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How to become an Ewok

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    • How to become an Ewok

      gif.010.gif
      Is there a graceful way to make the transition from being a ground dweller to being a hammock-hanging Ewok? (Well, Ewoks sleep in trees, don't they?) Ideally without spending a mint all at once?

      I've done a lot of clueless weekends, and I've tented for all of them. I have my tent system fairly well tuned to suit me. I sleep well. Ordinarily, I wouldn't even ask the question. But the last couple or three weekends that I've done have been in areas that have been all dense spruce and balsam, or dense viburnum, or sharp rocks, or steep slopes, or really wet clay. It's been rather a challenge to find sites that were safe, comfortable and lawful - and I'm actually fairly good at stealth camping, it's just that I've been weekending in some difficult terrain lately.

      Elf kind of put a bug in my ear when he mentioned, on our trip two weekends ago, that it was one of the few times he'd been out that he'd have been seriously tempted to try hammocking. And I just came into a little bit of 'found money' - some generic gift cards that I could put toward (among others) Cabela's, REI, Amazon, or overstock.com. If any of those would have anything suitable.

      I've tried at various times asking my hiking partners who hang. They're no help at all, because they got started with hanging at the same time they got started with backpacking! They're as ignorant of tents as I am of hammocks, and have nothing to offer about making the transition.

      For what it's worth, if it makes a difference to your answer, I'm 6'1", 190 lb and a side sleeper.

      If I were to go the hammock route, is there a way I can make the transition slowly? From what I can see on the places I've looked at, Hennessy is the only brand I'm likely to find that I can buy with the "found money." But I've seen nice reviews, at least of the hammock proper. I gather that a largish guy like me needs something like the Explorer Ultralite A-sym; I'm just slightly too tall for the Scout or Expedition. Do the hammockers think that's a reasonable choice? The one at REI seems to come with a nylon tarp prechosen (as opposed to the array of choices at Hennessy) but the choice doesn't look too different from what I might have picked anyway.

      What about insulation? In mild weather, can I make do at first by hacking up some closed-cell foam into a pad-with-wings like the one that used to be on SGT Rock's site, or am I going to regret that immediately? I recognize that I'll probably want a proper underquilt eventually, but I'm wondering if I can delay the purchase until I learn whether I can actually get a good night's sleep in a hammock at all.

      I presume that an unzipped (or zipped, for that matter!) sleeping bag will do for a top quilt. It'll "leave me with a further opportunity" down the road to reduce pack weight and volume, of course, since I'm sure that a proper quilt is smaller and lighter, but again, I'm mostly looking to test the waters!

      I'd imagine that, unless I unexpectedly turn into one of the proselytizing hammock zealots, that I'd be after a three-season kit. I'm perfectly willing to go to ground in the winter. For one thing, there are a lot more tent sites once there's a decent snowpack!) I'm therefore not foreseeing having to tool up a hammock rig for cold weather. I'd mostly want to be set up for stealth camping in difficult terrain (as I said, dense brush, steep slopes, sharp rocks, wet clay ...) with abundant trees.

      I'm well aware of the phenomenon of getting a piece of gear to try things out, then trading it in on a slightly better one, then .... until you've spent several times what the good stuff would have cost to begin with. So if you think I'm about to embark on that course, warn me off it!

      Of course, I'm overthinking this. Have you ever known anything that I didn't overthink? And even at that, I'm going to wind up doing it all wrong, or why would I be asking on this site? So, is anyone willing to help the clueless? ?(

