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#132352 - 04/19/10 10:42 PM Hammocks!?!
Banjopickin Offline
member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 58
Loc: NC
Hey yall, I was wondering what is the "best" hammock system out there? By "best" I mean ease of setup, pack weight, weather resistance, cost, durability, etc... Ive been using ultralight tarps for a few years but they've always disappointed me in one way, shape, or form. Im thinking about a hammock system because they look lightweight, comfortable and they get me off the ground. Also what are some pro's and con's of hammocks? anyone got a set up they could recommend? thanks a bunch.
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#132353 - 04/19/10 10:46 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: Banjopickin]
Tango61 Offline
member

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 931
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
Banjo,
That is a very opened ended question. Since this is your 2nd post, you might not have noticed the search feature up in the black bar at the top of the screen. Try it out, you'll like it!

There have been several threads recently that have discussed HAMMOCK so put that in the search box and set the time frame to about 3 months. You'll get several hits. Many of us do use hammocks. You can also search buy screen name and you want to look for posts by LORI. She wrote very good thread called HAMMOCKS 101, I believe.

If you really want to get ALL the low down on hammocks, jump over to hammockforums.net.

You can spend as much time there as you like and still not see it all. There is a subforum for almost every name brand of hammock.

Tango61


Edited by Tango61 (04/19/10 10:48 PM)
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If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you can't. Either way, you're right.

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#132364 - 04/19/10 11:45 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: Banjopickin]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Banjo,
This is a light gear oriented group, tarp, tent or hammock, we only care about the total weight. A hammock system will weigh more than your tarp. Do you like to sleep in hammocks? That's the bottom line. If you go to the hammock forum you will meet many people who will tell you that they are better than people who sleep on the ground. That it hurts their back to crawl into a tent and sleep on a thin pad. They have so many reasons for being gung ho about hammocks, we basically don't care. Beside whether or not you are more comfortable sleeping in a hammock (I am not), there are other issues to drive you up, like lava rock or lack of flat places to pitch a tent, that don't have brush or trees (or rocks).
You used the word "best" then you mentioned cost and durability and weight, so which is it? You didn't even ask about comfort.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#132385 - 04/20/10 11:12 AM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: Banjopickin]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
I would not need to own a half dozen hammocks if there was a "best" hammock. First buy a cheap hammock to see if you will be comfortable. If you are satisfied with the comfort then match your kit to your style and conditions.
_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#132386 - 04/20/10 11:14 AM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: Jimshaw]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Jim, you sound a little bitter.

Anyways, to the OP, in what ways did the tarp disappoint? The hammock might have the same problem. Of course I don't know, because you haven't specified yet.
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#132391 - 04/20/10 12:41 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: finallyME]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 654
Loc: Upstate NY
Hammockers do not feel they are better people, than those who do not, they just think that hammocks are better sleep systems... for them. The same is true for those of who choose lightweight backpacking; we do not feel we are better people than those who do not go light, just that our system is better... for us. It doesn't matter what gear choices we make, we choose them because we feel they are better, that does not make us think we are better people.

Back to the OP, the best hammock system is the one that works for you within your own set of criteria. My setup is as follows: Claytor hammock, OES Deluxe tarp (Spinn), sunshade reflector pad, JRB Hudson River Quilt. I can also hang my poncho under the hammock as a windblock and extra insulation.
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#132396 - 04/20/10 02:18 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: Banjopickin]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I think it's pretty much a given that everyone has different priorities in the gear selection department - if you are first interested in light weight and THEN in comfort, and THEN budget - you will find different answers than if your overriding and only concern is lightweight gear.

My personal priority list is COMFORT and then LIGHT - to which end, I have a Warbonnet Blackbird, two tarps (one MacCat Deluxe, one winter tarp that provides great enclosed shelter from inclement weather), and a collection of underquilts, top quilt, and sleeping pads. I am adding shortly a Momentum weather shield to further protect my underquilts and provide additional wind break for them. My weight for shelter plus insulation is generally 4-5 lbs total.

The only real con I have with a hammock setup is that people constantly criticize me for using it. I just got back from a weekend training in the hills (I am a SAR volunteer and our trainings involve a lot of camping) - it was supposed to be in the mid 40s, and an elderly trainer looked at my Blackbird and announced loudly that I was going to be cold in it. I told him I'd used it for a couple years and if anything I would be warmer than I wanted to be - and I was, because I brought the wrong top quilt, and ended up sweating through the night. Next morning he said I was cold, wasn't I? He did not believe me when I told him how warm it got. Later in the day he softened up some and asked a few questions about it. I told him the truth - I hate being cold, and if I had gotten cold, I would have either been climbing in a tent with someone or getting in my car and turning on the heater! Most of the reason I went to hammocks was being able to sleep through the night, the rest of my reasons have to do with being cold - the discomfort of being on the ground on the thin pad makes me thrash in my sleep, and the end result is usually winding up off the pad, and cold.

