Old 03-25-11, 04:23 PM
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The item is satisfactory. The item might not need the expectations episodic had in mind when he bought the item, but that was his buying decision and his alone. I know in retail that there are all sorts of problems with people using stuff and then wanting to return it with the expectation of getting their money back.

I have to agree with tmac's perspective, although it might have been couched in more sedate terms. It was the one thing that really stood out in episodic's first post on this thread. I have bought many, many items over my cycling years, and some of them have not met my expectations and have languished in my cupboard, sometimes never to see the light of day, but others have been retrieved because I have a new use or appreciation for them. I have, in all those cases, accepted that I originally made the error of judgment.

I also know there are some companies in the US that allow returns... Wallingford with Brooks saddles being the most outstanding example. But with camping equipment, what does a company do? Take a major hit on the loss it sustains because it cannot sell an item as brand new like a bivvy that has been occupied by a sweaty person, on the ground?

There is a caveat, of course, to this opinion. If episodic set up the bivvy on the floor at home, climbed into it and immediately felt calustrophobic in it, cllimbed out, and folded it back up, put it back into its original packaging and has the original receipt, then by all means, I don't see a particular issue in returning it. It essentially is unused compared with the other scenario... much like a display tent or bivvy would be.

Anyway, my original thought was to give some props to episodic for actually taking the general advice of a few Touring Forum members who suggest going on short "practice" trips and finding out what they like and dislike, and then asking follow-up questions based on his experiences.

For mine, I've always tented. Setting up hammocks in campgrounds can be difficult because of the the way sites are arranged around trees.

Most of the tents I have are made with mesh inners, which are specifically for erecting without the fly so the air can circulate through. I tend to agree with Peterpan1 that comfort is a siginificant factor, and that lighter weight often can mean a reduction in that factor.

I think if episodic does a search on hammocks with the member's name stokell, he will come up with a number of threads from someone who pioneered on these forums the concept for free-camping with hammocks.

The issue of insulation versus comfort with inflatable mattresses is not just one or the other -- it really is a combination of the two. Yes, they provide insulation between the person and ground or air, but on the ground, they also provide a level of comfort -- anyone who has tried to sleep on an underinflated or overinflated mattress will tell you that, and especially those whose hips need a little care and attention.

I have never been comfortable with stuffing clothes into a bag and using it as a pillow. I've tried many times, but now I will top anything like that with a self-inflating pillow, or even one from a camping store that is filled with foam, but can compress down to almost nothing.

With the clothes-in-bag concept, the clothes compress rapidly to become rock-like, and unless you are particularly careful in packing them in, you will have buttons, zips, velcro hooks and/or creases to contend with. A pillow slip for babies' pillows, or one made of polarfleece to suit the size of an inflatable pillow is my idea of comfort.

There definitely is a break-even point between weight, volume and comfort, and the only way to find that is to continue experimenting. In my view, just don't make the retailers carry the cost of your experiments unless they specifically recommend something that patently is unsuitable.

Last edited by Rowan; 03-25-11 at 04:29 PM.
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