Thoughts/Experiences with Hammocks??

elkhunterUT

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Jan 21, 2013
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New to this site and have loved the information and reviews I have read so far. Many of you have far more experience than I do backpack hunting, so wanted to get your opinions on the pros and cons of of hammocks as a shelter option. My wife bought me a Clark's Jungle Hammock (I have the North American Model: http://www.junglehammock.com/models/northamerican/index.php) a year and a half ago and I took it on a Wyoming elk hunt this past fall. I wasn't sure how I would sleep in the hammock since I sleep on my side generally, but I actually slept far better in the hammock than I do in a tent. The hammock also kept me warm and dry as it is fully enclosed and has a rain tarp option also. It is very light, no poles, easy to set up, and takes up far less space than a tent. It seems like a great backpacking option, but I never see or hear much about them on forums like this one.

Besides the obvious downside of a hammock being essentially useless if you don't have 2 good trees to work with, what are the pros and cons of hammocks and what is your experience with them?
 

RockChucker30

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A hammock is harder to stay warm in in truly cold conditions, and you need trees so above timberline is out.

You CAN stay warm in a hammock in almost any temps, regardless of the bad experiences of guys who tried it and got cold and gave up. It takes some knowledge and gear, just like anything else. I have a Hammock Gear under quilt that helps a lot.

Generally if its below 35 I'd rather stay in a tent , but above that hammocks are my favorite. Especially in rain and mud. They rock in those conditions.

Take a look at hammock forums.net.
 

sk1

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i dont have one, but have often considered one for some areas i hunt that have a decent rattlesnake population.....something about the idea of a rattlesnake under my sleeping bag or tent because of the warmth doesn't appeal to me....however im still tenting it for now. i have a buddy who has that same hammock you mentioned and loves it as well.
 

TheRambler

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I have a Warbonnet Outdoors Blackbird 1.7 double layer hammock or WBBB 1.7 dbl. I absolutely love it. I am a year round hammocker, and have hammocked down as low as -30F.

The main pros IMO are:
able to set up over ground obstacles(mud,water,brush,rocks, uneven terrain etc)
much more comfortable to sleep in that a tent ( in my and many others opinions)
faster setup and tear down
the best camp chair ever

Cons:
you have to have 2 trees, or two solid anchors of some sort
takes some practice and skill to set them up right so that they are comfortable
also takes practice and skill to learn how to stay warm in cold weather

I use a quilts form hammock gear, i really like their stuff. A superfly 4 season tarp w/doors from Warbonnet. And a momentum m90 hammock sock from PapaSmurf. The hammock sock is kinda like a bivy for a hammock, adds alot of warmth, blocks the wind, and is waterproof but breathable. The hammock sock is by far my favorite hammock accessory purchase to date. It has allowed me to do many things better, and take my hammock into some truly extreme conditions.

I routinely take my hammock setup to -10F or so with 0 issues, and its a warm and very comfortable nights sleep.
 

Redneck Jihad

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Feb 2, 2013
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I have a Hennessy explorer deluxe that I used on just about all my backpack elk hunts. I love it. I sleep so well in it I hang it behind my house in florida when its cold and sleep in it. Drawbacks are you cant bring your stuff inside with u like u can in a tent, so u have to stand outside in the cold to get dressed and un dressed. Pluses are that u always have a comfortable place to sleep thats always dry. I have the "hex" fly which is like 10'x11'...so when the weather turns bad I have a huge area out of the weather to cook etc.
 

unm1136

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Take a look at hammock forums.net.

