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Posts Tagged ‘Hiking’

On Saturday the 27th my older brother and I decided to do a little suburban hiking.  We had been working together near the creek and small section of woods still left in Haddon Heights and we got to talking about it.  He used to play back in the area as a child and was curious to see how it changed.   I was game for doing some hiking so I said lets do it.  I made up a small day pack in a surplus Army assault pack and we meet up around noon on Saturday to set out for the darkest deepest forest in suburbia.   I whipped up at quick Google map of our trail.

Here are some pics from the hike along the south bound side of Rte. 295

this was just above where we crossed the creek

Looks like the local kiddies do or did some bmx riding back here.

rock wall along the creek bed

sink hole along the trail the kids have carved while riding bmx back here

some ducks a log jam and some trash 😦

self portrait

I walked half threw the tunnel but dicided to stop and turn back.

these were cool because they were made in the silt below the water.

this is the Haddon Heights trail lean to

This is the only picture from the north bound side of the trail, as my camera battery died.

north bound side of tunnel. there were some fish down in the water but they spooked as we walked up.

After walking back over the old dump and to the north bound side of the creek tunnel we hiked back to the tennis courts.  From there we entered the Little Timber Creek Nature Trail, if my memory serves me this trail was the Eagle Scout project of a guy I went to high school with.  My brother told me the area was the old boro concrete and tree dump.  We walked the trail and followed the creek behind the swim club and back up along the highway wall.  It was a nice relaxing hike.

The really good news is my brother started asking me about hiking packs and hammocks.  He said he is thinking about coming along with me on my goal of a fall Batona Trail Hike.

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I would like to start with a little back story before I begin my review.  On March 12th and 13th I took my girlfriend’s cousin’s husband camping.  He is originally from North Carolina and did a lot of camping in his youth so a night in the Jersey Pine Barrens should be no problem right?  Our spirits were high and we were both looking forward to a break from civilization and I had a bunch of new gear that needed testing.  I always like testing new gear when conditions are favorable that way in case things don’t work out you are not going to suffer to badly.  Well the forecast for Friday into Saturday was rain and high winds, we debated canceling but we both really wanted to spend some time in the woods.  I packed the truck, picked him up, and off we went.

It rained the entire time we drove down to the ranger station to check in and pick up our permit.  I checked the weather one last time before we headed to the campsite, rain with an anticipated accumulation of three to four inches and winds overnight steady at twenty mph with gusts up to thirty to thirty-five mph.  We arrived at the Batona Campground and got ready to set up in the rain.  I am not sure if it is the fact that he is a Methodist minister or it was, Fortes fortuna adiuvat (fortune favors the bold) but as soon as we opened the doors of the truck to set up we got a break in the rain.  We set up camp and I got to test some of my new gear, including my Backwoods Daydreamer Winter Dream V.2 tarp.

Now onto the meat and potatoes of the review.  I was looking for a new hammock tarp, one that was bigger than the stock Hennessy Hammock tarp.  I poured over tarp after tarp, looking at designs, styles, pictures, and reviews.  I wanted a tarp that would be a solid all weather tarp, and during really bad weather totally encapsulate my hammock.  I choose a Backwoods Daydreamer Winter Dream V. 2.

Backwoods Daydreamer is a small cottage business specializing in tarps for camping primarily geared towards hammock campers.  The tarps are lightweight and well built.  The Winter Dream V.2 weighs in at 21 oz. and is made of 1.1 oz silicone impregnated ripstop nylon.  It has an eleven foot ridge line with sides that are thirteen feet at the longest points.  It has a catenary cut design,  with all tie out points  being reinforced.

A design picture taken from Backwoods Daydreamer

I purchased my Backwoods Daydreamer Winter Dream V.2 from a  member of Hammock Forums who had it posted in the for sale section. This tarp appeared in the for sale section of the forum at a great price for a tarp that was seem sealed and only used twice.  So at this point I have picked up this tarp second hand, and Backwoods Daydreamer owner Scott sends me a message regarding the tarp.  He wanted to let me know that if I had and questions about the tarp to let him know.  I have to say this impressed me.  He had seen that I bought one of his tarps,  he didn’t make any money on this sale, and he reached out to me.  I am a small business owner myself, and this kind of customer care is what I try to provide and the kind of care that when I receive it is really appreciated.

Well the weather man go it right that night.  It poured, it rained on us that night like Forest Gump in Vietnam.  The winds were howling driving the rain sideways at times, I could hear the winds reeking havoc on the blue poly tarp we set up to use as shelter for cooking and sitting by the camp fire.

