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Topic: Hammocks< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 15 2013, 9:37 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Anybody have any recommendations for a good backpacking hammock?

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 15 2013, 9:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There are lots of them, and which one depends on your priorities. I suggest a visit to hammock forums.com

"Good" in backpacking is a subjective thing. For some people, there is no such thing as a good hammock no matter how many people are using them warmly and well...

Personally I use a Warbonnet Blackbird with good success. You need a good tarp with it. I like the mix and match approach - the Hennessy hammock I had did not allow enough space under the stock tarp, and I prefer to avoid the "bivy effect" where you are trapped in the hammock in bad weather. A larger tarp lets you sit up and have room underneath to move around and boil water for meals.

Have a look at the Switchback, the Jacks R better setup and the Warbonnet hammocks. Look at Clark if money is absolutely no object and weight doesn't matter, and you don't mind confining spaces.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 15 2013, 10:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have a warbonnet blackbird also - great hammock in my opinion. I have been hanging for several years now. The last trip I went on we car camped and the site we got had trees too far apart to hang so I ended up going to the old MH Hammerhead 2 tent on the ground. I must say I have not had such a rough night in a LONG time, and not that the ground was rough at all, in fact it was smooth and I had 2 pads underneath (blue CCF bottom and Therm-A-Rest Trail Lite on top). The problem was I wasn't getting the right support for my lower back. I had to lay with my feet down and knees up all night and my socks kept sliding down the sleeping bag so all I did was fight it.

In any event, hanging is a world of difference in comfort in my opinion. You don't ever have to carefully select where to pitch - just find trees the right distance apart. If there is vegetation, rocks, tree roots, etc under you  - so what. The only challenge is if you are in an area where there are no trees. I have had others argue that there isn't a place in the lower 48 states that you can't get to an area so far from trees you can't find any to hang in, and they may entirely be right, but there are some treks that I have been on where trees to hang in are not easy to get to/far away from the rest of the group - that was before I was hanging though.

Just a thought - the "hammock" itself may not entirely be that important in the end. What is important is the rest of the system. That includes the insulation (bottom mainly), tarp, and suspension system. Of those 3, the first two are of strict importance. The suspension system you choose is up to you - whoopie slings, webbing, rope, etc. Essentially they all do the "same" thing, so if you have a system that you end up not liking it won't kill your trip or comfort. Whereas the first two - insulation and tarp - will make a huge difference in the quality and comfort of your trip.

If you are a true minimalist then you may find that a tarp that is just big enough to cover the hammock will do even in heavy rain, as long as you keep the rest of your gear in your pack and have the pack cover on everything (and you) will stay dry. If you want more coverage under the hammock for gear, dressing out of the wind/rain, emergency shelter to cook and eat under with the rest of the crew - you need a bigger tarp.

Insulation - I have only one recommendation, and I have experimented with a few options with limited success.... GET A QUALITY DOWN UNDERQUILT AND DO NOT SHORT YOURSELF ON TEMP RATING!!!! It might be the most expensive piece of gear you ever buy, but they are worth every penny - unless you can make something yourself of similar performance (weight, insulation, etc) for a lot less $$.

I have tried the sleeping bag system and even in a 0deg bag in 40deg temps I froze - the down in the bag compressed between me and the bottom of the hammock = no more insulation.

I have tried pads between the double layer hammock. They work, until they move and you slip off = freeze and fight the pads all night too.

After the pads I went to a fleece underquilt that I made with bungee chord. This worked OK for mild temps, but was not adequate for under 40deg temps. The bad part was it was 5 lbs I had to add to my set up. I would not recommend it.

A couple years ago I broke down and bought a real down underquilt from Hammock Gear. It is a full length "incubator", rated to 20deg, and I got the highest overstuffing they offer.

Even in the summer time I use the same down underquilt. I can regulate my temperature better with adjusting my top insulation. If I do get too warm below, I can scoot the underquilt over and air out.

If you don't have anything under you (and under the hammock so it won't compress) you will not be a happy camper. Therefore, again, I suggest not skimping on the bottom insulation.

