Hike Your Own Hike…. dumbass.

“Hike Your Own Hike” is a philosophy of sorts. It originally meant “do it the way you like”, or something like that. Plenty of hikers on facebook will use it to say that, usually at the end of threads that begin, “Hey what’s the best _____” (stove/camera/pack/sleeping bag/etc.)

Often there is a serious debate and then someone will say, “Well I use ___, because it seems to work the best for me, but Hike your own hike”. All well and good, because after all, gear choices are pretty varied and personal. Some people like the speed of a JetBoil stove, whereas some people prefer the weight savings but sometimes more finicky behavior of an alcohol stove. Some like hammocks, some like tents.

But there’s always a post or to where you know the “dumbass” is implied. Much like a southern woman saying “bless your heart”, sometimes there’s an unspoken “bitch” at the end. Or when you don’t share someone’s beliefs and they scream “I’ll pray for you”, you know there’s a “to burn in hell forever” muttered under their breath. So, Hike Your Own Hike can sometimes have a negative connotation to it.

One of the most common HYOH(D), or, “Hike Your Own Hike (Dumbass)” posts I see, are the ones about GPS or GPS apps. Someone will post something to the effect of “Hey which GPS do you recommend?” or “Which app seems to have the best GPS features?”. It’s a lousy topic for a post anyway, as most people will recommend the GPS that they have, and most people haven’t tried more than one or two. I’ve been using GPS units since 2002 or so. My first one didn’t have maps. My second had a limited 4mb of memory and very basic maps with a black and white screen. My most recent one has an SD slot and up to 32GB of memory with colored maps and aerial photos. Hmmm…which would I recommend?

But there’s always someone who interjects something completely away from the original topic.

“Which GPS do you use and is it a good one?”

reply: “GPS can fail! Only use a map and compass!”

OR something like:

“Which is more useful for keeping a phone charged, a solar panel or a battery pack?”

reply: “Unplug! Leave all the gadgets at home.”

Invariably there’s the HYOH(D) post in there somewhere, the post that implies you should do it your own way, but if you don’t do it MY way, you’re an idiot.

“What do you recommend, hiking boots or shoes?”

reply: “Well Boots are totally out. Most people are moving away from shoes. Only a masochist would still wear shoes when trail runners are lighter, breathe better, and still wear well in camp, so you don’t need camp shoes like flip flops. But if you still want to wear heavy shoes instead of brand Y trail runners like me, then HYOH”. And there it is, the “Dumbass” is implied.

The problem is, some people can get really offended if you call them on it. It’s best to leave well enough alone. Typical of the GPS posts: screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-3-12-19-pm

A well composed, easy to understand post. What GPS do you use? Also a typical reply, with decent information. Doesn’t answer the question, but doesn’t get asshole-ish about it. Presents an alternative HYOH without the  implied Dumbass.

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Unfortunately I made the mistake of calling out a different response. Typical of the “Do it my way or you’re an idiot” crowd. I made a reply about “Why do people feel the need to inject completely irrelevant information or opposite opinions into a post asking for information. A couple of people replied similarly, and the thread disappeared. Then I get a private message:

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So… when someone posts a HYOH(D) post, realize that they may get really upset when they are called out. Best to let the (D) HYOH people just spout off their stuff and go about their business. Otherwise the admins get in on the whole thing. And everyone knows how facebook group admins behave.

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The Donner Party Hike Review…

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Damn early in the morning on February 3rd, 8 of us left Columbia, SC to head up to Damascus, Virginia. It’s amazing to me that parts of Virginia are that close, as it was only a 4 hour drive. We had planned a 3 day hike in February, in part because the winter here has been so mild.

A few days out I checked the weather, and found it was supposed to be down around 20 the first night. Cold, yes, but not completely unbearable. Two days later I checked again. The weather was supposed to be 15 degrees and windy, with temperatures all day Saturday right around Freezing. Then I changed the name of the hike from the sublime “AT Hike into Damascus Southbound” to the more intimidating “Donner Party Hike”. Surprisingly we only had one drop out at that point, due to illness.

Our shuttle dropped the 8 of us at the AT Crossing at Elk Garden, along Virginia Highway 600. It was the last time we would see people until Sunday at lunch.

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Hiking were (back) Thomas, Mike, Me, Michelle, Leslie, Dorothy, Jim, and Paul (in front).

