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Notes from the Field: SuperUltraLight Tarp vs. Hammock in the High Uintas
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Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Notes from the Field: SuperUltraLight Tarp vs. Hammock in the High Uintas on 08/30/2005 20:38:33 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Notes from the Field: SuperUltraLight Tarp vs. Hammock in the High Uintas

John S.
(jshann) - F
Preferred hammock? on 08/30/2005 23:51:48 MDT Print View

Does Miss Carol have an opinion on which hammock she likes the best so far?

(sammyl) - F - M
Thanks for the excellent information! on 08/31/2005 08:45:45 MDT Print View

Thank you for the full, detailed report with all the specifics you provided! This side-by-side comparing of hammock vs. ground sleeping in the cold really helps figure out what will work for us. It's rare to have this much good information.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Carol's Recent Articles on 08/31/2005 09:33:31 MDT Print View

Been very interested in all of Carol's recent articles. Very informative. Well written. Good job Carol.

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Preferred hammock on 08/31/2005 15:49:54 MDT Print View

I also have a review of the Speer hammock coming out in the near future. So, which is better - Speer, Hennessy, or The Travel hammock?
First - Hammocks are Good.
Second - Depends.
If I'm in a bug free zone, I love the simplicity and light weight of the Travel hammock. I like being able to reach over the side and grab something on the ground, or lounge while dinner is cooking.
If it's buggy* or I'm going SUL, I prefer the Hennessy Adventure Racer. It's the lightest thing out there and the integrated bug netting is simpler to deal with than the Speer bug netting (which attaches with Velcro).
If it's cold, I like the Speer hammock which has a great cold weather system with the PeaPod and Top Blanket. I haven't had a chance to try the Hennessy Super Shelter system for cold weather. And, I really like what I've seen so far of the Jacks 'R' Better underquilts, but haven't had the No Sniveller in cold weather yet.

*An unknown for me is how well the Travel hammock and Hennessy Adventure Racer fabrics resist heavy mosquito pressure when it's too hot for some type of under cover.

Obviously, there is still a big opportunity for me to do some more hammock testing - darn!

Sleep systems on 09/01/2005 01:02:35 MDT Print View

How about using mylar emergency space blanket vapor barrier inside your sleeping bag? It's only 2 oz and effective.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Sleep systems on 09/01/2005 13:49:10 MDT Print View

A mylar emergency bag, rather than a blanket which wouldn't be an effective vapor barrier, might work in dry, subfreezing condtions. I'd be mightily challenged to get inside the thing inside a hammock, however, based on my failed fumbling with a sleeping bag+liner in a hammock.

John Carter

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Sleep systems on 09/03/2005 19:35:50 MDT Print View

I think part of the HH super shelter system is a mylar blanket (with some foam), but it gets me wondering. Is this assuming that the occupant is in a fully enclosed bag, and thus has some additional insulation (albeit crushed)? Would this system be colder with a quilt-style bag? Is this what makes hanging a quilt underneath more desirable? Is the underquilt more susceptiple to getting rained on? And most important, do you need as much down insulation below you as you do above (after all, heat rises, and none of the pads I sleep on are nearly as thick as a quilt!

I am eagerly looking forward to further testing! This article has really given me a push to try hammocking, but there are so many untested variables...

Edited by jcarter1 on 09/03/2005 19:38:26 MDT.

Jeff Jackson
(Just_Jeff) - F

Locale: Colorado's Front Range
Sleep systems - Underquilts on 09/03/2005 20:48:20 MDT Print View

If you have insulation between you and a vapor barrier like mylar, the insulation will likely get wet from perspiration.

Pads generally have a higher R-value per thickness than underquilts, so you might get to 30F with 1" of CCF pad, whereas you'll need 2" of uncompressed down under you for the same temp. But the down will compress much smaller in your pack and cover much more area of the hammock than a pad will. If you use a pad in a hammock, you'll need to consider how the pad wraps around your hips and shoulders...use a SPE or something. Keeping a pad will enable you to go to ground if you want to, as well.

Heat rises, but most hammock users report being colder on bottom than on top, due mostly to convection (wind blowing under you). I've been sweating on top and freezing on bottom before. So I'd use the same thickness below. If I had two different thicknesses, I'd choose the thicker one for the bottom. Just me, though.

You might check BGT to see if users have reported a difference in warmth with the SuperShelter when using quilts vs bags inside.

Underquilts can be more succeptible to getting rained on simply because they're outside the hammock. Using a tarp that provides adequate coverage solves the problem easily, though. I've found the stock HH fly too small (other folks don't have a problem with it). I'm comfortable with the JRB's plenty big enough for my UL BP Asym and very light for the coverage you get. The MacCat gives better protection on the ends (where I've experienced the only problems with wind-blown rain) and more useful area along the sides due to its shape, but weighs just a bit more and you need 4 stakes w/ cords. Both tarps have die-hard fans, and both are quality pieces of gear. MacCat is coming out with a Micro model...I'll be interested to see how it compares with the JRB.

