A couple of years ago, I was worried about the mental well-being of one of my regular camping buddies. It seemed like he had started going a little crazy. He kept talking about ultralight camping hammocks as the next big thing for him. One day I dropped by his house and he had setup a Hennessy hammock between some poles in his backyard.
Hammocks blend utility, lightweight and convenience.
He was dying to have me climb in. He was telling me how comfortable it was; that he had even slept in it one night in his backyard. So he showed me how to open the velcro and sort of stand up into it, sit down and then left the legs in. I was a little skeptical. It turns out that when you angle your body some you can actually lie pretty flat in the hammock. I still thought he was a bit daft, but I was starting to come around on the idea of going lighter with the hammock.
Tom brought the hammock on our next adventure. We hiked a few miles and eventually made it to our destination. I started scouting around, looking for a nice flat area to setup my tent. I found a place that I thought would be big enough and laid out my groundcloth so I could start setting up the tent.
I took a moment to look over at Tom and he had just finished tying the hammock lines to two trees and had it looking pretty tight. I figured that we were both really just getting started in our setup work. I dumped my tent and poles out from the stuff sack. I looked back at Tom and he had pulled out the sides with some guy lines and he was actually putting his sleeping bag inside the hammock. He was already done setting up. Now, this was getting interesting!
In addition to being ultralightweight, hammocks are really quite convenient and easy to setup. All you need is a couple of trees and you’re good to go. No searching around for flat spots. No worries about water flowing under your tent.
Surprisingly, there is a learning curve involved. Over time, you will realize that there can be issues that are unique to the hammock. In colder conditions, you have to make sure to insulate yourself underneath. Some people choose to use a sort of urinal to avoid getting out of the hammock overnight. Even figuring out how to position your body can take some learning. (I find that lying diagonally helps me stay for of flat.) Another issue is that you don’t have a place for your gear. I’ve taken to using a backpack poncho to wrap my backpack and put it underneath my hammock. Hammocks are worth serious consideration!
For more information you might check out Hennessy hammock.