how to hammock camp?
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Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Hammocks on 04/24/2009 17:27:02 MDT Print View

I've always been interested in a hammock as a side-sleeper, as I believe I could get a set up that was a similar weight to sleeping on the ground, but they seem like a lot of hassle to use in even moderately cold temperatures....The whole under-quilt business ruins it for me as then you have a problem keeping your down dry there too.

I don't know....

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
fog and underquilts on 04/24/2009 18:03:27 MDT Print View

good comment, Nathan. I dont know if fog or other mists would effect your underquilt any worse that it would affect a sleeping bag inside a well ventilated tent.
seems like a wash? maybe someone from SF or humid areas like the South can comment. Ive heard of a weathershield (a type of UQ cover) but have no experience w/ it.
there are also sythetic uq's but there may be a bulk/weight penalty as far as us UL'ers are concerned (but then maybe not...the BPL quilts are sythetic) Kickassquilts come to mind.
Jacks R Better also addresses the possibility of wetting out by doing a DriDucks Poncho mod to act as a UQ barrier. Seems logical as a multi use item.

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 05/01/2009 16:04:37 MDT.

Robert Bryant
(KG4FAM) - F

Locale: Upstate
Re: Hammocks on 04/24/2009 18:04:45 MDT Print View

"The whole under-quilt business ruins it for me as then you have a problem keeping your down dry there too."

That is why you cheap out and use ccf. If you don't mind a little sweat on your back its all good.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
CCF... on 04/24/2009 18:10:18 MDT Print View

Yes, but how cold can you go down to with just CCF? I've read comments from peopel saying that CCF doesn't keep them warm in the low 50's! That's warm weather, for me, so I'd be worried that the hammock thing would be chilllllly.

Anyone try a bivy inside the hammock to cut down on heat-loss from the wind?

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
hammock ccf on 04/24/2009 18:16:47 MDT Print View

nathan, there are different sizes of ccf, there is a local store near me that sells it as auto headliner material, (Volara 2A is what they call it) and it comes in 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 and so on... 1/4 for me is good to 50° at best. 3/8 comes down to 45 or so..

one thing you can do in some hammocks like the Bridge style from JrB is slide a pad into the sleeve, and add a "cross" of ccf to form a "T" at your shoulders. For instance (and this works in most hammocks) you can slip in a partially inflated BA insulated pad and put a 26" wide ccf just to cover your shoulders and that'll get you into the thirties without any problems, most likely into the twenties
I personally dont like ccf in the end-gathered style hammock but many guys do. (and gals, too)
A bunch of hammocks now have a double bottom or "pad sleeve" where you can just throw in a 30x72 ccf pad and go for it. no shifting, or wrestling. A double bottom warbonnet Blackbird in 1.1 ripstop would work great for you. get a MacCat Standard or Deluxe in sil and youre set.. i'll show you where to buy 3/8 ccf you can use in conjunction with your ground pad, but I suggest a double bottom hammock so you dont have to wrestle with a pad inside your hammock (prolite comes to mind--no bueno)

you can also purchase Reflectix for cheap $ and go that route, using it as a "t" like I described.

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 04/24/2009 18:19:45 MDT.

Robert Bryant
(KG4FAM) - F

Locale: Upstate
Re: CCF... on 04/24/2009 18:33:18 MDT Print View

"Yes, but how cold can you go down to with just CCF? I've read comments from peopel saying that CCF doesn't keep them warm in the low 50's! That's warm weather, for me, so I'd be worried that the hammock thing would be chilllllly."

Cold with ccf in the 50s is untrue as long as it was wide enough. I have gone down in the 40s with a 1/4 inch thick ccf that was 36inch wide and this was before my hypothyroidism was treated.(it keeps you from producing as much body heat).

I have been cold in the 50s while using a 20 inch wide pad, but in this situation it is obvious where the deficiency is, the sides.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Pad Sleeve = Cool Idea on 04/24/2009 18:40:56 MDT Print View

That pad sleeve sounds like a really good idea.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
A few more questions... on 04/24/2009 21:01:04 MDT Print View

Does using a thick CCF pad for insulation actually decrease the comfort of using a hammock (for a side sleeper)....is using a pad in this way going to be similar to sleeping on the pad on the ground in terms of stiffness?

The BB looks nice but is a bit pricey for someone not sure they are even interested....what about the Byers of Maine mosquito traveler?

And how about using a bivy inside the hammock for additional warmth and protection from wind?

