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Jungle Hammock review after a week of use

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  • Jungle Hammock review after a week of use

    Okay, if you didn't know already, I bought a GI style jungle hammock.

    Bottom is thick canvas like they use on military tents. Sides are very, very fine mesh for air flow. Top is typical nylon tent material. Good to keep a few drops of rain off, but will let you get wet in a downpour. Besides that, the rain lip is about 3 inches wide, so rain would get you through the mesh sides anyways.

    Okay, so I used it for a week of summer camp and here's how it went:

    Sunday night: Slept kinda okay, but nothing great! Would have enjoyed more sleep, but wasn't a zombie when I woke up. Using a small throw pillow from the couch wasn't a great idea. Little bit thicker than what I am used to. Temps did drop in loow 60's - so that was really nice!

    Also discover that due to an illusion in the landscape, my feet are actually about 8 inches higher than my head.

    Monday Night Adjusted heights of tree straps so that hammock is level. Tried sleeping without pillow, was worse than having pillow. Slept better than Sun night, but still not spectacular.


    Tuesday night : After 2 1/2 days of camp, I am really looking forward to a good nights sleep. Somebody flipped the humidity switch on, so it's ...well....humid!

    Woke up around 3:30am due to raccons shaking our water cooler. Guess they were thirsty too. Sucks that they woke me up, but the good news is that I realize I was sleeping.

    Wake up a little closer to the ground than when I went to bed.

    WEdnesday night : Parents night. Get to bed a little bit later than usual. Somebody turned the humidity up a notch or five. Did I mention I was using my Coleman 40 degre bag as a cuchion?

    Wake up at 3:30 again to sound of racoons enjoying chicken and other food from campsite trashcan. Again, they shook water cooler. Maybe the sound of ice against the insides of the coler are some sort of racoon discoteque dancebeat? Party on coons, party on.

    Woke up even closer to the ground.

    Thurday night : Tightened up the slack between hammock and tree straps. Adjusted the head a bit higher and removed the rope spreaders I made for the bottom side of hammock ( many, many people suggested this on the hammock forums website ). Now the bottom has more of a cradle shape.

    Slept better, but humidity was even higher. Thought a spider was crawling on my face and when I went to brush it off ( in a very unmanly panic) - discovered it was just sweat rolling off my head.

    Friday night: Hammock has finally loosened up and stretched as much as it is going to - for now. Except that the humidity was so high, I slept pretty good. Couch pillow is almost molded to my head thanks to all the sweat that it absorbed. Made note to throw away pillow....not sure washing machine will conquer that smell.

    Saturday morning Took me about 5 minutes to break down everything I had from taking down hammock, taking down rainfly, removing my ground tarp, rolling up hammock, sleeping bag, and removing my backpack of clothes.

    I did get to sit and relax while everybody else still broke down their tents, rainflys , and ground cloths.

    So..... It was my first time ever using a hammock aside from a 30 minute nap here orv there on a backyard rope hammock. I figure it is something that you have to adjust to. I also figure the average person doesn't sleep in one for a whole week the very first time they use one.

    I am guessing the hammock is doing what it is supposed to, and it's me that has to "break in" to a hammock.

    So, I definantly enjoyed it with all things considered. I am going to buy myself a new pillow for my bead and use the one I have now for camping. It's a posturepedic latex foam pillow, so I can wash it and that fact also probably had alot to do with my level of sleeping.


    Did I mention I bought this hammock at a military surplus store? BRand new in an unopened package for $35.00 Spent &5.00 on two 1,000lb rated 12'X 1 1/2 " lift straps that I used for tree straps, and $28.00 on 100 foot of 300lb rated 5/8" rope.

    Total cost of $68.00 I just reused my ground cloth as a floor and my rainfly tarp that I used over my tents rainfly as an oversized canopy. This covered my hammock, but also gave me a shady area where I sat in my camp chair, used another camp chair as a dresser ( holding my clothes pack) and an under sheltor clothesline for my shirts and shower towel.


    Here's a picture ....If I did the link right:

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/photo.php?fbid=480140708680884&set=o.172739770499& type=1&theater

  • #2
    Welcome to the "Hangers Club". Yeah it takes some getting used to and it is not for everyone. I think once you get really into it the costs and weight is pretty close to a good two man tent. I think to beat it trap camping is the way to go. But you can't beat the more areas you can set up vs. a tent and the quick take down. I have gotten mine done in 3 minutes. Nice not to have a damp ground cloth. I like your idea of a ground pad.