Even though we started at around 4500 feet, we had to ascend to just over 500 and cross the balds at Whitetop Mountain. The wind was cold and at times relentless, and snow covered parts of the landscape around us. The rest of the afternoon was spent mainly going downhill towards Lost Mountain Shelter, with a stop in the middle of the trip for lunch.

I normally don’t cook lunch on the trail, but I heated some water and made a hot drink and ate my cliff bar, trying to stay warm. I fell behind like usual, looking for geocaches and generally enjoying myself. I tend to try and wander into camp right about dinner time so there’s not much down time.

When I was about a mile from shelter I ran into the rest of them, everyone had stopped by a small creek, and had set camp up. A group decision had been made to abandon going uphill to shelter, in favor of a campsite lower on the mountain, close to water. It turned out to be a good move.

Temperatures seemed to be dropping rapidly (or maybe we were sweaty and now we were standing still) as we set up our stuff and made food.

My choice of meal was the AlpineFAire Mesquite BBQ Chicken and Rice. I don’t really recommend splitting it up the way I did. I got too much sauce in mine, so it was like a little chicken and rice in a bowl of kraft BBQ Sauce. It was way too thick. I didn’t eat the other half the next night. My Squishy Bowl smelled like BQ sauce for the rest of the trip.

After dinner we hung around the smoldering fire of mostly fireproof wood, and then retreated to the warmth of our tents. It was cold at first, but after fighting the hammock into submission and getting my covers just right, I had to get out and fix my underquilt because my butt was cold. Then I got all comfortable again and had to get out and pee an hour later. Finally, blissful sleep.

If you’ve never woken up to ice crystals on the inside of your tent, you’re missing out on something. My Taco Wrap hammock performed admirably. The little mesh window worked great, but at some point in the night seemed to ice up a bit. And when I rolled over away from it, I breathed right against the wall of the tent, making another small ice sheet, which froze the edge of my down covers to the side of the tent.

When I finally heard Thomas getting a fire going, I got up and peed again. It was cold. Really really cold. Jim told us the temperature was ten degrees by his hammock. One of our party didn’t want to get up until it was warmer. Twenty minutes later she was told the thermometer now read near 7 degrees, so she might as well get up.

Breakfast consisted of my first successful trailside pancakes, coffee, and bacon bits that I warmed up in my little pan. It was the best trail breakfast I think I’ve ever done.

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We strolled out of camp about 830 or so, having a shorter day and all day to do it. The first trudge was up the hill over a mile to Lost Mountain Shelter. It was a nice big campsite, but situated on a hilltop without much protection from the wind. The Privy would have been nice, and we never checked the water source, so I don’t know if it was flowing or not. I explained our camping destination to the rest of the group, and people began spreading out like they tend to do. This day was a long and arduous one, up and down some sawtooth hills, including a series of short steep ups and downs that seemed designed as a leg workout. Thankfully the last part of the day was a mostly gentle downhill towards Feathercamp Branch. I ran into Michelle about halfway through the day, and we sat by the trail for lunch. I heated some water and made some tea. It was nice to make a hot drink and rest by the trail while trying to warm up.

Feathercamp was a nice surprise. I expected a little stream and maybe some cramped campsites, but it was a huge area right off the Virginia Creeper Trail, next to a river. Apparently popular in the summer, it was mostly abandoned now. As we set up, some rangers showed up and warned us about the fire danger and asked us general questions about where we were headed. They asked us to burn any trash that we happened to pick up, as people liked to come in and leave stuff lying around. It rubbed one of our group the wrong way, as they had a truck not 100 feet from the camping area (this part of the VA Creeper trail had a gravel walking/roadbed that they had driven on), and they could have easily hauled out a few things.

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The evening was much warmer, and the threatened rain never showed up. It sleeted on us sometime during the night, and melted everywhere except when it was on our tent covers. The last day was a hard climb up 700 feet over some hills, and then down over 1000 feet into Damascus. Somehow Michelle and I missed the split in the trail and went up and over the Iron Mountain trail. It was higher in elevation that the AT and the track took us maybe as much as a half mile longer. But when we realized the mistake, we also discovered that the trails converged again later, and stuck with it.

Damascus was a welcome relief, and we met everyone a few people at a time. Since it was just lunchtime, we stopped at a local place before heading home, and had a nice hot meal than didn’t come from a bag.

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The Movie is here:

The Donner Party Hike

You know you’re in for a hike when you see the weather report and wind up jokingly renaming it “The Donner Party Hike”.