Edited by Rezniem on 04/24/2009 21:06:42 MDT.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
nathan asks.. on 04/24/2009 22:17:46 MDT Print View

yes, it is my opinion that a thick pad could reduce overall comfort. i wont compare it to a pad on the ground.. but it slightly defeats the basic idea of a hammock methinks - others would disagree
a thicker pad in a Bridge hammock actually improves the lay. it "opens" the hammock up if you will.

to block wind, i dont know that a bivy is going to be necessary as long as your tarp has sufficient coverage. This pic shows my winter tarp that is 11x10' (~19oz with all guylines/tensioners and stakes) but it is definatly storm worthy. I have 10 tiedown points on it. One of the important duties of your tarp will be to block wind, and of course, precipitation. And give you shade. I bring mine even when there is little chance of precip because that AZ sun is ruthless, especially at altitude! If you want to try hammocking for the first time, a Grand Trunk traveler will set you back $20. Keep in mind that it does not have a pad sleeve, and ccf will buckle under your weight without one. The differnce of sleeve or no is night and day. I had forgotten to stake the tensioners down, so the tarp sagged as sil is prone to do. You can see how the ends are staked inward to create "barn doors" with just enough gap for me to enter/exit. Low that morning was a balmy 34° but ive slept with this rig down to 22° without any cold spots. This tarp is Huge! my MacCat Standard is still large enough to work well in foul weather but it is only 10oz so i'll be using that one for the rest of this year (or until next snow camp) yah yah

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 04/24/2009 22:24:14 MDT.

Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
Shug's Videos on 04/24/2009 22:45:37 MDT Print View

These videos are so funny. You got to check them out. Yaaah buddy.

Andrew King
(drewboy) - F

Locale: Arizona
Hammock camping on 04/25/2009 06:55:55 MDT Print View

Another hammocker here. I've been hanging for around 2 years now and am pretty hooked. I started out with a Hennessey style hammock, but have graduated to a Warbonnet Blackbird top entry style hammock. The Blackbird is a new evolutionary design that includes full bug protection as well as a storage shelf that really helps you stay organized inside the hammock. It also includes a footbox area for a roomy as well as flat lay on the diagonal. Aside from the great sleep comfort, it's really nice to have a comfortable seat and large, well ventilated living area underneath your tarp. Down underquilts are for sure the way to go for ultimate comfort. BTW, I'm the guy with the white feet in Mike's video.

I'm putting together a more UL oriented rig now, that includes a simple end gathered hammock at ~15 oz (incl suspension), and a smaller shaped cuben tarp at 4.5oz. My Te-wa down underquilt weighs around 15oz. Not quite down to the weight of a minimal tarp/bivy/pad combo, but pretty darn good for all the comfort and functionality you get. It's nice to wake up in the morning without feeling all stiff and sore.

Robert Bryant
(KG4FAM) - F

Locale: Upstate
Re: A few more questions... on 04/25/2009 07:08:39 MDT Print View

"Does using a thick CCF pad for insulation actually decrease the comfort of using a hammock (for a side sleeper)....is using a pad in this way going to be similar to sleeping on the pad on the ground in terms of stiffness?"

Just because you are a side sleeper on the ground doesn't mean that you are a side sleeper in a hammock. I am a side sleeper on the ground and toss and turn a lot, but in my hammock I lay on my back and don't move all night and get a better nights rest.

The only part of the ccf that decreases any comfort for me is the head when using a 3/8 inch pad. It stiffens it up too much so I just move the pad down and throw a jacket or something under it.

Mark Hurd
(markhurd) - M

Locale: South Texas
Re: Hammock-Side/Back Sleeping on 04/25/2009 12:03:24 MDT Print View

Let me first say that I changed over to hammock camping about a year ago. I was on a group day hike in south Texas walking through a shady grove of live oaks. I mentioned to one of my fellow hikers that this would be a great place to camp and get out of the sun if it weren't for the thousands of football sized rocks everywhere. She pointed out that if I was a hammock camper that wouldn't be a problem. Suddenly the light went on. With a hammock, no looking for level spots, heck camped on 30* slopes if you want, over logs, bushes, rocks, roots, etc. So I gave it a try.

I was concerned because I am a side sleeper, but the funny thing about a hammock is that you are not confined to side or back like on the ground. You can sleep on you side or your back, but since a hammock supports your whole body you can also sleep halfway in between or at any angle you want. Very cool.

Speaking of cool, the under insulation is a real issue but is easily dealt with. I have a 15 oz under quilt that is good to about 35-40* for me. That is about the weight of my ground sleeping pad so weightwise it's a wash. Depending on which hammock I use I can come in at between 21 oz to about 32 oz for my shelter (hammock with bug netting and tarp and suspension) which is in the range of my beloved TT Contrail, so another wash. And yes I have practiced pitching the hammock on the ground as kind of a glorified bivy, so if I can't find trees I can go to ground.

-Mark

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Hammock as a bivvy on 04/25/2009 13:18:08 MDT Print View

So, for those of you who have used your hammock as a bivvy, aren't you worried about tearing the nylon bottom of the hammock? If I'm using a hammock, I don't bring much in the way of a ground sheet, so there's nothing really between the ground and the nylon bottom, a bottom that isn't designed to be on the ground.

