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  1. #1
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Discuss - Can a Hammock Make a Good Extreme Winter Shelter?

    Hey guys - here's an article I wrote in May '06 but never got around to posting it. So here it is...what do you think?

    http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ad.php?p=81136
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  2. #2
    Doctari's Avatar
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    Very nice.

    To ME, it was preaching to the convinced because I already think of my hammock & tarp set up as a "4 season shelter", but now I can point my friends to this to show I'm not the only one. Thanks!
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, you’re home.
    PAIN is INEVITABLE. MISERY is OPTIONAL.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Yeah...like I said, getting to low temps is just a matter of having enough gear. But four seasons in Shenandoah isn't the same as four seasons in the High Sierras or on Mt Washington. Having back-up plans and good training are a must if you're really in rough conditions!
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

    - My site: http://www.tothewoods.net/
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    IMPOSSIBLE JUST TAKES LONGER

  4. #4
    Darby's Avatar
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    Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pathetic Poor Performance (family version). I think our hi-tech world has really helped outdoor sports (ie: gear, clothing, etc.) but at the same time we see people depend too heavily on hi-tech toys without basic knowledge of the fundamentals. JMHO
    Beer won't solve problems, but then again, neither will milk !
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  5. #5
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Yep, there is four season ( cold ) and then there is FOUR season - very high winds, blowing snow coming up and under a tarp. Or maybe snapping a tarp guy line. Or a snow loaded tree branch breaking and puncturing your tarp, or worse.

    I have mountaineered in 4 season tents and snow caves. I have yet to become equally at ease with a tarp under conditions that would really call for the above. We all know of folks who have had to lean their bodies against tent poles on small 4 season tents to keep them from collapsing. How would we handle that in a tarp? I don't for a minute think I could, so going to ground, maybe with some additional shelter options ( bivy, or prepared for snow cave/trench, ability to keep insulation bone dry or synthetic) would seem to be a requirement if a quick bail out is not an option.

    I had a friend who got the foot of his down bag wet in a 4 season tent once. Rained all night, not high and dry in a hammock, some water got in the foot of the tunnel tent some how. My WPB down bag stayed dry, but his got wet. Then while hiking all the next day in the rain, most of his clothes got wet, in a freak occurrence. As he bent down to stake the tent, his suspenders snapped, allowing his Patagonia rain pants to pop open at the rear forming a funnel. All just as a lightning strike hit close by, the skys went from drizzle to down pour and a small water fall suddenly appeared, pouring off of the rock he was pitching the tent by, and funneling right down his pants, all in under a minute. That night after the front passed, it fell to 15*F, and he had quite the miserable night. Which was fortunately our last night of tat trip. It is amazing the stuff that can happen if you are out there long enough, and this was only Sept, not even winter!

    In a hammock he would have had a better chance of keeping his bag dry I feel, since he would have been off the ground. But with blowing snow, this advantage might not be there. Not to mention that when dealing with high winds, it is much easier to block the wind in a low to the ground 4 season tent.

    So, mountain winter storms, far from a trailhead, definitely require some additional planning if in a hammock under a tarp. A lot more so than just real cold temps do.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  6. #6
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob58 View Post
    ...As he bent down to stake the tent, his suspenders snapped, allowing his Patagonia rain pants to pop open at the rear forming a funnel. All just as a lightning strike hit close by, the skys went from drizzle to down pour and a small water fall suddenly appeared, pouring off of the rock he was pitching the tent by, and funneling right down his pants, all in under a minute. That night after the front passed, it fell to 15*F, and he had quite the miserable night...
    Holy crap - that's some bad karma! What did this guy do, kick puppies?! Cut in front of veterans at the grocery store?

    I think in nearly every case of rain, a hammock will be more comfortable and dry. When the winds are strong enough to collapse tents they may be strong enough to take down tarps as well, so that's probably a tie.

    Tarptents are an excellent step in the right direction. I think a winter tarp would solve most of the dry snow blowing under the tarp issue...but they also present a large face to the wind. So again - they're probably good enough for most four season trips on the east coast. And to be fair, I probably could have found a more protected site at Winnemucca so I wouldn't have had to go to ground...but we were testing gear! (There were ~4 of us from BGT that weekend...have to make some sacrifices in the name of science!)

    I wonder about those geodesic beach setups that were posted recently. Cut down the weight and stake them down...might be worth splitting the weight between 3 people if you could fit 3 hammocks in there.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

    - My site: http://www.tothewoods.net/
    - Designer, Jeff's Gear Hammock / Pack Cover by JRB

    IMPOSSIBLE JUST TAKES LONGER

  7. #7
    hey, how bout a sock under a winter tarp? that would solve snow blowing in from underneath. then all you gotta worry about is the integrity of your pull tabs. a good large tarp should have heavy duty pull tabs for exactly this reason, there could be strong winds in any season really, but the consequenses of pull tab failure are just more severe in winter conditions obviously. setting up a tarp in cold heavy wind is still a problem, but setting up a 4 season tent in similar conditions isn't exactly easy either, as if you are truly in severe windy freezing conditions you probably want to guy out the tent with several lines as well. something like the fig 9 mini's might be worth using in conditions like these even if you don't otherwise, just to get the job done and get out of the elements quicker and require less dexterity as well, something you might not have for long if you have to take your gloves off to tie a knot in 1.75mm line.


    those structural geodesic domes did look pretty cool, could you set them up on uneven ground though?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    After the Winnemucca trip is when I made the first hammock sock, just for that reason. I think it would certainly help in many conditions. If you can back yourself up with a snow cave or trench, a longer winter trip probably do-able with a good tarp and some sort of bivy or sock. I had plans for a wpb sock but never perfected my design enough to spend the money on material.

    Good question on the uneven ground...I don't know. But if there's snowpack you could always dig it level.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

    - My site: http://www.tothewoods.net/
    - Designer, Jeff's Gear Hammock / Pack Cover by JRB

    IMPOSSIBLE JUST TAKES LONGER

  9. #9
    Doctari's Avatar
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    In my hammock, Old configuration & Better new config - I have withstood: 50+ MPH wind gusts on several trips & at home, freezing rain [pic somewhere here at HF], 6" - 8" snow already on the ground where I was surrounded by a snowman army [pic somewhere here at HF], temps down to at least 13 deg, etc. I have to say, the hammock sock has made a HUGE difference in the severity of conditions I can comfortably hang in, & what I can safely hang in (not so comfortable, but I lived).

    So, yea, I suppose I have only done "four season", not "FOUR SEASON". And yes, I do have a plan for (heaven forbid) going to ground, or at least getting closer to it.

    Someday I would love to at least try FOUR SEASON, , , , ,
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, you’re home.
    PAIN is INEVITABLE. MISERY is OPTIONAL.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Yep - heaven forbid we'll have to go to ground. We're almost there, especially if you can find a sheltered site, which is probably most cases. I guess it'll never be true mountaineering since you can't hang above timberline (rocks and boulders excluded)...but it's close!

    I'd like to see a hammock on Everest.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

    - My site: http://www.tothewoods.net/
    - Designer, Jeff's Gear Hammock / Pack Cover by JRB

    IMPOSSIBLE JUST TAKES LONGER

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