If you haven’t seen the weather channel movie “The Donner Party”, at least google it. The Donners and several other people headed west around the turn of the century (the 1900s, not the 2000s). They took a shortcut hoping to get to California for better land than everyone else that started the same time. So, by trying to cheat, they got seriously behind. A lot of the wound up dying, and their was a disagreement on the trail that wound up in a stabbing. They spent the winter eating the cattle and each other.

A few years back, we were discussing this ill-fated trip while trying to plan a hike in the South Carolina Upstate, and were wondering what parts of people might be tasty in such an event.

So – when we recently planned a hike from Elk Garden to Damascus, VA the weather wasnt bad. Mid 40s and a little rain. Then the rain disappeared from the forcast and they dropped the temperatures to the high teens overnight.

I’ve never slept out in the teens overnight. I’m anticipating waking up to an ice palace inside the hammock. I’ve been into the high 20’s before, but the teens are another thing entirely. I have a feeling our group is going to be the only group of idiots out this weekend in this particular section. They’re predicting a little snow Saturday night, and there is already a little snow where we are going. Hopefully by the time you read this I’ll be through the worst of it.

This weather is drunk. Last weekend it was 60 on the trail. This Saturday it will barely get above freezing all day. How do you even get water when it’s freezing? I’ve never had to chop water before.

But, if worst comes to worst, I’m taking the pork rub. Wish me luck.

Apparently there’s also some sort of sporting event this weekend? I might miss it.

Chill, Gorilla…

One of the things I have been needing to replace for my camping experience was my Hennessy Hex Fly. It’s a big tarp thing that goes over my hammock, shaped like a squashed hexagon. I have two:

One of them is asymmetrical – which means the ends are cut a little shorter on opposite sides/ends. It works great with the hammock, which is also asymmetrical, but it doesn’t work so well with the Grizz Beak.

My older hex tarp (also a Hennessy model) is a larger, heavier hexagon that is the same on the ends. It gives more room and works better with the Grizz Beaks. It’s also starting to leak. There are spots here and there about the size of dinner plates where the water will definitely come through. They are near the edges, but it seemed like a good time to replace it.

Online, I saw the Chill Gorilla tarp mentioned by a few people.

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Not only did it come with a little bag and tent stakes, but it has a cool gorilla logo on it, and it costs about half what the Hennessy tarp costs.

Here is my Amazon Review of it:

 

Light, easily packable, waterproof. Not so great for cooling gorillas, despite the name. Gorillas don’t like being in small enclosed spaces covered up, even if you tell them to chill. They shred the fabric with ease and then maul you. Best to use on section or thru-hikers that only smell as bad as a gorilla.

A more full review:
I have been hammock camping for four years now, in weather from snowing to 80 degrees. My first rain fly was the Hennessy Hammock stock Asymmetric tarp. It’s a tiny POS, throw it out or pay for the upgrade. For an Honest Comparison:

I hung up my Chill Gorilla, and put my Hennessy Asymmetric Silnylon tarp on top of it. Although they have the same ridge line length, the chill gorilla is about 3″ taller on each side (measured from the ridgeline vertically towards the ground). The Chill Gorilla is also symmetrical, unlike the hennessy tarp. One end on each side was close to a foot wider than the hennessy tarp. This would account for the extra few ounces of weight.

I have a hennessy poly tarp as well, it was my older tarp and started losing water resistance in spots. My old Hennessy poly tarp is about the same size and weight of the Chill Gorilla, but the Gorilla tarp is easily half the price. I use Grizz Beaks on my tarp ends. They work MUCH better with symmetrical tarps than asym tarps.

Now for the down side:
One of the things I like about Hennessy tarps is they have little pockets on each corner for the tie-out ropes. Each time I take out my chill gorilla, the lines are a tangled mess. When you’re wanting to get your tarp up in the rain, it’s nice to have a tight, neat package. I’m thinking of making little line bags that tie on the corners.
The Chill Gorilla also packs almost TWICE as large as the Hennessy SilNylon tarp. I think its a combination of thicker fabric and the slightly longer ends, but it completely fills one of the orange dry sacks from walmart (the three pack from outdoor products), whereas the hennessy takes up about half the bag.
This DOES need to air out when you first get it. It has a strong chemical smell, almost fishy, but hang it in the carport for a day or two and the smell goes away. Get a larger stuff sack: like every hammock, tarp, and tent ever produced, once you get it out of the sack, it’s never going back in.

I hung it up outside today, and installed a Grizz Beak on each end, to test it out.

