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KeyMeKoe
2005-07-16, 01:30
Just got back from 5 nights of kayak camping on the Ontario Lake Superior shore. We paddled from Old Woman Bay to Dennison Falls and back. We camped out of the kayaks at very rustic campsites along the shore. This is my first field test of the HH expedition hammock and I thought I would share my impressions.

I should start and will finish with the statement that the hammock is by far the most comfortable camp sleeping I have ever had and I could not be happier with the hammock.

I noticed several problems before field testing the HH A sym expedition hammock and made these modifications before field testing the hammock.

Problem: Small rain fly. Solution: Kelty Tarp for rain fly
Problem: Cheap plastic fly attachments Solution: Metal clips and rings from hardware store.
Problem: Cheap line to attach fly to tent pegs. Solution: Narrow shock chord from fabric store.
Problem: Poor hammock line attachment to tree huggers Solution: Heavy duty carabineers from hardware store to attach to tree huggers for hammock lines.
Problem: Cold floor for hammock Solution: Inexpensive quilt from Cheaper than dirt dot com. Also can buy quilt or blanket for top cover too.

Problems noticed when field testing.

Problem: Finding trees. Finding two good trees 6 paces apart with nothing in between is not as easy as you would think. It is often I canít find the trees for the forest. At some campsites it required a long search and I was glad that I was the only hammock camper in my group as finding two sets of trees may have been impossible. Solution: Carry a folding saw as some trees may require pruning or you may have to trim some bush between your trees. Long term solution may be for campsites to set up hitching posts. Problem: Keeping bottom blanket in place. Solution: Donít move. Develop techinique. Long term solution may be to sew buttons into the bottom of the hammock to button down the bottom quilt.
Problem: Catching the netting into the Velcro when storing. Solution: Be very careful to close the Velcro when storing the hammock.
Problem: No vestibule Solution: Bring a large drybag and use it as a vestibule.

Good Point: Large top netting allows great view of night sky.
Good Point: Trees provide shade swinging the hammock between two trees on a hot day is a pleasure.
Good Point: Sometimes we can use the best spot in the campground as hammock does not require flat ground.
Good Point: Hammock did a great job keeping away the bugs. The bugs do not seem to like the bottom entrance. I found fewer bugs flew into the entrance than did into my side entrance tent. This was even though I entered more slowly into the hammock than I did the tent. I have some theories why, but will not go into that here.
Great Point: I slept comfortably the whole night and woke up with a well adjusted back.

dougmeredith
2005-07-16, 20:33
Glad to hear you like the new hammock.



Problem: Cheap plastic fly attachments Solution: Metal clips and rings from hardware store.
Problem: Cheap line to attach fly to tent pegs. Solution: Narrow shock chord from fabric store.


I'm curious as to why you consider these to be problems. Did either of these fail or cause some actual difficulty?


Problem: Poor hammock line attachment to tree huggers Solution: Heavy duty carabineers from hardware store to attach to tree huggers for hammock lines.

There are some other people using the same approach as you, but most seem to be content with a knot or lashing. Personally, I use the HH specified lashing technique. There are some great resources on the net that will show you how to do this correctly.


Carry a folding saw as some trees may require pruning or you may have to trim some bush between your trees.

Careful or the LNT guys are going to have a field day with you. :)



Problem: Keeping bottom blanket in place.

If you haven't already seen this, take a look at the under quilt here:

http://www.jacksrbetter.com/index_files/Products%20List.htm

I have one and it is great.


Problem: Catching the netting into the Velcro when storing.

You might consider snake skins. They should eliminate this problem for you.

Doug

KeyMeKoe
2005-07-16, 20:57
1. Re: plastic clips. The plastic clip broke the first time I used it.
2. Re: carabineer and tree hugger. I was taught in rescue class to use line against metal as line against line eventually wears through.
3. Re: saw. I will watch out for the authorities.
4. Re: quilts. The Jacksrbetter quilt is priced at $219; the cheaper than dirt quilt costs $19.
5. Re: snakes skins. I have them and the velcro still caught.

Doug, I would be interested in any observations from field tests which you may have, especially with regard to locating suitable trees.

dougmeredith
2005-07-16, 21:27
Interesting about the clip breaking. I haven't seen anyone else comment on this happening. Perhaps you had a defective one.

When using the snake skins I grab the hammock at the bottom and roll it up towards the ridge line. I don't wrap it around the ridge line. I have never noticed it catching in the bug net. I will have to watch for this.

