REI presentation on elevated camping "hammock camping"

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Karla (with a k)
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REI presentation on elevated camping "hammock camping"

#1

Post by Karla (with a k) » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:06 am

Last night I went to a presentation at my local REI on hammock camping. One of the main reasons I attended is because I wanted to test out their new REI Quarter-Dome bridge-style hammock.

I passed out sheets of paper to all participants letting them know about this forum. I'm hoping some join up and can also comment on the presentation. Here are some of my notes:

Jacob (the presenter) was very knowledgeable about the ENO products they sell. Sounds like he is more of backpacker because a lot of his comments were about weight and compact-ability. I was surprised (guess I shouldn't be) that ENO works with LNT to ensure their products are not doing harm to the environment. (I wish ALL companies were this responsible).

There was one Kammock set up and he told us he doesn't work on commission so he wasn't pushing certain products. He didn't mention any of their Sea-to-Summit products. I just got the feeling he uses ENO products, likes them, is comfortable with them and wanted to share what he knows.

I was really surprised that he promoted tenting in state parks rather than hammock camping. He said you don't want to have to go back deep into the woods to find a tree. (I didn't ask if this was an LNT philosophy or just following that many state parks want you in designated areas). (I personally love being able to get back deeper into the woods.)

I had to giggle a bit that while Jacob was really knowledgeable on most things, he was not very familiar with underquilts. He doesn't use them and spoke mostly about using a sleeping pad in the hammock. He did promote using an emergency blanket in the winter, but didn't talk about condensation or vapor barriers.

He personally loves Tentsile hammocks. I did find that surprising because myself and few friends who have tried them do not like them at all.

He spent a good amount of time talking about LNT practices. I really liked this. He demonstrated tree straps on trees and spoke about not breaking branches and not disturbing new growth underneath your hammock too. He said to pack up your hammock when not in use (on the trail) so others won't have their view disturbed by all the hammocks. (I didn't know this was an issue)

The one area I felt uncomfortable with his practices were in talking about suspension. He emphasized you want your hammock as taught as possible between the trees so you can be as flat as possible. He didn't talk about proper angles or a diagonal lay. He said he trusts company straps more than he does tying his own knots. (I guess because I now know knots, I prefer my knots over anything else). I was taught to center your hammock between the trees (he was demonstrating on daisy loop straps) and said it was perfectly fine if you had 3 on one side or 5 on the other and he didn't know what a ridgeline was for. (I was able to jump in and explain it).

The last thing he spoke about caught me really off guard. He spoke about the special hammock culture of partying. (What? I thought.) He talked about people who hammock at music festivals and you should be mindful of playing your music too loud in the woods. I thought, maybe this is just a generational thing? or a perception thing? I also acknowledge I have never hammock camped at a music festival either.

I was super happy to see REI starting to educate people on hammock camping. I do feel this needs to be done more. One couple drove two hours for this presentation! I encouraged the presenter to attend a hammock hang. I feel one weekend at a hang and he'll completely understand suspension. Hell, I feel anyone who attends a hammock hang understands the basics pretty well and has the resources to figure out what they don't know.

I tried really hard not to interrupt the speaker with my own thoughts and views and be respectful, but I fear I came off as a know-it-all. I had actually called REI months before asking if I could present on hammock camping, but they said only employees can present. So, I'm glad they did schedule one.

I can't say I was impressed with the class mainly because there was NO REI quarter dome on display and that was the main reason why I attended!!! I assumed since REI released it this spring they would be promoting it - nope. This is the one time I wish they were pushing their own products!

Did anyone from the presentation join this forum and want to add their own thoughts?
Last edited by Karla (with a k) on Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:07 pm, edited 3 times in total.


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Re: REI presentation on elevated camping "hammock camping"

#2

Post by UncleMJM » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:38 am

Great report!

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Re: REI presentation on elevated camping "hammock camping"

#3

Post by Flynguy521 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:48 am

Second That! Good write up! It's really hard to keep your mouth shut when people are teaching other people and don't know what they are talking about. Sounds like you were were able to have a positive impact. Hopefully anyone who attended will come to the forum and learn correct practices.
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Re: REI presentation on elevated camping "hammock camping"

#4

Post by Scuba » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:09 pm

Here is my "issue" with REI's presentations... LNT principles are easy to "teach"; all it is is 7 basic, common sense principles that are written down in a million different places. Teaching how to hammock camp is different; it requires doing. Without sounding like an elitist asshole, anyone who brags on ENO without mentioning other brands, doesn't know how to talk about proper hammock insulation, and especially his encouraging of a flat suspension..well he did more of a disservice than a service. His encouraging a flat suspension hang does as much if not more damage as using rope for suspension rather than straps.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is REI has people who claim expert knowledge, but few are anywhere close to experts. When I lived in the Florida panhandle area, I supplemented my military income by working as a Dive Instructor, and the store where I worked, everyone in the store was a "professional" diver, Divemaster or higher, even the girl who rang people up. How are you supposed to recommend and sell a product if you don't know how to use it properly?
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Re: REI presentation on elevated camping "hammock camping"

#5

Post by Flynguy521 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:43 pm

+1 to what Tom said. Flat/improperly rigged suspensions can kill.

