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Considering a Hammock
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Nick K
(nkline) - MLife

Locale: Northeast U.S.
Considering a Hammock on 06/27/2011 17:42:09 MDT Print View

This is yet another "I am considering a hammock and want more info about them" post :-) I will start off with describing my current shelter system, sleeping position, and some requirements and concerns.

Current shelter:
- Ray Jardine 2 person sil-nylon tarp (similar to this one)
- no-see-um netting inner net-tent for bug season
- home made synthetic quilt
- I have materials on-hand to start construction of a down inflatable sleeping pad (72" x 30" x 2.5")

Sleep position: start on my back and flip to side sleeping the rest of the night

Environment: fall and winter in the mid-west U.S. are my favorite backpacking seasons with occasional spring and summer trips.

Hammock Requirements:
- accomodate a 5'10" 160lb. person
- side-sleeper friendly
- flexible setup for cold and warm weather
- bug net option
- ground shelter option
- light weight is important

- side sleeping
- banana feeling
- weight of entire hammock setup
- where to store my backpack loaded with gear?
- cost of a cold weather hammock setup
- purchase or build? I have a list of sewing projects on my plate so not sure I want to take on another one

So starts the long road of researching hammock brands and features and deciding if a hammock is right for me. Any advice, experiences, comparison info, etc. are appreciated.

Thank you!


Edited by nkline on 06/27/2011 17:42:49 MDT.

Will Rouse
(WGR1971) - F
Hammock on 06/27/2011 19:09:38 MDT Print View

Hi Nick,

I just purchased a WB 1.1 double layer. IMO, a hammock is much more comfortable than the ground if you hike in areas with adequate trees. Here are some links to get you up to speed. Look up "Shug hammock tutorials" on You Tube for detailed hammock info.


Edited by WGR1971 on 06/27/2011 19:11:09 MDT.

Jeffrey McConnell
some advice on 06/27/2011 21:20:56 MDT Print View

I'm relatively new to hammocks but I'll give you some advice. A good hammock with bug net option would be the Warbonnet Blackbird. Or, you could do what I did. I made my own hammock and then purchased a separate bug net to bring along when its buggy. Making your own gathered-end hammock is actually very simple. Good instructions are here. Technically I had my mother-in-law sew it for me, but whatever. It only took her an hour. I bought the ripstop and thread at DIY Gear Supply. I purchased whoopie slings and tree straps for the suspension. You can make your own, but I was lazy and bought them atArrowhead Equipment.

For shelter, I'd recommend looking at the warbonnet Big Mamajamba tarp with doors. This is a great 3 season tarp and with doors works well for winter hammocking. I picked up a second hand Big Mamajamba in spinn with doors. They pop up on the Hammock Forums "for sale" forum every so often as members jump on the cuben band wagon. 10 oz for the tarp and 8 oz for the doors. I leave the doors at home unless I'm expecting snow or high winds. It works great as a ground shelter too.OES Equipment has good tarps as well.

Insulation - Use your normal quilt or sleeping bag and under you, you can use either pads or under quilts. I highly recommend purchasing an under quilt. More comfy in my opinion. I like down, but you can go with down or synthetic. They can be a little pricey, but are worth it in my opinion. I purchased mine from Hammock Gear. Since I backpack, I went with a 3/4 length quilt to save weight. Most 3 season under quilts are rated to around 20 degrees. Other good places to purchase under quilts are Te-Wa and JRB listed above, Leigh Lo Underquilts, Arrowhead Equipment, and there are others you'll find in your search.

I just went through a lot of this research so feel free to PM me with questions. I haven't experienced the banana effect. If you lay on the diagonal you get a pretty flat lay and its very comfortable.

You can check out my hammock gear list here. It will give you an idea on the weight of everything. A good thread you can read on an ultralight hammock setup is here. The hammock recommended is a little too small to be really comfortable in my opinion, but its still a good read.

Edited by Catalyst on 06/28/2011 11:57:39 MDT.

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
hammock on 06/28/2011 06:09:22 MDT Print View

@ Nicholas:

Hammock Requirements:
- accomodate a 5'10" 160lb. person
--> no issues with most hammocks
- side-sleeper friendly
--> also not an issue
- flexible setup for cold and warm weather
--> change your insulation, just like on the ground.
- bug net option
--> if you think you might not always need a net and not want to carry one, then you will be best with a simple gathered end hammock and a non-attached bug net.
- ground shelter option
--> doable if using an attached bug net hammock like the Warbonnet Blackbird or Tree to Tree Trail Gear Switchback. Otherwise, it's not that different than tarping.
- light weight is important
--> back to a simple gathered end. Lightest (I think) is the Grand Trunk Nano 7. Consider a Tulle bugnet sock by PapaSmurf on hammock forums (something like 3-4 oz)

- side sleeping
--> should not be an issue
- banana feeling
--> should not be an issue if laying on diagonal. You can add a ridge line to help adjust the "sag" of the hammock and dial in your comfort zone. Personally I like bridge hammocks the best, but by nature are not the lightest in the bunch.
- weight of entire hammock setup
--> try to look up Sgt. Rock's thread on HF. I think his kit is ~1 pound.
- where to store my backpack loaded with gear?
--> hung from hammock suspension or under your hammock.
- cost of a cold weather hammock setup
--> variable, but if going with a simple gathered end, the hammock itself is not very expensive. It's the insulation that costs.
- purchase or build? I have a list of sewing projects on my plate so not sure I want to take on another one
--> Your call....

Really, as those guys said before, Lots of good stuff re: hammocks

Edited by BER on 06/28/2011 06:11:30 MDT.

Kat ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Hammock on 06/28/2011 09:07:16 MDT Print View

My experience with hammocks ....
At home I sleep on my side and move around a lot; in my hammock I have been known to sleep 12 hours and wake up in the same position I fell asleep in. I also wake up with none of the lower back pain that I have on a regular basis.
As for weight, my hammock set up is slightly heavier than my ground set up. On my last 3 day, 2 night trip, upon returning to the car, my pack weighed in at just over 13 lbs, with still a day of food and many luxury items ( down pants, down booties,extra socks, big fuel canister....).
That said, hammocks are still not for everybody. Maybe you could ask someone to loan you one and give it a try.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: hammock on 07/04/2011 13:13:35 MDT Print View

Nick, Sgt. Rock's entire list can be seen on his site. i do not know when he is planning to update it, but i do know he purchased a new summer weight underquilt recently.

check it:

he has a comparably good UL list to a ground setup. my list is also comparable in terms of weight, but my comfort is highly increased. you can see my list by checking the profile, if you wish.

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 07/15/2011 13:13:14 MDT.