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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Jul 2012
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    Burlington, VT
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    2

    Snug in my new hammock -- should I go for a larger hammock or a smaller pad?

    Hey everyone, I'm a brand new member to the forum and pretty much a brand new hammock camper--so hopefully I'm not too full of stupid questions.

    After some shopping around for 1-2 person tents, bivys, and hammocks I settled on a Hennessey Expedition zip. It was exactly what I wanted in terms of being packable, lightweight, and simple to setup and take down. Immediately after buying it I headed out to spend a couple nights in it and decide if I made the right choice. I had some issues and was hoping your input would help me solve them.

    First, the main issue, I'm ~5'11" and 160 pounds. The Expedition seemed to be the right hammock for my size; however I'm wondering if I should trade-up to the explorer. Without a sleeping pad the hammock is comfy, but with my current sleeping pad (the topic of my next question) I feel a bit squished, and this is before I bring gear into the hammock (I'd like to be able to keep my pack in the hammock with me on lightweight weekend outings). Myself and my gear together shouldn't exceed 200 lbs, but that puts me right at both the size and weight limit of the Expedition.

    What's your advice on the Expedition vs. Explorer? Is the larger size (and extra bulk/weight) worth it for some extra room?

    Next up--I'm pretty sure I've got the wrong sleeping pad. My current pad is a Nemo Astra. It's an awesome inflatable pad for tenting. It packs up to the size of a water bottle and has a built-in pillow, but its rectangular shape gave me nothing but grief inside the hammock. Also that built-in pillow propped my head up at an awkward angle. I'm considering a few options, input would be appreciated:

    - Switching to a Big Agnes or Kelty Recluse mummy pad. The big bonus is keeping the super-packable benefits of an inflatable pad

    - Switching to a CCF pad and cutting it to a rhombus shape if needed to fit the hammock. I don't like the idea of adding that much external bulk to my pack, but I'm sure I'd be fine with it if it makes me comfy and happy in my hammock

    - Buying the Hennessey reflective pad. This seems like a gamble, as it looks like it's equally as bulky as a CCF pad and from what I've heard reflective pads work best with an extra blanket over them.

    Finally, any links/tips to maintenance of the hammock? Namely stuff like regular waterproofing of the fly, or recommended upgrades? I've already switched to using biners and descent rings to hang the hammock (love them), and will try tying the rain fly to the trees next time.

    Thanks! I can't wait to get these kinks figured out and get back out there
    Last edited by Wolfe_BTV; 07-09-2012 at 14:23.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Kansas City, KS
    Hammock
    HH Explorer Deluxe+2QZQ Mod #4
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    HH Hex w/ 2QZQ OFS
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    20* bag, PL, HHSS
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    1,168
    Well, on the question as to whether or not the Explorer is worth the extra weight vs the Expedition...that's a personal opinion thing.

    MY opinion is that I'm far, far more comfortable in my Explorer than I am in my son's Expedition. For me...well worth the weight/bulk.

    My son is quite happy with his choice to go with the Expedition...you probably couldn't get him to trade with me.

    How much do you backpack, vs how much do you camp?

    If you're covering the miles during the day, and setup camp only to sleep and eat so you can get back on the trail...odds are, weight is a bigger concern. If you're like me, and hike maybe 10 miles/day with the goal in mind of making your next camp to get plenty of rest and relaxation...then it's worth it's weight.

    Pads are problematical in a hammock for most folks. That's why the majority of folks will tell you to save up for an underquilt. Another possibility is to look at the HHSS. Some hate it, some love it. Personally, it's worked very well for me and my son. We've both been out in weather down to 20 deg with it. Others have not had as much luck.

    What weather conditions are you likely to be out in? That can have a huge impact on your choices for under insulation.

    Last thought...what tarp are you using currently? The 'standard' tarp that comes with the Expedition? What kind of tarp are you considering? What are your most critical factors? (weight, cost, material, etc...)

    I use the HH Hex PU tarp...weight was less of an issue over coverage and cost.

