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Above 9,000' Hammock Camping/ Deer Hunt/ Tenkara Trip

PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:38 pm
by Karl Klavon
10/10 -15/2018:

Hammock Camping Gear: Warbonnet Outdoors Ridgerunner Hammock, with a 0 Degree Lynx full-length Under Quilt, a Poncho/Under Quilt Protector, a Custom Shop 13 foot SuperFly tarp, with an End Pole Kit, and with the Center Pull Outs and Center Pole Anchors added, but with no actual center pole bought. After using this set up, I do not see much need for a Center Pole, but your millage may vary on that.

My Personal Limitations and Challenges: First, I am 75 years of age, a heart pacemaker is part of my anatomy now, and I have foot Neuropathy with a resulting loss of balance, foot feeling, and a resultant rapidly declining ability to handle mountainous terrain.

Earlier Hammock Camping Experiences: I hunted this same area camping in a Hennessy Ultralite Classic Hammock 12 years ago, which I found to be quite weather tight but physically uncomfortable for me to sleep in, so I went back to using tents and sleeping on the ground all these intervening years. But with my present physical problems and the availability of more recent Bridge Hammock designs, hammock camping now looks like it may be able to help with some of my physical problems and help me to continue to do the things that I love to do for a few more years. After making this trip, I have no desire to ever go back to sleeping on the ground again. The comfort level and consistency of sleeping comfort I experienced in the Ridgerunner hammock is superior to the sleeping comfort that I get in my own bed, at home.

Night One: 9,000 feet, at the edge of a timbered meadow. A hard frost set in before it was dark, with ice forming on both the inside and the out side of my tarp. I slept wearing MTS Briefs, a Fish Net tee shirt, Guide Wear Supplex Nylon long sleeved shirt and pants, heavier Nylon Wind Pants over that, Puff Ball Pants & Jacket over that, finishing it off with a Puff Ball Vest, plus an old detached down jacket hood I used every night of the trip. Actually this was too much clothing - I had to put on some glove liners because so little of my body heat was getting through to the top quilt that my hands were actually getting cold. But with the gloves on I spent a very warm and comfortable night, nonetheless.

Nights 2,3, and 4 were Spent in a higher basin near timber line: Here, finding big enough trees the right distance a part to set up the hammock proved to be a real problem, especially with it sleeting, snowing and the wind really blowing hard. On my first attempt my butt hit the ground as I tried to sit in my hammock because the trees I clipped the hammock straps to just bent over under my weight – all of 170 Lbs. So I had to take down the tarp and hammock, pack it all back in my pack and move on to the other side of the lake that was to be my water source for the next few days, where there were bigger, stronger trees to tie to. Eventually, I got it all done with out too much trouble but I had to cook dinner in the dark. What other choice did I have? As the sun set the wind subsided and it became a clear, star light night. And I slept with the downwind door open and less clothing on than the previous night, trading the Puff Ball Jacket for a very light Dragonfly Wind Shell.

Night 3: The wind roared all night long with such force and so much noise that I never got any sleep that night. Here, I used the Poncho/Under Cover Protector to keep the wind from sucking all the warmth out of my under quilt, and it worked very well. Hammock campers and hammock equipment makers debate endlessly on whether breathable or waterproof materials should be used for this purpose. Once the temperature drops below the due point, you are going to get condensation. And if the temperature is below freezing, the condensation is going to turn to ice. Ice does not breath, whether the cloth it forms on is a breathable cloth or not.

How I Rigged My SuperFly Tarp: At this point I should probably explain how I rigged the tarp. The bottom 6 D-rings have loops of white ¼” shock cord knotted on to them, holding the tarp to the ground with titanium Shepherd’s Hook style tent stakes, with the stakes at the knotted end of each loop, which works quite well and is very easy to deploy.

I used a split ridgeline to support the tarp, with Nama Claws and Dutch Hooks used to connect the 1.75mm line to the tarp ends and to the tree trunks respectively – 12 feet long for each cord length to match the 12-foot hammock strap lengths that the Ridgerunner hammock comes with.

