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  1. #1
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    camping gear question transamerica trail

    Hello everyone! love this site, really helped me in starting my next adventure, the transamerica trail. i'm planning on leaving end of may and doing VA to Sanfran (Western express) my question is, has anyone done the transamerica with a hennessy hammock? i've read a few posts with mixed opinions, but if anyone's done it attempted it, i would love to hear some feedback. also, what tempature rating sleeping bag do people bring?
    thanks!
    mike!

  2. #2
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    Hi, I met a guy on my Pac. Coast tour who had one and loved it.
    Not sure what the route for the western express is ... but I guess finding trees might be sparse through the plains or canyon lands, also if you reach CA south of sanfran, riding north up the coast isn't recomended.
    Regardless, nights in the rockies, sierra's and high deserts like utah can still sometimes get pretty chilly even in late may.

  3. #3
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Hammocks? Ugh.



    Since you're going in May, I recommend you pick one up and try it for a weekend, see how you like it. You've got plenty of time to experiment with your gear.

    I'd try to avoid switching something as major as shelter in mid-tour, but if it really doesn't work then it's a snap to pick up something else (tarp, bivy, tent) along the way.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ezdoesit's Avatar
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  5. #5
    Biking to the Pits IntoThickAir's Avatar
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    I don't use a hammock, but can offer some advice on the sleeping bag. As mentioned above, it can get cold in late May in the Sierra and high desert - as cold as freezing. A bag rated to 30 degrees should be fine. Down bags are much more compressible than synthetic, and I like that.

    Two more tips: It's warmer at night under a tree, tarp, or tent - anything that blocks radiation heat loss to the night sky. Also, low places such a valley bottom can be 10 to 20 degrees colder on a calm night than the surrounding slopes. Yes: higher can mean warmer!

  6. #6
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    I posted some pictures of how to use a Hennessey on the ground in the desert tips post. I think these pictures are from somewhere in Colorado or Kansas. Give it a try, and see if it works for you. You kind of have to crawl to get into it. P.S. remember to lock off your front brake, so your bicycle doesn't roll forward and fall over.




  7. #7
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I wouldn't recommend a hammock for the Trans America and would guess that it is even less suitable for the WE. I know that we didn't see trees for quite a while at times. I highly recommend a freestanding tent that can be pitched on concrete. We often found it handy to pitch the tent on the concrete pads under pavilions in city parks. In hot weather this allowed us to leave the fly off of the tent and therefore have better ventilation. In wet weather it allowed us to have a dry tent in the morning.

    Our route was different, we did a West - East Trans America starting June 11th. I used what was supposed to be a 30 degree bag and it was just OK. I was a bit chilly a couple times, but never really cold.

    Regarding the Western Express. I haven't done it but will say that you will be missing a lot of the best parts of the Trans America if you do the WE. That is just my opinion, but while I enjoyed the arid areas there were enough of them on the TA.

    How long do you plan to take for the trip? At a somewhat normal pace you will hit Pueblo in about a month or so and you will be in the heat of the desert for the month of July and maybe a week or two of August. It was hot enough for me on the Trans America (We had 100 F days a lot of the time). I am not sure I would want to deal with much hotter weather. I also would hate to miss Yellowstone, Lolo Pass, the Cascades, etc. in favor of the desert on the WE. I know we were SO happy to see trees when we got out of arid areas. The variety of terrain is a big advantage of the TA and you will have less of that with the WE.

    Don't let me sway you too much though, I know folks who love riding in the desert and there are some really pretty places on the WE.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I wouldn't recommend a hammock for the Trans America and would guess that it is even less suitable for the WE. I know that we didn't see trees for quite a while at times. I highly recommend a freestanding tent that can be pitched on concrete. We often found it handy to pitch the tent on the concrete pads under pavilions in city parks. In hot weather this allowed us to leave the fly off of the tent and therefore have better ventilation. In wet weather it allowed us to have a dry tent in the morning.
    If you have a pavilion to sleep under what do you need a tent for? I spent many a comfortable night with my sleeping bag on a picnic table or on the floor, or underneath a picnic table if you aren't supposed to be there.

  9. #9
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
    If you have a pavilion to sleep under what do you need a tent for? I spent many a comfortable night with my sleeping bag on a picnic table or on the floor, or underneath a picnic table if you aren't supposed to be there.
    Mosquitoes were one reason. Different strokes, but if I have to deal with bug netting I'd just as soon just pitch the tent. Since we had record heat most of the way, it was very often too hot on our TA to sleep in a sleeping bags leaving us even more exposed to the bugs. Sleeping wearing not much to stay cool, the tent afforded some (albeit very minimal) privacy too.

  10. #10
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    If you really want to use a hammock, buy a little backpacker hammock and carry a tarp or use the fly from your tent. They roll up to the size of a softball and weigh about 10 oz. As staepj1 said, there's quite-a-ways where there ain't no trees. Seriously. And, if you're doing the Pony Express route—you'd better be carrying lots of water. Again, refer to staepj1's post.
    None.

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