  3. #3
    CrankyOldGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hilton Head Is., SC
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    Nano-7
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    Zpack cuben
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    whoopies
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    248
    It may be that you need to experiment with different hang angles as well as experimenting with you "lay". You may find with some tweaking, the issue disappears.... or not.
    "A bore is a man who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company." Gian Vincenzo Gravina (1664 - 1718)

  4. #4
    CrankyOldGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Hilton Head Is., SC
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    Nano-7
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    248
    I have a HH Ultra-light with the undercover and pad, that might be an option, too.
    "A bore is a man who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company." Gian Vincenzo Gravina (1664 - 1718)

  5. #5
    New Member
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    Jul 2011
    Location
    Sometimes Vancouver, Sometimes Halifax, Canada
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    12
    i just sold my hennessy expedition for the reason of feeling too cramped. i'm not sure which hammock i'm going to move onto next but i'm 6'2 and 200 lbs. i was ok in the expedition but after maybe a dozen nights out i decided i'd sacrifice some weight savings for a little more comfort. i'm interested to hear if the space is worth it from your perspective if you do go to the explorer.

    i used an inflatable thermarest pad for a while with it and found that partially deflating the pad so that it conformed to the shape of the hammock a little more readily improved things greatly. i eventually shelled out for an underquilt though and i highly recommend it.

    for tips and tricks, i highly reccomend watching the hammock camping videos on shugemerys youtube channel.

  6. #6
    New Member
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    Jul 2012
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    Burlington, VT
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    Thanks for all the input, everyone. I went to my outfitters tonight to explore my options and found that they don't have Explorer's in stock, so I decided to focus solely on the sleeping pad.

    After stringing up another Expedition in the shop and testing out half a dozen pads (and also inadvertently educating some of their sales guys on the pros/cons of the different options) I found that an oval/mummy shaped Thermarest seemed to be nearly perfect. I cover pretty much the whole pad, so there's no corners sticking into the walls. I'm going to try it out in the backyard tonight and see if it works like I hope.

    The quilt looks like a great option, and with a little luck the thermarest pad will suffice through the summer so I can replinish my gear funds and put a little more money into gear for fall camping.

    Regarding the hammock size itself, I think with the better fitting pad the Expedition has a pretty good chance of working well for me. My usual pack is only 28L so the extra bulk of a bigger hammock (along with the extra bulk of the Thermarest versus the Nemo I hoped to use) is a relatively large loss in space. I think the worst case is that I have to plan on throwing my pack in a contractor's trash bag and letting it spend the night outside the hammock--overall a pretty small tradeoff.

    Thanks again!

    PS: I decided against the Kelty Recluse and the Big Agnes because they were too long. Shape-wise they seemed great, but I would guess they are about 6'2" or maybe a little longer. The Thermarest is about 5'8", so my feet hang off it a little, but it doesn't press into the walls at all--and that means the walls don't seem to push it into the center of the hammock. I'll find out tongiht if that theory holds true or not.

  7. #7
    Fish<><'s Avatar
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    Aug 2011
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    Yigo, Guam
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    depends...
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    I think that you will find that once the temps get low enough the your shoulders might get cold. If that happens, you might wan to look into either an spe (segmented pad extender) or an underquilt. I personally use an underquilt made from an old gi poncho liner and love it. Granted its only good down to around 40* but there are ways to drop into lower temps without addin much bulk. Once I get to a place that winter temps drop below 70 at night I will probably look at another uq. I will never go pad again. Hope this helps you somehow.
    "We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it."- G. W. Sears

    My forum name is Fish<><; I'm in the navy; and I hate sleeping on the ground. If I didn't need ground to walk on or measure resistance to, I think I could happily give it up.

  8. #8
    titanium_hiker's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    The Wimmera, Australia
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    you might be able to clip your pack to the suspension line (or to the interior ridge and then hang out the bottom entry)

    Some people have pack covers that they hang as a gear pocket next to the hammock.

    TH
    my hammock gear weights total: 2430g (~86oz)
    Winter: total 2521 (~89oz)
    (see my profile for detailed weights)

    gram counter, not gram weenie!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Rob3E's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
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    Hennessy Expedition A-Sym
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    Stock tarp
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    1
    I love my Expedition, and I've never tried anything else. I'm an inch shorter than you but 40 pounds heavier, so I'm guessing you can make it work, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't be happier with something else, especially if you bring a lot of gear in. I've tried to use a rectangular foam pad a number of times, but have always thrown it out of the tent. I'd rather shiver a little then deal with it. Recently picked up a Super Shelter. While I've used it, our stock of cold temperatures seems to have run out, but I have high hopes that some day I'll really get to put it through its paces and it will do well. I have had it at temps that I think would have left me chillier without it, but not really cold. We just haven't had the weather.

    The great thing with any under insulation it that there's nothing to stay on top of, and there's no squeezing a bulky pad into your tent. If you feel cramped, it could be partly the fact that you've had to make room for that pad, but also that you've limited your available sleeping area to the size of that pad. An under-insulation solution might solve your problem. But keep in mind that the size of Super Shelter for your current hammock is not the same as the one for the larger hammock, so if a Super Shelter doesn't leave you feeling less cramped, now you will need a new hammock and a new insulation system.

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