Birkhead Wilderness Hammock Hang gear report and pictures

The Birkhead Wilderness Hammock Hang was an informal gathering of folks from 26-27 Feb, 2011
Trip and gear reports included.

The Birkhead Wilderness Hammock Hang was an informal gathering of folks from
Saturday, February 26, 2011:
We met around 10am at the Robins Branch trailhead of the Birkhead Mountain Wilderness in the Uwharrie Nationa Forest in central North Carolina
18 folks backpacked in on the Robbins Branch and Hannahs Creek trails around a mile.

Birkhead Wilderness hammock hang gear report

Scanned map of the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness

We dispersed around the trail and made camp below the top of a ridge near the Southern boundary of the Birkhead Mountain Wilderness.
In the group were 2 tents and a variety of different hammock and tarp setups.

Birkhead Wilderness Hammock Hang gear report and pictures

The first bridge hammock I've seen in person. VERY impressive.

Birkhead Wilderness Hammock Hang gear report and pictures

a fellow hiker's setup

Once a camp location was established various sub-groups hit the trail for day hikes around the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness. Some with day packs, others with full packs. Everyone was back before dark.
Weather ranged from a high in the low 60s with clear skies, to an overnight low of 48F.

Sunday, February 27, 2011:
After a quick breakfast we broke camp and hiked back to the cars via the same trails we had hiked in on.
Much of the group met afterwards at the Classic restaurant in Denton, NC for a post hike country style buffet lunch.
Weather was again clear with variable winds. High reached 75F later in the day, probably topped out around 65-70F as we hiked back to the cars.

Gear report:
The contingent consisted of Jeff, the head honcho hear at, and his 7 year old daughter. This was her first backpacking trip, having only done a few car camping trips before.
Jeff’s gear:
DIY Frankenbird hammock (Warbonnet Blackbird inspired)
DIY Ogee tarp (Gargoyle Gear inspired)
DIY Fleece and nylon underquilt, cut to Kick Ass Quilt dimensions
DIY gear hammock (MollyMac Gear inspired)
DIY Heineken pot
Venom alcohol stove
DIY single layer fleece top quilt
Late 1980s vintage Kelty Ridgeway 15 sleeping bag as top quilt
Late 1980s vintage CampTrails Catskills internal frame pack
Cabelas 2 liter hydration pack
Cabelas XPG trekking poles
Total pack weight was around 40Lb, including the 2 liter hydration pack, a large nalgene, and a military cantee, all full, and most of my daughter’s stuff.

Jeff’s daughter’s gear:
Hennessy Ultralight Backpacker Asym hammock and tarp
DIY Insultex 3 layer underquilt
DIY single layer fleece and nylon top quilt
Kelty 10 kids sleeping bag as top quilt
Ogio laptop pack as a backpack
Total pack weight around 8 or 9 Lb including a 500ml nalgene full of water.

More detail on gear:
Jeff’s gear:
DIY Frankenbird hammock performed flawlessly. The extra length and larger shelf vs a Warbonnet blackbird were both appreciated. With the bugnet unzipped and thrown up over the ridgeline, we used it as a couch to sit and relax after the hike.

DIY Ogee tarp was not tested by rain, and site selection protected us from much wind. Learned that staking out all of the doors is a good idea. Otherwise, they flap around in the breeze, which can sound like something more ominous than a flapping tarp when you are 75% asleep at 3am, 3:30am, 4am, and 5:30am. 🙂
The Ogee shape provided ample privacy and good coverage at a lower weight than a full sized 10ft wide tarp.
Also learned that adding shock cord to the tarp tie out lines is a must. Overnight the tarp lost tension and was sagging a bit in the morning.

DIY Fleece and nylon underquilt did better than expected. I added a 30″ x 40″ single layer sheet of thin foam (from the packaging of a computer monitor) to supplement the insulation. I really appreciated the full size of the UQ, and how the DIY suspension triangles held is snuggly against the hammock. Still have to sort out how to keep the UQ from sliding below my feet on that side overnight. With the low of only 48F overnight, this UQ with foam sheet was sufficiently warm. I suspect it could have taken me 5-10 degrees cooler without issue.

