HG – Hammock Gear – Truly High Quality Ultralight Gear For The Hammock Sleeping Folk

So you have been camping for years in your ground tent and sleeping bag and absolutely love it.. but there is another option and it’s been around for a while now but the talk is getting louder and louder.. Hammock Camping…

So why hammocks? First, you sleep better… how many times have you been on a camping trip and wake up each morning and don’t feel refreshed and like you got a good night sleep? Most of us.. that’s because the ground is a very unforgiving place to sleep. It’s hard, uncomfortable and flat out not the best way to sleep. And.. yes you can have a sleeping mat or pad but it still isn’t ideal. So sleeping in a hammock is as one article I read – sleeping in a suspended, floating cocoon of happiness. I read that and thought.. WOW.. this lady is a lifelong camper and is making a statement like that about hammocks. They must be amazing. Who wouldn’t want to camp and wake up feeling great?

Second is weight.. When backpacking you are constantly looking for lighter and lighter gear so you aren’t hauling a ton of weight on your back. Backpack, tent, tent poles, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, etc, etc, etc.. Compare all that gear to sleep to hammock camping which if you do it right like a HG Wanderlust Hammock Camping Kit that weight comes in at an amazing 40 oz or 2.5 lbs or 5.5 with the addition of the optional standard insulation. Try the traditional camping route with a tent and gear in under that.. We will look at the Wanderlust a little more later in the post.

Now that I have your attention and Hammock Camping sounds intriguing let’s look at HG and some of their gear.

HG – Hammock Gear… I pulled this information from their About HG page – Established in 2009, Hammock Gear is a small manufacturing company based just outside of Columbus Ohio. We pride ourselves on using the highest quality materials available on the market, to produce our line of ultralight backpacking products. Many of our craftspeople have been active in their respective fields for decades. Drawing on the expertise of our team members, as well as the experience of our customers, we are constantly striving to improve our line of products preferred by hammock and ground campers alike. This combination of expertise and high expectation is the foundation of our mission as a manufacturer of outdoor recreational gear.

I have been talking to HG for a few weeks now and have done a lot of reading and research on HG as a company as well as hammock camping in general. As you know I am a fan of small companies and individuals that produce hand crafted products and HG falls right into that small manufacturing type of company and I like what I have read and seen so far. From the interactions I have had with HG’s President I can see how they have a passion for what they are doing and putting out for us outdoors folk. Their products aren’t mass produced but rather made with that same passion and attention to detail so you know that you are getting quality.

The Wanderlust Complete Kit For Hammock Camping

Here’s what you get…

  • Zippered Bug Net Hammock
  • Ultralight Hammock Suspension including Continuous Loops, Ridgeline, Carabiners, Ultralight Daisy Chain
  • Quest Tarp equipped with 12′ green reflective guyline at both ridgeline tie-outs and 6′ orange reflective guyline at all four perimeter tie-outs
  • Knotless tie-out package with LineLocs and titanium clips
  • Aluminum Y-Stakes (4)
  • Matching Stake Stuff Sack
  • Stuff Sack for storing everything together
  • $229.99
  • Total Weight – 40 oz / 2.5 lbs

Optional Standard Insulation

  • Economy Burrow Standard Length and Width 20 degree comfort rating: Moroccan Blue Outer / Black Inner
  • Economy Incubator Standard Length 20 degree comfort rating: Moroccan Blue Outer / Black Inner
  • Both quilts ship with their own FREE individual storage sack and stuff sack!
  • $499.99
  • Total Weight – 88 oz / 5.5 lbs

With Every Wanderlust Kit Purchase you get

  • A mesh gear sleeve
  • Silicone seam sealer for the tarp

The options you can select on the Wanderlust are primarily color related – The zippered bug net hammock comes in black, charcoal grey, dark olive green, moroccan blue and moss green. Then you get to choose your tarp color – copper or dark olive green.

Now we are going to look at the two components that make up the optional standard insulation part of the Wanderlust.. The economy burrow and economy incubator.

The Economy Burrow or Top Quilt

From the HG website – The Economy Burrow top quilt works well for ground sleepers (make sure you order the wide width) and hammock sleepers alike.  With a Economy Burrow you can rest assured that when those temperatures plummet, you will remain toasty warm.  Our top quilts feature a half taper design and vertical torso baffles, which helps to make sure you have proper side coverage to your hips, while also saving a little bit of weight due to the tapered footbox.  We have two options for foot boxes, zipper and sewn.  The zipper footbox is more versatile, allowing you to unzip and lay the quilt out flat.  The sewn footbox should be utilized if you only camp in cold weather, and don’t need to vent the top quilt.  Each top quilt comes standard with grosgrain loops along the sides of the quilt to allow ease of attaching our Ground Pad Attachment Kit, which comes in handy if you sleep on an insulated pad.  Our Economy Burrow is 15-20% overfilled to help minimize down migration and prolong the loft of the down over time and use.

