I Never Learn.... Backpack Shelter and Sleep System Redux


If anyone remembers this post, Comparing Backpacking Sleep Systems, I tried to go hammock-less and it was a huge fail. Well as the title suggests, I am going to try it again. The main reason that I backpack is to fly fish back-country streams so my pack weight is automatically handicapped with several pounds of fishing gear and a tarp is substantially lighter than my current hammock set-up. I also like the roominess, ease of set up, and versatility of a ground tarp. There is really only one way to set up a hammock, you have some flexibility in the distance between the trees but that is about it. On the other hand, a flat tarp is limited only by your imagination. 

What I really don't like about a ground sleep system is sleeping on the ground, hammocks are so comfy. I bought a Thermarest NeoAir sleeping pad and have to say it is pretty comfortable, maybe not as much as the hammock but not bad either. So here is the complete rundown of the system I am going to try on my next trip. 

10x10 Oware silnylon tarp with front and rear guy lines attached: 21 oz
5x7 Polycryo ground sheet: 4.6 oz
Thermarest NeoAir size small: 7.5 oz
Enlightened Equipment revelation quilt: 19.6 oz
8 no name aluminum stakes, and extra string: 8 oz
No name inflatable pillow: 2.8 oz
Grand total of 63.5 ounces or 3.9 pounds. 

You notice I did not add the weight of the hiking poles that are obviously in the picture, I use those regardless of the system used so they are not added weight. I also left out the Thermarest Z-lite pad I always carry to sit on even though I will be using it under the NeoAir. 

Of course this is all moot without a comparison with my most used hammock system.

Warbonnet Superfly with attached guy lines: 24 oz
Dutchware gear 11' net-less hammock with 1" tree straps and whoopee slings: 20.2 oz
Enlightened Equipment revelation quilt: 19.6 oz
Arrowhead equipment Jarbridge under quilt: 19.8 oz
8 no name aluminum stakes, and extra string: 8 oz
No name inflatable pillow: 2.8 oz
Grand total of 94.4 ounces or 5.9 pounds. 

Please bear in my mind, these weights are my personal very used gear, and my personal very used, very cheap scale, your mileage may vary.

Depending on which backpacking community you fall into you may either say, "It's only 2 pounds, suck it up buttercup." Or "For the love of God!!! It's 2 pounds!!!" I am not sure that I am firmly entrenched in either camp but probably lean more towards the latter, if I can save 2 pounds and be anywhere near as comfortable I will. 

I am planning on doing a 17 mile loop in Pisgah National Forest and trying my ground sleeping system. Of course I will report back and do a full review with pictures. Thanks for reading, Chris


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