SHELTER; With several back injuries making sleeping on the ground less and less desirable finding the Hennessy Hammock a few years back was a God send! I now have the Survivor model in woodland camo. Spent many nights kicked back in this baby during some wicked bad weather. Always stayed dry as a bone. I sometimes use my Ridgerest Pad inside it when the weather cools off. I can’t say enough about how well I sleep in it and how good my back feels in the morning vs ground sleeping. You might not think it because the hammock’s up off the ground in the trees but it does make for a very “low profile” camp site. I use it almost all year until it gets too cold. I do not have nor will I be buying any of the extras to make it into a “4 season” shelter. I use my Integral Designs SilTarp II (8X10’) all year round. It’s big enough with several set up options for use as a shelter but light and small enough to carry all the time regardless. Combine the SilTarp with some mossi netting and you have a cool, secure, weatherproof ultralight summer shelter. My mossi netting of choice currently is the Pro Force, Double Combo 4 Way Net. This netting comes pretreated with Permethrine, is olive in color and sets up in about a million different ways. The Ti stakes I use are very light weight and strong but wouldn’t be good for sandy soil. That is not an issue for me around here. In winter my Integral Designs Exp. Unishelter in woodland camo is the best bivy option for me. Small, light, very low profile, totally waterproof, and opens down the side. Bivy’s that are “top loading” are one giant pain in the ass to crawl into and out of! Be careful when buying bivy’s and sleeping pads. Make sure both the bivy zipper and your sleeping bag zipper are on the same side. Also have to make sure that your sleeping pad will fit into the Bivy. Learned this the hardway. 25” wide luxurious Thermarest pad that wouldn’t fit into the UniShelter stuffed with my winter sleeping bag. I use a chunk of British, Individual Protection Kit, tarp in olive as my ground cloth. I also use cut to fit chunks of IPK’s as footprints for all of my tents. It has been waterproof, light, and tough as nails! It’s always on the bottom and doesn’t have even a small hole or tear after many years of use.
SLEEPING; Most of the year I use my Ridgerest or ProLite Short sleeping pads. The Ridgerest is strapped to the outside of my pack normally on the top. On the top helps keep it from getting torn when I un-ass my pack. A plus for the ProLite Short is that it fits neatly and completely inside my packs. All the way down to a 3-day assault pack. The bright orange color is a little much for me but it’s only out of the bag a short time before it’s covered up. In the winter months I run a “pad combo.” On the bottom is a cut down Mil Issue closed cell foam puss pad. On top of that is my Thermarest Luxury Camp Regular. That is a lot of padding and insulation. I do not get cold while sleeping in the winter. I haven’t upgraded to the Exped down pads due to the fact that as stated I already have several Thermarest pads and haven’t had any trouble or issues with them. Summertime sleeping bags I’ll go over warmest to least. Wiggy’s FTRSS Overbag in black is plenty warm enough to get me into the fall. In the morning the black color really soaks in the sun’s rays (heat). Very nice after a damp chilly night. I have two Softie 3 Merlin bags. One is Olive the other is Tan. I have a Softie fleece liner that adds about 10-15F to the Merlins but when stuffed together the resulting bulk is the same as one of my lower rated bags. One of my favorite pieces of kit is my Kifaru Woobie! Wrapped up in this lil’ slice of heaven is as warm as the Merlin bags easily. WARNING: Do not leave your Woobie lay out at home! Too many stories of wives, girlfriends, kids, and dogs stealing them!
Mags - You and WoodsWalker are the gold standard for quality kit (as everyone here knows)!
Now that I've completed my kits, I'm starting the process of evaluating areas I think I'm deficient in and upgrading as required (as finances and time permit).
One area that I've started to focus on is SHELTER and SLEEPING.
When I first found your thread I was very intrigued by your Hennessy Hammock and am still watching for a deal on two of them (his & hers). However, as you state, and as I've read elsewhere, they really are only a three-season solution.
You mention the ID SilTarp for ultralight summer time use, but what do you use for winter (including snow)? I've seen a tent and bivy in your photos but haven't identified the tent yet.
For reference, each of our kits currently have the following shelter and sleeping gear:
* USGI Gore-Tex Bivy Bags
* USGI Ranger Blankets
* USGI RipStop Poncho (for Basha construction)
* USGI Ground Pad
* 550 ParaCord
* Tarps (8x10)
* Emergency Space Blankets
* (I have off-foot gear too like complete 4 Component Extreme Cold Weather Sleeping Systems, etc).
I obviously want to improve my shelter and sleeping gear. I know I'll be replacing the USGI ground pads with Ridgerests, and as stated before I want Survivor Hammocks for 3-Season use. I've also been looking at Eureka Solo (backpacking) tents and a 2-Person Eureka 4 Season (backpacking tent).
What do you recommend for the 4th (and most dangerous) season?