Jan 11, 2010 at 5:52 pm #1254036
I'm looking into a minimalist solo shelter to use on bike tours and extended backpacks. Something along the lines of the ubiquitous tarp-bivy combination. Problem is, just about every option I've looked at uses trekking poles for shelter support – an item I don't carry. Do the good folks here have any ideas for a superlight solo shelter that doesn't use trekking poles?Jan 11, 2010 at 5:56 pm #1561777
@rinconLocale: Desert Southwest
Take a look at the Big Agnes Fly Creek tent. Complete with poles, stakes and small Tyvek ground sheet it weighs 35 oz.Jan 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm #1561778
Both Gossamer Gear and Tarptent sell poles for their shelters/tarps for those who don't use trekking poles.
Or, if you want to go real minimalist, just get a waterproof bivy. Light and you don't have to worry about poles at all.Jan 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm #1561781
@slvravnLocale: East Coast - Mid Atlantic
You may want to look at some of the Tarptent shelters that can use either trekking poles or an optional aluminum pole. All of the solo tarptents can be set up without the use of trekking poles. You may also want to check some of the other manufacturers and see if they offer this option.Jan 11, 2010 at 6:04 pm #1561783
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Mountain Laurel Designs is a one stop shop for bivies and ultralight tarps and accessories related to those items. There are numerous tarps and shelter offerings that can use the Carbon Fiber pole set available on their website. The carbon pole set can be used in place of trekking poles and costs $60 and only weighs 2.60 oz. according to their website. This is just an option if you're interested. Good luck.Jan 11, 2010 at 6:14 pm #1561790
A couple of ideas. You can use your bike frame as a pole substitute. See this picture of the TT Contrail in that mode.
You can have the bike a bit further away too. The brakes are locked with hoop and loop.
(some other A frame style tents will work also…)
Another is to get one that has a dedicated pole. The problem with that maybe pole length. (for storage)
I discussed this some time ago with HS at Tarptent . He can supply a pole for the Moment that is made with shorter sections, the same size as the end struts (13"?)if I remember correctly. It will be a couple of ounces (+/-) heavier.
FrancoJan 11, 2010 at 6:18 pm #1561793
"You can use your bike frame as a pole substitute."
Sometimes is the easiest, most common sense solution that's the hardest to think of. This is brilliant!Jan 11, 2010 at 7:05 pm #1561816
@herman666Locale: Northern Virginia
Check out the line of Hammocks at HennessyHammocks.com. I have a hyperlite and it cured me of tenting on the ground right quick. The warbonnet line of hammocks has also garnered a fiercely loyal following. warbonnetoutdoors.netJan 11, 2010 at 8:24 pm #1561841
@newtonLocale: Southeastern Louisiana
Glad to hear another "hanger" chime in.
I'm not sure how sturdy Aaron's seat post will be as a hammock support. :-)
My Expedition Asym weighs 2 pounds 12 ounces. It may be a tad heavy by ultralight standards. What it adds in weight it more than makes up for in comfort.
Party On ! 2010
NewtonJan 12, 2010 at 6:51 am #1561942
My favorite hammock right now is the Warbonnet. The Hennessy has issues with the bottom entry slit, and needing to put a pad on the bottom of the hammock for insulation.
Also, take a look at the Clark line of hammocks for another alternative.Jan 12, 2010 at 7:07 am #1561943
Lots of bikers use hammocks on long trails.
That said, you can't always find suitable trees which can leave you ground camping in a bivy anyway. Depends on your area. It works well in Missouri, but it's crap in Kansas for instance.
Another idea that I very frequently when tarp camping is this: Rather than use trekking poles, I simply tie off the ends of the tarp to the nearest trees. You can be far less picky about these trees than hammock camping (something that I enjoy as well in a Hennessy HyperLite). I've tied off to street signs, electrical poles and even bumper hitches on cars in a pinch.
Jardine's book recommended just finding a suitable stick somewhere on the trail when your thinking about camping.Jan 12, 2010 at 8:01 am #1561960
Thanks everyone for the replies. My main beef with the hammocks is they are 'relatively' heavy – the absolute lightest model that Hennessey offers comes in at 765g. That is around the weight of many solo shelters with necessary poles poles, such as the SMD Lunar Solo, TT Sublite or GG The One.
I guess what I'm getting from all your comments is I'm going to either have to take dedicated tarp poles, or if I'm in a particularly sticky or treey area, just use whatever is at hand.
