Milsurp poncho as rainfly?
First, very cool forum look forward to learning from what others are doing.
Anyhow I recently came across a m1966 hammock in my local milsurp store and couldn't pass it up for the price. It had an instruction sheet with it and everything appears there with it.
The design calls for a poncho to be used as the fly though. I know modern army ponchos are ripstop so I was wondering if anyone has any input on this as a concept? I love the idea of the fly doubling as rainwear.
Here is a video of a guy doing exactly what I am talking about:
Interesting idea on using poles to spread the ends open without using tie outs to stakes.... the hammock looks MIGHTY short though.... may be too short for my comfort. I personally would pitch the army poncho in a diamond format with two stakes and lines, but this one looks interesting nonetheless. My advice would be to test the M66 hammock in your back yard if you can, and see if you really are comfortable in it..if not, there's the Mini Spreader Bars or attaching rope clews to the ends to make the hammock feel longer by widening the ends and pushing the suspension points further apart
Originally Posted by CamoDeafie82
I think I agree with you for the most part. The way he hangs it is literally how the army recommended to do it. The dimensions on that hammock are 8' long and 2' 8 1/2" wide (at least mine). As far as I can tell though the standard army poncho dimensions are 5'8"X6'2" Seems like you would be shorting yourself some cover if you hung it up as he showed.
There is another video on youtube that is to long in my opinion where he uses cut down trees in both ends of that hammock to go spreader style. However his weather cover is some sort of DIY thing that I couldn't make out. It looked like it might have been some sort of cheap poncho he modded to work in a similar fashion.
Another thing to note is they used drip rings on the lines for this hammock. They are in that video but he never touched on them. Basically they look like large rubber washers fixed on the ropes that pull up toward the tree. I assume as rain gets on the rope it runs down and then drips off once it hits that disc.
8'? that is much shorter than my DIY hammock (103") and my gf's GT UL.... (9 ft)....hmm.
Coming from a more bushcrafty back ground I can attest that it'll work just fine, my first hammocking trips were basicly the British version of this. It wont be as light, comfortable and there are issues with being stuck under the tarp in the rain because you'll have no rain gear.
The important thing is just to go out and get hanging and learn the craft, all the skills will help you decided if and when you'd upgrade to more modern kit
I cannot watch the video as I am on the work computer but I can speak to using military ponchos as a rainfly. I was an Infantryman in the US Army for 12 years, 8 of it Airborne and most of the time in Alaska.
We used to use military issue, ripstop ponchos extensively for "field expedient" shelters. The can be rigged almost any way imaginable as long as they are kept tight and higher in the middle than on the sides. We also found that two, per man, are necessary. They snap together so make sure the top snapped one is "upslope" from the undersnapped poncho. This way the water does not run under the lip and into your shelter. Some simple, thin, long bungees work best with them. The kind with rubber coated hooks.
I used mine, quite often with my first hammock, an old AAFES nylon "net" hammock. I loved that thing. It could be used for so much besides just sleeping in. At one point I was actually carrying two of them! One for sleeping in and one for...well, anything else. They made especially good bear caches. Just load your chow in, tie some 550 cord to it, toss it over a high tree limb and hoist away.
After I got out I tried a "hiking tent" and discarded it quickly, opting to keep using my two ponchos.
I was kept from doing much of any backcountry, overnight things for about a decade by reconstructive leg surgery and am just now getting back into it. I have tried to keep my gear in good order but, somewhere along the way, my two ponchos have vanished. I suspect my daughter swiped them when she was stationed in Alaska with the Coast Guard! That is ok, I shall make her pick me up two more at Clothing and Sales the next time I am on base with her.
Until then, I am reduced to using one of these crappy "tarp" thingys. It is nowhere near as good no matter what fancy name it has on it.
Oh I forgot to say I also have an ENO double nest this is more curiosity than anything. This is the setup they used in the Vietnam war.
Believe it or not though this hammock and it's rigging are around 10oz lighter than the double nest and atlas straps. Packs smaller as well, but I imagine not quite as comfortable. I don't know I have not been able to get out to try it yet.
CoreyR: Do you remember them being pretty lightweight being made out of ripstop? Seems like for size they wouldn't weigh to much, carrying 2 doesn't seem that bad.
Here is a scan of the directions. Really wish they didn't poorly write the price in permanent marker on it.
Loren, I do not know the exact weight of the military ponchos. Compared to our mortars or a radio? They weighed nothing. Compared to modern, civilian gear and measured in ounces? They would probably be considered "heavy." I also think that they are well worth a few extra ounces when you consider how rugged they are, and how inexpensive, compared to what is out there today. IMHO
hmm I will have to try the spreader bar trick for one of my shelters...might be a good way to not need stakes/lines....alternatively, one could do a two-pole cross-over mod like the Alpha Tent shown here with an USGI poncho?
I'm not sure how it would work if you put it up as a ridge line A-frame first, but seeing how other people have done it with hex shaped tarps, it's a possibility?