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#108307 - 12/25/08 09:18 PM Winter hammocking
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
I've recently had the chance to use my new winter hammock rig in some solid sub-freezing weather.

My current rig is an ENO Double Nest Hammock with a closed cell foam pad and a DIY underquilt my wife, Sleeps With Skunks, made. It is from Kickass Quilts Hennessy Hammock model, made from 5 oz Primaloft Sport insulation. Above, I've been using Speer's Winter Tarp.

On my recent trip on the Foothills Trail in South Carolina, I used this system down to 18 F (-8 C) in wind gusts of 30-40 MPH (50-65 KPH).

I rigged the tarp at its normal height, with the Speer Tarp low to the ground.


It made it a bit tight to get into the hammock, but it offered excellent protection from the cutting wind.


Once inside, I was so warm with my home-made down quilt that I actually had to shed layers after the first couple of hours. But I definitely hammocked happy.

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#108311 - 12/25/08 11:58 PM Re: Winter hammocking [Re: Bearpaw]
Dryer Offline
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Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
That's quite a rig, Bearpaw. Is that actually a 'double' hammock, made for two people? Also, with the underquilt, did you need the foam pad? That's one item I'm trying to shed (foam pad). I like how your tarp closes on one end.
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#108312 - 12/26/08 12:16 AM Re: Winter hammocking [Re: Bearpaw]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Nice rig! *I like that tarp*. - and judging by that wind speed I bet you did too!

Sounds like you're using a nicer version of what I use to get down around the -10C range or so. although it sounds like you've still got some room to go colder. I've slept in mine with a 2 inch or so layer of poly batting next to the hammock bottom, 3 crinkled up space blankets below that, and my silponcho holding the whole "underquilt" on the hammock. Inside the hammock I had 1 and a half 27 wide inch blue foam pads (the extra under my butt). wearing long johns and full fleece (200wt) to bed, and a -10C rated down bag used quilt style, I slept good, but I didn't shed any layers.


I didn't think it got that cold way down there smile






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#108317 - 12/26/08 08:42 AM Re: Winter hammocking [Re: phat]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By phat
I didn't think it got that cold way down there smile


That cold is a bit unusual for December, but not at all for January or February. The key is that I was in the mountains. I realize the Appalachians aren't much compared to the Rockies, but even in South Carolina they pop over 1000 meters and their valleys can easily collect a LOT of cold.

In the Smokies, where they top out at just over 2000 meters, they can catch an incredible amount of precipitation and (I'm told) have a climate very similar to low country Vermont.
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#108319 - 12/26/08 08:57 AM Re: Winter hammocking [Re: Dryer]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By Dryer
That's quite a rig, Bearpaw. Is that actually a 'double' hammock, made for two people? Also, with the underquilt, did you need the foam pad? That's one item I'm trying to shed (foam pad). I like how your tarp closes on one end.


Yes, the ENO Double Nest is designed to two very slender people who like each other a lot or one Bearpaw with extra room.

I've used the underquilt 7 or 8 times this autumn and as nearly as I can tell, I am fine with the underquilt alone down to around freezing. Below that I want a bit more insulation. However, with a 3/8" CCF pad, I think I could honestly get down to around 0 F (-18 C).

Sgt. Rock used a similar system last year on this AT thru-hike attempt and slept comfortably in temps as low as 6 F.

What I may try on a car camp sometime soon is the underquilt with my 1/8" Gossamer Gear Thinlite padding. I did NOT need the full thickness of regular foam padding at 18 degrees. This would significantly decrease the bulk and weight of my padding.

BTW, I've found my Smartwool merino wool shirt does a great job controlling any moisture that may form while I'm on the ccf pad. It's not part of the system, but it certainly helps.

As for the tarp, the Speer Winter Tarp is truly a remarkable piece of gear. It actually closes on both ends, and I DID close both that night. The photo was simply to show how low I rigged the tarp to prepare for the cold winds that were blowing. And I was glad of the enclosure.

I bought the Speer tarp for my wife, so she could have a bit more privacy in camp, but she also loved how it shed wind. The only issue I had with wind Sunday night was when it woke me up a few times because it was beating my tarp so hard it sounded like the Blair Witch shaking the tent in that movie.
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#108355 - 12/27/08 08:34 AM Re: Winter hammocking [Re: Bearpaw]
bigfoot2 Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Eugene , Oregon
Very nice setup, Bearpaw! Looks like you were nice and comfy. I've got a similar system going with a Warbonnet Superfly and an Exped Wallcreeper rigged up as a poor man's Peapod. I figure if it gets really cold, i can throw in my Speer SPE that a friend on the Hammock forums sent me for Christmas. What type of hammock are you using?

BF
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Hammockers aren't stuck up, they're just above it all.

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#108357 - 12/27/08 08:48 AM Re: Winter hammocking [Re: bigfoot2]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By bigfoot2
What type of hammock are you using?

