First Oregon Hang!

Just returned from a great campout in the Tillamook forest with several other Hammock Forums members. We met up at Gale’s Creek campground, which is conveniently located only 30 miles outside of Beaverton/Hillsboro where I’m staying with my parents. The campsite was perfect – right next to  stream, plenty of room and parking, and plenty of trees for hanging. Only one downside: Rain, and lots of it! But that doesn’t keep good Oregon hangers down. Despite the rain we had a good time cooking over the fire, making s’mores, sharing drinks, and general camping goodness. Jackleberry impressed us all with his Disco lights, Gary didn’t die from an axe to the head, and when I tripped over the fire grate in the dark nobody laughed… much. =P

Turtlelady (from Kentucky) was visiting her daughter in Portland, Silverlion brought his 8 year old son, and Jackleberry and Gary_R were representing as well. (Many thanks to Silverlion and Gary for scouting out the site!) This was my first campground hang, and my first HF group hang, and my first hang in Oregon. A lot of firsts! Everyone was a great help in providing tips and tricks for making my system better – from tighter Prussik knots to making a DIY Underquilt. The swaying and the “Plop plop plop” of raindrops on the tarp took some getting used to, but before long I was sleeping WAY better than I would have on the ground. Hooray!

Here was the system:
– DIY Switchbird hammock
– Wilderness Logic Tadpole Tarp (a lifesaver in the rain! No misting seen) over a Zing-it ridgeline attached with Prussiks
– Kelty Cosmos 20 deg. down sleeping bag
– DIY SPE with REI CCF pad and Trekker inflatable pad stacked

Here’s what worked:
– The tarp. Kept me dry all night long.
– The hammock shelf, great for storing my water bottle, spare clothes, blanket, etc.
– The sleeping system (bag, clothes, pads) was nice and warm to 50 deg.
– The hammock. SUPER comfortable and easy to get in and out of
– Using a clothes bag as a pillow
– A great tip from the others: storing a hot water bottle in your sleeping bag to keep you nice and toasty!

Here’s what didn’t work:
– The length of the hammock is a little long. It just barely fits under the tarp, and there isn’t much room to spare. I’d make it 10′ instead of 11′ long next time.
– I’ll need larger soft shackles and longer tree huggers
– The hammock shelf is a little large for under the tarp, esp. when tied out.

Things to remember for next time:
– Take the time to get into the hammock and try it out to make sure the hang is right before it’s dark and time for bed.
– Make sure to keep track where the entrance zipper is on BEFORE hanging the hammock!

I’d say overall it was a very successful trip and I can’t wait to go hanging again! Here are some pics for your viewing pleasure:

REI Used Gear Sale Bonzana!

Camped out at the Hillsboro REI to get in on some of the great used gear deals. We were the fourth tent in line, having arrived there at about 10:30pm. Fairly uneventful night sleep on a sidewalk in the boyfriends’ Sierra tent… except for a minor incident when he tried to steal my Trekker sleeping pad. Always the thief!

Best purchase of the day was a pair of Komperdell Carbon duo-lock trekking poles. Brand new – returned because one of the poles didn’t lock. Well, a little bending/pulling/fidgiting later managed to get them back into working order. Now I have a new pair of carbon hiking poles for a measly $20!! Unbelievably awesome.

Also purchased (with REI sale tag notes in parentheses):
– Slightly scuffed ski helmet for $8 (“Never used it enough”. Hah!)
– Kelty Cosmos down 20 deg. bag for $70 (“Zipper was difficult/broken. <–Seems fine??” Seemed fine to me, too.)
– Big Agnes Seedhouse 1.5 person tent for $70 (“Didn’t like design”)

Boyfriend was sure jealous of the last one. I promised him he could use it when he needed to, and could cuddle up and make it a 2-person on colder nights. Win-win! =P

Can’t wait to go trekking with all the new lightweight and snazzy gear. Camp on!

My DIY Hammock

Figured I’d fill the space of this blog with a few more outdoorsy posts; a brief overview of what I was up to this summer and how it prompted this blog.

I decided to get into hammock camping because… well… hammocks are really awesome, comfy, and lightweight. Plus they can be easy to set up if you have the right suspension system. So I made myself a hammock! (The majority of this post is taken from my post on the hammock forums website, with a few more additions because space isn’t a priority)

This is a hammock of my own design – a combination of the WBBB (gathering method, shelf, fixed bug net) and Switchback (asym shape, hammock body, foot tie-outs). I made it double layered because I will need to go to ground at times, and therefore underquilts won’t cut it. Since I’ll be relying on pads, the double layer makes it more convenient.  Suspension is whoopie slings and tree huggers, also DIY, with marlin spike toggles. For the actual toggles I’m currently using some nice thick sticks I found on the ground. Very classy.

Why DIY
Many people frown upon taking designs from other manufacturers and making them yourself. They point out that it takes money away from the cottage manufacturers who originally came up with the design and are selling it. However, that was the reason I had to go DIY. Cost. It was either make-your-own or none at all. I just graduated college, my lease ends at the end of the month, and I don’t have a job yet because silly Jenna loves birds and wants to be an Ornithologist of all things. SO, as much as I would love to own a quality store bought hammock, I simply can’t afford it. I will say that it’s a LOT of work – the project took me a full weekend to complete (approx 25 hours of labor). So if you have the option, and don’t value the pride and epic-ness of home-made gear, feel free to go for the cottage industry makes instead! They’ll probably last you longer, too…

The DIY continues behind the cut

Ridgeline Organizers for Sale

I am selling medium sized ridgeline organizers for hammocks. These are made from 0.7oz No-See-Um fabric with grosgrain trim and polyester thread.These organizers are a good size for all the small things you want easily accessible in your hammock such as a headlamp, glasses, iPod, cell phone, or small book.

Specs: Two pockets, one on either side. Pockets are approximately 8″ wide x 6″ tall. Overall length from top to bottom when hanging on a ridgeline is about 9″. Organizers weigh ONLY 0.7oz on USPS scales.

Options: Organizers come in either sewn channel or fold-over designs. Fold-over models will come with two side tabs so they can be attached via carabiners, Prussik knots, etc. if desired. Many thanks to JWright for the design suggestion! (Please specify if you would like side tabs on a channel-top organizer). I will install velcro tabs on the top for $1.00 extra.

Fold-Over Organizer:  Fold-Over Style Organizer Fold-Over Style OrganizerFold-Over Style Organizer

Channel Organizer (with optional side tabs):Sewn Channel Style OrganizerSewn Channel Style Organizer

Velcro Tab Organizer: Organizer with Optional Velcro TabsOrganizer with Optional Velcro Tabs

Price: Organizers are $6.00 each plus $3.00 shipping. Velcro tabs are an additional $1.00. Large orders of multiple organizers may incur additional shipping. I accept Paypal for payment.

CURRENT INVENTORY: There are currently between 12 to 15 ridgeline organizers available. Please contact me if you would like to arrange a custom order.

To Order: E-mail me at thejennabird@gmail.com with your name, shipping address, preferred organizer configuration (channel, foldover, velcro), and any additional information.

First Post!

This is the first post. If you reach this post, you are at the end of the blog. There are no posts after this. Do not seek them, they cannot be found. The only things after this post are darkness, and creepy things that move in the shadows. You don’t want to know what they are. So just stop here… it’s safer that way.

No really, this is the first post. There aren’t any more before it. Srsly.