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I immediately came to a few conclusions:

I need to lengthen the tie lines for my Grizz Beaks (the brown doors on either end. By doing so, I can tie the doors on opposite ends of the hammock to a single tent stake in the middle. Right now I’m using way too many tent stakes.

I need to seriously redo the tie lines on the tarp itself. I had used reflective 550 cord (which came with it) and metal clips on the ends. This tarp in its sack weighs just over 2 pounds! With the grizz beaks and the sack for everything, it weighs in at a hefty 2.5 pounds. I cut off the heavy paracord and the metal clips and saved 2 ounces. I have some strong, light line on the way from Amazon, and hope to redo the whole suspension on the thing and make it very light. I’m going to forego the metal clips on the ends and just tie the beast off. Eventually I want some plastic flip locks but I don’t have time to get those right now… Maybe I’ll harvest them from my other tarp until spring.

Cold Weather Camping Time

At our last expedition on the Foothills Trail, I tried my best to make Trail Pancakes. The results were… bad. Pretty terrible, actually. I wound up with the pancake version of scrambled eggs. If you’ve never had scrambled pancakes, then don’t. Most of my problem was a brain fart:

Never follow the instructions on pancakes. The box said use X amount of mix and X amount of water. So I measured the mix and took it with me, and dumped in the measured amount of water, and had runny pancake soup. The resultant mess cooked like crepes, which made a mess and I wound up just drinking the raw mix. Can you say NASTY?

So, I tried the pancake experiment at home. Put mix in bowl, add water a little at a time, stir, and add more if necessary. Finally… I got it done, and cooked over my stove in my little egg pan.

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I cant cook a pancake that nice on my griddle at home. The perspective is a bit off, but yes, the pan is 4″ wide. I need some syrup now.

Cold weather camping offers some interesting choices for food in general. You would never wake up in August, already hot and sweating, and think “Hey lets cook pancakes!” But in the cold weather, its nice to have something warm while you delay getting up. The refrigerating quality of the air also lets you take along some fun stuff.

BabyBel Cheese keeps for days in the woods in the winter. It’s tasty, fresh, and has calories or something. Who knows, it’s CHEESE in the WOODS. You can’t beat that.

Meat! Freeze a piece of steak or fish, stick it in your pack (wrapped well) and by the time you hit camp, you have a defrosted piece of fresh meat to cook. I typically go ahead and sear the outside of my meat, to lessen the cook time and go ahead and dry up some of the meat juices, so the meat isn’t such a bloody mess in the packaging. If you don’t have a fire that first night, you’re stuck carrying rotting meat juices with you.

Bacon Bits: The precooked bacon bits will keep a few days in cold weather. Stir some up in your pan after you make your pancakes.

Eggs: I’m not a big egg eater, but you CAN take eggs with you if the temperature is cold enough. Add it to your bacon and pancakes and you’ve got a full force breakfast in the woods. I’ve seen it done…

Meanwhile, I’ve been testing a few things for an upcoming trip. I have a NEW set of Grizzbeak doors for my tarp. I’m looking forward to having two ends enclosed for cold weather. My Taco Wrap has yet to be tested in the woods, so I’m looking forward to enjoying a night in it. I put it up yesterday to the chargin of the neighbor’s dogs, and after laying in it a while I’m convinced there’s enough ventilation that it shouldn’t cause an issue with condensation.

Long nights in the hammock…

Winter hiking is awesome hiking. No bugs. So many less people. The views are more open because there are and many leaves, as much scrub brush, and less weeds. You’re less likely to get poison ivy and more likely to get frostbite. But there’s one thing that Summer has that Winter lacks – Long days.

In the summer, you can get up at 7 and hike until 8, provided you don’t boil to death in the heat or pass out from dehydration. In the winter, it’s get up at five an hope to hike until 4:30 before finding a campsite, and hoping you get crap set up before dark. Then what do you do? Is making a fire worth it? Do you really need to burn wood for light and warmth? Sure, it’s nice if there’s a crowd of you, because many hands make light work. Plus, it gives you someone to talk to across the flames. But – if it’s just you, now you have to make the fire, maintain it, watch it, and ultimately put it out, all by yourself. And fires are a lot of work.

Either way, odds are you’ll probably be in bed a lot earlier than normal. On a recent hike, fires were a bad idea. There were already forest fires within 30 miles of us, there was a severe drought, and a burn ban (we thought). So we were freezing and retreated to our tents by 6:30. So what do you do? If you go to sleep at 6:30, odds are by 4am you’re going to be wide awake. Nothing sucks like lounging around cold in the hammock with nothing to do. I try to stay up as long as I can.