With that in mind, my next decision is whether or not to go for a smaller tarp with a bivy, or something that will provide complete storm protection and just bring along a groundcloth to put underneath my pad and possibly a bug net if it is warranted. Any opinions, or favorite tarps, bivies etc?Jan 12, 2010 at 9:28 am #1561992
"My main beef with the hammocks is they are 'relatively' heavy – the absolute lightest model that Hennessey offers comes in at 765g."
Claytor Mosquito Hammock – 700g, add .6kg for the diamond tarp
Grand Trunk Nano 7 hammock – 197g, add tarp of your choosing, also need to add mosquito netting if you need it
Hennessy makes his stuff out of durable, ie heavy, materials. The Claytor would give you the ability to use it as a bug bivy on the ground without much work. Without the bottom entry it's a lot easier to get into on the ground.Jan 12, 2010 at 10:42 am #1562008
Look, if you haven't already, at the SMD Gatewood Cape. There are lots of posts around if you search. I don't have a bivy and haven't had any problems with getting wet – I simply pitch it closer to the ground (or to the ground) if I'm experiencing or expecting nasty weather.
It does typically use a trekking pole, but you can purchase a carbon fiber pole (1.8 ounces) from SMD for $30. With the Gatewood Cape, a groundcloth, stakes, and the carbon fiber pole you should have a complete system for just under a pound.Jan 12, 2010 at 11:03 am #1562022
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
I truly don't understand the issues so many people have with the bottom entry on the Hennessey Hammocks. It is very easy and intuitive to get into and out of the hammocks- unless one is congenitally clumbsy, I suppose. But in such a case ANY hammock would be a challenge, though doubtless providing endless comic material for one's hiking partners.
I used a HH Expedition on a 10-day trip in southeast Alaska, and was VERY pleased with it. Probably the best nights' sleep I've ever had in the wild. (I was kayaking, so weight wasn't much of an issue.) IMHO Hennessy has the hammock thing figured out. Weight is an issue, though. I've been looking at the lightweight HH products but, er, I occasionally push the limits of their stated capacity. Some of the truly light ones are only rated for 180-lbs.Jan 12, 2010 at 11:56 am #1562041
@reeockLocale: New England
Ive loved the Hennesy Hammock as my all around solo shelter cause if there are no trees that really isnt an issue. it works out WAY better than a bivy and far better than a lot of other cramped solo options.Jan 12, 2010 at 12:19 pm #1562046
I spent a year in a Hennessy ULBA before moving on to a Blackbird – lighter hammock for the room, flatter sleeping positions, actual storage area and full side zip that makes it easier to adjust your underquilt without getting out of the hammock did it for me.
The velcro entry started to irk me – I kept having to pick up stuff that came out with me on the nightly constitutionals. Hennessy also doesn't have a double layer option. And I would have had to upgrade to a heavier Hennessy to get the room to spread out the way I wanted to – got sick of waking up with my head in the bugnet.
Some enterprising folks are making a bit of cash installing side zips in HH for folks… it's not entirely unheard of that folks don't like the "birth canal." It's a good hammock, don't get me wrong – it just didn't really do it for me, in the end. Fortunately they have a decent resale value.Jan 13, 2010 at 8:52 am #1562296
The hammocks still seem heavy – I guess that is the penalty that comes with needing a suspension system strong enough to hold up a person. If I had issues sleeping on the ground, I'd probably look more seriously at them.
Re: the gatewood cape – I like the idea of multipurpose gear, but I'm not sure a poncho/cape would work for me. A lot of my hiking involves bushwhacking or 'primative' trails where I feel a poncho would snag and tear readily. I also often wear my rain jacket in camp and a windbreak.
At the moment, I'm looking at the equinox or tigoat bivy and trying to decide between a shaped tarp or a simple 8'x5' flat tarp. Thanks for all your comments.Jan 13, 2010 at 9:18 am #1562307
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I had a TarpTent Contrail for 3 summers and liked it but recently sold it for the TarpTent Moment.
IMHO it is just about the best solo tent out there. At 28 oz. it's not the lightest but it is the most wind resistant, easiest set up and has the best vestibule. Plus it has great ventilation and a bunch of other very convienant details. And it has great American made quality.
