UST Tarp & GT Skeeter Beeter Hammock
I had to take a few days road trip for business at the end of summer, so instead of staying in hotels I decided to test out some new gear to see if it would hold up on a multi-day trip. Since the weather was still warm at night (~65 degrees F) I figured sleeping in my Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Hammock would be a good way to go. We had used it several times before and had taken it on trips with us but never spent the night.
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You can lose heat through the bottom of a hammock so I used a fairly warm sleeping bag to keep me comfy. The hammock was comfortable and sturdy and I used it over the course of 4 nights in different locations. The built-in screen kept all the bugs out as advertised. I used Grand Trunk Tree Slings with Tree Protectors so I wouldn't ruin the bark on the trees I hung from. They also feel sturdier than using just the rope that comes with the Hammock but I think that's just my feeling.
To give myself a little extra protection from the morning dew and any possible night-time precipitation I slung up our Ultimate Survival Technologies BASE Hex Tarp using the guy lines and stakes that came with it. I also like using it because I sleep better in the woods when I'm covered up some - like in a tent. It's just a little bit smaller than the hammock (by a couple of inches) but was good enough for what I needed since it wasn't raining that night. In a down-pour our larger Kelty Noah's Tarp Shelter would have been appropriate.
The tarps made well, and the stitching appears pretty solid. It can also be used as a shelter and emergency blanket. The hex shape trades coverage area for pack size and weight so its not a one-size-fits-all solution. We have several tarps which we use depending on our needs - including a handful of the 6mil Poly Tarps you can buy in any hardware store.
The reason to go for a tarp like this though is the fact that it packs down very tight and small - so it fits easily into your backpack. It could even fit into a large enough pocket. Every emergency kit should have some reusable shelter option, and this is a great one for not too much cash.
Both the Hammock and Tarp broke down and packed away quickly each morning, which was great because I didn't want to be late for all my appointments. You can find cheaper versions of both these products but from my experience you are better off spending the few extra $$ to get the better product which will last 10x as long and save you from replacing them.
The trip gave me some time to pull out some other stuff as well. I spent the night reading a US Army First Aid Manual on my Kindle, and listened to tunes on my JBL Clip +.