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Hammock diagnosis please
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Paul Wozniak

Locale: Midwest
Hammock diagnosis please on 08/12/2010 11:34:29 MDT Print View

I want to like hammocking but..

A few years back I bought a kit, my wife sewed the edges. We gathered the ends and tied on the straps. It looked great. Spent 3 nights in it, strapped per instructions and laying diagonally.

Here are the problems I had:
- I hung like taco, shoulders pinched and uncomfortable.
- Kept getting sag and re-tightening
- Got in with my shoes once and definitely weakened the material underfoot.
- Disliked the velcro hassle with the bug net.

Now I still have the hammock. Also still own a "seconds" summer quilt which may work for an underquilt. I still want hammocks to work for me.

FWIW, I am 6 ft, 205#. If I could get comfy and add only 1# or so to my current pack weight I would definitely buy in.

Long-term, I would stick whatever money it took IF I was pretty certain of the outcome. Is there anything I can do to improve my current setup, at least long enough to prove myself hammock-worthy. Otherwise, how to prove the concept without sinking big $$$ into it?

I want off the ground and your help changing my hikes will be greatly appreciated.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
hammock help on 08/12/2010 13:08:48 MDT Print View


Visit Most hamock info on the web in one location.... Look for a group hang near you.... Then go to it... Most have a great variety of hammock styles there and experianced folk willing to let you try their set up and willing to help youy with your stuff.

FWIW most hammock gear makers, including JRB, have easy return policies to compensate for lack of neighborhood outlets.


Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Hammock diagnosis please on 08/12/2010 13:53:36 MDT Print View

What type of fabric did you use? Whose kit? Nylon or polyester straps? Do you have a ridgeline attached? Photos?

Paul Wozniak

Locale: Midwest
hammock details on 08/12/2010 17:00:20 MDT Print View

It was a Speer kit and believe it's nylon. People had good things to say about them, so I'm assuming I gathered the ends wrong. But it looked right. Plus I had read Sgt Rock, Risk, etc and thought I had a decent handle on the process.

No photos now. I have a full weekend but will try to hang it and get some photos soon.


Edited by PaulW on 08/12/2010 17:01:32 MDT.

William Puckett
(Beep) - F

Locale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
Hammock diagnosis on 08/12/2010 17:02:11 MDT Print View

I recommend you should definitely invest some time at It is hands-down the most complete and reliable on-line source of hanging/hammocking information.

Many of the issues you recite can be a function of a hammock that is too short, or made of material with too much stretch, or with a suspension with too much stretch. There are, fortunately, many hammock brands that have already "solved" those problems. My personal favorite is the Warbonnet Blackbird hammock that weighs in at about a pound and a half. When combined with a 10-11 oz SpinnUL tarp, I have a comfortable shelter system for backpacking.

Andrew King
(drewboy) - F

Locale: Arizona
Re: Hammock diagnosis please on 08/12/2010 18:20:56 MDT Print View

Hi Pull. If you encountered excess sag that required you to constantly re-tighten your suspension, that's the first thing you should fix. For maybe $25 you can upgrade to whoopie slings and have a rock solid and reasonably light suspension system. You can get all you need to retrofit from this on-line hammock equipment vendor:

Part of your issue may be that even though you are laying on the diagonal, it's very important to ensure that you have the correct sag angle in your hammock. Very often people will determine the optimum sag angle to maximize comfort for their particular hammock and body size, and use a structural ridgeline to ensure that you get a consistent sag on every hang.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Hammock diagnosis please on 08/12/2010 20:52:27 MDT Print View

Another vote for

They got me off the ground and I will NEVER go back!

Warbonnet Blackbird (dbl. 1.1) and MacCat Ultra Spinn tarp
Swap out the long straps for amsteel whoopie slings and short poly tree huggers. You'll be a happy camper!

BTW, I weigh just under 200# and 6'-1" tall.

My first question about your current setup would be, "Do you have a fixed ridgeline on your hammock?"

Paul Wozniak

Locale: Midwest
hammock advise, thanks! on 08/13/2010 08:36:26 MDT Print View

I will definitely head over to and start digging in.

Great idea trying to find a hammock group nearby. I hope to find one in michigan that I can ingratiate myself with, or at least a hammock afficionado or two that can show me the options and ins and outs. I'll bring the beer.

