Stuff I’ve Liked ~ Part 2

Now we are into the BIG stuff. I hate spending money, but sometimes you have to to get what you need/want. The AMOK Draumr 3.0 Hammock.  [AND…>>>X<<<]

I never did a real review, so here’s some thoughts from my time with mine so far:

I LOVE this damn thing! …it makes me crazy some of the time, but I do love it. Simply put, there is no hammock that is as comfortable for a side-sleeper like me.

To get a decent idea of what the AMOK is you are better off reading a couple of reviews or watching Shug’s great video:

When I first decided to try hammock camping instead of settling for the cold, cold ground, I spent a couple of nights in a mass market hammock that I purchased off of Amazon. Subsequently, I found Hammock Forums, saw the light, heard the Word and sent that one back for a refund. The AMOK is what I bought instead because it seemed like it would give me everything I needed all at once, without “dickin’ around” trying and buying like a crazed Goldilocks. It took no time at all on the forums to realize that that was an all too likely trap to fall into.

After two years of owning it I still love it. It did indeed keep me from having to try everything under the sun [and, fortunately, I can do just that at the group hangs… folks love to show off their own gear and let you try it out]. However, there are some truths to be told.

The Amok Draumr can be fiddly as all get out:

  • it needs to be dead-level side-to-side or you roll one way or the other
  • it ain’t as easy getting in and out as with sling type hammocks… it takes practice not to look like you are flailing in the grasping jaws of an alien
  • in that same vein… with the tarp snugged down, it’s tough getting into it since it hangs front to back under the slope of the tarp… you end up poking against the tarp
  • the only tarp that works with the Draumr is the one that comes with it… no super-sizing for extra room when the weather comes in harsh… no door kit to close off the ends
  • you still have to pump up the inflatable pad that gives it structure and rigidity… just like tenting
  • no matter the pad you choose, they are a pain to fit into the sleeve, and a pain to find the right inflation point
  • it’s all too easy to sit on the integrated bugnet and possibly damage it while you flail your way in, and the bugnet is far less easy to deploy once you are in the hammock
  • it’s not as simple to set up in the dark or rain as “ordinary” hammocks
  • Personally, I find the recliner mode overrated… you are still leaning a good way back, not sitting up
  • it is difficult to impossible to sit in your AMOK and cook… not that would if I could. I prefer a camp chair, even if it is under the tarp in the rain.
  • you have to explain the AMOK Draumr to a lot of people who are curious… even the name

That sounds like a lot of negatives, still, on the positive side:

  • when you camp a lot, you get used to all the fiddly bits, just like you do to everything about camping
  • I really like being able to look directly out at my view or campsite
  • porch mode with a pole works great for ventilation in warm weather
  • You don’t need an under quilt
  •  the “comfy” far outweighs the “fiddly” …for me at least
  • lots of built-in room for your stuff to be handy… like the water bottle holder
  • there is nothing more comfortable if you side-sleep!
  • you get to meet a lot of nice people who are curious

As time went by, I did add some personal mods to my Draumr:

  • There is a head-end bungee pullout to help keep the bugnet up off you. I added enough length and a lift point sewn to the tarp so that it would raise it even higher
  • The ridge of a Draumr is up and outside the bugnet. You can’t hang things on it… like drying your socks overnight once you take them off, or slipping the bow of your glasses over it before you go to sleep to keep them safe. I made an interior “ridgeline” with a hanging organiser that rolls up into the bugnet pocket for storage, but can be deployed to keep stuff handy like my phone [and the little fan seen above]
  • I put two loops on the head and foot so that the whole thing can be folded up in half to get it out of the way in daytime

For me the AMOK Draumr has been a great hammock. If you read and watched some of the reviews I put at the top of the post, you saw how impressed some very experienced folks were with this new design.

This is not the hammock if you are planning long hikes, or thru-hikes like the PCT and AT. This is not the hammock if you are an out-and-out gram weenie regardless of how long your hikes are. Its weight is indeed more than other hammock rigs, but not by much, and it is really not that much more bulk if you take into consideration the hammock/bugnet/tarp/UQ/straps and suspension/etc that all go into making up a full hammocking setup. Nor is it that much more expensive.

It is a great hammock for site or base camping, bicycling, canoeing/kayaking, pulking in in winter, or horseback camping and the like.

My only reservation in all of this is that the second time I went out with my Draumr one of the tubes in my sleeping pad blew out on a seam, and that night was like sleeping with a very large baguette alongside. Uncomfortable at the very least. That single, aberrant occurrence has made me the tiniest bit hinky about trusting the AMOK Draumr entirely. I feel like there is that “just possible” chance of system failure, and even when car camping as I usually do, that’s a PITA. I doubt whether this is of real concern. I have a whole bunch of night of wonderful sleep since then with no consequences. It’s just me being me.

But I do love to sprawl when I sleep…

  • I’ll go 7.5 out of 10 here

Bonus: I never got this posted, but the Draumr got a slight features update last summer

Jonas has put up a new “instructable” on the Draumr 3. Very little has really changed since I got my V 3.0 in 2015… my ridge is a strap, the new versions have Dyneema line/ the footbox is a bit larger, but I never had problems with it anyway.

When you watch the video, you will notice the Jonas mentions”chair mode”. While they call it “chair”, it is far more like being almost fully laid back in a recliner…  It is handy, and a nice difference from other hammocks, but you don’t feel like you are sitting upright.

*******************************

Despite my claim against Goldilocksing, I have also picked up several standard sling or “banana” hammocks since I got started down the slippery slope of hammock camping. Premier among them is the Chameleon Hammock from Dutchware.

