I felt you on your way here......sector seven secure!
Originally Posted by Matt65
It's been more than 20 years since I spent the night in a hammock. Back then it was a matter of I was the only one with a hammock, one of the cheap net style ones.
Me and a couple friends would 'camp out' in the back yard. We would stay in the tent until sometime around midnight, and then it was off to the river for fishing. We would fish for a while and then I would usually sleep in my hammock and the others would sleep next to the fire. (boy do I miss those days...)
Now I want to get out and do some more backpacking so getting back to my hammock roots just makes sense.
I just love being in the outdoors. If it weren't for the responsibilities of life I would spend all my time enjoying the beautiful wild country we are all blessed to share. Hiking, mountain biking, camping I do it all and I wanted a lighter, faster, easier set up then ground camping and like everyone else I was sick of sleeping on the ground.
By the way I'm from Nanaimo, BC, Canada and i'm always looking for new people to go adventuring with if anyone is in my area.
I camp / hike during the fall, winter, and spring as much as i can. I use to carry a 2 man tent, sleepingbag, pillow, lots of weight...
then bought a walmart "net" hammock and i was sold.....
Jerry the Hiker
What made me leave the ground
I started backpacking in high school and we used to just bring a plastic (vapor barrier) tarp for shelter. I loved those light weight days even the experimenting with different tarp configs (some even worked) but hated the problems with water on the ground after it ran off your tarp.
When I had more money I purchased tents and sleeping pads in search of a comfortable sleep and was reasonably happy. Although sleeping on roots and rock and occasional ground water troubles, muddy tents and heavy poles left me wanting a better system.
Now that I am advancing in age (45), I am trying to find ways to lighten my load and was looking at bivy sacks and tarps to reduce weight. I live in northern Ontario, Canada where our provincial bird is the mosquito so I wasn't thrilled with the thought of going back to a tarp and feeding the "birds".
Then I discovered hammocks. lurked here for a year, watched many videos on Youtube and finally pulled the trigger on a Hennesey Asym Exp Zip.
Slept in it for the first time last night and I'm hooked.
"Leave nothing but footprints" is much easier when you sleep in a hammock.
Woke up in water too many times in a tent. Now a river can flow under my sleep area and I really don't care.
In a tent I would wake up well before dawn in pain. In a hammock I have to bring an alarm clock or I oversleep because it's sinfully comfortable.
My first night in a hammock.
Hello hammock forums. I just spent my first official night in a DIY hammock, and I wanted to give credit where it is due as well a let other noobs know what worked for me. This ended up a longer post than I hoped, sorry about that.
First I'll answer the question in this threads sticky post:
What made me a "hanger"?
I was originally in the market for a solo backpacking tent. One day I made a hammock out of cordage (cargo net style). I found it very comfortable, but it took a long time to make and had too much bulk to pack. I also came to the realization that it's much more difficult to find a chunk of land suitable for a tent than it is to find a pair trees.
After some podcasts pointed me to a few hammock brands, I did a little research. I found the commercial hammocks rather pricey for my budget. I liked the idea of the book and DIY kit from Speer, and I found websites that referenced Speers book and much more. In particular, Just Jeff's hiking page was a tremendous resource, as well as these forums and the youtube videos made by it members.
In the end, my current hammock is 1.9 oz ripstop nylon. I hemmed all four sides, and gathered the ends into knots. I have more faith in the knot than I do a whipping.
I took two lenghts of cord and tied bowlines on one end of each. I used the bowlines to attach the cord to the hammock ends via a larks head. I just used some cheap poly rope I had on hand. It's ok for now, but I will swap it out for amsteel or sheathed spectra as my budget allows. The poly rope is strong enough, but it is difficult to untie knots and it shows signs of wear very quickly.
At the tree end I went with 2" poly webbing. I will swap this out for 1" webbing, because 2" is more difficult to handle. I bought 2" because it was not weight rated so I figured wider would be a safer bet for now. I made two 6' webbing tree straps. On one end of each, I put a loop by folding the end over and tying a figure 8 knot. I wrap this around the tree and pass the free end through the loop, and proceed to turn that free end into a marlinspike hitch using 5/8" dowel pieces as toggles.
To attach the hammock cord to the marlinspike, I used loops of cord attached to ring buckles via a larks head. The loops were made from spectra using double fishermans knots. The spectra was unsheathed, but it held the knots just fine. I used a garda hitch to attach the hammock to the buckles, and secured the garda with a half hitch. I tried using my unsheathed spectra from the hammock to the rings, but it was to slipery to hold a gadra hitch.
If your a noob like me and anything here is vague, google Just Jeff's camping page, and search youtube for Professor Hammock, and also Shugemery.
A few additional things...
I got some bug net material from my aunt. It worked well, but couldn't handle the stresses involved and ripped. I have no idea what type of net it was, but make sure you give your net a good tug before you buy it. Since this was a test run, all I did was fold the ends and clip them shut with binder clips, and one binder clip holding it shut underneath my shoulders. The stretch of the net took care of the rest.
I think I'm a structural ridgeline man, but I used a non structural ridgeline for my first night out, mostly because of my limited cordage. I wanted something adjustable, so I could experiment with different lengths. I made two prussik loops to attach to my suspension, allowing me to move it around easily as I experimented. I attached a ridgeline using buntline hitches. My original prussik loops were made from unsheathed spectra, which would slip under load. I made new loops using cheap poly cord that I did not trust to hold the weight for a structural line. Therefore, I slacked it out as a non-structural line. The prussik loops were invaluable, as I could get in and out of the hammock and try different lengths quickly.
Finally, a bandana with opposite corners tied over the ridgeline made for a great gear pocket, and my bladder bag hung on the suspension with the bite valve fed through the bug net and clipped to the ridgeline with a caribiner supplied me with refreshment in the middle of the night.
The final word - I need to keep working with my bug net and ridgeline. I also need to make my hammock longer. I followed the principle of "2 feet longer than you are tall" but I think I didn't compensate enough for the hem and knot. Even after a few attempts, I will have spent way less than a commercial hammock costs. And it way more rewarding.
Last edited by clockbroke; 07-01-2011 at 02:45.
I slept on the ground for two decades and enjoyed every bit of it. I learned very quickly that this would no longer work on backpacking trips after having rotator cuff surgery. I began a search for alternatives on the web and that led me to SGT. Rock's site. One paycheck later I was sleeping the trail again... or slightly above it. Four years later I still love my HH.
I've always been a ground camper but since taking up hiking and watching Shug's videos ALOT, I've decided that this may be the best route to go light and still be comfortable on the trails.
Prefers life at 12 MPH.
I've been bike camping fairly regularly for about six months now, and I found myself looking to upgrade my (admittedly cheap, heavy, and outdated) surplus store pup tent in order to reduce my payload. So, naturally, I looked to the internet for ideas.
After several searches around at tent/bivy prices, weights, and sizes, I stumbled across Sgt. Rock's homepage. I was sold on the idea of a hammock that kept you dry and bug-free immediately. The heat down here in Florida gets to be something fierce for about six months out of the year, so the extra cooling "problems" associated with hammocks are actually a large plus for me.
That, plus the four-pound weight and two hundred or so cubic inches of volume that my Hennessey is saving me over the tent I had, is amazing.
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