PDA

View Full Version : AT in May W/Hammock



sachsmark
2006-10-22, 18:31
Hello SRHQ:

Looks' like a great place to post my question - its' my 1st, be kind:

I have a Hennessey Expedition A-Sym (I've used it 3 times - only in warm weather). I will be hiking at least 1-2 weeks on the AT in May. We will hike the Georgia segment. According to the charts I've seen, the temps are supposed to be between 42 degrees low and 74 degrees high (avg.).
I'm trying to figure out the right mix for bags, pad, sleep wear, etc.

Any ideas on if I need to bring my Thermarest (pro-lite 4 large) and which sleeping bag, I have 2; a lafuma down 45 degree bag and a montainsmith synthetic 20 degree bag. I was hoping not to have to purchase any more 'stuff', except maybe that matcat tarp you guys are all crazy about.

Any ideas are greatly appreciated.

Mark

Rosaleen
2006-10-22, 20:05
Hi, Mark-

I hiked Springer-Nantahala River last July. The conditions I met were far different from what you will encounter. That said, the temps did drop at night. My recommendation is to hang a mylar space blanket under your hammock, layering more insulation between it and your hammock. I taped a casing on two ends of a space blanket to hold up the ends and then tied the sides to the hammock's side pull outs. I also made a fleece tunic that I sewed end casings on, with their own elastic, and used that for warmth and to hold a Gossamer Gear Thinlite pad close to the hammock underside. You might be able to put your partially inflated Therm-a-Rest on the fleece and have it slide around less under you. To help with the cold arm problem, I sewed a tube, tapered on the long ends and left open in the center. With the addition of a slit, I had "sleeves" that I could use independently around camp or hiking (unnecessary in July, but good now), and wear to sleep. That tunic had the addiitonal feature of a center zipper, so I could wear the fleece as a tunic when I needed to. I set up my hammock and am planning to sleep out with this set up in the cold tonight. I'll let you know how it goes for cold weather.

Take your warmer sleeping bag, wear extra clothes, if you need to, and stick with the stock tarp. You should be fine. I have yet to have a problem with the tarp letting water in. Just be sure that you tighten the SIDES of the tarp before the long ends and that it is centered over the hammock

Rosaleen

Just Jeff
2006-10-22, 20:25
Hammocking in those temps is easy once you get the hang of it.

The TR should be plenty of insulation if you can keep your hips and shoulders insulated. The hammock wraps around the pad, compressing the sleeping bag for the wider parts of your body. You can stuff extra insulation there - like CCF pad sections, extra clothing, or a frameless pack - or you can get a SPE for pretty cheap.

The mylar thing Rosaleen is talking about is like the Garlington Taco. Pics of that and the SPE here:
http://www.tothewoods.net/HammockCampingWarm.html

Test at home or car-camping first if you can - the trail isn't a good place to find out your system doesn't work. Of course, with that pad you could just go to ground if you need to.

sachsmark
2006-10-22, 20:55
Hello Rosaleen:
Thanks for the feedback and quick reply.
When you said take my 'warmer' sleeping bag, did you mean the 45 degree or the 20? Also, the tunic your talking about - I take it that this is sleep-wear. Can I accomplish something similiar by just wearing some lightweight thermals?

Good luck on the trails tonight.

Mark

sachsmark
2006-10-22, 21:09
Hello Just Jeff:
Thanks for the great feedback. I learned a lot from the link you sent. So, I clearly get the suggestion of testing at home first.

Since my thermarest is the large version, its' 25" wide; may not need wings. Also, I suppose I could test some different combinations of sleeping bag vs. extra warm sleep-wear.

I'm really just trying to cut-down on my pack-weight and keep things down to 35lbs. max - fully loaded. This is for a week with 1 re-supply. It will be in may and I just am not sure how tricky the weather might be. The difference in size between my 45 degree pack and the 20 degree pack is like 4x. I'm going to have to really test this lighter 'Lafuma' bag. If it is the real deal - it could save me a lot of space/weight in the warmer May weather.

Do you much experience in using extra clothing to over-compensate for a lighter bag/colder weather?

Thanks,

Mark

Just Jeff
2006-10-23, 01:34
Yep - think of your sleeping gear as a system, rather than "clothing" and "bag". A few ways to do this.

First, I usually don't carry an insulated jacket in temps above 35 or so. I have my raincoat for a windbreak, and a longsleeve shirt for hiking with a silkweight thermal shirt for sleeping. When I'm moving, I'm fine. And when I stop moving, I wear my JRB No Sniveler. That saves me 10-20 oz of an insulated jacket.