    Yeah I think it can be a little warmer in humid weather. And cooler with a breeze. I find a lot of sleeping issues is not getting the rig right, if my head is too low I am very uncomfortable.

    A whole week! Wow, last week I just went with the cot.

    Comment


    • #3
      A Place you might want to check out All about Hammock Camping.

      http://www.hammockforums.net/

      I enjoy it, but I'll probably have to give it up for a year or two on Pack camping trips, until my new tigers get old enough to either be responsible in a tent by themselves, or I get some Hammocks for them.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have been using a hammock on scout trips for seven years now. I tried to use a military jungle style hammock once, but could not get the tie outs for the hammock top right. For several years I used a simple mesh hammock with a regular truck tarp. I put my ground pad in the hammock to keep my bottom side warm and to spread the hammock out. Very comfortable. Now I use a Hennessy hammock, and so have the built in bug screen, and I can use it as a kind of a chair. I first got the idea by reading the link below written by a scoutmaster in the northeast. I read HammockForums.net all the time for ideas, and that is good. Scoutfish, I think you took on a chore by trying to use the jungle hammock. There are now much better camping hammocks out there.

        http://mormonsite.wordpress.com/camping-in-a-hammock/

        Comment


        • #5
          Nah, no chore at all. I lke the saciousness of the jungle hammock. The sides are not wrapped around me like the $250.00 Hennesy I tried out while at camp last week.

          By tried out, I mean that I laid in one in the campsite next to us just to see how it laid. Felt like I was in a silk cocoon.

          The net was only at the top whereas mine is on all side except at the head end. Easy for a breeze ( if we had one) to pass through.

          Plus, using a tarp as a secondary ( well primary , really ) rainfly gave me a place to store everything and keep my chairs dry as well as afoord an under shelter clothes hanging area.

          My hammock also laid flatter than the Hennesy and the Enos I saw.

          Plus the canvas bottom seems to pull sweat away from me while the Hennesy just held it there against me.

          But compared to setting up a tent with air mattress or cot, It's definantly 1/4th of the work!

          Comment


          • #6
            Well if the saying "hike your hike" is true then so is "hang your hang". I like my Hennessy but if you like yours more power to you!

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm a Hennessy Fan myself, but either way, it beats being on the ground.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think the biggest issue I will be dealing with is that at 41 years old, I never slept in a hammock before except the ocvcasional nap in a backyard hammock. And even then, we are talking maybe 30 miutes tops.

                Maybe it's more of a mental thing than physical?

                I mean, usually after 2 or 3 days of camping, I can sleep on a pile of bricks!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I slept in a jungle hammock in an actual jungle but now that I live (and camp) in the desert, it would seem to be of less utility for me, as there are fewer sturdy trees to lash the ends to (unless up north). I like the idea of weight savings, but I also rotate all night long as I sleep. Any of you hammock users have a problem with this, or does your body adapt and keep you in one position as you sleep?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    AZMike,

                    I am a side sleeper too. I mostly sleep on my right side, but the hammock was okay.

                    In my past experiences camping, the first night in a sleeping bacg always sucks becuase it's just not your home bed.

                    But by the second night, sleep is better.

                    Third nigt, your body is exhausted enough that you could sleep on a pile of bricks.

                    Now, during that week with the hammock, I never got to the exhuasted enough to sleep anywhere stage.

                    I also slept on my side, but had to curl my legs up about halfway to do so due to the curve of the hammock.

                    Even though laying diagonal in the hammock allows you to lay flatter, you still have a curve to your body.

                    ON the bright side: when I was sleeping on my back, I didn't snore like I do on a flat bead. MUst be just enough angle that whatever causes me to snore doesn't happen in the hammock.

                    Personally, I think the biggest thing is just getting used to something different.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ya get what ya pay for.....

                      The better hammocks have foot boxes so you lay flat.....

                      you don't lay straight in it ya lay crosswise....

                      It does take some experience to get it hung properly.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Basement,
                        while I am a true believer in "You get what you pay for".....I also am a true believer in knowing that a Ford Ranger will get me where I am going just as good as a Ford Excursion, but a hell of alot cheaper.

                        I don't mind paying for getting something good, but I don't pay for extras if I don't need or use them.

                        I did lay in a Hennesy at camp. Felt like a cocoon right away and since I was a bit sweaty, the material started sticking to me right away.