BF


In winter, I use an Eagle Nest Outfitter Double Nest. It gives me the room I need and a bit of overlap. And it allows me to make micro-adjustments to my underquilt while I'm in it.

In warmer weather, I hang in my Hennessy Hammock Expedition.
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#108358 - 12/27/08 08:55 AM Re: Winter hammocking [Re: Bearpaw]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
I'm still using the "ridgerest inside, mylar outside" technique and have been warm enough to have been 'iced in' once and never knew it....until I peeled myself out in the morning. In this part of the country we don't see temperatures like you describe, maybe 25 deg. My goal is to trade the ridgerest weight for an underquilt of the same weight and elliminate the pad. Of course, that pad is my pack frame...hmmmmm.
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#108359 - 12/27/08 09:27 AM Re: Winter hammocking [Re: Dryer]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By Dryer
I'm still using the "ridgerest inside, mylar outside" technique and have been warm enough to have been 'iced in' once and never knew it....until I peeled myself out in the morning. In this part of the country we don't see temperatures like you describe, maybe 25 deg. My goal is to trade the ridgerest weight for an underquilt of the same weight and elliminate the pad. Of course, that pad is my pack frame...hmmmmm.


Well, my UQ is 22 ounces and good by itself at least down to freezing, maybe a bit more though 33 is the lowest I have used only the quilt. A sit pad can still be very nice in case your rump compresses the quilt just a bit. Slide it under and be happy. So a largish sit pad/pack frame might work well for only a few ounces more than a full-length Ridgerest.

I've also seen hammockers use the sit pad as a landing on the ground. They place it where they exit the hammock and anchor it in place with their boots or crocs. When you get out, you have that warm dry place to stand and put on your shoes. It's not a bad use for the pack frame pad.
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#108714 - 01/03/09 03:41 PM Re: Winter hammocking [Re: Bearpaw]
bigfoot2 Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Eugene , Oregon
Bearpaw, all you need now is a wood burning stove in that baby and you're all set smile

BF
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Hammockers aren't stuck up, they're just above it all.

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#108737 - 01/04/09 12:38 AM Re: Winter hammocking [Re: Bearpaw]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Bearpaw

I've also seen hammockers use the sit pad as a landing on the ground. They place it where they exit the hammock and anchor it in place with their boots or crocs. When you get out, you have that warm dry place to stand and put on your shoes. It's not a bad use for the pack frame pad.


I always use my butt pad for this purpose when in the hammock. Never have "weighted it down" with my boots or shoes though. I've had porcupines visit my camp way too often to ever leave sweaty footwear on the ground at night. They hang at the head of my hammock.
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Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
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#111144 - 02/12/09 02:49 PM Re: Winter hammocking (an oxymoron) [Re: Dryer]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
C'mon, hammocking in winter? Ya gotta be obsessed with hammocking to do that.

OTO, your rig looks fairly good... for an obsessed person.

Eric
P.S. People who hammock usually don't own scales. (Hee, hee)
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#111259 - 02/14/09 11:37 AM Re: Winter hammocking (an oxymoron) [Re: 300winmag]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By 300winmag
C'mon, hammocking in winter? Ya gotta be obsessed with hammocking to do that.

OTO, your rig looks fairly good... for an obsessed person.

Eric
P.S. People who hammock usually don't own scales. (Hee, hee)


How much does your winter gear weigh?
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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#111268 - 02/14/09 12:53 PM Re: Winter hammocking (an oxymoron) [Re: lori]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

I own a hammock.. I own a scale...

My winter gear weighs 35 pounds.. it doesn't include a hammock

My summer gear weighs 15. it does.

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Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
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#112872 - 03/16/09 01:16 AM Re: Winter hammocking (an oxymoron) [Re: 300winmag]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
OK, OK, OK! (To paraphrase Joe Peschie)

A hammock v.s a Contrail in summer. Not much advantage in a hammock for weight.(i.e. no advanage)

A hammock v.s. A North Face Sololight ( Me thinks that's the name of their 2 pounder) again, better off in the Sololite. It's even possible to sit out of the wind in the doorway to cook. Try that W/ a hammock.

Hammocks are great in jungles and swamps where the ground is soaking wet. But I have a feeling many "hammock people" are also "alcohol stove people". That is, they stick to their obsession when other things work better. Tried 'em both and moved on.

Eric
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#112933 - 03/17/09 11:04 AM Re: Winter hammocking (an oxymoron) [Re: 300winmag]
hoz Offline
member

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 138
Loc: midwest
There is a reason you don't find hammocks in the North Country, Algonquin, Cree, Inuit, Dene, the Sami all don't use hammocks.

Only in a tropical climate.

