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  1. #1

    The Trek 2018 thru-hiker survey

    https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail...-hiker-survey/

    There's a lot of information to unpack (ha!) in this survey, including the percentage of hikers surveyed who used hammocks and what those hammocks were. There's also information on tarps and tarp sizes if you follow the links, and there are a lot of links to follow (and I highly recommend doing so). The author on the site has some decent credentials academically, including a minor in statistics, but the sample sizes for hammockers seem really low to me, so I'm not sure how truly representative the survey is.

    Anecdotally however, my limited observations while on the AT several times in Georgia this past year would support the results on pack brands, so perhaps the data really is an accurate reflection of who's on the AT. If it's true, the vendors here have both some news to dismay them and news to cheer them. The good news is that based on this sample of hikers on the AT, there is a LOT of room for growth in hammock camping.

    The bad news is that only a narrow subset of hammock brands were represented in the survey. By saying that, I definitely do not mean any disrespect to those who were mentioned by name. My opinion is that a healthy and growing industry would be reflected in a range of brands being mentioned in such a survey. The more brands that show up in a survey, the more depth and breadth of hammock penetration I would assume. Since that's not the case, at least in this survey, if I were a vendor here I would choose to look on it as an opportunity for growth. There's a lot of tents mentioned that could be replaced by hammocks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Shrewd's Avatar
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    The trek isn’t the best source for this sort of thing.

    Or rather, what’s popular on the AT isn’t the best source of info.

    Most people who start the AT have very little experience backpacking and turn to what’s popular. Or what they’ve used in the past.

    That’s why you see so many people at the beginning with 65 liter Ospreys or older, larger packs. Or lots of ENOs. Because that’s what the dude at REI had to sell.

    Hammocking is just getting popular; in a few years that survey is going to be filled with Dutch and Dream Hammocks but to the masses right now hammocking is still kinda taboo. When I answer questions about the AT at work (also REI employee), 4 times out of 5 people are surprised I was able to use a
    Hammock and didn’t really know hammock camping was even a thing. The 5th person though usually starts taking notes when I mention brands to look for (and hammockforums, of course)

  3. #3
    TxAggie's Avatar
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    I agree with Shrewd with regards to where the average AT hiker gets their information. Even on Homemade Wonderlust when hammocks are discussed, a LARGE number of people give bad advice, such as “hammocks won’t work on the AT,” or “get an ENO Double Nest with a Kelty Noah tarp.” (Both fine brands, but not the lightest and best choice for long trail hammocking.

    The knowledgeable one show up right away because almost all will reference coming here to HF to get better information. Even the ones promoting ENO often enough have never heard of our merry little band of hangers.


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  4. #4
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    Hammock camping is not an entry level operation. Not only does it take specific gear, but it takes specific knowledge to work correctly. This is where I feel HomemadeWanderlust falls short. When I watched her anti-hammock video, it screamed to me that she just didn't know what she was talking about. It's possible that someone was in her ear feeding her incorrect information, but it sounded as though she's never read "Ultimate Hang".

    I'm not a rookie when it comes to hammocks, but on group hangs it's a realization of how much more there is for me to learn about hammocks (especially in regards to long distance treks). For this reason, I give people who talk bad about hammocks lots of leeway. They're just saying that hammocks don't work for them, or that they never put in the effort to make it work. It's disappointing that many people will listen to people who make youtube videos as experts.

  5. #5
    TxAggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trambo View Post
    Hammock camping is not an entry level operation. Not only does it take specific gear, but it takes specific knowledge to work correctly. This is where I feel HomemadeWanderlust falls short. When I watched her anti-hammock video, it screamed to me that she just didn't know what she was talking about. It's possible that someone was in her ear feeding her incorrect information, but it sounded as though she's never read "Ultimate Hang".

