Hammock Camping Practice, Day 2
Morning Trip Report 10/12/2019.
After yesterday’s hammock camping experiment, I went home and dragged out all my tarp & hammock gear, set it all up and let it air out as I did the fiddly stuff. I’m stoked to get into this season’s hammock camping!
I’m using a Gold Armor 12′ tarp and it’s big enough to cover my 10′ hammock setup in case of rain — which was predicted. And we did get some sprinkles but nothing to worry about.
So yesterday, I took off all the tarp hardware and set up using knots instead. A Bowline on one end of the continuous ridgeline, Prusiks to position the tarp, run the ridgeline through the center support eye, another Prusik, then a trucker’s hitch on the other end. All knots I know by heart. All in an effort to see just how much gram-weenie-ness is still effective.
I used Nite Ize reflective cord as a ridgeline. That stuff is BRIGHT in the headlamp but it’s very prone to knotting when you gather it up or take it down. Not sure if that’s a problem yet. Also, I used Dynema soft shackles as Prusik knots and they worked, but the tiny lines may be difficult to manipulate in the cold and dark, even with a headlamp. Thicker soft shackles may be easier to manipulate. And if needed, I will go back to climbing beeners. Lightweight but comfortable, that’s the goal.
Nylon tree straps SUCK. Big mistake to save a few grams and dollars. I ended up on the ground by morning because nylon stretches. Going back to my orange polyester straps from ratchet straps. I have one hammock set up with these, I just cut the metal hooks off the end and presto, I have 12-foot, 1200-pound straps in don’t-leave-me-orange.
Yesterday my homemade Black Diamond bottom quilt got a little dew damp as it wrapped around me in the hammock. No fault of the quilt or the homemade process, it was just dewy in the morning which created chilly spots. So this time I brought the Dutchware winter hammock sock with the breathable mesh section. Even though I never tightened it up securely, it made a GINORMOUS difference. But I never put a ridgeline on this hammock, so will fix that next time. It would have created more face space, although the netting didn’t touch my face, I want the illusion.
When I pulled the hammock sock up and over the topquilt, it was great, even just loose and not tightened down. Not only did it keep the one lone mosquito away, but the sock created a microclimate so I didn’t need socks (on my feet,) I didn’t even need the down top quilt until outside temps dropped into the 40s. Since yesterday, I did add a very thin, long-tailed hoodie soft jacket, but I never put the hood up. It was just the microclimate inside the sock and bottom quilt. Also, since we ended up dragging the ground, the sock protected the bottom quilt from dirt. When temps did drop into the 40s as it sprinkled — no real rain to speak of — I just put my feet in the top quilt “foot” and pulled it over my shoulders and I was toasty warm.
The Gold Armor hammock from Amazon I’m still fiddling with. No fault of the hammock, it’s plenty big for me and my niece, and it was plenty long for a crosswise lie, but after yesterday’s wildly successful maiden launch of the Skyin footbox hammock, I found a regular hammock kind of fiddly. And with the small lines of the whoopie slings, which I love most of the time, and the problems with my nylon tree straps (never again!), setting up in the dark was not the breeze it was with the footbox hammock.
The Gold Armor tarp from Amazon worked perfectly (and the new editions have even more connecting points than my old one.) Well worth bringing it along even if it is almost 2#. A tarp blocks the view, but who wants a cold, wet view vs. a warm, dry partial-view? We got some serious winds last night — up in the tops of trees and there is at least one oak dropping bombs (acorns) onto the metal roof of the barn every time there was a gust. The tree tops thrashed around quite a bit but we were on the edge of the clearing down a little slope-away so most of the weather skipped over us. I could hear the wind and trees up high but the tarp barely stirred over us.
The top & bottom quilts were made by HangTightShop on Etsy. And a shout out to them, I love-love-love this set — 700-fill down and full underquilt. Each weighs 18oz, the bottom quilt has shock cord suspension and S-biner clips included. No fiddling required! It works right out of the stuff sacks (also included.) Even without a hat, and no socks, just a long-tailed hoodie (didn’t use the hoodie part) and tights, it was 44 degrees this morning but I was toasty.
Now, to be fair, part of that is the Dutchware winter vented hammock sock, but now that I have one, I can’t imagine not having a hammock sock for four reasons: the occasional relentless bug, keeping the underquilt & hammock cleaner, the ease of packing it all away in the argon hammock sock without dissassembling anything, and the instant microclimate that gives me at least 10 degrees more comfort in cool weather.