My most versatile combo is the hammock, tarp, a pad and a top quilt - I can hang, tarp or use the hammock as a bug bivy with the tarp. I very much prefer the hammock, as you can guess.
_________________________
"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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#132595 - 04/23/10 08:55 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: lori]
phat Offline
Moderator

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

I would mostly echo both lori and jim's sentiments, believe it or not.. I have hammocked for probably 7 years or so. 90% of the time I am hammocking. it is heavier than just taking a light tarp, but more comfortable, so you have to decide where your tradeoffs lie personally. I will take the hammock, and use it as a bivy if I expect the odd place I can't hammock. Example, I'll take the hammock on west coast trail on vancouver island even though I know there will be one or maybe two places I can't hammock and will end up sleeping on the sand under the tarp.

OTOH, high stuff above treeline, where I'm spending much of the time exposed, no, I'll take a solo tent that can deal with some wind and being set up without trees.

Really, depends what you're doing and your goals and comfort level. I personally still end up with the hammock in my back 90% of the time. (Speer 8.5C, or Warbonnet blackbird, with simple square 8x10 silnylon light tarp.

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Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
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#132910 - 04/29/10 09:31 AM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: Banjopickin]
Bearpaw Offline
Moderator

Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 1732
Loc: Tennessee
It's very rare that a "What is the best (insert widget here)?" question can get a solid answer. But in the case of a hammock, I am honestly willing to go out on a limb and just say it.

The Warbonnet Blackbird is by far the best hammock on the market at the moment. It is available in weights ranging from
20-36 ounces. I recommend a double layer version personally, and fabric weight depends on your personal weight so that you can still hang with maximum flatness. (I'm a bigger guy, so I go with the 1.7 double, but folks under 200 pounds could easily go with the 1.0 Double in a beautiful coyote brown smile )

The set-up is much easier than a comparable Hennessy. The footbox provides the flattest lay of any hammock I have tried (and that's a half dozen different models). The gear loft is very spacious, the most I know of in the hammock world. And the side entry allows for use as the most comfortable chair I have used in the back country. You won't be disappointed if you go this route.
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http://www.trailjournals.com/BearpawAT99/

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#132935 - 04/29/10 02:55 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: Bearpaw]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
I'm becoming more of a hanger lately and I just upgraded my old pre-asym Hennessey to a double layer Warbonnet Blackbird. The footbox and the gear shelf are what sold me. Can't wait to try it out!!!

The main problem I have with hammocking over ground sleeping is keeping my backside warm. It's easily possibe.....if you are willing to pay the weight penalty. When weight is my main concern the hammock stays at home. But when you experience the comfort and convenience you'll be hooked!!!

You can get into hammocking with a simple, inexpensive gathered end model or you can even make one quite cheaply. Once you're sure the concept works for you there are lots of design choices out there.
_________________________
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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#132946 - 04/29/10 07:02 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: Trailrunner]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
What weight penalty are we talking about? You're going to make sacrifices to go lighter in a ground shelter, too.

Let's see. Two three season, 20 degree setups, both currently in my possession:

Hammock 24 oz
top quilt 20 oz
neo air 13 oz
silnylon cat cut tarp 13 oz
lines/stakes 6 oz approx.

Hmmm...

Sublite tarp tent 24 oz
neo air 13 oz
top quilt 20 oz

Not a huge difference, really. Only in comfort. The hammock will automatically win that category every time. It will also be more comfortable and keep me drier in typical three season weather for my usual destinations, ie rain/light wind.

I could easily get a lighter hammock, possibly a lighter tarp - could knock some ounces off by swapping from MSR groundhogs to something that doesn't hold as well, or by switching to a cuben or spinn tarp. But we all strike our unique balance between budgetary concerns, lightweight, and comfort. For my purposes, both of the above are huge improvements over the 4 lb dome tent, the self inflating (uncomfortable) thermarest, and the 30 oz 50F (labeled 30F, totally not accurate) sleeping bag. The top quilt is accurately rated to 20-25F, and I've had plenty of subfreezing nights to claim it.
_________________________
"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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#132963 - 04/29/10 09:54 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: lori]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Quote:
What weight penalty are we talking about?


