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#111114 - 02/12/09 08:20 AM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: Paddy_Crow]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Quote:
I would be interested in any photos someone could show me of one of these flat hammocks."


You can lay 'flat' in just about any hammock. The key is to not hang it tight but instead, let if luff and hang low. The Hennessey is cut so you lay diagonally to it's rope vector (is that the right word?), and that flattens you out. I'm a side sleeper and it works great. The only time you are 'bowed' is when you lay in line with the ropes.

Interesting old movie..."Eddie Rickenbacker Story", Jimmy Stewart plays Eddie and is seen sleeping in a hammock, camped under the wing of his "Jenny" biplane trainer. The hammock is supported between wing struts. Jimmy is doing it right!...diagonal and comfy.

This "assym" hammock thing is nothing new. Folks have been sleeping on ships that way for a couple thousand years. Most of rural Mexico sleeps in 'assym' hammocks instead of beds. I have a $10 Mexican hammock hanging on my porch and it's actually adjustable to your body.

_________________________
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#111116 - 02/12/09 08:34 AM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: leadfoot]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By leadfoot
Thanks, Jim, regarding the changing of clothes. No one ever mentions how they do it. Seems like a big downside to me.


How I do it is, I stand up under my nice large tarp on my nice dry sit pad in my nice warm sock feet, and change clothes. I sit in my hammock to pull on my shoes and change socks (not in that order). Easier than doing it in a tent.
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#111117 - 02/12/09 08:46 AM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: Eric]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Eric
I have 2 issues with hammocks. Even with an under quilt a hammock is a cold bed.


that may be your experience, but hardly representative of all hammocks everywhere. If it were true there are hundreds of people spending hundreds of dollars on making and buying useless underquilts. Sorry to hear you couldn't get yours to work right.

I'm not about to promise you a hammock can go anywhere and still hang. But many can be used as a bivy, and there are other places to hang from when there are no trees. Generally, you are limited only by your own willingness to try new things and buy new gear.

this is not meant to be an attack on you personally, but to provide information you don't have. I do not believe hammocks are the ultimate solution in the outdoors, just that they are more versatile and comfortable than some here believe they are. People use what they are comfortable using, pretty much, and I think that a hammock is sometimes more of a challenge than people want to face. I understand not wanting to keep trying when something doesn't work the first time, but that approach doesn't always work with hammocks.

I would rather be off the ground than on, as I have been warmer, more able to walk the next day and have slept sounder and longer than I ever could in the tent. YMMV.
_________________________
"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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#111118 - 02/12/09 08:48 AM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: jpanderson80]
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
My wife and I love our hammocks. We're both side-sleepers and have no problems. Sleep diagonally in the hammock and you can lay nice and flat.

We can stop about anywhere, and where we hike it's all wooded, so we really can stop about anywhere. The ground doesn't have to be flat, cleared or dry. We hang above it all.

It doesn't take long to hang everything (tarps, bugnets and hammocks), so we can be set up or packed in a matter of minutes. After some practice it's little enough trouble that we changed sites twice one night because we found ones we liked better during further exploration after supper.

Our hammock setups weigh less than our tent, though more than just a tarp would. We've slept in them in about 30 degrees F and were comfy and warm. We've also slept in our tent in about 30 degrees and were not nearly as comfortable.

I made our gear, and greatly enjoyed doing so. I know that is part of the enjoyment for me. A couple of hours and I had a great piece of gear that will last for some time. As college students, we just don't have the money to spend on buying gear (especially two sets!) so until we do, DIY it is.
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#111119 - 02/12/09 08:49 AM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: Jimshaw]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Quote:



I do not like hammocks, sick its impossible to change cloths in them. I tried tying my wrists and ankles to opposing trees to hang for the night, but when it started raining it was tough to get my rain gear on. I prefer a tent and sleeping on the ground like God intended for apes to do - um ..... eek
Jim thanks crazy

Jim


I thought apes sometimes nest in trees eek

_________________________
"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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#111125 - 02/12/09 11:38 AM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: lori]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 656
Loc: Upstate NY
To answer some of the questions raised.

How do I change clothes? My typical routine is to use the hammock as a chair and stand/sit under my tarp as I change. The hammock as a chair makes the process much easier than when I used to have to crouch or lie down in a tent. I used to stand on my pack but have gotten more comfortable doing the 1 foot/leg at a time thing so I don't need to anymore. It is hard to describe, so think about how you can use a chair to facilitate the process instead of trying to balance on one leg.

Staying warm? At first I thought it would be more of a challenge. The popular theing now is underquilts as they are lighter and less bulky than pads, but they are expensive and do not work as well into the very cold. I use a ccf in concert with my poncho rigged as a "taco" (google "garlington insulator" for more info). I keep a small sit pad in the hammock as well to strategically place if needed. The other weekend I slept in my hammock and the nighttime temp was -7*F and I was plenty warm.


No trees? sleep on the ground under the tarp like the tarpers who don't have a hammock. A hammocker can go to ground if necessary, a tarper cannot just go to the trees.

