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  Posted by: yknpdlr on Nov-05-12 10:50 PM (EST)

-- Last Updated: Nov-05-12 10:53 PM EST --

On your Hennessy purchase. In case you haven't read elsewhere, there are a couple of tips to know so your first night is a positive one.

You MUST have an insulating pad of some kind underneath you. And it must be somehow prevented from "squirting" up and ending up on top of you. It will do that if you simply throw a sleeping bag on top of a free floating pad. It is always humorous to watch a first timer struggle for a very long time when first entering a hammock, trying to get bag and pad to stay in place.

An easy solution is to use or make some sort of an overbag. I first used an old bed sheet folded in half and sewn together to make a lightweight bag that works really well. Put your pad and sleeping bag both inside and it will keep the pad underneath. More advanced solutions are to use a sleeping bag with a built in pad sleeve (such as a Big Agnes bag), or to get creative with velcro strips.

I like to tie the hammock fairly high on the trees. It will stretch after you get in, and may sag quite a lot toward the ground. Reach high to keep your butt from hitting the ground. If you use snake skins to stow the hammock under an external tarp, you will appreciate the extra clearance as living space underneath the hammock in rainy weather.

The hammock does not have to be tied taught between trees. It is actually better to have a little slack, which due to the shape of the hammock will better allow you to lay flat in the bottom on a semi-diagonal. You will be more comfortable that way. Learn to tie the Hennessy hitch. It is quick, easy and secure, and unties just as easily as it ties. Learn to measure by paces between trees to figure how far to tie each end so you don't have to tie and untie and retie to get the hammock centered. In case of rain, use short drip lines tied to the support lines near the hammock ends.

Accept that the hammock determines where you end up inside. Don't try to fight it. Counter-intuitively, it is better to tie the foot end a couple of inches higher than the head end. Otherwise your main mass will tend to slide too far toward the narrow foot end of the hammock, rather than let your main mass to lay flat in the widest part of the hammock. Tying the foot just slightly higher than the head does NOT make your feet higher than your head.

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