After Hours: Hammock Confessions
I've been a member of the forums here since 2010. I've logged a decent handful of nights in my hammock, though not nearly as many as I'd like. I've got some great gear, and I'm always looking for more. But I have a confession:
I've never had an amazing night's sleep in my hammock.
This is not to say that they've all been bad (though my very first night kinda sucked, to be honest). And even the worst night in the hammock has been more pleasant than a night in the past on the ground in a tent (with the exception of one trip where I had a queen sized air mattress under me - car camping at its finest). But I've never had a night where I thought it was the best sleep of my life, or that would make me long for my hammock over my bed. I've never climbed into the hammock and woken up hours later, refreshed and bright eyed, wondering where the time went. But not one to be discouraged or give up, I keep on trying, keep adjusting and learning, and trying again.
The other night, I set up my stuff on my stand in the back yard. I got a bunch of new gear over the holidays - new tarp, a 2QZQ underquilt protector, had the suspension on my trusty winter phoenix upgraded ... I've got a cold weather hang coming up, and wanted to make sure that I worked the kinks out of the new gear before being out in the woods with no warm house to bail out to if things didn't go well.
The result? I had the best night's sleep I've yet to experience in a hammock so far. I finally feel like I got my insulation dialed in (kudos to the new HG suspension system), and was warm and toasty all night - even though it only dropped down to low 30's. My new DIY pillow had just the right amount of support, even though it was windy my new Superfly did a good job of blocking it out - everything just worked. I turned in around 2, and woke around 7:30 - perhaps the longest stretch of uninterrupted sleep above ground for me so far. Nature was calling, and I went in to use the bathroom and then plopped into bed next to the wife for another hour until our little guy woke us up. I was still a little stiff, and the nice warm bed with all the blankets and pillows was great to fall back into - but in my book I consider it a win, and feel as if I'm one step closer to really getting that perfect hang.
What's my point? I love getting out in the woods as often as I can - even though with life and family and work that's not nearly often enough. My hammock, the gear I've accumulated from the vendors I've found here, and the knowledge that I've learned the last few years hanging around here (pun partially intended), combined with my love of tinkering, has helped to enhance my time in the woods - even though it hasn't yet been perfect. So for all the new folk that join the ranks here, get a bunch of gear, hitch up between a few trees, and then find that it's not instantly wonderful - don't give up! Keep trying, keep tweaking, and little by little you just might find that it's well worth the time invested. If it's great and wonderful the first time out - consider yourself lucky! But if it isn't, take a step back, evaluate what you did and what you might do better, and try it again.
Who knows, maybe I'll never get it figured out to the point where I'd want to throw out my mattress and install wall anchors - not that my wife would ever let me do that anyway. She's understanding ... but that'd be pushing it. :laugh: But I view it as a process - one that I'm enjoying, and having fun trying to figure out.