UL hammock for AT through hike next year, request opinions
Sep 16, 2019 at 11:53 pm #3610492
I’m testing equipment out for a planned flip-flop AT through hike next year. I’ve done a fair amount of research on hammock forums, which is a great site, but they don’t focus on UL. My specific question for the BPL community is how to shave off the ounces for a hammock setup. I’m currently testing a used WBxlc double layer, and have figured out that while it is really comfortable, it’s too heavy. I’ve ditched using an inflateable underpad (the idea was to have a backup for shelter sleeping) and have a light short pad for that alone. I’m now testing a SL Eldorado with an uq setup. (hammock about 19 oz). I’m working to learn how to deploy a very lightweight strap system as well.
Would anyone comment about their ideas of a really comfortable lightweight Sl hammock, to potentially replace the Eldorado? I’m 6’2″ and 190 lbs (expect to drop a bit with the thruhike) and by the time I start my thruhike I should be knowledgeable about how to work with a really lightweight fabric. I’ve reviewed a number of the cottage sites but I can’t decide if I should just go with the Eldorado, or try something else that is even lighter (little shop of hammocks lite, etc). There are almost too many choices.
thank youSep 17, 2019 at 2:02 pm #3610545Chris RBPL Member
I have a Chickadee hammock in 1.2 Mtn XLfrom Geritt Hofmann at hogshop.ca that I use with my own 5ft whoopies and 5ft tree straps made from 1″ RSBTR Venom pack webbing along with Dutchware clips. The whole set up comes in at sub 12oz. It’s a very comfortable hammock, better than my 1.6 HyperD versions. I am about the same weight as you though a bit shorter.
For a bug net I have been flipping between a full homemade canopy and a home made half net that lays inside the hammock ( I couldn’t get the HUG net to seal properly) though if you talk to Gerrit I’m sure he would make you a version with a full zippered bug net if that’s what you were looking for.Sep 17, 2019 at 2:07 pm #3610547
I’ll try to offer up what I’ve found to work well.
For the hammock, you could shave a couple of ounces and pack size by going with something a little lighter. At your size, I wouldn’t recommend going all the way to a 1 OSY fabric. I’m 5’10” 180lbs and I find the 1.2-1.3 OSY MTN fabrics to be brilliant (NOT polyester though, stick with MTN nylon). I’m currently using a hammock made from 1.2 MTN fabric from Ripstopbytheroll that I made myself. This fabric has now been replaced with a slightly stronger 1.3 OSY version but I have had zero issues with my 1.2. I am extremely diligent, however, to get in it with ease, never getting in with clothing that has grommets or zippers, and never getting in with shoes on. It looks like you can still get a hammock made in 1.2 MTN from Simply Light Designs . For sure opt for the lighter Nanoseeum bug net if you’re cool being careful. If you wanted to go with the newer 1.3 OSY fabric then Dream Hammock would be another great option. At your size an 11′ hammock should be just fine. My 11′ hammock made with 1.2 MTN and .67 noseeum (full bug net, zippers on both sides) and continuous loops weighs 16oz.
On suspension, I tried everything from cinch buckles to amsteel whoopie slings and even Dynaglide UCRs. My favorite by far for weight and ease of use is 1″ dyneema straps, 12′ long, used with a beckett hitch. The hammock will just have simply continuous loops. The straps come in at a whopping 1.8oz total for both. This puts the total hammock and suspension weight at ~18oz and it packs down tiny. I’m using a homemade dyneema tarp and trust it completely. I was at Roan Highlands last year camping at Overmountain shelter in 40mph winds and everything held up great with the exception of stakes coming out of the ground.
Let me know if you have any other questions. I’m glad to help. Hammocks FTW!Sep 17, 2019 at 5:45 pm #3610581Kevin BabioneBPL Member
John – You’re on the right track. If you’re not trying to sleep on a pad in your hammock you certainly don’t need a double-layer. I’ve found that I’m more comfortable in a wider hammock than a narrow one (6 feet tall and 270 pounds), but I know that’s individual preference. I could make my suspension lighter, but for most of my backpacking in Pennsylvania I’ve found that having two different length straps makes things much easier (12′ and 8′)…Sometimes the best spots are anchored by a huge tree so the longer strap is really handy.
@Chris – For the half bug net have you tried those little silver clip barrettes for hair? I’ve found that they work really well to anchor the bug net bottom to the hammock edges to give me enough of a seal. I usually carry three (in case I lose one), but two is sufficient.Sep 17, 2019 at 5:58 pm #3610582
Thank you for the suggestions, I’ll do some more research. I was concerned about going too light on the hammock fabric due to comfort and safety, as I am not experienced with hammocks and expect based on my testing that I will be harder on the hammock for a while as I learn (also already snagged a bugnet once wrestling with packing the hammock up). Lightening up the suspension sounds excellent as well.Sep 17, 2019 at 6:05 pm #3610583
At my weight, I actually found the 1.2 to be more comfortable than the 1.6 HyperD hammock it replaced. Also, I found a good video of the becket hitch for you. I can tie it one-handed, with gloves on, etc. It’s so simple and eliminates the biggest issue I had with Whoopies and UCRs – the minimum hang distance. I got so sick of having to do multiple wraps around the tree to take up some of the strap. Cinch buckles won’t have this issue but you have to use heavier straps with them. The becket hitch solves the problem while allowing you to use the crazy light dyneema straps.Sep 17, 2019 at 6:31 pm #3610587
I looked up the dyneema straps, venom ones are out of stock at ripstop store. Dutchware gear 1.5 spiders appear to be a match. Is 12′ enough length, or should I go 15? I will be using eastern US trees at least at first, and I understand I will tie off directly to the continuous loops. Since I’m still on the steep part of the hanging learning curve I was thinking of going 15 at first to be more forgiving, and could double wrap the tree as necessary for shorter hangs.
