2/26/2012

Week 9

Weather: Temps 5- 15 degrees, winds 15-25 mph, no precip
Gear: ENO hammock, ENO tarp, Kelty -20 sleeping bag, diy suspension, diy underquilt, ridgeline w/ various attachments.

Comments: Week 9, and I've finally discovered true hammock bliss. After 8 weeks of slight tweaks and different gear, I have finally dialed in my set up to a point where I've found the true comfort of a hammock. Using an underquilt (uq) instead of a pad has greatly improved the comfort. Like I said last week, any newbie hammock campers Should LOOK INTO AN UQ!! They are hundreds of thousands of billions of times more comfortable than a pad. I don't think I'll be moving to a top quilt any time soon because the sleeping bag is still working out for me.

Last night, the wind had really picked up. I took out the tarp for the first time in three weeks, but the stakes would simply not go into the cement solid ground. Lucky for me, there was enough snow for me to tie the lines out to sticks and anchor the sticks under the snow. I let the lines a little slack so they would have some wiggle room and not pull my anchors up in the 25 mph wind, and it did the trick.

2/19/2012

Week 8

Weather: Temperatures 20-30 degrees, winds calm 0-5 mph, no precipitation.
Gear: DIY Underquilt, DIY Suspension, ENO Hammock, Ridgeline, Snugpak Travelpak Xtreme.

Comments:  Last night was by far my most comfortable night yet. It was a touch warmer than the other nights, and I said my final goodbyes to my pad on Friday after finishing my DIY underquilt. The sleeping bag I used in week 6 was trimmed to size, and then I sewed channels in the end. I have 8 feet of paracord going through the quilt on both sides, and its hooked onto the hammock with bungees. And boy, an underquilt beats a pad in sleeping comfort by a thousand miles. Any of you hammock forumers out there reading this who still use pads, make yourself an underquilt.

  I would have slept well into the morning, but my underquilt ended up falling off my hammock at about 6 o'clock. I thought it had snapped and that I would need to repair it when it got lighter out. I decided to call it a night, as I slept pretty long, and I didn't want to risk hypothermia staying out in the 20 degree weather with a 30 degree sleeping bag and no bottom insulation. Turns out in the morning that the paracord just got disconnected from the hammock, and I felt really stupid for calling it so early without checking out what happened.

2/12/2012

Week 7

Weather: Temperatures: -2 - 5 degrees, winds 10-20 mph, no precipitation.

Gear: Eno hammock Eno raintarp, Thermarest pad, Kelty -20 bag, diy suspension, hot water bottles, Msr pocket rocket stove

Comments: Last night was the coldest one I experienced. Had I not had my tarp set up as a wind break, I probably would not have made it through because without the wind, it was-2, and with winds around 15 mph, the wind chill was around -10. I was having some trouble with getting my pad under me properly, so I stuffed it down the sleeping bag. This worked pretty well, but I think with that uncomfortable experience I'm going to try out an under quilt.
I decided to throw a hot water bottle in the bottom of the bag last night because I knew it would get cold. Wrapped in a sock, it was still reasonably warm in the morning. I also tested out my new pocket rocket stove for some breakfast from the hammock. The stove had semi-frozen water boiling in less than five minutes. It was easy to light, with no priming or pumping, even at -2 degrees. Its small size will make it my second best friend (next to my hammock) this summer when I get out backpacking.

2/05/2012

Week 6

Weather: temperature 20-30 degrees, winds calm 5 mph.

Gear:  Rectanguler sleeping bag repurposed into a top quilt, heat reflecting therma rest pad, ENO hammock, DIY suspension, ENO DRyfly raintarp, ridge line with various attachments.

Comments: It was a little warmer than most nights, so i decided to make a top quilt out of a sleeping bag that had the foot end ripped out. It was rectangular, and i just draped it over the hammock. Even though it was a 15 degree bag, it was almost just as warm as the 20 below bag I've been using. It pulled the hammock tight up on me, and the pad reflected the heat better as i was laying directly on it.  The bag also draped down and came very close to touching the ground, which created a warm air pocket under me, and kept the wind from stealing the heat from my back side. The only part of me that was a little cold was my top side because it didnt have a whole lot of insulation. The cold was bearable though, and it turned out to be a great night. As i mentioned in one of my other posts, i replaced the tarp stuff sack with a mesh one. This morning, i made a black bishop bag out of the old tarp stuff sack and it now houses my hammock. It taked just seconds to set it up, and i love it.
Any tenters out there who are reading this blog should take a look at the pictures from last night, because i was suspended over about 2 inches of ice. You tenters would not have had a very comfortable night laying on that...