Has anyone used these? I can see how good they would be, especially in wet weather when the ground is soggy. Long term I would like to purchase something like a Hennessy Hammock but they are quite pricey so i want to make sure they are worth it. I like the quick setup time. Are they cold though?

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The short answer is yes they are cold... unless you use an under pad, if you are like me and want to understand why.... then here is the long answer.

When we sleep out on the ground we all usually have a pad under our sleeping bag. I always thought it was to stop the lumpy ground from annoying us, but actually it for another reason. We compress our sleeping bags as we lay on them, reducing the insulation layer and allowing the cold to get up through to us much easier. So with a sleeping mat we get back that much needed insulation layer.

So when people first try a hammock and sleep in just a sleeping bag they can get cold because they are compressing their sleeping bag and reduced their under insulation. Any slight wind that passes under the hammock (something that does not happen when ground sleeping) will make the situation even worse. So the answer to the cold is the same as for the ground sleeping, use an under pad.

Now you can use the same under pad in a hammock that you use for sleeping on the ground. But if you want to save pack space you can use an easily compress-able mat instead, something they call an under quilt, which is just like the quilt/duvet on your bed, but hung underneath the hammock, and as it is hung underneath the hammock your body weight does not compress it so it keeps it's insulating properties.

So now if you have an under quilt you don't really need to have that part of the sleeping bag that is underneath you. So the two ways people tend to go are either a top quilt, which again is like the quilt/duvet on your bed except at the foot end they sew the side together to form a circle. (starting from the bottom and coming up about 500mm ) this gives what is called a foot box. The second option is to just use a sleeping bag and unzip it most of the way down. So that claustrophobic mummy bag you hate might come in useful now. A center zip sleeping bag tends to be the favorite for this but so far they seem to be hard to find. For people who find sleeping bags a bit restrictive you now have room to move around almost like in your own bed.

For people who ground sleep and find sleeping bags a bit restrictive you could unzip your sleeping bag the same way. There have been sleeping bags made specifically for this for weight/volume conscious people although they don't seem to have been very popular.

There is a side benefit to hammock camping that may not be obvious at first but I have heard many people comment on, and that is the great feeling of being out in nature while in your sleeping environment, as opposed to being in a small nylon room.

I learnt this stuff off the hammock forum:
http://www.hammockforums.net

Here is a pic of one of shugemery (youtube name) bridge hammock setup to give an idea. A bridge hammock has a flatter lay that a normal hammock. You can easily make a normal hammock to try one out from details here:
http://www.tothewoods.net/HomemadeHammock.html
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Been using one for years.
A great way to enjoy the bush.
Be aware though, that when the temp drops it can be bloody cold if you don't have an underblanket.
Sleeping in a sleeping bag isn't the answer, as your weight compresses the loft. This coupled with cold air underneath you means for a cold night.
the underblanket hangs beneath the hammock and a good one can mean a comfortable night with a lightweight bag or blanket over you.
Have a look on http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/ or http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum for some good ideas on setup and what to buy.
What about comfort? I'm quite a fussy side sleeper and tend to wriggle around a bit...
I also saw a way where a sleeping bag sits around the hammock, there by eliminating the compresion of the bottom of the bag, so no mat would be needed?
i'm not sure if it was a special sleeping bag or hammock.
what about using an emergency reflective blanket in them, would they be any good to keep the cold from underneath away?

Hey Ryan. They are not cold, if you use a underquilt on them. You can use an old sleeping bag, or something of similar nature. Watch Shug Emery on youtube. Good pointers there.  Or else use a plastic foam groundsheet thing. From what I've seen, hammocks are all good. I'm sure as hell wanting one!

Still trying to figure out why no company has come out with a sleeping bag with a hammock built into it, seems like the logical way to go to me. Been looking for something like that for years still have not seen it. Maybe BUSHCRAFTNZ could create and sell its own products and we could make it.

That is one damn fine idea! (I hope there would be discounts for BCNZ members!) Lol!

shug promoted a hammock book on his youtube channel the other week which I brought and I can fully recommend, The Ultimate Hang, it would take many many hours to piece together from the web and forums all the info that is in that one book, ask me how I know...... ha ha. eg, I have read many pages on vapour barriers and was still hardly any wiser but the book explains it in 4 paragraphs.

