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  1. #1
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    Hammock question

    I know from having lived in the eastern part of the midwest, was just back there a few weeks ago, and having travelled throughout the midwest that you don't find many trees out that way to hang up a hammock. On my recent bike trip I took the tent with me. I knew I was going to end up going to St. Louis before I headed back to NH. I don't have bug netting for the hammock I sleep in all the time at home so I kinda knew I didn't even want to consider using it due to mosquitoes(turns out they weren't bad at all, should have taken the hammock). What do you guys do when you run into a situation where you don't have any trees? I did see a couple of photos posted in the "Ultralight Evangelist" thread, I believe that got me to thinking about this question while I was on my bike trip. I wasn't about to ask then though.

    For the next trip I definitely want much better nights sleep than I had this time. The ground dwelling sleep was crap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
    What do you guys do when you run into a situation where you don't have any trees?
    Is this a trick question? Without trees, a hammock stand or some other convenient support, one obviously can not sleep in a hammock in it's intended configuration.

    Get a tent, tarp or bivy with netting, so you will have a mosquito-resistant sleep shelter that can be used anywhere on dry land.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOT...97&src=iotdrss

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    Not a trick question. It seemed from the photos that they were using other objects to hang the hammocks rather than trees, like their bicycle. Maybe I was trying to see something I wasn't actually seeing. Hence why I'm asking the question.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Didn't sound like a trick question to me. You just fell prey to a common pattern on the forums where you ask for help in doing X because you find it preferable to Y, and someone "helpfully" says, "don't do X, do Y."

    So, no trees in the eastern midwest? I wouldn't expect that to be a problem, but then even when surrounded by trees, you don't always have good options. I just took a short trip to coast, and over the course of 3 nights, I managed to tie my hammock to one tree. But, I did manage to hang every night. I posted photos here: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...=#post14677125

    If you spend some time browsing the hammock forums, you should find a few solutions and creative hanging options. I've been looking at this thread: http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ad.php?t=34776 for ideas for a system to hang without trees that might be bike-portable. I'm torn about how much energy to put into it, though, because in spite of some sketchy hangs, I've yet to have to sleep on the ground, and any solution I envision requires some added weight that may not be worth the insurance it provides.

    I did read somewhere about some people stringing their hammocks between two bikes, but I didn't really understand that. Can you get the hammocks high enough that way? What keeps the bikes upright? Sounded interesting, but I'd have to see it, I think, to understand it.

    It is also possible to use your bike to hold up your bug netting and allow you to use your hammock as a bivy. If you didn't bring a pad, it might not be comfortable, but it might get you through a treeless area without the need for a tent. Some pictures here: http://hennessyhammock.com/articles/cycling/

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    I have lots of army surplus equipment one piece is a jungle hammock. They work pretty well and have built in netting some have rain fly built in some separate. Without mooring points they can be set up as a bivy for warm weather ground sleeping with just a couple poles and some paracord.

    Army surplus don’t cost much and are stealth. They are normally not the lightest things out there. I have a surplus MMS (sleep system) that comes with a ground bivy. If I had plans of taking the jungle hammock I would take the bivy bag out and replace it with the hammock, pretty much an even weight trade. Mine doesn’t have a fly but I carry a GI poncho that works as a fly and will double as outerwear and I have used it as a rain cape on the bike also. Another great companion GI product is the poncho liner and depending where you travel it could be your sleep system with the hammock and poncho.

    Things like trees and poles work best for hanging a hammock, something heavy and immovable. I haven’t had any luck with building a support or finding something light enough to carry along. The bike frame and ropes and stake ideas I don’t have much faith in. I have used my regular lightweight hammock hung from a limb as a very comfortable camp seat.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

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    I have dealt with this two ways. Both pretty obvious. One is to carry both. If you are all into ultralight, your sleeping gear weighs only a few pounds, some of it is dual use, and I just carry both a tarp and hammock camping outfits. Works out about the same as regular lightweight camping gear. I prefer sleeping on the ground and use hammocks in heavily treed stealth areas. A lot of bike camping where I go is endless private homes and farms, and the non tresspass options are often public land like steep sidings. Good for hammocks. So there is a point to carrying both.