I like the idea of a fixed ridgeline to consistently get the right sag. I don't recall that those were routinely used back when I first got into this. I hope between that, replacing the straps and maybe a little in-person feedback from an experienced user or two I could get back in the saddle.

Something about hammocking really appeals. Here's hoping. Thanks for the great suggestions.


Jason Knecht
(distortedaxis) - F

Locale: Earth
Hrmmm on 08/13/2010 21:03:20 MDT Print View

Sounds like you need to add a ridgeline. I think that will fix 90% of your problems.

Paul Gibson
(pgibson) - F

Locale: SW Idaho
Re. Hammock diagnosis on 08/14/2010 19:02:44 MDT Print View

A structural ridge line would likely help a good bit, it also sounds like getting the correct hang/sag angle set from your straps would likely help a bit as well. You want to shoot for trees that are about 15 feet apart and try and get the straps to drop from the tree to the hammock at about 30 degrees. Much tighter and comfort will decrees with most hammocks. How the hammock is shipped can also make a big difference, for open top hammocks I find channeled hammocks to be a bit more comfortable for me personally. Whipping well comes with lots of practice and patience to get it to gather and lay openly and comfortably.

My 2cents.

Paul Gibson
(pgibson) - F

Locale: SW Idaho
O and on 08/14/2010 19:04:32 MDT Print View

There are lots of hangers in MI and in that general area so if you post on HF looking for someone to help you will likely get several responses. :)

* *
(Trooper) - F
Re: hammock advise, thanks! on 08/18/2010 20:46:24 MDT Print View

I'm close to Detroit if you need help. You'll also find me on HF under the same name.

Paul Wozniak

Locale: Midwest
@ trooper on 08/19/2010 06:53:32 MDT Print View


Thanks much for the offer. On the advice of others here I have registered at HF (Canned Heat) and gotten tags from Michiganders. I am trying to absorb as much as possible from that site. I have a hugely busy August/Sept (including a 6 day hike in Ontario). Afterwards I hope to meet hangers and get a look at the gear.

My goal is to be geared up for hammock hiking next spring. I'm in Ann Arbor frequently and I would try to get together with you if time allows. I will drop you a PM or reach out on HF. Thanks very much for your offer. There are so many options and a million ways to spend the $$. Seeing the gear firsthand will, I'm sure, save me headaches and money. Catch you over at HF.


Del Johnston
(deljohnston) - F

Locale: Heart of Dixie
Evolution of Hammocks on 09/02/2010 13:26:23 MDT Print View

Pull, you will LOVE the Hammock Forums. Been a member there for years.

You mentioned that ridgelines were not popular when you started. You will notice quickly over there that the evolution of hammocks is changing rapidly. I echo the comments of others. The ridgeline, once set properly, will almost negate your problem. Not all hammocks are created equal. Asymmetrical is definitely better for a diagonal and, therefore, FLAT lay.

Hang high and dry!

Edited by deljohnston on 09/02/2010 13:27:39 MDT.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Evolution of Hammocks on 09/02/2010 13:31:29 MDT Print View

i disagree to those who are directing you to HF.
the entire idea of this new forum is to discuss matters related to hammocks on THIS site, not to send you elsewhere.
if that were the case, why in the world did we ask for a BPL hammock forum?

any and all of your questions can be found at HF, but in the time it took any one of us to tell you that, we could have answered your question.

my answer: get a 1.1 double Blackbird, a MacCat Deluxe in Spinnaker, and a standard te-wa underquilt.
done, and done.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Re: Evolution of Hammocks on 09/02/2010 15:34:10 MDT Print View

Thanks Mike! I asked for the hammock forum here so those of us here could give/get information here. No disrespect for HF. But I wanted to keep weight in mind as we do here. Saw someone there showing off their 57 oz tarp. We could help with that, surely.

Paul Gibson
(pgibson) - F

Locale: SW Idaho
+1 for Te-Wa and Ken on 09/02/2010 17:08:03 MDT Print View

While HF is a great resource in the grand scope and there is getting to be more and more information on light weight hammocks, we should work and try to help new folks get their foot in the door with the basics of light weight hammocking here rather than just tossing out go else where for your answers.