If you just go for a paddle than you can stop thinking about wanting to go for a paddle.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

2015: Post 42 – It's been a while...

After our week long kayaking trip during the first week in September (click here), I have only done one short paddle - that was on September 23rd.  My non-kayaking life seems to have conspired against me in being able to get on the water over the last four or five weeks.  I almost didn't get out again today as I didn't have access to my car, but my buddy Clyde offered to pick me up....

We met Brian, Cathy, Derek, Gerard, Shane, and Tony at St. Philips this morning and set off for a short paddle toward Portugal Cove.

Getting ready on the slipway

There's a whale just left of center in this pic 



Derek and Clyde



Clyde and Shane

We played around a little bit at Portugal Cove and there was a suggestion to continue on up to Brocks Pond Falls.   However, some of us didn't have the time to run up to the falls and there was concern about the wind that was supposed to come up after lunch (we'd be paddling into it on the way back).  So we turned our bows and headed back.  We took our time, except for Derek who had things to do, so he carried on ahead of us...

Cathy and Clyde



Tony and Gerard


Gerard and Cathy

When we arrived back at St. Philips Derek was already packed up and gone.  Brian, Clyde and I called our paddle finished, but the other half of our group carried on up to Topsail Beach to lengthen the day's trip.

As we paddled into the marina a lady was taking pictures of myself and Clyde.  As I came close to her I said "I have a camera too" and I pulled it out and took a couple pictures of her as I chuckled to myself...  she got a good laugh out of that.  Her laugh was infectious and caused me to laugh even harder... it was all a good bit of fun.

Brian packed up and headed off for home.  Clyde and I decided to stop in for coffee on the way home and had a good ol' chat...  The last time I paddled with Clyde was the middle of August, and the last time before that was the beginning of July!!  Too much time between paddles, Clyde...  and thanks for allowing me the opportunity to get out on the water today, bud. 

-> For Shane's pics and take on the day see his kayaking block (click here).
-> Tony doesn't have his entry put up yet, but click here for the link to his blog... I'm sure he's post in the next day or two...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

2015: Post 41 – Between two trees

I had been reading up on hammocks during last winter and spring and most people writing the reviews I read all had a common theme about how comfortable a hammock is, and how they tend to sleep better in them as compared to in a tent.

And so, in my quest for a better night's sleep when camping, I pulled the trigger and purchased a hammock a few months ago.  I decided to go with the Hennessy Explorer Delux Asymmetrical Zip.  I also ordered some snake skins and some descender rings for a quicker set up.

When my new hammock arrived I set it up in my backyard and sized things up.  The stock fly tarp that came with it is certainly large enough, but I wasn't sure how much protection it would provide in a good side wind driven rain.   So I removed the stock tarp and replaced it with my 8x10 siltarp. Yep...  it would provide a good bit more coverage.  I also made up a continuous ridge line, complete with prussics so I could put up and take down the tarp separate from the hammock.

During a camping trip in August I got to try out my new hammock for the first time.

I didn't sleep any longer than in my tent, but I did sleep more comfortable.  The thing I really noticed though was that I felt unenclosed in the hammock.  I was able to look out through the ends of the tarp at my surroundings and the air was fresh and continually circulating.  I had placed my sleeping pad in the hammock with me to prevent the coolness against my back, but the darn thing kept moving around on me.  

I made a trip to Grand Falls to visit relatives and decided to bring my hammock to try to tweak out a few things.  

Instead of attaching the carabiner with rings to the tree webbing, and the hammock suspension rope to the descender rings, I decided to try it with the carabiner attached to the hammock suspension rope, and the tree webbing attached to the rings.  I found I prefer to do it the other way though.

I also tried a couple different configurations with the 8x10 siltarp.  First I set up the tarp in an A-frame mode ....

Then I set it up in a modified Asym/A-frame mode...

But in the end I decided I liked the asymetrical set-up much better....

During the first night in Grand Falls I slept okay but, again, it was very comfortable.  The second night in the hammock was interesting.  We had thunder and lightening, wind, and a good bit of rain... it rained fairly hard at times and the wind would bend the trees over when it gusted.  It was interesting to be able to watch the stormy weather out through the ends of the tarp but to be well protected inside the hammock.

When I crawled out of the hammock in the morning I inspected the underbelly.  There was only one wet spot at my feet location on the material.  I ascertained that it was simply caused by my own error... Silnylon will sag when damp, and I had not retentioned the tarp on the back side before getting in the hammock.  During the night the tarp on the back would flap in the wind and rain, and it seemed to me that it would flick water as it flapped.

