Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why Hammock Camping Rules!!!

I am sure that some of the people that have visited our blog in the past couple of days have wondered why we have not been talking about hammock camping. We are working on a couple of projects right now and are looking to use those as good worthy content to enter the hammock camping sector. Steve and I thought that it might be a good idea to give some of the reasons that we like to hammock camp. I hope that you might consider getting you a hammock to try out on your next trip. We are going on a trip in a couple of weeks from today and we plan on having a daily journal of the trip to go on the blog and the youtube channel.

As you can see if you click on that link anytime in the next couple of days you are not going to see any content. We have just been getting our channel off the ground and we want to have the best content that we can have to throw at our audience when we can. By this time in three weeks we should have videos of the trip, our setups, a couple of gear reviews, and maybe some funny experiences that we would like to share with whoever would like to listen. So, if you would go subscribe to the channel and in a few weeks we will have some valuable lessons that we have learned over the time that we have been hammock camping and also making DIY equipment.

Now, I thought it would be a good idea to give you some reasons why Steve and I love sleeping in a hammock as much, if not more than, as our beds. For those of you that have hammock camped before and have experienced what we like to call the “cloud effect” you already know where we are going with this first assessment. When you sleep in a hammock it is like floating in mid-air (I know that is obvious but until you experience it you don't fully understand). Steve and I have both been in some accidents over the course of our lives that have affected our backs in one way or the other. Mine was a car wreck where a drunk driver hit me at a light going about 65 in my door while I was turning left at a red light (picture of my car after below). Hammock camping takes all the pressure off of all the trouble sections of your back and gives you support that only a hammock can. Depending on the sag you can have your “firm hammock” or your “soft hammock” so its like a cheaper sleep number in itself.

My car after the wreck about 4 years ago.

Another thing that I like about hammock camping is the warmth that it provides you in cold weather if you do it correctly. There are various ways to keep warm in a hammock and all of them will beat a tent hands down. Steve and I use under quilts or UQ’s when we hammock camp in colder weather and in conjunction with a full rain\wind fly you can be ingulfed in warmth all night. The concept of an under quilt is a pretty simple ideal. When you sleep in a hammock your backside is the most exposed part of your body. If you sleep in a sleeping bag (99% of campers do) when you lay in it, whether on the ground or in a hammock, you compress the bottom with your body weight. What happens when this compression occurs is lack of insulation. The concept of both down and synthetic builds are that the fluff in them insulates your body heat in the bag. When these materials are compressed they loose the functionality to do so, enter the UQ. The UQ is a quilt or in my case a converted sleeping bag that hangs right at the sag in the hammock and traps the warmth that the sleeping bag allows to escape. It hangs from the same tree huggers that you use for your hammock and has its own independent suspension that you can make to be adjustable to meet the needs of the sag and tree distance. So now that your back side is warm you are probably thinking “what am I going to do about my exposed topside?” That is where the rain fly comes into play. We both have rain\wind flys that hang almost to the ground. When this is done it will block the wind from hitting you all night. We both made ours out of rip stock nylon and made them 1 foot longer than the ends of the hammock. The reason for that is to be able to take the ends and cross them to make what becomes a cocoon around the hammock. When you do that with the heat rising, naturally, it gets warm and toasty in your “cocoon” around your hammock. The last trip that we went on my hammocking system was still in need of work so I tent camped and Steve hammock camped and he had a cocoon that was about 65-70 degrees inside versus my tent at about 40 (it was around 20 that night). Warm and toasty for Steve, a struggle for me all night. 

The last camping trip we took. Steve's Hammock setup is the green one,
and yes that is my little old tent that I got to be cold in all night!

Lastly, the benefit of a hammock is light weight sleeping system. As you might know a hammock, generally, does not have poles associate with it like a tent. This makes it LIGHTER! You will learn that Steve and I have a real big issue with trying to cut weight in our packs and making our trips more about enjoying nature and taking in the beauty than “how am I going to get this monstrosity of a pack up the hill!” Currently Steve and I have a little bet (mostly for pride but there is a dinner in the mix also) and my pack is at 27.5 lbs and his is around 28.25 lbs. That is with all our food and everything we need but a camera in our packs. I digress, a hammock is light. My entire hammocking system is about 4.5 lbs with an under quilt and there is no way that I could do a tent for that weight and with that warmth level. Steve's is a little lighter than mine, but like I said I am under his weight for total pack. 

My elation when I found out that Steve's pack was heavier than mine at the test weigh in. 

In conclusion, there is nothing like a good hammock hanging in a tree and you floating after a long day of hiking without a care in the world. There is not many things that Steve and I would rather be doing and we both hope that you can learn something from us. We hope you will take our camping journeys with us and also learn how to “Think Right, and Pack Light” so you too can find yourself floating on the clouds without a care in the world and nature your best friend. 

Think Right, Pack Light. This is a motto that Steve and I adopted
after carrying 45 lb packs one trip.

Also, if you would, if this information that we are going to be offering interests you please follow us and subscribe to the blog. We love feedback and we enjoy learning from people as much as trying to teach people. We learn something almost weekly that we did not know and it helps us lighten our load and be more efficient hikers.

1 comment:

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