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Thread: Hammocking.

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    Hammocking.

    Shock horror, a thread which isn't about lockdown/WRA's/starting back.

    Hammocks.

    The work of the devil or innovative alternative to camping?

    After having tried to spend a night in one, I'm leaning toward work-of-the-devil. You know how some people at the supermarket checkouts like to pack their bags just so? Spending a night in a hammock reminded me of people who are not like that at all. I was essentially in an ill-packed bag with two sleeping bags, a head torch and my camping knife. The thing is, I was often on the cusp of being comfortable, but never actually comfortable - which made it all the more awful.

    That being said, I appreciate I may not (didn't) have it set up correctly.

    I have an Easthills SkyLoft Ultralight, all-in-one hammock tent system. You're supposed to be able to lie at an angle and be flatter than the bowed shape of a standard hammock. That might be so, but all I managed to do was flop around and give myself a stitch at one point.

    I had a cheap rectangle bag to lie on (as insulation) and my usual mummy style bag to be in or have over me. I had the hammock out quite tight, it wasn't bowing massively, there was a slight issue with my feet being a wee bit higher than my head which I couldn't quite solve. The tie points to the trees were at the same height, (but I think the straps weren't the same length at either end.)

    Fortunately it wasn't a cold night, I also had a fire going. The set up was fine, the rain tarp funnelled and reflected a lot of heat from the fire to the hammock and me. If anything, I was too warm. (That is, until the fire died down later on...) I just couldn't get set up properly.

    The main issues I had?

    1) I couldn't get the rectangle bag flat under me, I couldn't spread it out flat - and - get in without it rumpling up.

    2) Once in the hammock, I couldn't get into the mummy bag properly. I couldn't pull it up high enough to be warm. (That is partly down to the material of the inner of the bag and me still being clothed, it wasn't that warm...) I tried being in the mummy bag before getting into the hammock, but it meant I had to do a reverse Fosbury flop to get in the hammock, and that rumpled up the rectangle sleeping bag.

    3) The swaying is pleasant, even after you close your eyes... But after a minute or two, it makes you feel a wee bit seasick. (I had the elastic guys out, they should be called anchors, because they kind of are...)

    4) Is it possible to sleep on your side in a hammock? I couldn't see how (and I had all night to think about it). I don't sleep on my back, I'm not Dracula...

    TL/DR - Is there a knack, and can someone tell me what it is?

    (I do prefer the openness of a hammock. Tents are a trap, they make me nervous. It would be good to make it work.)

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    big chris (13-10-2020)

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    this is excellent: https://theultimatehang.com/hammock-camping-101/

    A hammock set up right lets you lie flat but on your back normally but yes, you can sleep on your side.

    1) I couldn't get the rectangle bag flat under me, I couldn't spread it out flat - and - get in without it rumpling up.

    an underblanket is the answer and is amazing - like this
    https://www.ddhammocks.com/product/dd-underblanket

    you sink into it and it envelops you in warmth. Lots of people make their own... GIYF, like this: https://www.hammockuniverse.com/blog...r-your-hammock

    2) Once in the hammock, I couldn't get into the mummy bag properly. I couldn't pull it up high enough to be warm. (That is partly down to the material of the inner of the bag and me still being clothed, it wasn't that warm...) I tried being in the mummy bag before getting into the hammock, but it meant I had to do a reverse Fosbury flop to get in the hammock, and that rumpled up the rectangle sleeping bag.

    I sleep with a bag over me like a duvet but the trick would be to sit on the hammock, put your feet in. (an ikea blue bag is excleent for keeping your feet clean)... stand up and pull the bag up aound you. sit back down and swing into position.

    3) The swaying is pleasant, even after you close your eyes... But after a minute or two, it makes you feel a wee bit seasick. (I had the elastic guys out, they should be called anchors, because they kind of are...)

    hmmm, not sure here... i just feel floaty.

    4) Is it possible to sleep on your side in a hammock? I couldn't see how (and I had all night to think about it). I don't sleep on my back, I'm not Dracula...

    yes, it can be done but when i have a pillow, i don't feel the need to.

    from the link above... read on

    https://theultimatehang.com/2012/05/...e-comfortable/

    and then work through the links on that page. That book is very good too, i have the first edition and will buy number 2.

    I use a whoopie sling kit: https://www.ddhammocks.com/product/suspensionsystem and i can hang very quickly.
    Last edited by big chris; 13-10-2020 at 01:06 PM.

