I’ve been trying to get this entry going for a week or so. I’ve started and stopped three or four times but never really got going quite in the direction that I wanted. I think I’ve got it now.
You may remember reading my First Impressions entries about the Tensa Outdoors’ Tensa4 hammock stand and Hammock Gear’s ‘The Journey’ winter tarp…well, a week or so ago I finally had a chance to use them together as intended. In this entry I’ll tell about a few of the tweaks I had to make so that all of the bits and pieces would work harmoniously together.
First let’s talk about my hammocks and the Tensa4 stand. I use 11-foot hammocks most of the time. The first couple of times I set up one of my hammocks on the stand, I simply slipped the open ends of the continuous loops at the ends of the hammocks over the ends of the stand poles. The height of the hammock was about right so I didn’t worry too much about it at the time.
So far, so good… Now let’s add the tarp to the equation.
I knew that the tarp, even at 11 feet end to end, would be a little too long for to use with the stand with the hammock attached directly to the stand via the continuous loops so I had to add in some sort of suspension. My normal hammock suspension consists of polyester straps, along with cinch buckles and Dutch biners so I knew it should work fine. As I mentioned in my First Impressions entry for the tarp, my tarp suspension (ridgeline) consists of Dutchware Stingers and Reflectit.
Once I had the hammock connected to the stand via my regular suspension, had the tarp connected to the stand via the Reflectit and Stingers and had the sides of the tarp staked out I noticed that something was amiss. My hammock seemed awfully low, and when I sat down then stretched out in the hammock, I quickly realized that it was not just a little too low, it was a lot too low…my butt was on the ground. Time to rethink this just a bit.
I knew from reading posts on the Hammock Forums bulletin board and comment on the Tensa Outdoors website that the stand, an 11-foot hammock and a tarp with an 11-foot ridgeline were compatible. When I took a step back to look at the situation I realized that the Stingers/Reflectit ridgeline combination was too long. The geometry just didn’t work. The question became how could I shorten the tarp ridgeline, thereby reducing the interior angle of the hammock stand which would allow me to shorten the hammock suspension to pull the hammock further up off the ground.
The solution to the problem eluded me for the rest of the day and for that evening but stopped me dead in my tracks while I was making coffee at 6:30 the next morning. OK, don’t ask me why I was up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning when I didn’t need to be. I just was. The solution…simple…tie a loop that was just big enough to larks-head to the D-ring at the corner of the tarp and slip over the end of one of the stand’s poles in a piece of Reflectit. I wish I could say that I ran out to the back yard before daylight to give it try. But no, I waited until I finished my coffee and the sun had come up to go.
Once installed, the Reflectit loops shortened the overall length of the distance needed between the ends of the hammock stand to accommodate the tarp by 5 to 6 inches and closed the interior angle of the stand enough to allow the suspension to be shortened and pull the hammock up off the ground several inches to a comfortable height.
A night in the hammock afterward convinced me that the setup was going to work pretty well for my purposes. Oh, and for what it’s worth, the tarp got its first little weather test the next morning when a brief rain shower rolled through shortly after my morning walk to go mark my territory and the patter of rain on the tarp sang me back to sleep for a little while.