Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Hammock test hang

Thought I'd try out the camping hammock today as the weather was gorgeous. Took me a while to find a couple of appropriate trees in my yard that weren't surrounded by water or a quagmire of mud (we had some big storms last night), so it isn't ideal, but I wanted to practice.
I made my own set of "snake skins". These are long tubes that the hammock, canopy and everything roll up into so they're super easy to set up. Here's what the package looks like next to my size 37 Birkie:




Now I can get the package a lot smaller and it fits very nicely into the outside mesh pocket of my backpack, but this is how I bunched it up last night after putting on the snake skins.

The trees, as I said, were not ideal, so I had to hang the hammock fairly low. That's okay for a test run. Here it is tied up loosely to balance. You can see how the snake skins keep everything nice and neat and your hammock never gets dirty!
Around the trees themselves you use straps called "tree huggers" which are wide woven straps to protect the tree bark. Hammock camping is very much about LNT (Leave No Trace). All you have to do now is tighten up the ridgeline and tie the lashing/knot that keeps the whole thing from crashing down. Then you slide back the two snakeskins (they meet in the middle) and VOILA:


Stake out the lines on the canopy, get in and Ahhhhhh!


The top half of the hammock itself is mosquito mesh. There are hooks and a gear bag attached to the ridgeline on the inside. The hammock can be folded back to be used as a chair as well! The canopy can be removed if you just want to look up at the stars all night. Of course, this one is hanging way too low. When I got in, my butt almost touched the ground. It WAS very comfortable, though! I'll report back once I've actually used it!

If you are in an area with no trees, there are still many ingenious ways to use these, from setting them up in a kayak to using walking sticks to set it up as a bivy.

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