ground sleeping in a hammock
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Mar 21, 2007 at 10:08 am #1222466Douglas FrickBPL Member
Has anybody used their hammock for ground sleeping? My main hammock is a Hennessy Ultralight Explorer, and there is some information on it used as a tent, but I'm also interested in hearing about ground experience with other hammocks as well. I suppose I could just set up the tarp by itself, but I'd be glad to get some tips on rigging it with the hammock as a bivy. A GossamerGear polycryo ground sheet (small: 1.3 oz) wouldn't be too much extra weight to carry to have ground-sleeping versatility, although I suppose I'd have to bring a pad too if I wanted to get any sleep.Mar 21, 2007 at 10:45 am #1383054toddBPL Member
@funnymoLocale: SE USA
"Going to Ground" works, but isn't exactly ideal.
I own 2 HH's myself and the two drawbacks are:
1) It's not exactly easy to get in/out while on the ground
2) Carrying the pad & groundcloth adds weight/bulk
Can't do anything about #1, but #2 can be accomplished comfortably enough. Been thinking about the JRB pad conversion myself, as I own several of the Jacks' products and am quite pleased.
Weather & bug protection is as good as a tent, and it's nice to have the option to sleep (GASP!) on the ground if conditions dictate.
Peace – ToddMar 21, 2007 at 1:21 pm #1383080
Douglas, I hope you get some good feedback as I'm interested in this as well.
I slept on the ground between two perfectly spaced trees once. It was before I had my quilts. I was using a mummy bag, a Prolite 4 regular pad, and an Equinox bivy to keep the pad under me. To make matters worst the zipper on my bag and the bivy are on opposite sides. I'm sure you can imagine the difficulty of getting situated in a swinging hammock with this setup. I laugh now, but at the time I was driven to the ground in frustration. That setup worked great on the ground but was obviously too heavy. I tied one end of the hammock to a tree, about four feet up, and staked out the other three corners. For that trip, I was experimenting with a home made pack. The bivy was the body of the pack, so the weight of the bivy didn't count toward the weight of my sleep system, according to my accounting.
Ron, at MLD (Mountain Laurel Designs), had a hammock that looked like it might perform equally well on the ground as in the air. It looked like the shape of the hammock would naturally keep the pad under you while in the air. Ron's hammock is similar in shape to a Speer hammock. Maybe Ron will chime in or someone with experience with a Speer hammock can say if the pad stays put. I don't know if Ron had a chance to deliver any of his hammocks or if they will be made in the future.
I think using a pad, rather than an under quilt, is key to achieving the versatility of air and ground use without a lot of weight. In a Hennessy hammock, the pad needs to be secured in some way or it will be on top of you part way through the night. Maybe someone has an ingenious way to do this. The Hennessy Underpad seems inadequate for ground use. One problem with a pad in a hammock is that I feel it needs to be a little wider and longer than normal because it needs to wrap around you. I know Gossamer Gear sells wide pads for this purpose. I don't know if they are long enough? I'm 6'4".Mar 21, 2007 at 1:31 pm #1383082
An MLD (Mountain Laurel Designs) hammock and poncho/tarp, JRB quilt, and a wide 1/4 or 3/8 inch Gossamer Gear pad, is the best I can think of at the moment, but the devil is in the details. The only thing I have experience with is the JRB No Sniveller. I hope to get a Gossamer Gear pad and an MDL Spectralite poncho/tarp soon.Mar 21, 2007 at 1:32 pm #1383083Richard MatthewsMember
@foodLocale: Colorado Rockies
I only have 4 seasons on my Hennessy Hammock, but I have never had an unplanned night on the ground.
I still use a ground system for above timeberline and the desert.Mar 22, 2007 at 4:56 am #1383157john TierSpectator
@peter_panLocale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
The technique is easy… especially in the backyard.
The application, in the wild has potential pit falls….The largest, is the risk of ground punctures to the hammock body…. which can eventually lead to runination or a considerable repair…. this problem is exaccerbated in the lighter ( read thinner bottom) hammocks.
Have not been to ground in over 3.5 years with many subfreezing nights… best plan is to gear up and plan camps to stay in the trees…. or learn to use climbing nuts….
Failing that just use a ground cloth and pad under the tarp in the ground.
PanMar 22, 2007 at 9:12 am #1383178Cameron ReedMember
Great advice. I just had one question. In your post you mentioned an MDL Hammock. Did you mean to say (type) MLD (Mount Laurel Designs) If not, what is an MDL hammock and where can I go to check one out??
