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Joslyn Bloodworth
(JoslynB) - F

Locale: Southwest
Super Hammock Newb - help! on 08/23/2011 10:03:50 MDT Print View

It has been brought to my attention that I may have dismissed Hammock Backpacking in error due to the belief that as a side sleeper, I would never get comfortable enough to sleep. Therefore I am revisiting the concept and would love to hear from the hammock backpackers here in reguards to my questions and concerns.

The reasons I want to try a hammock are: 1.I hate snakes and bugs and would love to be off the ground to avoid them. 2.I like the idea of having a place to lounge in camp and I like the idea of getting in and out of my shelter without having to crawl around on the ground. 3.It appears that a hammock and tarp can give you better mobility in bag weather with less worry about getting all you gear wet. 4.I usually wake up stiff and in pain even at home and I've heard a hammock can help that which would enhance my overall outdoor experiences.

The concerns I have are: 1.I usually don't like going over 1lb for my weight in a shelter. 2.As a side sleeper I am wary of the comfort level I might be able to achieve with a hammock. 3.I am concerned that I won't be able to afford both an over and under quilt. 4.I want to camp in areas that are low on trees.

Some of the solutions I have been thinkg about but am still not sure of are: 1.I can defray some of the cost by MYOG. 2.In that same vein, I can lower my weight by MYOG since I'm 5'3" and can go with a ton of less material for the same setup.

I am not sure how to make my onw hammock or what type would be best for me to make. I've heard that for side sleepers, an asymmetrical setup might work best but I really have no idea how that's cut differently. I also have no idea how much more fabric than my height I would need to make the smallest possible hammock. As far as making my own underquilt, I'm not sure how to sew it to accomodate a shock cord suspension system.

Oh and if anyone is wondering or thinking of suggesting it, I've already watched all of Shug's intro to hammocks videos and am making my way through the others. Anyone else who has good youtube tutorials, I'd love some suggestions!

Nathan Baker
(Slvravn) - MLife

Locale: East Coast - Mid Atlantic
Re: Super Hammock Newb - help! on 08/23/2011 10:36:14 MDT Print View

You may want to take a look at Sgt. Rocks videos here:
http://hikinghq.net/hammock/hammock.html

or Just Jeff's site and videos here:
http://www.tothewoods.net/

Shugs videos series is the best of them though...

As for my .02
I am a recent convert from the ground to the trees and I am also a side/back sleeper. I would suggest that you try your hand at a MYOG gathered end hammock and also whip up a myog suspension while you are at it. It will be cheaper and you can get a sens of how you are going to feel in a hammock with a minimal investment.
As for the comfort level you can find in a hammock, well if it is for you then it is way above what you get on the ground. I have gotten a better nights sleep in the air then on the ground and fewer aches and pains too.

As for the sub 1lb shelter, you can try a few different things. First take a look at Sgt Rock's sub 13oz shelter system. Second, try not to limit yourself to the 16oz limit. My shelter setup is 35oz and while that may seem heavy, I think my overall baseweight of 9lbs is pretty good for a 3S hammock set up. My list is here is you want to see it: Gear List
I could definitely shave a pound or so off the baseweight by swapping out my suspension, getting a lighter top quilt and adding a cuben tarp, but to me its not worth the investment right now. There are plenty of other areas to shave weight and its hard to put a weight limit on a good nights sleep.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
try on 08/23/2011 11:13:42 MDT Print View

There is only so much you can figure out about them on paper or screen. We can tell you all kinds of stuff, but until you try you won't know it they are for you.
Weight wise, my 3 season hammock setup weighs almost one pound more than my ground setup, including quilts and tarp. Some people carry less insulation and can get the weight closer to a ground set up.
I am also a small person, at 5'2", and thought that I could try a shorter hammock. I have not tried a little one yet , but I can get very comfortable and diagonal in a regular sized hammock.
I was lucky that after posting questions about hammocks, someone here sent me a hammock and a tarp for free and I was able to see if it worked for me before spending any money.
If you decide to make yourself one, keep in mind that how you wrap it makes a big difference. My Speer was wrapped in a way that gives me very high sides, which makes it less likely that I fall out ; ), but not as comfortable.. My Traveller has less fabric in the wrap, which makes it more open.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: PNW
Re: It's possible on 08/23/2011 11:20:52 MDT Print View

I'm a pretty new convert to hammocks too, but I'm loving it so far. I'm using a WB Traveler 1.1 single layer and find it very comfortable. I am a stomach sleeper in my bed but a back/side sleeper in the hammock. No problem sleeping on my side in the hammock at all - way more comfortable than any pad I've used.

