Better than a bivi bag?
While I've never had to spend an unplanned night out in the woods there's always a first time, and at only a couple pounds, this could be a lifesaver!
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
OK, that is sweet. A tiny bit of luxury in a bad situation.
After running out of water on a long hot hike a few weeks ago I went straight to MEC and bought a water filter. My camera pack is getting full of non-photography related stuff! Between the water filter, first-aid kit, compass, map, knife, matches, water and food, it's a good thing the SPOT satellite messenger goes on the outside
Guess I need a bigger pack...
Excursion gear mounts up quickly! Before you know it, you're lugging a 45lb pack without your 11X14 & tripod/holders/etc.
I do have a rather large waist pack that holds the water bottles, lunch, first aid kit and my emergency shelter which is just a coated light nylon 8X10 tarp & some line. Versatile and lighter than the Hennessy. Even room for some photo gear in there (but I'm one of those miniature format guys)
There've been many discussions on the merits and drawbacks of these hammocks over on Paddling.net, if you're interested in some first-hand reviews. I've paddled and camped with quite a few posters there and they seem to really USE their gear hard; I would trust some of their opinions.
Hammocks don't bring back pleasant memories for me. I had a bad fall when I was working in the Amazon, and cracked and bent a few ribs. I couldn't straighten out, so I thought I'd sleep in a hammock instead of in the tent. It was quite painful getting into the hammock, but once there, not too bad. I had some of the local pain-killer which was a big help. I did manage to get to sleep, but something woke me up in the middle of the night. Raindrops. Then thunder and lightening. I figured I had to get to the tent, so with the aid of the bottle of pain killer, started the hammock swinging and let myself fall on the ground. By then it was pissing down rain, and clay mud everywhere. I started crawling to the tent, which I could only see when there was lightening. I'd go a little way, then wait for the lightening to show me the way. Finally I made it, and spent the rest of the night in the tent, soaking wet and covered in mud. Fortunately there was still some of the pain-killer left to see me to the morning.
If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284
Hennessy hammocks are great. I have two and prefer the expedition model with the oversized hex tarp. They are very comfortable, light, easy to set up. You don't need flat ground. You do need trees or something similar though, so desert is rough. Also, they are a bit chilly in cold weather. I plan to get a Big Agnes sleeping bag for use in the hammock because they have an integrated pad for insulation. Otherwise the hammock compresses the insulation.
I also have an Outdoor Research Goretex bivy sack. Hands down, the hammock is better. Much more room, more comfort, less claustrophobic.
If you get one, get the snake skin attachments which are really slick.
The ergonomics of getting in/out and sleeping require a brief learning curve but you won't go back.
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Murray does seem to come up with some really interesting topics for the "Miscellaneous" category.
I am one of the bivi sack guys. Some of the places I go to do not have trees, so the idea of a hammock is not practical there. Yes, I have waited out a string of thunderstorms in the OR bivi sack. Not really fun, but it was much better than being out in it. The winds would have just blown away the silcone-nylon tarp.
The observations regarding the size of the pack and the ability to carry your cameras along with everything needed to stay out an unexpected day or two are valid. This is not unlike the guys in the army who volunteered to be radio operators. They carried all of their normal gear PLUS the radio. It is encouraging to read the list provided by Chris Jones. If you looked at his list, most of the normal wilderness "ten essentials" are there.
When they ask you how many megapixels are in your camera, just tell them; "I use activated silver-bromide crystals for my storage medium."