Second, in colder weather you can carry a lighter bag and add clothing to compensate. Adding a vest or jacket, thick socks and a warm cap can add several degrees to a summer bag. For some reason, there isn't agreement on this idea - many folks say it's warmer to sleep naked. That may be true if you're carrying a heavier/warmer bag...but if you're carrying a lighter bag, layering works just as well at night as it does during the day. (As long as your clothing isn't so bulky it compresses your bag's insulation.)

So yeah - I don't carry a warm jacket when many others do b/c I wear my quilt (it has a sealable headhole like a poncho), and I sometimes carry only a light top quilt (still the NS) when I have more wearable insulation for colder temps.

Keep in mind that wearable insulation will compress when you lay on it, so you'll still need to make sure you have enough insulation underneath you. In your case, the pad will be fine as long as it doesn't make you sweat through your clothing.

And 25" may be wide enough for you to not need anything else...just be sure to test first.

bird dog
2006-10-23, 08:44
I was hoping not to have to purchase any more 'stuff', except maybe that matcat tarp you guys are all crazy about.

Mark

Let me be among the first to welcome you to the forum. We all look forward to your input. HOWEVER, YOU GONNA HAVE TO WAIT YOUR TURN FOR A MACCAT TARP. IM NEXT. BD :biggrin:

sachsmark
2006-10-23, 09:06
Thanks Bird Dog, I appreciate the welcome. So, what exactly am I missing - or is this one of those issues that if you don't already know you can't handle the truth? Truth is, I've only used my HH about 3 times and never in rain. I've heard all the precautions about getting it on correctly and taught. So, am I still hosed when the rain comes? On a more serious note, the large/deluxe version does afford some more coverage, coverage that I suppose could cover my little domain, shelter my pack/shoes and give me little area to sit/cook in if all hell breaks loose. Do I get it, or are we just trying to put a fellow hiker through college?

Thanks,

Mark

bird dog
2006-10-23, 09:21
Thanks Bird Dog, I appreciate the welcome. So, what exactly am I missing - or is this one of those issues that if you don't already know you can't handle the truth? Truth is, I've only used my HH about 3 times and never in rain. I've heard all the precautions about getting it on correctly and taught. So, am I still hosed when the rain comes? On a more serious note, the large/deluxe version does afford some more coverage, coverage that I suppose could cover my little domain, shelter my pack/shoes and give me little area to sit/cook in if all hell breaks loose. Do I get it, or are we just trying to put a fellow hiker through college?

Thanks,

Mark

The correct answer is "D. All of the Above". I dont have a MacCat so I cant honestly say what Im missing other than what Just Jeff and others here have told me (:bootyshak ). The HH setup is fine with the tarp he makes. If it is setup properly, you will stay dry. Think of the stock HH fly as a Chevy and Brian's MacCat as a Caddi. The difference is, with the MacCat there is plenty of room in really crappy weather to do all of your chores and invite all your rowdy friends over :beer: (or in my case the kids) .

I dont think Brian makes enough selling his MacCats to put himself through college with, but I think he has sold plenty enough of them to finance "other" college needs like :bandit: and/or :beer: .

Jacks R Better maufacture an "aftermarket" tarp that Ive read rave reviews about as well. I havent seen one, but I do own one of their pack covers/gear hammock and its a great piece of quality gear. (I am not plugging anyones business, just giving my humble opinion). Pan represents JRB on this site.

Seriously, all of the vets on this site can offer you some great advice and make your time in the woods alot more enjoyable. Whats more, they are all comedians! (Except for Turk, he's Canadian, but we let him hang around anyway cause Im told he's okay :bird: ). BD

Just Jeff
2006-10-23, 11:50
Sgt Rock went through a hurricane with his stock tarp...so that tarp is adequate. Like bird dog said, the MacCat is just an upgrade. It's heavier than the stock tarp, but you get lots more room for cooking, changing, etc. The reason the MacCat is popular is b/c it's VERY stable in the wind. And it looks cool, too....but the performance is the big thing. No sag, no flapping, etc.