      (I'm not asking on HF, at least not yet, because I'd wind up trying to drink from the fire hose and ending more confused than when I began. Also, I haven't been there since the meltdown. And that's all I'm going to say, because the purpose of this site isn't to complain about other sites.)
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • knowing nothing at all about hammocking, i would suggest looking into renting one at rei or borrowing elf's after he buys one.sleep in one for a night or two, and see for yourself if you'll be comfortable. i remain unconvinced
      ive seen plenty of great hammock setups, but i'm not convinced at all that its right for me. i like having a tent.there is zero weight savings in a hammock, and im just a ground dweller. i just cant get comfortable in one.
      its all good
    • I don't know how interested Elf actually is (we were just bitching about the difficulty of finding anywhere to pitch), and anyway, I'm too big for a lot of people's setups. I'd be more inclined to rent if there were an REI anywhere near here. And as I said, it would be more about the ability to set up in more places than about comfort.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • I am reluctant to admit this, but I have used a hammock in an unusual way. I hung it low enough that just my butt touched the ground, with a small inflatable pad to insulate my butt from the ground. I pitched my 8x10 tarp with the edges touching the ground and the corners folded in to block the wind on all four sides.

      OK, y'all can tell me I'm doing it wrong now.
      I am human and I need to be loved - just like everybody else does
    • WanderingStovie wrote:

      I am reluctant to admit this, but I have used a hammock in an unusual way. I hung it low enough that just my butt touched the ground, with a small inflatable pad to insulate my butt from the ground. I pitched my 8x10 tarp with the edges touching the ground and the corners folded in to block the wind on all four sides.

      OK, y'all can tell me I'm doing it wrong now.


      They've actually got an idea like that (only with the hammock still lower, and a footprint + pad) on the Hennessy web site. Essentially, using the hammock as a bug bivy while pitching the tarp low against the weather.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • AnotherKevin wrote:

      WanderingStovie wrote:

      I am reluctant to admit this, but I have used a hammock in an unusual way. I hung it low enough that just my butt touched the ground, with a small inflatable pad to insulate my butt from the ground. I pitched my 8x10 tarp with the edges touching the ground and the corners folded in to block the wind on all four sides.

      OK, y'all can tell me I'm doing it wrong now.


      They've actually got an idea like that (only with the hammock still lower, and a footprint + pad) on the Hennessy web site. Essentially, using the hammock as a bug bivy while pitching the tarp low against the weather.


      I seem to remember a "KickStarter" Hammock that could be pitched on the ground w/Trekking Poles, and use the fly as a Tarp over it... Think I saw it on TOS... He was giving one away after he hit a certain amount of "likes"... Was the best of both worlds...
      1 Fish, 2 Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish...
    • WanderingStovie wrote:

      I am reluctant to admit this, but I have used a hammock in an unusual way. I hung it low enough that just my butt touched the ground, with a small inflatable pad to insulate my butt from the ground. I pitched my 8x10 tarp with the edges touching the ground and the corners folded in to block the wind on all four sides.

      OK, y'all can tell me I'm doing it wrong now.


      I've done that but didn't have the pad, I put a pile of pine needles around/underneath me and sunk into them, my dog slept against me so the needles insulated him as well, was about 3" off the ground, worked great.
      I may grow old but I'll never grow up.
    • OK, now that I've got the expected rounds of joking and the mandatory pooh-poohing from a confirmed ground-dweller - does the initial setup I have in mind make sense? Hennessy Explorer Ultralight, with the stock tarp, a regular sleeping pad with extra wings cut from blue foam, and my existing sleeping bag as a topquilt, make sense for a starter, with a plan to get an underquilt for cooler weather when I decide I need it? (I can also easily make a Reflectix underlayer - I've got enough spare Reflectix that I can hack up.)

      I figure that if I decide I can't sleep in the thing, REI will take it back.

      I know there are hammockers here. Anyone? Beuller?
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • Sad reality... lets explore this.. As a kid an opportunity to sleep in a hammock crops up once in a while. Yet a large portion of third world countries sleep this way. IE. Rio Brazil is huge on this... Europe is not.

      Yes I am a nice guy. I would never expect anyone to buy an exspensive sleep system! how about a few nights in the back yard with a inexpensive non-rope system as they are uncomfortable. Byer Mosquito is an OK starter set when pitched with a tarp. Clearly a starter set as mosquitos can get you underneath.