The tarp that I use is a Warbonnet Big Mamajamba with the doors (occasionally). The reason for this is, as I mentioned above, the space. When I go on trips I usually go with other people and the tarp gives us room to camp when the weather goes to pot. The door kit is nice to keep the wind down, especially when it is colder. You can do a heck of a lot better on weight by going with a diamond shaped spinn or cuben fiber tarp that just covers the hammock, but that won't give me enough cover.

As for hammocks - there are some directions online to making your own that you may try. They aren't hard, and it is the other aspects of the system that are more crucial anyway.

Bug nets - if you camp anywhere there are bugs I'd suggest either a built-in screen (like on the warbonnet blackbirds) or get a net that zips over the whole hammock.

www.hammockforums.net is a good site dedicated specifically to hammocks.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 15 2013, 11:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My hammock setup is somewhat minimalist. I have an Ultralight Asym Hennessy Hammock. I don't use an underquilt - just a Thermarest 3/4 Prolight plus and my backpack or rainshell under my legs. For me, it is plenty enough. Been using this setup for nearly 10 years and quite happy with it. I would not waste my time using one in winter (although I have personally done it several times in temps down to single digits). By the time I added all the stuff I needed to get my setup warm enough (and luckily didn't experience intense winds), I could have easily been setup in a ground based shelter. I've been through some intense rain, sleet, and snow storms without much concern. Strong winds....are annoying.

All that said, I find sleeping in a hammock to be the best sleep I can get in the wilderness.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 16 2013, 6:25 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(KC8QVO @ Dec. 15 2013, 10:48 pm)
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I have a warbonnet blackbird also - great hammock in my opinion. I have been hanging for several years now. The last trip I went on we car camped and the site we got had trees too far apart to hang so I ended up going to the old MH Hammerhead 2 tent on the ground. I must say I have not had such a rough night in a LONG time, and not that the ground was rough at all, in fact it was smooth and I had 2 pads underneath (blue CCF bottom and Therm-A-Rest Trail Lite on top). The problem was I wasn't getting the right support for my lower back. I had to lay with my feet down and knees up all night and my socks kept sliding down the sleeping bag so all I did was fight it.

In any event, hanging is a world of difference in comfort in my opinion. You don't ever have to carefully select where to pitch - just find trees the right distance apart. If there is vegetation, rocks, tree roots, etc under you  - so what. The only challenge is if you are in an area where there are no trees. I have had others argue that there isn't a place in the lower 48 states that you can't get to an area so far from trees you can't find any to hang in, and they may entirely be right, but there are some treks that I have been on where trees to hang in are not easy to get to/far away from the rest of the group - that was before I was hanging though.

Just a thought - the "hammock" itself may not entirely be that important in the end. What is important is the rest of the system. That includes the insulation (bottom mainly), tarp, and suspension system. Of those 3, the first two are of strict importance. The suspension system you choose is up to you - whoopie slings, webbing, rope, etc. Essentially they all do the "same" thing, so if you have a system that you end up not liking it won't kill your trip or comfort. Whereas the first two - insulation and tarp - will make a huge difference in the quality and comfort of your trip.

If you are a true minimalist then you may find that a tarp that is just big enough to cover the hammock will do even in heavy rain, as long as you keep the rest of your gear in your pack and have the pack cover on everything (and you) will stay dry. If you want more coverage under the hammock for gear, dressing out of the wind/rain, emergency shelter to cook and eat under with the rest of the crew - you need a bigger tarp.

Insulation - I have only one recommendation, and I have experimented with a few options with limited success.... GET A QUALITY DOWN UNDERQUILT AND DO NOT SHORT YOURSELF ON TEMP RATING!!!! It might be the most expensive piece of gear you ever buy, but they are worth every penny - unless you can make something yourself of similar performance (weight, insulation, etc) for a lot less $$.

I have tried the sleeping bag system and even in a 0deg bag in 40deg temps I froze - the down in the bag compressed between me and the bottom of the hammock = no more insulation.

I have tried pads between the double layer hammock. They work, until they move and you slip off = freeze and fight the pads all night too.

After the pads I went to a fleece underquilt that I made with bungee chord. This worked OK for mild temps, but was not adequate for under 40deg temps. The bad part was it was 5 lbs I had to add to my set up. I would not recommend it.

A couple years ago I broke down and bought a real down underquilt from Hammock Gear. It is a full length "incubator", rated to 20deg, and I got the highest overstuffing they offer.

