This weekend was extremely educational as a first time hammock camper. I learned a lot about my gear and know much better for next time what I want to do. I went out with all these expectations of how it would be and while some of them were correct, some were so wrong.
The Camping Spot
My son and I went out to my favorite camping spot but arrived 9 minutes too late. I was not aware that they closed the front gate at 7:00 pm. You can get out but not in after that time. We got there at 7:09 and were quite disappointed. So we turned around and went to the next canyon over. We went to my favorite “non-fee” spot and arrived to find a bunch of already drunk people. I don’t care if people drink and smoke but the loud obnoxious behavior and constant profanity were too much. As I was checking the distance between trees, we heard gunshots. The drunk neighbor campers were target shooting. I often take my 22 so that I can do some target practicing, so that part didn’t bother me. What ticked me off was the string of cuss words that came out of this guys mouth that would have made a sailor blush. So we drove off to find another camp site. We drove back down the canyon and found a slightly less desirable campsite but it was still acceptable. We pitched out hammocks and set out to make dinner.
All night long, cars were driving up and down the road to that drunken campsite. Even worse was that at 3:30 they came hauling down the road blasting their horn. Half an hour later, I was sure that someone murdered the whole campsite as there were about 10 or 12 gunshots. It hasn’t made the news yet so hopefully no one died. I have a hard time sleeping in a new place anyway but all the cars made it even worse. I finally got to sleep at around 4 and slept well until about 7. When I got up to go to relieve myself, I noticed that the big plastic trash can was on its side and there were several plastic bags around it. I picked one up and it said, “Breakfast” on it. I haven’t been camping for a while and forgot camping 101. I left my bag of mashed potatoes, bacon and cheese out. I even had this feeling the night before that I should stow the gear in the car. That will teach me not to listen to my gut. I looked for tracks but there were none to be found. The ground was pretty dry. I think it was probably a raccoon since it grabbed my Ziploc bag full of paracord thinking it was food. It pulled a piece out and promptly dropped it when it realized it was just rope. My potatoes were a different story. Had it been something bigger like a ‘yote or a bear, there would most likely have been tracks. Since our breakfast was now strewn about the campsite, we decided to break camp and head to Denny’s on the way home. Since we didn’t have to pay 10 bucks to camp, we got a nice breakfast instead.
Pitching a hammock – It is critical to make sure that the head and foot of the hammock are at the same level or you will be sliding down all night long.
Suspension – My integrated webbing worked well enough but there is a lot to be said for the adjustability of whoopee slings. I will be ordering some today.
Bug Net – I made a couple of the bug nets that Cryptic Cricket made on his YouTube video. I purposely did not taper them so that I could see how I liked them. For those of you that haven’t seen the videos, he uses sheer panels purchased at Wal-Mart. They are sewn together then the ends are sewn. You then put a shock cord around the bottom. Overall it worked well but I am going to make a couple of changes. I will definitely taper the sides but on one side, I will use Velcro so that I can pull the whole bugnet back off the hammock while I am fiddling with the hammock setup. It was a pain to have to crawl up into it to do that stuff. As far as keeping critters out, it worked great. I may also put tie outs on the side to pull it way from the center. I haven’t fully decided if I want to go that route yet.
Insulation – It was hotter than Hades this weekend so I can’t report too well on that. We put some of the shiny bubble wrap stuff between the layers of the hammocks. I used my sleeping bag as a top quilt most of the night and only needed to climb in at around 4am. I am still undecided as to what route of insulation I want to use.
Overall it was a great trip. My boy and I had fun and we learned a ton. I am looking forward to the next trip.