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Author Topic: Backpacking Hammock  (Read 3935 times)

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kymyers

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Backpacking Hammock
« 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.
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KYhiker40

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Re: Backpacking Hammock
« Reply #1 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!
« Last Edit: July 03, 2016, 06:44:52 AM by KYhiker40 »
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KYhiker40

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Re: Backpacking Hammock
« Reply #2 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. 
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Lizking531

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Re: Backpacking Hammock
« Reply #3 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)
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Ewker

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Re: Backpacking Hammock
« Reply #4 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
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kymyers

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Re: Backpacking Hammock
« Reply #5 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.
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FallenArches

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Re: Backpacking Hammock
« Reply #6 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.   
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kymyers

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Re: Backpacking Hammock
« Reply #7 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
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wsp_scott

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Re: Backpacking Hammock
« Reply #8 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.
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thedayhascome

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Re: Backpacking Hammock
« Reply #10 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/ will help determine the length of your ridgeline, the ideal starting point for length is 83% of your hammock length.
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milspecmark

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Re: Backpacking Hammock
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2016, 09:20:25 AM »

Question, I tend to sleep on my stomach.  Is that possible in a hammock?
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thedayhascome

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Re: Backpacking Hammock
« Reply #12 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/ 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

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I go to Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put together. John Burroughs

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milspecmark

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Re: Backpacking Hammock
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2016, 09:36:36 AM »

Thanks for the info.  I am gonna try one out
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kobrakai

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Re: Backpacking Hammock
« Reply #14 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?
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