My hammock + full suspension in a mesh stuff sack weighs 8.15 oz. I use dynaglide whoopies, 7/64'' amsteel as my tree straps, and tiny aluminum toggles. You could go 1.5 oz lighter with a Grand Trunk Nano 7 (which if you're making your own hammock might be a good one to copy for dimensions). I just use a headnet for bug protection.

As for tarps, I know of at least one guy on hammockforums.net that uses a GoLite poncho tarp. You might be able to get away with something similar if you're using a small hammock and practice pitching it just right but there wouldn't be a lot of room for error in a serious storm.

Anyway, that would put you at about 7 oz for the hammock + bug protection, leaving you 9 oz for a tarp if you want to stick to your 1 lb barrier. You can use whatever sleeping bag or quilt you've been using on the ground just fine and the weight of your underquilt will just replace the weight of your pad. I'm using an IX UQ with a modified suspension that weighs 7.9 oz and should take me to at least 40F, probably lower (http://stores.tttrailgear.com/-strse-50/Molly-Mac-Gear-Baby/Detail.bok).

The best thing is just to try it. There are so many ways to make your own hammock it boggles my mind. And if you buy a hammock like the GT Nano 7 or WB Traveler and decide you don't like it, I'm sure you can find some one to take it off your hands for close to what you paid for it.

spelt !
(spelt) - F

Locale: Midwest
Temp and UQs on 08/23/2011 13:14:18 MDT Print View

Keep in mind that for a lot of the GA summer it's going to be warm enough that you won't need an UQ. Nighttime temps above 70 and most people don't need bottom insulation. Depending on wind, site selection, and how warm a sleeper you are, you could push it down another 5 degrees, maybe more. I agree with the others that it's best to try it for comfort before you commit to a bunch of MYOG projects. Some backyard sleepouts in a borrowed setup will let you know if it's something worth pursuing. If it is, the people at hammockforums are addicted to tinkering; you can find some great ideas there for simple, cost and weight saving construction (you can also find luxurious 5 lb setups but I'm guessing that's not what you're after ;).

Joslyn Bloodworth
(JoslynB) - F

Locale: Southwest
Hammocks on 08/23/2011 17:14:26 MDT Print View

@Nathan- I was planning on whipping up a prototype and trying it out comfort-wise. Part of the reason I want to keep my shelter to 1lb is because I am a firm synthetic insulation user for sleepwear and I get cold easy and need a bit more in the clothes dept. but I was thinking about it and I think 32oz isn't too much if it means a better night's sleep. I think if I myog it I can get it in my range since I can make things fit just right for my size.

@Kat- I was thinking about gathering it in the way that Knotty has stickied in the DIY section of Hammock forums. (I'm still just kind of lurking over there) which if I remember right is the same as a warbonnet. I've heard this wrapping style lends to quite a comfy lay.

@John- Thanks for the weight breakdown. Looking at it that way, it actually is only a few ounces more than the bug bivy and tarp setup I was planning for next spring. Actually after looking at it, due to my height there are several 3/4 underquilts that are long enough to be full size for me with some sweet weight savings.

@Spelt - You're right most of the weather in my area is fairly warm, though my favorite seasons are Fall thru Spring instead of Spring thru Fall so I will eventually need an underquilt to do winter right, but I'm also planning on always carrying a GG Nightlight Torso as part of pack suspension so that might get me even lower without adding anything at all.

I'm not sure if this question would be better in the MYOG section or if I just need to quit lurking and post on hammockforums with this, but what fabric weight is best for making a hammock out of? I've heard you don't want to go below 1.9. How true is that?

I'm really loving the idea of winter backpacking with a hammock. In Shug's videos it really easy to see how much more enjoyable the snow can be when you are suspended above it instead of forced down into it.

