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Kywilderness.com Discussion => Gear Talk => Topic started by: kymyers on July 02, 2016, 06:57:53 PM

Title: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: kymyers on July 02, 2016, 06:57:53 PM
Am going on a one night trip next week.  One item I will be testing is my new ultralight backpacking hammock.  Anyone have any pointers, tips, etc...  I have to confess that leaving my ground pad and tent behind will be different, but it will make for a good weight reduction if it turns out.
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: KYhiker40 on July 03, 2016, 06:42:57 AM
You're going to love it!  I left my tent about 4 years ago and haven't looked back. 

There are a few things to consider, which you've probably come across in your research, but I'll point out a few not to forget.

1- The best comfort in a hammock comes when you don't use a sleep pad.  But the compression of your body against the hammock can cause even the most gentle of breeze and night time chill to make your butt & shoulders cold.  You can always sacrifice some comfort and use a sleep pad.  If yours is inflatable, I suggest only inflating it about 1/3 to 1/2 the normal pressure when in a hammock.  The best solution is an under quilt.  I got mine from Jacks R Better. 

If you are car camping, laying on top of a wool blanket or oversized fleece will work in the summer months.  Finally, for years I just threaded the hammock thru the sleeping back by unzipping the bag slightly at the feet.  If you do this you'll want to pull the draw string around your shoulders to close the opening.  This works fairly well and is my 2nd favorite method.  I would carry a very small fleece blanket to stuff around the neck opening.  Again, in summer, not as much of an issue.

2- Rain.  In a hammock rain is not an issue.  With some experience you will love the rain and enjoy listening to the rain hit the tarp/fly.  But you need to ensure you use a drip line at both ends of your suspension system to prevent rain from running down the suspension into your hammock.  I just tie off a 6'' piece of paracord immediately before the gathering of the hammock at each end.  Easy and works great.

3-Hang your hammock low enough that you can reach out of your hammock and reach the ground.  This will be helpful should you need anything while sleeping.  Your shoe on the ground can conveniently hold a water bottle, knife, or anything else you'd put in your pocket and keep these at easy reach.  (Gun?).  A low hammock is also nice to serve as a chair when sitting around your fire.

4- Use your tarp setup to improve your experience.  When camping on a ridge, I will face the sunrise and keep on side of the tarp raised so I can enjoy the morning view.  On a windy night I will pitch the tarp at a sharper angle and lower the sides all the way to the ground to block wind. 

I think you'll find a hammock much more versatile than a tent, giving you far more camp site options and providing great comfort.  Good luck!  Be sure to post pictures!
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: KYhiker40 on July 03, 2016, 06:46:31 AM
Here's a view out of my hammock first thing in the morning at Lake Monroe.  I can't explain how relaxing it is to just open your eyes and immediately have a view of nature. 
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: Lizking531 on July 07, 2016, 08:55:19 AM
All of the the above points - hammocks are awesome!

Also, in the rain, if your tarp is easy reach in your pack, you've got the added bonus of keeping everything dry while pitching/breaking camp or cooking.

KYhiker40 - I really enjoy that area of Monroe. Perhaps nothing as spectacular as RRG, but a great forest walk in any case. I grew up north of there, now live south, but still enjoy making the trip (especially in a snowy winter)
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: Ewker on July 07, 2016, 10:02:12 AM
For everything you want to know about hammocks go to www.hammockforums.net

be prepared to be overwhelmed
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: kymyers on July 15, 2016, 08:18:00 PM
So...I learned a few things.  Some of which were just verification from using the hammock at home.
1.  Hammock is much more comfortable than pad and ground.
2.  Tree selection and strap placement is critical.  Too close and you sleep like a banana.  Too far and you can't get in the hammock.  We luckily found a site with large trees placed pretty well.
3.  In warm weather no pad is needed.  I used a lightweight bag, unzipped it, and just put my feet in the bottom with the rest on top to keep out bugs, etc...
4.  Hammock and tarp are much lighter than tent, ground tarp, and sleeping pad.
5.  Still need to work on the tarp thing a little.  We just had a light shower at dawn, but I don't think my tarp would have kept out a downpour.
All - in - all a successful experiment.  Will be prepping for a repeat this fall.
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: FallenArches on July 16, 2016, 09:36:26 AM
As Ewker said, hit up the hammockforum.  That forum showed me how to rig up whoopie sling suspensions on my hammocks using amsteel blue.  Really strong and gives you an easy way to adjust for tree distance.  I use long polyester webbing around the tree, then attach the whooping sling to the webbing.  The webbing isn't as strong as the amsteel blue, but plenty strong.  Being able to adjust both the length of the webbing and the amsteel blue allows one to work with trees that may otherwise be a little too far apart.   
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: kymyers on October 16, 2016, 10:15:59 AM
So...after a couple of additional experiments I am looking for a good rainfly.  The tarp I have been using is not a long term solution.  The hammock forum was great, but overwhelming.  Any hammock campers out there have a recommended brand/size/style?  Thanks
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: wsp_scott on October 16, 2016, 11:47:48 AM
What kind of tarp do you have now? What doesn't work? How did you hang your tarp relative to the hammock?

I have a 12' tarp from Underground Quilts http://undergroundquilts.com/hangers/default.html It is huge, good for me and a kid, but overkill for just myself.

I also have a tarp from OES, but there are enough horror stories on Hammockforums that I would not recommend dealing with him at this point.

I have a couple quilts from Wilderness Logics and have heard good things about their tarps.