Lori, I admire your passion for hammocks and I'm glad they work well for you. But I disagree with the conclusions you draw from your comparison.

If my math is correct the difference between your hammock and ground setups is 19 ounces. That's a ton to some people and it's well over 10% of my 3 season base weight. I would dare say it's significant to many people on a lightweight forum.

The weight penalty I'm talking about is the one you just illustrated. Whether or not it justifies the extra comfort is an entirely subjective manner.

All I'm saying is, all other things being fairly equal (they will never be exactly equal) a hammock setup is heavier than a ground setup. If someone wants to trade the extra weight for the comfort, that's great. But you won't see many gram weenies with hammocks on their gear list.

Sure, a cutting edge, expensive hammock setup could be lighter than an ordinary ground setup but that's apples and oranges.
_________________________
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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#132965 - 04/29/10 10:50 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: Trailrunner]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Trailrunner
Quote:
What weight penalty are we talking about?


The weight penalty I'm talking about is the one you just illustrated. Whether or not it justifies the extra comfort is an entirely subjective manner.

All I'm saying is, all other things being fairly equal (they will never be exactly equal) a hammock setup is heavier than a ground setup. If someone wants to trade the extra weight for the comfort, that's great. But you won't see many gram weenies with hammocks on their gear list.


Passion's got nothing to do with it. When you say gram weenie, you aren't talking about me.

All of this waffling about weight is meaningless without knowing the priorities of the people carrying it - which is what I said to begin with. Get your priorities straight - if being a gram weenie is all you are interested in, a foam pad and a cuben tarp are about the lightest you can get.

Lightweight is exactly what you say it is, and exactly what I say it is, and exactly what everyone else says it is -- because it's alllllll relative. You can be a light winter camper at 30 lbs. Depends on where you are going and how much skill you have in being out in the conditions you're going in.

I am quite light -- I am generally in the 20-25lb total weight range, inclusive of water/food. You have to look at the rest of the gear list to see where the weight was carved out elsewhere to fit the extra 19 oz in -- because again, MY priority is COMFORT. And being LIGHT. (By the way, that total generally includes a bear canister as well.) That 19 oz might be more critical if I did nothing to compensate for it - adding in 19 oz in a sleeping system without removing 19 oz elsewhere would make it harder to justify. The comparison of my ground system to my hammock system is only relevant in that it is illustrative of my lightest possible system as related to my personal needs - and 19 oz is not hard to offset. You can't compare my lightweight to what's light by other people's standards, since their priorities are different. I was headed for Exped or Big Agnes inflatables in search of sleep - then I found hammocks. And then there was the NeoAir, which came along right about the time I started to look at ground possibilities again.

90% of the people I hike with are in the 50-60 lb range, with their tents and sleeping bags, chairs, extra shirts, and six pounds of food per day. One person is lighter than I am, using foam pads with a poncho for a tarp. He never sleeps a wink at night and that's the sacrifice he's comfortable with... I need sleep. That's not negotiable, I get headaches and turn into some sort of zombie. So sure, I'm not in any way going to be as light in the pack as he is. But that's my priority. Apples and oranges.

_________________________
"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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#132999 - 04/30/10 11:42 AM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: Trailrunner]
Fiddleback Offline
member

Registered: 06/22/04
Posts: 478
Loc: Northern Rockies
There's lots of gear out there that keeps your backside warm. And lots of it is expensive and lots of it comes with a notable weight penalty. And lots of it isn't needed depending who you are, where you are when. See my post in this sub-forum, 'sleeping in insulated pants.'

I use a 3/8" CCF pad that weighs 7oz and, in concert with the rest of my sleep system, it's good into the mid-20s. For most areas, that's sufficient for three-season camping. Of course, my sleep system is different from most... wink But for those that want to experiment, warm hammock sleep systems do not have to weigh a bunch or cost a lot.

My backside is kept warm by seven ounces of CCF that cost about twenty-four bucks...

FB

_________________________
"...inalienable rights...include the right to a clean and healthful environment..." Montana Constitution

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#133005 - 04/30/10 01:09 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: Fiddleback]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I've wondered, but have not been geeky enough to experiment with, the Garlington insulator - surely a proto-NeoAir if there ever was one. Two trash bags, a poncho (if you already carry one, multi-use), and a couple cheap mylar blankets - light and cheaper than even a foam pad. Supposedly pretty darned effective.
_________________________
"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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#133011 - 04/30/10 01:50 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: lori]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By lori

All of this waffling about weight is meaningless without knowing the priorities of the people carrying it - which is what I said to begin with. Get your priorities straight - if being a gram weenie is all you are interested in, a foam pad and a cuben tarp are about the lightest you can get.


