Camping Hammocks

Gear, tips, information about bicycle camping.
Forum rules
Be polite and courteous. Stay on topic.

Camping Hammocks

Postby wa_desert_rat » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:40 am

Kayak camping and bicycle camping share a lot of the same issues. One of the biggest is finding a place to camp. Typically, at least on the west coast of the USA, campgrounds are widely separated; often 50 miles (or more) can separate two "legal" places to camp. While this is no problem in a car, on a bicycle it's a serious matter. It's even worse for a kayaker because camgrounds for boaters are even more scarce except in very populated (and popular) areas.

This means that we often have to find a farm (and a farmer) and ask permission to camp on his (or her) property or we have to resort to "stealth" camping. Where I live many of the farms have been sold to other farmers when it became clear to grandma and grandpa that the kids were absolutely not going to come back and take over the 800-acre spread. This means that just finding a farmhouse with a farmer living in it can be problematic.

Stealth camping presents its own issues. Pitching a tent requires a reasonably flat area that's clear of trees and brush. But if you're stealth camping you really are not interested in being seen so you actually *want* trees and brush around you.

The answer for a lot of pedalers and paddlers is a camping hammock. Unlike the hammocks we have all fallen out of at one time or another, a camping hammock is a relatively new invention and combines a tent with protection from bugs with a rain fly along with a stable and comfortable place to sleep.

Probably the most well-known of all the camping hammocks is now the Hennessey Hammock http://hennessyhammock.com/catalog/#hammockwith its patented "enter from below" design. The Hennessey, which sells for about $150, is pretty popular among both cyclists and kayakers. To get into the Hennessey you push through a slit in the bottom of the hammock, lift yourself up into position and lean back. At this point the shift in your body weight causes the bottom entry slit to close up and velcro together. You can now stretch out and get comfy. Unlike the old-style hammocks which more-or-less required you to sleep on your back with your feet and head raised and your butt down, you can usually sleep at least on your side by moving your head and feet out to opposite sides of the hammock. Hennessey also has a clever way of packing the hammock up called "snake skins" where you simply slide a fabric tube over the hammock and then roll the whole thing up and pack it away. They also have web straps for attaching to trees which minimizes harm to the tree.

The downside to the Hennessey is that there is no insulation below your body so the air temperature is pretty much what your butt is going to feel because your weight will likely compress the insulation of your sleeping bag down to pretty much nothing. This is a common problem with all hammocks and Hennessey does sell some optional (e.g.: you pay extra) insulation devices. Some of my friends have taken the windshield sun protectors (you know, the ones that fold up) and made those into impromptu butt insulators. Others bring a quilt or heavier sleeping bag but this takes away one of the hammock's biggest features; its light weight.

The other modern camping hammock is the Clark Jungle Hammock. http://www.junglehammock.com/ The Clark is more of a traditional hammock in that you enter it from above, not below. But, unlike the Hennessey, the Clark offers the camper an option of opening it fully to the elements for sleeping comfortably under the stars or closing only the no-see-um netting or pulling both the netting and a more water resistant cover over you. The Clark, like the Hennessey, also has a rain fly attachment that is effective.

One of the nice things about the Clark is the storage underneath your body for clothing which also offers some insulation value. You also have a couple of handy shelves inside the hammock for your light and your book. Like the Hennessey, you can sleep slaunchways in the hammock to give you a flatter position so you can sleep at least on your side if not on your stomach. The Clark is more money than the Hennessey and runs closer to $400 but seems, to me at least, to be an advanced design.

Both Clark and Hennessey offer designs for two people as well as designs in camouflage to increase the stealth factor. I, myself, have been married too long to be interested in sleeping in a hammock with my wife but for a young and lusty couple it might offer enough of a challenge to be worth the extra money.

The Clarke is rated for larger campers than the Hennessey is (at least the standard Hennessey) so if you're either longer than 6-feet or heavier than about 220lbs you may find yourself spending enough for a Hennessey to warrant a closer look at the Clark.

Either one will make your stealth camping - at least where there are trees - more comfortable. No more rocks in your back at 3am, for instance.
WDR
http://www.bigboxbikes.com
"No one has ever had to evacuate a city because the solar ;panels broke!"
wa_desert_rat
 
Posts: 2073
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:48 pm
Location: Moses Lake, WA

Re: Camping Hammocks

Postby desertguns » Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:25 pm

You're hardcore,Bro. My last camping concern was whether I remembered to bring the pump for my inflatable bed. ;)
desertguns
 
Posts: 2510
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:25 pm

Re: Camping Hammocks

Postby JakobW » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:45 pm

http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/index.php
Hammock camping is by no means hardcore. I am exclusively a hammock camper and the comfort is amazing. It's also extremely addicting. Similar to tents there are a TON of options when choosing a hammock(and tarp, top quilt, under quilt, suspension, etc.) for you.
JakobW
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:45 am

Re: Camping Hammocks

Postby Walgoosed » Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:52 am

I also exclusively hammock camp. I purchased a Hennessey this past summer and I'll never go back to sleeping in a tent. Its far more comfortable than I ever have been sleeping on the ground and if you refrain from having a campfire, its nearly impossible to be seen. I prefer the earth tone colors of my hammock to the bright ones sometimes common on tents. I've slept in mine down into the mid 30s at night and with a 35 degree bag I was a little chilly but not uncomfortable. If I start camping more often in colder conditions I'll be looking for some type of bottom insulation.

I love using the hammock for all the types of camping that I've done recently. Once of twice on my bike, three of four times out of my kayak, and a few hikes as well.
Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every
shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success. -Thomas Merton

Walgoose Deception SS
70s Schwinn Varsity
Roadmaster Granite Peak
Walgoosed
 
Posts: 83
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:28 pm
Location: Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Re: Camping Hammocks

Postby JakobW » Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:48 am

A Poncho Liner can easily become an underquilt. All you need is some shock cord. http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/show ... hp?t=11777
JakobW
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:45 am

Re: Camping Hammocks

Postby wa_desert_rat » Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:42 pm

Other than irrigated fruit orchards, there are precious few trees within about a hundred miles of my house and almost all my cycling is desert trails. But I kayak a fair bit and often around Puget Sound so I may have to save up for one of these.

One friend says that he puts those windshield liners that keep the sun out of a cab of a pickup truck under his sleeping bag. I think I'd try blue foam before anything. When the weather gets cold enough, that is.

Craig
WDR
http://www.bigboxbikes.com
"No one has ever had to evacuate a city because the solar ;panels broke!"
wa_desert_rat
 
Posts: 2073
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:48 pm
Location: Moses Lake, WA

Re: Camping Hammocks

Postby JakobW » Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:06 pm

Both of those methods will work well. I have a piece of Reflectix (similar to the windshield thing) on my pack, and I place it on my Poncho liner under quilt to add some warmth. A good bag and a Poncho liner can get you to 40 degrees or so. Add foam and/or reflectix and bam! Lower temps.
JakobW
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:45 am

Re: Camping Hammocks

Postby Walgoosed » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:50 pm

Good cost effective ideas! I'll be looking into those sometime soon so I can start doing some early spring camping.
Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every
shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success. -Thomas Merton

Walgoose Deception SS
70s Schwinn Varsity
Roadmaster Granite Peak
Walgoosed
 
Posts: 83
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:28 pm
Location: Michigan's Upper Peninsula


Return to Camping and Bikepacking

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest