Eastern Great Lakes Hang - Winter 2011 - Trip Report
Just came back from a quick overnight hang north of Hamilton Ontario with a group of hardcore winter-camping hammock forum members.
Ontario Winter Hang 2011 - Valen's Conservation Area - Feb 18-20
Well I have to start by saying I did somehow manage to squeeze two days of fun into one.
I couldn’t get off work Friday, so what should have been a two night hang, Friday and Saturday, was shortened to only one. The winds all day Friday were pretty strong, but in the middle of the night, sleeping in my comfy bed, the winds really picked up. The windows were shaking and things were flying around on my balcony and all I could think "Good God!!! There's a poor hammocker out there in this!!!" With visions of shredded tarp flapping over the frozen remains of a hammock entombed corpse, I rolled over and went back to sleep.
After a busy morning at home, I was motoring down the highway towards the hang and was a little dismayed by the low clouds, flurries and howling wind. I managed to pull into the Valen's conservation area at about 3:30 pm. I was the last to arrive but was still quite surprised to see a small cluster of tarps and hammocks strung out amongst the trees and half a dozen guys, all alive and well, standing around a roaring fire, chatting and laughing like old friends.
I quickly introduced myself and wandered off to set up my rig. With the prevailing wind out of the Northwest, I chose to set up a little way away from the group in the relative shelter of some pines. I slung my custom Hennessy and full-length 4-season DIY under quilt as low to the ground as possible and managed to stake out my DIY tarp and beaks with my D-rings in the dirt. I was "battened down" and ready for a repeat of the hurricane the area experienced the night before.
Once my rig was set, I wandered over to the fire and just had a great time meeting a solid bunch of like-minded nutters. It was good to see BrianWillan, of Bon Echo fame, again. I heard the "Legend of Deep Thought"; the story of a lonely hammocker forced to brave gale-force winds (100 kmh winds), with tarps straining and trees coming down all around. We walked over to check out stress points on his DIY Tyvek tarp and he showed me the small tree that had come down beside him in the wee hours of the morning, forcing a sensible relocation. It was clear that if he hadn't strung up a second tarp to windward to act as a windbreak, he would have lost the whole rig! But he was smiling as he said it, so all was good.
Soon the sun was drifting towards the tree line and preparation began for dinner. [o]TTer's DIY tripod and kettle graced the fire and it wasn't long before the grill was covered with kebabs, hotdogs and shrimp skewers. It was a feast, with everybody happily sharing what they had brought like some kind of family picnic.
Dusk turned to night and a bright moon, one day past full, lit the campground. We joked around for a few more hours and then decided to call it a night.
The afternoon winds had died down, so hopefully we'd get a peaceful sleep. Back at my rig I wriggled into my down sleeping bag, balled up my wool sweater as a pillow and drifted off to sleep. I woke a couple of times in the night with cool feet or face, but I just kicked my footpad back into place, flipped my sweater up over my head or snuggled into the mummy bag's generous down hood. A great night's sleep, and that was at -10C!!!
Waking around dawn, I was too cozy to move, but eventually I heard voices and forced myself to get up. I quickly packed up and ten minutes later, there was no sign I had ever been there.
The guys were all setting about packing up or making some hot drinks. The seed was planted for a spring/summer canoe hang in Algonquin and over an hour seven had turned to five, five to four, three and eventually only two of us were left. With home and family on my mind, I hopped in my car and waved goodbye to one last, very content looking hammocker by the fire, enjoying his last sips of tea and doing a last bit of packing.
A good time was had by all!!!
P.S., although I didn't take any photos, I'm counting on the shutterbugs in the group to post their best shots!!!
Sector Two is secure!!!
Last edited by Chard; 02-20-2011 at 19:09..
One over zealous member of the group got there on Friday to grab the preferred site for hanging hammocks. On this particular site it was quite evident that who ever planted the trees many years ago must have been a hammock hanger. They were all nicely space 4 strides apart in almost perfectly straight rows. Hanging another 10 hammocks at this site would have been no problem. There were lots of options even for the 7 hammocks that were hung to begin with.
On Friday, there were wicked winds blowing all day and night and from reports of the lone hanger, he did well right up until he heard a couple of trees topple over at the back of the site. This prompted a 4AM relocation of his hammock closer to the front of the site to give him piece of mind. I will let Deep Though elaborate on that.
I was the first to arrive on Saturday morning at about 10:30 AM. Chatted with Deep Thought for a bit and set to picking out my hammock site. I choose to hang parallel with the prevailing wind direction and closed in the windward facing end of my OGEE tarp in boat hull fashion to cause the wind to split down either side of my tarp. This worked pretty well. I also choose to hang my tarp over the ridgeline and much closer to the ground.
Slowly throughout the day the other winter hangers showed up and before you knew we had a hammock city going. This caught the attention of some of the other people in the park and a group came by and chatted with us.
My particular setup didn't keep me very warm, I was just using my DIY 3 season setup and wearing my full winter weather jacket, bib pants, musher style hat, gauntlet style gloves and boot liners. While this was perfect while I was up and active, this wasn't enough to keep my from getting CBS. I had to get up a few times to visit the nearby heated washroom. The overall low for the night was recorded by my max/min thermometer at -11C. Fortunately the winded had almost completely died down by the time we all hit the hammocks at 11PM or so.
I will others add to the report. We ate like kings as everyone at a car camping group hang can attest to.
Here is a link to my photo gallery with shots of all the hammocks and a few of the group around the camp fire.
ETA: I forgot to mention, that Odds expected some gear that he bought to arrive on Friday but alas it did not. He put out an S.O.S. to those attending the hang for extra gear to help him out as he didn't have suitable winter hammock insulation. In true Hammock Forums fashion all of us answered the call and offered up gear that he could use. Once Odds got there, he got a spare MW3 from dan8tro and a winter sleeping bag from someone else. There was also a pound hog, military extreme cold weather double bag setup offered as well. This is yet another example of why HammockForums is among the best communities on the internet.
Last edited by BrianWillan; 02-20-2011 at 18:00.. Reason: add something else.
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Insulation: JRB, Leighlo FLUQ
I am glad the hang went well. I was thinking to drive up for the day on Sat for a visit with my new truck.
Nice to see the differant winter setups. I really like the look of those GrizzBeaks. they look very effective. I noticed that that someone had a nice hammock sock and the tyvek tarp is well done. the ogee looks great too.
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Brantford Ontario, Canada
Hammock: DIY Lazy Ryvr Bridge, Ridge Runner
Tarp: Hard Rock Shelter
Insulation: DIY Karo UQ
Suspension: Adjustable Webbing
My turn to chime in, as my first winter hang I certainly had no idea of what to expect and as with many firsts in camping I was a little over geared for some things and a little under geared for others.
Dan and I arrived at about 1:00 p.m. Otter, Deep Thought and Brian were already there and set up. After some introductions we picked out our spots. I set up near Deep Thoughts Tyvek enclosure, hoping to use it as a wind break for myself. This is where the little undergeared part comes into play. I was only sporting a small MEC Silnylon 10' x 8' tarp. I pitched as low to the ground as I possible hoping to bank whatever wind I did still receive.
The afternoon temps were fairly mild considering the time of year, and at one point we saw a high of -3 celcius. As Brian mentioned we had enough food to feed the Russian army and despite some valiant efforts on everyones part we couldn't pack it all away. Otters Tri-Pod grill/kettle setup was the must have piece of car camping cooking gear. It just made everything about cooking and hot water a breeze.
My set up was a little less then ideal for the conditions and I certainly would not want to have done any colder with it. I was sporting an 3 season incubator from stormcrow with 900 fp and although it should have been adequate I found whatever little breeze I did receive stripped off the warmth of the uq away. This was no fault of stormcrows work, I certianly should have had a larger tarp. To remedy this I layered it with my own DIY Duck Feather Winter UQ and was toasty warm underneath. Over top I had a -5 celcius synthetic sleeping bag and I drapped a comforter from home over that; it was alot to fit in the hammock but it worked.
All in all it was a learning experience that with some minor mods to my setup I would be happy to repeat.
Hope to see the guys again this year and maybe some more new faces aswell.
When you discard arrogance, complexity, and a few other things that get in the way, sooner or later you will discover that simple, childlike, and mysterious secret known to those of the Uncarved Block: Life is Fun.
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Hammock: HH Hyperlite
Suspension: Whoopie Sling +MSH
I love the Hennessey "barf" effect!! Shown here in Brian's awesome pictures
I pack a lot of stuff into that little hyperlite (especially in winter), and it tends to want to follow me out unless I hang the head-end quite low. It's the one reason I want to go back to a side-entry hammock.
These are some great trip reports! My "solo hang" for the start of the Eastern Great Lakes Winter Hang will be added here soon. I have some videos that I will piece together to post with it. Wiiiiiiindy Buddy!
The Tyvek tarp wasn't so well done, there were flaws in the stress points that caused some serious damage and would have resulted in total failure if I didn't erect that deflector. It was fun to make though!
Note that there WAS "shredded tarp" flying about as Chardpp imagined on Friday night. The top left corner of the deflector tore out around 10pm, just after second dinner, and I had to wrap a rock in it to create a temporary tie-out.
Beaufort Rating 9: Strong Gale: 75–88 km/h Some branches break off trees, and some small trees blow over. Construction/temporary signs and barricades blow over.
Re: Widowmakers "It's the maiming that I have a problem with..."
Not that much to add, great food and great company. I've discovered that I have some tweaks before my gear is ready for winter certification but I managed a decent nights sleep anyways!
For all those looking for the highlight of the trip, look no further than [o]TTeR's Tripod. Though there were guest appearances by some other stellar gear. I got to have a good close look at a gransfors axe, and an Ogee tarp.
All in all great experience. I'll be back for the next one!
This was my first winter camping experience and I was not let down. It was great!
As the weekend approached I was looking forward to the arrival of a WBBB 1.1 DL I bought off the forum to replace the 1.7 DL I sold in the fall as well as the arrival of WB TQ and UQ. I already had my OES tarp ready for use. Friday came and they did not turn up. I paid for faster shipping but was let down by Canada post. After spending my work break Friday evening on the phone trying to see if I could pick up my gear from the sorting facility I realized I was not going to have what I needed for the trip. I quickly logged on and PM'ed my fellow members that I needed some gear and if they had any to spare. I was mostly in need of insulation as I figured I would get by with my ENO style hammock and my OES tarp. Within a half an hour I received PM's, texts and a call saying that I would be covered. Unbelievably quick and generous response. Its one of the reasons I love this forum because you can meet really good people without really meeting them.
I arrived just a little before chardpp. Everyone had gone for a walk and Deep Thought was making some lunch. Even though the temperature was around -3 C, the wind made it feel colder especailly on the hands as I made the hitches on my guylines.
After I set up, I went over to have a hot chocolate with DT while awaiting the others arrival and I complemented him for his ordeal the night before. As soon as the others came into view I let out a Whoo Buddy!! and of course got one in return. After some more introductions and after chardpp arrived we then just hung out and talked. There was a familiar humour with these guys as well as a feeling of camaraderie that was instant. I was having fun and I had only been there a couple of hours.
[o]TTer's tripod made dinner a snap and a roaring fire provided warmth and casted a familiar glow around us. As the night carried on we told stories and jokes and [o]TTer cursed the appearance of the moon as it meant he had to get out his gear and take pictures of it.
Dant8ro lent me a JRB UQ and [o]TTer lent me a sleeping bag to act as a TQ. I slept great. I was a little worried at first because I have never slept out in the cold. My fears were unfounded as I slept the entire night. Just licky I guess.
I woke up early and had a cup of tea with BrianWillan and dant8ro and later we were later joined by Ryver. I made a fire as everyone packed up but I was sad to be going home. I could have stayed longer for sure. These guys made it such a fun experience!.
Some highlights for me were:
This was a great hang. It was my first winter hang but it won't be my last!
And here's an image I snapped for Shug. Whoo Buddy!!
Don't let life get in the way of living.
sounds like you all had just as much fun as we did just the other side of the lake.
mmmmm coffee crisps...breakfast of champions.
It was windy?? LOL.
Ambulo tua ambulo.
Birds of a Feather
Since pictures are worth a 1,000 words, I’ll be brief and let the shots do the talking. This was a great group hang but too short, I hope we can plan more of these over the year and include paddling on the next one, I’m eager to get back into a boat after too many years? We’re definitely “Birds of a Feather” as introductions lead to instant friendships, I had a great time and I thank all of you for that! Based on the comments and compliments, I think the tripod was well worth the $30 in materials, glad you enjoyed the food!
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