang- try unzipping the sleeping bag and using it as a quilt- that way you're not confined.

    550 paracord will also stretch.
    I will definitely try that next time. I knew paracord stretches, which is why I doubled it over. Surprisingly it did not stretch much, and I woke up still with two feet from the ground to hammock clearance... I am 200 lbs by the way. But definitely not a good long term solution...

  8. #8
    New Member Simple Survival's Avatar
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    first time i set mine up i had it to tight...don't fear the sag...LOL

  9. #9
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    haha

    Quote Originally Posted by Simple Survival View Post
    first time i set mine up i had it to tight...don't fear the sag...LOL
    Thanks for the advice.

  10. #10

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    You really have a knack for adapt, improvise and overcome don't you!

    I would have done a "Shake-down" trip in the backyard or close-by site where much of the problems would have been discovered (Except size of the trees of course) and remedied. Few people on the forum use the standard straps, for the reasons you state.

    Your education on hammocking is just beginning, take in some of the many Shug videos and tutorials available here. Half of the enjoyment of hammock camping is enjoying the company (And knowledge) of the many characters on the site. You'll find them very willing mentors in your quest to find the receipe for success.
    Last edited by soundmanob; 05-21-2012 at 09:16.
    "Take me away to a quiet place where beings melt into inner space. Every step brings me closer to see, my haven away beneath the trees." From Beneath the Trees by Everett Dort

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