An added benefit I forgot to add earlier is since one is sleeping higher above the ground, the tarp apex can be higher which allows one to stand underneath it as compared to when I use a tarp and sleep on the ground. This makes the clothes changing much easier.


dT

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#111134 - 02/12/09 01:19 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: Heber]
Paddy_Crow Offline
member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 2285
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By Heber
http://www.jacksrbetter.com/BMBH.htm

Is that flat enough for you? I've got a bridge hammock and they are amazingly flat.


I have seen "bridge" hammocks before, I understand the concept. Even if it doesn't deflect when a person gets in it, the sleeping surface would be better described as a cylinder than a plane.

As for the Golden Gate bridge, it has a lot of steel and concrete in it (and its span is actually arched). Fabric and rope do not lend themselves so easily to forming a planar surface.

Finally, I spent a couple years in the US Navy. Never saw a single hammock on any ship I was on.

I'm sure hammocks are the greatest thing since sliced bread for their proponents. Not for me, haven't found one yet that was comfortable.

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#111153 - 02/12/09 05:21 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: Jimshaw]
jpanderson80 Offline
member

Registered: 07/28/06
Posts: 292
Loc: Memphis, TN
Originally Posted By Jimshaw
its impossible to change cloths in them. Jim


Extra clothes... what are those?

Sincerely,
Holding my Nose
_________________________
I always forget and make it more complicated than it needs to be...it's just walking.

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#111176 - 02/12/09 11:47 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: jpanderson80]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By jpanderson80
Originally Posted By Jimshaw
its impossible to change cloths in them. Jim


Extra clothes... what are those?

Sincerely,
Holding my Nose


Sometimes it's an advantage to hike in front. Facing into the wind. blush
_________________________
"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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#111200 - 02/13/09 05:13 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: jpanderson80]
bigfoot2 Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Eugene , Oregon
Originally Posted By jpanderson80
With all the tree hangers around, I thought I'd ask... Why are hammocks so great?


Even bears like them, that's why:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rxNJPR94u0

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

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#111213 - 02/13/09 09:10 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: bigfoot2]
jpanderson80 Offline
member

Registered: 07/28/06
Posts: 292
Loc: Memphis, TN
That reminds me...

Has anyone experienced any critters while hanging? Mice are always a problem in shelters and I'm wondering if hammock sleepers have any stories?
_________________________
I always forget and make it more complicated than it needs to be...it's just walking.

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#111214 - 02/13/09 09:13 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: Paddy_Crow]
Keith Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1664
Loc: Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Hennesy A-Sym permits pretty much level sleeping -- even though it's suspension is bowed.
_________________________
Human Resources Memo: Floggings will continue until morale improves.

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#111215 - 02/13/09 09:28 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: jpanderson80]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By jpanderson80
That reminds me...

Has anyone experienced any critters while hanging? Mice are always a problem in shelters and I'm wondering if hammock sleepers have any stories?


Mice generally stick to shelters. Getting away from one is the key to avoiding mice. Ants? Much more of a problem with a tarp or tent than a hammock. Truthfully, possums and skunks and occasional bugs are the only issues I've ever had with critters, even on the ground. No problems at all in a hammock.

On a separate note, if you're looking at a long-distance hike (and with the mention of shelters, I'm guessing AT), get yourself a much larger tarp than the diamonds that come with a Hennessy or with ENO hammocks. With an 8' x 10' tarp, (which it sounds like you may already own) you'll have much better protection, more privacy (to change clothes) and a generally better experience.

My one negative experience with a hammock was being in 5 days of rain with a stock fly. Cooking under it is a pain since you keep brushing into the hammock and worrying about an errant flame melting a bit of your bed. For tarps, bigger is generally better for hammocking.
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#111224 - 02/13/09 10:43 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: jpanderson80]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By jpanderson80
That reminds me...

Has anyone experienced any critters while hanging? Mice are always a problem in shelters and I'm wondering if hammock sleepers have any stories?


I put permethrin on the straps and hammock once a year. Takes care of the bugs. Other critters haven't bothered me, though there were some really loud arguing coons that went through my site once, and I also heard something (probably a bear) tearing into a log nearby. I've read about people having deer or other critters bumping their hammock or tarp, but not anything that did more than that.

I tend to prefer my gear hanging with me - critters who like to lick salt from pack straps will get a shout if they bump me.
_________________________
"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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#111228 - 02/13/09 11:00 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: lori]
bigfoot2 Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Eugene , Oregon
How's the new Blackbird, Lori?

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

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#111230 - 02/13/09 11:05 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: jpanderson80]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By jpanderson80
That reminds me...

Has anyone experienced any critters while hanging? Mice are always a problem in shelters and I'm wondering if hammock sleepers have any stories?


I had a deer sniff at me once. Two legged critters can be a problem... mad...last weekend my hiking buddy gave me a nice shove that kept me swinging a few minutes (i don't bother with the guy cords).
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#111231 - 02/13/09 11:06 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: bigfoot2]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By bigfoot2
How's the new Blackbird, Lori?

