After many years avoiding camping because of chronic back pain, I have been forced to return to the woods as a scout leader. (okay forced is not really the word, I am a Cub Scout, Girl Scout and 4H leader) I tried the portable ground shelter (I've been told to avoid using it's 4 letter name) , but found that I still awoke with pain that reduced my effectiveness with the kids.
After a trip a few weeks ago, I thought that we should recruit a Chiropractor's kid, but couldn't find any.
A friend had created a DIY Hammock setup and suggested that I give it a try (Okay, I asked him first). He had posted asking others how the hammocks effected their back pain. All was positive.
My wife's response when I wanted to purchase a hammock setup wasn't quite so positive. She viewed that as a lot of money without ever trying to hang. So I began to construct a complete DIY setup. I've been able to go from a 12 pound ground setup to a 4 pound hanger! I love the reduction in weight. By DIYing the project, I've also been able to add custom amenities that made the near equal cost (but increased labor) worth the effort.
I finished about 3 weeks ago and took it to the woods the first time for some scout training. As I hung the hammock for the first time in actual camping, I found a low hanging branch on a tree and sliced a 2 inch cut in my head (no hair, no protection from scratches). After controlling the bleeding, I spent my first night in the hammock and woke for the first time in 10 years without back pain. The second night was the same. I'm hooked (double entendre intended)!
My son and I hung the following weekend in the woods near my home to try a double hang under a single tarp. If it didn't work, it was a simple walk home in the middle of the night to re-engineer. With a spacer bar, everything was excellent and now he's hooked as well. Now that I have the proper spacing, I'm looking to construct with lighter materials (a carbon fiber pole with eye hooks)
Thank you to everyone in these forums! While I have been lurking and not really adding my $.02 I have been very busy learning! I've recently ordered some equipment from Dutch as his innovations are too great to DIY. I've also just ordered an underquilt from Hammockgear for use in the fall. I have a number of trips planned for the next few months, and am planning on hanging, even when other facilities are available.
I am trying to find a way to hang at work as well (I'm a stay at home dad by day, paramedic by night). This no back pain thing is cool!
I am very happy that Mousekowitz turned me onto this great way to get back in the woods and your wonderful forum! Thank you all!