My Winter Dream, was just that.  All my gear stayed dry, and was sheltered from the wind.  This tarp held up to everything that was thrown at it.  I secured two of the flaps/doors in the “closed” position as can be seen in the above picture.   The other set of flaps/doors was secured together by the mitten clips so that I could get in and out easily.  I had some serious concerns setting this tarp up for the first time when I knew the weather was going to be outright hostile and miserable.  Short of getting some hail and snow I don’t know what else could have been thrown at this tarp.  It performed as advertised, and I know that come any weather conditions in the future that my gear and myself will be dry and sheltered from the elements under my Winter Dream V.2

This is not the greatest picture of looking into the tarp, but it is still roomy inside.  I would like to send it back to Scott to have side tie-outs installed.   This is a service that he offers, and it helps to make the tarp roomier inside as well as help brace the sides against strong winds.  Now I do not have them currently and at no point did I find the sides getting buffeted into my hammock from the near forty mph gusts.

I recently talked to Scott and he brought me up to speed on the future of the Winter Dream.  He told me that V.3 will be featuring metal D-rings for the ridge line as these D-rings receive the most stress.  He said that he had one fail and that was one to many.  I really admire the pride and passion he takes towards his products.  He also said he is moving away from the mitten clip closures, to a be a half inch strip of gross grain sewn into the hem along the door edge.  This will reinforce the seem and firm it up so that five Industrial Polyacetal Snaps can be attached.  Scott said that this will be easier for both closing and opening.  He also went on to say that this will only add about thirty grams to the trap so about one ounce to the V.2 weight.  That would bring the V.3 in at 22 oz.

A picture of the Winter Dream V3, from Backwood Daydreamer, photo by turtlelady

I can say two things with confidence after that trip.  First my Backwoods Daydreamer Winter Dream V.2 performed excellently in the kind of conditions it was designed to be exposed to.  Secondly I see another Backwoods Daydreamer tarp in my future.

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Well I had my first hang last night (1/8/10) and in general everything went well.

A little back story, a member of a forum I frequent (Zombie Squad), posted something about the NJ Pine Barrens Hang, so I decided to check out HammockForums who was organizing the event. I have been toying with getting a hammock for some time now, and this was just the straw that broke the camels back. I took some Christmas money and bought a Hennessy Hammock Camo Evador and super shelter.

I decided to test out my rig on Friday night, the weather forecast was calling for a balmy night of 25* and 10 to 20 mph winds. I had originally set up my hammock between the ladder rack of my work van and a clothes pole I thought was adequately installed. This was quickly debunked as I found my self laying on the ground upon entry, as the pole had leaned over under my weight. I found the base of the pole to be inadequately buried. Oh well.

I moved to a tree just on the other side of the fence and changed how the tree huger was secured to my van’s ladder rack. I had some fun times trying to sort out the assembly of my system, and I know that it wasn’t hung entirely correct. I think I will get it all straightened out at the NJ Pine Barrens Hang.

the final hang spot

super shelter setup

my MSS bag

My layers were poly insulated underwear top and bottom, sweat pants, a turtleneck and a wool hat. I used a hunting cushion that traps heat as a billow and a full military modular sleep system. Only the black patrol bag was completely zipped up the other layers were 2/3rds zippered. I was toasty warm with a few cold spots as I settled in, and after some adjusting my position all were eliminated.

I pitched the tarp low and close to try and eliminate a lot of the wind from coming in and it seemed to work, I am still looking to get a top cover from Hennessy Hammocks once they are back in stock.

I experienced a little bit of condensation on the bottom of the pivy sack.

I don’t really think this affected my comfort at all.

I also had some condensation between the milar blanket and the bottom of the hammock. I am toying with the idea of cutting a milar blanket to fit the OCF pad and than taping it to the edges of the pad so that it can’t shift during the night.

I am thinking this may have been caused because of the sandwiching of the hammock between the milar blanket and the pivy sac. Regardless it didn’t affect my comfort in any way.

Comfort Report:

I think I may have even been able to sleep in just the insulated underwear but for a first hang I didn’t want to risk it even though the house was only thirty feet away. I experienced two problems with my general comfort. The first was that I felt my feet were up to high. I don’t think I had the hammock hung properly and that resulted in my feet being elevated. I think that had to do with the less than I deal scenario in which the hammock was hung. I think this will be correctable when I have two trees to hang between. Getting to sleep was the second. The party the neighbors’ kids were throwing while their mom and dad were away kept waking me up every time I was about to nod off. After about 30 minutes my cocoon of warmth over came it and I was out till 6:30 a.m. which is about when I normally wake up. I can say this even with some errors on my part it was the best nights sleep I have EVER had when outdoors!! I am a convert.

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