[the problem with hammock photos is that they mostly look like a bunch of saggy fabric… this one is from HF member Us5Camp and comes from the “Chameleons In the Wild” thread there]

Basically, the Dutchware Chameleon is a standard gathered end hammock with an asymmetrical, “reversible” bugnet that can be attached to allow a diagonal lay for either head-left/feet right or head-right/feet-left. But… it has much, much more on offer as well.

Versatile, well made, tons of options to add on later… you can start with just the basic 11′ x 58″ body for only $125, use what else you already have and buy what you need as you want. It also comes in what I believe is 68″ wide for those “big and tall”. All the zippers and attachment points are standard, but there are about 30 choices spread among colors and fabrics.  The only thing to remember is that you will want a tarp as well, but for that you can choose from any of the vendors. Unlike the Draumr, size, shape and construction features are up to you and your budget.

The best introduction to the Chameleon is to see it the way most of us first did… here’s a link to the Kickstarter offering that launched it last winter. Check it out. The video is nearly the first thing you will come to scrolling down.

Here is what I posted about mine when it first came.

Here is Shug’s quick take.

Below is my own Chameleon with the one-off, custom, seasonal top cover that Dutch made me from our mutual friend Justin’s outrageous “Fallen Leaves” patterned fabric. I can use the cover as dew protection when I don’t want to put up a tarp, or to add some warmth and breeze protection when the weather goes nastier. I also have the bugnet that came with mine originally… I’m set for any season! Mine is in Coyote Brown Hexon 1.6 fabric [body].

In the Chameleon Dutchware manages to combine features that were getting traction among the rest of the hammocking community and enough innovations and original refinements to make it unique. What he achieved is what many people consider to be the best hammock currently available… and it’s darn good lookin’!  The Hexon 1.6 fabric used on mine has enough stretch and give to conform to your body, and a wonderful cotton feel that you don’t find in any of the “parachute” cloth hammocks in the general market. It’s like sleeping on sheets at home.

When I saw the Kickstarter, I really wanted to get one. That is a tough thing to say because I am friends with many of the CV guys now. I know how great the gear that each of them offers really is, and it hard to single out any one as “best”. However, I am as much in love with my Chameleon as I am with the AMOK Draumr. It’s too close to call as to which of even those two choices might be the best. I’m glad I am able to have both.

 

And… that there, my friends, is the Dutchman hisself, in one of his own creations. I am very pleased to call Dutch my friend. I met him two Springs ago when he came up from Pennsylvania for the “Burning Men”/”Hammock Home” hang that ATTroll and I collaborated on. Dutch is truly one of the hammocking communities best ambassadors and spokespersons, one of its most inspired innovators, and owns one of the most successful cottage vendor businesses. These vendors, working out of small shops or their own basements, are what make the hammocking community so vibrant, and are the most compelling reason to abandon the big internet vendors who only sell, who mass-produce overseas, and do not themselves use the products. The CV folks use what they make and their knowledge is poured back into their products. The most wonderful thing about Dutch is that, while he has outstriped any real definition of cottage vendor as his business has grown, he started out as one, and will always be a “cottage vendor” in his own heart and those of his customers.

  • Chameleon gets the 99 & 44/100s out of 10
Advertisements

Reminiscence #9683

I just had one of those “Sherman! Set the Wayback Machine for…” moments.

When I was a kid growing up in Michigan, back in the 1950s, my best friend was Tom Sawyer.

No joke, Thomas Collins Sawyer Junior, or Tommy [“Big” Tom was my father’s university colleague, best friend, and former college roommate]. They lived catty corner behind us, with our yards joining at one corner.

In a post on another forum, I mentioned camping for over 50 years. After I had posted, I realized that was incorrect. Tommy and I started camping when we were probably six or seven years old… just out in the backyard, in crummy old sleeping bags, on a tarp, under the wonder of the stars. I’m 68 years old now, so that means I’ve been camping for over 60 years.

My, my, my. Same stars, but how the time does fly.

Old Timey Scouting

This a bit vintage even for me, but this is pretty much where I started, too. Army surplus two-piece canvas tents with no floor [and no blue plastic tarps to put down under you], hemp and sisal rope, wooden pegs, jerry cans, neckerchiefs with hand-carved slides, wool, and whatever shoes you owned.

We.Had.A.Ball!

Now I’ve Got Having An Island On My Bucket List

My friend Steve insists that he has not been holding out on me but….

Steve’s Island, owned and managed by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. Part of the cluster of islets between Stonington and Isle Au Haut.

Now… THAT’s the “way life is supposed to be”!

Bet I could find a pair of trees to hang my hammock on that lil’ baby… might never leave.

“Flash Loops”

Made this proof-of-concept up yesterday morning out of scrap line lying around on the coffee table.

Amsteel “dogbone” with GlowWire spliced into it to create daisy-chain loops for hanging gear.

Under tension, the hollow-core, braided amsteel lengthens and that constricts the line around the buried portions of the GlowWire like Chinese handcuffs. If the loops do pull thru and become unnecessarily longer, they can simply be tugged back open since they just lie against the amsteel.

Good for small gear on carabiners, hanging your shoes, or just stuff passed thru the loops.

These could be made right into the lower portions of a Whoopie Sling hammock suspension. With patience, they could probably be done in the smaller 1.75mm dyneema lines like Lash-It, and used on a fixed ridgeline between the ends of a hammock as well.

[… if it’s not clear, the running ends of the loop line are passed around the amsteel and then buried back inside toward the loops]