With my air mattress inside the hammock it would move around under me, taking away from the level of comfort of just being able to lay right on the hammock itself.  When I went home I decided to order the Hennessy Supershelter so I could ditch the air mattress, thus allowing more comfort. I did contemplate getting a down underquilt, but decided the undercover of the Supershelter would also provide protection for the underside of the hammock against any rain that might be driven under the tarp.

When the Supershelter arrived I strung the hammock up in my shed and rigged it up.  It certainly provides good protection to the underside of the hammock. 

I think that with the Supershelter below the hammock, and my 8x10 siltarp above it, there would be plenty of protection in all but the worst rain storms. 

I also ordered a Warbonet Superfly... it's a four-season tarp, complete with end doors that will allow for maximum weather protection.  When it arrived I set it up in my backyard to get a look at it... 

Hammocking does require a different mind-set than tenting.  When kayak camping with tenters, they are looking for areas with flat, generally open areas along the shoreline; any trees on the site are just a by-product. Since the people I camp with are tenters, except for one other, then tent site rules would be applied when looking for camping sites...  So I decided it would be prudent to practice setting up the Superfly in free-standing mode with a couple of aluminum poles, just in case I had to go to ground....     

Up to this point I had been using a continuous ridgeline with prussics on my tarp... 

However, I did find that during my trip to Grand Falls the prussics would slip in the higher winds that occurred during the day.  I contemplated trying different rope combination, or simply more wraps on the prussics to prevent slippage.  But I did not like the idea  of being out camping one night in high winds and having to possibly get out to fix things up because of slipping prussics.  

I had been contemplating the pros and cons of continuous ridgelines versus end of tarp lines and had happened upon Dutchware Gear.  I decided to order some zing-it and wasps, as well as a couple other things.

The Superfly tarp is made to easily accept end of tarp lines and so I cut some zing-it to length and larks-headed it to the rings...

... and then added on the wasps...

I have to say that the end of tarp lines, along with the wasps, make rigging up a tarp pretty easy; it's way better than fooling with prussics on a ridgeline.  However, using Dutchware Gear, an adjustable continuous ridgeline can be rigged up that would be pretty easy too.... I may go back to the continuous ridgeline using the Dutchware; each ridgeline method has it's advantages.

Anyway, here is a shot from my last camping trip of my hammock and tarp set-up...

Hennessy Delux Asym Zip hammock
Hennessy Supershelter (undercover and foam pad)
MEC -7C (19.4 F) Raven down sleeping bag (used like an overquilt)
MEC basecamp Pillow
Warbonnet Superfly with Hennessy Snakeskins
End of tarp zing-it line with Dutchware wasps
Whoopie Sling hammock suspension
10 ft polyester tree straps with marlin spike hitch to receive slings
I know... rookie mistake setting up under that leaning tree... but I checked it before setting up and it seemed like it was anchored well enough...  I had no qualms about sleeping under it.

I made another trip to Grand Falls a couple weekends ago.  I slept in my hammock with the same set-up as described above, except with the doors closed on both ends and I added an MEC All Weather tarp with the reflective side up on top of the Supershelter foam pad. I wore a wool cap and a microfleece long-sleeved top and fleece long underwear on bottom.  The bottom of the tarp was set about 600 mm (2 feet) above the ground, slightly higher then the underside of the bottom of the hammock when I
was laying in it. 

The temperature during the night was 0 to -1 Celsius (32 to 30.2 F) and with wind chill it was at about -6 Celsius (21.2 F).  I had my watch with a temperature gauge hung up on the hammock structural ridgeline, which I checked periodically during the night.... Despite the fact that there is a mesh screen over the top half of the hammock, the temperature inside the hammock was always between 3 and 3.5 Celsius (37.4 and 38.3 F).  I was never cold during the night, but it was a chilly walk in the morning from the hammock to the house...  

I am pretty sure I would be warm enough at a bit lower temperature with the same set up as above... I am guessing maybe -5 Celsius (23 F)???   I currently have my hammock hung up in my shed and I am planning to sleep in it one night when temperatures become colder.  I realize  I am protected from the wind inside the shed but it will give me an idea of how comfortable the hammock will/won't be with my current set-up.  I could always add some insulation below (like a flannel blanket or a thin sleeping bag) to the Supershelter in colder temperatures, and wear more clothing under the sleeping bag as well.

At this point I have slept in my hammock ten nights since it arrived at my door.  I have to say that at this point I prefer my hammock to my tent... Like Shug Emery says, I like being able to sit up and put on my boots... 

In case you don't know who Shug is... he is a very entertaining guy who has a lot of video's on YouTube about hammocks as well as other stuff.  Check out his Hammock Hangin' Tarp How-To... Essentials for Noobs and What-nots and his Tarp Chat and Tutorial videos.  If your gonna learn about hammocks you might as well have some laughs while doing it... and he does a great Karl Childers impersonation too... whooo, buddy!