                        My jungle hammock on the other hand, well, It was just as hot temperature wise, but being more box shaped than cocoon shaped, I could feel a big difference right away. Don't have that "smotering" feeling and air flows freely through the hammock.

                        Sure, come wintertime, the Hennesy may prove to hold heat better, but thats just a small obstical to over come.

                        Biggest thing is this: I knew ahead of time that this whole hammock thing may not suite me, so instead of buying a $250.00 ( I need one to hold my 252 pounds) hammock, I started out with a cheaper PRICED hammock .

                        So far as quality goes, It seems to be doing just fie for now.

                        In a year from now? WEll, we'll see! :~)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hey 'fish--

                          Did you add a spreader bar to the top of the canopy as well? It looks like there is only one attachment rope, whereas most of the GI systems I have seen have multiple attachments to spread the canopy.

                          How large of a tarp are you using for your rainfly? It doesn't look that big in the picture but you have quite a bit of stuff under there.

                          It looks like getting the rainfly about 3' above the hammock is the key to getting a good "drape." Also looks like you are going horizontal with the rainfly guy wires rather than to the ground?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            WEll, to start with, my usual spot at camp between 2 very nice oak trees was taken by one of the wall tent the staff had set up.

                            So I ended up moving to a different spot.

                            Yeah, I made 4 spreader bars out of 1/2" pvc pipe. I cut them in half and used a pvc coupling to hold them together. It worked well becuase the nature of the hammock pulls them towards each other.

                            I did paint the pvc olive green to match the tent.

                            So anyways, the attached rainfly/top had 3 loops on each end. But since I had the spreader bar, I only connected to the center loop on each end.

                            The tarp I used was a 10X12 tarp. I used a second rope to go between the trees about a foot and a half higher than where the tree straps connected.

                            Just hanging there, the spreader bars actually tough the rainfly, but once I lay in it, my body weight causes the spreader bars to drop at least 6" lower than the rainfly.

                            The rainfly is also offset. I have just enough covereage on the bnon-zipper side of the hammock to cover the mesh if the weather gets nasty. Maybe hangs about 3 inches lower than the hammock

                            The rest hangs over the other side and is supported by enough of the original rainfly rope to go diagonally to a tree that was about 2 foot from a support tree. This helped hold up the fly over my chairs.

                            This also helped create an area where I could hang my shirts under the tarp ( at night) withough brushing against the hammock.

                            The tarp is a heavy duty one, so I will be buying a smaller/lighter one soon.

                            Yeah, I did have a bunch of stuff with me. Severely overpacked. 1st time at summer camp...ever!

                            Got my Jansport backpack on Weds, so I'll be packing based on what fits in my pack from now on.

                            I did learn alot at summer camp: Don't need 5 pairs of shorts. Don't need 6 shirts. Don't need 8 pair of underwear, Only needed 5 pair of socks.

                            Using two gallon buckets and a clean ( unused ) toilet plunger is just as effective and 5 times faster than a washing machine.

                            Just be careful how you measure your detergent!

                            Anyways, I tied some of my rainfly support ropes to the surrounding trees to keep it up and open for a breeze. Some were tie to stakes. If bad weather came, I could have dropped and secured in in about a minute.

                            The surrounding trees were oaks and other hardwoods so there wasn't any bark damage

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well I tried out a jungle hammock just like 'fish has on a 4-night campout.

                              The reason I went with the jungle/box style is that I tried the Hennessey and, while very comfortable, I did not like the wrap/cocoon feeling. I liked the tall mesh sides of the GI style. With bottom spreader bars I could lay flat and actually spread out a bit.

                              I slept very well--much better than on a cot or pad. The only sleeping problem was the "reverse bend" on your knees. This can be addressed by having a pillow under them apparently, but I found that drawing up one leg under the other would also eliminate that.

                              The only problem I had with setup of the tent was the top cover. I didn't make top spreader bars and with 3 lines per side, 6 in total, the question is where to tie them? In order to spread them out it requires a fair number of surrounding trees which can be hard to come by. And the top cover seems to be essential to this style for stability.

                              Thinking about this more I am wondering if a single tie on the center would be sufficient to hold the netting up--basically ignore the corner ties altogether. I'll have to give that the back yard test.

                              There are definitely drawbacks to the GI style over the Hennessey in terms of weight and more complicated setup. On the other hand the cost can't be beat and the comfort was hands down better than on the ground.

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