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Getting into Hammocks

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Getting into Hammocks

Postby zacjust32 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:39 am

Hey all,

I'm just starting to get into backpacking after day hiking just about everything I can in SEKI and I'm looking for some new sleeping/shelters. My first backpacking trip was 6 days this summer with my uncle: the infamous Rae Lakes Loop, counterclockwise with side trips to Kearsarge Pass and Gardiner Basin. I'm currently thinking about a hammock/tarp setup because of it's modularity and potential weight savings over a full sized tent. I'm new to the idea of hammocks and tarps so I was hoping to get some feedback from users here on what they do. I am going to school full time at Fresno State, so if I have to choose between price and weight, I may compromise where many of you won't. :) I don't have a sleeping bag currently either so I'm also looking into quilts if it's easier to use in the hammock. If you have any suggestions I'm glad to hear and consider them.

-Zac
Hiker, adventurer, fabricator, tinkerer, theologian, and occasional student. http://www.zacjust.blogspot.com



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Re: Getting into Hammocks

Postby rlown » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:30 am

check out viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5420&p=33925&hilit=hammock#p33925

AlmostThere is our hammock "advocate." :nod:

You can use the site's search function and look for quilt or hammock.
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Re: Getting into Hammocks

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:44 am

My first backpacking trip was 6 days this summer with my uncle: the infamous Rae Lakes Loop, counterclockwise with side trips to Kearsarge Pass and Gardiner Basin.


Yeah, still waiting on that TR, which I am sure you are diligently working one, and had planned to post very soon, right Zac. ;)
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Re: Getting into Hammocks

Postby Brien » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:02 pm

I've been hammocking for a couple of years now. There can be some weight savings depending what setup you go with, but also bare in mind there will be an initial investment in equipment.

Have you ever slept in a hammock, other than maybe a nap in the backyard? The reason I ask is hammocks aren't for everyone and the way you sleep also dictates the best type of hammock for you. If you sleep on your back than a traditional gathered-end hammock will work fine for you. There are many manufacturers of these types of hammocks and they're also the most cost effective. If you sleep on your stomach and/or side then a bridge hammock would be better suited for you. They tend to have a flatter lay and you're able to turn around in it easier.

I use a Warbonnet Ridgerunner hammock http://www.warbonnetoutdoors.com/ridgerunner-hammock/, which is a bridge hammock. This is probably the best bridge hammock made. The main downside to a bridge hammock is the weight, however you can also save weight by using your hiking poles in lieu of the poles. Here's a picture of mine with the hiking poles.

Image

Aside from the hammock itself you also have to look at suspension, under quilt and a tarp. These components complete the setup.

My advice to you is to buy a cheap $30 gathered-end hammock and try it out. If you can sleep good in it then that will help with your options. But give it a good try. My first night was in the backyard and I went inside at around 3 am. The next night I made it through the night. Each time I made adjustments to get it really dialed in and my sleep improved.
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Re: Getting into Hammocks

Postby rlown » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:10 pm

Brien,

Do you have a picture without vertical tree ties? And massive tarps overhead? Like, picture yourself above treeline?

Just wondering. It's a nice setup, but.. I wouldn't put the that kind of load on the trekking poles. Maybe just me.
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Re: Getting into Hammocks

Postby Brien » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:48 pm

These pictures were taken a few weeks ago while up at Lake Aloha. While others in my group looked for flat land to setup on I slept over this boulder. Later in the day I readjusted my tarp to smooth it out a bit.

As for the hiking poles these Mountainsmith poles are very strong and commonly used among others with the same hammock. I've never heard of a report of them breaking.