The designer and owner of TarpTent, Henry Shires, stands behind his tents 100%. His customer service is really outstanding, as anyone on this site who has owned his tents can tell you.Jan 13, 2010 at 9:32 am #1562312
Just because you're carrying a poncho-tarp doesn't necessarily mean that you have to use it as your raingear. If carrying the Gatewood Cape is lighter than carrying a tarp/bivy combination (where you'd obviously be carrying raingear) then you may still want to consider it. I think it would be a great fit for biking and you'd have the option of using it as raingear when you're hiking an open trail rather than bushwacking.Jan 13, 2010 at 11:14 am #1562345
"I truly don't understand the issues so many people have with the bottom entry on the Hennessey Hammocks."
In cooler to cold weather you need some kind of insulation below you. You can opt for some combination of pad or underquilt. If you use a pad, it sits over top of the entry slit. Combine that with needing to get into a sleeping bag and zip it up means a bit of contortion. Not that it can't be done, but it's far from ideal.
With a side entry like the Warbonnet Blackbird, you put the pad in the pad pocket, unzip the sleeping bag, and enter from the side and just put your butt onto the bag. From there you can easily swing around and zip up the bag. You don't have to move the pad away from the entry slit. No muss, no fuss.Jan 13, 2010 at 11:26 am #1562349
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
OK, I guess I see that. When I was in Alaska the weather was pretty mild, and I did without a pad. Hennessy does have some side-zip models now, FWIW.
@Lori– actually, also I think Hennessy does offer double-layer hammocks, now, so you can slip your pad between the layers.
For a side-zip double-layer model, see the Hennessy Deep Jungle model.Jan 13, 2010 at 11:39 am #1562356
I'm a huge fan of the Warbonnet Blackbird. But to be fair, JacksRBetter makes UQs that split up the middle for Hennessey hammocks. Works quite well, a Hennessey fan friend of mine tells me. And many folks, like me, use quilts instead of sleeping bags in the hammock, so getting under the quilt isn't difficult in either hammock.
Personally, I prefer, and own, the Blackbird. But both hammocks are quite usable and well made, from what I've seen and read.Jan 13, 2010 at 12:38 pm #1562376
Yeah, the Nest underquilt… I have two Hudson Rivers. I had a Hennessy but the Blackbird is a huge improvement. It's mostly about sleeping comfort, frankly. The Hennessy was more comfy than a tent, and the Blackbird is more comfy to me than the Hennessy. I use the quilt most of the time – pads went with me instead on the JMT because I thought I might end up alpine, which did happen one night, tarping on the ground with a NeoAir – sometimes you really do want to plan for the ground. But the hammock is my ideal as it's the only time I get a full eight hours of sound sleep out there.
Tom Hennessy bought a Blackbird – he's very aware of the competition. So it does not surprise me at all that he now has a side zip hammock or a double layer hammock…
And as we are slowly hijacking the thread from its original purpose… I might note that hammocks are probably more versatile solo shelters than the general consensus might be aware of. I did go to ground but I do carry the extra weight gladly for the privilege of being able to hike harder and happier with all the sleep I get at night when I can hang. The two quilts (3 season down JRB quilts) fit in the bottom of my pack and are easily lighter and more packable than many sleeping bags I've seen buddies haul out at camp. Maybe five pounds for shelter AND insulation is heavier than I could go, but I'm always the first one up in the morning and often the warmest and happiest at night. With permethrin treated straps and a bugnet I'm more bug free than tents – a buddy complained of ants in his tent about twenty feet from my hammock, I didn't even know there were ants in the area. My quilt kept me warm into the low 20F temps one night during a surprise snowstorm even on the ground.
I have yet to have a sleepless night in the hammock. I have had many sleepless nights on the ground, and no, inflatable pads do nothing to mitigate the problem. I just roll off and wake up. In a hammock I may be rolling around but I don't know it – I'm too comfortable to wake up. I can't sleep on my back on the ground, but I can in a hammock… also on my side, or on my back AND on my side, which is way comfortable and mostly impossible on the ground.
The reason people accuse us of being in a cult – hammockers absolutely have the right to brag, and do so at the drop of a thread tangent. :)
Ultralight is great, but I'm not going to hike far even with a ten pound pack if I don't sleep. So I'll settle for just 'light' and be happier for it.Jan 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm #1562409
If you're looking for a bivy-only solution, ckeck out MLD's 2010 Alpine Bivy. It makes me drool and Brian Roble used an older version of it during his AT yoyo. You'd need to figure out ground insulation, something not necessarily necessary with a hammock.
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