By Jon DeMeo,
The first time you head out to camp with only your hammock, you may be slightly intimidated and wondering how well it is going to work and if you are going to get any sleep. There is one piece of gear that will help make your first trip successful. That piece of gear is the ENO DryFly. This packs down into its own sack and allows you to pack it in your bag wherever your adventure takes you. Even if you don’t expect rain, having a covering over you when you hammock helps keep off bugs, leaves and the morning dew. I like the DryFly over the ProFly because it secures down in two more spots than the ProFly which makes it more stable and gives you a little more coverage. The first time I set it up, I learned a few tricks that helped and some items that you need to have with you to make it work properly.
It took me about 15 minutes to set this up the first time since I had to orient myself to the process and do some trial and error. It does help to have a partner to set this up with, but I could easily tell that I could set it up by myself if needed. Always be sure to center your tarp over the hammock so that it is balanced and maximizes your space. Also, get your hammock set up and in place (lay in it to test it as well) so you can gauge how high to place your tarp in relation to your hammock. You don’t want to be hanging too far below because you run the risk of getting wet but you also want enough headroom so you can be comfortable.
I suggest bringing extra paracord with you for every adventure. Paracord is something you should never go into the woods without because its versatility and ease of use, but for the DryFly ridgeline it gives a little extra stability and gives you more rope to work with. Also, you can get longer lengths of paracord then what is provided to accommodate your perfect hammock spot!
The DryFly does not come with stakes and so you will need to purchase these beforehand. You can pick them up at most outdoor stores but if you are looking for a lightweight option, think about purchasing these MSR stakes. With the DryFly you have 6 tie-down points and so you will need to have 6 stakes. For other tarp styles, you may not need less or you may need a few more! The attached cord on the DryFly makes it easy to tie down and quickly stake it into the surrounding area.
Proper Knot Tying
It is imperative that you learn this knot style so that you can both tighten the ridgeline and the ground stakes. This knot gives you the ability to be able to easily and effectively create tot lines and also gives you the ability to untie the knot when needed. Watch how to tie a Taught Line Hitch. It is a simple knot to learn but will prove to be very useful in many different scenarios.
As you tighten your tie downs, don’t over tighten one side while the other is loose because this will cause your tarp to be off center. Slowly tighten each one and continue to rotate which ones you tighten so that your tarp stays centered. ENO does offer 10 different variations of their tarps and each serves a different purpose for your adventure. If you are looking for something with maximum coverage, look into purchasing the ENO HouseFly. This tarp is nearly a floating tent and gives the feeling of being in a tent while still hanging! No matter what option you choose, having a tarp in your camping arsenal is a must and gives you the ability to hammock camp in all kinds of weather.