Nathan Baker
(Slvravn) - MLife

Locale: East Coast - Mid Atlantic
Re: Hammocks on 08/23/2011 18:28:24 MDT Print View

As far as fabric weight, it depends. First you want a fabric that will support your weight. I use a single layer 1.1 Traveler and it is good to about 200lbs. A single layer 1.5 is good around 225 and a single 1.7 is around 275. Now there are stronger fabrics out there that can go higher in the single layer range if you want. Also you can do a double layer of 1.1, 1.5, etc... to push the weight limit if you want.
Second there is stetch. The lower the weight the more stretch it will have. So even if you are good weight wise in a 1.1 you may not like the amount of stretch it has and want to jump up to a 1.5 or higher. It is something that you have to tinker around a bit with but its not that bad. This of course is my .02 and the resources at HF are amazing to pour through if you have the time

Also if you have a Walmart around they usually have some cheap nylon to play around with. If not then you may want to try Backwoods Daydreamer for very reasonably priced fabric and great customer service.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Super Hammock Newb - help! on 08/23/2011 20:11:19 MDT Print View

Hi Joslyn, you have received all goof advice above.

I want to reply to a comment you made in your original post: If you are a side sleeper (like me) you DO NOT want an asymmetrical hammock. You want it to be symmetrical because when you roll over to the other side, you will also want to change to the opposite diagonal.

Knotty's tutorial is great. I'd suggest following that. And, a single layer 1.1 ripstop nylon should be fine for you.

My advice is to make your hammock 9.5 feet long when finished. Longer hammocks are more comfortable. You can always rewhip the hammock to make it shorter after you have experimented, but you can't make a short hammock longer.

I agree that the dynaglide whoopies will save you weight and should be great for you. I use 1" wide polyester (only polyester) tree straps that are 5' long. The straps are heavy so you want to save weight there - the 5' straps will go around a 18" diameter tree.

As far a lightweight, synthetic insulation is concerned, there is always Insultex (IX). But, that's a whole nother topic.

Once you hang, you'll never go back to ground! :)

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Re: Super Hammock Newb - help! on 08/23/2011 20:56:28 MDT Print View

there is a learning curve to be sure. some complaints were that 'hammocks arent for me' later to find out it was a person who gave up after using a setup that could have been less than ideal.. ie, a guy 6' 5" in a skeeter beeter with a zrest pad or something that reduces the comfort of the lay you are trying to achieve in the first place. that is to say, your height should not be an issue with even a small hammock (the one mentioned above, clark jungle ultralight, HH scout, etc..) and please dont give up on hanging because a stiff pad was either too cold, too narrow, or too rigid.

i had about 3-4 different rigs over the last 3 years.. and looking back my first couple experimental rigs would still score pretty low on my personal views of "comfort" etc..

now i am blessed with a 1.1 blackbird, a zpacks cuben tarp, and a self-made underquilt. if you have issues w bugs, many of the seasonal netting systems are actually lighter than a netted hammock (by that I mean the WB Traveler, with the bug-bivy net) and are versatile enough to use all seasons. take the advice about side sleeping.. that is the best feature of any hammock I own.

Just Jeffs www.tothewoods.net is a good place to learn about MYOG, and has links to other areas of interest. its his fault that ive been a hanger on about 60 trips and only went to ground once, in Grand Canyon. thanks, Jeff!

Joslyn Bloodworth
(JoslynB) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re: Hammocks on 08/23/2011 22:02:20 MDT Print View

@Nathan- That answers a lot of questions, thanks!

@Michael- Ok so you would suggest not worrying about the cut of the sides and just go with a straight cut, correct? Then would you suggest laying head and toes toward my hanging trees? I am definitely going to go with the whoopie slings if/when I get my setup going. Yeah as far as insulation goes, I'll probably head over to HF for that, lol.

@te-wa- thanks for the encouragement! I'll keep in mind the learning curve and try not to let it deter me. Definitely will check out Just Jeff's site!

spelt !
(spelt) - F

Locale: Midwest
asym or not on 08/23/2011 22:27:57 MDT Print View

You can still get diagonal in a symmetrical hammock; the asym cut (as I understand it) just helps with that by setting the direction of the diagonal. If you flip over the other direction in an asym, you're laying the "wrong" way. You'll find people who actually prefer sleeping the "wrong" way in an asym but they seem to be the minority.

