Boy Scout Camp
Long time lurker, finally took the plunge and got off the ground.
A little about me and the trip. I am a Cubmaster and Asst Scoutmaster for my two boys' Pack and Troop. I have been camping most of my life and after hitting 40, found the ground wasn't as comfortable. A fellow scouter told me about his Hennessy. I was skeptical at first but took advantage of a good buy from here on a used HH Exped. It took me a couple of nights test sleeps at home to get it mostly dialed in. I was really surprised at how comfortable it was. Our troop was going to summer camp at Chief Logan Reservation here in Ohio. I didn't want to spend 6 nights on the ground so the hammock was in for a real test. I did take my tent just in case there weren't adequate trees at our site or something happened. I am the only hammock camper in the troop....for now .
The site was hilly and all the tenters were complaining about no good sites. I quickly found two good trees not even considering the ground (envy #1 of the other scoutmasters). My hammock went up quickly about the same time as the other tents because I am still new to this. We had some nasty storms roll through the area the week of camp (4th of July week). I was nervous on keeping dry and getting a good nights sleep. The first night it stormed during the evening when we were out of camp and the hammock was dry when we returned to camp, unlike some of the tents (envy #2 of some of the scoutmasters). We didn't get any other rain but the temps were in the low 100 degree range during the day and high 70s at night. I slept wonderfully each night. I was cooler (envy #3) and for the first time in years, my back didn't hurt (envy #4). Breaking camp Saturday morning was fast and easy thanks to snake skins (envy #5).
Some of the troop are still skeptical on how I could be comfortable in it. I am won over though!!! I don't think I will ever sleep on the ground again!
Couple of issues I faced:
- Storage for a week at camp. I backpacked in and all my clothes (we were specific colored troop shirts for each day) were in plastic bags. I had a tarp under the hammock and nothing got wet but I need to pack lighter.
- Privacy. No power at camp meant no showers for the first couple of days. 56 boys and 8 adult leaders not showering in that heat leads to many odors and issues. I would have and did change at the shower house later in the week but I think a hex tarp will help with the privacy.
I was nervous taking to the hammock for the first time, kind of like sleeping in a new tent and it rains. You never know how good it will perform until you have it out in the elements. I was very pleased and will be taking the hammock on our August canoe trip.
We do camporees and sleep in some wide open fields so I will need a treeless system set up. I have looking at options on this forum. Any successful builds suggestions are welcome.
Thank you all for all the great posts and experience I was able to read while making the conversion.
PS: Sorry, no pics due to camera breaking during the week.
Last edited by sleestac; 07-13-2012 at 12:56.
SO EXCITED that you took the plunge. And I'm glad you had a good experience. I've had similar experiences where the Envy made several converts. At your next camporee, bring a spare for scouts to test and it won't take long for the converting process to begin.
Have you seen the contest Scouting Magazine is doing? Tell your troop (especially the leaders!) to sign up. They're giving away several hammocks:
STORAGE: When backpacking, consider bringing along a small "gear" hammock. You can sling your gear in there and it makes a nice tote for your gear. A nice gear hammock is nothing more than a modified tube or sock hammock with a zipper on the top for easy access. All your gear can then just stuff right into your pack.
Another tip some folks do is to clip their backpack to the webbing straps or suspension line so the pack is above the ground for easier access -- like having a closet in the outdoors. If you hang if from the suspension and with a bigger tarp, you can keep your pack dry without using a pack cover.
PRIVACY: Yes, a larger tarp will do it. Pin down the edges and you have a large A-frame shelter. Somewhat easier than crawling around in a tent to change as you can stand up, or even sit in your hammock while you "Mr. Rodgers" away. Alternatively, if you're packing light and using a smaller a-sym tarp, is to use a poncho. Pitch the poncho as a privacy screen on one side and you should be good. A third option is what my wife chose to do when she backpacked into Havasupai. Since she knew there would be a few tents in tow, she just borrowed a tent to change in.
