I have received a bunch of emails recently asking about this “Hammock Thing” basically wondering why I hammock camp and what does it really involve.
Last summer I shot a video that answered some of those questions, so I thought I would drop it here on the blog from my YouTube channel.
The basics, kind of an extension of the post I did the other day on the Big 3. The hammock set up takes care of two of the three, the shelter and the sleep system. The third element would be my Pack, the hammock set up saves a lot of weight and space in my pack.
I have to be honest with you. One of the main reasons I love the hammock camping set up is all the tweaking and playing around with the set up. I suppose you don’t have to mess around with it. The system is great out of the box, but it is so fun to try new things and learn more about the system.
For example, I am currently trying out different ways to do a “Pole Mod” on my tarp, This is will be an alternate way of using the pull outs on the sides of my Warbonnet Super Fly Tarp. I will keep you posted on how that goes. I just got the poles yesterday, now it’s time to fiddle with it and try different techniques and set ups. I’ll let you know how it ends up.
So check out this video, let me know what you think and please feel free to ask all the questions you would like. I love to talk about hammocks and hammock camping.
I hope this video showed you a little about hammock camping and the hammock set up. If you are interested, let me know. If you already hammock camp, let me know that too.
Leave a comment, I love to know what you think. Have a Great Scouting Day!
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!
Derek Hansen, Scoutmaster, lightweight backpacker, and as his website says “hammock enthusiast”, recently sent me a copy of his book “The Ultimate Hang”. It is an illustrated guide to hammock camping and a book that even the most experienced hammock camper or backpacker should have on their shelf.
I read the book, skimming through some parts and diving into others in a weekend. It is an easy read and Derek has made learning more about hammock camping fun and simple through great illustrations.
I started hammock camping after the 2010 National Scout Jamboree where Hennessey Hammocks had a cool display. What first caught my eye was the affiliation that the hammock campers have with Leave No Trace. Even at the National Jamboree the Hammock display was set up next to the Leave No Trace organizations (LNT.org) display and activity center. I had just finished the Leave No Trace trainer course and so pairing the two was a natural fit. I wish I would have had “The Ultimate Hang” when I started gearing up for hammock camping. Starting on page 34 Derek covers the principles of leave no trace. Perfect!
The book takes the novice and experienced camper step by step to ensure a great hammock camping experience. Now, it won’t say that in the book, but take it from me. If you do the things in the book, picking a choosing the gear that meets your needs and the set up that you are comfortable with, you will have a great experience.
That brings me to gear. Derek does not tell you what you should have. He demonstrates it all in this book. From whoopie slings to webbing and buckles. Bridge style hammocks to the “Bat hammock” he shows it all and lets the reader decide what he or she would be most comfortable in.
Even if you are not a hammock camper, there is something in this book for you. How to select a good camp site. The “Bearmuda Triangle” and an extensive discussion on tarps.
The book is interactive with QR codes that lead to web sites for more information.
Over all I find that this book is a great resource and a must have certainly for hammock campers, but for backpackers alike.
I highly recommend this book. You can order the book at The Ultimate Hang.com. At the website you can also get some fantastic advice, ideas, and thoughts on backpacking in the blog section. You need to check this out.