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  1. #1
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    Help with first hammock

    I spent my first night in a hammock last night in a Ultralight Explorer with side zip. I could never get comfortable. I'm 5-11 weigh 165lbs. I have some questions, please.

    1. I could never get "level". My butt was always sunk lower than my head and feet. I did lay diagonally. The bottom center was always pulled "taught" which created a sort of ridge under my butt.

    2. I had the sides staked out but they still crept in on me. How and taught should they be staked.

    3. I kept sliding down from my head.

    4. There is a little velco tab on the outside seam of the hammock. What are these for?

    5. Any suggestions please.

  2. #2
    potneck's Avatar
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    I think somehow your mind/body has to subconsciously learn to sleep in a hammock. I had a similar experience my first night. Never could relax. As I continued to add nights my sleep consistently got better. I've since had some of the best nights sleep of my life in my HH Safari. There are many here that have more experience that me and I'm sure they will give you some input. One thing I've learned here is to raise the foot end a little above the head, that solved the sliding down from the head problem for me. I think the velcro tab is to hold the bug net back when not in use but I'm not sure on that since my hammock is a bottom entry.

    For me sleeping in a hammock was like riding a bicycle. Hard at first, then it just came natural.

    Keep on hanging.

  3. #3
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Sounds like the hammock experience is initially disorienting for you. The brain and body will adapt and you'll figure it out. Sleeping in a hammock is the closest you will ever get to the experience of sleeping in your mother's womb. But sleeping in a hammock can be a shock at first - it doesn't feel natural but it's the most natural thing in the world.

    I'm glad I never went through anything like that - I laid in a camping hammock the first time and my body and brain said, "This is right, so very right."

  4. #4
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountaindreamer View Post
    I spent my first night in a hammock last night in a Ultralight Explorer with side zip. I could never get comfortable. I'm 5-11 weigh 165lbs. I have some questions, please.

    1. I could never get "level". My butt was always sunk lower than my head and feet. I did lay diagonally. The bottom center was always pulled "taught" which created a sort of ridge under my butt.

    2. I had the sides staked out but they still crept in on me. How and taught should they be staked.

    3. I kept sliding down from my head.

    4. There is a little velco tab on the outside seam of the hammock. What are these for?

    5. Any suggestions please.
    I have the same model. Here's what I did to address the issues you have above:

    1.) Your behind is always going to be lower than your feet and head in the hammock. However, it shouldn't be too much of an angle. If your behind is a little to the right of centerline as you lay in the hammock, it will help prevent that bunching you mentioned.

    2.) They're going to. As long as the bug netting is not actually touching your face (i.e.: your head is below the level of the zipper--or the net/body interface if you're laying with your feet towards the zipper) you should be okay. The tie outs should have spring left in them; don't make 'em piano wire tight. As long as they're helping to keep the netting off of your face, they're doing their job.

    3.) Raise the foot end six to twelve inches higher than the head end. I know that's not what the Hennessy instructions say, but I've found that this helps to avoid slipping to the foot end. My legs are significantly more dense than the rest of me, so it was necessary for me to do this for a good night's sleep.

    4.) They're for wrapping the hammock up to go into the snakeskins. Pull the tab open and press the opposite side of the hammock to it (where the other tab is), and it'll make it easier to slide into the snakeskins.

    5.) I find that my most comfortable lie in the hammock is when I can turn the ridgeline ninety degrees off of true with a thumb and forefinger. If I can turn it one hundred and eighty degrees, it's too loose. If I can't turn it at least forty-five degrees, it's too tight. That's with me in the hammock, mind you. I've also found a knee pillow helpful when I'm willing to carry the weight of it or extra clothes to place in a stuff sack. When not, I find a figure-four (where one foot is underneath the other knee) the most comfortable way to sleep.

    Hope it helps!

  5. #5
    Senior Member WetRivrRat's Avatar
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    I agree with surfr here, the first time I laid in a camping hammock my body said "he11s yah, this is puurfect!" but don't let that discourage you in any way! Because even though that first hang was awesome, it took me a while to figure out what was the best hang for me consitently. I've found like FLRider that having my feet slightly higher than m head keeps me from sliding around and waking up feeling like I'm doing a head stand....

    Btw FLRider kudos on the tension trick, gotta try that myself one of these days - generally I use decending rings, so I hang it and crank it - sit in it then crank some more... Personal taste sortta thing I suppose. But I've seen a lot of folks say the feel better when it's a bit looser. I can't remember which way mine came, but i think I swapped the static lines on the side ties out to be shock corded for pretty much that same reason. I've got a HH ExUL and I find that it consitently sags about 3" from original hang and crank to the second crank. I generally wake up with. About 3-5 inches of sag depending on the moisture overnight
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  6. #6
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    WetRivrRat:

    I got the tension and foot end higher tricks from Brandon's recommendations for the BlackBirds. Can't take credit for those, but thanks anyway!

    My Hennessy came with shock cord for the tie-outs (I think all of them do; at least, all the ones I've seen in person do), but I only bought it about a year ago.

    Mine doesn't seem to sag quite that much, but it does some. I mean, it is made of nylon, and that stretches. The suspension doesn't, but the hammock body does, probably two to four inches overnight. I don't let it bother me; I just make sure that I'm at least six inches off of the ground before going to sleep. Part and parcel of having such lightweight fabric, I suppose.

  7. #7
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    Sleeping in a hammock is definitely different for everyone. I have to say very few have gone back to the ground though. Dialing in the right heights on the tree is a learning curve. There are a lot of factors that go into it. I do recommend getting the book The Ultimate Hang. It's full of great illustrations and advice, like this forum.

    I agree with FLRider on his answers. I kept sliding down towards the foot and over several nights raised the foot suspension and found the right height.

  8. #8
    Member cwciwatch's Avatar
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    My first night I did not sleep, the second night I slept a bit better, now I sleep better in the hammock than in my bed. I made my hammock so I don't know how a factory made one feels, mine is just right for me so far. I found if i leave the tie outs a little less taught and keep my ridge line a little long so as to make the hammock a little flatter it works well. This is my first hammock and I have only slept in it several times so my adjustments and tastes will probably change. I too think it takes a little getting used to.
    "I wish I had a swing like that in my back yard"

  9. #9
    Member Meadiocre's Avatar
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    Great info!!! I'm currently saving up for my first hammock and planning on a Hennessy. This will help greatly with my learning curve.

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