DIY gear hammock worked fairly well. Kept my pack off of the ground. I found that the single ridgeline in the seam of one side made the gear hammock tippy. Not so much that my pack ever fell out, but more than expected. I will make the cover flap larger on the next gear hammock, and will put velcro on the pocket that holds the weight to keep the flap in place so the water bottle doesn’t fall out when the flap is opened to access the pack.

DIY Heineken pot was only used to boil water for noodles Saturday night. No issues. I was concerned that the pot is pretty thin and not overly strong, but it survived being packed in a side pocket in my pack.

Venom alcohol stove that I received in a PIF exchange on Worked pretty well, but used more fuel than expected. Reinforced that I really need to make a windscreen before using another alcohol stove in the field.

DIY single layer fleece top quilt worked well. Really appreciated the extra length to pull up around my shoulders and seal any air gaps.

Late 1980s vintage Kelty Ridgeway 15 sleeping bag as top quilt did the job. Was too warm at first and pushed it away from me. As temps got below 50F I pulled it in closer. Worked pretty well, but was a real PITA to fit in my pack. Looking forward to making an IX top quilt soon so this monster bag can be left at home.

Late 1980s vintage CampTrails Catskills internal frame pack continues to be reasonably comfortable. Showing signs of its age, with a few seams straining and a little tear hear and there. It is a pound or two heavier than its modern equivalent. Was going to carry a DIY GVP G4 Scout pack, but it did not have enough room, since I also had to carry much of the gear for my 7 year old daughter.

Cabelas 2 liter hydration pack worked well once I figured out how to use the “bite valve”… which is not really a bite valve at all. You twist the end, then pull out. I figured out the twist part pretty quickly, but it took 15 min of frustration before I figured out that once it is twisted, I could pull it out. Strapped to the back of my pack for the hikes in and out of camp. Carried as a day pack for a few short day hikes around the camp site. My daughter also had trouble with shutting the valve without choking on the water. Not the best design, IMHO.

Cabelas XPG trekking poles worked as advertised. I used one and my daughter used the other. I was concerned as to how well the twist lock adjustment would work, and it did great. I really noticed the spring loaded shock absorber as well. Very pleased.

Jeff’s daughter’s gear:
Hennessy Ultralight Backpacker Asym hammock and tarp worked great. The whole setup was in DIY skins, so setup was simple. Light weight and compact size allowed her to carry her own shelter in her pack with her change of clothes and fleece TQ. Bottom entry hammock proved challenging for my 7 year old, as her TQ or sleeping bag always seemed to slip into the opening as she was trying to close it from inside the hammock.

DIY Insultex 3 layer underquilt was not designed for a bottom entry hammock, but was easy to slide out of the way to allow entry to the hammock. To exit, she just slip over the UQ. Shock cord suspension really helped allow entry and exit with no issues. Size was just right to provide full coverage for my 4 ft tall 7 year old. She was toasty warm.

DIY single layer fleece and nylon top quilt worked great once she figured out how to slide into it the right way.

Kelty 10 kids sleeping bag as top quilt worked well and provided extra coverage so she could pull it up over her head. I just wish it were smaller and lighter so it would have taken less room in my pack and been easier to carry. Given the low of 48F, I suspect that she would have been OK with the fleece and nylon TQ and 2 layers of clothes.

Ogio laptop pack as a backpack was far from ideal, but the best we could do on a few hours notice. She really would have benefited from a pack with a hip belt. At least the rubber carry handle was comfortable, as I ended up carrying her pack in my hand about 1/2 of the way from the car to camp. I borrowed a carabiner and clipped the bag to one of my shoulder strap D rings so it hung off of my chest for 2/3 of the hike back to the car. At nearly 1/4 of her body weight, she did good to carry it as far as she did. 🙂

Link to BirkHead hang video 26-27feb11 by MacEntyre

Originally posted 2011-02-28 13:51:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.