Fast forward to the end of August this year and I was due to attend with my boys again...they got what they thought was a better offer and I was attending on my own! I contacted Pablo to see if he'd like a hand setting up on the Friday and so we headed for the secluded site, I met assistant/ mentor Luke and we got the 'chute up in double quick time. I was trying out a new DD tarp and whoopee slings so I made my way to suitable spot, got set up, then took it down and started again. I decided that the rain that was due necessitated me re-aligning the tarp and hammock to take advantage of more leafy protection...so glad I did.
Pablo asked me if I would be OK to show the other attendees, who we met later, where to go whilst he drove their kit round which I did. After a quick safety briefing they all set up and re-convened for tea. JP arrived later on and folk spent the evening around the fire after a quick Pablo led nocturnal walk before heading for their pits.
Almost predictably we awoke to rain, I was so comfy and only the need for the loo got me up. I did myself a cinnamon and dried fruit bannock and a mini man mountain breakfast in a zebra billy (the parchment paper was an attempt to make the billy 'non-stick' and it sort of worked.
Tea was a curry meal which was an impulse purchase from Cotswold Outdoors which I made a curried 'naan' bannock to have with it...actually it needed it as the contents were nice but a little on the small side. We were given a sit spot talk before heading out after a smoke bath, I was repeatedly dripped on but succeeded in seeing several badgers as close as 15 feet or so-Great stuff.
As previously mentioned I used a newish DD Hammock tarp and whoopee slings for the first time. . Apparently the reason most tarps are 3m x 3m is that the material used to make them is 1.5m wide and I'm sure I'm not the only one who has wished they were a little longer as they finely adjust the position of their hammock! I'd considered getting a bespoke one made but the DD Tarp M sizing is more or less what my proposed bespoke one would have been, in length at least.
When the downpour came on the Saturday the tarp performed with DDs usual efficiency but the extra 0.5m of hammock coverage made me feel well protected, the only thing that I'd say needs tweaking is the middle three loops on the ridge line are much larger than the two on the end and once you've got a couple of prussic tensioners in place the ridge line takes on a concave appearance. I've modified the loops with an overhand knot and I'll have to see if this holds next time out.
As for the whoopee sling system...I'd always felt that they looked faffy but decided to take the plunge and try them out. I took Adrian Rose's advice and put a split ring on the loop as it could easily disappear into the main body of the loop if you pulled to much. Consequently I'm converted to the point where I wonder if DD Hammocks should sell their hammock with the choice of either whoopies or webbing. Nick from DD hammocks answered my ridge loop question via email which you may be interested in reading:
Regarding the loop sizes you're not really missing a technical point. They are bigger because once the tarp is pegged out (in the middle), there is often more pressure on the middle points (if they are pegged downwards, straight to the ground) and so being a little longer prevents excess stress on them (as the middle of the tarp is likely to be slightly lower than the ends of the tarp). The middle loops are still very strong but not as super strong as the side attachment points are due to the placement on the tarp and use of re-inforcement patches at the sides (that makes it sound like the middle ones are weak but they certainly aren't and we do not hear of any weaknesses/ issues with them at all). If the middle sides of the tarp are not pegged at a steep angle to the ground the loops can sit a little loose.
The middle loops on all of our tarps are like this and as you mention its possible to tie a knot to make them shorter if required.
You can read Pablo's blog entry about this and other Woodlife Trails activities on the official website, and see the discussion about this weekend (along with a link to my Facebook photo gallery of it) here.