CAMPOREES IN FIELD / HAMMOCK STANDS - There are some great stands that travel well and set up easily in the field. I love camporees too, but like you, find that they often use a large field so trees are difficult to come by. In some cases, I was able to hike into the tree line, but it's nice to stay close to the boys. Here are some stands to look into:
TurtleDog Stand (this one could easily be done as a Pioneering project: two tripod/A-frame combo stands holding up a single bar)
MacEntyre X Tensegrity Stand
3-Hammock Tensegrity Stand
Thanks for reply Dejoha.
My son is ready to take the plunge with me. We need to run it by our committee and be sure the troop is OK with a lone scout sleeping in a hammock. We are really big on the buddy system. The memories of the goofing inside the tent will be a tough trade off for him though.
I did see the contest in Scouting Magazine and have sent emails out reminding people to enter. Thanks for the reminder to send a reminder to the Troop/Pack.
The storage is only a real issue when extended campouts. Thanks for the advice on the gear hammock. I like this idea. I will be hanging my large backpack to the tree and use a pack cover to keep it dry.
I think the hex tarp will help during heavy rain and privacy, a good dual purpose buy.
We usually take the troop trailer or "car camp" so a good stand will be an option for those trips. On canoe or backpacking trips I will depend on finding trees. Although we have been known to canoe with dutch ovens (we scoutmasters eat well) so a stand shouldn't be an issue in a canoe.
Thank you for the great links.
I just ordered The Ultimate Hang to see what I should be doing or could be doing better. I need more experience with getting the 30 degree angle right based on the tree distances, hammock height and strap height.
Thanks again for all the great advice Dejoha!!
You're welcome, and thanks!
I think hammocks are great for scouting and I think are great for buddy teams too. If you outfit a large Hex tarp between two scouts and they hang together (bunk style or side-by-side) they still get the same bonding time, just a more comfortable sleep
With my troop, we've even set up large patrol tarps and made a hammock village, or used my 3-person stand. These are great times because they can lounge and see and interact with each other.
Other advantages to hammocks, at least from a Quartermaster's perspective, is the gear maintenance. If scouts practice good hanging technique, their gear never needs to touch the ground. No more worrying about scouts packing dirty, mucky, mildewing tents, or scraping off slugs and wet leaves and waiting for gear to dry out before packing. Hammocks can be "dusted off" and quickly air dried if necessary before packing. For a backpacking troop, this is especially nice because you're not carrying around a water-heavy tent or worrying about all the goop you've got to clean off once you get back home.
I also prefer to have the scouts pack the tarps separately so if they do get wet, they store them on an outside pocket in the pack to dry as they hike.
If you do a lot of canoeing trips, you should check out this photo recently posted from Hennessy Hammock's Facebook page. It's inspirational for those who like to find creative ways to hang their hammocks.
Personally, I love taking a hammock because it is so versatile. Yes, you can go to the ground as a bivvy if necessary, but i'd rather be creative and find ways to pitch it over a rock field.
Thanks! I'll use your ideas with our troop. My sons normal tent buddy likes the idea of sleeping in a hammock so we can start there and grow.
Thanks again for the great advice.
Great to hear about your camping with your hammock with boyscouts. I also live in Ohio, Lewis Center and I'm also my son's pack Cub Master. I have a GT Skeeter Beater Pro and a Superfly. I have only used it once on a leader camp out but can't to use it during pack outings. I'd love to get together with you and share ideas send me a pm if interested. I will also be doing Woodbadge training next month, not sure if you are but it would be great to share ideas about hammocks and cub scouts.
I'm from Lewis Center too. I sent you a PM.
Do you have one of your awesome illustrations for the making/design of a gear hammock as I'm struggling to visualise its construction?
Originally Posted by dejoha
One of these seems Ideal for bits and pieces.
On the original poster's concerns about ablutions I have two sets of 2QZQ's tarp doors for my HH hex tarp which can be closed when needed and opened when not.