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  1. #21
    Senior Member sir White Wolf's Avatar
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    Lesson learned:

    When in a hurry to get out of the rain and into a Jungle Hammock style hammock, Make sure the laying area is not folded up.
    If it is and you flip over and land suspended in mid air by the bug netting Freeze! do not struggle!
    Slowly find the opening and roll out on to the ground and yell Taa Daa !
    And when you upright your self tell every one you were testing out the tensile strength of bug netting

  2. #22
    Senior Member
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    Used my tent once last year

    My decision to move to a hammock was made in May 2007. I was NOBO on the Superior Hiking Trail in the Caribou Trail area. Temperatures were in the 50's, and rain was coming down all day long. Pouring. I had poor raingear at the time, a Goretex running suit that kept me wet and cold all day long.

    I pulled into the Spruce Creek campsite around 5PM, set up my SD Hyperlite tent in one of the only somewhat level spots in that site, filtered water before hypothermia rendered me useless and crawled into my tent.

    All night long the rain flowed under my tent. Though it didn't seep through the floor, the water was cold enough to cause condensation on it and it got very wet inside. I stayed reasonably dry on my thermarest, but that night I decided "there has to be a better way". Sleeping on the cold, wet, sloped ground just didn't seem to make sense.

    Shug and I have commiserated about that campsite. There's just something spooky about it. Its very pretty, very wet and damp and mossy and all with the creek running through it, but its dark and foreboding.

    It took me a while to bone up on hammocks, but now I have the religion.

    OTOH, I did tent one night last summer. I was driving back from Oregon and spent a couple of days backpacking in Teddy Roosevelt National Park. Where do you see a spot to hang a hammock in this photo?


    My old Hyperlite worked just great on the Prairie.

    I appreciate FishinFinn's and other stories about hammocking in the BWCA. I don't think there's another spot in North America that cries out more for a hammock. When I did my Border Route through-hike in May '08 my HH was perfect. There's hardly a campsite on the trail, but trees everywhere!

    FWIW,

    --Kurt

  3. #23
    Senior Member fin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwpapke View Post
    I appreciate FishinFinn's and other stories about hammocking in the BWCA. I don't think there's another spot in North America that cries out more for a hammock.
    I would have to agree. Some of the prettiest campsites, too! Nothing like hanging at the head of an island, water on 3 sides, loons crying out in the night and moose mucking around. And lots of rocky ground that you wouldn't put a tent on, but is beautiful for a hammock; even if a river starts running beneath your bed in the middle of the night.

  4. #24
    canoebie's Avatar
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    In 1995 a buddy of mine and I developed a tradition of closing our canoeing season with a Veteran's day weekend trip of three days. The second weekend in November in Michigan can be varied, it is the weekend before gun season, so it is absolutely the last opportunity for a while. It is also the most volatile weekend from a weather perspective because the difference between the ambient air temperature and the Great Lakes water temperature is often at it's peak. The second week of November is when the majoriety of Great Lakes shipwrecks have occured, including the infamous Edmund Fitzgerald.

    The first year it got cold, but no precip and pretty uneventful. We did notice a lot of condensation on our tents however, and just decided to sleep on the ground on tarps under a fly instead. Little did I know I was moving toward the hammock concept.

    The second year, we turned on the weather radio the first night to hear there was a winter storm warning. We awoke the next morning, I emerged from my tent, zippers frozen and difficult to open, to see 6 inches of snow, wind and white out conditions. Winds were clocked at about 40 mph. We needed to get closer to our cars, so we ate some oatmeal and took off.

    After fighting the high winds, we were each paddling solo, and dodging trees falling into the river from the weight of the snow, really scary!, we decided to take a break at a landing. With about a foot of snow on the ground, 18 degrees, 40mph winds, we decided we were warmer paddling than "breaking" so we took off. That was a mistake. We should have eaten and drank water.

    The next stretch of water was very open, straight into the wind, and the toughest paddle I have ever done. I have done many. I literally crawled into the bottom of the canoe got as low as i could, looked at the bottom so I would not be blinded by the snow and cranked on that paddle for all I was worth, trying to keep low to reduce wind resistance.

    We finally got into a protected area, and decided to eat and drink. Upon hopping up on shore, I tried to tie off my boat, and I could not remember how to tie ANY knot!! Not only that, I did not care and literally thought about throwing the painter into the canoe and watching it float away. I had serious hypothermia going on. I turned to my partner and said "If things don't get better, we are staying here." We each drank a quart of water, ate a bag of ginger snap cookies, a bag of buttered croissants, and drank yet even more water while huddled under a white pine for protection from the wind.