Also anyone about 5 foot 9 or under interested in a cheap hammock there are deals going at the moment for a Hennessy Hammock - Expedition it comes complete with a small tarp and a built in bug net for $218 delivered. They say it's for people up to 6 foot and I nearly brought one but on hammockforums.net people 5 foot 10 say they are a bit small inside and much prefer the bigger version called Hennessy Hammock - Explorer which is $278 . There is a side zipper version and a bottom entry version, most people prefer the zip version.

Hennessy Hammocks at outdoorsupplies.co.nz

Cheers for the info and suggestions guys, I have recently been looking into hammocks myself as they'd be very handy for the bush hunting I do.

I use a Hennessy Expedition, and at 6 foot and 200lbs find it adequate, tho I do wish I'd brought the bigger one, if I had known they were to be had. The upsides are: it's bug proof, it you gets up out of the mud and lumps and once you are in it's dead comfortable. The down sides are your junk has to stay outside and yes, they can be damn cold, tho there are ways around this. The easiest way is a sno-foam mat, finally they have a use apart from fire starters! I usually use the smallest and thinnest therm-o-rest and wear socks to bed if it's cool-cold. The mat also helps to hold the sides out, giving you a bit more elbow room. It's easier to get into your sleeping bag THEN get into the hammock, rather than the other way around. I put my pack on the ground under the 'door' then stand on that to keep my bag clean. The main thing to remember is it's a hammock, not a tent. Some hard cases snow camp in them, not me, I have a MacPac Olympus for anything other than warmish and semi-settled weather. Horses for courses. Since most of my camping involves spending the day fly fishing in poly props and wading boots, it suits nicely.

The fly that comes with it is...ok...I guess... (this is the Expedition, remember) and properly set up will fend off  most of the elements, but getting up in the night to re-set the fly because the wind/rain has changed direction is quite possible. A couple of ways around this. I made a (much) bigger fly out of a 3 man pup tent fly that I turned sideways and added a new tape with D rings at right angles to the old one. It fits on the hammock stays but does need a slightly longer pitch. It's possible to leave the original fly at home and stuff the new fly in the Hennessy stuff bag, but I usually take both. It's also possible to 'double deck' the flies together if you are paranoid about wind damage.

The up side is you now have a good sized 'hang out' area for cooking, changing, generally coming and going. Yes you need a slightly bigger camp site, but is that really such a problem when you are in a 50,000 acre park? It's more than balanced by the places you CAN camp, for those that have never used a hammock you would be staggered at the places that suddenly become primo real estate. One of my favorites was a 45 degree bank on the Ngaruroro River. The top edge of the fly was pinned to the ground up hill of the hammock, the lower edge just high enough to give me a morning view of the river to wake up to.

They take some practice, and it's fairly easy to do it wrong, a day trip to some place where you can practice putting it up, taking it down, moving a 100 meters and doing it all again is vital, but once you get the hang (sorry) of it, you are laughing. Two pieces of nice long para-cord and a Swiss Army knife saw will become your best friends for clearing scrub, branches etc and getting the fly 'just so'. I wish I had one 30 years ago, I could have saved myself some uncomfortable, wet, buggy nights. If you are the bivi bag type, give a Henny some MAJOR thought.

Thanks for all that useful info. I'm thinking of getting a Hennessy Safari Delux (the biggest model they do), but I can see I've got a bit more homework to do on the subject. One of the reasons I want to get a Hennessy Hammock is to have a compact, all-in-one system to use with a good 3-4 season sleeping bag, but it sounds like I'm going to need a warm compact underlayer of some kind too. The space blanket from Amazon sounds a good idea.

I have a hennessy hammock which has a built in fly screen and a extra large tarp fly and an under pad and is very very good, light and small to carry and great to sleep in much better than sleeping on the ground and they are not cold when you use the under pad which you dont need in the warmer months and for those that like to sleep on their side you can sleep on an angle across the hammock. I have had mine since they first arrived in the country and as you can guess I love it.

Hi Ryan, I meant to add the best chap to see is Andrew, just email hennessy hammock@gmail.com (attn Andrew) he is one hellava nice bloke and would set you up.

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