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Reviews > Books > Field Guides > The Ultimate Hang 2 > Test Report by Morgan Lypka
The Ultimate Hang 2
TEST SERIES BY MORGAN LYPKA
Initial Report - February 17, 2018
Long Term Report - April 26, 2018
NAME: Morgan Lypka
HEIGHT: 5’4” (1.6 m)
WEIGHT: 110 lb (50 kg)
EMAIL: m DOT lypka AT yahoo.com
City, Province, Country: Fernie, British Columbia (B.C.), Canada
Backpacking Background: I started backpacking 2 years ago, when I moved to the Rocky Mountains. I am originally from Saskatchewan, Canada, where I have done overnight canoe trips. Most of my backpacking ventures are 1 to 3 days long. I get cold quickly, but handle heat well. My backcountry trips involve hiking, trail running, ski touring and cross-country skiing. I am getting into kayaking, rock climbing and fly fishing. This year, I started solo camping. I camp with a lightweight 3-person, 3-season tent. Decreasing my packed weight in the backcountry is a developing focus of mine (fitting everything was the first).
Title: The Ultimate Hang 2
Author: Derek Hansen
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer’s Website: https://theultimatehang.com
MSRP: $19.95 USD
Measured Weight: 1 lb 12 oz (794 g)
Pages: 328 + Appendix
Size: 8 in x 10 in x 7/8 (203 cm x 254 cm x 22 cm)
The book came with a two page print out, describing what questions will be answered in the book and a bit about the author. The book was also signed, which was a very nice touch. From a quick flip, illustrations and diagrams seem to be on every page. Different font styles and sizes are used throughout the book. The pages are paper, with almost a slightly thicker than newsprint feel.
I am very happy that there's input into buying hammocks: the appendix comes with a section comparing what different manufacturers and retailers offer in hammocks (new to this version of the book). I don't yet own a hammock, so this will serve me well. I am a big fan of the sketches, they add to the instructions. It's a hefty book; definitely not one I'd bring to read while backpacking, but a good reference guide that I would refer to at home.
Right away, sections that catch my eye are basic set-up, staying warm, and making your own hammock gear. I am not guaranteeing that I will try and make some of my own hammock gear this year, but it's a definite possibility. I also like that the book goes beyond hammocks, and covers trip prepping in general as well. So far, I like the varying font styles and sizes: I think that they bring excitement to the pages. In large referral books with images, I have always preferred more of a laminated feel vs. newsprint feel from the pages. However, the newsprint style of this book will allow for easy annotation on the pages if desired.
Quick Shots: Lots of images. Comprehensive. Manufacturer comparison chart to help in purchasing a hammock. All-inclusive book (trip planning/packing details included as well).
In my review of the book, I focus more on the sections tailored around buying a hammock and hammock types and uses, as this is the step I was currently at in my hammocking venture.
I learned about new hammock types, "hybrid hammocks" such as the multi-point hammock, the hydro hammock, triple hammocks and insulated hammocks - way more types than I knew existed!
The book included quotes throughout that provided inspiration. On pg. 10, right at the beginning, there was a quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." I thought this was a good quote to keep in mind when searching for a hammock; I wanted everything the hammock came with to be essential to me, and not excess.
I web searched every example of jungle hammock listed in this book. I had in my mind one that I wanted when I started this book, and more and more different examples kept coming up that intrigued me. I switched twice which hammock I decided I was going to buy. When searching some of the referenced hammocks online, I came across a few of the author's hammock reviews and gave them a read too. They provided a lot of input, and they were a nice complement to the book for specific hammocks that I wanted a better feel for.
In the sub-section Choosing Your First Hammock, the author's words were "Price, weight and quality: pick two." I decided in my search weight was near the top, and likely quality. The author's website was also referenced in the book, TheUltimateHang.com. I went to use the website for the choosing a hammock section (theultimatehang.com/choose). This page said coming soon, available in Q1 2018. It was April 24, 2017 when I first checked this (already past Q1) so I was a bit disapointed that it wasn't there, but I totally understand being behind on deadlines.
For the insulated hammock examples, a few details were provided in table format, just like the other hammock types. However, these examples also included what fill type (synthetic or down) (page 46). I would've really liked there to be another column indicating the temperature rating as well. I didn't feel like web searching all of the types to find out their ratings. However, there was a reference to pg. 278 for insulated hammocks, so I went there, and there were even more examples, all with temperature ratings. I was really happy to see this, but it could've been simpler to just have that column on the first page too, or a footnote saying see page 278 for temperature rating as I didn't flip there right away.
There were quite a few references to other pages, just like the example mentioned above, where it would say go to this page to read more about this. I ended up using multiple bookmarks to book mark spots because my mind was running in so many directions. Typically I'm a front to back cover reader, but when I came across a 'jump to this section for choosing your first hammock,' which was exactly what I needed, I jumped!
