Summer lingers on here in eastern Virginia. We just returned from a float fishing trip on the upper James River, in the mountainous western part of the state, testing gear and demonstrating the value of hammocks on rocky river island camps. Sandy beaches are rare in eastern rock carved river areas and hammocks really shine. Perhaps the greatest value demonstrated by the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock is the supported chair back sitting. After 6-8 hours in a canoe with no back support sitting back in the hammock is absolute pleasure. Sure you can carry a folding chair in a canoe, but having less to lash down and being three pounds lighter, all translates to less stowage issues and a more nimble vessel.

Last weekend also reminded me of another tarp benefit in hot muggy weather, the ability to channel cooling breeze over the hammock, or even a ground camper. The river was running south west. I selected trees as close to the river as possible and with a SW-NW orientation, with as little underbrush between the river and my site (just the opposite of selecting a sheltered site in bad weather).The open water and westerly breezes inflated the west side of my tarp which was deployed parallel with the ground and a full 6 foot high while the inland side of the tarp pitched steeply just out board of the hammock turned these pleasant breezes on me…Nice, cool and bug free! Try it next time.