Thanks.Mar 22, 2007 at 9:25 am #1383181
Thanks Cameron, I'm glad you caught that. I did mean to say MLD or Mountain Laurel Designs. I've fixed my previous posts.Mar 23, 2007 at 12:57 pm #1383330Jason TurnerMember
From the pictures the Tom Claytor Juugle hammock has one of the best looking ground options I have seen:Mar 23, 2007 at 2:29 pm #1383340Steve .Member
Cool looking hammock. From the website, "The stuff sack for Jungle Hammock and Fly measures 13" high x 6" wide and weighs 1.6kg (3.5lbs)." 3.5lb is a lot for a stuff sack ;-)Mar 23, 2007 at 2:54 pm #1383342
Yeah, I thought that was pretty funny too. I hope they meant that the whole thing weighs 3.5 lbs, but even then it's kind of heavy. An interesting hammock in need of a diet. I seem to recall Bill working on something similar.
Edit: Jason, thanks for the link! I hadn't seen that before.Mar 24, 2007 at 7:09 am #1383388Richard MatthewsMember
@foodLocale: Colorado Rockies
I really like the Claytor Jungle hammock for a top entry option, but I am waiting until Jacks'R'Better introduce their hammock at Trail Days to make the final decision.
The double bottom allows the use of ccf pads for insulation and that makes going to the ground more practical.Mar 27, 2007 at 8:46 am #1383702Gene .Member
@trackerLocale: New England
http://www.junglehammock.com is the website for Clark Jungle hammocks. Gary Clark is a 'below the radar' cottage guy who stands behind a superior product IME. I've used a Clark Jungle model for the past 8 years and it is pretty much bulletproof no matter where you hang it, or don't! I've ground pitched it many times; and the dual side zipper entries allow you to get in on either side. Sometimes if I'm too beat from the trek of the day, I just toss the hammock on the ground as a bug bivy and pitch the rainfly over it and hit the sack. No brainer, I'd use this hammock even if it weighed 5lbs! Once you use one you'll understand my loyalty to this piece of gear. NEVER had a bug get in or bite through the fabric, in travels to some of the buggiest places on Earth.Mar 30, 2007 at 6:51 pm #1384253Frank DelandMember
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
The only reason to sleep in the hammock on the ground would be for bug protection. The advantage of the Speer-type hammocks are that the netting is detachable and would be easier to hang alone under a tarp. Using a hammock gives you the advantage of having options for sleeping. As long as you have a pad, just set up the tarp and sleep on the ground. If you really need the hammock, too, for extra warmth, just wrap it around you. No need to set it up under a tarp while sleeping on the ground. Thanks to someone's design, my hommade Speer has another layer of fabric underneath, forming a pocket for the pad. A pad (either z-rest or thermarest) no longer slips around like it did in the Hennessy.Nov 8, 2008 at 3:14 pm #1458178
— This is not about "ground sleeping" but "bed sleeping"–
I'm about to buy a Hennessy Hyperlite Backpacker hammock.
I often travel to places where I can sleep in a hotel on a bed but I still need mosquito protection (as in South East Asia). So, I've been carrying the 1 pound Skeeter Defeater.
or start at http://www.longroad.com)
I'd like to start traveling with the HH Hyperlite Backpacker but I don't want to also have to take my Skeeter Defeater.
So, can the Hyperlite be used on a bed? Are there some lightweight "poles" that one can put inside (or outside?) so that one can sleep in it without having to use any ropes that attach to a wall or the ceiling (as you cannot always be sure you can do that)? I was thinking of the kind of semi-circular poles that support some bivouacs, like, for example, the BIG AGNES
Three Wire Bivy Sack
Thanks for any advice here.Nov 8, 2008 at 4:18 pm #1458181
Th HH Hyperlite Backpacker would certainly work as a Bed Net, but after looking up the Skeeter Defeater net on the web, I don't think the hammock would give you the same kind of room. When used in the ground mode, which would be like using it on a bed, it is much more like a bivy sack. It is adequate, but not spacious. I am also not aware of any aftermarket poles that would work like the ones for your Skeeter Defeater, although since you have those poles you could probably figure a way to rig them. I think the Mosquito Hammock (Claytor) mentioned above may be a better if heavier alternative.
I really love my HH Hyperlight Backpacker and have pretty much given up my tent for solo treks, but it makes a poor tent and I would assume poor bed net.
-MarkNov 8, 2008 at 6:28 pm #1458185John MyersBPL Member
@dallasLocale: North Texas
I am interested in this also as I am planning a CT hike with my hammock. There are some extended areas above treeline and for some reason, hammocks seem to work best when trees are available.
For now, I plan to just tarp camp if I have to camp in an alpine area but if I run into a serious bug problem I would like to have a backup plan for the hammock as a bug bivy. For now it sounds like just too much hassle but if someone comes up with a reasonably workable plan I'm all ears.
I've tried numerous pads in the hammock, the only one that worked for me was a Big Agnes insulated air core with a BA bag. I can live with the hammock weight penalty, but the additional weight penalty with a pad is too great for the CT trek. Just taking the JRB quilts on this one.Nov 8, 2008 at 6:44 pm #1458188
I think for camping purposes, if you don't mind sleeping in a bivy then the hammock on the ground would work ok on a limited basis like when the bugs where eating you alive along the CT. Michael, on the other hand, sounded like he was wanting it for tourist or business travel in places where you can get malaria and Dengue fever which I don't think the HH is really suited for.