thanks againSep 17, 2019 at 6:35 pm #3610588
Yes, the spiders are a match and are also great. 15′ would be just fine and give you some breathing room if you ever go out west. I’ve camped all over the eastern US and have never had an instance where 12′ wasn’t enough. If you’re going to use the becket hitch, that’s the beauty, there is no minimum hang distance so you’ll never have to worry about wrapping multiple times.Sep 18, 2019 at 7:06 pm #3610733David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Have you hammock-camped on trips with repeated high-mileage days?
My concern is that on a thru hike, you have to conserve your time and energy to keep moving ahead. If you spend more time to find that appropriate hang, then that slows you down a bit. More so, if there’s just no hang around, you have to keep going or if there aren’t good trees ahead of you for a ways, you may have to stop sooner than you otherwise would.
If it works for you, you prefer it, and those constraints make it a more interesting hike, great – HYOH.Sep 18, 2019 at 9:00 pm #3610762
You raise a good point, I’m planning at least one multiday AT section hike with a hammock as practice to be sure this will work as well for me as it has for others, many of whom likely are more experienced than I am. Based on the parts of the AT I’ve seen, there are a lot more good trees than tent sites, if you try to minimize shelter use, but there are a lot of areas with damaged trees that must be avoided; every year we get ice storms in shenandoah nearby and some leave damaged, leaning trees for years.
I have found that using snakeskins and a mesh sleeve for my tarp, that getting the hammock and tarp up and down is surprisingly fast, the issue I know is getting the hang just right when you are tired out.Sep 19, 2019 at 1:16 am #3610830Ryan “Rudy” OuryBPL Member
@ohdogg79Locale: Central FL - Ocala NF
I’ll add couple things quickly…
First, suspension is a good place to focus as they can be very different in weight. I ran a bunch of numbers and 1” dynema straps tied w/ a Beckett hitch are def the lightest option. Super easy if you have any knot skills, though there are subtle nuances to tying the BH well.
if you opt for whoopies (or any setup where you need a connector), check out soft shackles for that connection. I made some from zpacks thinner 1.2mm Z-line in about 3 min that can handle >1000lb easy (tested w/ an engine lifting hoist), and don’t even register on my kitchen scale (<.25oz). Biggest downside is they can be tough to remove in the morning, but I’ve got a good trick for that if anyone is interested.
Last, if you haven’t come across it, Dutch has the half-wit camping hammock. 10.5’ w/ a half net that drapes (no zippers) for ~12oz total. I haven’t gotten to sleep in one yet but seems like it’s be a great UL setup.Sep 19, 2019 at 2:52 am #3610841Jason McSpaddenBPL Member
@jbmcsr1Locale: Rocky Mountains
Have you seen this report
https://www.adventurealan.com/hammock-gear-wanderlust-complete-kit-hammock-camping/Sep 19, 2019 at 12:09 pm #3610872Kevin BabioneBPL Member
I have a Dutch Half-Wit and it’s my go-to hammock when there might be bugs around. The mesh also seems to add a couple degrees of warmth (feeling, not scientific). It’s a great and comfortable hammock.
I think, with the exception of your time in the White Mountains above the treeline, you won’t have any problems finding a pair of suitable trees to set up your hammock and tarp. I would still carry some sort of sleep pad for those nights when it’s pouring and you just want to crash in a shelter.Sep 19, 2019 at 2:49 pm #3610892Ryan “Rudy” OuryBPL Member
@ohdogg79Locale: Central FL - Ocala NF
need to amend my earlier post slightly… DON’T google “soft shackles” as the only thing it brings up are the spliced hollow rope style that take specialty line (must be hollow braided) and a bit of specialty tools.
Here’s what I did instead, as noted w/ good pics of the rope and the testing, at the end of this thread ( https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/35092/ ). I just created a continuous loop, maybe 12″ total length, out of the 1.2mm Z-line. To make it a “soft shackle”, just fold the unknotted end back on itself to create another small loop, pass the knotted end thru the newly created loop, and pull everything to tighten. It’d be pretty tough to do one of these one-handed, but overall, they’re easy enough and SO light and cheap and strong that I’m not sure why more people don’t use them.Dec 30, 2019 at 11:34 pm #3624894Brad LBPL Member
I just got a Hummingbird Single Plus and the Extra log straps from Hummingbird also. I haven’t weighed it myself but their website says 215 grams for the hammock and 65 gram for the straps. The hammock is 116″ long and 63″ wide, super easy to get a good flat lay in. The straps have 10′ of webbing so there are not issues with bigger trees.
I also have their bug net and tarp for both my wife and I. I am impressed by the detail and quality of what I have.
I have been using ENO’s light series (Sub 7 and Super Sub) but I can tell you after spending some time in it at the beach in FL over Christmas that this new combo is my new favorite. I am anxious to go for a couple of days when the weather in NC permits it.Feb 16, 2020 at 8:12 pm #3631660David KBPL Member
Like all things these days, there is a new material out there and so there is a new superultralight hammock. The Wraith ul. With bugnet it is under 10oz. Maximum 200# rated though and quite see through. I have about a dozen hammocks already but the new one might be nice for hot nights.
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