I replaced the cord that came with the Pole Kit with silver reflective nylon cord on the tarp’s sides, and tied a Mitten Hook to the other end of each Pull Out loop cord that was girth hitched to each pull out loop. The ring on the mitten hooks fits over the pole tips perfectly, and makes setting up the pull out poles a lot faster and easier. If you want to hold the doors on the SuperFly tarp back and/or open, the end d-rings clip right over the pole tips quickly and easily. Dog bones of shock cord are girth hitched to the same D-rings, with an S-clip used on the other end of the cord to hold the doors closed by running the cord through the opposite door D-ring, and then clipping the cord to itself behind the loop knot. To enter or exit the tarp with out having to open or close the doors, just lift the doors in the middle, duck under them and release the shock cords and they will snap back down and into place – which is very quick and easy.

At the apex of the tarp, two yellow reflective cord loops make up the drip lines on each end, they also make a great sighting devise that is real easy to see in the dark to guide you to the door ends of your tarp, and also makes for handy handles to help in setting the tarp up.

Night 4 passed quite quietly and uneventfully enough, and I slept quite well, mostly as a result of making two strenuous hikes into two different lakes on two different days to T-fish, with great fishing results as well. While fishing I snagged a fly I didn’t really want to loose, so I waded out into the lake to rescue it. That was a big mistake! When I had to make a nature call in the middle of the next night, trying to get my frozen boots on was nearly impossible and no fun at all to endure.

The Fifth Night was spent at another lake on my way out – also at about 9,000 feet. Here, I set up above a little higher patch of ground than the surrounding area. The wind was blowing from off of the lake into the foot end of my hammock, so I closed the foot end doors. During the night the wind reversed direction, so I got up and closed the head end doors. It was amazing how much warmer it was with both sets of doors closed, and this was with out using the under quilt protector. I was so warm and comfortable that I didn’t think it had frozen the previous night, but it had. I was able to pack up to leave with no frost or condensation on any of my gear at all that morning, making breaking camp very quick and easy

Conclusions: About the most challenging aspect of hammock camping I have found with the Ridgerunner Hammock is getting the tarp properly aligned with the hammock’s triangle suspension cords, so that the tarp’s doors can be completely closed. The head end triangles are shorter in length and easier to get a tight fit with than the foot end, so the head should be set into the wind. That way, if the foot end is a little open, it will be a narrower opening and not matter as much. In October the nights are very long. With the warmest place to be in bed and no fires allowed where I was camping, I found the Ridgerunner Hammock to be so warm and comfortable in the mornings that I didn’t want to get up. When I ground slept, by that time of the morning, I was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t wait to get up and get going… Sleeping in never before felt so good, awake or asleep. As for the deer hunting, I saw 3 does but no bucks. I could have shot a buck up there last year but, I didn't want to have to carry it out of where he was. I wanted him to father all the offspring he can....Karl.

Re: Above 9,000' Hammock Camping/ Deer Hunt/ Tenkara Trip

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:07 am
by Karl Klavon
I forgot to mention a few things, like what I used for a top quilt. It is a 15 degree rated Marmot down top cover for their discontinued Component Bag System, which (like the Big Agnes system) uses no down under you because your body weight will compress the down and mitigate its insulation value.

The complete system came with a H2o proof under cover, their own closed cell foam pad, a poly/cotton blend pad over cover for breathable comfort, and the down top cover for insulation to complete their wilderness bed bag system. I didn't get the under cover or pad as I already had a number of Therm-A-REST AIR PADS. The liners also included 3 adjustable, quick release buckle pad straps. The liner overlapped about an 8" or so wide sheet of nylon cloth with hook-and-ladder velcro patches that attached to matching patches on the matching down top cover over lap sheet, which I believe is a superior system to the way everyone is doing their top quilt foot boxes these days - making a complete down tube (some with and some with out fasteners) all the way up to the knees or so. Again, all that down under your legs and feet is compressed by the weight, adding little to no insulation value to the system, but considerable cost and weight. The cloth shelf on the underside of the foot section of the Marmot Top Quilt holds everything in place just fine.

I also found that using the Ridgerunner's Bug Net in flat mode tended to help corral the top quilt and help keep it from sliding over the sides of and out of the hammock up to the zipper toggles as I was entering and exiting. Temporarily removing the front support shock cord would also help in this process as there is a tendency for it to get it wrapped around and under your body.

The Custom 13 foot SuperFlies set up for the Ridgerunner Spreader Bars have two additional metal rings sewn into the ridge line of the tarp, which are for connecting the bug net support shock cords to. These can also be used to set up an internal tarp ridge line, which is handy for hanging a Luci Inflatable Solar Light lantern from with a with a Prusik knot sling and a mitten hook so you can slide the lantern to wherever you need it, and or to dry clothes from. Well, I believe that about covers what I left out....Karl.