I registered a couple of weeks ago and have been lurking for a while. I think I've read enough posts here to be pretty up to date, so I don't ask questions that've been asked a thousand times before.
I'm pretty new to hammocking as an alternative to ground camping, but having tried it, I'm convinced that it's the way to go for most types of camping.
How I got into hammocking
My first introduction to hammocking was in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. While we were planning our trip, we were discussing how we were going to arrange sleeping. One of the 4 of us said he had a 'camping hammock' that he was going to use. The rest of were pretty skeptical to say the least.
Well, once we got to our first campsite, and he was relaxing getting a meal together (his sleeping setup was up in about 2 minutes) after a hair-raising paddle across whitecaps, while we were still messing with tent poles, I started to see the benefits of using a hammock. The rest of the trip I started seeing one reason after another to switch from camping on the ground.
The next year (Last July) the same group of us went on another trip. This time, I too was in a hammock, and for the most part, the decision to ditch the ground and camp swinging proved the right decision. The one part that gave me trouble was my stupid Z-Lite Thermorest just isn't wide enough, and I did discover how cold a hammock can feel.
My style of camping
I camp for several reasons.
3. Backpacking (Well, I have never actually backpacked anywhere except school when I was a kid, but I'm taking it up at the ripe old age of 37.)
I and my dog are bird hunters and we spend about 60 days in the woods every fall. I like bird hunting but I hate driving, which means if I camp I spend much less time driving North from Minneapolis, and more in the woods. As a matter of fact, Shug (What an interesting dude he is, eh? I mean that in the best possible way.) has a video where he's camping in St. Croix State Park and you can hear gunshots in the distance. That was a shotgun and that could well have been me, assisting in my first hammock video unintentionally.
I canoe camp 1 or 2 times a year in the BWCA. From what I read, it's pretty different from backpacking since you don't need to be nearly as careful with your pack load. The canoe really does most of the heavy lifting. It wouldn't hurt though, if I could integrate a lighter weight backpacking setup with the canoe setup. Heavy portage packs are pretty a standard thing for the BWCA, and many people consider really suffering during a portage as a rite of passage of sorts, but I'm over that. If I can be as comfortable camping with a light pack as I can be with a heavy pack, rite of passage be damned, I'm going with the light pack.
Like I said, I've never really done it, but while in the throws of cabin fever, during one of the coldest January's that we've had for a while (That's saying something for Minnesota.) I decided that I needed to get out more and that backpacking would be a great way to do it. Right now, I'm in the process of rounding out my gear list, so I have everything I need to do it comfortably and as lightly as is practical.
I doubt that I'll ever have the time to do something like a thru-hike or something like that. Not that it wouldn't be fun, but I use all my vacation time in the fall chasing birds. If any of you ever see me on the AT doing a thru-hike it probably means that I've achieved full blown hobo status.
I've got a lot more to say, and even more to ask, but this seems like a ridiculously long intro so I'll leave it at that.