    The other way is to carry just one, which normally for me is a light tent or tarp. Not a hammock. Many folks are not super comfortable in hammocks. I came across the phenomenon when I was researching hammocks, and there are certain experts who have bought many different models, and are opining on them. Then you get deep enough into their blogs to discover that they have never been able to sleep through the night in one of these things. So just as there are people super devoted to them others are not so sold, and I only use them when the terrain dictates.

  7. #7
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    If you don't mind a compromise, you can work out a gear system that does a pretty good job hanging or on the ground, without much of a weight sacrifice.

    You have to forgo an underquilt, and sleep on a sleeping pad for insulation while in the hammock, and while this setup isn't ideal, it' still pretty comfy. If you carry a separate tarp, and a light weight pole or two (or just rely on found objects), then you can set up the same tarp as a fly over the hammock and a pretty bomber ground shelter as well.

    So long as your insulation works for both applications (a sleeping pad and a wide enough quilt) then the only item that doesn't do double duty is the hammock itself. If you have one with an integrated bug net, you can set it up as a bivy under your tarp, or you can carry something like this bug bivy.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
    If you don't mind a compromise, you can work out a gear system that does a pretty good job hanging or on the ground, without much of a weight sacrifice.

    You have to forgo an underquilt, and sleep on a sleeping pad for insulation while in the hammock, and while this setup isn't ideal, it' still pretty comfy. If you carry a separate tarp, and a light weight pole or two (or just rely on found objects), then you can set up the same tarp as a fly over the hammock and a pretty bomber ground shelter as well.

    So long as your insulation works for both applications (a sleeping pad and a wide enough quilt) then the only item that doesn't do double duty is the hammock itself. If you have one with an integrated bug net, you can set it up as a bivy under your tarp, or you can carry something like this bug bivy.
    These are good thoughts. I don't like a pad in my hammock, so when I was worried about sleeping on the ground, I carried a separate pad, but I used it so seldom, that I gave up on it on the last trip and decided that I would sleep on the hard ground if it came to that. But if there had been a possibility of cold weather, then ground + no pad could have been very uncomfortable. I did have a poncho that I might use as a ground cloth underneath the hammock, just to keep me dry and keep the hammock from getting damaged, but it never came to that.

    Seems like you would want some kind of bug netting whether in the hammock or out of it, so probably best to find a way to make your hammock netting do double duty. Because my hammock and netting are one, using it as a bivy makes sense, but with separate components, I guess you just want to make sure the netting can function on the ground, too.

    For poles, if I wasn't planning on spending many days on the ground, that seems like it might be overkill. At most you might have one pole and use your bike for the other end. For my part, I use a ClickStand, so I figure with my bike at one end and my ClickStand at the other, I could make a workable, if short, shelter for the night.

  9. #9
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
    These are good thoughts. I don't like a pad in my hammock, so when I was worried about sleeping on the ground, I carried a separate pad, but I used it so seldom, that I gave up on it on the last trip and decided that I would sleep on the hard ground if it came to that. But if there had been a possibility of cold weather, then ground + no pad could have been very uncomfortable. I did have a poncho that I might use as a ground cloth underneath the hammock, just to keep me dry and keep the hammock from getting damaged, but it never came to that.
    I did say compromise. A closed cell foam pad is pretty good in a hammock, but not as nice as an under-quilt. It's also alright on the ground, but not as good as one of the new generation inflatables. Going to ground on a cold night without any bottom insulation could be very bad. I suppose it's unlikely to do major harm, but you probably won't get a good nights sleep.

    Ultimately it comes down to a bit of risk analysis, if the weather isn't to cold, then the worst that can happen if you go to ground without a sleeping pad is a poor nights sleep. Even if it's cold, if you have a way to bail out, then you can be fine as well. I suppose you really only have to be worried under the most extreme circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
    Seems like you would want some kind of bug netting whether in the hammock or out of it, so probably best to find a way to make your hammock netting do double duty. Because my hammock and netting are one, using it as a bivy makes sense, but with separate components, I guess you just want to make sure the netting can function on the ground, too.