Now comes the difficult or fun – however you look at it.. The options!!

There are 5 outer shell colors to choose from – black, blue, grey, green and orange.

There are 2 inner shell colors – black or grey

Temperature Rating Options of – 40° F, 30° F, 20° F, 10° F or 0° F

Length Options – Standard (5’7″ to 6’2″), Short (5’2″ to 5’7″) and Long (6’2″ to 6’7″)

Width Options – Standard (50″ for Hammocks) and Wide (55″ For Ground & Hammocks)

Footbox Style Options- Zipper or Sewn

Down Fill – 800

Overfill options – Standard Fill, 1 ounce, 2 ounces, 3 ounces or 4 ounces

And lastly – Ground Pad Attachment Kit

Whew.. That’s a lot of options that will get you EXACTLY what you want and need.

The Economy Incubator or Underquilt

From the HG website –

The ULTIMATE underquilt for guaranteed comfort at a low price… The Standard length Economy Incubator is long enough to generously cover most hammock campers up to about 6’ 1”.  Our Economy Incubator series utilizes downproof 1.1 oz / yd² (20D) Calendared Nylon Taffeta fabric and 800 fill power DWR Treated Grey Duck Down. This underquilt will protect you in temperatures down to its temperature rating. If you are looking for an underquilt that is hassle free and will allow you to enjoy your hammock for more months of the year, you have found it.

The Economy Incubator comes with 9 anatomically contoured, differential cut baffles that run the length of the quilt. One of the things this construction technique does is to greatly reduce the shifting of down that is sometimes more noticeable in quilts made with premium down.  This is one of the reasons Hammock Gear quilts are always 15-20% overstuffed. The differential cut, contoured baffles also provide the highest level of fit which is critical to keeping warm. The Economy Incubator comes complete with our state of the art shock-cord suspension system, featuring color coded s-biners that help you to easily orient the head and foot end of the underquilt for a quick and effortless set-up. All of our quilts are shipped with a complimentary cotton storage sack, and a nylon stuff sack!

Like the burrow there are multiple options to choose from

Same 5 colors of outer shell and 2 colors for the inner shell

Same temperature ratings from 40° to 0° F

Same length options, down fill and overfill options.

Looking at all that you get for a great price how could you go wrong picking up a new sleeping system that offers superior comfort and weight perfect for backpacking? Not to cloud things but they do offer a premium line as well which offers more color combinations and the down fill goes from 800 in the economy line to 850 or 950 in the premium.. We can talk about that in a different post.

So now you need to decide if you want to sleep better when out camping… who wouldn’t… if you fall into that category give HG a look. You can check out the large offering of gear they produce on their website of https://hammockgear.com/

I would guess you won’t be sorry you went with a passionate company like Hammock Gear..

Nemo Brings A Bevy Of Bags To The Side Sleepers

Most people don’t know that 70% of the earth’s population are side sleepers.  Yep 70%…  That’s a big number.  So why do nearly all sleeping bag manufacturers insist on ignoring the vast majority of the population and forcing everyone to adapt and sleep in the ever popular Mummy Bag?  Well…. there are a few different reasons.  (1) The most “thermally efficient sleeping bag shape is the mummy.  (2) The form fitting shape of a mummy bag reduces the amount of air around the body so your body doesn’t have to generate as much heat to maintain a warm temperature.  (3) Mummy bags are smaller and less bulky so they are better for those looking for light weight when backpacking.  (4) Oh..  you get the point..  Who needs a 4th point.  Yes mummy bags are lighter, more efficient and I guess warmer but that doesn’t help the majority of the population who sleep on their side. 

In walks Nemo and yells out – Hey all you side sleepers, we’ve got you covered!  After a lot of reading and talking to “experts” in the field yes Nemo has us side sleepers covered with some great options.  To be exact they have three different models of side sleepers with all three models coming in mens and womens and then in each of those models there are two different temperature ratings.  That means there are 12 different side sleeping bags put out by Nemo.  Now you can clap!!!  GREAT JOB NEMO!!

