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Hammock Tips for Cold and Blowing Rain?
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james schardt
(jamie_s) - F
Hammock Tips for Cold and Blowing Rain? on 05/05/2006 10:00:59 MDT Print View

Actually, I should have titled this: please convince me to buy a down underquilt.

I have a hennessy hammock and have used in cold weather using foam and air pads. It worked pretty well. But air pads are heavy and foam pads are bulky. A down under quilt would fit the bill, but I am skeptical that it would stay dry in windy, rainy weather.

Even with good site-ing, the hennessy hammock tarp seems like it is too small to prevent blowing rain from hitting the hammock. I've had moisture on the hammock in the morning, but since I was using close-cell foam the splash on the outside of the hammock was kept away from all my inside down insulation.

So... Is a down underquilt compatible with blowing spring rains? Will I need to get a new tarp for my hammock if I buy a down quilt? Or should I just consider using the down underquilt once temperatures stay below zero, so it would only get hit by "dry" snow?

Thanks in advance!


Jack Myers
(Smee) - F
Hammock Tips for Cold and Blowing Rain on 05/05/2006 14:07:44 MDT Print View


It depends on who you talk to. There are folks out there that have mastered the set up of the Hennessy fly and claim to have never had a problem. Other's believe the Hennessy fly is marginal at best. I have been on trips (more than one) with my partner when my under quilt has gotten wet while his stayed perfectly dry. Bottom line though, is we both believe the Hennessy tarp is too small. It just doesn't leave any room for error. We recommend a larger tarp. Thus our 8x8 tarp, but there are inumerable larger tarps available. There are a few other option to protect the under quilt. One is the Weather Shield we sell. Like the tarp there are other shells available too.

Personally, I would never restrict the use of my hammock to a particular season. The difference between the ground with a minimal pad and a hammock is monumental. And good pads are too bulky and too heavy. A good nights rest is too important. With a little bit of care and the myriad solutions available to protect the under quilt, at only minimal weight penalty, it's a no brainer.

Jack Myers (Smee)
Jacks 'R' Better, LLC

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Hammock Tips for Cold and Blowing Rain on 05/05/2006 14:17:42 MDT Print View

I agree with Jack about the fly. You can experiment with plastic or Tyvek to find a good size for you. I use 5x9 set up as an A-frame because it is my raingear. I stay dry enough with that, but I've had a lot of practice. You might be more secure trying 6x9 first.

You can also experiment with a sub-hammock of Tyvek. It breathes and will keep an underquilt dry as well as hold a pad if the weather is too warm for an underquilt. A good size for a subhammock is 4 x 6 1/2.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Hammock Tips for Cold and Blowing Rain? on 05/06/2006 19:20:20 MDT Print View

The HH Supershelter--open cell foam UnderPad (10.7 oz + stuff bag 0.8 oz) and silnylon UnderCover (9.8 oz)-- works for me around freezing, and the silnylon has the added advantage of making the hammock resistant to blown rain (I use the small HH tarp). It's not cheap, but then neither is a good down under quilt.

For colder weather (blowing snow at +15F) I used a bare Jacks R Better Nest down under quilt (20.2 oz + JRB Suspension System 2.0 oz), and it didn't pick up a significant amount of moisture (0.9 oz overnight) and it felt dry in the morning. If I was expecting blowing wet snow in the +25F to +30F range on I would add the Jacks R Better Weather Shield waterproof/breathable bottom cover (9.5 oz).

>Is a down underquilt compatible with blowing spring rains?

I realize the above doesn't exactly the answer this question, mostly because I haven't used my down underquilt in blowing rain. I'm not likely to, because for me it is probably overkill warmth-wise, and I'm planning to use my JRB Nest as a quilt in the hammock in above-freezing weather and the HH SuperShelter underneath (or possibly JRB Weather Shield bottom cover with oversized Gossamer Gear ThinLight pad; untested).

Edited by Otter on 05/06/2006 19:22:37 MDT.

John Mowery
(Mow) - F

Locale: Minnesota, USA
Hennessy Supershelter on 05/07/2006 11:50:36 MDT Print View

I just purchased the supershelter and find the pad to be a bit of a hinderance when getting in and out of the hammock. Do you have any suggestions? Also, do use a thermal blanket in combination with the supershelter?

Edited by Mow on 05/07/2006 11:51:18 MDT.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Hennessy Supershelter on 05/07/2006 21:17:13 MDT Print View

>I...find the pad to be a bit of a hinderance when getting in and out of the hammock. Do you have any suggestions?