    For poles, if I wasn't planning on spending many days on the ground, that seems like it might be overkill. At most you might have one pole and use your bike for the other end. For my part, I use a ClickStand, so I figure with my bike at one end and my ClickStand at the other, I could make a workable, if short, shelter for the night.
    Some kind of hammock sock style bug net would be a pretty easy and adaptable way to cover you, both in the hammock and on the ground.

    Poles are easy to ad lib, and you can often do without if there are trees, rocks, sticks or just about anything else around. I've had some luck setting up my tarp using just my bike. I pull off the front wheel, jack up the seat post and pitch a tarp flying diamond style over the seat and front wheel. There is plenty of space for two people and all our gear underneath. The second persons bike gets left out in the rain though.

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    I haven't run into that situation with my Hennessy but if I ever do I just figure I'll tie one end to my bike and another to something else so that the ridge line is able to keep the mosquito netting out of my face. I haven't taken a pad with me yet so I'm sure that will be the most difficult . I've had the hammock for a year and a half and have spent about 80-90 nights in it throughout the west coast.

  11. #11
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Here's my solution to using a bike as one pole:

    http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...ad.php?t=36835

    So if you can find one tree, telephone pole, etc., you can hand your hammock.

    Bryan

  12. #12
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    I camped on the ground for a few nights this summer using the Hennessy Hammock tarp, and the shape isn't very suitable for ground sleeping. There are other more square shaped tarps that probably work better, I have considered making a "Mac Cat" tarp clone, or buying one if I can raise the money.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    I love that bike-as-one-pole idea. I may have to look into that. I've been toying with a plan to get two, segmented poles that could be used as a tree-free, portable hammock stand, but anything strong enough to hold me up is also going to have some weight to it. With this concept, I could bring one pole and cut the weight in half.

    I agree that the standard Hennessy tarp is not great as a ground structure. I have a much larger tarp that I sometimes carry that would probably work better, but I've stopped carrying it because the Hennessy travels so much better. But it is one of those things I can bust out if it seems more likely that I'll have use for it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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    I like the stand that Alamosa (link in Rob_E's early post) came up with along with his boom stakes. I have been trying to think of a collapsable pole. A couple of ideas have come up. There is the use of the Kelty Tarp Poles. I am waiting for the test report before buying some for myself. There is also J. Falk's idea. I'm not too keen on the play in the wood/pvc connection on this method. If the Kelty Poles don't work out so well, I will probably go with aluminum tubes than can nest.

    One pole stand and a tree/rock/pole/bike should keep me off of the ground. Using Alamosa's ideas would mean two short aluminum poles and four boom stakes, two stakes for the pole and two for the bike. This and a couple of long whoopies should do the trick.
    Learn what's a platform pedal.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
    I like the stand that Alamosa (link in Rob_E's early post) came up with along with his boom stakes. I have been trying to think of a collapsable pole. A couple of ideas have come up. There is the use of the Kelty Tarp Poles. I am waiting for the test report before buying some for myself. There is also J. Falk's idea. I'm not too keen on the play in the wood/pvc connection on this method. If the Kelty Poles don't work out so well, I will probably go with aluminum tubes than can nest.
    Kelty Poles would be great if they could take the weight, although a little pricey to my mind for something you might seldom use. I was looking at these as a possibility. They're heavier than the Kelty poles, but cheaper as well, and, having talked to someone who used them for another type of stand, they sound fairly sturdy as well. They don't nest for transport, and that, combined with the weight (I think they're over 2 pounds per segment and probably require 4 segments to make two poles that are tall enough.) might make them a pain to deal with, but I'm wondering if you couldn't use one Alamosa-style set up at one end with your bike as the other end. Alamosa's boom stakes would probably have use in staking the bike down as well as the pole.

    Kelty Tarp pole may be one of the lightest, most portable solutions, especially if you could get by with just one. Or, you could hope for at least one tree or other item for one end, and use the bike for the other end, in which case you'd need no pole, but just a sturdy way to stake the bike in place.

