For the last 10 years, I've camped about 30 nights a year, split between family camping, scout camping, and backpacking. I got really tired of sleeping on the ground and when backpacking, my pack generally weighed in around 50 lbs. My pack and tent each weighed 9 lbs. and I started looking for something lighter. For a few years, I have carried a 12 oz. Travel Hammock with me and loved to relax in it, but hated the bugs. At some point, I found Sgt. Rock's site and then this forum. I was amazed to find hammocks with bug netting. The rest is history.
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I guess the bivy could be useful- I could use it to fashion a weathershield and top cover?
I backpacked when younger but the speed-contest backpacking trip (first in 25 years) I took a couple of years ago with some 20-somethings told me that there has to be a better way.
I'm trying to keep my road smooth, and so far hammocking is doing well by me.
Hanging is a new experience for me too. So far because I'm into scouting & I teach the backpacking merit badge, I was geared only toward tents. First I had to overcome my troops limitations on backpacking, they only did "car camping" (w/the trailer and cast iron pots ect....) This spring, while at the scout show camping event, I saw over in another campsite, an adult stringing up a hammock and just had to make an effort to go talk with him. He had a clark that he'd bought off another scouter (that scouter had just gotten a larger clark). Soooo, this guy invited me to try out his clark... and that's all it took. I flat out just could not believe how comfortable I was laying in it. He even shut the weathershield on me so I could see if I was gonna have any issues. Nope, just about fell asleep before he opened it back up!! Went back to my camp site and told my husband that I'd been in another guys bed and that I wanted a hammock for my birthday!!
Finally ordered me a clark jungle with the weathershield and went on my first trip w/my troop. Temps dropped below freezing, I'm the only one hanging and I'm just about the only one warm the next morning. I'd read some here and knew to pack an insulated pad to keep my backside warm. (exped 9).
Next trip it rained the first night and I slept through it all. Next night was forcasted for tornados and I decided to pack up and not try that out!!!
Just returned from a backpacking trip to Croatan nat forest. WET!!! Scouts had a very hard time finding spots to set up their tents that didn't either slope, were wet, had tree knobs sticking up, or very uneven ground w/briars. I didn't have any issues. I've also lightened my backpack to 26 pounds w/water!!! And I'm still carrying an exped short 7 for my backside!!!
Can't wait for the next trip.... Getting better stringing up the clark too!! The first few times, it was a little saggy. Learning about having the foot end higher.
Had a few of my scouts try my hammock too..... some are starting to want their own!!!
Nice report. I know my clients I take on canoe trips are really intrigued. Now repeat customers are requesting hammocks. Particularly those with back problems. Seems it does not take a whole lot of convincing. Not much time and people realize the advantage.
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i agree that train of thought that people are hesitant to try something they are not flat out "told" to do. I always say that if REI etc.. had hammocks on the showroom floor, the army of hangers would be many more happy people. But, since tents and pads is all people see in catalogues, in stores, and on TV or whatever It seems people (that I know personally) have very strange and mixed reactions to hammocks. Its different, foreign, they dont understand it and may even fear it! People around me many times make excuses as to why they cant use a hammock, and they have never even tried one!
so to all the hangers, innovators, cottage gear makers and the curious, tired and experimental, hopeful and rational, cheers to YOU!
I am grateful to be a part of such a wonderful, cutting edge group of individuals. Mike