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Archive for May, 2009

In the five years I’ve been packing a hammock only twice have I had to “go to ground”.  But, this last week was one of those times.  There were trees, but none where I wanted to camp.  This time, I had my NeoAir pad with me to use with the Big Agnes chair kit.  (see previous post.  BTW it worked just as well in the woods as at the beach!)   This time I used it to provide some cushioning between me and the ground.  The Clark Ultralight actually made a real nice little bivy.IMG_5556 Comfy.

Notice the other hammock hung from the fallen cedar snag and a group of smaller trees.  This worked out pretty well too.  Smaller trees tend to bend when you climb in, so you have to hang the tree-end higher to adjust.  I’ve learned to make do with what there is at any given site.  Be creative.

“But what if it rains?” you say.  Well, as usual, I have my tarp too.  It’s a little harder to pitch a tarp using trekking poles instead of trees, but definitely do-able.  This made a cozy little nest with plenty of ventilation.  No condensation problems here.  It didn’t rain, but I felt good about my wilderness skills anyway.IMG_5582

Here’s the tarp set-up on the other hammock.IMG_5583 Notice I use the little bushes as anchors instead of tent stakes.  They are amazingly strong (better than stakes) and ultra-light, weighing absolutely nothing in my pack.  I bring titanium stakes in case there are no convenient bushes and then pile big rocks on top of them to make sure they stay put in a gale force wind.

Here’s the cloud that got us moving.IMG_5578

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Okay, so this is not the intended use, but it does show intrinsic durability, which is a concern with any ultralight equipment.  The NeoAir has done very well at the beach coupled with the Big Agnes Cyclone SL Chair Kit.  No rips tears or abrasion issues so far.IMG_5396

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The entire unit weighs less than a pound.  NeoAir (small) 9 oz. and chair kit 6 oz.  Wow, that’s great for a comfy beach chair.  We’ve hiked miles into a couple of pretty remote beaches and been sitting pretty!

This is no casual test.  We’re talkin’ lava rock and coral.  I haven’t actually set it up on lava rock or coral, but the sand itself is a course mix of lava, coral, shells and other ocean debris.  So I’m encouraged.  When I return to the mainland I’ll give it a real backpacking trial in Southern Oregon’s Kalmiopsis, but until then we’ll see how the fabric holds up to 50 SPF sunscreen.

Aloha,  Carol

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