With respect to finding a good location, it very much depends on where you are. Sometimes everywhere you turn there are a pair of suitable trees. Other times I have hunted for a long time looking for a good spot. I am fairly cautions about dead trees and branches, so I sometimes pass over spots that could technically work. I really make it a point to find a site before dark so that I can look closely at the branches overhead.

I have also found it necessary at times to break branches or remove some underbrush to make a site work for me. It is usually quite minimal. Certainly I wouldn't want to carry a saw, but then I am backpacking not kayaking.

I don't usually stop at established camp sites. I am usually somewhat flexible about where I camp. About an hour before I want to stop, I start looking for possible sites. It usually isn't too hard to find a site if you can take this approach.

Doug

SGT Rock
2005-07-17, 12:06
Problem: Small rain fly. Solution: Kelty Tarp for rain fly

There are a lot of hammock specific tarps being made out there. Personally I have found the HH fly to be more than adequate, but that is just me.


Problem: Cheap plastic fly attachments Solution: Metal clips and rings from hardware store.

I've got 5 HHs and have owned 7 of them and never had a problem with these clips


Problem: Cheap line to attach fly to tent pegs. Solution: Narrow shock chord from fabric store.

I prefer relective line like Trip-teese so it shows up in a light at night without me tripping over these lines.


Problem: Poor hammock line attachment to tree huggers Solution: Heavy duty carabineers from hardware store to attach to tree huggers for hammock lines.

On my most used hammock I used the same tree huggers for 3 years before one of the straps failed. So while there is a chance of failure, as I hiker I would rather just use the straps to save weight and replace them every few years rather than use the carabineers.


Problem: Cold floor for hammock Solution: Inexpensive quilt from Cheaper than dirt dot com. Also can buy quilt or blanket for top cover too.

Can you post a link to that qult? I bet others would be interested in it.


Problems noticed when field testing.

Problem: Finding trees. Finding two good trees 6 paces apart with nothing in between is not as easy as you would think. It is often I canít find the trees for the forest. At some campsites it required a long search and I was glad that I was the only hammock camper in my group as finding two sets of trees may have been impossible. Solution: Carry a folding saw as some trees may require pruning or you may have to trim some bush between your trees. Long term solution may be for campsites to set up hitching posts.

This is probably more because of where you are camping than anything.



Problem: Keeping bottom blanket in place. Solution: Donít move. Develop techinique. Long term solution may be to sew buttons into the bottom of the hammock to button down the bottom quilt.

I did the buttons thing in Iraq and it didn't work well. What does work well is the solution JRB have come up with. Get yourself some shoch cord and a couple of those keychain mini-caribineers and you can make a set in about 2 minutes. It might require some modification to your quilt, but nothing hard.



Problem: Catching the netting into the Velcro when storing. Solution: Be very careful to close the Velcro when storing the hammock.

I don't have this problem, I think dougmeredith has pointed you in the right direction on this.


Problem: No vestibule Solution: Bring a large drybag and use it as a vestibule.

I consider the underside of my tarp as my vestibule, everything stays dry under me when I'm in the hammock.


Good Point: Large top netting allows great view of night sky.
Good Point: Trees provide shade swinging the hammock between two trees on a hot day is a pleasure.
Good Point: Sometimes we can use the best spot in the campground as hammock does not require flat ground.
Good Point: Hammock did a great job keeping away the bugs. The bugs do not seem to like the bottom entrance. I found fewer bugs flew into the entrance than did into my side entrance tent. This was even though I entered more slowly into the hammock than I did the tent. I have some theories why, but will not go into that here.
Great Point: I slept comfortably the whole night and woke up with a well adjusted back.

Glad you enjoyed the hammock.

KeyMeKoe
2005-07-17, 16:39
http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ctd/product.asp?dept_id=603&sku=LOW-552&imgid=&mscssid=SLW4UQJ4TRX89NFSJUAQT2BHAKBCE9L7

The plastic clip did not break while it was in service, it broke while I was taking it off. Had I just covered it with the snakeskin, and never detached it, it may have lasted years. A backpacker will view things differently from a sea kayaker due to weight considerations: plastic vs. metal clips, carabineers vs. no bineers, large fly vs. small fly. However, the input is valuable and both desire a good night's sleep.

SGT Rock
2005-07-17, 17:04
Thanks for the link. What is the weight?

KeyMeKoe
2005-07-17, 18:22
Thanks for the link. What is the weight?
Quilt weighs 3 lbs.