Chris Peichel
(momo)

Locale: Eureka
Hammock on 08/24/2011 15:50:45 MDT Print View

I have made several gathered end hammocks. My favorite so far is made out of 1.5oz nylon from BWDD, it is 9'6" long after whipping. I prefer the 1.5oz over the 1.1oz, I didn't like the stretch even though it was minimal with 1.1oz.

I am a side sleeper and have been very comfortable with the simple gathered end hammock.

I made a simple bug net ( kind of a pyramid shape) I suspend from the ridgeline. It only covers my head and upper torso and just drapes down, if I don't want it I just sweep it to the side. It only weighs barely over 2oz.

A simple asym tarp can be made fairly cheap and light (depending on materials) hennessey hammocks has their dimensions listed for their tarps on their website.

Good luck, I know I sure love hammocks and plan my trips so I can be in the trees when its time to set up camp.

You should check out Te-wa's website, he makes some beautiful looking underquilts.

My opinion is underquilts are the best, most comfortable way to go for bottom insulation.

Joslyn Bloodworth
(JoslynB) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re: Hammock on 08/24/2011 18:52:44 MDT Print View

I went ahead and checked out Te-wa's site and I do indeed like the look of the underquilts and at my height of 53", his 52" underquilts are pretty lux for me. I'm for sure going to start with GG Thinlights for insulation, just to get me out there and then making my own, but I plan on buying in the future and so far these are the ones I like best.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Re: Hammock on 08/25/2011 11:40:20 MDT Print View

Joslyn' I di not mean to imply that one lays straight down the middle of a symmetrical hammock. You still lay on a diagonal.

The advantage of asymmetrials is that it is longer on the one diagonal thereby savig a small it of weight because te overall length can be less.

However, I toss & turn so I don't want to be restricted in my movement or "locked in" to a particular lay. Of course my 6'-1" frame probably makes me more sensitive to this issue.

Joslyn Bloodworth
(JoslynB) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re: Re: Re: Hammock on 08/25/2011 14:16:45 MDT Print View

@Michael - Ohhh, Ok I get what you're saying. I don't always lay on the same side but usually one side is more comfortable to me than the other so I stick to the same side all night, but I get what you're saying.

Joslyn Bloodworth
(JoslynB) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Hammock on 08/27/2011 09:53:58 MDT Print View

For anyone who was wondering, I got some sport nylon from JoAnn's and made a mock up of the hammock I am hoping to make out of sil and tried it out in my backyard. The hammock was shorter than I think I want the final to be and I've got one or two kinks to work out but, with the laying techniques and other tips you all gave me I have come to the conclusion that a hammock is not only definietly for me, but I may never want to camp any other way! Thank you for all your help!!

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hammock on 08/27/2011 11:11:58 MDT Print View

the last couple of sentences you utter are likely the best thing i've read today. welcome to the hanging gang (as the jacks would put it).

btw, Jeff's site (iirc) goes over the details of whipping the ends. HH style is listed there, as well as folding in "W" pattern, and/or channel-rope style.

my grand trunk hammocks used the rope in the channel method, but my hammocks that use a gathered and whipped end(s), result in a better lay. ergo, i think the gathering method is perhaps a better method.

hammock forums has a few DIY tutorials, so you can make clones of popular, proven styles. make a clone of the WB traveler.. its great, and mine weighs 8.9oz including all suspension parts.

Chris Peichel
(momo)

Locale: Eureka
Hammock on 08/27/2011 19:31:56 MDT Print View

Joslyn, your last post referenced making a final hammock out of "sil". I take that to mean silnylon? If that is your intent I would strongly discourage you from using silnylon for a hammock body, you really want a breathable nylon.

If I am mistaken, disregard.

I will second the thought about the comfort of hammocks. I really do plan my trips so by the end of the day when its time to set up camp I can be in the trees.

Have fun.

Joslyn Bloodworth
(JoslynB) - F

Locale: Southwest
Re: Hammock on 08/28/2011 07:52:59 MDT Print View

Haha, no actually you weren't mistaken, but I have been set straight by the Hammock Forum DIYer's. Thanks for the concern. It would have been a horrid and expensive mistake! And yeah as far as comfort, I almost fell asleep in my backyard just in my mock up and that one was too short to boot!

Chris Peichel
(momo)

Locale: Eureka
hammocks on 08/28/2011 08:32:19 MDT Print View

Looking forward to seeing the details of your setup when you have it done.