Even in the summer time I use the same down underquilt. I can regulate my temperature better with adjusting my top insulation. If I do get too warm below, I can scoot the underquilt over and air out.

If you don't have anything under you (and under the hammock so it won't compress) you will not be a happy camper. Therefore, again, I suggest not skimping on the bottom insulation.

The tarp that I use is a Warbonnet Big Mamajamba with the doors (occasionally). The reason for this is, as I mentioned above, the space. When I go on trips I usually go with other people and the tarp gives us room to camp when the weather goes to pot. The door kit is nice to keep the wind down, especially when it is colder. You can do a heck of a lot better on weight by going with a diamond shaped spinn or cuben fiber tarp that just covers the hammock, but that won't give me enough cover.

As for hammocks - there are some directions online to making your own that you may try. They aren't hard, and it is the other aspects of the system that are more crucial anyway.

Bug nets - if you camp anywhere there are bugs I'd suggest either a built-in screen (like on the warbonnet blackbirds) or get a net that zips over the whole hammock.

www.hammockforums.net is a good site dedicated specifically to hammocks.

I have been toying with this for a while too.  What does your set up weigh?  

I like those full tarps with doors as my dog camps with me.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 16 2013, 9:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Another Warbonnet Blackbird user here.  I have 2 tarps, differing sizes, from OES.    Been using that set up for 3 years now.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 16 2013, 10:43 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(jeffDVM @ Dec. 16 2013, 6:25 am)
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I have been toying with this for a while too.  What does your set up weigh?  

I like those full tarps with doors as my dog camps with me.

Give me a bit and I'll get you some fresh weights. I am organizing my gear for another trip this week so I'll add it all up again. I have the numbers somewhere in a spreadsheet but I can't remember where I saved it...

I want to say everything for the hammock, minus my sleeping bag, is about 5-7lbs. Tarp, hammock, bottom insulation, suspension, stakes, and carabiners for the webbing. I'll find out here...


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 16 2013, 11:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I made my hammocks. My favorite is 11' , double layer, with gathered ends. I have several tarps, some with doors. I have bugnet for summer and sock for winter. I have insulation systems for warm summer nites to the teens or lwer.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 16 2013, 12:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm in camp with a Hennessey Exped Asym. Best nights sleep. Had it for years now and no problems at all. Love the "snake skins"...... very fast setup/take down.  Never worry about rocks or uneven ground. Whole package under 3lbs.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 16 2013, 1:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

i also gave up on trying to hammock in the winter. the cost and weight/size of proper bottom insulation turned me off. just using an insulated pad didn't work for me with temps lower than the 50s.

i use an ENO hammock and suspension; Warbonnett 8x10 sil tarp. i like the ENO stuff just fine, but lighter options are aplenty. i saved nearly a pound upgrading to a silnylon tarp of similar size from an ENO fly.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 16 2013, 2:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(KC8QVO @ Dec. 16 2013, 10:43 am)
QUOTE

(jeffDVM @ Dec. 16 2013, 6:25 am)
QUOTE
I have been toying with this for a while too.  What does your set up weigh?  

I like those full tarps with doors as my dog camps with me.

Give me a bit and I'll get you some fresh weights. I am organizing my gear for another trip this week so I'll add it all up again. I have the numbers somewhere in a spreadsheet but I can't remember where I saved it...

I want to say everything for the hammock, minus my sleeping bag, is about 5-7lbs. Tarp, hammock, bottom insulation, suspension, stakes, and carabiners for the webbing. I'll find out here...

OK here are my weights:

Hammock with suspension, carabiners, stakes: 2.0063lbs
Tarp (big mamajamba silny) with tieout ropes: .9lbs
Door kit for tarp above:                                    .4688lbs
Hammock Gear Underquilt - Incubator 20deg: 1.95lbs

Total: 5.325lbs

That doesn't include top insulation. Usually I use a 0deg TNF down sleeping bag, but I've used others too.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 16 2013, 4:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(KC8QVO @ Dec. 16 2013, 2:04 pm)
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Hammock with suspension, carabiners, stakes: 2.0063lbs
Tarp (big mamajamba silny) with tieout ropes: .9lbs
Door kit for tarp above:                                    .4688lbs
Hammock Gear Underquilt - Incubator 20deg: 1.95lbs

Total: 5.325lbs

That doesn't include top insulation. Usually I use a 0deg TNF down sleeping bag, but I've used others too.

