Tryin’ to Beat the Skeet…

It’s been an incredibly wet summer here. Seems like it’s rained every day or at least every other day since April or May. With all the rain there’s been plenty of standing water around so we’ve had a bumper crop of skeeters. Here lately you can’t even go for a walk outside in the evening and stop for a minute to stretch or talk with a neighbor without getting munched.

Until recently we haven’t had huge issues with skeeters since most of our hammock camping has been in the back yard instead of away from home and we typically put our hammocks up early in the day and then crawl later in the evening after the skeeter activity has usually died down for the night. Usually…

If you read my last post, titled ‘What the Heck Happened’ you already know that my late-night skeeter activity theory hasn’t held up overly well lately. We’ve had a couple of unpleasant run-ins with the little buggers and some challenges with our gear that is supposed to keep the skeeters at bay. To sum it all up…we’re going to have to have some different skeeter gear or we’re not going to be able to hang out over the next few weeks without getting chewed on.

Skeeter protection, like any other camping gear, can be a very personalized thing. We all have different likes, dislikes and needs so what works for you might not work for me. Also, the various components of your gear need to be compatible with each other. When they aren’t, you end up having problems like I had last weekend.

As I thought about my own set of likes, dislikes and needs when it comes to bug protection I came up with the following list of requirements:

1. Fully enclosed, if possible;
2. No zippers;
3. Roomy/minimally confining;
4. Can enter and exit the hammock from opposite sides;
5. Relatively easy to build and won’t break the bank (because I’m going to end up making at least 3 more for ConnieLou and the kids)

So the stage was set…what could I do to keep from getting munched at night, yet still meet my self-imposed requirements?

I had a pretty good idea what direction I wanted to go but I spent a bit of time searching HammockForums to see if I could come up with any ideas I liked better. In the end, I decided to go with a bottom-entry net called a ‘Fronkey-inspired’ bugnet on the forums. Trevor Rasmussen , aka Fronkey, posted a great how-to post and video on HammockForums. As I was searching for ideas I also noticed this video by a fellow who goes by CrypticCRICKET on YouTube which shows how to make a bugnet very similar to Fronkey’s but made with different materials and slightly different construction methods.
To keep the project as cheap as possible I picked up a couple of the window panels that CrypticCRICKET used in his video at our local WallyWorld.

Panel Package

Since Fronkey and CrypticCRICKET have already put together a couple of great how-to’s I’m not going to reinvent the wheel and post another. I did make a couple of little changes to the overall process but only one is really worth mentioning. To keep the net from sliding down the end of my hammock while in use, I sewed in a channel at each end of the net to receive a piece of shock cord and a cord lock that can be cinched down over my suspension line.

Channel

Cinched

So how did it turn out? Let’s go through my list and find out…

1. Fully enclosed…

Installed

Testing

The Hammock is fully enclosed with the exception of a little gap around the bottom. Since the bottom of the net snugs up tight against the bottom of my underquilt, skeeters still can’t get in. OK, so technically it’s not ‘fully’ enclosed but functionally it is…so let’s give it a Check…

2. No zippers…

Nope, none at all. Just three pieces of shock cord and three cord locks. Check…

3. Roomy/minimally confining…

Roomy

Not bad at all, plenty of leg and foot room…Check…

4. Can enter and exit the hammock from opposite sides…

Yep…Check…

5. Relatively easy to build and won’t break the bank…

Total build time was about an hour and sewing consisted of five straight lines, turning the net right-side-out, sliding the shock cord into the channels and adding the cord locks. Total cost for the two window panels, three cord locks and about 10 feet of shock cord was around $15. I can handle that…Check!

I gave it a quick test drive this afternoon and was pretty pleased overall.  I had enough room to stretch out on a nice diagonal, wiggle around and get comfortable. My only complaint…like any bugnet made of a fairly tightly woven fabric, it tends to hold in heat.  Since it was still about 85 when I hung my hammock up and its supposed to be in the low to mid 70s tonight, I think I’m going to wait until next weekend when slightly cooler weather is forecast to give it a good overnight test.

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This entry was posted in Backpacking, bug net, bugnet, Camping, Hammock, Hammock Camping, Hiking. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Tryin’ to Beat the Skeet…

  1. Jane says:

    We have a lot of problems with mosquitoes, biting midges most of the year. They can make outdoor activities a nightmare! What a great idea. You’ve inspired me to give it a try.

    • mrbream says:

      Someone has really been catching up on their reading!!

      We have mosquitoes and no-see-ums (probably a typo of midge). I don’t like using bugnets unless I just have to but they’re a lifesaver sometimes!

  2. Pingback: Hammock Camping on a Budget | Get Out!

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