One example of referencing is on pg. 61, under The Basic Set-Up. The sub-section Transitioning to a Hammock describes indoor and outdoor hammocking, and what you will need. It then references pg. 128 under indoor hammocking, which gives exact details for how to hang one up. While I definitely found this useful, I wonder if it wasn't necessary to give as many details under the Transitioning section, or if it would have been better to have them back to back.
It made me giggle on pg. 50 when one of the positive trade offs for hammocks over tents and mattresses was sleeping separate from your partner for an undisturbed sleep. There was some humour throughout the book, which was appreciated. In the Intro to Hammocks Section, many myths were busted and many FAQs were answered. One in particular that I liked was: Are hammocks cold? There were a couple tips on what to consider for staying warm while camping in a hammock (such as selecting a "warm" site and using insulation), as well as reference to a full page on Cold Weather Camping Tips on pg. 279.
In the Leave No Trace Hammock Camping section, there were hammock tips for every sub-section, which I found super helpful. One tip I picked up that was very useful was to always find out if hammocks are permitted in the area you plan to use one in. The same sub-section also mentioned the width of webbing straps to use (1.5 - 2 in or 3 - 5 cm) in order to minimize damage to tree trunks/bark. There was even a section on hanging a bear bag, which I will definitely read in more detail prior to heading out this season.
The setting up a hammock directions under Hammock Camping Basics were super useful for me. I haven't used any of them yet, but will indeed once my new hammock comes in. There was reference to finding the right space in which to hang your hammock: 6 steps in between the trees, setting the anchor point at about 6 ft (183 cm). The recommended adjusted anchor point, along with other measurements, can also be calculated online on the author's website, or through the author's app (The Ultimate Hang) by inputting personal metrics such as weight and height. There is even instruction for how to get into a hammock (spread the fabric wide, and sit in the center of it, easing yourself into the fabric).
I decided to breeze through the Advanced Hammock Camping Section for now. This is something I see myself getting into later, maybe even later this summer, but not now. There is a lot I have to figure out about basic hammock camping first, so I really appreciated that this section was singled out, and easy to skip. Quickly skimming through it there seemed to be a lot of math inferences. I did read a small section on wild animals in it. The section referenced a study conducted in Alaska's Katmai National Park, showing results that bears are were more attracted to brighter coloured hammocks. I had read other indications of this online as well, so I used this thinking in choosing my hammock colour (I ended up going with green, whereas I would've otherwise have chosen orange or blue). In this section I also learned about packing a hammock into a sack by starting with the centre in, so that the two ends are the last to be stuffed. I also breezed through the Anchor Points and Suspension Lines section for now, which to be honest, seemed more advanced to me than the Advanced section itself, with where I'm currently at with my hammock knowledge.
In the Staying Dry Section, I read about pockets for guylines on tarps. This is something I would've seen, but not thought anything of it. I can't tell from online yet whether the hammock I've ordered will have these or not, but I am hoping so, and I now know to identify this extra fabric on the tarp as having a purpose. I didn't spend too much time in the Making Your Own Hammock Gear Section. This is a section I see myself spending time in however, to optimize, customize and get creative with future hammock gear. There is even a section on making mittens and mitten covers!
I am commonly cold, so I enjoyed the section Staying Warm. I picked up tips such as staying hydrated all day, and eating slow-burning calories (proteins and fats) right before bed. I also picked up a tip to align my hammock to where the sun will rise, so that you wake up with warmth. In general, I picked up so many different little tips that I could go on and on.
Even the appendix had numbered visuals. I thought this was a great idea, as it keeps things fun and you can search by item in a visual grouping rather than alphabetically. The appendix also includes a list of manufacturers, and what country the item is made in. I think this section (or somewhere in the book), could include a focus on sustainable and ethical options. Although this could get sensitive, I would like to know which manufacturers and fabrics are the better options to buy in the sense of imposing a smaller footprint, and obtaining them from a source where all workers are treated ethically. I would also be interested in reading about any other sustainable/reuse/recycle initiatives that exist with hammock companies. I understand the author is not trying to promote one brand over another, so it could get touchy, but a bit more information on the brands could be useful.
The final hammock that I decided on wasn't too heavy, as I want to use it for through hiking. It's all inclusive, it doesn't include insulation (the more versatile way to go) and is a hybrid, so that I can have a flatter lie, which was quite important to me. Without reading this book, I wouldn't have known where to start on brands and types of hammocks, as well as general price ranges and weights.
There were quite a few references to other pages making it harder to follow.
The pictures added a lot of value, they really allowed me to visualize examples without having to search the web.
I love the details the book provides; how to access and egress a hammock, how to hang a hammock and what angle to sleep at, interactions with hammocks and wildlife, etc.
There was slight repetiveness in some sections, but I say that with hesitation.
Succesful in helping me pick out a first hammock!
All in all, I'm very happy I applied to test this book. It was so useful to me in buying my first hammock, I learned future tips that I will implement in the field, and I have a resource to refer to for any future learnings I want or any questions that I have.
Thank you BackpackGearTest.org and Derek Hansen for allowing me to increase my knowledge exponentially in the field of hammock camping!
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