That’s where the phone comes in. Serious hikers poo-poo the phone. “Get off the grid!” they’ll tell you. “Disconnect!” they’ll say. “Put away your device and live a little!” they’ll belch. Sure, all well and good during the day when there’s stuff to look at and things to do, but when it’s 7:30 and you’re staring at the roof of the tent, the phone can be a nice diversion.

First: Leave it in airplane mode. Disconnecting is good. What’s the point of driving to the trail, loading up a house on your back, and living like a caveman, if you’re just going to get the campsite and take a selfie, while catching up on bullshit social media stuff.

Sometimes I’ll start by looking at pictures I took during the day. Get rid of the crappy ones and maybe edit the others by cropping and color-correcting. It’s pretty amazing what phones will do with pictures these days.

There’s always games, phones have a crap ton of games available and the ones that aren’t super graphics intense may be a bit easier on your battery and such.

I like watching movies – it’s pretty amazing how long the battery will last when watching a movie on the phone. Depending on the phone and the brightness setting you could watch hours and hours of movies before you need a charge. But how do you get the damn things on there? There are subscription services (apparently NetFlix lets you store movies temporarily now), and if you buy movies, they often come with a “digital copy”.

Let me just say I HATE the way they do digital copy. There are several services the studios use and they all are complicated and suck. Why can’t they just include a disc with an MP4 on it, sized for the phone? Well, I guess because someone would take that 2GB file, upload it to the internet and people wouldn’t buy the disc. So – I had to learn how to do it myself.

Software:

AnyDVDHD – a great piece of software sold from overseas somewhere. I think the company is in Russia, but you pay them through China or something. It’s a bit weird, but they had to escape getting sued and such. See – AnyDVD’s ONLY job is to strip the copy protection from your movies. DVDs and Blu-Rays you buy can’t be copied without some help, and that’s where AnyDVD comes in. You put the movie in your PC, and the software sits there, quietly waiting to strip the copy protection. Click “Rip to Hard Disc” and wait. Be warned, a BluRay can have something like 32 Gigabytes of stuff on it. You will need a bit of hard drive space until you can convert it, and maybe an hour or more while it copies stuff. DVD’s go MUCH faster.

Wonderfox – This is my favorite conversion software for DVDs (not blue ray). You tell it where to start, what to output, and what size it should be. I like 720×480 just because it works fine for iphones and the movies come out between 1 and 2 gigabytes. Wonderfox is also great for children’s stuff. You bought a DVD of a dance recital your child was in. Your child’s part was 3 minutes long, in the middle of a 90 minute show? Pick the begin and end spots and hit Run, and you’ll get just the 3 minute part you want, perfect for sharing on Facebook.

Handbrake – Handbrake is great for BluRay movies. It works for DVDs too, and it’s free. I just like the interface with wonderfox better. But, if you’re wanting to do BluRay movies, it’s pretty good. Much like Wonderfox, Handbrake is not as simple as Wonderfox, but it’s not bad. Chose your input movie, your output size, and click run. Wait an hour or two and you have a 2 gigabyte movie. Delete the big version to free up space.

After doing this, you should have digital copies of your movies in MP4 versions, perfect for watching on the trail. Drop them into itunes (or whatever android uses), check your “home movies” folder, and there they are. Sync them to your phone and go hiking.

If you got totally confused with this, give it to a 14 year old. They probably are doing this already. A word of warning – you have to buy this stuff from overseas. Use a credit card you don’t use often, and call your bank. They will likely think it’s a fraud attempt. As soon as you’re done, call them back and keep an eye on your statement. I haven’t had an issue with either AnyDVD OR Wonderfox. There are tons of other things out there that claim to do the same stuff, I can tell you these WORK.

  • A word of warning: Making copies of movies you own is a bit sketchy, but probably legal. There are many schools of thought on that, and many differing legal opinions. Making copies of movies you got from Netflix or your friends is definitely not okay.

Taco Wrap Completion

After a weekend of sewing and measuring and testing and sewing some more, the Taco Wrap is complete. I wasn’t sure going into this how successful it would be, and even when I was finishing it up last night I wondered if I had just wasted several hours and a bunch of fabric.

But I hung it up in the yard a few minutes ago and I have to say I’m pleased with my efforts.

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The Taco Wrap is dual colored. Green on top, blue on the bottom. This was more for ease of assembly than for aesthetics. Above you see the suspension and the ridge line exiting the end of the hammock, with a little triangle thing on the end to help make it easier to sew on the top. The tie-dye came out nicely, I think.

