Pillow Talk

Stuff: new 9.7oz down jacket [faux GhostWhisperer… seen/reviewed in post below…scroll down] and an old [very soft/ single side-seam/ round bottom] OT250* compression sack … use scissors… 40 seconds.
Yield: 12″x 5″dia/ 10.3oz downy-soft pillow… basically free.
[I]I left one strap long pending inspiration/determination of attachment for hammock.[/I]
It will stuff down further into the jacket’s own stuff sack…. just bigger than a soda can, and I’d carry the jacket anyway.

 

* Ozark Trail 250 [fill weight] down sleeping bag. Retailed at $89 at WallyWorld a few years ago. Mine was on “red-tag” since someone had pulled the cardboard info sleeve off… $59, I think. An incredible value. Anyone who was able to pick one up at that point, got an amazing deal. Wally hit it outta the park on this one! Super soft, down-proof fabric/ 700+ duck down/ very light/ stuffed down small/ claimed temp range was 32°… more like 40°. Perfect 3-season bag, and very easy to turn into a TQ for hammock camping. You can find my original review under “sleeping bags” in the nav sidebar…

Drip-breaks for Hammocks

Sometimes when it rains, it pours. We have all been out in our hammocks when the rain’s come down right wickud. When it rains that hard, it’s very easy for the water to migrate down your hammock suspension and eventually start soaking the ends of your rig.

Our man Shug, Master of mirth and merriment, juggler extraordinaire, and the go-to-guy for tips and videos on everything regarding hammocking, just suggests tying an old sock around your suspension. That works… not very elegant, and your socks stay wet, but it works.

I wanted something a little bit better, and something that would remain on my suspension full-time. I have been reasonably satisfied with a simple loop of mason’s twine dangling down from my continuous loops. So I took off from there.

I had some old water skiing and tubing towline. I gutted out two, 8″ sections of some half-inch line, singed the ends on the gas burner, stuck a chopstick through one end to make a hole, and pushed my continuous loop right through.

        

You can see the partz-is-partz on the right…

What I really like about this solution is that the drip line is back under the end of my tarp, beyond the rain. Now, I haven’t tested these out and in a real toad floater yet… I just put them on this morning. But my other solutions where I’ve had my drip lines actually on the continuous loops have always served me in good stead. I’m not sure I see the point in having drip lines attached any where further out on the suspension. The edge of my tarp is where the rain is going to stop landing.

 

BONUS: Hint #2~~ The yellow stuff is a slightly larger diameter ski rope that I also gutted. The two yellow sections on the left of the photo have a section of the green line inserted inside end to end. All four segments are also flame sealed at the ends. This allows me to pass some thin Dyneema/ Zing-it type line through the entire length of the doubled sections.

Why? For the same reason we all use tree straps… To Be Responsible. If I am hanging off of trees with a thin bark like Birch or Beech, These cuffs give added protection from harm by the extremely thin line that might otherwise damage the cambium layer of the bark. If too many people use the same two trees and are careless about the way they hang, the trees can suffer.

 

Return of the Prodigal Spork

18 months ago I lost my sweet SnowPeak titanium Spork.

I broke camp in the middle of the night because of the appalling nature of the coked-up junkies in the next site. They had returned at 1 AM, started a screaming match, and were being abusive to a three-year-old child. I left to go to the police department and turn in a CHINS report.

When it came time to sort my gear out down cellar after I got home, I discovered I must’ve left my spork behind. I knew it had been sitting out on the picnic table, and I pretty much assumed that I had just overlooked it in my hurry to be gone. I wrote it off as “Oh,well…” and eventually got around to ordering another one off of Amazon when they went on sale.

I was really fond of that little sucker. So fond that I actually used it around the house on a daily basis. [I am on my own since my wife passed away, and using the spork for a lot of things made it easier to just stay caught up on my dishes]. That’s why I sprung for a second one.

For under $10, I highly recommend these. They are available from Snow Peak and several other folks in basically identical form factors. You can even get them heat-anodized into various colors. The prongs are just long enough and sharp enough actually hold food, and the”spoon” is decently sized for scooping up liquids. If your broth is really thin, you are probably better slurping it up over the edge of your cup bowl and using the spork to clean up the chunks. And it’s just long enough cannot leave your fingers completely grotty if you were dipping down into a freeze-dry bag. It’s a great choice if you want to hold your carry down to a single eating utensil. With a good knife to cut things up, It’s really all you need.

Anyway, for all those reasons, I was really delighted when I put on my hunting vest recently and found it tucked in a pocket. I hadn’t “lost” it after all.

eLiza’s Bling Bags

BlingBags

Those who camp are subject to buying “bling” to trick out their gear. Carabiners, clips, mitten hooks, whatever, there are a lot of small things that can make your gear more useful. In the hammocking circle, the really cool stuff for your suspension is made from titanium… Super strong, Super lightweight, Super pricey.