BF cool


Going out tomorrow, if I can manage to get all my work done. It's raining cats and dogs and I anticipate being snug and dry while I read my book and make a cup of tea under my 10x11 tarp. Two JRB Hudson Rivers and I'll be roasty-toasty.

I love the look of it - much more spacious than the Hennessy.
_________________________
"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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#111233 - 02/13/09 11:14 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: lori]
bigfoot2 Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Eugene , Oregon
One thing about the Blackbird...it's love at first site! But "Love is Only A Feeling":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50EALZU4D6A

Hope you have a great time!

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

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#111243 - 02/14/09 01:14 AM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: jpanderson80]
phat Offline
Moderator

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

Never had mice problems. I've had porcupines sniffing around me though smile harmless unless you've left stuff on the ground for them to chew on - like your boots.
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#111251 - 02/14/09 09:00 AM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: jpanderson80]
Pika Online   content
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1736
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
An acquaintance of mine had his hammock strung between two pines on the Kaibab Plateau in northern Arizona. A couple of panicked elk chose to run between those particular trees when he was in the hammock. The elk won that one. He wound up with bruises and a few scrapes; the hammock was a loss. I hate to think of what would have happened had he been on the ground and the elk went over the top of him. Probably would have depended on where they stepped as to whether it would have been an "oof" or an "ouch".

A lot of the foregoing discussion puts me in mind of the arguments I still hear of the purported superiority of Apple or Microsoft-type computers. Much sound and fury signifying nothing.


Edited by Pika (02/14/09 10:57 AM)
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May I walk in beauty.

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#111252 - 02/14/09 09:16 AM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: jpanderson80]
kbennett Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 820
Loc: north carolina
Originally Posted By jpanderson80
That reminds me...

Has anyone experienced any critters while hanging? Mice are always a problem in shelters and I'm wondering if hammock sleepers have any stories?



My wife had a flying squirrel land on her hammock one night. She backhanded that sucker, and he went, er, flying.

We had a very large animal snuffling around our campsite one night. I got up and checked, but it left. I assume it was a bear, but it could have been a deer.
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--Ken B

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#111253 - 02/14/09 09:24 AM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: jpanderson80]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 656
Loc: Upstate NY
I awoke one night in the Adirondacks with a bear sniffing around me while I hung. A few choice words and he (she?) sauntered off. He/she also checked out my neighbors (about 200yds away) and their tent.
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#111264 - 02/14/09 12:29 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: Pika]
phat Offline
Moderator

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

A lot of the foregoing discussion puts me in mind of the arguments I still hear of the purported superiority of Apple or Microsoft-type computers. Much sound and fury signifying nothing.


Exactly. I think you'll see that most of us veteran hangers suggest to people that they try it out, and not accept any of the religious arguments they see either way. It's the reason I love risk's test hammock - people can try very cheaply before they commit to it, and it's even a decent start to making a diy one. Hammocks are wonderful for some people, and not so good for others - it's really a personal comfort thing, and some people find them the greatest thing and some definately do not. Trying to convince someone who has tried one and found it wanting is an exercise in religious futitilty.

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#111270 - 02/14/09 01:12 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: phat]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Quote:
people can try very cheaply before they commit to it,


Absolutely true. I started my hammock conversion about 15 years ago when I bought a cheap Walmart net hammock. Camped in it a few times but decided it was too cold and you had to sleep "bent". I then made a hammock from 12' of full width, uncoated, ripstop...threaded the ropes in hems I sewed in the ends, hemmed the edges, and found hammock heaven. It's wide, and allows me to lay diagonally. Total cost was $4 from the $ bin at Walmart. Hennessey is basically the same thing with some serious refinements (like bug netting).

So, literally, you can take 4 yards of ripstop, tie ropes on the ends with sheetbend knots, and have a spiffy hammock, no sewing at all. Hang it loosely with some 1/2" braid rope, put your foam pad in there, open your sleeping bag like a quilt, and go take a nap. You'll then know if hammocks are for you or not.

My wife and teenagers EXPECT to camp in hammocks and argue over who gets the good ones. Nobody wants to pitch tents anymore. grin
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#111273 - 02/14/09 01:30 PM Re: Why are hammocks so great? [Re: phat]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By phat
Hammocks are wonderful for some people, and not so good for others - it's really a personal comfort thing, and some people find them the greatest thing and some definately do not. Trying to convince someone who has tried one and found it wanting is an exercise in religious futitilty.



I'm not trying to convince anyone - like I have said before, I backpack with tent dwellers who see me hanging around, getting a great night's sleep while they toss and turn and complain about not being able to sleep - I'm not about to deprive them of their camping experience by even suggesting they try a hammock. I let them lay in mine if they ask. They hardly ever do. If they don't have a spark of interest it's not my responsibility to try to light the fire.

But when someone is curious about hammocks and thinking they might want to try, I think those of us who have climbed the learning curve should refute the claims that hammocks are *always* uncomfortable, will shape you like a banana, etc. Because it's not *always* true and such issues are fixed easily. In some cases hammocks enable someone to keep going out and enjoying the wilderness - I'm all for that, I like hiking companions who share my level of gimptitude.
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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

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