My wife and I have been camping as long as we have been married (22 years). Mostly car camping until our son became strong enough to backpack with us about 2 years ago. We have been using really nice Big Agnes pads ($75 each), a decent 2 person tent (which by the way INCLUDES a bug net, rain fly, stakes, and shock cord) , and some cheapo ****'s version Marmot down bags ($100 each). So for about $450 we have created a fairly light, fairly comfortable trail house for two.
Then I go backpacking with some friends last winter and one of them mentions a friend of his has started using a hammock. What, like that thing I have in my back yard for summer naps? That thing with the hard ropes and the 70 pound stand? He doen't have that level of detail.
Next, some of the older Scouts in our troop start using hammocks. My son starts asking questions. I foolishly try one out on a canoe trip.
We need a new tent anyway since my son is now backpacking (no way am I carrying our 4 person car camping tent on long trips) - next thing I know I'm poking around here.
I think wow, that sounds like a great idea!
Off I go to buy not one, but two systems for my son and I (since Mom doesn't camp with the Scouts every month, she's out!).
I start looking at hammocks. First you need a hammock, then a tarp, then a bug net if you want to use it in the summer, then an underquilt if you want to use it during the rest of the year. Oh yeah, the stock suspension is way too cumbersome, so we changed over to whoopie slings 'cause they are way cool.
Before I realize it, I've spent a fair amount of cash, and the wife says "How much more?"
Well, you see, now that I'm not hiking with a pad, I need a new chair. Those Alite two legged chairs look really cool.
And by the way, since I'm now carrying an underquilt AND a sleeping bag, I'm thinking about a RIBZ pack to help with the extra volume of gear.
So of course, I have to buy that stuff too. I'm sure you guys understand.
This is dumb, I'm out of control! I have to stop.
Well, I'm feeling pretty bad about spending all of this money when we already have a really nice set up.
Until this past week-end.
The three of us went out on a three day trip. Since she doesn't have a hammock , I thought I would be nice and let my son hang and I would sleep in the tent with her.
I never realized how miserable I was on the ground until the past two nights.
No more guilt!
Looks like I'm gonna have to get a third rig...
So, no, it may not be smarter, cheaper (if you can't sew), lighter, or less bulky, but my, oh my, it sure as heck beats that hard old ground!
Hang on, brothers! Hang on!