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Old 01-04-2011, 05:11 PM
canetuck canetuck is offline
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Default Backpack advice/hammock camping

Wanting to purchase a backpack for backcountry trips,but I'm not sure what size to get.Something that will hold ultralight waders, pack wading boots, fly vest/gear,small tent or hammock,sleeping bag,supplies for a two to three day trip.One consideration is I have two boys,10 and 7 that I will be taking with me most of the time,but I considered getting them a small pack also. Any suggestions, I like the Osprey packs.
My next question is what do you think of hammock camping vs. using backpacking tents.I've been looking at the Hennessey hammocks and am thinking about getting one. Any users?Has anyone ever used a Snugpak sleeping bag?
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:39 PM
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GrouseMan77 GrouseMan77 is offline
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I've got an Arcteryx Bora 80 and love it. The 80 gives me enough room to carry everything I need for a 2-3 night trip. You might want to consider something a little larger if your going to be carrying some of the boys equipment.

I can't really offer any suggestions or advice on hammocks. I've got a few friends that use them but I'm still a tent guy.

jasonkelkins at yahoo dot com
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:37 PM
narcodog narcodog is offline
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The biggest problem with a hammock is air moving under your body keeping you cool.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:13 PM
RFork RFork is offline
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I second this. I am a hammock camper myself but it can get chilly, as you are not insulated on the bottom and you lose loft on the sleeping bag due to compression. I use an insulated air pad to help with this.

If you are looking at osprey the atmos 60 would probably do well. It has a shove pocket on the outside where you could stash waders separate from your dry clothes. I have heard good things about the previously mentioned bora but Arc'teryx gear is pricey.

Gregory z65 would be worth a look. I a Deuter futura vario and like it a lot. Best thing to do would be to go to a store and load them down with weight and see how they feel. Any good camping store will have weights that will allow you to do this.

The golite odyssey might be worth a look as well

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:21 PM
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Grannyknot Grannyknot is offline
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I'm a tent guy myself for several different reasons. A place to keep your stuff if its raining, no need to find properly spaced trees, its a good gathering place for you and someone else in the rain, and tents these days are nearly as light as hammocks. That being said, hammocks are very comfortable and can be warm. The hennessey hamock systems offer several different options for warmth.

Like Grouseman, I have an Arcteryx Bora and love it. They are pricey, but they can be carried through a light rain without wetting the interior area and will likely last a lifetime. I'm about to upgrade to a new Arcteryx pack called they Altra, only because I need something a little bigger to carry gear for 3 people. The Osprey packs are known for their fit, but they aren't for everyone. Don't buy a pack online, go to a store, have them add weight to it, and try it on. Also, certain big box retailers most likely won't have an employee on the staff who knows how to properly fit a pack.

I don't know anything about snugpak. I tried looking at their website, but had trouble navigating through it. They seem to be centered around European shoppers.....I don't do well with the metric system.
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Old 01-05-2011, 12:56 AM
JayB JayB is offline
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It depends on what time of year you want to use it. I have two packs, nme for summer, one for winter. With kids you have to be prepared, a cold, wet kid in winter is not only miserable, but dangerous. I used an old external frame during the summer months, about 2800 cu in capacity, super light weight, but Im not carrying waders, extra clothes, sleeping pads, etc, just the essentials. I can get away with a 23 lb load, with gear dor all of us. But for winter months I use a 5600 cu in Kelty Redcloud (my last trip with it was 44 lbs). For all the extra winter gear (spare clothes, waders, bigger sleeping bags, sleeping bag liners for extra warmth, sleeping pads, etc), and since you have kids you have to be even more careful about bringing cold weather gear, you definitely want a large capacity bag. The Bora's and Arcteryx are great bags, I can only afford Kelty right now,which has never disappointed me. Just a little heavier, get the best quality bag you can afford with 5000 to 6000 cu in capacity.

I would definitely get them bags of their own, but remember, as energetic as kids are, they dont have the muscle mass of an adult, so dont overload them. A sleeping bag, change of clothes, and water bottle is enough. You get to carry the extra hammocks, food, pots, pans, etc, though your boys are a bit older, so they can carry more, just rememebr at least early on to take it easy on them until you figure out how much thay can carry and for how far.