Also, if you're out hammock camping and using an underquilt, what do you do when you have to go to the ground? The underquilt isn't going to give you much padding or insulation, and you probably don't have a proper pad with you. How do you handle that?

Andrew King
(drewboy) - F

Locale: Arizona
Going to ground - what pad? on 04/25/2009 16:36:45 MDT Print View

I always have a ccf pad along that I use as frame support in my Conduit frameless pack, a GG NightLight. Since I use a 2/3 size underquilt, this also forms the bottom side insulation for my legs. It would suck to go to ground with it, but at least I always have something that I could use if necessary. I don't think I've ever had to go to ground unexpectedly. Yet. Even living out here in Arizona. Usually there's something you can figure out to enable you to hang. I also usually carry a polycryo groundsheet with me for this or any other need. Of course, in places like the Grand Canyon or other that you know there is no possibility for hanging, you just plan on ground sleeping.

Edited by drewboy on 04/25/2009 16:41:47 MDT.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Going to ground - what pad? on 04/26/2009 09:19:47 MDT Print View

I started using a hammock in 2003 and for several years was worried about what to do if I had to go to the ground.

I have never had an unplanned night on the ground. There are more places to hang a hammock than there are flat and dry places to put a tent.

When I want the option to go to the ground the kit I use is a simple end gathered hammock, a 60" Big Agnes Insulated Air Core, and a Speer Segmented Pad Extended. The 4 ccf pad strips in the SPE make a descent virtual frame for a pack.

An unplanned trip to the ground is not a problem.

I converted to a hammock when I went on a group trip and the tent site was so small that we pitched our tents with crossed guylines. Everytime someone visited the bushes it woke us all up.

I carry about a pound extra to sleep in a hammock, but I also have a camp chair, I spend time reading in my hammock and sleep better than I do on a bed. I am a side sleeper, on a bed, but a diagonal sleeper in hammock. It took me 3 nights to find the sweet spot for hammock sleeping, but now when I have a restless night at home I sleep in the hammock on the patio.

Bottom insulation is necessary. The three tools are under quilts, SPE with pads and a double layer with a pad sleeve. they all work -- it just a matter of matching the tool to your style.

A hammock is specialized gear. Not good if you want to cuddle with your partner. Not good for groups in places like the Grand Canyon. Not good for hiking above timberline. But many people have both a road bike and a mountain bike. A mountain bike will substitute for a road bike, but it does not get the job done very well. Most of the objections to hammock are similar to people saying that road bikes are inadequate because they do not perform well off pavement.

I try to avoid the SUV syndrome. Yes, an SUV will do everything you need a vehicle to do, but it does not do anything well.

Mark Hurd
(markhurd) - M

Locale: South Texas
Re: Going to ground - what pad? on 04/26/2009 19:26:54 MDT Print View

Jim,
Like Andrew, I carry a GG NightLight as a "frame" for my pack so it would get pressed in to service if I was on the ground. I also carry a big plastic "Lawn and Leaf" trash bag for a variety of uses. One would include cutting the side seams and spreading it out to use as a ground cover for a hammock turned bivy. I have also never had to do this. I did come close in a stunted forest along the Oregon coast where the underbrush was so dense and the trees all had many branches all the way to the ground, that I had a hard time finding a decent hanging site. However, eventually I found a spot which was good because the rain storm that night turned the ground into a swamp. I'm glad I wasn't on the ground for that.

-Mark

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
hammock positions on 04/26/2009 22:06:29 MDT Print View

"Just because you are a side sleeper on the ground doesn't mean that you are a side sleeper in a hammock. I am a side sleeper on the ground and toss and turn a lot, but in my hammock I lay on my back and don't move all night and get a better nights rest"

Robert, that is a very interesting point especially since this morning while packing my rig i realized that I fell asleep on my back, and stayed in that position most of the night. Not an interesting observation you may say but here's the thing: i have never in my life been able to sleep on my back, in a bed. I just cant do it. I have always been a side sleeper.

Bernard Campo
(ANewConvert) - F
Worried about cost on 05/01/2009 02:38:50 MDT Print View

Foe those concerned about the rather steep cost of some ofthe higher end hammocks:

Unlike most things in life if you buy one and don't like it yu will be able to sell it and get all, or very close, of your money back.

IIRC the owner of warbonnet has a very liberal return policy. Not rei lberal, but if you aren't happy, andhe can't fix it, he'll take it back...


There's little risk of losing a lot of money, until you get addicted that is and decide you need a certain type of hammock for every situation.

BC

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Cost of Hammocking on 05/01/2009 02:39:51 MDT Print View

More worried about the cost of insulating my bottomside....