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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Green Backpacker

    Been planning to through hike the AT in 2013. Zero experience backpacking and 72 years old + I have a pacemaker, a full left knee replacement, and sleep apnea back enough to require a CPAP machine at night. I've chosen to make my own hammock which is the one designed by Speer. I have finished it and the tarp but have yet to actually sleep in it. So I am seeking all the advice I can get. I am also checking with my doctors in every area to get at least a general agreement from each of them. Open to suggestions here about hammocks. Seems the best idea to me for sleeping/backpacking.

  2. #2
    Moderator raiffnuke's Avatar
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    May 2011
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    Welcome to HF from Mass. I admire your determination and attitude towards your hike. You have come to the right place to get all of your hammocking questions answered. I wish you the best of luck!

  3. #3
    dragon360's Avatar
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    Well all the best on your goal! Hello and Welcome from Canada!
    The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering. - St. Augustine

    Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.
    - Bob Marley

  4. #4
    old4hats's Avatar
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    chuckmccoy, you are the man. Here I am at 71, and a good bit less physical problems than you, a good bit of hiking experience on the AT, and all I do is "think" about long distance hikes. I am afraid to start planning one, much less start one. You have my respect sir. My only advise is very general, and is to set a 3 or 4 night period to use the hammock as your bed at night and your lounger for sitting and resting during the day. If it works for you that long, you should be good to go. If not, back to the drawing board. I wish you every success.

  5. #5
    WV's Avatar
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    Okay, next up are underquilt or other bottom insulation and bugnet. Also a top quilt. More important than them is experience. AT in 2013 is possible if you acquire all your backpacking and hammocking skills in 2012. To accelerate that, beg, borrow, or steal (actually, don't steal) as much as you can. Don't save money by making stuff yourself - it will waste time. Get into the woods as soon as possible.

    If you come to West Virginia, I'll give you some stuff to use. (We'll test it out in the Cranberry Wilderness.) I bet others would do the same. Consider becoming a temporary itinerant beggar. You can also learn heaps at group hangs. Fall MAHHA would be a great place to meet lots of fine people, refine your skills, and get psyched for your trip. That's in October. Can you manage 4 or 5 trips of three days or more between now and then?

  6. #6
    Senior Member XSrcing's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
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    I'd say the biggest thing you can do to prepare between now and then is to get yor diet in order. Food is the greatest medicine on the planet so make sure you are putting the highest quality in you that you can. I would suggest researching the primal/Paleo diet.

    Other than that enjoy it all!

  7. #7
    crackrbilly's Avatar
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    May 2012
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    OUTSTANDING, and welcome from Tenn.
    Ignorance is simply not knowing, Stupidity is knowing and not doing. "Stupidity should be painful"


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  8. #8
    Administrator Yukon's Avatar
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    Rock on! Good luck on the hike, and any questions just shoot, there is a WEALTH of information on this forum

  9. #9
    Senior Member Davigilante's Avatar
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    You are a warrior and inspiration to us all, Chuck!

    Enjoy your journey!
    ‟Im in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love.″ John Steinbeck

  10. #10
    Senior Member Resqsarge03's Avatar
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    Ditto to what dave said! I have sleep apnea too and have to rely on that **** machine every night. grrrrr
    Prior to using it, I would toss and turn all night and I got very little true rest. Now I find I actually can sleep on my back in one spot.
    Surprisingly, the hammock was a great way to sleep and wearing the CPAP in it was not an issue. I don't toss anymore and the hammock prevents the back pain I used to get at night. I have learned that the CPAP is difficult to use in cold weather outdoors due to condensation in the tube. Relying on power is a challenge too as battery packs are relatively short lived and heavy.
    So, for now, I continue my diet plan (30 pounds down so far wooo hoo) in the hopes that it will one day get me off that infernal machine.
    Try out your setup in your back yard or basement and sleep in it a few times. Make sure that is comfortable and realistic before you venture too far.
    I don't know much about this hammock thing, but I thank the Lord for Hammock Forums and all the wonderful information I've gotten here.
    -Sarge

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