Image
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Re: Getting into Hammocks

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:57 pm

Hi Brien,

During heavy storms, accompanied by heavy winds, is there a lot of swaying, especially if the trees your using are thinner, and the site is exposed?
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Re: Getting into Hammocks

Postby Brien » Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:09 pm

You definitely want to use mature trees. You can't see by the picture, but the trees I chose were plenty strong. As we were looking for a spot it started to rain. So our site wasn't ideal, but it worked. Once the rain stopped I readjusted my tarp and was fine the rest of the time. The next day we got a fair amount of rain and hail. I had to get up once to re-secure one of my tie-outs, but that was it.
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Re: Getting into Hammocks

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:46 pm

rlown wrote:Brien,

Do you have a picture without vertical tree ties? And massive tarps overhead? Like, picture yourself above treeline?

Just wondering. It's a nice setup, but.. I wouldn't put the that kind of load on the trekking poles. Maybe just me.


you don't support the hammock with the poles. they are used as spreader bars on the ends of the bridge hammock. Not a load bearing application, and certainly not beyond the capabilities of poles.

above treeline, you hang from rocks using climbing nuts, or use a pad instead of an underquilt and go to ground.

To the OP:

I will recommend you to The Ultimate Hang, a book by a hammock guy that summarizes how to hammock comfortably as concisely as possible. Hammocks are great for gear geeks - the possibilities become more endless every month, as the hammock geeks create more and more options to sell online.

If you become enamored of hammocks and find your inner gear geek, prepare to spend a bunch. Or learn how to sew, do the whipping at the ends of a sheet or tablecloth, buy polypro straps (the responsible hammocker NEVER USES ROPE ON TREES EVER. There are enough parks and jurisdictions in the world that ban hammocks due to the damage jerks with hammocks have done to trees.), and make your own tarp from silnylon. It can be as complicated, or as simple, as you like. There are a ton of ideas, suggestions and advisements complete with pictures at Hammock Forums (hammockforums.net)

I started with a plain blue CCF pad ($15), a used Hennessy Hammock ($125 from a guy at Hammock Forums), and a Ray Way quilt kit ($85, sewed myself, synthetic, bulky, warm). It was fine. Not cushy, not fancy, but it kept me warm and I slept okay. However, the Hennessy was a little claustrophobic, so I evolved.

My current setup is two Jacks R Better Hudson River (3 season ~25F quilts, can be used as underquilt or top quilt) $500 for both. Warbonnet Blackbird, 1.1 double layer, around $175. MacCat Deluxe tarp, $125. A handful of stakes from the stake bin for tie outs. The hammock I later retrofitted with long whoopie slings for max adjustability ($20), and added a pair of Dutch Clips. I have a set of 0 degree quilts (~$600 for the both of them) and a larger tarp with doors (around $120-30 from someone who was making and selling them at Hammock Forums).

I sometimes use my 25 inch wide Exped in the hammock. It's easier with wide pads to keep warm and stay on the pad.

Definitions for all these items are yours via google. :nod: Happy shopping.


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Re: Getting into Hammocks

Postby The Other Tom » Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:13 pm

How far out is your next trip ? REI has a used gear sale once per year. You can pick up some really good deals then.
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Re: Getting into Hammocks

Postby Brien » Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:28 pm

AlmostThere, do you think we dare turn him on to Shug?

https://www.youtube.com/user/shugemery

Enjoy!
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Re: Getting into Hammocks

Postby zacjust32 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:33 pm

@Rlown I read that and the other 2 hammock threads, the lack of info here is the reason I decided to post.

@AT That's exactly the kind of info I wanted. You're intro kit is a good idea as to what I'm looking for; it's simple and does the job, and can be adapted to fit other situations. At this point in my backpacking career I'm more likely to put in the miles and fall asleep without any problems than toss and turn just because it's not just right.

@TheOtherTom Probably not until next season, so that is a great idea. I'll have to see when the next one is.

Brien wrote:AlmostThere, do you think we dare turn him on to Shug?

https://www.youtube.com/user/shugemery
'

Man! That's great! haha.
Hiker, adventurer, fabricator, tinkerer, theologian, and occasional student. http://www.zacjust.blogspot.com
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