Comfy UL alternative to tenting - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 9 Old Jun 1st, 2008, 6:36 pm Thread Starter
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Comfy UL alternative to tenting

After a few too many injuries and surgery, I found I could no longer sleep in a tent, no matter what I put in it.

I happened across this site a few years back, and bought two of the Expedition Asym units. The originals had some issues, the canopy was too short and it rained in. Their CS was excellent. The ridge line on the replacement broke due to my method of pulling the lines too tight, so I started taking it apart to see how it was put together and made some mods to fit my needs.

I installed a HD ridge line, longer, thicker, more user friendly ropes with brass QD's on each end, florescent guide lines for the sides and canopy, tree huggers and an inflatable mattress with Big Agnes bags for colder conditions.

I slept in one for about 4 months, until over run by black ants.

Decided to take it out of storage today after a ride, and I must say, this is one of the most pleasant means you can use for a painless afternoon nap.

The unit, even with all the extras I have, is very small. I also suggest the snake skins (which then stay on the unit). You just slide the skins over the hammock while it is still up, it forms a tube you fold and put in a small storage bag. When you hang it again, you just tie off the tag ends to the tree huggers, pull the snake skins off the hammock, it opens up, nice and clean - nothing to snag on trees or stickers, and ready to use. Been in torrential downpours, it stays perfectly dry inside.

I am sure they have made many changes since we bought ours. Beats a tent for comfort. Only issue is it does take some agility to get in and out of. There is a slit in the bottom of the hammock you crawl into. Your body weight seals the velcro once inside. I have clips for water bottles, backpack, flashlight etc., Virtually bug free, plenty of ventilation.

The biggest issue in the past has been dealing with the cool air that blows beneath you. Today, it was just outstanding.

I've been camping since the 60's, and this is my first "go to" day or night shelter. It would take one hell of an air mattress in a tent to beat the comfort of this hammock. I would say, based on ours, you might be limited to maybe 6'4" or so. I am 6', a perfect fit for me. Plenty of room for a pack on the other end, bag for shoes and clothes, do not store ANY food in this thing!

The only other issue I first ran into, were all the animals running into the guide lines at night....lots of deer, saw a beer or two. After that, I put the Hi Viz lines on and was more aware of where I set up.

Did I mention, NO bugs!

BTW, the ants got in because it had been set up in one spot for so long. I went in one afternoon and felt a squishing sensation in the bag, only to find HUNDREDS of black ants in every crevice of the hammock and in every corner of the sleeping bag. What a mess. Still pulling bodies out of it today.

Some great deals on pre owned units on Ebay.

http://hennessyhammock.com/sp-motorcycling.html

http://hennessyhammock.com/
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post #2 of 9 Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 3:58 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Comfy UL alternative to tenting

Whether you use a tent or hammock, you also would be interested in the Sierra Designs "Grip Clips', guy-line attachments. Allows you to tie your canopy in darn near any direction you need, that would otherwise be impossible. Worth every penny!

Available here: http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___23884
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post #3 of 9 Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 7:29 pm
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Re: Comfy UL alternative to tenting

Quote:
Originally Posted by yechave
I happened across this site a few years back, and bought two of the Expedition Asym units.
I'm inspired! I just ordered one of these, the Explorer Deluxe with snake skins since I'm a fairly big and heavy guy.

When I was a kid we had a military surplus jungle hammock like this, probably vietnam era. You got in from the side and zipped it closed. I remember sleeping pretty well in it and it felt nice and roomy... but then, I was probably 12 at the time. But I really like the idea of not carrying a tent and not having to find some flat space to set up.

I don't think I'll be hitching it to a speed limit sign though! (As seen in this thread from pashnit) ...all I need is some drunk oggling the bike and clipping the sign I'm hanging from!
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post #4 of 9 Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 11:18 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Comfy UL alternative to tenting

My word of caution is not to over tighten the ropes, and don't wrap the ropes around any trees. I really wanted them taut, which is how the ridge line came apart. Their knots did not hold up. Very creatively made. I replaced their line with parachute cord for the ridge line. The Brass rings make it very easy to tie off, no knots to get locked up. I had a hell of a time using the knots as they suggested. I also ran into issues with trees being just a tad too far apart to tie off to, so I installed much longer main lines.

These are super comfortable. I used to be a high end only, NF or Marmot tenter. I tried every thing possible to continue to tent, and with all my medical issues, just could not do it any more.

Be interested in hearing of your experience after you get your new Explorer.

Don't hesitate to buy the Grip Clips. Well worth it, makes life much easier.