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    As above - I suspect it isn’t for everyone but if hammocking is really uncomfortable or difficult then you’re probably doing it wrong. Or at least, there will be lots that can be done to improve it. It is also a question of getting used to it, and it takes a good few goes. Because a tent is close to a normal bed, and hammocking is very different. Tend to find if you sleep on your side a lot, hammocking can feel less natural.
    AESL

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    big chris (13-10-2020)

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    Second the underblanket

    The first time I hammocked I had a SIM under me. That was NOT comfortable. It just twisted and ended up under my armpit.

    The under blanket has been my best purchase. I suspect you can rig one with you cheap sleeping bag and some string.

    Head v feet - I just shift up a bit. But if you have things like a sleep bag getting screwed up that don’t work so well. So I can see how you were almost comfortable.

    I find I need about ten feet between trees then I tend to sort myself out with the weight bring in the middle so head and feet sort themselves out. Plus it helps with the swaying.

    During lockdown my garden is tiny without trees. So I bought a swing seat thing. This is not that great as it is too close so only just fit and the swaying is worst.

    I do prefer hammocking to a tent. I tend to be more comfortable and better for my back. However I struggle to work out what to do with my personal kit so often end up with a tent as well as a hammock.


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    On a camp i really value my sleep, and the little 'inner sanctum' of my tent - that little space that is for me and no one else which i can crawl into at night then crawl into my sleeping bag snuggle up, get comfortable up and doze off.
    Plus on a longer camp ( ie a week or so) its a little retreat - somewhere i can go if i get the chance to shut the world away for a little while - pop some headphones on, listen to some music and just relax away from it all, before re-entering the alternative reality that is Camp and feeling ready for whatever some up.

    Hammocks don't appeal to me at all in any way what so ever, something extra to fall out of get tangled in, fall out of and then swing about as i try and sleep. Unless there was an absolute need to use one i would avoid like the plague and stick to my / a tent .
    I know some people swear by them, but i would probably end up just swearing at them

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard T View Post
    On a camp i really value my sleep, and the little 'inner sanctum' of my tent - that little space that is for me and no one else which i can crawl into at night then crawl into my sleeping bag snuggle up, get comfortable up and doze off.
    Plus on a longer camp ( ie a week or so) its a little retreat - somewhere i can go if i get the chance to shut the world away for a little while - pop some headphones on, listen to some music and just relax away from it all, before re-entering the alternative reality that is Camp and feeling ready for whatever some up.

    Hammocks don't appeal to me at all in any way what so ever, something extra to fall out of get tangled in, fall out of and then swing about as i try and sleep. Unless there was an absolute need to use one i would avoid like the plague and stick to my / a tent .
    I know some people swear by them, but i would probably end up just swearing at them
    I share my hammock with my phone for podcasts and my kindle for reading. It's absolutley my little space and if i am off in the woods, i am extra on my own which is ace.

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    Sneaking off to the hammock for a 30 minute lie down is fab.

    No getting tangled. No worries of falling out (seriously). No zipping. No crawling on the floor in my small tent.


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    Hmmm...

    I'll definitely try again with it. I arrived quite late on Sunday there, so didn't get a chance to experiment. Lots of interesting links, and I can see how the underblanket things would work.

    The kind of camping I/we often do is fleeting. So hammocks would work.

    They do get expensive with all the add-on bits though...


    *Edit. Yup, you'd be hard pushed to fall out of a hammock. In that regard, it's a bit like flying. The danger points are getting in and out - or take off and landing... If you see what I mean... /edit*

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    Once you crack the knack of hanging your hammock the rest falls into place.
    I'm not going back to being a ground dweller...
    Well it's been fun...

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    As I hung, like a tired fish, flopping limply in a bag, I did wonder if a tent would have been more comfortable - but knew it wouldn't be.

    I think I'm getting old.

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    I know every issue you mentioned, and trying to get a good night sleep in a hammock can be a pretty frustrating experience, that said I've also had some of the best nights.
    nothing like opening your eyes and being outside already, rather than in some steamy tent.

    You also didn't mention midges, slugs, drips from tarps you cant be bothered to sort out and worst of all, if you set up near the main fire that is where the kids come first in the morning, so bang goes a lie-in in some out of the way spot.