    We got rejuvenated, paddled another three hours to camp. That night we gathered firewood in 2 feet of snow. By the time we had reached camp, the snow had drifted in my canoe nearly up to the bottom of my knee caps. We built a big fire, ate steaks, baked potatoes, without the use of dishes or utensils. We literally dipped the whole potato into the sour cream and ate and ate. That night we laid on a tarp, no tent, with a fly overhead and watched the sky clear, a full moon rose over the horizon and the world was nothing but sparkling white diamonds reflecting the light of the moon. We slept hard and long. We gave up our tents for good on that trip.

    The next day was quiet, clear and cold. As we paddled, every limb, every leaf was covered with white and it was incredibly beautiful. We got to the take out and had to pull our canoes like sleds because we could not carry them. We had left our vehicles at a rest area on a major highway and we got some crazy looks from people as we pulled our canoes to our cars full of gear. Snow was up to the hood and trunk on my old 1981 Cadillac Coupe DeVille. Looked great cruising down the highway with two Old Town's on top. It was a fine canoeing vehicle. We shoveled it out.

    That experience taught me the value of having openness in cold air because condensation is the real enemy, not cold. It also taught me the necessity of frequent eating and drinking in cold environments to prevent hypothermia. It also taught me that losing judgement is very easy to do when cold, and I now understand why there are documented cases of people with hypothermia shedding all their clothes, only to walk away and die.

    I can now hang in 2 ft. of snow, don't worry about condensation, don't worry about the cold snow under me. And to this day, every now and then, I enjoy a steak with my hands, and dip a baked potato right into the sour cream and eat it.
    Revolution is about the need to re-evolve political, economic and social justice and power back into the hands of the people, preferably through legislation and policies that make human sense. That's what revolution is about. Revolution is not about shootouts.

    Bobby Seale


    http://www.riverjourneys.org

  5. #25
    Senior Member E.A.Y.'s Avatar
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    my own personal camping water bed

    I wish I'd known about hammock camping some years ago.
    I was car camping with a bunch of people and had borrowed a big 4 man old-style canvas tent with a waterproof bathtub type floor. This was an old family style tent where all the poles (external) met at the middle, above the peak of the tent. There was a pole at each corner of the tent.
    Since I did not have any camping equipment I just grabbed the futon off my bed and threw it in the car with my guitar and a bag of clothes.
    Set up my camp on a nice flat spot and threw guitar, futon, and duffel bag in the tent. Went off to hang out with my friends for a cookout. It was raining a little bit but hey, why worry?
    Time and single malt went by and it rained harder and harder. When the dining-fly stakes started pulling out, I figured I'd better get back and check my borrowed tent.
    I found my tent in a very large puddle, about 6" deep.
    I waded up to the door of the tent, imagining a 210 pound soaking wet futon, a ruined guitar and a duffle full of sopping clothes.
    The elderly but intact bathtub floor was floating on the 6" deep puddle of water under the tent - futon, guitar and duffle were all high and dry! I carefully crawled into the tent (it was like a waterbed - very strange) and evacuated my stuff into someone's nearby car, pulled up the tent stakes, and got 3 people to help me (one on each pole) to carry the tent - pitched still on the poles - to higher ground.
    Went back to the party, helped knock collected rain off the tarp, and ate dinner.
    Turned out that the whole campground was built on reclaimed swampland. The nice flat spot I found was part of the flood plain for the roadside ditches.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Rushthezeppelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eay View Post
    I wish I'd known about hammock camping some years ago.
    I was car camping with a bunch of people and had borrowed a big 4 man old-style canvas tent with a waterproof bathtub type floor. This was an old family style tent where all the poles (external) met at the middle, above the peak of the tent. There was a pole at each corner of the tent.
    Since I did not have any camping equipment I just grabbed the futon off my bed and threw it in the car with my guitar and a bag of clothes.
    Set up my camp on a nice flat spot and threw guitar, futon, and duffel bag in the tent. Went off to hang out with my friends for a cookout. It was raining a little bit but hey, why worry?
    Time and single malt went by and it rained harder and harder. When the dining-fly stakes started pulling out, I figured I'd better get back and check my borrowed tent.
    I found my tent in a very large puddle, about 6" deep.
    I waded up to the door of the tent, imagining a 210 pound soaking wet futon, a ruined guitar and a duffle full of sopping clothes.
    The elderly but intact bathtub floor was floating on the 6" deep puddle of water under the tent - futon, guitar and duffle were all high and dry! I carefully crawled into the tent (it was like a waterbed - very strange) and evacuated my stuff into someone's nearby car, pulled up the tent stakes, and got 3 people to help me (one on each pole) to carry the tent - pitched still on the poles - to higher ground.
    Went back to the party, helped knock collected rain off the tarp, and ate dinner.
    Turned out that the whole campground was built on reclaimed swampland. The nice flat spot I found was part of the flood plain for the roadside ditches.
    How did a whole futon mattress and guitar float Interesting story though for sure

  7. #27
    Senior Member Iafte's Avatar
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    I went on a week long trip with friends, my first long distance trip with a hammock. We bailed before the end of the trip due to 3 out of the 4 of us having pains, funny that me with 2 bad knees was the only one not hurting, so we bar hopped our way home. First night we hung out in the small town we hiked to. We setup under the pavilion where they have thier town activities. I hung from the supports.

