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Author Topic: My first ever concern with a hammock  (Read 1372 times)

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KYhiker40

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My first ever concern with a hammock
« on: April 27, 2015, 03:44:44 PM »

So, I've been an avid hammock camper for the past 4 years.  Every since I slept my first night in a hammock, i've been hooked and always swore I'd never go back to a tent.  I've never heard a valid concern that I couldn't quickly overcome and have always slept dry and comfy, even in thunderstorms. 

Then my last trip to the Gorge found me with a safety concern.  A friend had borrowed one of my hammocks for our trip and as he lay down to sleep the hammock ripped and he fell rapidly through the fabric, right onto the ground.  I immediately thought of all the times I've slept in that hammock, pitched a good 4 foot off the ground.  Not a single time have I considered the hammock itself ripping and the potential for injury should I fall to the ground and hit a rock or root. 

I feel that I take pretty good care of my gear.  I always hang my hammock to air out when I get home and the hammock was only about 4 years old.  Granted, it was a Grand Trunk Hammock, which isn't top of the line by any means.  But I can't help being safety concerned, especially since I am typically solo.

This experience has me reconsidering a tent.  I've also considered pitching the hammock very low to the ground and just taking safety precautions.  Regardless, I'm frustrated, and wondering if any of you have had similar experiences?

For the record, my friend is well within the weight limit and not a large guy.  Nor am I.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2015, 03:46:58 PM by KYhiker40 »
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Mark W

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Re: My first ever concern with a hammock
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2015, 03:53:57 PM »

Yikes . . . that could've easily ruined a trip. I have several Grand Trunk hammocks that are five years old or so, always been good to me but I've never tried to sleep in one. I'm pretty satisfied with my tent and am not planning on switching to a hammock for sleeping/shelter, just going stick with using one for leisurely naps around the campsite and getting off my feet and the ground for a spell.

I don't know what to tell you -- if you have an ENO or Hennessy or other more "reputable" hammock you probably have nothing to worry about, but I definitely understand where your concern is coming from.

If it makes you feel better, in all my years posting on this forum, Backpacker.com's forums, and perusing but not posting on various other backpacking forums, this is the first time I've ever seen a report of such a failure occurring.
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Intothehinterlands

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Re: My first ever concern with a hammock
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2015, 10:12:23 PM »

Once I made the switch from tent to hammock I never looked back. I always carry my tent with me just in case of severe weather or said concern. I personally use an eno and have picked up many tricks and useful info along the way. I personally like to hang mine high in the trees but always am sure to give it a thorough test bounce or 2 as well as inspecting each time for frayed fabric or holes. My eno is littered with burn holes from trying to get a little bit too close to the fire but I have yet to fear that it will rip. I am about to make the switch to a warbonnet hammock which are top of the line. Also for some useful hammock tips check out shugemery on YouTube.
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KYhiker40

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Re: My first ever concern with a hammock
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2015, 07:55:57 AM »

Visibly, my hammock appeared to be in great shape.  I appreciate that you've yet to fear your Eno will rip despite the burn holes, but I suppose my question is WHY NOT?  If your hammock has damage and you hang it high in the trees, shouldn't you be concerned?

Look, I spend about 30-40 nights a year sleeping in my hammock.  I love the hammock experience.  This is, however, the first time I've witnessed a hammock tearing without warning and a person falling unexpectedly with a thud as they hit the ground.  Had this hammock been hung high the trees, or over rocks, or across water, or above a solid tree root, this would have been a painful experience for sure.

I suppose I pushed the limit of the product shelf life.  I have several other less expensive Walmart hammocks that I bought on clearance for $5 each a couple years back.  I use them when car camping with a group and I need to be the outfitter.  Which makes me even more concerned, being someone else's safety.

I've been looking at upgrading my tarp to an 8x10 sil-nylon.  If I'm going to drop $80 on a tarp and spend $60 on a hammock, now I have a decision to make.  I can buy a nice Big Agnes Jack Rabbit 1 or 2 person tent for about the same price.

I don't know.  I'm afraid I may have trouble sleeping with confidence in a hammock after this situation.
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Intothehinterlands

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Re: My first ever concern with a hammock
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2015, 10:03:52 AM »

I suppose I shouldn't say I never fear for it giving and leaving me laying on the ground but it's not so much a concern of mine as dead limbs falling (always sure to check for those too) or some other hammock mishap. I guess I just trust my gear enough to not have that be a major concern of mine. Really didn't think about it being a possibility until I came across this. When I say high in the trees I mean no higher than 5-8 feet which isn't high IMO but to some it may be. I have friends who will stack theirs 3-4 hammocks in a row like bunks, now that's cause for concern for me but have yet to see anything bad happen *knocks on wood*. I also don't use rope to secure mine, I went with the slap straps which give me a little bit more peace of mind.  I do plan on retiring my eno soon and upgrading to a warbonnet blackbird. I feel the same way, when the prices get to high on hammocks its almost a no-brainier to get a tent with similar pricing instead. I also can't justify spending more than 30$ on a tarp, that's why I bought a nice digi camo tarp from ace hardware for 20$. Not site of the size exactly but it has always done well for me. Also some hammock companies make their products with "rip stop" fabric which is definitely a plus.
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KYhiker40

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Re: My first ever concern with a hammock
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2015, 07:58:07 PM »

I thought I'd go back and revisit this topic, given the recent discussion on the forum.  It's been 6 months since this thread and I've been on a good dozen hikes, probably 20+ nights out since that time in a hammock.  I can say looking back that the concern no longer even crosses my mind.

I made one change to may routine, which is that I now pitch the hammock much closer to the ground, so that I'm suspended about the height of a chair when hanging.  I actually find this to be convenient, as I can easily put my shoes on or reach for items on the ground in the middle of the night.  I do pay a lot more attention to hammock placement and never hang the hammock over rocks or stumps.

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