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Knot Head

Anyone here use a hammock + tarp when backpacking?

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I have seen guys on the trail in backcountry with these and can't stop thinking about them. I'm even toying with a hammock campout where we rigged hammocks made of Wal Mart bed sheets with tarps over the top.

 

Just wondering if any troops out there use these to cut down on the weight in the backpack. I've never slept in one but did get into one when on the trail and it felt really good. The owner said he got a larger tarp than the standard (10x12 IIRC) and he's never been wet even in a gully washer. He also can rig the tarp to cook under the tarp when it is raining. Says he sleeps like a rock at night. He uses it down to about 20 degrees with an under quilt.

 

This whole hammock thing keeps coming back to me. I'd like to try it but am wondering if any of you have experience. Pros and Cons?

 

Here is an example below if you don't know quite what I'm talking about. If the link will not work just google "My new Hennessy Hammock" on You Tube.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYJqswqYl50&feature=related

 

(This message has been edited by knot head)

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I don't think I could sleep in one. I like to sleep on my side or belly.

At Philmont, we couldn't tie anything but the bear bag ropes to living trees. So they wouldn't be allowed.

I rarely see anyone out here with one on the trail.

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They have been selling the military hammocks for years and even those have gone to lightweight nylon. One would think that if they are a good idea, there would be more of them in use.

 

Stosh

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I took one on all my campouts and treks except Philmont. It was the first thing I put up after we set up camp on our treks. It sets up fast enough to use during a long break on a hike or canoe trip if you want to take a quick nap. Sometime just getting off the ground is a relief. They are very comfortable and usually the envy of the rest of the group. The tarp works great in rain and anything else that falls out of tree. I didn't sleep in it at night where we had heavy mosquitoes. It was kind of the adult gettaway place at summer camp for naps and reading books, but I even let curious scouts lay in it. Look for survival hammocks that are made of fish netting. Very strong and very light. I think around $30. Rolls up to about the size of a softball. Try it to see if you like it.

 

Barry

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A friend uses a hammock/tent. He loves it and explained to me that the secret is that you lie diagonally (not Diagon Alley). It weighs next to nothing so for backpacking it is great . . . as long as you can find a place to rig it.

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I've tried it a couple of times - they are great for naps and short periods of sleep - after about 5 hours, they become uncomfortable - at least they did for me. I'd have to get up and walk around for 1/2 an hour or so to work the kinks out, before I could try again. The problem is the sag in the middle - sleeping on ones side helps to mitigate it somewhat, but no matter what, you will eventually wake up because you are laying in an unnatural, non-ergonomic position.

 

Its hard to sleep in a sleeping bag in a hammock, so you will need more of an underquilt and top blanket type set up and because of that, you won't really save much weight at all.

 

I wouldn't use Wal-mart (or any other) bed sheets to rig a hammock - sheets aren't designed to hold up to hanging weights, If you're going to go the hammock route - get a hammock.

 

There are a couple of manufacturers of "hammock shelters" - they ook like tents strung between trees. I've never tried one of those, but considering I never use my sleeping bag as a bag, but as a blanket, I doubt I would find these comfortable - I tend to be slightly claustrophobic in tunnel like spaces.

 

If you have any lads that move around a lot at night, expect some rolling out of bed accidents.

 

Most modern, good quality backpacking tents are designed so that the rain fly can be set up independently of the tent - using the same poles and stakes. You could always leave the tent at home and just use the fly - or if good weather is expected throughout the whole trip, leave the fly home and just cary the tent body. In a surprise rainstorm, ponchose can be set up as the rain fly in a pinch.

 

Calico

 

 

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http://www.byerofmaine.com/amazonas-traveller.htm

They even have an answer to the mosquito problem about halfway down the page. I and my son have these we have never spent a whole night in them. They are light and fairly easy to put up with some rope. Our troop has a rule that one is only allowed to sleep out when on boy scout property not in a public campground and most places we have been going this year are the public campgrounds of state parks. The rule does not apply to me but then I don't camp often.