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Another view on the outside on the opposite end, before I got everything tightened up a bit.

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Here you can see a bit of the detail where the tie-out point is. The blue bottoms fabric I did in a snake-belly pattern and the top I did a classic spiral shape, although a lot of it got cut off. When I attached top to bottom I decided to make it easier on myself and only put a zipper on one side. This helped lighten the hammock just a bit, and made assembly a lot easier. In hindsight I think I should have put a little zippered opening on the opposite side, just in case I need to reach out and adjust my underquilt. With three rows of stitches in there now, it would be hard to change. The zipper is on the left side (when you’re laying in the hammock), the same side as most of the vent/window. The makes it pretty easy to identify the head end in night, and also which way to orient any underquilt, since some of them have more stuffing on the upper torso and head part.

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A view inside, laying in the hammock, looking down towards the feet. The black solid lines above outline the window, which is about 18 inches wide, 24 inches long, and roughly horseshoe shaped. It is not completely removable, but when unzipped it rolls up and tucks away on the ridge line.

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Another view, down towards the foot end. The hammock is surprisingly comfortable and roomy, despite what it looks like sitting on the floor. I’m thinking of adding a pocket on the left side past the zipper. I’m always looking for places to store stuff in my hammock. Somewhere to stash a headlamp or socks or gloves. This is after all, a cold weather winter hammock. Being completely enclosed in the summer would be tough, even with the vent open.

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Looking above with the vent/window partially open. Working with double-ended zippers and bug netting was a new thing for me. With the green dyed fabric and the bug netting on the table, at one point it looked like a camo wedding dress. I can zip/unzip the window from either end or in the middle, so I just have an opening above me, or just on the side, or completely open it up. On the outside is a non-opening bug net, protecting me not only from last-minute late season bugs, but adding a little protection against drafts, even with the window open.

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The is a view up and towards the foot end with the window completely open. The bug net does a pretty good job of keeping the drafts down, and the window is wide enough I get a good view out the left side. Not so much on the right side, but the left is pretty decent.

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Above my head and to the right is one pocket I went ahead and added while sewing the hammock together. Its large enough to hold a phone and small charger, as well as eye drops, ear buds, and a few other little odds and ends. I’m thinking about putting one big enough for my hammock pillow (14×9) way up in the back. No matter how I try, by the time I get my sleeping bag arranged, the pillow is way up under me. It would be nice to have a place to store it while getting ready or going for a midnight pee break.

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Final look down the hammock, with feet spread so I could show off the dye pattern. I really couldn’t get a good ceiling picture because of the angle.

So how did the Taco Wrap come out? I’m pleased overall. It took a lot of sewing and swearing, but it was a fun project. I don’t think I would want to try another one any time soon, it was really in depth and required a lot of thinking and rethinking about what to sew when, how to sew this or that, and how to not stitch the whole thing together by accident.

The window – If I had put the window more centralized I would have had a better view out the right side. As is, my view to the right is severely limited. But – I was really aiming for a condensation vent and window at my head, which meant more of a window on the left side because of the shape given the hammock by the tie-outs.

Weight – I was really happy with this. I used 1.6 ounce hyper-D nylon for the top and bottom. I could have gone with 1 ounce on the top, but I already had placed my order from RipStopByTheRoll. The whole hammock was built with their stuff. (4 yards green, 4 yards blue, 1 yard bug netting, 1 section amsteel for suspension, 2 mini triangle tie out rings). For comparison, my Hammeck Netty (made from 1.6 ounce fabric and bug netting) weighs in at 1 pound, 1.1 ounces. The Taco Wrap weighs in at 1 pound, 2.2 ounces. Why so close, I wonder? The hammeck has zippers on both sides, with double pulls on both zippers. That probably made up the weight difference, but I’m not sure. Either way, I was really happy how light the whole thing turned out compared to the Netty.

Construction – I felt my construction was as solid as any of my other hammocks. It feels good, although some of the stitching could be a lot better. The Hyper-D fabric is bad about stretching when pulled in certain directions. The makes it really hard to sew decent seams across different pieces of fabric when joining them. You wind up with pieces that don’t line up at the end. It can make rolling hems difficult too, as they stretch downstream. But, I’m not selling the thing, so if I have a few wonky-looking sections it will still work fine. From 10 feet away it looks pretty darn good. I just have to find somewhere really cold to go now.