-MarkNov 9, 2008 at 1:46 am #1458217
Thanks for thinking about this. My need, at least, is a multi-need. For example, a few years ago I was in Borneo and I used the skeeter defeater in my hotel room, on my bed. But then I spent a few days in the jungle and sure would have liked a hammock. I did not spend the night in the jungle but spent many hours crouching on my haunches, just watching orangutans (for example) but spent much of that time swatting mosquitoes and watching out for bullet ants.
The skeeter defeater is indeed somewhat roomy, but I really only sleep in it. But, as it was very hot, I was thankful that none of the netting was touching me. Using the Hyperlite as a bivy without any internal or external supports would be too hot, I think,
I do indeed have those skeeter defeater poles and I was thinking of finding a way to use them. I don't yet own a Hyperlite (nor have I ever seen one in the flesh) so I could not work on that. I was hoping that others may already have solved this problem.
Mark, you say you own (and like – nice to hear that) the Hyperlite. How tall are you? I'm 6' 1" and its rated for 6'. The reviewer in BPL was 6'2" and he said it was fine. But I've read others who have said to get the HH Explorer ultralite, which is nearly a pound heavier.
Thanks again for the comments.Nov 9, 2008 at 11:47 am #1458243Lynn TramperMember
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
I don't know anything about hammocks due to motion sickness and lots of aline camping, but I wonder if JRB Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock could be set up in ground mode for entry from the top??Nov 9, 2008 at 10:08 pm #1458322
I am 5'10" on a good day;-). and 155 lb. At 6' 1" I think the Hyperlight would work for you. I have roughly an extra foot of room at each end of this hammock. So I think there is enough extra room that you would be fine. If you weigh less than 200 lb I think you are good to go. The Explorer would definitely be roomier, though, and goes up to 250 lb. I believe Tom Hennessy will allow you to buy a hammock, set it up and try it out and if it doesn't work for you, then send it back within 10 days of delivery. Check with them on this, but that might be worth the postage to check it out depending on where you live.
-MarkNov 10, 2008 at 2:38 am #1458327
Thanks for the info. I'm about 180 and so I think I'll go with the Hyperlite. Still wondering about some external/internal support methods. I usually carry one (not two) hiking poles and in some cases, I guess, I could lash it to the head of the bed and prop up at least part of the hammock. Best would be a semi-circular "pole" that would fit, somehow, near my shoulders that would make a little dome.Nov 10, 2008 at 7:01 am #1458335te – waBPL Member
i can only add that as an experienced hammocker, and with several friends who have tried and traded many models of hammocks, the trend seems to be (for many) to start out using a Hennessy but later switch to a different style or brand. I guess the bottom entry is not for everyone, is certainly not for me and Im having a hard time imagining why it would work on the ground or on a bed, when there are numerous models of top-entry with bug netting hammocks out there.
Allison, check the JrB website for several photos of the Bridge on the ground.
Also, the swaying of hammocks – and every other concievable nuisance (highly dependant on personal discovery, as no hammock works for everyone)- has been addressed. The hennessy models have guylines directly to the hammock body. any other brand can easily be kept motionless (or nearly so)
But, for me the most pleasing part of hanging is a slight sway. rocks 'em right to sleep if you can dig it.
The Hennessy ultralight and hyperlight are IMHO too short for proper diagonal flat sleeping for anyone over 6' and better suited to those 5'10" or under. But, I have tried a half dozen hammocks and every one of us hangers has a different approach/setup. I settled on a Bridge style that was custom made (by me) to my specs. Hammock, straps, rings, and spreader bars is 12.4 ounces- and it could be used on the ground.
both clark and claytor have zippered netting, top entry hammocks with pad sleeves and loops on the mesh to hang from ceiling/tarp/tree/trekking pole(s)
Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO)
Ticket to the Moon
and the newest of the line, the Warbonnet. See the Blackbird for an interesting and new design to radical hammock shapes. http://www.warbonnetoutdoors.net
just a few options to the hennessy brandNov 10, 2008 at 7:18 am #1458339
Wow. Lot's of good info here. Food for thought.Nov 10, 2008 at 8:56 am #1458349Rick DreherBPL Member
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
I'm 6' and find the Hyperlite quite roomy, so I don't imagine you need to make the jump to the Explorer. I've not tried rigging mine for…terrestrial use of any sort, so cannot advise on using it for bed netting. I suspect it could be so-rigged, but whether it would be better done from the inside with some sort of hoop support or externally by clipping it to some lines is hard to say. Rigging the fly as a tarp is straigthforward enough.
I can't tell you how disturbing the term "bullet ants" is to me.
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