    Second night we stopped at a bar me and my one buddy found that has great food and great people. After drinking from 4pm until close, with a prairie fire(Shot of Jameson with Tabasco) tossed in with the local who just turned 21 , I slept in the bed of my buddies truck. Needless to say, I was sore most of the next day. Only slept a few hours and wished I had scoped out two trees before I started drinking.
    Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. ~Steven Wright

  8. #28
    Senior Member E.A.Y.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rushthezeppelin View Post
    How did a whole futon mattress and guitar float Interesting story though for sure
    i suppose the force of the futon + guitar was not quite equal to the ability of the water to deform.
    Anyway, it was quite a sight to see a futon bobbing on the floor of a tent, but still dry.
    Big green waterbed, that tent floor was.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Ewker's Avatar
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    Here is a story about my first two times in a hammock. I bought one of those Sportsman Guides hammocks that were popular on here a few yrs ago.

    I went to Neo's first Mid-Ten hammock gathering. He helped me setup it up and we tied it off to the trees. I had to get in it to make sure I didn't hit the ground when it stretched. He had to move it up higher on the tree. Due to the weather I just threw the bug netting back over out of the way. We hung the tarp then and had to use some bungie cords to secure it to the tree.

    That evening I crawled into the hammock and used my sleeping bag as a quilt which works quite well. I used an Insul Mat Max Pad under me. I kept sliding all night towards the foot end of the hammock. Eventually most of it was jammed up in the netting so i had to pull it back under me. I went back to sleep until nature called. I finally managed to get myself out of the hammock and go. Got back in the hammock and went to sleep. Sometime later on I caught myself before I flipped the hammock over. I could feel myself starting to flip and managed to get one leg out onto the ground to keep me from going all the way over.

    The next night was a little better but I still never got comfortable in it. I haven't used that hammock since.

    I bought a Speer hammock after that. My first night in it had to be the worse night ever. I have slept in shelter floors and felt better than I did that night. I have used it again after talking to Ed about what happened. My best night sleep was at Ed's hammock gathering in Hot Springs a few yrs ago. Ed put the hammock up for me which is why I probably slept good that night.
    There are times that the only way you can do something is alone – that waiting on the convenience of others means that a lot of opportunities will pass you by
    Spirit Walker

    Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” ― Mark Twain

    Who cares about showers, gourmet food, using flush toilets. Just keep on walking and being away from it all.

  10. #30
    Senior Member
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    My first mountain rescue, back in the old days, wool stuff nothing fancy ... I'm the junior guy on the team, the mule ... rope, gear, med stuff, personal stuff for the victims what ever else needed to be carried. Team leader was the brains, radio guy and navigator kibitzed while I tried to keep up.

    We were the deep high probability team and hoped to connect in mid PM. The other teams worked containment. All day in sleet, freezing rain, dense soaked underbrush with appropriate names like Devil's Club and Slide Alder slimy moss lichen covered cliffs, tangles and downed trees and slopes in mid December. Snow up to 2-3 feet in places. Rotten stuff.

    But we were on their trail. About 330 or so a chopper flying the river ahead of us spotted the two as they ran into the water and picked them up. We got a delayed call to find a clearing so the chopper could pick us up before dark. Chopper flew over and marked us with the radio to help direct us to a clearing ... like I said this was in the old days when a lot of former Vietnam pilots flew MR ... he should've been on the ground in that weather in the mountains but he was there for us too .... the only team out there now.

    We moved fast but couldn't make it.

    It was night so I whipped out my tiny 2 person tent and a bivy sack and prepared for a shivery night....w damp clothing. It wasn't so cold in the tent since NONE of them brought any overnight gear and all four of us tried to sleep in the tent.

    A few hours later I woke to a powerful sense of claustiphobia (sp) and inability to breathe. A partial moon came out since the sleet stopped, I kicked the snow from the lee side of a big log at the edge of THE CLEARING ... and slept until crunching and heavy breathing woke me. A small herd of elk grazed about 20 yards away. By then body heat dried me and the rest of the night was a blank.

    No rescue for us ... we came out the next day as we went in.

    A hammock for me would've been OK but colder. But for the rest of the team it would've been a solitary cold experience well into the unpleasant range...I probably could've started a fire (yes even in that crap) if needed.

    Unless otherwise directed we are supposed to take food and stuff for a couple days but climbers are a notoriously independent bunch. I became a minor hero newbie for about 2 weeks for bailing out a few hot shot butts ... and they got to be the butt of some jokes.
    "There's no accounting for other people's taste in love, fiction and huntin' dogs." ---Mark Twain

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