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I've used them but my back won't take it any more. Good in jungle where there are trees and lots of roots on the ground. No lumps in a hammock and yes you can sleep dry in a swamp or river so to speak. Problem in the rain to be aware of - water runs down tree, on to hammock cord and into hammock. There are grommets etc that solve this but be aware when looking for a model.

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Calico,

More than one occasion, I've had to do the fly only setup for tenting. Often, when returning from a trip, I'll dry out the fly and tent then stuff them into a bin. Usually the fly, the poles, ground cloth in the tent bag, leaving the tent body in the bin because I don't like storing everything really compressed. Of course, in the rush to get ready for a trip, I just throw the tent bag into my pack leaving the tent body in the bin. Upon reaching camp, I have a fly, poles and ground cloth, but no tent body. Works fine, except it won't keep the bugs away from you! And we rarely ever get rain after sunset here so what's the point!

One time, my son packed just the tent body, no poles, fly or ground cloth for both of us. We were climbing a 14nr and camping at timberline at 12,000ft in late spring. Luckily, we were able to fabricate a few poles out our hiking poles and it didn't snow that night.

Oh well, whatever gets you through the night. Its all right. All right.

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used them in the Jungle back when I was involved with a troop in Panama. Worked GREAT. I am a LARGE person. Back then about 210 (now about 300). I did not have back problems sleeping in hammock (did in regular bed). Insects were a problem in the Jungle.

 

That's my $0.02.

 

Rick

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Knot Head

 

Some people love to sleep in Hammocks and the military style nylon with netting and a tarp cover can be great...

 

But like everything else- it depends...Can you hang it up? Several National Parks (and State Parks too) no longer allow ropes to be attached to trees...We had a ranger approach us in a snow storm (even) to say our cooking tarp had to be taken down because we tied it to the trees...(sorry, having left our "air anchors" at home we had found a need to use the trees....)

 

Then of course there is the "odd happenings" phenonena...for instance : on our annual 100 mile river canoe trip a group of older scouts had used the same copse of trees to hang their hammocks -on an same island for years. These trees were the only "real trees" on the island...

 

Unfortunately, one year, several camping slobs had used the island before us and the copse of trees was used (unwisely and poorly) as the latrine...It was (needless to say) un-inhabitable...guys had to sleep on pebbles and rocks having left their pads and bedrolls at home...

 

so just know the rules and be ready for unfortunate circumstances...

 

Anarchist

 

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I have a Hennessy Hyperlight Hammock and have used it on a few week long backpacking trips. Heres a few observations, your experience may vary.

1.Basic hammock is lighter than a tent however a hammock needs insulation underneath of it in all but the warmest weather. If you try to sleep on a pad in it then it will shift and become uncomfortable. The insulation needs to be on the outside and under the hammock and needs a water resistant outer shell over (see Hennessys Super Shelter). By the time you add all up the weight of the hammock with bug netting, insulation system and tarp you have as much weight as a light weight backpacking tent and sleeping pad.

2.If you can sleep all night on your back you might be comfortable but I tend to toss and turn all night and I like to sleep on my side. I have a hard time sleeping in it.

3.If youre setting up in an area with no trees or trees the wrong size you will have a hard time hanging a hammock. This means sleeping on the ground with no pad.

4.Its nice to be able to sleep level without the lumps and bumps of rough ground.

5.Its the coolest way to spend a hot summer night.

Hope this helps.

 

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I have been using a hammock for years. At fist I used a net type hammock, and to keep the net pattern from cutting into my back, I put my sleeping bag pad in the hammock, put the sleeping bag on top of that, and I was great. I could even sleep on my side with the right pillow. The pad keeps the hammock open, and supplies some insolation. I have used it in temperatures down in the thirties, and was fine. With a tarp strung above the hammock, I was high and dry in a thunderstorm when the rest of the troop was soked. It does help my back, and at 51, it is a wonder.

