A couple of "Hammocking" observations

Discussion in 'Hammocks' started by blaid, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. blaid

    blaid Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    St. Louis area
    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.
     
  2. Shnick

    Shnick Bushwhacker Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2012
    Messages:
    10,936
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Wichita Falls TX
    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.
     
  3. Loogaroo

    Loogaroo BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    Messages:
    2,646
    Likes Received:
    27
    Location:
    Madera California
  4. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    13,091
    Likes Received:
    434
    Location:
    West Central Louisiana
    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.
     
  5. Aven

    Aven Banned Member Banned

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    5,435
    Likes Received:
    2
    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.
     
  6. blaid

    blaid Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    St. Louis area
  7. oldsoldier

    oldsoldier Guide Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 23, 2012
    Messages:
    2,799
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Central MA
    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.
     
  8. blaid

    blaid Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    St. Louis area
    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
     
  9. blaid

    blaid Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    St. Louis area
    Checking on this now!
     
  10. blaid

    blaid Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    St. Louis area
    Thank you oldsoldier!
     
  11. 1066vik

    1066vik Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,781
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    NE Ks
    I used to use a wal-mart pad and have switched to a 6 1/2' long by 24" piece of reflectix - slightly larger than the blue CCF pad, but rolls up smaller and lighter. (garage door/ductwork foil-bubble-foil insulation)
    I also use an old, cheap coleman rectangle bag most of the year - the main thing I've learned to do with it is sleep zipper side up so it doesn't stick out past the sides of the hammock --- makes it easier to get a bit diagonal.
    I also tend to hang my hammock flatter than recommended.
    for a pillow, I just roll up the flannel shirt I wear as a jacket most of the time. I tried using a small "packable" pillow, and it was too bulky - all i really need is a roll of fabric under my neck to keep my head from tipping forward.

    I like the way you set your tarps to act as semi-reflectors.
     
  12. mbiraman

    mbiraman Supporter Supporter Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,441
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    West Kootenays,BC
    To give yourself the best chance at hammocking you need to do things that work together. If your going to use a pad your better off having a double layer rig so the pad can be in between the bottom layers . That way it stays put better and your able to move around better on nylon than your ccf. If you use a sleeping bag its generally better if its opened and just laying on top of you.
    Altho some folks use a pad and are happy with it most folks find that their hammock life gets better when switching to an UQ & TQ. You need to get the right sag in your hammock to get the flattest lay when turning diagonally in it. Non of these things are hard to do, they just take some practice like any new endeavor. Start with what you have and use it in such a way as to get the sweet spot. Took me a week or two to find mine.

    bill

    PS Hammock Forums has an endless supply of info
     
  13. SquirrelCommander

    SquirrelCommander Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2013
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ohio
  14. blaid

    blaid Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    St. Louis area
    Thanks Bill, we were actually using Warbonnet Traveler Double Layer Hammock and the pads were staying put perfectly. I will try the sleeping bags open next time. And you are right, Hammock Forums is a great resource!
     
  15. Aven

    Aven Banned Member Banned

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    5,435
    Likes Received:
    2
  16. chezrad

    chezrad Tinder Gatherer

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Pads work ok unless you sweat when you sleep. Condensation sucks in any situation. ( I also slip off the pad all the time) I made an under quilt. It's not the best but it keeps me comfortable down to about 35. More importantly, I sleep dry! Wool blanket can be used as a quilt. So can an opened mummy bag. I ended up making a quilt. System works well down to 35. Below that I need the addition of a wool blanket (that gets me down to 25).

    Agree with the pillow. I stuff my jacket into its sleeve and use that.

    Great stuff getting out there and experiencing life!
     
  17. 1Olddog

    1Olddog Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Messages:
    417
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lakeland,Florida
    Quite a bit of useful info here. Totally agree with mbiraman, this is not something that will be perfect on the first hang. If it is consider yourself one of the blessed. I sleep in a hammock every night and it can take a night or two to get everything just right after launderying the hammock and rehanging it. As to pillows I use the same one at home as I do in the woods, a WM inflatable found in the travel dept at $4.88, partially inflated. While sitting in the hammock I slip it on my left shoulder and fall back into the hammock. If on my back I have 1 leg of the horseshoe shape under my neck, when I roll to my left I have the bulk of the pillow under my head. Easier to experience than to explain. One thing I have found about hammocks is that what works for one may not work for another. It's like finding that perfect pair of underwear that feels just right. I can sum my experieces up to the fact that I have been in a bed 2 nights in the last 1 1/2 years, note I did not say slept. I except that this is not something that is attainable for all but my wife and I had excepted the fact that for both of us to get the best nights sleep she would be in her bed and I in my hammock. She did try but was not as driven as myself to make the hammock work but then after 39 years togeather today we have learned to except each others differences. And as I have learned HYOH ( Hang your own hammock).
     
  18. Crazysanman

    Crazysanman Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2012
    Messages:
    6,085
    Likes Received:
    1,210
    Location:
    Colorful Colorado
    Funny you should post this today. Here's what I spent my REI dividend on today:

    [​IMG]

    That little pillow was $30, but holy cow is it ever soft and comfortable. And extremely compact too, it's barely bigger than a shot glass when packed and it could compress even smaller if need be.

    I have a Byers Moskito Traveler hammock with a built-in bug net that I've used previously. I'm curious to see how this Eno double is.
     
  19. pure_mahem

    pure_mahem Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    Messages:
    3,358
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Eastern Upstate NY / South Western Vermont
    If you need a pillow just make a small stuff sack and shove a Tshirt in it. Not really needed you can just use spare clothing as a pillow.


    Just had an epiphany why not use Open Cell Foam for a pad after watching the P.A.L.S. Video a while back it just kind of makes sense. It should pack down pretty decent all though it may take some real effort getting it rolled, folded and compressed down. I know Shug recommends using pads like the inflatable ones and using them with a lot of the air let out. All just makes sense.:4:
     
  20. mahaney

    mahaney Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,848
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Florida
    Plus your straps stretched so much your butt was on the ground....:4:

    I use an inflatable pillow in my hammock. I got it pretty cheap at walmart. It has a thin piece of memory foam in it, so I just barely blow it up, and I am good. A mummy type sleeping bag helps, so does having a bigger hammock. I've never been able to sleep all night in a smaller hammock, but I am kind of a big guy.
     
  21. ISleepOnTheKayak

    ISleepOnTheKayak Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    What temps have you slept at with just the relectix under you?
     
  22. 1066vik

    1066vik Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,781
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    NE Ks
    with just reflectix under the sleeping bag I've slept comfortable down into the teens.
     
  23. Aven

    Aven Banned Member Banned

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    5,435
    Likes Received:
    2
    When my brothers were in high school they had waterbeds. My middle brother unplugged his heater and tossed a comforter on top of the mattress. He would keep his window cracked into the dead of winter. They turned the heat off in his room and my mom put a towel in front of his door to keep the cold air out of the rest of the house. He slept like a baby. I'd check his pulse every once in a while just to make sure he wasn't one of the undead. My baby brother was the total opposite, couldn't sleep without the waterbed heater turned up to about 80.

    Everyone sleeps differently. What works for someone else might not work for you. The very thought of sleeping with just a torso underquilt during winter makes me shiver, but its more than adequate for others. Test your gear at home or somewhere that you can bail if you need to or augment your equipment.
     

Share This Page