Agreed. But this is another money sucking endevor. I have never hunted above the timberline, but may someday. Currently my setup is a custom Dangerbird Hammock from DreamHammock. They have an new UL hammock, too. For the cost of a Hennesy that would fit someone 6'2 I got a custom hammock with over cover and mosquito net. Hennesy says that the standard hammocks are good for people up to 5'11, but the consensus on hammock forums says that anyone over 5'9 will feel cramped. I have no experience with the Clark hammock. I deer hunted this year, sleeping in my hammock, with a Hammockgear 20degree underquilt and a 20 degree rated slumberjack synthetic bag. I never put my tarp up, but the light rain and snow never bothered me. I got the hammock to 19 degrees, and was toasty. I was wearing long johns, watch cap, and a puffy jacket, with my fleece wrapped around my feet. A JRB High Sierra Sniveler is my next purchase: a 5-10 degree top quilt with a head opening, a set of sleeves, and a hood. With this setup at 19 degrees I would not have needed the fleece jacket wrapped around my feet. I actually don't know that I needed it anyway. A tarp would have also let the temp drop a bit, and for now I am going to have to satisfy myself with the Warbonnet Superfly. In the future a camo HG Cuben Fiber Winter palace, maybe with a stove boot and kifaru stove, will me my go to four season New Mexico hunting setup. I will be getting a Kifaru Tipi with stove for when I start going to Colorado, but until then I am sold on the hammock. Sgt Rock over at hammock forums even has plans for a 13 oz UL hammock for about $400 for you DIY guys.

Total weight of my current sleep system is about 6 pounds, but I am using a 3.5 pound slumber jack bag. I will be happy to get the weight to four or four and a half pounds.

pat
 
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elkhunterUT

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Jan 21, 2013
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Thanks for all the input - I will have to look into the hammock sock/quilt for colder temperatures, although I never got cold on my hunt last fall in Wyoming. I used the hammock combined with a Big Agnes 0 degree synthetic bag and the Big Agnes insulated air core pad. The combo was very warm and amazingly comfortable.

I still see the value in having a good backpacking tent for above timberline hunts and future hunts in Alaska etc where having a place to store equipment out of the elements in a vestibule or something similar would be at a premium, but so far I have loved the hammock for comfort and weight savings.
 

unm1136

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Thanks for all the input - I will have to look into the hammock sock/quilt for colder temperatures, although I never got cold on my hunt last fall in Wyoming. I used the hammock combined with a Big Agnes 0 degree synthetic bag and the Big Agnes insulated air core pad. The combo was very warm and amazingly comfortable.

I still see the value in having a good backpacking tent for above timberline hunts and future hunts in Alaska etc where having a place to store equipment out of the elements in a vestibule or something similar would be at a premium, but so far I have loved the hammock for comfort and weight savings.

Actually the way people on hammock forum keep warm is divided into the Quilt People, and the Pad People. Both are good ways to go. I may find a UL pad to supplement my quilt. With the right choice it could serve as a standing platform under my hammock, so I can keep from getting twigs and stuff on my wool socks and dragging them into the hammock, a sit pad, a supplement to my underquilt, and as an emergency sleep pad in case I have to go to the ground.

That said, quilt people are cooler!:cool:

pat
 

S&S ARCHERY

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Boise, ID
I have a Hennessy explorer deluxe that I used on just about all my backpack elk hunts. I love it. I sleep so well in it I hang it behind my house in florida when its cold and sleep in it. Drawbacks are you cant bring your stuff inside with u like u can in a tent, so u have to stand outside in the cold to get dressed and un dressed. Pluses are that u always have a comfortable place to sleep thats always dry. I have the "hex" fly which is like 10'x11'...so when the weather turns bad I have a huge area out of the weather to cook etc.

I have this same set up and used it a couple years ago. I really like the potential of hammocks as you can sleep just about anywhere, seems every night it gets dark I spend 30 or so minutes looking for good flat ground to pitch a tent on. I ended up not using the hammock anymore for the cold reason and my tent/sleeping pad combo ended up being a few ounces less than the Hennessey.
 

hammer0419

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O.C NY
You will never sleep in the outdoors as comfortable as in a Hammock. Only issue is in cold weather with you will need a top and bottom quilt. Best hammock I believe is the WARBONNET BLACKBIRD.
 

tater

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Dec 9, 2012
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BC
The beauty of a Clark NA is that with the set-up you have listed, you can easily go to ground above treeline.
Guy out the tarp with trekking poles or whatever you would use with a conventional tarp system, and use the hammock body as a bivy. A sheet of tyvek or other groundsheet underneath and you are golden. They are a really versatile system. I have probably spent 100+ nights in mine in a huge variety of temps and conditions.

I carry tyvek anyway as a lower wrap underneath to cut down on drafts at certain times of year, so going to ground is always as option for me.

Just remember to be sure to clean the hammock well before storing it, as going to ground in it will add dirt and moisture that you would not pick up hanging.
 
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