 

Last year I got a Hennessey hammock myself. The only thing I have a problem with on this hammock is the tarp. I spread my tarp over the thing, t hen I get in, and the sag causes the tarp to not be taught any more. I have to have someone on the outside pull it tight for me. If not, on a rainy night I will get a stream of water flow on my underside. I will probably get a longer silnylon tarp to use with this hammock. If I tie an emergency blanket on the underside, it will create the air pocket I need for warmth on a 20 degree winter night.

 

I would definately try it for a couple of campouts. Check out this:

 

http://www.tothewoods.net/HammockCamping.html

 

 

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I am a die hard Hennessy Hammock guy.

 

In our troop I bought the first one and now we probably have 6 or 7 between boys and adults. The boys enjoy hanging them "condo style". As with everything else you have some that love it and some that don't. For me it is the most comfortble night sleep I ever have camping. The first night I spent in it was the worse night. I had a hard time getting my sleeping bag just right and the ropes stretched and I ended up almost on the ground. Here are a few observations that might help you.

 

The original fly is small. I've never been wet, but in a really hard rain I could see how you could. I did have some problems with rain water running down the line and wet the end of my sleeping bag. The cure: I have a small cotton string tied at both ends outside the hammock to allow the water somewhere to run. With the newer hammocks Hennessy will give you a larger fly, but they are heavier. I still use the smaller fly on backpacking trips.

 

I always tie my lines at about eye level and very tight. This way I can lay flat on my back, but I always sleep on my side very comfortably. BTW I weight 285 and am 6'1".

 

Here we don't have to worry about the cold very much. I did use it on one cold mountain night. I took a closed cell foam pad and slept on it inside the hammock. As long as I stayed on the pad I was plenty warm. However, I am usually a warm sleeper.

 

Last year at summer camp the other adult and I both slept in Hennessy hammocks all week. The other adult has a bad back and wakes up with an achy back every morning. He swears that he never had a sore back that week that he slept in his HH.

 

I have the Expedition model. If I were to buy agian I would probably go with something a little bigger such as an Explorer, due to my size. Some of our guys got a scout discount. I just called and asked for a list of their seconds. Saved a considerable amount of money that way.

 

You can get some other good advise on the www.southernpaddler.com website. Most of these guys are seasoned citizens and most all camp in hammocks. They can give you some good advise.

 

Fullquiver

 

 

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Thanks for the replies. I bought a new backpacker ultralight off ebay for a little less than 1/2 price and got a great nights sleep on a test in the backyard. Far superior to any pad plus tent I've ever used, so I guess I'm a hammock guy now. My back never hurt in a pad + tent, I just tossed and turned alot. I've read a lot about the different cold weather solutions and will get to begin try these out on a September trip to the Ozarks. My initial cold plan is to try the inexpensive route with a CCF pad and space blanket. I have pitched it as a bivy in the backyard with hiking poles and crawled into it and that seemed to be an okay "no trees" or "wicked cold go to ground" solution. I've not slept in it as a bivy tent on the ground setup yet but I'll probably try that soon in another backyard test. I think setting a line to pull the bug net off my face will be something I need to sleep well. The Speer pad extender "SPE" seems like a good way to get some warmth at low cost.

 

The hammock I got on ebay came with the standard tarp and it is a little small, so I'm looking at a MacCat tarp which seems like a good configuation since you can basically pitch it several different ways including closing both ends to completely enclose the hammock. The approx 8x10 gives you a nice large area to cook and lounge under. I think I'll be pitching the tarp with a seperate ridge line to avoid some of the sag.

 

Someone said Philmont won't allow these since you can't hang anything off trees except food bags. Can't figure out why Philmont would ban hammocks since the national Leave No Trace folks are fans of hammock camping since they do less damage than tents and groundcloths.

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