Let’s break down the three different models and show you some pictures..  (Shhh.. Don’t tell Nemo I lifted the pictures of the bags from their site!!)  You would think with how much they love side sleepers they surely wouldn’t come after a fellow side sleeper writing a nice review.  Oh course not!  Anyway..  back to the three different models.

The following details pertain to the two down models of bags listed below. These are the details listed on the Nemo site. – Spoon™ shape adds room at elbows and knees. Insulated with premium fluorocarbon-free, water-resistant Nikwax Hydrophobic Down™. 100% Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified down is traceable and ensures humane treatment throughout the supply chain. Waterproof/breathable footbox protects from tent condensation, keeping feet warm and dry. Blanket Fold™ external draft collar provides tucked-in comfort and temperature regulation. Thermo Gills™ allow you to vent body heat without letting cold drafts in. Integrated pillow pocket allows a jacket, extra clothes, or a Fillo™ to be stuffed into the sleeve opening for a handy pillow-on-the-go.

(1)   Disco Men’s Down Sleeping Bag and the Rave Women’s Down Sleeping Bag – 30 Degree Regular $259.95 / 30 Degree Long $279.95 / 15 Degree Regular $299.95 / 15 Degree Long $319.95

The Disco and the Rave both come in 30 & 15 degree options and regular & long in both temperature ratings . The insulation is 650 FP Down. With fill weight on the 15 degree bag coming in at 1 lb. 6 oz. and on the 30 degree bag at 15 oz. Shell fabric of 30D Nylon Ripstop w/ DWR, Footbox fabric of 40D Nylon Ripstop OSMO w/DWR, Lining fabric of 30D Nylon Taffeta w/DWR. Both come with a compression stuff sack and a cotton storage bag.

(2) Riff Men’s Down Sleeping Bag and the Jam Women’s Down Sleeping Bag – 30 Degree Regular $349.95 / 30 Degree Long $369.95 / 15 Degree Regular $399.95 / 15 Degree Long $419.95

The Riff and the Jam both come in 30 & 15 degree options and regular & long in both temperature ratings. The insulation is 800 FP Down. With fill weight on the 15 degree bag coming in at 1 lb. 5 oz. and on the 30 degree bag at 15 oz. Shell fabric of 20D Nylon Ripstop w/ DWR, Footbox fabric of 40D Nylon Ripstop OSMO w/DWR, Lining fabric of 30D Nylon Taffeta w/DWR. Both come with a compression stuff sack and a cotton storage bag. One added detail on the Riff and Jam that the Disco and Rave don’t list is Full length double slider #5 YKK zipperwith snag guard built into the draft tube makes getting in and out of the bag a breeze.

(3) Forte Men’s Synthetic Sleeping Bag and the Viola Women’s Synthetic Sleeping Bag – 35 Degree Regular $159.95 / 35 Degree Long $169.95 / 20 Degree Regular $189.95 / 20 Degree Long $199.95 – NOTE** THESE ARE SYNTHETIC BAGS NOT DOWN

The Forte and the Viola both come in 35 & 20 degree options and regular & long in both temperature ratings. The insulation is Synthetic Stratofiber which provides the most reliable moisture resistant warmth in all conditions. With fill weight on the 20 degree bag coming in at 2 lb. 1 oz. and on the 35 degree bag at 1 lb. 4 oz. Shell fabric of 40D Nylon Ripstop w/ DWR, and Lining fabric of 30D Nylon Taffeta w/DWR. Both come with a compression stuff sack and a mesh storage bag. One added detail on the Riff and Jam that the Disco and Rave don’t list is Full length double slider #5 YKK zipperwith snag guard built into the draft tube makes getting in and out of the bag a breeze.

These are the details listed on the Nemo site for the Forte & Viola Synthetic Bags – Spoon™ Shape adds room at elbows and knees. Thermo Gills™ allow you to vent body heat without letting cold drafts in. Insulated with premium synthetic Stratofiber™, offering the best blend of warmth, moisture resistance, and packed volume. Blanket Fold™ external draft collar provides tucked-in comfort and temperature regulation. Integrated pillow pocket allows a jacket, extra clothes, or a Fillo™ to be stuffed into the sleeve opening for a handy pillow-on-the-go. Zippered stash pocket keeps your phone or other essentials warm and within reach. Full length double slider #5 YKK zipperwith snag guard built into the draft tube makes getting in and out of the bag a breeze.

