Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Winter Hang

This past weekend I went the to a "hang", a gathering of hammock enthusiasts, in NW Pennsylvania. It was held at Moshannon State Forest near the Marion Brooks natural area at a place called "Beaver Run". Nearby we found plenty of evidence that beavers are indeed active in the area.

One of the reasons for a hang is to test your gear and to take a look at other people's gear and get ideas. When we first planned the hang it looked like it might be very cold and that worried me. Then on the day of the hang it got amazingly warm, but was forecast to be cold and gusty that night. Setting up in warm weather with melting snow all around reminded me of one of the best things about hammocking -- staying above the mud!

Here you can see my bridge hammock (with green underquilt) suspended above a slush pond that formed from my footprints while I was setting up. Because I knew it would get down to about 20F that night I added a second underquilt that my wife had recently made for me. I figured that would keep me warm. But my big concern was the wind. Gusts of 40 mph were called for and the ground was muddy so I was afraid that stakes would not hold.

Enter my new favorite piece of gear. I just got these guys for my birthday. They are REI Snow and Sand Tent Anchors; just simple squares of material with cords connecting to a common point where you tie to. They are lighter than stakes but work great in snow. The picture shows a rock but what you really do is put a bunch of snow in the center and then bury that in more snow and stamp it down. I put these on the windward side of my tarp and hoped for the best. They worked great! Didn't budge an inch and the tarp stood firm all night. In fact in the morning I had significant difficulty getting them out. I had to pound on the ice with the back of a hatchet I borrowed.

The other reason for a hang is to meet people. The people on are some of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. The hang was organized by medicjimr who documented the trip with this youtube video.  Below are some of the other hangers.

Because Pennsylvania is colder than Missouri I'm finding I need to beef up my winter gear.  In the next few posts I'll describe some of the gear I've been testing out his winter.


Lybi said...

Wow, that tent anchor is a great idea. Who'd have thought such a simple solution would work so well. Looks lighter and easier to install than other systems I've used. *Coughing*

Is it me, or is that guy's hair really green? Way to go all out with the camophlage, dude.


Laura said...

So... you didn't say how you survived the windy, cold night?!?!? Is that another Heber horror story, or do you have all your fingers and toes still?

Heber said...

That was the other good news about that night. I stayed toasty warm. Both my underquilts and overquilt did great.