My priorities change with each trip. If I have to cover lots of ground or difficult terrain I'm a gram weenie. But sometimes I bring the kitchen sink. Half of the fun for me is playing with the gear.

My only point was that the comfort of a hammock comes with a price, expressed in ounces. It's that simple.
_________________________
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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#133213 - 05/04/10 08:40 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: lori]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By lori
I've wondered, but have not been geeky enough to experiment with, the Garlington insulator - surely a proto-NeoAir if there ever was one. Two trash bags, a poncho (if you already carry one, multi-use), and a couple cheap mylar blankets - light and cheaper than even a foam pad. Supposedly pretty darned effective.


If you've looked at my many postings on the subject, this is essentially what I use, by using an integral designs silponcho as the insulation "taco" - and a couple ratty space blankets.

still needs a pad inside though, IMO.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#133214 - 05/04/10 08:44 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: lori]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
But again here lori, the lightest weight hikers will be using simply a tarp. or similar. If I take my lovely warbonnet and insulating pads and tarp, and delete the warbonnet, sleeping on the ground on the pad, under the tarp. I am lighter. period.

I'm not more comfortable, but I'm lighter.

This is back to what I almost always say about hammocks, they're about comfort, not weight. I love 'em. - but you can take almost any hammock set up and delete the hammock and be lighter by the weight of the hammock. if you can also delete an underquilt and now use a lighter pad because you deleted the hammock, again, you're lighter by that much more still.

Some people (I do know 'em) sleep *just fine* on a blue foam
pad on the ground. I'm not one, so I'll carry the hammock wink
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#133228 - 05/05/10 02:53 AM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: phat]
Bushman Offline
member

Registered: 07/01/09
Posts: 122
Loc: California
you have got to be kidding me...relax
hammock are light weight man, I have a 11-12 pound hammock set up(thats base weight...)
lets also bicker about packs and down vs synthetic lame
jesus christ hammoacker are like the tele skier of the ski world blush...
oh and blue foam rocks awesome

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#133237 - 05/05/10 11:31 AM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: phat]
Fiddleback Offline
member

Registered: 06/22/04
Posts: 478
Loc: Northern Rockies
I agree. It all shows that 'comfort' has many factors; temperature, weight, what's experienced when laying down, etc. We might even add convenience, cost, and confidence in the anticipated experience...but those are a bit more nebulous. grin

I imagine all of us mix and match the comfort factors; adding weight here to feel better there. Me? I like a low-weight pack and I hate to sleep cold. After those two big personal considerations, my next priority is the feeling I get when I lay down in my Hennessy vs. all other nights I've spent on the trail. smile

FB


Edited by Fiddleback (05/05/10 11:33 AM)
_________________________
"...inalienable rights...include the right to a clean and healthful environment..." Montana Constitution

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#133242 - 05/05/10 01:22 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: Fiddleback]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
I will always sacrifice a little weight, especially for a whole lot of comfort. Comfort itself is a very subjective topic, between individuals. There are places that I like to go where using a hammock is iffy at best. I just received a set of CAMP Dynema Tricams to experiment with hanging from rocky areas. We will see how that goes. I will also further sacrifice additional weight and carry stuff for a bail out plan to sleep on the ground. Going to ground will be a last resort for me.
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Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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#133247 - 05/05/10 02:53 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: scottyb]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
It is all realative. a decade ago I would have been thrilled with a 7 pound big 4. Now I can tarp hike with a 7 pound base weight.

But I prefer the hammock kit. This is my kit that includes all the stakes, etc. that you need to actually make it work.

2 CARBON POLES 4.0
BLACK MAMBA 18.9
JACKS'R'BETTER 8'x8' WITH 6 STAKES 16.6
MARIPOSA PACK COMPLETE 25.8
NEOAIR SMALL 8.7
THINLIGHT .375" PAD AND SPINNSHEET 7.9
WARBONNET BLACKBIRD COMPLETE 31.3

113.2

Works on the gound as well as hanging.
_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#133262 - 05/05/10 09:06 PM Re: Hammocks!?! [Re: ringtail]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Thanks food. 113.2 oz
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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