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  1. #1

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    Advantage of Hammock Camping while thru hiking.

    I am a serious section hiker of the Appalachian Trail having done about 1000 miles of the trail. I have used the Neo air matress for most of this trip and stay in shelters each evening except for about 4 times when I pitched my tent. As I am a side sleeper, without exception, each night i would wake up with a sore hip on the bottom and have to roll over. This would happen about 4 times a night. In the morning, I would wake up and my hips on both sides would be sore.

    I have not had an opportunity yet to have the hammock on the AT. I did spend a week with it this year on the Buckeye Trail and discovered that I could sleep on my side vertually the whole night in the hammock and still not have sore hips in the morning. While I am carrying a little more weight with the hammock than with the tent and neo air, I am finding it worth its weight in the increased sleep and decreased hip pain.

    Have others experienced this?
    Last edited by revsbentley; 01-01-2015 at 21:40. Reason: Misspellling

  2. #2
    Black Wolf's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
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    Yes .......
    "The wise man questions others wisdom because he questions his own, the foolish man because it is different from his own." Leo Stein

  3. #3
    The Tree Frog's Avatar
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    May 2014
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    Welcome to hammock sleeping. This is one of the many reasons we do this!
    Adult tree frogs are insectivores that eat flies, ants, crickets, beetles, moths, and other small invertebrates. However, most of them start off their lives as herbivores in the tadpole stage.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    I would carry extra pounds to hammock. I just like my hammock that much.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    As a new hammock convert I can tell you that after my first night I was sold on the hammock. I typically sleep on my side and I was tired of waking sore in the morning. The hammock was my last best shot at finding a fix or simply doing the car camping deal so I could bring a cot- which I love sleeping on. The hammock has allowed me to continue packing into places the places most will only see on a postcard.

  6. #6
    Thumbs's Avatar
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    Nov 2013
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    To answer the question of the thread title: Advantage of Hammock Camping while thru hiking.

    Comfort.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    San Diego, CA
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    Don't underestimate the other advantages to thru hiking with a hammock besides comfort while sleeping. Since the OP mentioned the AT as a major place they hike we'll focus on advantages there. I'm sure I'm even missing a couple benefits despite the long list below.

    1. No rodent problem, which is endemic on the AT in shelters. Even if you are careful with food and scents, not everyone sharing your shelter may be as careful. I don't like waking up with mice on me.
    2. Cleaner pitch and breakdown than a tent - minimal dirt and mud involved or packed back in your pack when you break camp
    3. No snoring/farting/talking/lights/eating/hygiene/smoking/drinking/waking up for a piss and stepping on you from other people in a shelter when you want to sleep
    4. If you pitch your hammock and tarp in the right place you might even be able to sidle up to the edge and cleanly pee off the side in the middle of the night without getting out. Do that at your own risk as it may attract wildlife, it isn't typically LNT camping, and the consequences of bad aim are unpleasant.
    5. Location, location, location. On the AT in particular you have a lot more comfortable hanging spots than comfortable tent spots. Tent spots are easy to find at the shelters and designated camping areas, but for the many miles in between those heavily camped areas the hammock wins hands down. If you want to get away from the crowds and find your own corner of the forest the hammock beats the tent handily.
    6. You may not need a pillow in a hammock, or much of a pillow. That can reduce pack volume and weight if you otherwise need one for comfortable ground sleeping.
    7. It's a modular system. You can bring exactly the tarp, hammock, and suspension components necessary for the conditions. Mix and match what makes sense. Tents don't have this degree of flexibility.
    8. Good conversation starter. People will come to you. You'll look cooler than the ground-dwellers at the campsite.
    9. Did we mention comfort?

  8. #8
    The Tree Frog's Avatar
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    All great points DM. I like number 3. Funny but true!
    Adult tree frogs are insectivores that eat flies, ants, crickets, beetles, moths, and other small invertebrates. However, most of them start off their lives as herbivores in the tadpole stage.

  9. #9

    Join Date
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    Thanks DM. This gives me a lot more to be thankful for. I am particulary fond of #1 as I have wakened up many times to mice running over my forehead, or falling from the rafters in their attempt to get to the hanging food bags. I have also been visited by raccoons and 2 black snakes while in shelters. While I like the wildlife, I don't like it that much. Plus, I dont have to worry about the "Hepta"(sp?) virus. (That you get from breathing in the dust of mouse droppings)

  10. #10
    Senior Member trouthunter's Avatar
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    Goose Creek, SC - USA
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    Yes I have.
    When I was younger I could sleep directly on the ground (in warm weather) and get up feeling pretty good. At some point I got or was given my first Ridgerest foam pad, much better than the hard ground, I now have several pads.
    A couple years ago when I started having problems sleeping on the foam pads (had to sleep on my back with my knees in the air) I got a low profile Thermarest inflatable, it was an improvement but I still kept rolling around trying to get comfortable, I felt like I could do better with something thicker so I got an Exped Airmat. The Exped was 3" thick when inflated and that solved my problems. I can sleep on it like a baby perfectly comfortable (sorry Hammock Forums but it's true).
    With my hammock however I'm perfectly comfortable right off the bat, I can sleep in any position I want, plus the hammock offers support in a semi-circle fashion. I mean, the fabric wraps around your body not only supporting the part of your body directly facing the ground, but also on the sides as well. It cradles you, haha.
    During the winter my current hammock set-up is slightly heavier than my solo tent set-up, but it is marginal and the hammock lets me camp in areas where I have nowhere to set up a tent. I live in a coastal area and lots of the wilderness areas are full of Cypress knees sticking out of the ground, so tents won't work.
    I like to go solo - off trail - immerse myself in the area - explore - eat really well - and make it back home.

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