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  1. #1

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    Let's Be Honest: Going To Ground While Backpacking

    New-ish hammocker (hammockist?) here. Car camping is one thing, but I'm planning on getting into backpacking sooner than later.

    BE HONEST: How often are you guys/gals being forced to ground with your tarp in places where you can't find the right trees?

  2. #2
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    Never for me yet and been hammocking since 2006.
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    Whooooo Buddy)))) All Secure in Sector Seven

  3. #3
    OneClick's Avatar
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    Trees wouldn't be the issue for me. A huge failure like a strap tearing could do it. If I couldn't rig something to get by I would almost rather head back to the car, even at midnight and 5 miles out. Either call it, or get to the nearest town to buy some fixin supplies.

  4. #4

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    Let's Be Honest: Going To Ground While Backpacking

    Hasnt happened to me yet. About 2 years of hanging quite a bit. Hope it never happens because it would NOT be fun.

    I think planning would make it rare.

  5. #5
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    It has never happened in eight years of hammocking. Many people suffer from "What if I have to go to ground?" syndrome, but I don't quite get it. How could you end up in a place with no trees unless you wanted to end up in a place with no trees?

    "Yeah, but what if I end up above tree line?" they ask. Why would you camp above tree line if you're a hammocker?

    If there aren't trees, I'm not camping there. And if you can't figure out if there are trees where you are going camping, you probably shouldn't be camping anyway!
    Last edited by SilvrSurfr; 11-07-2018 at 17:25.
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  6. #6
    TallPaul's Avatar
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    Been here since 2012 and Iíve never gone to ground. Course plenty of trees here in North Carolina.

  7. #7
    Senior Member pgibson's Avatar
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    At it for nearly 10 years all over the west half of the country and never laid on the ground once in that time. And I have zero plans to go to ground. I don’t pack anything for setting up on the ground and make no special provisions to make my gear work on the ground. I just set out with it not being an option.
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  8. #8
    baldknobber's Avatar
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    Only had to once in the last 20+ backpacking trips. Whoopie sling failed, and I couldn’t fabricate a fix in the dark, and said “screw it”.

    I now carry a 3 ft. dog bone for such an emergency. Because, sleeping on the ground sucks!

  9. #9
    Senior Member jeff-oh's Avatar
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    Since hammocking I have gone to ground 2 twice due to lack of trees. Both times they were planned trips out West in the Grand Canyon, below the rim. Below the rim cannot hang on any plant life, I knew this in advance. Thus, my trip plan included tenting. I was not caught unawares. If I am car camping I find lack of trees more of an issue than backpacking. In that case I use my DYI Tensa Stand.

    Going to ground because I could not find trees. --- Never.
    Last edited by jeff-oh; 11-07-2018 at 17:30.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasmith836 View Post
    New-ish hammocker (hammockist?) here. Car camping is one thing, but I'm planning on getting into backpacking sooner than later.

    BE HONEST: How often are you guys/gals being forced to ground with your tarp in places where you can't find the right trees?
    Forced is a strong word. Hammock folks tend to have strong feelings as you can see.

    Choose is a better word. Many here choose to avoid sleeping anywhere but their hammock. For some you could say they are forced into not going to ground as lack of sleep ruins their trip.
    So a question to ask honestly; would your trip be ruined by sleeping on the ground? Some here would answer yes, and necessity is thus the mother of invention and they will hang at all costs.

    I would say no.
    I prefer walking all day, and would not sacrifice extra time to secure a hammock site or improvise one.
    I prefer practical low weight... so I would not pack extra straps, equipment, rock slings, or whatever in order to ensure I could pitch my hammock anywhere, anytime, anyplace.

    Another question to ask yourself honestly- Are there advantages to being able to go to ground?

    Sometimes that's a simple no...
    You're heading to the piney woods for a weekend and options will be easy. The place you plan to go clearly has no reason to deal with it, and you are comfortable in your ability to use your gear.

    Sometimes that's a practical yes...
    You're not positive about the terrain or you're new to hammocks and may have an issue with your gear. Not having a pad could ruin your trip.
    Yes; you could choose to visit a different place if terrain is a factor... but if that's the terrain or place you'd like to visit then you should adapt to it.
    You hike long hours and occasionally simply need to 'throw down' quick and easy.
    Some places don't allow hammock camping, or force you to sleep in a designated site that may not be practical. In that case... do you want to go or do you want to go elsewhere.

    Sometimes that's an enjoyable yes...
    On many long distance trails there are shelters available... if it's pouring for days and you're tiered of it then it gets hard to walk by that dry shelter.
    In many areas there are beautiful things you spent considerable time attempting to reach to enjoy an experience that touches your soul: '
    Sleeping on the famous Max Patch (southern bald) on a good night.
    Sleeping above treeline on the top of the world with a 360 degree panoramic of the night sky and an amazing sunrise or sunset.
    Camping in an open meadow filled with lightning bugs, stars, sounds, and sights after a long week of staring at the inside of your tarp or trudging through heavy forest.
    Believe it or not; there are times you may get sick of being stuck in the trees.

    The longer the hike, the more having options means having options.
    I prefer a hammock. I prefer an UQ in a hammock. But I can survive a night on the ground or take a pad if I expect to encounter opportunities to improve my trip.

    Forced to go to ground... is a bit like being forced to sleep in the dirt because your pad sprung a leak or the zipper on your tent broke.
    Poop occurs. If you have some ridiculous once in a lifetime gear failure that will happen regardless of what system you use.

    If you haven't been out long enough to trust your gear, then more short trips with low risk (like car camping) with it is in order... but once you trust your kit being forced to do anything is a bit silly.
    This is more like being 'forced' to sleep in your car because you bought a tent but couldn't figure out how to set it up. This problem is easily solved for ground or hammock use by simple practice.

    I carry a spare bit of Amsteel and a few practical items to solve issues when hanging if I choose that system.
    Just the same as I carry a bit of tenacious tape or a pad repair kit when I choose that system.

    I also learned to build a debris bed, select a good site, and even how to do a little stretching if my back or shoulder goes from a bad night of sleep. I've skipped a nights sleep and lived to type this post.
    Imminent death is unlikely regardless of what happens.

    Set your own priorities and then you can select the gear that fits those goals.
    After that; Just get out there.
    Last edited by Just Bill; 11-07-2018 at 17:41.

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