    I'm not a rookie when it comes to hammocks, but on group hangs it's a realization of how much more there is for me to learn about hammocks (especially in regards to long distance treks). For this reason, I give people who talk bad about hammocks lots of leeway. They're just saying that hammocks don't work for them, or that they never put in the effort to make it work. It's disappointing that many people will listen to people who make youtube videos as experts.
    She admits that not only did she not have any experience with hammocks, she had never even done a weekend backpacking trip prior to stepping off for the AT. That’s still no excuse for the way she condemned hammocks though.


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  6. #6
    Senior Member TallPaul's Avatar
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    Google “gear survey 2018 pct” or cdt and you’ll get a couple of other reports on gear used on those trails. Not much on hammocks - may not have been significant enough in numbers to report?

    As for HomeMadeWanderLusts video from a couple years ago... It got under my skin when first I watched it thinking it was unfair to compare her DIY cheap hammock setup that she first started using on the AT (and only for one week) to the $300 new tent she bought.
    But then I realized the point of the video was to explain why SHE switched to a tent. It wasn’t to convince others they should do the same. Or that one was better than the other. Just why it didn’t work for her. As she admits, “probably due to my lack of (any) hammock camping experience”. Bingo.

  7. #7
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TallPaul View Post
    Google “gear survey 2018 pct” or cdt and you’ll get a couple of other reports on gear used on those trails. Not much on hammocks - may not have been significant enough in numbers to report?

    As for HomeMadeWanderLusts video from a couple years ago... It got under my skin when first I watched it thinking it was unfair to compare her DIY cheap hammock setup that she first started using on the AT (and only for one week) to the $300 new tent she bought.
    But then I realized the point of the video was to explain why SHE switched to a tent. It wasn’t to convince others they should do the same. Or that one was better than the other. Just why it didn’t work for her. As she admits, “probably due to my lack of (any) hammock camping experience”. Bingo.
    I understand what you're saying (and I haven't seen the video in question), however I would posit that one should not bother making a video comparing the two until one DOES have the requisite experience with both. I was a tenter for a long time, mainly because I had a dog with me and didn't see how I could make hammocking work with the pooch, but never in a thousand years would I go off half-cocked on a topic with which I hadn't a scintilla of experience. And from the backpacking perspective, where weight and volume are more of a concern, hammocking has a significantly steeper learning curve than backyard and front-country car camping.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

    Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. Leo Babauta

  8. #8
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TallPaul View Post
    But then I realized the point of the video was to explain why SHE switched to a tent.
    I saw this video a while back and thought, "Wow. How do you make a video about something you clearly know nothing about?" I just re-watched the video and came to the same conclusion.
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  9. #9
    Senior Member TallPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmoulder View Post
    I understand what you're saying (and I haven't seen the video in question), however I would posit that one should not bother making a video comparing the two until one DOES have the requisite experience with both. I was a tenter for a long time, mainly because I had a dog with me and didn't see how I could make hammocking work with the pooch, but never in a thousand years would I go off half-cocked on a topic with which I hadn't a scintilla of experience. And from the backpacking perspective, where weight and volume are more of a concern, hammocking has a significantly steeper learning curve than backyard and front-country car camping.
    Agree on having knowledge when doing a comparison video but this wasn’t intended as one in my opinion.
    She explains she got the hammock because a friend had one so it was cheap/free. She DIYd a tarp (which is a comedy if you see it / transparent with duct taped seams). She then switches to a tent as she said she had some familiarity with tents while car camping.
    First time backpacker a week on the trail at that point.
    Quote Originally Posted by SilvrSurfr View Post
    I saw this video a while back and thought, "Wow. How do you make a video about something you clearly know nothing about?" I just re-watched the video and came to the same conclusion.
    What was she supposed to know to make the video? She’s just vlogging why she changed gear 7 days into her trip. It’s up to the viewer to make it into something more than that.

  10. #10
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Maybe there should be a new rule, "No vlogging before Harper's Ferry!"
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

    Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. Leo Babauta

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