    I find a cheap inflating mattress under you helps get everything laid out and staying put (my hammock has a zip pocket for one but usually i just lay it on the hammock and tuck the corners in)
    then as mentioned just an opened out sleeping bag like a duvet

    I find I can't get my head up by moving up, you just end up sliding back down, so i use a pillow, that took me more goes than it should have to work out

    My main issue is that unless you bother to also put up a tent, you are left without anywhere to get changed. Changing your pants in the open, while enjoyably fresh, seems to be against current safeguarding guidance and I'd rather not scare the young'uns anyway

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    Quote Originally Posted by webly View Post
    I know every issue you mentioned, and trying to get a good night sleep in a hammock can be a pretty frustrating experience, that said I've also had some of the best nights.
    nothing like opening your eyes and being outside already, rather than in some steamy tent.

    You also didn't mention midges, slugs, drips from tarps you cant be bothered to sort out and worst of all, if you set up near the main fire that is where the kids come first in the morning, so bang goes a lie-in in some out of the way spot.

    I find a cheap inflating mattress under you helps get everything laid out and staying put (my hammock has a zip pocket for one but usually i just lay it on the hammock and tuck the corners in)
    then as mentioned just an opened out sleeping bag like a duvet

    I find I can't get my head up by moving up, you just end up sliding back down, so i use a pillow, that took me more goes than it should have to work out

    My main issue is that unless you bother to also put up a tent, you are left without anywhere to get changed. Changing your pants in the open, while enjoyably fresh, seems to be against current safeguarding guidance and I'd rather not scare the young'uns anyway
    Oh... The mental imagery...

    I was on my motorbike, which had its panniers fitted, so I had space for stuff to go. I also had a sliver of groundsheet to put stuff on, (and to stand on, I hate cold wet grass on bare feet...)

    It was too cold for any flying beasties, but the slugs were out and about. Keeping stuff up off the ground is a challenge. If I was on foot, I'm not sure what I'd do with kit... Maybe another hanging type solution?

    I also had my thermarest with me. It's a full length one, maybe that would have worked - although it is slidey... Hmmm...

    The thing is, you begin to lose the simplicity of it all if you keep having to add things on. (I'm not even going to talk about pillows on camp, I recall a somewhat intemperate debate on the topic in a previous thread... )

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    I tried a hammock for the first time on a summer camp with Scouts about 5 years ago and haven't slept on the ground at camp since, summer or winter. Was out in mine at Easter camp a few years back when it hit -12C at 5am, and I was toasty.

    To get a "flat" lay it's important that you don't try to lie "fore and aft" in the hammock, with your head and feet in line with the suspension (whichever system you use, there are various types). You need to sling the hammock so there is a distinct "sag" (which means the attachment points to the trees are usually higher than you might think). General rule of thumb is that the suspension (straps, whatever) should be at least 30 degrees from the horizontal, without any weight in the hammock. Then you can get in and lie "at an angle", which lets you lie flatter than otherwise. The sweet spot will depend on the hammock, the distance between the trees and various other factors. Takes a bit of faffing about but once you get it, and can replicate it then it's really very comfortable.

    Underblankets are definitely the way ahead for avoiding CBS (cold bum syndrome) as they don't compress during the night and lose their properties. Some hammocks (DD for example) have a double layer within which you can slide a foam or inflatable sleeping mat, but I much prefer the underblanket.

    Getting in is indeed an art, but I also get into my sleeping bag standing up, then sit down and swing my legs in, then enjoy being rocked to sleep.

    As for safeguarding; slinging the hammock sufficiently far from the YP, and adjusting the tarp for privacy is a must. As is practising changing underwear within the hammock (or in the camp site loos) and making sure you're up before anyone else. All perfectly possible - and you'll be woken by the dawn light anyway.

    ETA: God but how I miss my hammock, with no Scout camping this year and no secure slinging points in our small garden. Went as far as taking my son away for a weekend in August to a public camp site that allowed hammocking, just to get a few nights in.
    Last edited by CliveS; 14-10-2020 at 02:45 PM.

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    I missed hammocking as well. That combined with my husband reseeding the grass, I bought this Outsunny 2.8m Universal Hammock... https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07N8LWS...p_mob_ap_share. Now I can hammock in the garden.

    But it is so wrong to sleep in your own garden. Those sounds at night take on different worries. Plus the neighbour’s new permanently outside light is a pain.


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    I have never tried it but have always suspected I would not get on with sleeping in a hammock as I don't sleep on my back, I either front or side sleep

    Peter Andrews ESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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