If you have to add insulation, enclose the hammock in a tarp, attach a false bottom you might as well hit the ground.
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We don't stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking. Finis Mitchell

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#112990 - 03/18/09 11:08 AM Re: Winter hammocking (an oxymoron) [Re: lori]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
Lori,

My winter gear is heavy, compared to summer gear. but my "winter" tent is a TNF Tadpole. Works for me and I'll bet a winterized hammock isn't much, if any, lighter. There are just too many reasons to NOT use a hammock in winter. That's just going to hell with the joke.

Summer hammocking, OK, if it floats yer boat. But winter campers do not prefer hammocks for many good reasons. Otherwise you'd see it in use a lot in winter if there were advantages in doing so.

Eric
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#113000 - 03/18/09 03:31 PM Re: Winter hammocking (an oxymoron) [Re: 300winmag]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By 300winmag
Lori,

My winter gear is heavy, compared to summer gear. but my "winter" tent is a TNF Tadpole. Works for me and I'll bet a winterized hammock isn't much, if any, lighter. There are just too many reasons to NOT use a hammock in winter. That's just going to hell with the joke.

Summer hammocking, OK, if it floats yer boat. But winter campers do not prefer hammocks for many good reasons. Otherwise you'd see it in use a lot in winter if there were advantages in doing so.

Eric


See, there's the rub - you aren't looking in the right direction. I see pictures of winter hammock setups all the time - over on hammockforums, where hammockers congregate. You're not talking apples and apples - hammockers can and do winter camp if they choose to and enjoy it. Winter campers who prefer tents, use those instead. There are plenty of advantages to both - that you don't see them all doesn't mean they don't exist. Your reasons are your reasons and no one else's. Flat statements about any sort of backpacking gear being inadequate or deficient don't fly. People are defying your expectations every winter. If you don't believe posters here, go to youtube and google Shug's videos. He's testing tarps, stoves, and hammocks in his backyard on a regular basis, in 17F and below.

Me, I camp in 4 seasons, and use a hammock all the time, regardless of where I go. I don't do snow or arctic weather; I go somewhere else, ie the coast, where it is usually freezing at night but no snow. But that's my choice, and I do very well with it. Being lighter is not the point of hammock camping. Being able to walk the next day is the point of MINE.

I'm not going to convince anyone to use a hammock - I don't care if you sleep in a tent, hammock, bivy, or a 55 gallon drum. Go for it. I'm just making the point that your belief that there are "too many reasons not to use a hammock in winter" is entirely subjective, and there are lots of people out there merrily proving you wrong - clearly their "reasons" are different.
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http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#113004 - 03/18/09 04:46 PM Re: Winter hammocking (an oxymoron) [Re: lori]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Before this devolves into much more a shouting match, let me clear something up. If you are going to argue about what works best, you have to consider the same place and same conditions.

Winter does not mean the same thing to everyone on this site. It is not just a season or a temperature rating, it is a set of conditions. What Eric is talking about is snow on the ground winter, where the possibility of snowfall is likely, not just cold temperatures. Big difference.

Lori is right about apples and oranges. Keep in mind that a lot of winter camping is done in areas with no trees. Look at some of Otto's pictures from Norway and Sweden - no trees in sight. There are no trees in a lot of places people winter camp, so hammocks are not feasible just for that reason alone.

Personally, I would not want to be in a hammock in a snowstorm or in high wind, but maybe that works for other people. For me, a hammock is too claustrophobic. I use a two person tent, which you can see in my trip reports and that's just for me.

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#113006 - 03/18/09 05:18 PM Re: Winter hammocking (an oxymoron) [Re: TomD]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Hey
Lori states that she goes winter camping where there is no snow. Bill spends his winters in extremely rugged mountains west of Las Vegas. Sleeping on snow is a lot more comfortable than sleeping on hard summer ground, and I have to wonder whether there are any real comfort benefits of snow hammocking, I doubt it, however I guess it would take more snow to bury you in a hammock - assuming there were any features to fasten it between.

Also camping above or below the tree line is a big divider. I can't see hammocking in snow above the tree line, but of course someone does it. Question is whether its better, or lesser, or merely a personal choice, as far as comfort, safety, and reasonablness.

Piching a tent on snow above the tree line in a storm is a challenge, a hammock would present more challenges.

LORI - RE: Shugs

Yep - hes crazy. After watching half an hour of his antics including -26 forest camping, I do have some reservations.

I nticed that between Shugs and his buddy, that shugs stuff was so bulky and heavy for 2 nights that dragged a poorly rigged sled that did not stay put behind him on slopes. His buddy had what looked like an old 7 pound TNF skyscraper pack. Shugs had a tent that he called a tarp that went to the ground. Inside the tent was his hammock. He had a down under bag under the hammock, and another outer under bag to cover the down under quilt. Then he had 2 sleeping bags and stated " I slept in 3 pairs of socks and down booties in my double sleeping bag and my feet are toasty". I hate sleeping in socks and in a well made sleeping bag socks should not be required or if any - one pair of loose socks.