The JRB tarp is great, too - and lighter than the MacCat Standard for about the same level of usable coverage. The biggest difference in coverage I see is that the MacCat has a lot more headroom (may not even be an issue with the HH, but is with an open-top hammock), and the MacCat looks more durable w/ heavier construction (and heavier weight). I haven't had a problem with either the MacCat or JRB showing wear, though. Plus, the JRB takes only two stakes where the MacCat needs 4 - quicker setup, a bit less weight for stakes/cord, etc. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend both tarps. You can read more here:
http://www.tothewoods.net/HammockCampingDry.html

Disclosure: I designed the gear hammock / pack cover that JRB sells and bird dog talked about above. That's where my business relationship w/ JRB ends - everything else is just my opinion as a very satisfied customer.

deadeye
2006-10-23, 13:19
First off, Bird Dog wants a MacCat. Otherwise, everyone's offered great, helpful advice, and I pretty much agree with all of it, so I'll just add my 2 cents and hope it helps, too.

As a comparison, my usual bag is an EMS Thaw 40 - a forty degree down bag. I'm comfortable on the ground in that bag with a prolite 3 down to high 20's with just one layer of clothes. With the same bag/pad combo, high 30's is about the limit in the hammock. Below about 40 degrees I either go to ground or add a full-length z-rest and a SPE (Speer Pad Extender) to keep it together and insulate the shoulders. Frankly, I don't like carrying extra pads & all, so for long trips, it's to the ground I go. Don't like all the complications. I also pitch as low as possible in colder weather.

The stock HH tarp kept me dry in tropical storm Ernesto - if I want more room for camping, I put up my poncho as an awning, too.

That is until I get my MacCat!:beer:

sachsmark
2006-10-23, 14:20
Thanks again for all the good advice. I'm really glad I found the SHRHQ link on HH's site. You obviously are having some fun. I'm going to go out hiking in 2 weeks, I'm looking forward to trying out some of the suggestions.

Mark

sachsmark
2006-10-23, 22:47
Below about 40 degrees I either go to ground or add a full-length z-rest and a SPE (Speer Pad Extender) to keep it together and insulate the shoulders. Frankly, I don't like carrying extra pads & all, so for long trips, it's to the ground I go. Don't like all the complications. I also pitch as low as possible in colder weather. That is until I get my MacCat!:beer:

deadeye:
When you say you go to the ground, are we talking about using the HH as a bivy, using a drop cloth and suspending a line using your hiking poles? If not, how feasible/comfortable is this approach?

mark

bird dog
2006-10-23, 23:28
Mark, If you look on the Applet menu bar on the left of the screen when you first sign on to HQ, look up hammock camping (I think thats where its at). There you will find a description, along with photos of how Rock sets up his hammock as you described, etc., etc., etc....BD

Just Jeff
2006-10-23, 23:35
Here it is. http://hikinghq.net/hammock/hammock3.html#Tip%203

bird dog
2006-10-24, 00:33
:hmmmm2: Thanks Jeff....Im not as computer savvy as some of you other guys.....Maybe if I had a MacCat (you know, kind of like "I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express Last Night") Id be smarter. Hint, Hint Brian. BD

deadeye
2006-10-24, 11:11
deadeye:
When you say you go to the ground, are we talking about using the HH as a bivy, using a drop cloth and suspending a line using your hiking poles? If not, how feasible/comfortable is this approach?

mark

Going to ground can mean putting up the tarp (a MacCat would be nice!), or just sleeping on the ground with nothing overhead if the weather's right. I use a mylar space blanket for ground sheet. Most of my hiking is on the Long Trail in VT, so I often have the option of staying in shelters, too. Sleeping on the ground is fine, esp. if you find nice duff or pine needles - shelter floors are my last choice. I've never tried using the HH as a bivy.

sachsmark
2006-10-25, 05:40
Very Cool! (Yes, there is a pun there.)

The pics were very helpful. I must be sick, because I can't wait till I go out next weekend to try this. Tonight it was in the low 30's. That should mean I'm going to ground our I'll be hanging low, with my pack directly underneath me (I'm assuming that's for blocking wind-flow and easy access). You guys think of everything!

THanks,
Mark

dropkick
2006-10-25, 20:50
It wasn't that cold, only droping to about 55F, as a test I tried a plastic dropcloth hung under my hammock to cut the wind and it made a big difference.

I hooked it on with 2 peices of string at the ends and 4 clothspins on the sides (2 each side). I didn't hook it very tight, leaving a bit of a gap between it and my hammock (I was going to try stuffing it, but didn't).

It made a noticable difference. As it only cost 99 cents and the weight is negligable I think it's a good addition with or without an underquilt.