Just what it sez !
Just what it sez !
I would be less than a friend if I didn’t give my buddy Dutch a pump up on his new hammock. Originally asking for only $22,000, this Kickstarter portion of the project has now concluded with something over $200,000 in sales. All of those hammocks are currently being shipped out, and Dutch hopes to have the retail Chameleons available for order by sometime in mid June.
I had a chance to see one of the early-bird KS versions last weekend at the group hang down in Massachusetts. I was tremendously impressed. Quality construction, flexibility of use, a really nice new suspension system…. Dutchware has really nailed it on this one. They did a great job on both the hammock as well as on the on the video below. You should get a fairly good idea of exactly what’s on offer.
You will still need both a tarp and an under quilt to complete your set up, [and of course a top quilt or sleeping bag]. However, with a Chameleon as your base, you should be able to bring your entire sleeping system in at somewhere right around 4-5 pounds for three-season use.
[I received no consideration for this post. I simply want to recognize what I believe to be an astoundingly good product.]
I like my home being well-hidden
A dwelling place cut off
From the world’s noise and dust
Trampling the grass has made three paths
Looking up at the clouds
Makes neighbor in the four directions
There are birds to help with
The sound of singing
But there isn’t anyone to ask about
The words of the Dharma today
Among these withered trees
How many years make one spring?
Eagles Nest Outfitters offers this complete hammock system for around $225 [depending on the vendors]. Mine came from REI; they currently show it priced at either $209 for $219* [this does not include the two down throws shown at the top of the photo]. The price difference being between an ordinary rain fly, and the “ProFly” which is catenary cut… see below. My unit includes the “Pro Fly”. While at 4.8 lbs it is not the lightest system available, it is an excellent entry level for folks to want to try “getting up off the ground”.
[*~~I have been an REI member since the early 1970s, so I was able to apply my membership discount. Members get approximately 10% back on all purchases over the year as a credit that they can then use for further purchases. Together with the credit remaining from a returned item and a sale discount, grabbing this was a whim purchase. I had planned to give it as a gift to a friend, however, they purchased a cottage vendor hammock on their own. Since I already own several other hammocks with varying types, this leaves me with a bit of redundancy which explains why the tags are still on the components… I may end up selling this before I ever hang it up! ]
The basic OneLink system includes:
Two down throws that are shown in the photo are what I intend to use for a top and bottom quilt to go with this set up. Again, if you’re new to hammocking, a top quilt is virtually identical to a mummy-style sleeping bag with the zipper removed. The shape of the hammock helps contain the quilt over your body while you sleep. The silver Costco Down Throw [or CDT to the knowledgable] has already been retrofitted for a top quilt foot box by the simple expediency of 1/2″ loops sewn along the foot-end every 6 inches and gathered with a drawstring, but can still be used as a standard throw on very hot nights just by releasing the drawstring. The CDT is 70 inches long and 60 inches wide. This is fine for someone like me who is under 5’10”. If you’re taller, you may have to find something else. An under quilt actually hangs below you, barely touching the hammock body. This allows the down to fully loft without crushing, and provides your insulation underneath to prevent the dreaded “cold butt syndrome”. The blue throw is from Eddie Bauer and is only 60 inches long by 50 inches wide. This should make for a perfectly acceptable shoulders-to-calf, summer weight, under quilt. I plan to add a full width strip of 1 foot wide ripstop nylon at the head and foot ends, with a channel for a bungee cord gather at either end. The sides will simply be turned over at the edge and sewn down. This will let me run cord for the actual suspension out to the gathered ends of the hammock.
ENO is a brand with the pretty loyal following. My first hammock was an ENO. I was able to resell it almost immediately when I decided to move on to my AMOK. My daughter told me that around many universities going out to hang in your hammock is known as “eno-ing”.
The OneLink seems to be a nearly ideal solution for people who would like to try hammocking as an alternative without spending an arm and a leg. While top and bottom quilts are great, they are by no means necessary. You can leave the zipper open on any style bag you already havefor on top and I’m certain that for summer situations you can get by with a $15 closed-cell foam “Bluey” insulation pad from WallyWorld, or even one of the mylar windshield reflectors from the DollarTree used underneath you right in the hammock itself. The OneLink provides you with everything else you really need. Toss everything into a black garbage bag together with a bottle of water, and a can of beanie-weenies and you’re good to go hang!
As I mentioned above the total weight for the rig it is right at 4.8 pounds. ENOs come with what I consider to be a very clunky, heavyweight suspension** on the hammock itself. This is in the form of 3/8 inch polyester rope bulkily knotted through the end channels and designed to be attached to the straps with heavy stainless steel carabiners like you would see restraining the lumber racks at Home Depot. If weight is of consideration, you can quickly shave 12oz or more just by replacing the suspension with a pair of continuous loops and a stick toggle to go through the Atlas daisychain. More weight can be trimmed by replacing the”Atlas” straps with single layer polyester ones. Then even more can be lost just by discarding the individual stuff sacks and putting everything into one larger bag. You could even do away with that [as many people do] and shove everything into a layer down in your pack.