      I have sleep apnea - my hips would never let me side sleep on pads or in a tent... I am done. I used to snore so bad I could clear a campground. Today I am happy to report after several operations in the past my ability to clear acres have been reduced. Clearly sleeping at a 5° angle helps as I sleep on a diagonal to the hammock. Yes I toss and turn... no biggie.

      So after sleeping a week or two in a hammock in the backyard - I was quickly converted on a personal level. I am grateful for the opportunity to get off the ground.

      later I discovered woopie slings that allow you to set up and take down in minutes. Tree straps reduce damage to trees... etc,,,

      Folks its a path to enlightenment .....
      Why question the intentions of a road-crossing chicken?
    • Hmm, unless I'm suddenly enlightened, I don't expect a hammock to be my first-line choice, because as far as I can tell, it's jut plain heavier than tenting, and I'm one of the fortunate individuals who can sleep like a rock while sleeping on one. But two out of my last three weekend irips, I was hard put to find anywhere to pitch - what wasn't dense brush was steep slope, sharp rock, soggy clay, or water. It took some hunting to find sketchy sites - and I'm usually pretty good at stealth camping. I'm willing to bear a little more weight to be able to find a campsite in those places. I could see that a hammock hanger would have had no problem.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • I'm sort of that dual-style person in that I sleep in both tents and hammocks. It depends on where I go, how long I'm going to be out, who is going with me and how many.
      For simple overnight comfort, star gazing, etc. the hammock is going to be tough to beat IF you get one that fits you well and IF you learn how to lay on it properly. Just as there are different kinds of sleeping pads and tents there are different kinds of hammocks depending on how you like to sleep. Some work great for side sleeping, some don't. Some you end up fetal, others like to be sprawled. Me? I sort of do them all. lol

      This past week I just sold a pair of Hennessy hammocks as I have a Clarke Vertex for my 2-person set-up (talk about the RV of hammocks but it sleeps fantastically!) and a pair of Ticket to the Moon (which make Eno feel like you are sleeping on burlap bags) for my singles. The worse the weather the more I like the Vertex, but for the last time we set up the Big Agnes tent and happened to toss the hammocks out (Laural Falls on the Virgin Falls trail) we flopped in them long enough to do some star gazing..and woke up just after dawn with a light fog. The tent? It never got used for more than storing gear. That night was in the Ticket to the Moon's*

      I like tent camping and I like hammock camping. Both of them work well and I have different set-ups for different weather.

      For instance, when it comes to tents if it's going to be cold, rainy, etc. I have the Big Agnes Slater 3. It has a vestibule that swallows a pair of Little Joey travel chairs full of gear while still having plenty of room to get in and out without using the big side vestibule. IE: we put our Osprey packs in the chairs and everything stays dry. Cold and wet? That tent rocks!

      If it's going to be hotter, dryer and you want the views I have the Mountain Hardware Optic 3.5 and the 180degree views are fantastic (as are two decently big vestibules which makes multiple cook-sets a breeze under one while still getting out of the other). This one has a lot more breathability but doesn't have the waterproof space. It does have a slightly higher inside peak (about 1.5") than the big agnes.

      Best of both worlds? Kayak camping and take both set-ups. We did a 4-day / 3-night on Lake Santeetlah choosing a different camping spot every night. Some we tented, some we hammocked. All were good! There is no reason that you have to choose one over the other as long as you can manage to pick up both. Most of the gear is complimentary.

