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First hammock overnighter
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Sebastian Boenner

Locale: beautiful Rhineland (Germany)
First hammock overnighter on 02/22/2012 07:36:07 MST Print View

Hey folks,
Last weekend I went for my first hammock overnighter and I thought I'd just share some of my impressions with you guys.

Temperatures at the beginning of the trip where around 4C/ 39F and it's been raining continuously. The ground was frozen and mostly covered with ice.
At the beginning of dusk I had a look around for some site to hang my hammock. Normally I would have looked for a flat and sheltered spot to pitch my tarp. The hammock offered totally new options. As I had only a rather small tarp I decided to pitch on a slope with the headend of my tarp (and hammock) facing upwards. This way I wanted to use the steep slope as a kind of third wall to my tarp.

The place I finally found wasn't that steep but it was on the lee side of a hill which keeped the wind at bay. The trees where at the right place and distance and there where no widow makers above me. I used a continuos ridge line with two s-biners to create a V at both ends to give the hammock suspension more room. But have a look at my campsite yourself:
Hammock Front

The tarp I was using was a tadpole tarp by Wilderness Logics. The hammock was a snipe hammock.
Unfortunately I don't own a proper under quilt yet. I tried several options at home before I went on this hike. Finally I settled on an old army poncho liner. Not really lightweight (31.7oz) but ok for a first test run. On top I used a 30F Revelation quilt by Enlightened Equipment. I covered myself up in rain clothing, an R1 hoody, down sweater, and a blackrockgear hat. This keeped me quite toasty until 3 o'clock.
Temperature has dropped down to -5C/ 23F and the rain switched to light snow. I wasn't cold, but the lightweight snow was blown under my tarp and onto my face. Not that what I prefer while sleeping.
That made me get up and drape my poncho over the headend of my tarp. I used some XS S-Biners to secure the poncho to the tarp. That worked amazingly well and fast. And it closed the complete headend like a door.
Hammock Side and End
After that I had a pleasant sleep.

In the morning I decided to prepare myself a coffee while staying in the hammock. Unfortunately I forgot that I had pitched above a slope (instead on flat ground as usual). My Caldera Keg was rolling down and finally stopped by a tree... Another one of those minor challenges when switching from ground dwelling to hammock hanging.

The tarp and hammock both worked amazingly well for me. I don't think that I need a bigger tarp as my poncho solution worked out quite well. I'll probably get a proper under quilt for my next outing with the hammock. The poncho liner worked quite well for a first test but is just way too heavy for regular use. One thing that really amazed me was how well the Woopie Slings worked. I used a simple toggle to attach them to the tree huggers.
Note that the weight is on the knot, not on the toggle. ;-) The green line is my tarp ridge line which forms a V on the head and foot end.

I carried some XS S-Biners with me which have proven themselves as a reliable tool for quick adjustments and for hanging stuff on the ridge line.

My first hammock overnighter has been an interesting and quite pleasant experience.
I tracked my hike using the online service of Socialhiking where you can find some more pictures and tweets:

Edited by racoon-on-tour on 02/22/2012 07:42:38 MST.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
First Hammock Overnighter on 02/22/2012 11:51:47 MST Print View

Welcome to life above the ground and thanks for posting. An underquilt will save you a lot of weight - but you'll need to decide on a full-length UQ or perhaps you'll save some weight with a 3/4 length model.

I have both but if I'm expecting temperatures like you experienced I use my PeaPod.

I was laughing at your Caldera cone rolling downhill...I don't trust myself enough to try cooking from the hammock.

Thanks again for sharing.

Michael Haubert
(SoCalMike) - F

Locale: So Cal
Great pics/post on 03/10/2012 07:41:17 MST Print View


Thank you for this post. Loved the photos and your write up. I started using a hammock a little while back and I really enjoy it, though setting everything up takes some time to learn. I think it's well worth it in the long run. Thanks, again.


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: First hammock overnighter on 03/10/2012 08:36:49 MST Print View

Great start!

Check out using a marlin spike hitch with toggles. As you noted, the knot should bear the weight rather than the toggle. I made some toggles from a carbon fiber golf club shaft; some use aluminum arrow shafts. I prefer carabiners and use Camp Nano 'biners with MYOG 1/8" Amsteel Blue whoopie slings and 1"x8' polyester webbing tree straps from Arrowhead Equipment.

Making Garlington Insulators is a great way to insulate the bottom side of a hammock for light and cheap. See

A Garlington Insulator is basically a light garbage bag with some sort of crumpled insulation inside and supported under the hammock with a fabric undercover. The undercover traps air as well and provides a wind break. The Insulators are simply placed in the undercover.

I made Insulators using cheap mylar space blankets and double stick tape to create a bag and then took more space blankets, crumpled them, and folded them loosely inside the space blanket bag. that gives me 2"+ loft and a couple ounces each. You can also crumple space blankets and put them inside a low density poly garbage bag.

I had a hoodless silnylon poncho made with drawstring channels on all four sides to use as an undercover with 1/8" shock cord in the channels. This pretty much clones the Hennessy SuperShelter concept and I use the Hennessy foam insulator with the poncho for warmer weather (I have a Hennessy Expedition). The poncho provides a wind break and protects from any side spray or bouncing rain that make it past my tarp. The poncho works well with an underquilt for extra warmth and weather protection. I get the weight back from multiple use as rain hear.

An undercover can be a simple rectangle of cloth with drawstring channels at each end. A cheap light hammock could be used as well. For testing and experimentation, you can just gather the ends of a painter's drop cloth or some polycryro window film with some light cord. The suspended weight is just a few ounces, so you don't need a lot of engineering. I do prefer having shock cord drawstrings in the sides as well as the ends to get the best seal. If you have a long backpacking style poncho, try it. It should be about the same length as your hammock-- at least past your head and feet. My hammock is asymmetrical and I added a couple toggles to tie it out to the asym spreaders. I didn't need any more tailoring than that.

Hoodless poncho as an undercover on a Hennessy Experdition hammock

2QZQ makes undercovers in silnylon or breathable ripstop for $35, which I think is a bargain.

Edited by dwambaugh on 03/10/2012 08:37:25 MST.

Tom Deal

Locale: Northern Idaho
Very nice on 08/04/2012 23:06:43 MDT Print View

Very Nice! I have the same rig.You might look at they have reasonable prices for under quilts. I have the 40deg and 20deg phoenix and they are top notch. I'm a warm sleeper but I feel the 40deg UQ is very conservative.

Matthew mcgurk
(phatpacker) - F

Locale: Central coast California
The extra on 08/13/2012 23:30:38 MDT Print View

My insight to the snow and pushing the limits of my gear. I recomen the full under quilt it is just as light as most pad setups and it does not shift under your feet. Secondly if I know its going into the teens I add a z-rest the knobs grip the hammock and it doesnt move arround as much. I have an Idea for a hammock sock to go even colder using an emegency blanket or two. Hammocking wont always save you weight but most definitley increases the comfort for a very little extra weight. I laugh at the guys who have a pack 1.5 less than me but spend the whole morning working out the kinks, when I wake up ready to go.