Lots of rambling...hope it helps!


Edited by Just_Jeff on 09/03/2005 20:53:58 MDT.

Warmth Question on 09/17/2005 16:01:18 MDT Print View

Carol, or others with similar experience, were you warm at 40 degrees with just the shirt, vest, and rain jacket (and hat)? Or did you have to retreat into the bivy for total comfort?


Louis Vest
(louvest) - F
Hammock underpads on 09/25/2005 13:16:54 MDT Print View

I experimented with space blankets both inside and outside the Hennesy hammock. Condensation was a problem and it didn't help keep me warm. What worked was a 25x72 closed cell foam ground pad that I cut down to 36" long. I just put it inside the hammock under me. The 25" width was enough that it curled up around me and I didn't have to worry about slipping off. I tried a narrower Thermorest self inflating pad and couldn't keep it under me. I'm 6'5"/230lb, so a smaller person might have better luck. My legs didn't get cold, my feet were in the pocket of the foot of the sleeping bag. The bag was unzipped over me. This was around 40 degrees F. Another advantage to the CCF ground pad was that it could be used on the ground (surprise) if there were no trees around for hanging the hammock.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Hammock underpads on 09/25/2005 16:53:05 MDT Print View

I suffered through a few nights in the high 20's (F) with a space blanket and a borrowed tent footprint. Not much better than nothing, and I ended up sleeping on top of all of my clothes and jacket. Condensation was also hideous.

Next round of testing was with various single-layer insulating pads in the 30's (F): generic closed cell full-length pad, 3/4 length Z-Rest, Gossamer Gear ThinLight 1/8" Evazote pad. No single pad kept me warm enough by itself.

Further testing with pairs of the above (lightest was the GG ThinLight with a torso-length Z-Rest) yielded satisfactory performance in the 30's (F). I'm waiting on a BMW TorsoLite to try with the GG ThinLight, and I'm going to try the new GG 3/8" ThinLight soon.

Ultimately, I'm hoping to come up with a 3-season pad-based insulation system for the Hennessy Hammock (sufficiently warm in 20's (F) weather) without having to involve an external bag. Still more testing to go...

Todd Homchick
(upricon) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mountains
Underquilt on 09/25/2005 18:29:10 MDT Print View

I have made a down underquilt which was custom fitted to my body while laying inside the hammock. It has the shape of a canoe. I have taken it down to about 20 degrees and have been really warm. With it under me and another quilt over me I am so warm and comfortable. This system has none of the restrictive feeling of a mummy bag. While lying in my hammock I feel like I am being cradled in my Mothers arms, all warm and cozy. The quilt weighs about 20 ozs. It has extra down in it to keep the feathers from migrating down to the underside of the hammock. My total sleeping system weighs about 5lbs. including hammock, underquilt and sleeping quilt. That may be a bit heavier then some systems but it is still pretty light and I can say with all honesty that I sleep better in my hammock when out in the backcountry then I do at home in my own bed.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
under quilts on 09/26/2005 05:51:48 MDT Print View

Lots of information on under quilts and other hammock insulation options at years worth of discussions and growth of concepts/approaches.

Tim Garner
(slowhike) - F

Locale: South East U.S.
hammock camping on 10/02/2005 20:48:27 MDT Print View

take a look at the speer "segmented pad extender" (SPE)on the speer site; a lot of folks have been well pleased w/ it. also you can find plenty more hammock talk at carol... i have a couple questions about your gear list. you mentioned the photon w/ mini alligator clip. did it come that way or did you attach it? if you did, what did you use? also, you mentioned the red cap on your lil nipper w/(lip trimed for leak proof seal). could you elaborate on that? i have the red cap i got from BPL & it does leak a little. or at least when closing the spout after use. it always deposits a small amount of fule on my fingers. thanks...slowhike

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Red cap and alligator on 11/27/2005 21:10:42 MST Print View

HI Tim,
I trimmed a bit from the bottom edge of the red BMW cap and it doesn't leak out the bottom when screwed onto a Platy Lil Nipper.
It's just a tiny alligator clip attached to the Photon by unscrewing one of the four screws, threading the screw through the alligator clip, and screwing it back into the housing.

Steve Skinner
(skskinner) - F

Locale: mid west
Bivy sack, anyone ever used one in a hammock sleep system? on 10/26/2007 18:19:46 MDT Print View

I have a new HH coming with the winter package, the torso and kidney pads. I am now wondering about the in-between cold like 30 to 40 F. Would a bivy like the eVent unishelter be of any use in the hammock? What is the answer to the sleeping bag/quilt question? Thanks for your help and thanks for a great forum on the subject. Steve