Snarl, you mentioned that one of your remaining options was national parks, but I've experienced problems there as well. Here in California at Joshua Tree Nat'l Park they won't even let you hang a lightly-loaded clothesline from their precious trees. I know because a ranger politely but firmly told me to take mine down once. I decided not to test his patience by asking how I was supposed to dry my socks and underwear. He'd likely have had a fit if I tried to hang a hammock!
Oh and congrats on the WBBB multicam! I almost ordered one but opted for a slightly lighter 1.1 Double. I still think the multicam looks awesome.
State parks are like camping in a trailer park, with the drunks, loud exhaust, screaming kids, amped music, generators running all night, and all the rest. It is NOT why I go to enjoy the wilderness!
That's why I like hammocks, because I can hang anywhere I can find two trees. If I don't want to go on a full-bore hike, I can go 1/2 mile up a trail, find a nice spot by a river or viewpoint and leave nothing but my footprints the next morning. If I do hike into a lake and find all the campsites taken, it is no big deal to go 200 yards up the hill and hand with a nice view of the lake and still have access for water and fishing.
I prefer to go hang somewhere in the middle of the back country where I'm not disturbing anyone's idea of a good time nor are they disturbing mine. Maybe it's an age thing, I dunno, but knocking on 40's door I seem to care less and less for the loud party types, not to mention those that think the outdoors are their personal garbage dump.
Uncle Mike, Spaceweaseal, Caveman, and a few others knew that the following was sure to come:
You are going to be very, very dissapointed with the NFS if you want to camp in a National Forest between 15 September and 1 February. You will be restricted to camping with deer hunters in specially designated "Hunters Camps." If you think camping next to a retired couple in their RV is a dissapointment, try camping next to deer hunters out for a weekend with the boys.
Half of the decent trails in the state are shut down due to deadfall in the forest from last year's drought. The Forest Service has been slow to clear them, and has turned away the volunteers who stepped forward to help clear them. The maps of the closed areas at the trail heads are woefully out of date, and the boxes for registration forms at the trailhead to the Wilderness areas haven't been filled in months---and its against the rules to go into them without filling out a registration from. More than half of all the "Hunters Camps" are in the closed areas ($5,000 fine if you're caught in them), which only means more hunters in the camps that are open.
From what Ive heard from other hiker/campers in other states (except NH it seems where the AMC mostly runs the trail system), the Forest Service seems to be adopting rules and policies designed to keep people out of the woods.
We had a hike and hang planned for last weekend on the Lone Star Trail and ended up going to Fairfield State Park.
National parks generally have trails that support "trail-side" camping. I'd look for these. Sometimes knowing folks who have land helps as well, cuz you can just go wander.
Not in Texas between 15 September and 1 February. The Forest Service has closed trail side camping during the safest time, weatherwise, for camping in Texas.
You're better off in a State Park. You're welcome to camp in a State Park. Don't complain about it, because it not only CAN get worse, it DOES get worse.