I have taken my boys, who are 7, 5 and 3 years old on 4 backpacking trips since August. We have slept in hammocks for all of them, in night time temps from the 60 all the way down to the upper 20's, and have always been comfortable. We dont have hennessey's either. I have an Eno single nest, which I share with the 3 yo, and the other boys share a Grand Trunk Ultra light. I use polyester tow straps for suspension, and use two 9'x9' Chinook tarps for weather protection. If it looks like rain, I bring a bigger tarp for my hammock (ok, its actually the rain fly to my old tent, but makes a great 12x8 tarp) that can be pitched high for a porch for the gear. Even though our sleeping bags are only rated to 35 degrees, we use a liner, and put a sleeping pad in the hammock, and sleep well layered, and I have never had a complaint from the boys down to the upper 20's. Jack has even woke up and had to shed a layer. He refuses to sleep in a tent now, and Ive even heard him poke fun at other campers using tents ;-)

Hammocks are cool, and fun and I wouldnt go any other way now, just because I love the feeling of being outside the tent. With weight of the tarps, and having to take two hammocks and two tarps for me and the boys (soon to be 3 hammocks and 3 tarps) I would be better off hauling our 9 lb, 4 person tent if I were worried about weight. If you can afford to get the super lightweight tarps, you can still save weight, or if your oldest son can haul some extra weight, you can split it up, have him carry his own. Tons of information on hammock camping at hammockforums.net

Last edited by JayB; 01-05-2011 at 09:06 AM..
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Old 01-05-2011, 10:02 AM
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gmreeves gmreeves is offline
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I got a hammock for Christmas and havent set it up yet to give it a try. I've always enjoyed the tent but I am starting to get back issues and sleeping on the hard ground even with a nice pad is uncomfortable. Do you hammock campers find that the sleep is better?
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:20 AM
JayB JayB is offline
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A thousand times better! I always tossed and turned, had an arm go to sleep, etc. Not at a problem at all in a hammock. Just make sure you get a proper hang, and lay in the hammock correctly so that you can lay flat, not curved. If the hammock is setup properly you can sleep just like you would at home on your back, side, or stomach.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:28 AM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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I find the sleep is much better in the hammock. I too have a ENO single nest man that thing is comfortable. My friend has a blackbird warbonnet that his the ultimate hammock. Someday I want one of those. Spend some time on hammockforums.net and you will see that is the caddy of hammocks. I still have a tent also and use it when it is colder since I don't have an underquilt but I am working on that. Jay is right about hammock's being cool. When I walk into a backcountry campsite and see other hangers I feel the same way I do when I see other fly fisherman. Kind of a camraderie there. One other thing I like about hanging is that when it is pouring outside and I am sitting on the ground under my tarp cooking all your tent friends who don't want to be trapped inside their tent will all get under your tarp with you so they can cook, eat and hang out outside still without getting wet. If it is a really strong blowing storm you can adjust the tarp closer in to the ground and even make doors to completely seal you off from the outside like a tenter but most times that isn't needed.

Last year I got an REI Flash 65 (65 liter) pack. Very cheap and I love it. It was also backpacker magazine pack of the year in 2009 I think. Big pack holds 65 liters but only weighs 3lbs and cost about $160.
Adam Beal


Hey Jack (JAB)...
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:15 PM
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spotlight spotlight is offline
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I have the Hennessey ultralight asym it weighs right at 2lbs with 2 stakes and the fly. I must say I sleep way better in the hammock but when I go fishing I prefer my tent for a place to ross things. I have to put my pack on the bear cables when I use my hammock. I use a hefty garbage bag over the pack and let it hang like a skirt after poking a small hole in the bottom. When I tent I either use my Six Moon designs Lunar Duo at 46 o/zs or I will take my new Tarptent moment right at 2lbs with tent,fly.poles and stakes.

I use ultralight pack a ULA Circuit it's about 3600 Ltrs but I must say Osprey packs do carry very well and the Argon 80 and the Aether 70 both are good choices and will hold and carry plenty of gear for overnight trips. With either hammock or the tent I have my pack weight right at 29-32 lbs thats with carrying waders,vest,rod,reel,net...I just bought the new Korkers Chrome wading boots I am hoping to be able to hike into the backcountry using them to save even more weight.

Just remember pack carefully and remember ounces turn into pounds quickly but carry what your comfortable with and enjoy.
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