Super easy to drop into the leaf mold and lose forever. Enter the “Bling Bag”.

My old flame and high school sweetheart [who has reentered my life] made me up these drawstring bags with mesh interior pockets to keep my tiny goodies safe and secure. The greatest part about them is that, when opened only partway, they create an actual bowl so that your parts-is-parts won’t fall out.

We are going to be making these up in a limited quantity. If you might be interested leave a message in the comments. [and, No Worries, Mate… I will redact any email addresses before approving the comment to appear]

Army-Navy Finds

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My friend Norton from down in Virginia posted some photos online of he and his son tarping it and cooking some MRE chows out in the growing snowpocalypse that was Storm Jonas. I was very taken with the aluminum mug in one of the photos and pulled this clipping from it.

He told me it was a Russian Army issue that is much heavier gauge material than you would expect from the old-timey Boy Scout ones. I really do like the handle styling.

This is the kind of thing that you can sometimes pick up out at a yard sale or an Army Navy store that will turn out to be substantially better than a lot of things for sale in the camping catalogs. “Mil-Spec” items, regardless of nationality, are really made to take a beating. Finds like these are why am always happy to go cruise around a junk shop.

I have [metaphorically] kicked myself in the behind many times over the years for having passed up a knife/fork/spoon set at an Army Navy store down in New Bedford one time. I think it was all of $4 for a set. Made for the Swedish Army, stainless steel, and only two thirds the length of standard US mess flatware, but with the spoon bowl and fork tines full size. Even my new titanium camping set isn’t as sweet as the memory of that passed up opportunity.

Don’t be afraid to grab up stuff. You can always pass it on to others, or it might turn out to be your favorite gear.

What’s In YOUR Ditty Bag…?

According to John Rogers in Origins of Sea Terms: a Ditty Bag is “a small bag in which a sailor keeps small tools and equipment, also personal articles” .

My friend Jerry [aka: Snaggletooth] from my hammocking circles was kind enough to let me re-blog his post about what he keeps in his. He has really managed to cram an awful lot of small quantities of possible needs into a small volume.

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BAG 1: Survival

  • Space blanket
  • Write in rain paper
  • Coffee Filter
  • Duct tape square
  • Plastic Mirror
  • Electrical tape and screw
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Tooth Pick, bobby Pin, Needle, paper clip,Shrink tube
  • Pencil with Duct tape
  • Aluminum clip
  • Tin Foil
  • Braided cord
  • Water purification Tabs
  • Esbit Fuel
  • Knife
  • Mini Bic
  • Laundry lint (cotton)[fire starter]
  • Fire starter chunk
  • Fire steel striker and jute

BAG 2-: First Aid

  • Misc Bandages
  • Gauze
  • Burn Cream
  • Neosporin
  • Mole skins
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Ora-gel
  • General Ointment
  • Insect bite aid
  • Aspirin
  • Mucinex
  • Tums
  • Lorazepam
  • Ibuprofen
  • ALeve
  • Anti-diarrhea

Bag 3: Hygiene

  • Pre Ivy towel
  • Mini towel
  • Boogie wipe
  • Insect repellent
  • Witch hazel towel
  • Floss packets
  • Gum picks
  • Toothbrushes
  • Hand lotion
  • Baby powder
  • Multi chap tube
  • Q-tip
  • Itch cream
  • Razor
  • Comb
  • Reading glasses

He also has a BAG 4: with TP, Baby wipes  spade [cathole tool?], and bandana

He told me that he gets many of these “smalls” in small quantities from Minimus.biz [free s&h with $20 orders]

Thanks for the post and info, Snagg…

A Hot Tip For Cold Feet

There is a “hammock hang” planned for out in Western Massachusetts in a couple of weekends, and making sure that people come with proper footwear is a great concern for the responsible, and experienced, old-timers. Frostbitten tootsies equal hospital visits. And the E.R. is a less than optimal way to have your weekend turn out… the whining is also pretty annoying. You just can’t count on keeping your feet warm by holding them out toward a fire.

So, I just cherry-picked a great tip from my friends SkyPainter and Nighthauk over on HammockForums.

It is the simple genius of cutting a couple of pieces of Reflectix insulation to the shape of the liners for your pakboots like the Sorels, Kamiks, Bogs or LL Bean Ducks, and placing them underneath the felts. These will help reflect both the warmth back upward to your feet, and the cold back toward the ground… Thanks guys!

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1451102038.744847 [photo from Nighthauk]