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Hammocks The Hammocks forum is for the discussion of backpacking hammocks and related sleep systems.

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Old 03-18-2009, 12:50 PM
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Mike_in_FHAZ Mike_in_FHAZ is offline
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Backpack: jam2
Sleeping Gear: 3 season TQ
Shelter: 10x11 hex tarp
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Fountain Hills AZ
Posts: 581
despite the comfort, low weight, low fiddle-factor, and huge bonuses afforded me by using a hammock, the one sole reason (if I had to chose just one) that i could bring up to promote hammock use is this:
im in a camp with about 7 or 8 of my hiking mates. there is an outside air temp of about 34°F. there is also a moderate rain, and some fog. While all of my camping buds are confined to their tiny solo tents, or standing in the rain like wet dogs, I've pitched my tarp about 7' at the ridgeline, have my hammock strung up and im sitting in it, while drinking hot chocolate that i just made without worrying about CO2 emissions and watching the small fire I built. Yes, I built a fire inside my shelter.

and there are straps adoringly called "tree huggers" that most hammockers use. we are as big on LNT as anyone else. Mike

Last edited by Mike_in_FHAZ : 03-18-2009 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 04-28-2009, 11:52 AM
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Cannibal Cannibal is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 4
Wow, this is a good thread about hammocks and I'm thankful for the tone. If you'll permit the new guy to offer a few observations, here they are:

"You can only camp where there are trees and then you have to be willing to damage them"
I'm planning a CT thru this summer and intend on camping above treeline on a few nights. I've been playing with a lot of climbing gear and am positive (thanks to testing) that as long as I have one solid anchor point I can hang anywhere. As to the damage to trees, out of more than 500 nights spent hanging from trees I've had one morning that I saw marks on the bark. They were slight, but I learned my lesson and avoided that species of tree. I don't know what species it was, but I can recognize them now.

"They think hammocks are good for your back."
This is what made me switch to hammocks. The lack of pain from my back and knees after my first 3 nights in a hammock was stunning. I approached my Chiropractor about it and actually had him do some exams to back up what I suspected. I slept in a bed for a week and went in for an adjustment. Then slept in a hammock for a week and went in for the same adjustment. From my Chiropractor: "I hope nobody else finds out about these, I won't have any customers". The adjustments were dramatically different, but I guess you have to believe in Chiropractic care to believe the results. FWIW, I haven't been to a Chiropractor in a couple of years now.

"This is not what real backpacking is all about."
I didn't read the rules, but I thought real backpacking was about traveling while carrying what you need on your back. Maybe I've been misinformed.

"If an emergency arises, you're trapped in a hammock and cannot escape quick enough"
Depends in large part as to what type of hammock you're in. The basic parachute material end-gathered hammocks are open on top (no netting) and allow a much faster escape than a traditional tent and maybe even more speed than a tarping ground set-up because you don't have to crawl out of a cave. Just put your feet on the ground and run!

"In cold weather, you have to carry too much insulation"
True, there is more insulation involved in the colder months. "Too much" is arguable.

"Hammocks are far too heavy"
I have slept through recorded temps of -14F with a total sleep system (hammock, suspension, tarp, & quilts) that weigh less than 6 lbs. That doesn't seem like an unreasonable amount of weight for those temps.

"Hammocks are too complicated to set up"
Define "complicated". Wrap some straps around a tree and climb in; simple. There are comfort issues to explore, but that holds true with any set-up.

"It's too confining in a hammock"
I can see this one being true for many people. I've had people attend my demo events and very clearly tell me they are concerned about claustrophobia. There has only been one person that didn't find an acceptable balance in any of my hammocks. Most discover that different hammocks feel more open than others and that once they have settled in, the fear passes quickly.

"The hammock culture that I've seen is too immature and they 'hang' in groups."
Guilty as charged here. I'm immature and embrace it. I don't want to be almost 40, but there isn't anything I can do about it. Doesn't mean I have to act my age and complain that the teenager in my house plays his music too loud. But as the OP said, this is present any group. I have found most 'hangers' to be very respectful of their company and neighbors. Even I shut-up when politely asked.

Hammocks are a wonderful choice, but like anything else there are advantages and disadvantages depending on a hiker/camper's needs, desires, or preferences. The only solution is to try them and see for yourself. I know more than a couple of people that signed on to the hammock bandwagon only to discover that it just wasn't for them. Fair enough; I still like to hike with them.
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Old 09-18-2009, 02:22 PM
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captn captn is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Regular Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Houston, we have a problm
Posts: 116
Hammock Haters

Unfortunately, there are way too many people out there that are not confident enough in their own knowledge to hike their own hike and let others do the same.

I was a Heavy weight, then UL, then a XUL, and then a SULer and now, due to back surgery last spring, I'm becoming a Hammocker.

I've gotten negative comments from many all along this path. I've had people stop me on the trail and ask me what my pack weight is then go into a lecture on how unsafe I was being, all without knowing anything about my experience or what gear I was carrying. I've even had one guy complain to a ranger than I must be unsafe because I was carrying half the weight he was.

I'm confident that I will get negative comments about my HH Exped as I venture out once again.

I've adopted a strange attitude I guess ... I just smile, nod my head, and go about my business, sleeping well or wandering up the trail. If they are that uncomfortable with change or lack so much confidence in their own knowledge that they feel compelled to justify why their gear is better than yours ... well, let em.

