Tarp, Hammock, Sleeping Bag Review
I am soon to be embarking on another micro-adventure. To ensure I pack correctly and only take what I really need I decided to set up in the garden. I had recently ordered a new sleeping bag. I had been using a 1 season bag and I don’t want to freeze, its February after all. So today I’m going to review the gear I used.
So I survived a night out in the British winter weather, it was around 4 c but windy. I had my DD 3m x 3m Tarp, DD Travel / Bivi Hammock and a Quechua 3/4 self inflating mat. I don’t have any trees in the garden so I have fitted a couple of attachments to the house. This is not ideal as these attachments are too high.
So how did the gear hold out?
DD 3m x 3m Tarp
I have had several DD tarps over the years and for me the 3m x 3m is perfect. It’s large enough to make into a tarp tent using my walking poles and some guy lines. I can also hang it over my hammock on a continuous ridge-line or bungee cord. I have discovered a combination of continuous ridge-line and bungee cord work best. The latter method works well because the bungees keep the tarp taut. It also can still flex in the wind. In the event of a downpour the ridge-line sags a little and the bungees ensure that it doesn’t affect my sleep.
So I had a continuous ridge-line with bungees and the tarp over the top, in an A frame configuration with doors. To create the doors you just attach the guy lines to inside loops rather than the corners. This allows for the ends to fall inwards and then they can be clipped together to make loose doors. I used carabiners to hold the doors closed, this helps keep the wind from blowing right through the structure.
Ending up in the wrong place.
I opted for the DD Travel / Bivi hammock when I was cycling across Europe. This allowed me the most variations on choosing a sleeping spot. When cycle touring anything can happen and it’s easy to end up in the wrong place. I’ve slept on picnic benches, under a tree in Sale, Manchester, in a car wash, at the end of a runway, a railway siding and outside a nuclear re-processing plant. I have managed to make it to a few beautiful campsites and some lousy ones. I prefer wild camping as you tend to be in the wilderness and away from the noise of other campers.
DD Travel / Bivi Hammock Review
This hammock gives me the option of hanging it or laying it on the floor as a bivi. It has a double layer base which is waterproof. I place my sleeping mat in the double layer or if the weather is really bad I get in myself, whether it’s hung as a hammock or on the floor as a bivi. There are four inside pockets, which I find too shallow as I store my tablet in one but it always falls out. My headlamp and glasses case are fine though. One of the best features is the bug net, which has zips on both sides of the hammock and can be hung out-of-the-way, on a hot clear night. When you want an unobstructed view of the stars just hang the hammock upside down so the bug net is under you.
The bug net is held away from you by stretch cord and has tabs so you can hang stuff inside. I tend to sleep near water so use the bug net most nights to avoid getting bitten. The hammock can be used as a seat when you are not sleeping and as every hammock camper knows can be hung in places no tent can go, meaning you can pick some amazing places to sleep.
The only downside to this type of hammock is the waterproof base you sometimes wake up with condensation between your sleeping bag and the base of the hammock. This is due to the material not breathing. This time I had condensation around my head which is caused by the water vapour I breath out when I’m asleep.
When I purchased the Travel / Bivi hammock it came with webbing straps to attach it to trees. I have since changed over to a whoopie sling system. The whoopie sling is made from Amsteel, which is a very strong light weight cord and is easily adjustable without untying the hammock from whatever it is attached to. I also have tree huggers which protect the tree from any damage. As I don’t have trees in my garden I just attach the hammock with the whoopie sling. I would normally use tree huggers and attach a toggle using a marlin spike hitch, remembering to attach the whoopie sling to the knot and not the toggle. I don’t use carabiners on my hammock suspension system.
Jura 2 Sleeping Bag Review
A new addition to my hammock / camping / bivi setup is the DD Jura 2 sleeping bag. I had been looking at this for a few months and it has some great features. The biggest feature is its comfort rating 1700g of fill and rated down to -5c. Over the past year I’ve only had a cheap 1 season or ultra light sleeping bag before as I wanted to travel light. I tend to be a cold sleeper, especially my feet. Having the Jura 2 I’m more confidence in being warm at night.
The other huge benefits are a centre zip, if you’ve ever slept in a hammock you’ll understand. It has a baffle under the zip and around the neck to trap in the warmth and what did it for me was the foot box. There are times when I have to bed down in unusual places and I may have to move on quickly, the foot box means I can get in the Jura 2 on damp ground and leave my boots on if necessary.
So the result was a comfy warm nights sleep, however I still need to come up with a solution for my feet as at 6 am they were freezing.
So I am almost ready for my micro-adventure. I am about to do another night out in the garden in the British weather, wind and rain is forecast so I’ll be putting the equipment through its paces. If you in the market for some Hammock Camping gear then please checkout the Hammock section in my shop, as purchases earn me a little commission which is what I use to keep the website going with plastering it with useless adverts.
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