what shape rainfly is best for hammock camping in the rain

1:32 p.m. on April 8, 2005 (EDT)
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I must admit, it's thrilling being a newbie at hammock camping and I look forward to learning all the tricks.

I do want to learn things the easy way by asking questions, not learn things the hard way like I did with tent camping. (wearing leather 1972 air force basic training boots, buying a $20 pup tent and trying to carry 3.5 gallons of water inside my borrowed canvas boyscout backpack on my very first backpacking trip)

Getting to the point...

There was a mix up when I ordered my Expedition Hammock and optional rectangular rain fly.

I received an upgraded version Jungle Hammock (that comes standard with a diamond shape fly) and the rectangular fly.

Which shape do you think offers better protection and those of you with experience in hammock camping, how do you keep a down bag dry when it rains?

pictures of the Jungle Hammock set up can be viewed at mosquitohammock.com. The rectangular fly is the blue one.

5:38 p.m. on April 8, 2005 (EDT)
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Ah dunno, but ...

Ed, what is an "upgraded" Jungle Hammock? There is only one Jungle Hammock on the website. And, the website says the rainfly for the Expedition hammock is dark green (the blue one in the photo???). The photo has the hammock with fly under the roof of a porch - not much of a test for keeping rain off.

But a comment or two, based on my experience with hammocks generally. Rainflies with hammocks have never been very effective for me, unless they completely surrounded the hammock. Somehow, there is always wind whipping the rain under the fly or (mostly) into one end or the other, whenever I have had a hammock out in the rain. Another thing is that if the fly is suspended by a rope or cord, the water always seems to run down the cord from both ends and drip on me from the middle. I have had some success with "rat barriers" (the cone-shaped things ships used to place on their lines when tied to docks in port to keep the rats from boarding the ship via the lines). Sometimes tying another cord just outside the fly can redirect the water stream, but that doesn't seem to work for me if it is a really hard rain.

The only thing I have found consistently successful for keeping the sleeping bag dry in a hammock is using a waterproof bivy sack.

I have to wonder a bit about the elastic cords for the mosquito netting. Seems like they would provide a drip path for the water from the cord holding the rain fly.

Oh, yeah, rectangular vs diamond. Given that rain always finds me by blowing in, I suspect that the diamond fly would allow more rain. I would guess that in a jungle situation the diamond would work well, since the canopy would stop the side-blown raindrops (by blocking the wind) and ending with the drops coming pretty much straight down. But my experience has been in more open areas for the most part, compared to their example of French Guiana.

Then again, you have already done more thorough research on the topic than I ever did way back in the pre-Internet days.

-- Bill

9:11 p.m. on April 8, 2005 (EDT)

a.k.a. Steve Elms

Hi there. I use a Hennessy Expedition Asym and bought the oversized Hex fly. It is much better than the one that came standard with it. Seems to work great for me, and Ive had it in some bad rainstorms.....Here's some pics:


You can see the difference in sizes of the tarps. The Hex fly is large enough to sit, cook, etc under. It is adaptable for any hammock, or can be used as a fly all on its own.

7:45 a.m. on April 9, 2005 (EDT)
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1,261 forum posts

Thanks for the input Steve! That "hex" fly is identical to what I call "diamond".

Bill, I guess I confused you a bit (normal, eh?). I originally ordered (and paid for) the $50 "expedition hammock" plus the $20 optional green rectangular fly that is really blue.

I received the more expensive $70 "jungle hammock" (which comes standard with a diamond shape rain fly) AND the $20 green rectangular fly that is really blue.

So, I have one vote for rectangular and one vote for hex/diamond. I'm so confused.

What would Sgt Rock do?

12:07 p.m. on April 9, 2005 (EDT)
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Hex, diamond, rectangle, and "upgrades"


So I guess what you meant was that you ordered the cheapy and got upgraded by the company to the luxo. Hopefully, they only billed you for the original order. I had something similar happen with an order. But sometimes "upgrades" don't get what you really wanted.