At the end of the day HYOH.
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Old 09-18-2009, 04:06 PM
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AlanBaljeu AlanBaljeu is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Regular Member
Backpack: Jack Wolfskin
Sleeping Gear: orange down hooded bag
Shelter: North Face 3person 2door tent
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 184
"Yeah but the tree branch you're hanging from could randomly break, injuring your back, and then a blizzard of the century may hit and you'll be stranded with your SUL gear. You'll freeze!!!" As you said.
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Old 09-18-2009, 04:50 PM
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Mike_in_FHAZ Mike_in_FHAZ is offline
Practical Backpacking­™ Valued Member
Backpack: jam2
Sleeping Gear: 3 season TQ
Shelter: 10x11 hex tarp
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Fountain Hills AZ
Posts: 581
I havent had any negative comments, that i know of.
Most who hike with me from either of my hiking clubs look at my rig and say something like "wow, ive never seen anything like this"
many of them in fact, either have then purchased a hammock set-up or are in the near future going to do so.
I have unofficially "converted" about 8 people.

I think part of the fear of hammocks people can show is just an effect of being totally exposed to tents, and only tents. When I see an ad on t.v. or in a magazine, catalog or anything medium related it almost always associates camping with a tent. when in the backcountry, whether as a boy scout or a grown adult, we associate camping with Tents - I think it takes some individual thought to arrive at the idea that hammocks can be reliable shelters.
I like to point out to people that when i enter a retail store (rei, for one) the very first things you'll see on the wall directly in front of the entrance is a chart showing the dozen or so tents they carry. Then just beyond that chart is several of these tents pitched on the ground for your viewing pleasure..

i have to wonder.. if rei had a Hennessy Hammock and a Jacks R Better quilt set displayed right there in the center of the showroom.. how much more common would hammocking be?
(i think people buy what they are told to buy)

also, i dont think they have to be unneccessarily heavy either, my full 3 season hammock rig is still well under 7lb base weight. add about 1.5 lbs for my winter rig.
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Old 09-18-2009, 10:22 PM
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FlakeyOne FlakeyOne is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Junior Member
Backpack: The blue One
Sleeping Gear: 20 degree mummy bag
Shelter: Hennessey hammock
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: South Atlanta, Georgia
Posts: 59
Love my hammock. Everything is inside my pack. Hiking partner has 3 rolls outside his. A tent, pad and bag. I add a auto windshield heat reflector(also inside the pack) in the winter and with my 20 degree mummy have been as low as 25 degrees.
With my over sized tarp, I can sit on my hammock like chair and cook in the rain. When no bugs, I sleep in the open without netting. More comfortable than my tents of 30+ years and yes, you can roll over and sleep on your side.....another myth I hear. I set up and/or pack up far quicker than others and damage no trees. In the rain, I can hang my tarp horizontal and leisurely hang my hammock underneath and get in completely dry. Try that with a tent! And yes, it is more comfortable than sleeping on the ground. The shape of the hammock on your back position also is perfect for reading.
No wonder hammock users are so smug........just look how much more intelligent we are :-)
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Old 09-20-2009, 12:17 PM
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troy_mclure troy_mclure is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 25
i camped with my first hammock this weekend, i slept great!
didnt even wake up when something stole my boot out from underneath me. my hammock weighs 24oz with carabiners, and 10' of 1/4' poly rope.

i am a convert now!
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:24 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
Practical Backpacking­™ Senior Member
Backpack: Mountainsmith Maverick 65
Sleeping Gear: ALPS +20 mummy
Shelter: Kelty Noah 9x9
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,482
hammocking is neat, i'll give it that. it's reasonably comfy(those bridge type hammocks are very nice), rather sophisticated once you get under the surface of it, and suprisingly easy to get used to.

i say this after having done a bit of hammocking off and on. it's certainly got its place.

that said, i and that place... are not the same location.

i'm with reality on this: it's got a real utility, but i prefer something else.

part of this is not having a hammock. but part of it is... i prefer being at ground level, in it and on it. i also sometimes feel a little less than secure in one, being 220-ish pounds and knowing i'm near the weight limit for a lot of commercial hammocks.

though i will say i wouldn't mind either making or otherwise aquiring a bridge type hammock for use in the spring, when there's a higher chance of wet ground.
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Old 09-20-2009, 09:36 PM
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BPhil BPhil is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 43
I use both tents and hammocks. I typically use a hammock in hot summer temps as I find that I sleep better and feel less clammy especially when the humidity is high. In the winter months I usually pack my tent because I am not really geared up hammock wise for temps below the 30's. As others have mentioned I am really glad I have my hammock on rainy trips. I guess what I am saying is both set ups have a time and a place for my hiking style.
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:19 AM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
Practical Backpacking­™ Senior Member
Backpack: Mountainsmith Maverick 65
Sleeping Gear: ALPS +20 mummy
Shelter: Kelty Noah 9x9
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,482
well, i remembered a way to whip up an expedient hammock out of a tarp(make your own gear has a bit on doing it with a 8'x10' tarp), and since i carry a separate poncho that could easily double as a fly, if i really needed to, i could just get off the ground in the spring.

boy that's handy, having the ability to get a hammock up in the event there's no suitable site for a ground-camp, or the weather's not conducive, or any old reason.

sure, it's crude, but workable. i could even shove a sleeping pad into the fold in the tarp(you fold it in half to make the hammock) and keep warm in the winter.

neat. no reason any of us couldn't try out some hammock sleeping if we really wanted to.

i bet that would change a lot of people's attitudes about hammocks themselves(attitudes about users would be harder to change).
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