~;^/
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post #5 of 9 Old Jun 7th, 2008, 6:15 pm
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Re: Comfy UL alternative to tenting

Quote:
Originally Posted by yechave
Be interested in hearing of your experience after you get your new Explorer.
It arrived a couple of days ago, and I set it up in the back yard this afternoon. Setup was pretty easy, except I put the head at the wrong end the first time, but that just gave me an opportunity to put the snakeskins on. I followed the knot on the package (I think), it's a new one for me. Interesting knot, it seems to spread the load out along the rope pretty well. My first attempt was a little loose and slipped a bit as it tightened up, but my 2nd attempt after swapping ends worked out pretty well. I get what you mean about not tying it too tight to start. I also set it up a little higher than I probably needed, which made getting in a little challenging.

The nylon webbing to go around the trees is a nice touch. ...more after I spend the night in it!
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post #6 of 9 Old Jun 8th, 2008, 11:58 pm
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Re: Comfy UL alternative to tenting

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The nylon webbing to go around the trees is a nice touch. ...more after I spend the night in it!
Well, I slept OK. It'll take some getting used to. It was fairly cold last night, dropped to 55 I think. I had a few options lined up to try out for warmth: just a bag, a long thick thermarest, and a thin 3/4 length thermarest pad.

I tried the long pad first, it was kind of a pain to get in the hammock and get lined up on, and I had to fold a bit of it over to make it fit, but I got it all right. I think what worked best was to get into the bag outside the hammock and then climb in -- it's a 3 season down mummy bag from backpacking. Unfortunately I woke up in the middle of the night and was really hot.

So I decided to try just a sleeping bag. That's definitely not the way to go when it's cold, it feels like sleeping on a cold floor. I probably wouldn't freeze to death, but where my body pressed the bag against the hammock it felt really cold, and that was uncomfortable.

The 3/4 think thermarest was the best of the options. It fit in the hammock better than anything, and kept my butt and back warm but let my legs and head cool off a little. Happily it packs down the smallest too.

I normally sleep both on my back and on my side, and I was able to get reasonably comfortable in both positions in the hammock, so that's a plus. I was worried I'd only be able to stay on my back, but it's roomy enough to move around if I'm careful.

The line inside is super handy. I was able to keep a water bottle and my light in easy reach.

And the rain fly worked too. I almost didn't put it up because it was a nice night and it's just my backyard, but I went for it, and I'm glad I did... around 5AM the neighbor's sprinkler system came on and it's hard enough to spray quite a bit of water over our fence and onto the hammock. (I never knew!) Anyway, it was just like being in a light rain. Noisy, for sure, but I stayed nice and dry.

It's a keeper. Thanks again for the tip!
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post #7 of 9 Old Jun 9th, 2008, 12:48 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Comfy UL alternative to tenting

There are a lot of tricks to using the hammock.

For most comfort, I use the Thermo rest 6'x21" air mattress on the bottom. Biggest complaint is the cold wisping under your body at night. Other options are the reflective silver, folding car sun shield, cut to fit.

You also need to sleep, off center, the hammock is made so you are not in the banana curve.

I use a Big Agnes bag, when cold enough, and put the air mattress inside their liner. Great system. I have additional clips for all kinds of stuff to hang from the ridge line, and keep a separate bag inside for shoes. If really wet, I hang the wet stuff off another line, at the very end of the slit, on top, outside the hammock. Don't want to leave anything outside on the ground for critters to get into.

I fold the mattress in half, get inside, seal it up, unfold it, then roll into it. Takes some getting used to. Careful not to pull the tree ropes too tightly, or the knots for the ridge line will come apart. I made my own.

The florescent lines are almost a must, if you use it at night. Otherwise, you are bound to brake or trip over them at some point.

The best alternative I have used to tenting. More comfy than most hotels once you get used to getting in and out. I used mine for over four months straight, until over run by ants. This is one of the best methods of sleep for anyone with a bad back.

I've heard of folks setting them up in their homes, and using this instead of a bed, once you get used to it.

Happy camping! ~;^/
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post #8 of 9 Old Jun 22nd, 2008, 10:26 pm
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Re: Comfy UL alternative to tenting

I love mine as well. The only problem I have is a place to hang it. Many campgrounds clear the trees for tent areas. Otherwise its a great product. Lightweight and packs very small.
Jim

Jim in Dublin, OH

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post #9 of 9 Old Jun 23rd, 2008, 4:22 pm
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Re: Comfy UL alternative to tenting

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Originally Posted by jsciullo
I love mine as well. The only problem I have is a place to hang it. Many campgrounds clear the trees for tent areas. Otherwise its a great product. Lightweight and packs very small.
I just ordered a couple of cheap folding poles and a small tarp so I can use it as a bivvy tent if there aren't any trees around. I think I read one of the testimonials where some guys managed to convinced some campgrounds not to charge them since they weren't using a spot -- they just slung the hammocks up from some trees off to the side.
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