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Thread: A couple of "Hammocking" observations

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    Scout Supporter blaid's Avatar
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    Default A couple of "Hammocking" observations

    This was a first for me. I have been looking forward to a hammock night in the woods for a while. So, after school let out on Thursday I went with my son to a little spot about an hour north near Whiteside, Missouri. A little patch (50 acres) of woods with nothing else around. Weather was good, around 35 degrees F. when we got there. Just a light breeze. Slight chance of snow but, all in all, looking like a good night for a camp out.

    IMG_9189.jpg

    I set up our hammocks with tarp coverage all the way to the ground behind and using a small "awning" in front. Fire was about 6 feet away from both sleepers. We did NOT use a reflective tarp just the natural collecting/convexing of heat inside our mostly open shelter. CCF foam pads underneath and a big 'ole sleeping bag completed our arrangements.

    IMG_9194.jpg

    First thing, we were both VERY TOASTY warm. It dipped down to around 23-25 F with a slight breeze and we both felt great in terms of temperature. My son had a little bit of cold toes but not bad. Probably from when his feet got off from being above the pad. I slept in my underwear. Nice and warm.

    But, because we were in bulky rectangular sleeping bags, neither of us were able to get to an asymmetrical lay. Also, our pillows were too big. Therefore, both of us complained we just couldn't get comfortable. I got a very achy back and neck. In the morning we rolled up our sleeping bags and set them aside as we got ready to break camp. Interestingly, after breakfast we both climbed into our bare hammocks for a little siesta and ---BEHOLD--- found the exact "Comfy" spot on the diagonal in our hammock.

    IMG_9197.jpg

    Conclusion: We either need a different sleeping bag or an underquilt/topquilt configuration for that exact perfect sleep. Also, a smaller pillow. I loved being up off of the ground and I have got to try this again.


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    Bushwhacker Bush Class Intermediate Certified Shnick's Avatar
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    Nice report and good hammock setup blaid, it does take a little fine tuning, but once you do it's a great experience.
    No back pain, muggy tents, or sticks in the back.

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    I had nothing but problems in my hammock. Im a side sleeper so that was awkward, my sleeping bag didnt quite fit in the hammock and my underpad would not stay put at all. Here's what I want.

    http://www.backcountry.com/grand-tru...Fe1_Qgod4VcAKw

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    Awesome! Two more converts!

    Underquilts will solve the bulkiness issue on the bottom side, but as you're not laying on it, but holding it up under yourself, adjusting the quilt can be a bit fiddly... if you don't get it right, you'll have a gap that lets cold air in... kinda like wearing a jacket that's too big, with only a t-shirt on, on a really cold day...

    A top quilt or mummy bag will solve your topside problems... personally, I use an unzipped down mummy bag draped over me like a quilt. I only get inside in the coldest weather, when it gets unpleasant to roll over and let a blast of cold air in.

    For a pillow, Magellan makes an excellent little inflatable pillow... it's a little heavier than I'd like, but it is my one luxury item, and I sleep SO much better with it. I blow it up about half way, then let air out until my head is perfectly where I want it. the tapering of the hammock sides, and the vertical rise toward the end, make for kind of a weird space where your head goes. You can also use a kid's arm floatie thing like for use in a pool. WAY lighter, but smaller and not as soft.

    I do the same tarp setup... low on one side, almost to the ground, and high on the other side, like a porch.
    "Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you." John Muir

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    Way cool you two were able to escape for some woods time together. Schnick is right. Hammock camping takes a bit of fiddling with to find the perfect setup for you. I found that mummy bags, specifically the green patrol bag from the MSS works well in a hammock.

    You might want to do a Knotty side mod to your hammocks. It fairly easy and straight forward. Burn a hole into the edge hem about 12" -18" from the end. And then an exit hole about two feet down from there. One end you sew a loop of grosgrain ribbon and on the other end you sew another loop of grosgrain that has a barrel toggle on it. Tie a piece of the small shock cord onto the loop and feed the other end through the hem. Feed it through the toggle and tie a knot in the end to keep it from sliding out of the toggle. Pull it though the toggle to create a gathered area. This is your foot box. It will help keep your sleeping bag or quilt in the hammock with you. You can do one on the other side for your head to help keep your small pillow in the hammock with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loogaroo View Post
    I had nothing but problems in my hammock. Im a side sleeper so that was awkward, my sleeping bag didnt quite fit in the hammock and my underpad would not stay put at all. Here's what I want.

    http://www.backcountry.com/grand-tru...Fe1_Qgod4VcAKw
    Looks good. Here is what I am looking at:
    http://www.hammockgear.com/incubator-0-long/
    http://www.hammockgear.com/burrow-20/

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    Fantastic!!! I havent (voluntarily) slept in a tent in 10 years!!! Here are some hints from a pro: First, ditch the pillow. You dont really need one when you find the sweet spot. If anything, use one of those tiny little inflatable camp pillows, or, what I do, is use a shemagh, under my neck, to even everything out. A pillow in a hammock, for me, anyway, raises my head to a too uncomfortable position.
    Second, a good mummy bag can be had for around $100, for general camping. It may not be ideal, but it will work. They are smaller, lighter, and you can unzip them, use them as a blanket, while still keeping the footbox.
    Third, and, this will be the most controversial; I say, stick with the pad. I started with a pad, went to a UQ, and have gone back to a pad. For me, its simplicity. I have slept in 0* weather with a pad, and I was fine. I have one of the Gossamer Gear ones, designed specifically for hammocks. But, a box store CCF, with mods, is cheaper, and works just as well. I put a jacket in the footbox for my feet, to keep them warm, and it works fine. For me, the fidgeting of the UQ just wasnt for me. A pad goes in, and its done. Period. And, it makes it a little easier to get into the hammock.
    REGARDLESS of what you choose, welcome to the hammock club! It will take you a few times out to dial it in, and get a routine. And, YOUR experience will not mirror MINE, or anyone elses. I just wanted to chime in, give you some stuff thats worked for me.
    My blog: http://oldsoldiersadventures.blogspot.com/ Intermediate cert progression: 2 of 11 classes, 0 of 7 electives, 2 of 3 overnights, 5 of 10 outings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aven View Post
    Way cool you two were able to escape for some woods time together. Schnick is right. Hammock camping takes a bit of fiddling with to find the perfect setup for you. I found that mummy bags, specifically the green patrol bag from the MSS works well in a hammock.

    You might want to do a Knotty side mod to your hammocks. It fairly easy and straight forward. Burn a hole into the edge hem about 12" -18" from the end. And then an exit hole about two feet down from there. One end you sew a loop of grosgrain ribbon and on the other end you sew another loop of grosgrain that has a barrel toggle on it. Tie a piece of the small shock cord onto the loop and feed the other end through the hem. Feed it through the toggle and tie a knot in the end to keep it from sliding out of the toggle. Pull it though the toggle to create a gathered area. This is your foot box. It will help keep your sleeping bag or quilt in the hammock with you. You can do one on the other side for your head to help keep your small pillow in the hammock with you.
    Thanks for the tip. I think this is the Youtube video of the project you referenced. Looks cool! Thanks again.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0VfSILeRGs

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
    Awesome! Two more converts!

    For a pillow, Magellan makes an excellent little inflatable pillow...
    Checking on this now!

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldsoldier View Post
    REGARDLESS of what you choose, welcome to the hammock club! It will take you a few times out to dial it in, and get a routine. And, YOUR experience will not mirror MINE, or anyone elses. I just wanted to chime in, give you some stuff thats worked for me.
    Thank you oldsoldier!

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