This last weekend I got to hang out with some great Scouters at our Lodge’s Rendezvous. A few years back a few of the guys became interested in my hammock set up, which I use every camp out. Slowly the interest became more hammock campers. This year there were about 5 or 6 hammock set ups that I knew of and it seems that the interest is growing more and more each year.
We got to talking about our hammock set ups and as we discussed this fantastic way of camping there were a few people who had lots of questions. We all had our tips, tricks, and way we do it, but most of it was common.
Some one asked why? Why hammock camp, after all, what’s wrong with tents? So it got me to thinking about why I hammock camp.
Here are the top 5 reason’s I am a hammock camper.
1. Comfort. In a hammock I wake up rested and no sore body parts. When you are laying in the hammock you have no pressure points. Hips, Shoulders, and Back are all suspended in nylon. Without the pressure points I find I don’t toss and turn and wake up well rested.
Using the under quilt and top quilt is warm and comfortable and easy to get in and out of. Nylon and Down wrap around me and I feel snug as a bug when I am sleeping.
2. Easy set up and take down. I like how easy it is to set up my system. The tarp goes up quick and my hammock is just a matter of two straps and buckles. I can set up in a driving rain and keep everything dry. The same goes for take down. I can stand up under the tarp and pack my gear, take down the hammock and keep everything clean and dry. Because all of the components of my system are in stuff sacks, everything is easy to unpack and pack.
3. Leave No Trace. I am a big fan of leave no trace methods and work to practice them no matter when and where I camp. Hammocks can be set up places where tents cannot comfortably go, as long as there are trees. Because I am hanging above the ground I am not leaving the impact that a tent does on the ground, nor am I restricted to tent platforms or designated tent sites. Since I am not on the ground, I do not need to clear the area of rocks twigs and other debris that show I was there. Tree straps are tree friendly. They do not damage the trees and the weight is distributed so as not to hurt the trees. If there is a concern about softer bark, I use the Philmont method of wrapping rope for bear bags in the I insert twigs around the straps to reduce the impact if there would be some.
Because most, not all, but most hammock campers practice light weight backpacking practices, I am reducing my foot print in gear and how I camp and think about LNT all the time.
4. The Gear. The nature of hammock gear is light and small. Everything from the hammock to the tarp fits in small sacks and does not take up a lot of space in my pack. The quilts are light and compress real small. I never will be an Ultra light backpacker. It’s just not something that I am willing to dedicate too much thought and energy to doing, but I am dedicated to being a light weight backpacker and the hammock set up really allows for that. Along with the hammock, tarp, and quilts, hammock campers typically look at lighter solutions to camping. Stoves, cook kits, and the other items that fill the pack are looked at carefully for its functionality, purpose, and size and weight. Becoming a hammock camper got me into tinkering with gear and finding the “perfect solution” for my backpack. This has been super fun for me.
5. Hang anywhere. I have found that I can hang pretty much anywhere. I have hung my hammock inside of shelters, off of rocks, and of course between tress. There never seems to be a place that I can not hang my hammock (except at Philmont). I do not have to be uncomfortable camping in the hammock. I noticed that as I started getting older that I started having a harder time sleeping on the ground. Even on a cot at the National Jamboree I tossed and turned. The weather, the temperatures, and the terrain are no longer obstacles in camping. I can hang anywhere in my hammock set up.
Well there are 5 reason’s that I love hammock camping. I am sure that I could list a few more, but it really comes down to comfort and fun. I always encourage our Scouts to try new things and when they find that they like it, it adds to the adventure of Scouting.
I can say this… once you go to the hammock, it is hard to go back to the ground. But Hike your Own Hike and do what you like. I am a hammock guy and love it.
Have any questions feel free to ask, leave a comment.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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