Thanks.  That beats the half dome and the sleeping pad that the hammock set up would replace.  And it should be much more compact as well.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 16 2013, 6:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for all the info.   I have been checking out the brands mentioned and they all look good.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 16 2013, 8:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Dec. 15 2013, 11:33 pm)
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My hammock setup is somewhat minimalist. I have an Ultralight Asym Hennessy Hammock. I don't use an underquilt - just a Thermarest 3/4 Prolight plus and my backpack or rainshell under my legs. For me, it is plenty enough. Been using this setup for nearly 10 years and quite happy with it. I would not waste my time using one in winter (although I have personally done it several times in temps down to single digits). By the time I added all the stuff I needed to get my setup warm enough (and luckily didn't experience intense winds), I could have easily been setup in a ground based shelter. I've been through some intense rain, sleet, and snow storms without much concern. Strong winds....are annoying.

All that said, I find sleeping in a hammock to be the best sleep I can get in the wilderness.

This !
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 6:21 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Kellum,
I notice the dogs in the SIG.  Do they go with you while in a hammock?  What has been the best set up for them?
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(ashepabst @ Dec. 16 2013, 1:42 pm)
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i also gave up on trying to hammock in the winter. the cost and weight/size of proper bottom insulation turned me off. just using an insulated pad didn't work for me with temps lower than the 50s.

20F setup -

Warbonnet Blackbird with whoopee slings - 28 oz
2 3 season JRB quilts - 42 oz
MacCat tarp - 14 oz



Proven warmth.

I have substituted a neo air and a torso length foam pad, sliding them into the double layer of the hammock on a T configuration, and the temps can go below freezing before I need to start filling in around the edges with clothing. A medium neo air at 13 oz plus a torso length foam pad at 6 oz are about the same weight as the under quilt, and more bulky.

Pads take a little finessing but can work fine if you have extra insulation for the shoulder/torso. I only take pads if there is a high probability of sleeping on the ground. With adjustable suspension I can use trees 12 - 30 feet apart.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 11:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That's still 5.25 lbs. Mind you, you are including your padding but still...that is as much as my ground setup with a 4 season, 5-man shelter.

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(Tigger @ Dec. 17 2013, 11:49 am)
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That's still 5.25 lbs. Mind you, you are including your padding but still...that is as much as my ground setup with a 4 season, 5-man shelter.

You use a summer weight bag. most people do not. and most people's 3 season tents weigh in at 3-5 lbs....

And, I continue to be approximately1,000% more comfortable in the hammock, making whatever weight savings i might find with a ground setup irrelevant. I have three ground setups - one of them includes a 28 oz s double wall tent, 13 oz neo air, and 22 oz quilt - I still prefer the hammock.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 12:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I agree with Almost There.  My best sleeping has been in the hammock.  5#s for the sleep set up, 2#s for the pack, 1# total for things like my stove, pot, hygiene bag, and 1st aid kit.  The rest is clothing and consumables.  I see nothing wrong with dedicating 5#s for the best sleep, including at home in my own bed.  

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(Tigger @ Dec. 17 2013, 10:49 am)
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That's still 5.25 lbs. Mind you, you are including your padding but still...that is as much as my ground setup with a 4 season, 5-man shelter.

Yeah, but you're still sleeping on the ground. My hammock setup is comparable to my old tent ground setups. The only thing I lost going to a hammock was a bad night's sleep.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 6:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(theo @ Dec. 17 2013, 5:58 pm)
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(Tigger @ Dec. 17 2013, 10:49 am)
QUOTE
That's still 5.25 lbs. Mind you, you are including your padding but still...that is as much as my ground setup with a 4 season, 5-man shelter.

Yeah, but you're still sleeping on the ground. My hammock setup is comparable to my old tent ground setups. The only thing I lost going to a hammock was a bad night's sleep.

Yep. Until you hang you have NO idea! Though, the reality of it hit me more so going from the hammock to the ground, rather than the ground to the hammock at first - wasn't as noticeable, minus uneven ground etc. Now there's just no comparison.

