Richard Bucker

frustrated by hammock tarps

Posted at — Nov 14, 2018

has me thinking about bivy sacks again:Borah Gear Bug Bivy - 6oz, $73Borah Gear Ultralight Bivy - 5.6-6.5oz, $90Bear Paw Wilderness Designs - 9-21oz, $100-150Outdoor Vitals hammock sock - 7.6oz, $37Dutchware hammock sock -  8.1oz, $57Enlightened Equipment Recon Bivy - 7.35oz, $160Paria - 13oz, $59MLD Bug Bivy - 6.5oz, $125MLD Bug Bivy 2 - 7oz, $155the friendly swede pyramid bugnet - 5oz, $16sea to summit pyramid bugnet - 3oz, $34Outdoor Research Bug Bivy - 16oz, $89There are 2 types of bivys. The first is a more traditional version where the entire sack or apparatus is waterproof and self contained. There is a segment of the 1P tents that might also be considered bivy. The second is sort of a hybrid or even just a bugnet and sometimes just a bugnet tent.The checklist:cost - I think the cost should be less than $100. Anything more and you might as well buy a tent. There are many light weight tents in the $200 range. For example the SMD Skyscape Scout is $135 at 40oz. The deshutes plus is a SMD tarp with a bugnet skirt for $185 and stock or on demand - Anything you can buy on Amazon is usually good, however, there is a Prime premium. Just so long as you can reach out to the seller and request next day in the same range and it does not cost much.effective - holes per inch… The problem here is that noseeums are small. This site makes some recommendations in their products… 800 holes per inch. Sea to summit mentions 400.weight must be less than 8oz but I prefer 6ozmulti-function -  only the hammock sock and the pyramid meet this criteria although they require some DIY to get there.The rules:check as many boxes as possibleextra points for multi function extra points for comfortmattress or pad on the inside our outsidewith or without a blanketwith or without stakes stays putany bitesgroundsheet  tyvek or polycryoThe winner:I’m still recounting because I’m not sure when the hole size is for the different challengers. I’m also not 100% sure what the desired hole size is for keeping noseeums out. Update to follow tomorrow.UPDATE I corrected the weights of the two pyramids.As I continue to work out my options I’m reminded of that Fowler “tent vs hammock” video. Since it never took “tarp camping” into consideration I’ll say it here that tarp camping would have yielded the same outcome as the hammock.The next challenge is “what about the tarp”? In the configuration in my backyard right now I have my hammock stand, a 9x5’ tarp and a 9.8’ hammock. The first challenge is that the hammock will never fit under the tarp or at least not unoccupied because the hammocks stand is variable… also unless I extend the tarp, use a bigger one or the OV bugnet’s sock covers the exposed end I’m getting wet.This morning the outside of the tarp was soaked. It was humid and probably some rain last night. But that’s nothing compared to the underside.With the underside also soaked it’s impossible to get out of bed to go pee without getting wet. Strangely since the tarp is so high off the ground I’m surprised even a slight breeze did not leave the underside dry. Therefore [1] sleep with a dry rag of some kind. [2] use a larger tarp.Tarps:Borah 5.5x9 - 8oz, $53Borah 7x9 - 9.5oz, $98Bear Paw Wilderness Designs 10x10 - 19oz, $115Bear Paw Wilderness Designs 5.5x9 - 12oz, $96Yama 8.5x8.5 - 16oz, $140Snugpak Stash 5x8 - 12oz, $39Gossamer Gear Twinn - 8oz, $155Paria 10x8 Flat - 15.5oz, $79Paria 10x7 cat - 10oz, $74Outdoor Vitals 6 Sided 11x6.6 - 16oz, $79Yukon Outfitters 11x9 - 14oz, $39Sea to Summit hammock tarp 11x9 - 11oz, $149One of the things I like about the tarps with the 5ft width is that they tend to be seamless which means that the seam will not fail and is slightly lighter than the same size with a seam. The challenge with 5ft wide tarps is the rain. If there is a lot of it your probably getting wet. An A-frame will offer some protection but not a lot. (The Wooded Beardsman was just talking about a storm and how important shelter is.)Tieouts are a single point of failure. The more tieouts the more likely a failure but some of the tarps simply do not have enough. The Stash for one and the BPWD for second although you can customize the BPWD.Jupiterhikes was vlogging about tarp camping and his tarp of choice is Borah, however, that particular model is no longer available. And given manufacturing times the Paria is a good choice too. Jupiter clims to have used the same tarp for 5 years.Hammocks:Sea to Summit - vendor lock-in with straps 16oz, $69-79Outdoor Vitals - advertised as ultralight but is not - 9oz, $74Yukon Outfitters - most models are discontinuedHummingbird - extremely light weight however regular straps are kinda useless, 7.6oz, $69Eno - to heavy to research or careGround sheet:polycryo - super light and cheap. Easy to replace. $9tyvek - not completely waterproof, easy to replace $92Go remnants - not waterproof but better than tyvek, reflective coating providing some R value. Since it’s a remnant it’s not longer available.I wish the kit was completely clear but it’s not. It really depends whether the primary function is ground or hammock. I like the ground because there is no falling and there are more choices when things go sideways.The Combo kit:polycryo - it’s just too cheap and lightweight; but it’s dry until it’s not. Sucks that it might be stickytorso length pad or mattressblanketBorah bivy or OV sock? I think the sock wins. First it works with both hammocks and ground sleeping. Second swing it around and get an extra 5 degrees warmth. My first Borah bivy is essentially a sock. The OV weighs less and is half the price. I will need to experiment but I might be able to get an umbrella in here to give me some volume.Borah 7x9 or Paria 10x8 tarp will do the job. They have nearly the same cost and weight. Having that extra 2-3 foot width means keeping my pack close and dry. Where a 5x9 will barely keep me dry depending on the setup.The hammock is a harder choice. First I can save 7-10oz just by leaving it at home, however, depending on the mission it’s either a luxury item or a backup. So the hummingbird is a good first choice. And if hammocking were my first choice them the Sea to Summit kit would be my first choice.The fix is in. Not in the sense of an election but in terms of the tarp.  The 9x5/6 tarps are just fine with the Hummingbird single plus hammock as well as ground shelter. The pack can rest in foot area of the hammock and the OV bugnet will extend coverage of the tarp. This morning there was some weather so my back was chilled. I added a torso length  1/8 inch foam pad and my back was toasty. There was a log of friction between my clothes and the pad so getting it into the right position was a challenge but not impossible. Even thought the comfort level is increasing I’m a side or stomach sleeper and that is a hammock nightmare.