      Good luck on your hunt. :)
      _________________________________________________
      The trouble with reality stems from a lack of background music!
    • AnotherKevin wrote:

      Hmm, unless I'm suddenly enlightened, I don't expect a hammock to be my first-line choice, because as far as I can tell, it's jut plain heavier than tenting, and I'm one of the fortunate individuals who can sleep like a rock while sleeping on one. But two out of my last three weekend irips, I was hard put to find anywhere to pitch - what wasn't dense brush was steep slope, sharp rock, soggy clay, or water. It took some hunting to find sketchy sites - and I'm usually pretty good at stealth camping. I'm willing to bear a little more weight to be able to find a campsite in those places. I could see that a hammock hanger would have had no problem.


      its just like tenting their are heavy ones and stripped down ones... I have seen the posts on Toss go both ways. The only issue is body length and weight - 6-5 and 250 pounds is a soft MAX. - if you are above you can still do it - but it may disappoint you.

      As for packa-bility I get by with a smaller pack because its the size of a volleyball when packed.

      As for the weight issue Sgt Rock has a 100% Cuben Fiber Hammock... that we are all drooling about... And one of his hammocks is less than a pound...
      Why question the intentions of a road-crossing chicken?
    • socks wrote:

      I just can't see sleeping like a broke off wishbone.
      You sleep flat.

      Tie a ridgeline from one end of the hammock to the other that is shorter than the hammock itself. this takes most of the load of the suspension and the hammock hangs freely below. When you get in you lay diagonally across the hammock and that will result in a flat lay.
      If your Doctor is a tree, you're on acid.
    • Foresight wrote:

      socks wrote:

      I just can't see sleeping like a broke off wishbone.
      You sleep flat.
      Tie a ridgeline from one end of the hammock to the other that is shorter than the hammock itself. this takes most of the load of the suspension and the hammock hangs freely below. When you get in you lay diagonally across the hammock and that will result in a flat lay.
      I'm having trouble visualizing this...hmm, little help?
    • If you lie straight in the hammock, you get bent like a gif.014.gif .
      If you lie diagonally, head near one edge of the cloth and feet near the other, the way the cloth hangs you wind up almost crosswise to the fold and get a good flat lie.

      But for this to work, the hammock has to hang fairly loosely.

      In order to get the hammock to hang that loosely and not hit the ground, you'd have to put the attachment points way up over your head where you can't reach.

      That's where the ridge line comes in. It keeps the hammock from spreading out head-to-foot so that you can lie in it diagonally. You can put the suspension lines tauter without getting forced into the center of the hammock when you lie in it.

      83% is supposed to be close to the ideal length, so if you have an 11 foot hammock, you make the ridge line 9 feet 2 inches long.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • AnotherKevin wrote:

      If you lie straight in the hammock, you get bent like a gif.014.gif .
      If you lie diagonally, head near one edge of the cloth and feet near the other, the way the cloth hangs you wind up almost crosswise to the fold and get a good flat lie.

      But for this to work, the hammock has to hang fairly loosely.

      In order to get the hammock to hang that loosely and not hit the ground, you'd have to put the attachment points way up over your head where you can't reach.

      That's where the ridge line comes in. It keeps the hammock from spreading out head-to-foot so that you can lie in it diagonally. You can put the suspension lines tauter without getting forced into the center of the hammock when you lie in it.

      83% is supposed to be close to the ideal length, so if you have an 11 foot hammock, you make the ridge line 9 feet 2 inches long.
      I think you just explained why I won't sink to the ground if I can't hang a hammock very high up a tree. Thank you.

      I'm going to move these posts to the hammock thread...good stuff.
      In life there are no limitations. Except stupidity. If you're stupid, you're screwed.

      Stephan Pastis
    • socks wrote:

      Foresight wrote:

      socks wrote:

      I just can't see sleeping like a broke off wishbone.
      You sleep flat.Tie a ridgeline from one end of the hammock to the other that is shorter than the hammock itself. this takes most of the load of the suspension and the hammock hangs freely below. When you get in you lay diagonally across the hammock and that will result in a flat lay.
      I'm having trouble visualizing this...hmm, little help?
      I'll try to remember to get a photo this week end, I'll most likely be sleeping out.
      I may grow old but I'll never grow up.
    • Yeah, what they said. The hammock winds up being supported by the suspensions lines and the ridgeline. The hammock itself dangles freely below. When you get in the suspension lines and the ridgeline are providing the support so you're a lot more free to maneuver.