**Now, if you are unfamiliar with hammocking as yet, this a good point to stress how vitally important it is to use actual straps, and not ropes, around the trees you hang from. Your weight in a hammock will put a great deal of force on the suspension where it wraps around the back of a tree. As you jump in and out, and wriggle around swinging gaily from side to side, those forces can chafe and cause irreparable damage to the cambium layer of the tree’s bark. This is the layer that allows liquid nutrients to move from the roots to the leaves. Especially in a park, or other public place where many people might hang from the same pair of trees, over time, the tree’s ability to sustain itself could actually be compromised. Even when limited to one side of the tree, this can cause its death over time. The potential for harm has caused many public spaces, including a lot of universities, to ban hammock hanging altogether. Most straps are one inch wide, so this will spread the force much more evenly against the tree bark than would rope. In a very practical move, the State of Florida now requires the use of 2 inch wide straps in state parks and public spaces.
If I elect to keep this rig, I will certainly be swapping out my own suspension system. It is my hope that I will have a perfectly usable and complete “loaner” sleeping system that weighs in at under 5 pounds. Given that I used to tote 4 pound sleeping bags, this seems like a pretty good deal.
If you find yourself truly interested in hammocking, I would encourage you to read Derek Hanson’s great book, The Ultimate Hang. It covers all of the basics, and will take you well into the realm of fine tuning your gear to provide you with the best experience. From shaving a few ounces off your total weight no matter what hammock you are using, too how best to use your gear in safety and comfort, most of your questions will be answered. It will certainly make it easier to understand some of the esoterica I mention what I’m talking about my own hammock experiences.
I could live there. Love all the glass to bring the outside inside on this one…
Last weekend I got away to central New Hampshire for another NEHHA hammock hang. We were over in a cove at the end of 5 miles of dirt road, tucked down at the base of Mount Cardigan, on 270 acres of private land.
This is a view up to the northwest over the back side of what is known as Firescrew. In the earlier part of the last century there was a huge forest fire in the region, and the top of this particular mountain produced a “firescrew” hundreds of feet tall where the winds swirled coming over the ridge. The forest has regenerated and re-grown to the point that it has already been lumbered over at least one since then. Our hostess’s property runs up along that first ridge going up Firescrew, and then much further up this ridge [behind where the picture was taken] and then off to the right a good ways. 270 acres is a sizable bit of property. We were camping in a hemlock grove quite far down this hillside, about on the left-hand edge where you can see that there’s a stream valley before it rises back up to ridges on Firescrew.
We had about 35 hammocks scattered through 4 or 5 acres of the grove on both sides of a “singing” stream that tumbled along a deep-cut bedrock course just below us that provided incredible background music to fall asleep to.
In the second photo, my AMOK Draumr is the green tarp on the right just past my friend Chazz’s “SuperTarp”… You can see why it would be called that.
It was down to 23°F when I got up Saturday morning. However, I had slept completely warm and toasty, and in perfect comfort in the Draumr. The difference between the experience on the ground, even in a tent, is extraordinary. My only problem was my inflatable pad blew out one of the seams between the baffles while I was setting up Friday afternoon. It was sort of like having two loaves of French bread stuffed down one side of the pad. Then around 4 AM, I heard a “Fwupht” and the adjoining seam blew out. This had me rolled over to the left hand edge pretty badly, but I was still able to fall back asleep until around 6:30.
Typically of me, I didn’t actually end up taking that many pictures because I was having too much fun. Quite a few of this crowd are very accomplished backcountry chefs, and food just kept rolling off the fires, the stoves and grills, and the Dutch ovens. I had brought along the chain saw just in case, and I logged quite a bit of standing deadwood to assure that we left our hostess with more wood than we used. This ended up being a good idea, since we needed a four-inch bed of coals just for the 35 packages of chicken breasts with brussels sprouts, potatoes, onions, carrots, and bacon the one of the guys “casually” through together. And bacon… Did I mention that one of the other folks brought 16 pounds of smoked bacon? A-yuh.
This is the second time that I have hung with these people, and I’m even more convinced now than I was before that this is something I will want to continue to participate in. I turn 66 years old next Friday, so I know my limits, and I won’t be planning on anymore events before spring. It is simply too cold for my blood after this point. However, come April, I’ll be back “hanging” with these people… Just for the food.
Mad bush skills and tremendous dedication, not to mention time and patience, show that you really can Robinson Crusoe a life in the wild with nearly nothing.
I can’t figure out getting this video to link and play on the site, so just click HERE.