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  1. #1
    Taozenqi's Avatar
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    Stormy weather...

    Being new to the hammock world, I am looking for some tips a/o advise to make hanging as comfortable (read dry) as possible during extended storm fronts. I have been canoeing & camping in the Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario north of the BWCA every year for the last 20 years during August. The black flies are gone and the mosquitoes are fine, past the 45 mins. around sunset, but we frequently get some lasting fronts of 3-4 days of rain. A tent provides some relief after a long day of paddling and fishing, but I can't really imagine the experience guiding strangers and newbies to the woods with hammocks and tarps. Would appreciate your sharing of past experiences and coping techniques....
    I'm not talking about sleeping here. I'm talking about being relatively dry during the down times when your butt, back, or arms want some relief from paddling and portaging.
    Where do you find reprieve from the wet? Where do you play cards during a downpour?

    P.S.- As a newbie to hanging, this site has been great in accelerating the learning curve. Thanks to all...
    Do you imagine the universe is agitated?
    Go into the desert at night and look out at the stars,
    This practice should answer the question... Lao Tzu

  2. #2
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    A big tarp is better than a tent b/c you can stand up in it, and you can lounge in your hammock as a chair rather than hunch over in a tent, etc. Near a group campsite, hammockers often find others congregating under their tarp b/c of this. Also, the tarp has so much better ventilation that a tent's condensation is not an issue, so a properly set up tarp can be much more comfortable than a closed up tent, even a double wall, especially when it's hot and muggy.

    Tips - if you're guiding a group, it might be worth having a large tarp just for a group area. Site selection can impact comfort a lot - find a sheltered location if possible, and pitch broadside to the wind if you expect a storm. Change the height of the tarp for the circumstances (higher for sunny and good ventilation, lower for warmer and wind protection). Use trekking poles to create a porch. Get a tarp book to see all kinds of other ideas. Here are a few more:
    http://www.tothewoods.net/HammockCampingDry.html
    “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

  3. #3
    Senior Member fin's Avatar
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    A large tarp. A Very Large Tarp. I call mine the B.A.T.. Look at Cooke Custom sewing, or OES. Brian at OES does custom work, and makes a dang nice product. I have the 10 x 14 CCS tarp, and it supplies more than enough room to keep dry during extended rains, and can be configured in many different ways. Piragis outfitters has a sale at the end of each season to get rid of their rental equipment - I picked up my CCS tarp there for half of what the new list price was. I didn't get a good picture at the NCT hangout, but the first two nights I set up with different configurations that allowed huge dry areas to one side of the hammock, and a wide open porch-like on the other side, like a baker hut type config, but not quite. We didn't get any rain when I had the tarp deployed, but I had a living room next to my hammock that you could easily have set up and played cards under. With a canoe, carrying that extra couple of ounces for a much larger tarp is not that big of a deal. I like all the options a larger tarp gives you, for not much weight. But we canoeists think a little differently than the gram counting thru-hikers here. That 10 x 14 has saved my bacon by keeping our loads dry as a group camp "cover" in the BWCA more than once. I have a larger, heavier 10 x 15 out of some custom waterproof blackout camo fabric that I had Brian make for me, but it hasn't been in the BWCA yet. That is why I had it made - the thing is bombproof, but heavy. Still not as heavy as the canvas we used to carry, though. No worries about that tarp failing on the 3rd day of a 5 day rain. Been there, done that, no fun at all living in a rain suit and everything soaked through.

  4. #4
    canoebie's Avatar
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    I have been taking groups on guided trips for 19 years, and I always carry a large rainfly just for the group, one that I can cook under if necessary. I carry a large outfitter rainfly made by Moss, now MSR, sold by Northwest River Supply, is nearly 20+ feet long and 15' wide. I had a group of 8 people on a fall colors trip, one of those notorious fronts moved in, 38 degrees, 35-40 mph winds, horizontal rain, sleet and snow. We hunkered down for three days under that with a fire in the center, cooked our hearts out with dutch ovens, made pies, lasagna, and enjoyed some libations. I had a 65 year old woman on that trip who had never camped in her life and just lost her husband. She said it made her realize she could do anything she wanted to do even without her husband. 6 months later she took a trip to China with a group of folks where she knew no one and had a great time.

    Others recall the trip with great joy. Shelter, being dry and well fed can make the most miserable of trips memorable and enjoyable.

    I will always carry a fly big enough for the entire group. It adds to community building, keeps people out of tents and hammocks and allows them to view and experience the out of doors in the worst of conditions with a sense of well being and assuredness as a group

    Makes cooking a helluva lot easier for me too.
    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.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Catching a pattern?

    As a hiker, every gram matters to me and I still gladly carry the extra weight of a large tarp during storm season. It's a no-brainer to me. I can have dry space set-up in about a minute, then I can eat, cook, read a book, take a nap, tell lies, whatever. Everybody needs at least one big gun in their collection. Just an opinion, but it's a good one.
    Trust nobody!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cannibal View Post
    ...tell lies, whatever. Everybody needs at least one big gun in their collection...
    Yeah - I'm catching a pattern...there are a lot of stories floating around on HF...some of them are pretty big...
    “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
    Taozenqi's Avatar
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    Thanks JustJeff . Really appreciate the detailed info. on your website re: tarp options, (esp. limitations and strengths of each), and suppliers.

    Thanks fin for the additional manufacturing options and websites.
    Do you imagine the universe is agitated?
    Go into the desert at night and look out at the stars,
    This practice should answer the question... Lao Tzu

  8. #8
    I sense quite a few replies from people who underestimate BWCA flies and mosquitos.
    I also use a tarp during rainy/down time, and I ditch the gram-pinching and pack in a Thermacell. Fairly effective on flies and great on mosquitos, but your best bet is to always play the wind and terrain for best bug control.
    DEET plus food =

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