  16. #16
    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
    but I'm wondering if you couldn't use one Alamosa-style set up at one end with your bike as the other end. Alamosa's boom stakes would probably have use in staking the bike down as well as the pole.
    That is what I was planning on doing. The great thing about this style of stand is that you don't need it to be very tall. Hang your hammock the way you like it. Measure the height of the ends. This is the height of the poles needed. Instead of your normal suspension, just make a small loop, girth hitch it to the hammock and attach it to the pole.The pole will be at the very end of your hammock.

    This also will cause a shallower angle for the tie outs, meaning less force on the stakes.
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  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Black Diamond Mega Mid center poles are pretty sturdy.. sectional, aluminum..
    so not that long, folded.
    the Mega Light uses a center pole of Carbon fiber.
    can be bought separately thru REI.

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    If you happen to be in a campground, you can use the bike as one pole and the picnic table as the other. Better have some awesome stakes or something to tie off to, though.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamoni View Post
    If you happen to be in a campground, you can use the bike as one pole and the picnic table as the other. Better have some awesome stakes or something to tie off to, though.
    It might depend on the hammock, or the bike, or the table. My Hennessy has a ridge line that keeps the bugnet off my face and helps keep me from stringing the hammock part too tight. But that means there's a built in minimum height. I haven't experimented to figure out what that minimum height is, but the other month I had one tree and one picnic table, and I couldn't make it work until I added some height to the table. I like the idea of a bike as one end of the hammock, but without experimenting a little more, I would be concerned that the bike might not be tall enough, or would have to be lower end of the hammock (usually I put the head end a little lower anyway). I like the bike/picnic table idea because it eliminates the need to carry extra gear, but until someone gives it a try, I'd be concerned that it wouldn't be high enough.

  20. #20
    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    usually tying a hammock to a bike/pole/table ends up more as a bivy sack. You also probably need something under the hammock to prevent from damaging it at that point. I would just use a rainfly and pad if that's the only tying points I had.

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    Quote Originally Posted by juggleaddict View Post
    usually tying a hammock to a bike/pole/table ends up more as a bivy sack. You also probably need something under the hammock to prevent from damaging it at that point. I would just use a rainfly and pad if that's the only tying points I had.
    I always carry a tarp anyway, so it goes under the hammock in this situation. If you are going to place the pad on the ground as you suggest, you may as well put it under the hammock to prevent damage to the hammock, and enjoy being zipped inside to keep the bugs out.

    I used a Warbonnet Blackbird on my trip last year and slept extremely well. I met up with another rider and road with him for five days and had to be woken up by him since I was sleeping peacefully long after he woke. I always woke very rested, unlike when I used a tent.

  22. #22
    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    ahh, you seem like you have things much better together than I : P I got an eno with a rainfly and I have only spent one night in it so far. Hoping that sleeping in long sleeves will be enough to keep the bugs away now that it's fall. Will be taking my first multi-night trip next weekend and hoping the eno works fine for that. I don't know if I'll find a need for an under-tarp yet. I was trying to keep the weight down and I didn't want to buy another 80 dollar piece of material. . . They really give you the wrong impression when you go buy a tent or hammock. Yes, the tent/hammock will be around 100 bucks, but then you have a sleeping pad, sleeping bag if you care for it, tent tarp for underneith, bug net for hammock. . . the list keeps growing and suddenly you've spent 400 bucks. I guess the same can be said for buying bags for a touring bike, but I'm trying to gauge whether I'm willing to spend that much or I'll just "rough" it a while.

  23. #23
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggleaddict View Post
    ahh, you seem like you have things much better together than I : P I got an eno with a rainfly and I have only spent one night in it so far. Hoping that sleeping in long sleeves will be enough to keep the bugs away now that it's fall. Will be taking my first multi-night trip next weekend and hoping the eno works fine for that. I don't know if I'll find a need for an under-tarp yet. I was trying to keep the weight down and I didn't want to buy another 80 dollar piece of material. . . They really give you the wrong impression when you go buy a tent or hammock. Yes, the tent/hammock will be around 100 bucks, but then you have a sleeping pad, sleeping bag if you care for it, tent tarp for underneith, bug net for hammock. . . the list keeps growing and suddenly you've spent 400 bucks. I guess the same can be said for buying bags for a touring bike, but I'm trying to gauge whether I'm willing to spend that much or I'll just "rough" it a while.
    I think that's part of why I like hammocks so much, there is just so much room for fiddling and customization.