He also said that they blew in the wind a bit, but that they were well protected down in the trees.

I'm betting that his tent, hammock, etc etc, weighs more than my bibler at 4 lbs 4 oz. My Bibler is easier to pitch but requires stamping down a spot. I use a Down Airmattress inside it on snow - thats pretty comfortable. Its a 2 person tent so there's lots of room for spreading out my gear, I can dress easily and cook in my tent, and it doesn't squeeze me, and I prefer to sleep flat.

So I'm saying that some do hammock in the forest in winter snow, but its not lighter than or necesarily easier or faster than tent camping, AND tents are way more solid in wind and above tree line.
Jim


Edited by Jimshaw (03/19/09 01:02 AM)
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#113019 - 03/18/09 09:09 PM Re: Winter hammocking (an oxymoron) [Re: lori]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By lori
go to youtube and google Shug's videos. He's testing tarps, stoves, and hammocks in his backyard on a regular basis, in 17F and below.


I do both and I'm not here to take sides. It's simply a matter of whatever butters your popcorn. But I will second the idea of watching Shug's "Live from the Hammock" videos at least for the entertainment value if nothing else. The guy is pretty funny and you might even learn something.


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If you only travel on sunny days you will never reach your destination.*

* May not apply at certain latitudes in Canada and elsewhere.

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#113029 - 03/19/09 07:50 AM Re: Winter hammocking (an oxymoron) [Re: Trailrunner]
hoz Offline
member

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 138
Loc: midwest
Shugs a real clown. I like watching him for the laughs. But what's so lightweight or convenient about hammock hanging with THREE underquilts?
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#113030 - 03/19/09 10:29 AM Re: Winter hammocking (an oxymoron) [Re: hoz]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By hoz
Shugs a real clown. I like watching him for the laughs. But what's so lightweight or convenient about hammock hanging with THREE underquilts?


It's not always about the weight, for the last time. There are as many reasons to use a hammock anywhere, anytime, as there are people. Convenient? I find it a whole lot more convenient to keep all my gear OFF THE GROUND. I can set up in the rain, sleep, take down in the rain, and never get the contents of my pack wet. I also don't track leaves and mud in, nor do I have to get out from under the tarp to put on rain gear.

My hammock setup is lighter than the tent/pad/bag combos of my hiking companions. I am the closest thing to an ultralighter in my hiking group, and I don't claim to be ultra, just lightweight. I'm comfortable in temps down to 25F and it all goes in 4000 cu in. That suits me fine.
_________________________
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#113031 - 03/19/09 10:45 AM Re: Winter hammocking (an oxymoron) [Re: Trailrunner]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Trailrunner


I do both and I'm not here to take sides. It's simply a matter of whatever butters your popcorn. But I will second the idea of watching Shug's "Live from the Hammock" videos at least for the entertainment value if nothing else. The guy is pretty funny and you might even learn something.


Who said anything about there being sides? There are people who like sleeping without any shelter at all. If they are able to survive and enjoy it while doing so, more power to them.

I'm just a little agog at people who go about insisting "hammocks are only for jungles." You won't see someone going to threads about tents and claiming "tents are only for campgrounds." Tents and hammocks go wherever they are taken, as are RVs and any other portable shelter. Hammocks are hung in jungles, deserts, grassy fields, mountains, billboards, parking lots, backyards, coastal areas, hotel rooms and bedrooms - pretty much anywhere there is a post, tree, stand, rock, door or the back end of a truck. The people hanging them like to sleep in them - because they can't get up off the ground very well, because they have a bad back/knee/ankle - or just because they want to. What's the problem with that? It's not like there's a safety issue - we don't hear or read about people found "frozen to death because they foolishly slept in the hammock out in the Rockies in January." We hear about people who are not prepared - so urge people to be prepared. Don't keep insisting that you can't use whatever they're using, tell them to use it safely and accept whatever weight penalty that entails. Like all winter campers do.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#113036 - 03/19/09 12:58 PM Re: Winter hammocking (an oxymoron) [Re: lori]
hoz Offline
member

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 138
Loc: midwest
Originally Posted By lori
It's not like there's a safety issue - we don't hear or read about people found "frozen to death because they foolishly slept in the hammock out in the Rockies in January."


No, but I did read about a guy who was struck by lightning while sleeping in his hammock. An isolated incident to be sure, but it did happen.

This thread was about winter camping in a hammock. Personally, I don't consider having to bring and rig extra insulation and hanging a tarp so that it looks like a tent (completely enclosing the hammock) to be a particularly convenient or efficient way to camp in cold weather.

And one last time, why didn't the Ojibwe, the Cree, the Inuit, the Dene or the Sami sleep in hammocks?
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