I placed with Suunto for an X6 on a special deal. I did not want the other variations on the X6 (X6HR, X6HRM, X6HRT, the "T" being the titanium at a horrendously high price even on the special deal), mainly because over the years I have accumulated various heart rate monitors (Polar and their predecessor label, CIC). Well, Suunto sent me the X6HR minus the transmitter (the chest strap with the "ekg" pickup module). Hmmm, maybe the X6 is just a X6HR without the transmitter - wrong! The basic unit has no heart rate function at all. But in the "HR" versions, when the watch is picking up a signal from a transmitter, whether Suunto's or Polar's or any of the other dozen brands now out there, whether on you or someone standing nearby, the X6HR heart rate functions turn on automatically and override (and render inaccesible) several other functions. One of these is the "slope" function - a sort of electronic clinometer. So there you are, standing at the top of the ski slope, wondering in terror if it is too steep, your heart is racing (as you can tell from the displayed heart rate), and you can't get at the slope function to see if your terror is justified. The basic X6 apparently just goes ahead and lets you measure the slope. Oh, and Suunto's hrm's are not compatible with Polar's transmitters - the coding is different, so the displayed heart rate is off and jumps around.

So sometimes the un-requested "upgrade" is not appropriate. See, if they hadn't sent you the Jungle, you would not be in this dilemma. You would just innocently be "hanging out" (so to speak) in your Expedition under the square green/blue fly and never know the difference.

Steve, did you just add a new "most recent trip"? I see a snow trip with a marvellous palace of a snow cave, but no hammock with a hex fly, when I click the link in your post. I guess Ed must have gone directly to the hammock website.

12:31 p.m. on April 9, 2005 (EDT)

a.k.a. Steve Elms
Re: Hex, diamond, rectangle, and "upgrades"

Bill, I have limited web space so I have ended up combining my most recent trip pics (which was the winter pics you refer to up in Algonquin Park) with some hammock pics. Ill need to get myself some more webspace....Here's the link to the homepage if anyone is interested:



8:32 p.m. on April 9, 2005 (EDT)
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749 forum posts
hammock camping in the rain???????????

Ed - my answer is - no rainfly and no hammock is best...
How much does a hammock, bivy bag, rope, spare rope, extra rope, and fly weigh? Why not get a bibler big wall tent and hang it from a tree instead? sometimes you see them on sale. You can raise it above croc level, maybe use some blocks and be able to raise and lower it from inside?
Jim (:->) YMMV

5:58 a.m. on April 11, 2005 (EDT)
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Re: hammock camping in the rain???????????

Very funny Jim. You know damn well there ain't no crocks around here!


10:18 a.m. on April 11, 2005 (EDT)
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Re: Hex, diamond, rectangle, and "upgrades"

Steve -

My problem was that I assumed that the photos on the thumbnail page were all there were in the set. When I clicked on the last one I discovered the hammock ones were also there, and stepped through them. So I see where Ed got the comment about the hex being somewhat similar to the diamond shape fly.

Question - you said you had the hammock up in fairly heavy rain. Was it in blowing rain? This is the major weakness of fly-type shelters (and Aidarondack lean-tos). They work well enough under trees, where the trees are dense enough to break the wind enough to make the water drip pretty much straight down. Our woods in the Sierra and when I have been in the Rockies are sparse enough in most areas that there is no side-shielding from wind-blown rain (that is, when you get a pair of trees close enough together to suspend the hammock).

10:23 a.m. on April 11, 2005 (EDT)

a.k.a. Steve Elms
Re: Hex, diamond, rectangle, and "upgrades"

Bill, I have had it set up in both a straight downpour and in a fairly stiff wind (with rain) as well. The nice thing about having an oversized fly is that you can pretty much put the edges of the fly right to the ground. When it gets reallly windy I will do just that (at least the side facing into the wind) and it seems to work well. There is also an extra foot or so on each end of the hammock (head and feet) so no rain gets in that way.

I read some advice somewhere that said to use shock-cord as your tie-outs for your fly. It is supposed to reduce the flapping and changes in fly shape that occur during a heavy rain. I plan on trying that this year.

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