    I think the 'systems approach' that is so pervasive in the ultralight backpacking community has a lot of merit, and should be more pervasive, even among those who don't care so much about weight. It's very helpful in comparing different approaches.

    A typical 'sleep system' has a few main components, all serving a specific function, the traditional double walled tent provides protection from the rain, it provides a bug free space, and it provides protection from the wind, it also provides additional psychological benefits (closed spaces make some people feel more comfortable) and can contribute to warmth. The sleep system is supplemented by various insulation layers, typically in the form of a sleeping pad and sleeping bag. The main purpose of a sleeping pad is to insulate you from the ground, with the secondary function of adding comfort. It serves the same function as the sleeping bag in that regard.

    With a hammock, you have a lot more choices for the different functional components of your sleep system. Unlike a tent, which provides all functions in a single unit, you can customize a hammock to provide the functions you need without the functions you don't.

    If you don't camp when it's going to rain, and you can be confident in that condition, you are perfectly justified in leaving the rain fly at home because it is a separate component of your sleep system. Likewise, if you never camp places where bugs are a major issue, you have no call to have a full bug net.

    The hammock itself doesn't really have a comparable equivalent in the 'traditional' sleeping system, it fulfills the same function as a nicer sleeping pad, providing comfort.

    It also doesn't have to be expensive; as usual there is a tradeoff with cost and other features (like weight, pack-ability and durability), but you can have a pretty good hammock system for not much more than a tent.

    If I had to recommend a starting kit, you could do a lot worse than the Butt in a Sling hammock kit. Suspension can be difficult to figure out, and so it's nice to have a place to start. You could probably do it cheaper if you DIY, but you have to invest a lot more of your time to trial and error. If you start with the Grand Trunk Ultralight and add DIY whoopie slings and tree-huggers, you could probably get a good hammock system for $40.

    You have to add to this the other functions of a sleeping system though, namely weather protection and insulation. Insulation is easiest to achieve through the standard sleeping bag and pad, which work pretty well (but not ideally) in a hammock.

    Weather protection can be as simple as a blue tarp from the hardware store. Another $30 or so will get you a large enough tarp to provide you with all the coverage you could need (8X10 is a good place to start). You can spend more money and get a lighter one, but you don't need to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by juggleaddict View Post
    ahh, you seem like you have things much better together than I : P I got an eno with a rainfly and I have only spent one night in it so far. Hoping that sleeping in long sleeves will be enough to keep the bugs away now that it's fall. Will be taking my first multi-night trip next weekend and hoping the eno works fine for that. I don't know if I'll find a need for an under-tarp yet. I was trying to keep the weight down and I didn't want to buy another 80 dollar piece of material. . . They really give you the wrong impression when you go buy a tent or hammock. Yes, the tent/hammock will be around 100 bucks, but then you have a sleeping pad, sleeping bag if you care for it, tent tarp for underneith, bug net for hammock. . . the list keeps growing and suddenly you've spent 400 bucks. I guess the same can be said for buying bags for a touring bike, but I'm trying to gauge whether I'm willing to spend that much or I'll just "rough" it a while.
    The tarp I had for underneath, is an old, lightweight tarp that is metallic on one side and red on the other. It is extremely light and was inexpensive. I have had it for over 20 years. I wish I knew where I got it. I used it on the ground under the hammock so I could put all my gear there, including the bike. It was like parking my bike in a garage. I have the Warbonnet Mamajamba tarp as my rainfly. I rode to Washington DC during Hurricane Irene and stayed very dry.

    Eno makes a nice bug net for their hammocks. It is reasonably priced at around $55. Of course I have a friend who has camped in hammocks for years and did just as you are doing.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Someone just posted this in the trailer thread: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nSnEVJTU3Q

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