The "system" can be made very light if you so choose. However, cold weather is going to add weight no matter what due to insulation - and being elevated you have air underneath so the insulation is even more important than on the ground where there is no airflow below.

That having been said, if you make sacrifices such as going with a very basic non-netted hammock. a diamond shape tarp that just covers the hammock, and are careful with your suspension system and don't mind tying/untying knots or use whoopie slings I'd say you can achieve, negating insulation, a sub-2lb set up that is functional.

If you are in a mild climate it won't take much insulation, but even in 60deg temps at night you need something below you, may not need to be much, but something to keep the airflow to zilch at the least, maybe a thin layer of insulation. Winter time - add as much insulation as you can.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 6:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In winter, I have not slept comfortably in any "real" storm inside my hammock as it was flapping like an over-sized butterfly most of the night. It was also very difficult to cook anything underneath my hammock fly. I would assume that has more to do with my particular setup having such a small fly. You are all right in regards to the actual comfort in a hammock (in my opinion) being better than pretty much anything else. I, too, love it more than my own bed at home.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 10:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(jeffDVM @ Dec. 17 2013, 6:21 am)
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Kellum,
I notice the dogs in the SIG.  Do they go with you while in a hammock?  What has been the best set up for them?

Well unfortunately That Border collie " Rio " in my sig lost his life in a Tragic house fire....still very painful.

But to answer your question,
He simply lied on the ground beside my hammock without complaint :) .

He was a very experienced and well trained trail dog,never leaving camp. If it rained he'd get under my tarp/hammock.
So essentially I did nothing different other than supply a pad for cooler weather.

Cold winter camping ? we slept in a tent :) .
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 10:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Dec. 17 2013, 6:21 pm)
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In winter, I have not slept comfortably in any "real" storm inside my hammock as it was flapping like an over-sized butterfly most of the night.

Tigger - can you describe the conditions a little more? I've been in wind before, not in the winter time, but for as much as my fly was flapping I did not notice much affect on the hammock itself.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 11:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You can solve the tarp flap noise with shock cord on your tie outs.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 11:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(KC8QVO @ Dec. 17 2013, 7:53 pm)
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(Tigger @ Dec. 17 2013, 6:21 pm)
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In winter, I have not slept comfortably in any "real" storm inside my hammock as it was flapping like an over-sized butterfly most of the night.

Tigger - can you describe the conditions a little more? I've been in wind before, not in the winter time, but for as much as my fly was flapping I did not notice much affect on the hammock itself.

In high winds, I built a snow block wall around my hammock which was already in a pit of sorts. I had put my tarp down steep to help keep the winds from picking it up and hung my water bladders from both sides but with the howling winds, gusts seemed to ignore all my defenses and shook the crap out my rain fly which misted ice down on me all through the night. Needless to say, I didn't sleep very comfortably. I would guess the winds were only around 30 mph but it was plenty enough.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 18 2013, 10:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A hammock in the wind needs some good solid stake-out tactics and either shock cord or medical tubing for absorption - my large four panel tarp has home made shock cord tensioners, which look a mess when unpacked but have gotten me through a gusty night comfortably. They provide enough give that the tarp doesn't tear and snap back to keep the tarp taut.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 18 2013, 10:38 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I may have to try the shock chord idea. I am not sure if it will happen this trek or not.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 18 2013, 11:21 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ Dec. 18 2013, 7:34 am)
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A hammock in the wind needs some good solid stake-out tactics and either shock cord or medical tubing for absorption - my large four panel tarp has home made shock cord tensioners, which look a mess when unpacked but have gotten me through a gusty night comfortably. They provide enough give that the tarp doesn't tear and snap back to keep the tarp taut.

Are you basically adding extra guy out points or replacing the existing tie points? You've got me thinking about adding an extra line in a V formation to help the existing tie point.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 18 2013, 12:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I use about 20" of 1/8th inch shock cord (bought from REI for 22c a foot) at each tie out point, other than the ones tied to trees.  I tied it in loop, and then used it to tie a line into for the actual tie out.  I found that this allows for some flexing when the wind blows, but the tarp can snap right back into a taut configuration after.   No more noisy flapping. 

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