      I'm 6-3 so I made my hammock 11.5' to give me a little more room to go diagonal and get flat.
      If your Doctor is a tree, you're on acid.
    • I've seen the 83% rule for structural ridgelines, but I don't know that I've ever seen one for hammock length.

      Like I said earlier, I'm 6-3 and mine is 11.5' and I can easily lay flat. I don't think I could go much shorter and still be able to lay flat without feeling it. Basically, what you feel as you get too short is a "rib" that runs right under your calf/calves when you start getting too short.

      SGT Rock has an ultralight setup where his hammock is 9' and he's comfortable in it, but he does incorporate a footbox.

      One thing I would recommend would be to make your own and start with an 11 footer. Then adjust the length until you feel it start to constrain. You can shorten the hammock without damaging it by simple tying some whipping on one end at the new length you desire. Once you've found the length that works you can then cut off the excess to get rid of the unnecessary weight.

      Clear as mud? :D
      If your Doctor is a tree, you're on acid.
      • TJ, how handy are you with a sewing machine? As long as you have basic skills you can make your own, easily.
      I'm waiting on some mule tape to show up to try and see if I like it enough to use as suspension to replace my tree straps and whoopie slings. I fully expect that it will so if you decide to make one ten I'll either give you my straps and slings or send you enough mule tape to use as I know it will more than support you. Hell, if you don't think you can make it just order the fabric and send it to me and I'll see it up for you.

      You'll need bottom insulation, but can use your sleeping bag for top insulation. After that a tarp is all you'll need. You can order the tarp cloth at the same time as the hammock itself.
      If your Doctor is a tree, you're on acid.
    • Foresight wrote:


      • TJ, how handy are you with a sewing machine? As long as you have basic skills you can make your own, easily.
      I'm waiting on some mule tape to show up to try and see if I like it enough to use as suspension to replace my tree straps and whoopie slings. I fully expect that it will so if you decide to make one ten I'll either give you my straps and slings or send you enough mule tape to use as I know it will more than support you. Hell, if you don't think you can make it just order the fabric and send it to me and I'll see it up for you.

      You'll need bottom insulation, but can use your sleeping bag for top insulation. After that a tarp is all you'll need. You can order the tarp cloth at the same time as the hammock itself.
      Thanks for the offer. I can sew a little and will try to make my own. It was the "package deal" that looked enticing but I've decided against it. It's all the hardware stuff that confuses me.
      In life there are no limitations. Except stupidity. If you're stupid, you're screwed.

      Stephan Pastis
    • That's a pretty good run down on structural ridgelines.

      I think it will be easier to cannibalize info that's already available and simply compile it here (helluva lot quicker too). Since it's already publicly available info I can't imaging anyone having an issue with me bringing it in here, but ya never know.

      The hammock itself

      This is for a gathered end hammock which I feel is best suited to backpacking. There are various other designs, but each adds more weight and crap to be carried so I would recommend ignoring them.

      LINK TO THE PHOTOS USED IN THE VIDEO BELOW



      as mentioned earlier, I'm 6-3, my hammock is 11.5' and I can lay very comfortably in it. That equates to a 1.84 length/height ratio. Simply using that and guessing your height as 5-6 you get a 10' hammock length. These are beginning dimensions before the seams are sewn....not enough difference here to worry about adding in length to compensate for the size seams you sew.

      As for the choice of fabric I use plain jane 9oz ripstop. No need for anything special here. Yes there are fabrics that allow you to get lighter, but I can't find the weight ratings for each at the moment.....

      Structural ridgline

      You'll see it again in some pictures to follow, but using the 83% rule on a 10' hammock gives you a 100" ridgeline. Tie it to length from one gathered end of the hammock to the other.