I slide the UnderPad [EDIT: not the UnderCover] to the left side (facing the entrance), then after I'm in the hammock I reach through the opening and slide it back over. I can see the pad through the hammock material so I can see when it is back in position. I also grab the pad near the head-end guy point and make sure that it is centered. Be careful doing this because you can tear the pad (this doesn't seem to be a problem at the foot end).

> Also, do use a thermal blanket in combination with the supershelter?

Tom Hennessy recommends this, but I haven't done it (yet). He said to place the space blanket on top of the UnderPad. I used a space blanket with the JRB Nest under-quilt and didn't notice any difference. Maybe it's more important with the minimal insulation of the UnderPad? If you do, check for condensation. I noticed some on the bottom of the UnderPad next to the UnderCover; I expect there would be much more with a space blanket, and the condensation would be on the bottom of the hammock instead of two layers lower. I'll be carrying a space blanket this summer and if the UnderPad/UnderCover isn't sufficiently warm I'll try it. But since the UnderPad/UnderCover kept me warm at +30F (with 3-season clothing and the JRB Nest as top-quilt) I don't think it will be necessary.

Edited by Otter on 05/09/2006 15:38:05 MDT.

E. H. Clemmons
(sclemmons) - MLife
Fly works for me on 05/08/2006 19:37:49 MDT Print View

I have never had any problem with blowing rain and the existing fly on the Explorer Asym Ultralite. I did have quite a bit of flapping which damaged the binding recently but Hennessy fixed it under warranty.

I am looking forward to trying the new water bottle funnels which look like the coolest things on the planet. Hang them on the corners and the rain fills them up!

I have resisted the extra pads and underquilts and things. Mine works well down to 40-ish with just a long Thermarest. It just takes practice to stay on the pad!

BTW, with the annual REI 20% off any one item sale going on now, this is a good -- and low risk --- time to try a Hennessy if you have not already. Buy it, try it a few nights, and resell it for a small discount if you must. If you can sleep in a reclining chair, I bet you enjoy it.

Edited by sclemmons on 05/08/2006 19:44:07 MDT.

Heather Sharpe
(princess4) - F
My Hammock Setup on 05/11/2006 19:05:07 MDT Print View

I have the HH Explorer Delux A sym with the larger Hex fly. So far by pitching the hammock side, on as much as possibil, to the wind and rain, and pegging the fly corners down to the ground, I have mannaged to keep my down sleeping bag dry without the use of a pad.
In winter I use a double 10mm thick closed cell cheep foam double pad that I have tapered down from full width to 37 inch at the shoulders to 21 inch at the foot end the pad is 67 inch long. I rounded of all 4 pad corners by drawing around a large dinner plate and then cutting out the semi circle of each corner of the pad.
The I got two 2 meter lenghts of sticky backed velcro the soft loop velcro is 2 inch wide velco and this goes straight onto the hammock material. The hook velco is 1 inch wide this adheres to the foam matress. Put your matress inside your hammock, take some scissors with you, take the velcro with you get on your pad, then get your pad to exactly were U want it, then stick your 2 inch wide velcro about 10cm down bellow the pads to edge, you will see the angle needed to stay 10 cm from you pad edge. Then cut your 1 inch hook velco about 4 inch shorter in length and don't remove backing paper as yet, but put the hook 1 inch wide velco on to the loop, 2 inch wide velcro untill it is level and even, in the centre of the 2 inch loop velcro, then pull of backing and adhere it to your pad.
Repeat this same method again at the foot end. Hope you can understand this as im not to good at explaining things or spelling. By making the hook velco narrower and less width it stops the hooks from pulling threads in your hammock when putting the pad in and out, I just stand in my hammock slit after that, put in my pad, stretch out the hammock stick down the head end then repeat at the foot end, chuck in my sleeping bag, hang the remains of my pack at the foot enterence on a mini binner and Im all set for the night. Using a 0 to -15 degree down bag and a set of pollyprop long johns I have found this is all I need for winter snow and frosty night camping. I have not bothered with a space blanket and the velco keeps the pad in palace all night, and keeps my back warm and the pad does not end up out from under neath me during the night and I can get in and out of the hammock slit easilly still.
Cheers Heather

Thanks!! on 05/24/2006 11:09:09 MDT Print View

I just wanted to thank everyone for their input on this. A lot of good ideas to think about!