Basically any hex cut tarp with a 11' ridgeline should work for most hammocks. If you want to get fancy, you can get extra tieouts and doors and ... I just have 2 basic tarps.
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: wsp_scott on October 16, 2016, 11:49:14 AM
Couple links may help you

http://theultimatehang.com/2012/09/choosing-a-tarp-for-a-hammock/
http://theultimatehang.com/2012/09/choosing-a-tarp-for-a-hammock/
http://theultimatehang.com/2012/05/rigging-a-tarp-for-a-hammock-with-hardware/
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: thedayhascome on November 01, 2016, 09:57:14 PM
So...after a couple of additional experiments I am looking for a good rainfly.  The tarp I have been using is not a long term solution.  The hammock forum was great, but overwhelming.  Any hammock campers out there have a recommended brand/size/style?  Thanks

Glad to hear that you are locking in your hammock setup. It does take time to get it just right, so keep honing your gear and asking the questions. You will be a completely converted hammock camper in no time.

As for your questions, what length hammock do you have? For rain shelter, you will want a tarp at least 2 feet longer than your hammock to get a 1 - 1.5ft clearance at either end. I use a 8.5 x 10 cuben fiber tarp, but I have a shorter ENO Sub7 hammock (7.5ft) and it provides plenty of coverage.

Also, to get the ideal hang or "sag" each time, you should use a structural ridgeline to lock in the distance. More info about ridgelines can be found at The Ultimate Hang website. The calculator http://theultimatehang.com/hammock-hang-calculator/ (http://theultimatehang.com/hammock-hang-calculator/) will help determine the length of your ridgeline, the ideal starting point for length is 83% of your hammock length.
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: milspecmark on November 04, 2016, 09:20:25 AM
Question, I tend to sleep on my stomach.  Is that possible in a hammock?
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: thedayhascome on November 04, 2016, 11:00:33 AM
Question, I tend to sleep on my stomach.  Is that possible in a hammock?

Yes, it's doable with a larger hammock, and more specifically a bridge hammock. Checkout the Warbonnet Ridge Runner https://www.warbonnetoutdoors.com/product/ridgerunner-hammock/ (https://www.warbonnetoutdoors.com/product/ridgerunner-hammock/) or a large, Grand Trunk Double.

Also, because a hammock is much more comfortable on your back than a bed is, you might find yourself sleeping comfortably on your back in a hammock. You should definitely give it a try.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2011/06/21/137300311/why-hammocks-make-sleep-easier-deeper

Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: milspecmark on November 07, 2016, 09:36:36 AM
Thanks for the info.  I am gonna try one out
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: kobrakai on December 04, 2016, 10:48:55 AM
My GF is asking me for Xmas gift ideas and I'd like to try a hammock. Anyone have recommendations for a particular brand or anything specific I should look for?
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: wsp_scott on December 04, 2016, 12:36:19 PM
Are you thinking of backpacking with it, i.e. sleeping in it all night long? If so, this is a "bigger project" than just buying a hammock.

If you want something to lay in while carcamping or dayhiking, then something like this would probably be fine if you switch out the rope for tree straps.

https://www.amazon.com/WoneNice-Outdoor-Multifunctional-Hammocks-Carabiners/dp/B010DDJ62G/

I'm happy to provide more info if you like. You can also check out hammockforums.net, but be prepared to be overwhelmed :)
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: KYhiker40 on December 04, 2016, 06:40:12 PM
I agree it can be overwhelming and for that reason I offer this advice.  Keep it simple to start.  You can easily become obsessed with suspension systems, etc, but at the end of the day when you lay down to sleep, as long as you are comfortable and dry, none of these things matter.

I'd suggest in the beginning to buy a hammock that is of an acceptable weight for backpacking, but start by car camping.  This will allow you to play around with hanging methods and find what's easiest for you.  Another benefit of car camping is that you can just throw a wool or fleece blanket in the hammock to sleep on, saving you the expense of an underquilt.  (Yes, a sleep pad works, but it just isn't the same hammock comfort, IMO)

If after a few nights of car camping in a hammock you decide it's for you, then you can start to obsess some and upgrade gear.  Personally, I started with a Grand Trunk hammock and then upgraded to an Eno Double Nest, which i've found to be perfect for me. 

One thing i'm a bit passionate about, if you need to purchase a tarp, I'd strongly suggest silnylon.  The benefits of silnylon make it my favorite piece of gear. 
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: kobrakai on December 04, 2016, 11:00:13 PM
I'd suggest in the beginning to buy a hammock that is of an acceptable weight for backpacking, but start by car camping.  This will allow you to play around with hanging methods and find what's easiest for you.  Another benefit of car camping is that you can just throw a wool or fleece blanket in the hammock to sleep on, saving you the expense of an underquilt.  (Yes, a sleep pad works, but it just isn't the same hammock comfort, IMO)

That was my plan exactly.
Title: Re: Backpacking Hammock
Post by: thedayhascome on December 04, 2016, 11:47:40 PM
My GF is asking me for Xmas gift ideas and I'd like to try a hammock. Anyone have recommendations for a particular brand or anything specific I should look for?

I would go with a Warbonnet, ENO, or Grand Trunk. Both make several that are lighter than 16oz. I would suggest sticking around that weight, there's no need for a heavy hammock - that's the whole point of hammocking. Definitely try a hammock and give it a go on a short hike out, or car camping. However, You can always take your sleeping pad along in case it doesn't work out.

The CleverHiker site http://www.cleverhiker.com/best-backpacking-hammocks/ (http://www.cleverhiker.com/best-backpacking-hammocks/) does a great summary of day hammocks and sleeping hammocks, I would review those and determine what might make sense for you.

For what it's worth, I use an Eno Sub 7. It's a shorter hammock at only 7.5ft, but I sleep wonderfully in it, and I'm 185lbs @ 6ft.