Ever slept in a hammock?
Sure, many of us have dozed off while relaxing on a warm summer day. But have you ever really
slept in a hammock? For the night?
I have been entertaining the idea of hammock camping for some time now. Obviously there are pros and cons to this idea, which I have weighed over and over. This is the standard procedure that I follow when I want to purchase a new piece of gear. I think about it for a couple weeks, weigh my options, check out some online reviews.. and make a decision.
My new hammock = awesome.
My buddy and I headed up to Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area
on Friday afternoon. Pharaoh Lake is a somewhat small body of water that sits between Schroon Lake, Lake George and Brant Lake
. The Wilderness Area is speckled with little lakes and ponds, and is home to a dozen or so Adirondack Lean-tos
We brought a row boat
with us, which made it a little easier to bring some amenities that we wouldn't want to carry in on our backs (food, beer, fishing equipment
We rowed out on one of the ponds inside the wilderness area and decided on a campsite just before sunset on Friday. After a quick swim to cool down, we hung our hammocks (Josh bought one too) and started cooking some hot dogs for dinner. We had a few beers, played some cards by the light of a lantern, and headed to the hammocks for some shuteye.
While debating with myself for weeks about a hammock, I weighed the pros and cons and finally decided to purchase one.
- lighter to carry than a tent and sleeping pad
- more comfortable than the ground (?)
- quicker setup/breakdown
- can hang anywhere there are two trees eight or nine feet apart
- no rain fly (on the model that I went with)
- no protection from bugs (on the model that I went with)
After comparing the lists and doing some research, I decided to go with the Easy Traveller by BYER of Maine. I would consider this an entry level option as far as hammock camping goes. The setup cost me $44.95, and came with Microrope, ready to hang (mine is green/beige).
This is a Brazilian style hammock, in which you lay diagonally across, rather than lining your body up with the ropes. This take a minute or two to get used to, but is very obviously the most comfortable way to lay. My sleeping bag fits right in the hammock, and I had no trouble getting into my bag while hanging in the hammock.
I had a great night of sleep in this thing! After you slide into the hammock and get comfortable, the thing rocks you to sleep like a baby. The only real issue I see with this hammock is warmth. My sleeping bag doesn't have any insulation on the back to save weight/space. This is where the sleeping pad usually goes, which offers some insulation. Without the sleeping pad, I can see my backside getting cold if the temperature was any cooler. I've read about hikers bringing a light quilt to help insulate the backside while hanging in a hammock, I'll have to try this out.
That and the weather, I'll have to come up with some kind of a rain fly setup so I can take my hammock with me when I'm unsure of the conditions!
This was the view from my hammock.
I also did not have a single run-in with a mosquito until Sunday morning, when it was time to get up anyway. Maybe just the right time of year, I probably wouldn't want to be sleeping in this hammock in the middle of black fly season
in the Adirondacks
with no bug protection.
The hammock sleeps one, weighs 15 ounces, and is 54x84 inches.
I also had the chance to test out another new product on our trip. A few weeks ago I won a 20 Items Under $20 giveaway
on the Pocket Ranger Blog
. They hooked me up with all kinds of good stuff!
That LifeStraw there is a very cool device, and I've been meaning to test it out. LifeStraw is a portable water filter, that works like a straw. You can drink directly out of the water source, or you can fill a water bottle with untreated water and drink through the straw out of that (which is what I did).
The LifeStraw worked great! It wasn't difficult to suck water through at all. The water did still taste somewhat like a pond, but I'm OK with that as long as I don't contract Beaver Fever.
We had a great trip, and I got to test out some new gear, spent two nights in the woods, and got a whole day of fishing in! (We caught some small Large Mouth Bass, a few Bluegill, and one Perch. I hooked a good size Large Mouth but proceeded to break it off when it dove for some branches/logs after I got it within 10 feet of the boat.)
I was woken up on Saturday morning by these two, I wonder if anyone makes an alarm clock that sounds like the call of the common loon?
I sat and watched these two for a while, and it seems like the mother loon (?) was teaching the adolescent how to dive for food. She would go under for a few seconds, sometimes accompanied by the little one, other times by herself. I even saw her come up with a small fish that she handed right over to the little guy!
Have you ever slept in a hammock? Do you have any tips, tricks or suggestions for a newcomer to this style of camping?