Wednesday, June 27, 2012

First Flight of the Blackbird

I spent Saturday night testing my new hammock, the Warbonnet Blackbird I posted about several weeks ago.  Here is what I have to say about the experience.

It was interesting.  Being the first time I'd camped out in a hammock it took some adjustment and finagling to get comfortable.  Add to that my inability to regulate body temperature well and the lack of my CPAP machine for my sleep apnea, and it wasn't what I would call a fully restful night.  But it also wasn't horrible.

I awoke
not necessarily rested, but also not in pain as I have in so many outings using a traditional tent.  As a bonus, I was able to roll out of bed and not put a knee down onto a rock, root or other painful object.  In fact, I swung my legs out and just sat there looking at the morning until I was ready to slip my feet into my waiting shoes stand up.  I am seeing great potential in this hammock thing.

Some preliminary observation that will need to be addressed:
  1. For experimentation I used my Thermorest Neo-air full length sleeping pad to provide some insulation.  I noticed that the hammock fabric breaths readily and lets my body cool nicely.  On a hot summer night that would be wonderful, but definitely bad if the temp gets much below 50F.  The pad insulated well, but it was difficult to find a happy position to sleep.  Too far left or right and I would roll off the pad in an uncomfortable position.  I will certainly be looking to use an underquilt for insulation.  I will, however, keep the pad in my inventory should I need emergency insulation or if I am forced to camp on the ground or in a shelter.
  2. As a temporary shelter, I used an 8x10 standard tarp in an diamond configuration.  I need to work on getting the tarp rigging and the hammock rigging to line up with equal coverage at foot and head ends.  I also have to do more investigation into adjusting the height of the tarp relative to the hammock, and getting the right tension in the tie-outs.  If it had rained heavily, I have a feeling there would have been a big pool of water settling right over my head in the tarp.
  3. I need to get a better feel for the hammock adjusting.  Despite a good deal of time twiddling with the strap length and positions, I still felt as though my feet were higher than they should have been.  Practice through trial and error I suppose.
For the most part it was a good night, with many more hopefully to follow.  I have already ordered the materials for a hexagon tarp tent, and will soon be ordering the materials for a 30 deg. down underquilt.  Plenty to keep me busy on these horribly hot summer days.

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