Monday, 27 February 2012

Hammock

I mentioned a few posts ago that I'd been given a camping hammock for Christmas by my daughter. I was able to put it (and me!) through its paces over the weekend, although only for one of my two nights out. There were no available trees the first night. The second night was in some woodland immediately adjoining the field where the others I was with were camping.



It went up easily enough. I've now established that the trees either end need to be not less than six inches in diameter in order that my tarp above the hammock doesn't sag once I've put my weight in the hammock. I basically made up my bed in it in the same way as I would if I were sleeping on the ground, just omitting the polythene sheet I use as a groundsheet. So, in first was a three-quarter length Therm-a-rest with a quarter length of cell foam mat attached with Velcro. On top of that went my sleeping bag inside a bivy. I didn't need anything as a pillow (I would normally use my backpack with whatever was still in it with miscellaneous bits of unused clothing on top). 

Having unzipped the sleeping bag, I eased my way in. It's a bit like getting into a kayak; you have to be very careful not to fall straight out the other side, which I did immediately. I was asleep in no time. I had to get up to answer calls of nature twice during the night. The first time was no problem. The second time was interesting. I fell down to the soft ground (only about a foot) in my sleeping bag, having tipped over in trying to get out of the bag.

It was all good experience though and I would do things differently next time (and there will hopefully be many more next times). The hammock comprises two layers and has a full-length zip along one side which is intended  to open the hammock up to scramble inside to enclose the camper in a bug-free claustrophobic pocket. it occurred to me that my Therm-a-rest and attached mat could go inside as, outside, it tended to slip about a bit. The second change I would make to my use of the hammock (assuming it works in practice) is, when getting out for a pee in the night, is to get out with the bivy and sleeping bag still around me and to get back in with them still on. I'd just have to make sure that I didn't pee in the sleeping bag!

10 comments:

  1. OOh! A flying machine. You'll never get me up in one of those (terrible head for heights....)
    :-)

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  2. Two words; "under quilt". The difference it makes from lying on a mat is massive. It's simply a sleeping bag under you that is not compressed by your body. Then use your sleeping bag as a quilt, which means entry and exit is incredibly much easier.

    Personally I don't find it hard to get in and out at all. I start by unzipping the netting, rotating my body using my arse as the fulcrum until my legs point out the now open netting, then simply step forward.

    Also I'm not seeing the point of the bivy. This whole thing is one giant bivy. Try lying in the cold with the netting up and the netting down and see if you can tell the difference.

    You seem to have the hammock at a bit of a low angle. Try hanging it so that the lines are at about 45 degrees. If your hammock has an internal ridgeline that should keep the net off your face and as soon as you enter it and lie diagonally it should really open the whole thing out and make the whole thing feel quite spacious.

    Some "tree huggers", 1-1.5 inch wide webbing would probably also be a good idea to make sure you don't damage the trees when you hang from them.

    For much more information and bucket loads of tips and tricks go to Hammockforums and drown yourself in whoopie slings, UQs, TQs, STLs and whatnots. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by. I've had a look at Hammockforums and watched a couple of Shug's videos. I've got a lot to learn and I'm really looking forward to discovering a new way of sleeping out.

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    2. When I got my hammock I ordered a uq at the same time so I never tried using a mat in it. Just had a go today and I have to say that I wouldn't do it again. Incredibly awkward and it really makes it hard to slide around in the hammock. I think that once you've tried using a uq you won't go back. :)

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  3. I like your blog, nice post. Regards from the site minijuegos

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  4. Salute u,a hiker. It is a great experience to hike with a Hammock. Lightweighting and much fun. Good luck and enjoy hiking.

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  5. The tapes supplied with the Travel hammock are wide enough not to damage trees. As you discovered using a sleeping bag in a hammock is a bit of a issue if it doesnt have a full length zip, especially if the bag is inside a bivi bag. Which as pointed out above probably not necessary given that you were under a tarp. But without the bivi you wouldnt be able to take a leak like you found out!

    Sleeping in a tarp is more comfortable than being on the ground so a therm a rest isnt really that necessary - just CCF mat would do. And that can be slotted in between the two layers of the hammocks base.

    One thing I've found is that hammock camping becomes complicated; whoopie slings, under quilts, over quilts, etc, needlessly so in my opinion.

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  6. I like this blog, is very interesting. My best regards from the site minijuegos .

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  7. enjoy yourself swell man! it was a genius a way to put up a tent and a hammock between two adjoining trees. why not introduce your idea to www.my-travel-mate.com fellows who are still wondering how to spend a night in the wilderness?

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  8. Hey..nice hammock...and a great story..:P
    and definitely i loved your blog....:)

    Camp Stove

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