What happens when I should be studying for exams? Gear planning of course! The materials have now been ordered for one full hammock camping set up (hammock, suspension, tarp, bugnet), a bug bivy, a small solo tarp and an UL tent. Its should give me something to do while I wait for things to dry out after this very soggy spring!
How did I get here? The hammock gear is actually for my husband. He recently tried the hammock set-up I made back in 2015 for a beach camping trip in Puerto Rico and decided that sleeping in the hammock seemed far superior to sleeping on the ground. Give that he comes along on the odd crazy adventure and is quite a good sport about it, the least I can do is make sure he is comfortable!
I will basically be duplicating my original set up, but with a few mods. The hammock will be a bit longer to accommodate his taller height, and the tarp will be correspondingly longer. I will also add cat cuts, as Yak is less experienced pitching tarps and can be a little fastidious, so hopefully that will save him some frustration. He only plans to pitch it to cover the hammock, so the loss of versatility is irrelevant for his use. I will also add Lineloc 3’s for tensioning. I use knots personally, but the linelocs will be easier for him to use without frustration. I could have made a smaller tarp, either asym or diamond, but Yak isn’t much of a gram counter and the full coverage will be better for his uses. I plan to keep the toggle-and-whoopie-sling suspension the same.
The tent will be all mine! I want something lighter and more durable than the tents I currently have for 1 person + dog trips. My Marmot Limelight 3 is huge for me plus 150lbs of dog, and plenty durable, but it is very heavy. Pushing 6lbs! Thats what I take when the whole family goes, because Yak doesn’t like being in super close quarters with the dogs at night (he is a very good sport, but at home we all sleep in a king sized bed, a little more space than a 2 person tent!). My 1 person tent is too small, while my 2 person Big Agnes Fly Creek is too fragile (and I dislike using it for many other reasons, but that is a rant for another day). My tarp was a great solution when I was out west, but here in the east, we would be carried away by mosquitos! I debated many versions of tarp + bugnet configurations. Many, many versions. I like the flexibility of a modular system, but the bugnet draped on the ground is just not ideal with the dogs. They would walk all over it, get tangled in it, and likely rip it in no time. Not to mention the snags that would likely happen. So off I went down the rabbit hole of MYOG ultralight tents.
Eventually I settled on making a Z-Pack’s Duplex dupe, made with 1.1oz silpoly and HyperD300 for the floor. Is that floor overkill? Maybe, but dogs can be hard on tents, and I would rather it last! I will pay the ~4oz penalty there. All in, I am expecting it to weigh in around 30oz. That is still 12 oz lighter than my Fly Creek 2, for something much more durable and functional! I am a little concerned about the overlapping doors. I have never used a tent with this configuration, and am somewhat skeptical of how weathertight they are, as well as how easy they are to close from inside the tent. I waffled about using zippers and then putting a vent into the top, but can’t find the appropriate zippers at a decent price in Canada. I also don’t want to add more weight that necessary. In the end, I decided that as a cult favourite the doors must be reasonably functional and that I will give them a shot. We will see how that goes. It will have its own series of blog posts. Maybe even video if I get ambitious! I bought a very special fabric for this tent, and am very excited about it! It is a pretty expensive directional print, so I spent some time last night making a 1/10th mockup of the pattern pieces and yardage to make the most of the patterning while maintaining the directional pattern’s orientation. Turns out I only need 8 yards of fabric where the pattern I am using called for 10. Whoohoo! That shaves ~$70 off the project right there.
Finally, I plan on making a bug bivy and small 1 person tarp for my Superior Costal trip this summer. It’s not something that will get used very often, because I usually have at least one dog with me, but hopefully it will be just the ticket for my fastpacking plans. It will be a truly minimalist set up for fair weather only: a tapered 9’x7’/5′ tapered tarp with cat cuts, and bivy I plan to slap together with enough bug netting that it can be strung up to the pole/ridgline so I can sit up. I can get claustrophobic, so one of those bivys with the bug netting sitting on your face will not fly here! Luckily, I can slap this together with scraps from the other two projects and some 2nd remnants (ie 40% off!) of silpoly and silnylon. I haven’t used silnylon, but they were out of the silpoly remnants, and for $17 for the tarp, I decided it was worth a try. I am *hoping* I can get this combo under 1lb, but we will see where it lands when I finish it.
So much work ahead! I can’t wait for exams to be done and to get started!