Now that you have all the specifics of the bags and have seen a few images it’s time for all you side sleepers to shout for joy and pick up a sleeping bag that fits your personal needs. Will it be the down options of the Disco, Rave, Riff and Jam or will you go with the less expensive synthetic models of the Forte and Viola. Weigh what you will be using the bag for and in what conditions and I’m sure deciding wont be that difficult. For me I am going with the 15 degree regular Riff. For more information on Nemo and all their awesome products check out their website at https://www.nemoequipment.com/ . Great company with a lot of great outdoor products.

The Sleeping Review – Tent/Sleeping Bag/Sleep Pad and Pillow..

The Sleeping Review Post

The four products pictured were used this past week and all were part of camping/sleeping.

1. Sierra Designs Bedouin 4 Tent. The tent is a 3-season tent that is in my opinion made with high quality materials and component. The tent has a tall ceiling in the center and good height on the sides as well. Tons of interior pockets for whatever you need to stow away and the biggest plus is it’s easy to set up and one person can get it done on their own pretty quick. The tent utilizes a standard cross pole design and there are two smaller poles for the front and back when attaching the rain fly. One morning we had incredibly strong winds and the tent held its ground and we never had an issue at all. This is a huge plus. The only negative if you can call it one would be that the rain fly does come down to nearly the ground so the ventilation isn’t great which adds to the condensation but you can keep part of the rain fly unzipped for added airflow.

2. Marmot Never Winter 30 Degree Sleeping Bag. Not much to say here outside of it works and maybe a little too good. Temps dropped down to the mid 30s one night and I was overly warm in this bag. Good quality as you would expect from a Marmot product. Nothing bad to say here at all.

3. ALPS Mountaineering Rapid Sleeping Pad X-Large. Because I wasn’t hiking in anywhere I opted for the larger sleeping pad and was extremely happy. Unscrew the two valves and it self inflated to a certain point and then close off one valve and finish inflating to whatever firmness you want by blowing into the valve and then closing it off. The pad is incredibly comfortable and really takes the edge off from sleeping in a bag on the floor of the tent. The thing that really sold me was one morning I woke up and was perfectly warm and moved to the side slightly and my leg must have been slightly off the pad because I Could feel the temperature difference once it wasn’t on the pad. GAME CHANGER in my books. Awesome pad at an awesome price at REI.

4. Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow – Large 16×23. Once again I opted for a larger pillow since I wouldn’t be hiking it in some remote place. The pillow was amazing to say the least. It packs down small and then expands fairly quickly when you unroll it. I slept really well using it but if you want to fully experience this pillow do what the tag says and wash it and then dry it.. thats when it really expands and it much softer and much larger. At under $30 this pillow will make your time sleeping much more enjoyable. No more neck pain in the morning.

So.. Bravo to Sierra Designs, Marmot, ALPS Mountaineering and Therm-a-Rest for making my time sleeping much better than usual.

I Love This Pad – The ALPS Mountaineering Rapid Air Pad XL – Truly Fantastic!

ALPS Mountaineering Rapid Air Pad XL

As I get older and older my ability to lay and sleep on a hard surface, like the ground, slowly goes away. With the upcoming gear review trip coming up a week from Monday I finally broke down and picked up a pad to sleep on while camping. After a decent amount of research I landed on the ALPS Mountaineering Rapid Air Pad XL.. yes I got the XL.. I’m not having to worry about backpacking with it or having to pack it into a small space. Nope.. it’s strictly from the truck to the tent so I went with the XL.

When end the box arrived I brought it inside and thought, seriously this box is huge. Then I reminded myself – Comfort.. We are going for comfort! Unwrapped it and quickly read over the instructions. If you have ever used a pad you know they are pretty darn basic. This pad is self inflating and has two brass valves – On the corners on one end. So it’s unscrew, inflate and screw the caps closed. The first inflation takes a few minutes and you do have to help with the inflation process by blowing into the valve and then sealing it. Leave inflated overnight and boom the next morning all is well in the sleep pad world. Deflate, roll up and secure with the two bands and shove it into the provided sack.

Like I said it‘s amazingly easy to use and I have to tell you it’s really comfortable. Not only does it inflate to get you up and off the ground but the core of the pad is a hexagon-shaped foam. Tell me that doesn’t sound fancy. Right, it does. So, overall I’m pleased with my experience with it so far and will obviously have more thoughts once I use it in a little over a week. So far, great job ALPS Mountaineering on a solid pad.

I have now slept on this awesome pad. All I can say is it was hands down the best nights of sleep I have ever had inside of a tent. Now let’s be clear… This is a good size pad and probably not something a backpacker is going to haul around for days but if you are driving up to your campsite or a short hike in this is a good option as it is incredibly comfortable.