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Re: REI presentation on elevated camping "hammock camping"

#6

Post by Calait » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:43 pm

Thanks for the report, I have not attended any to the REI presentations, generally, I have to work. I have been lucky when going into the nearby store I have walked out with a ton of generally good information.
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Re: REI presentation on elevated camping "hammock camping"

#7

Post by Scuba » Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:35 pm

I had a guy at my local REI try to tell me that the serious AT UL thru hikers use Osprey packs.... :roll:
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Re: REI presentation on elevated camping "hammock camping"

#8

Post by Calait » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:36 pm

Scuba, there has to be an idiot in every crowd, not to disparage those who like Osprey. The bird flies fine.
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Re: REI presentation on elevated camping "hammock camping"

#9

Post by Scuba » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:46 pm

Calait wrote:
Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:36 pm
Scuba, there has to be an idiot in every crowd, not to disparage those who like Osprey. The bird flies fine.
I love Osprey packs for what they are designed for. I have an Atmos AG i still occasionally use. But UL thru hikers are using sub 2 lb packs.
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Re: REI presentation on elevated camping "hammock camping"

#10

Post by sarge » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:11 am

Somebody should show this to the folks at REI

Image

Pulling your hammock tight is bad for the tree, and bad for you if the stress of 574% of your weight is more than your straps or hammock can handle.

The mention that this is a static load calculations and all sorts of worse things start happening when you introduce movement into the equation.
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Re: REI presentation on elevated camping "hammock camping"

#11

Post by Flatliner » Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:37 am

sarge wrote:Pulling your hammock tight is bad for the tree, and bad for you if the stress of 574% of your weight is more than your straps or hammock can handle.

The mention that this is a static load calculations and all sorts of worse things start happening when you introduce movement into the equation.
Not to be the math police but I think it's 5.74% not 574%. Point taken though.


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Re: REI presentation on elevated camping

#12

Post by sarge » Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:58 am

Flatliner wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:37 am
sarge wrote:Pulling your hammock tight is bad for the tree, and bad for you if the stress of 574% of your weight is more than your straps or hammock can handle.

The mention that this is a static load calculations and all sorts of worse things start happening when you introduce movement into the equation.
Not to be the math police but I think it's 5.74% not 574%. Point taken though.


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Correct. Its 5.74%. You start with a 100kg load and 574kg is applied at the connection point. IOW, if you wiegh 200#, the weight applied at the conx point is in excess of half a ton----about 1148#.
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Re: REI presentation on elevated camping "hammock camping"

#13

Post by SMK » Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:22 am

Ive been to one of rei presentations and was not real impressed if you were a total newb i guess though i did take away some good info but like sarge i had a hard time biting my tongue not like I'm an expert but what you know you know and the presenter was a hammocker she seemed to push tents maybe because thats what people know i know since i made the switch i dread having to sleep on the ground anyway just sharing some thoughts on my experience gotta love rei though for getting people going

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Re: REI presentation on elevated camping "hammock camping"

#14

Post by gmcpcs » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:53 pm

The music festival comment caught me, besides the other stuff about lack of experiential knowledge regarding hammock camping. I have seen a trend on certain websites, like reddit, instagram and imgur of hammocks being used for photo ops and trendy stunts. Less of this is about hammock camping, which is what most of us are about, but more about riding the hammock popularity trend.

I know I have heard stories of photographers showing up at a pristine location, setting up the hammocks and getting the models adroitly placed, taking the pics, then shucking out of there. Even, when that location is "hammock prohibited". My opinion, and it's just that, this type of instant hammock glee is in danger of taking away from the ones of us who like to camp in our hammocks, and are knowledgeable about impact, etc.

I can imagine a big concert going on at certain parks, like for example at the state park last weekend. I heard all the loud music, smelled the bbq grills, and also observed many people hanging up the giant mayan hammocks, multiple other hammocks, some even with ropes instead of straps. Not taking into consideration that this was a very busy area with people coming and going, but that "here are two trees, let's hang this hammock up here for the kids to play in". Seemingly just to have a "prop" for the day's adventure at the lake, and not necessarily for "camping". When this is going on it tends to make it tough for me to watch, and also brings to mind ranger comments and regulations against hammocks.

I had no intention of wading into that scenario last weekend and trying to give advice to these people on tree straps, setting up in pathways, etc., but I just kept to myself that my enjoyment of the craft means I would be hanging in a far off location, away from the crowds in my ATACS FG camo pattern tarp and hammock. Good luck trying to find me :-)

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