      Tarp

      Here is where your choices start to get overwhelming.....use this picture for reference:

      [IMG:http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=10146&stc=1&d=1272268672]

      I use 1.1oz Silnylon for my tarp.

      I recommend starting out with a rectangle and altering it down the road as you see fit. This is a rectangle tarp I made with the ends closed to act as a "winter/4-season" from the chart above without the added weight of the doors. You can see in my pic that closing it off this way tucks the "doors" in under you a good bit more, but that to me is worth the weight savings. Some will say it's harder to get in and out of this type, but you will only be doing this in nasty weather so why do you want to get out?



      You want a foot or so of tarp coverage past the hammock on each end so use your structural ridgeline measurement to determine tarp length. for a 10' hammock that distance would be 124" or 10'-4" (100" ridgeline + 24").

      When you order the cloth it will come in 60" widths. Cut two pieces to the length desired (124" in this case), sew in a hem all around then sew them together lengthwise. I like my ridgeline for the tarp to run the full length so I sew a channel into this seam where the two are connected. It's not necessary though.

      Once the above is done you simply need to sew attachment points, or tie-outs, for your guy lines. I use ribbing and fold it like a "cancer ribbon"....this makes it easier to run the guy line through it. You'll need one on each end corner and in the center of the ends where the top will be. Also, you will need two 1/3 of the way in on each side for a total of 10.

      Suspension

      Another topic to that can be overwhelming. Basically it's straps around the tree and a line (the dreaded whoopie slings) going from the tree to the hammock.

      I just ordered some Mule Tape after and this will replace the straps and the whoopie slings so I'll get back to you on how well this works out. It's the method SGT Rock uses so I know it's a viable option.

      Here's another busy ass image for pitching a tarp, but it also shows the tree straps and whoopie slings.....

      [IMG:http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=10147&stc=1&d=1272268672]

      For the Mule Tape option, just picture one light strap replacing the tree strap and the whoopie sling, simple is better, right? Also, here is Sgt Rock's video where I got the idea....



      Insulation

      Except in the hottest of weather you will need bottom insulation. Some use pads, but quilts are lighter, more compressible and simply better, IMHO. Quilts are broken down into under quilts (UQ) and top quilts (TQ). Now, you already have a sleeping bag(s) so you don't need a TQ. You could even get by without an UQ, but you will lose insulation value as the bag is compressed on the bottom by the hammock.

      UQ's are a PITA, but simple to make; I made one in under 2 hours last week.

      I used 5oz climashield apex which should make for a 30° UQ.

      Get 3 yds of 1.1oz ripstop and cut a 48" piece and a 45" piece. As stated above, the cloth comes in 60" widths so this will make a 60" LONG UQ that is 45" WIDE. Use the 45x60 piece to measure with and cut out the insulation to match it.

      Sew a 3/4" hem on each side of the 48x60 piece of ripstop (leave the corners open as these channels are for cordage to attach the quilt to the hammock.....we'll clear this up later if need be).

      Now lay the hemmed piece on top of the other piece of cloth and then the insulation. Using an assload of pins pin the insulation to the cloth then sew it all together leaving about a foot and half to two foot gap on one short end. Now reach in between the two cloth pieces and turn the quilt right side out and sew up the hole. Bam, you're done and your channels should be sticking out where you can use them.

      Here is a much more difficult way of doing that also uses a different type of insulation, but I'll include it for a visual reference:

      [IMG:https://diygearsupply.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/DIYGS-InsultexUQ-lowres.jpg]



      Material sources

      ripstopbytheroll.com/ I pretty much buy everything from these guys. Their shipping is very fast and they are easy to deal with and I like to keep everything to one supplier. There are others out there, but this is all about consolidation and simplicity.

      stores.ebay.com/rrttradingpost/ This is an ebay store where you can get cheap fabrics. I use them for quilts NOT for my hammock material.
      If your Doctor is a tree, you're on acid.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Foresight ().