I was originally going to title this post “Best In Class Comfort”, but that just doesn’t give this topic justice. Hammocks are my favorite way of catching some z’s in the backcountry, and for good reason. They are not only comfortable, but extremely lightweight, versatile, and easy to handle. So let’s dig in and take a close look at some of the ways Hammocks are so awesome.
1) Comfort. These things are crazy comfortable. Say adios to the days of sleeping on that one rock you missed before setting up your tent. Hanging blissfully in the air, the fabric conforms to your body and with a little work, you can find the sweet spot that will make you not want to move even if there’s a hungry bear coming at you.
2) Weight. Long gone are the days where lightweight means sacrificing comfort. My personal hammock, actually one I made my self, weighs just under a pound. That includes the fabric and suspension. You can still keep that ultralight status while getting a better nights sleep than your buddies.
3) Versatility. I love gear that can preform under almost any circumstance, and hammocks fit that bill perfectly. Requiring only two anchoring points, the set up possibilities end only with your imagination. If you own a hammock and haven’t slept off the side of a mountain or over a flowing stream, you’re doing it wrong. Hammocks also make for a great chair on top of a place to sleep, so you don’t need to sit on the ground to eat your meals anymore. Heck, you don’t even have to step out of your tent in the morning for breakfast, just set up your stove a reachable distance from the hammock and enjoy some good ole ‘breakfast in bed’.
4) Size. Along with versatility, I love when gear is compact but useful. Most hammocks I have seen stuff to the size of a softball. That’s like, 1/10 the size of a rolled up tent. This size makes it perfect for both car camping and backpacking. Not into that kind of thing? Throw it in a day pack and take a quick nap on your next hike.
5) Ease of use. As with any gear, there is a slight learning curve to using hammocks. But once you “get the hang of it'” you’ll realize the true beauty of hammocks. Throw a strap around two trees and attach your hammock to them. Done. No messy fabric, no long poles, no stakes to lose. It requires little finger dexterity, so you don’t have to take your gloves off in the winter like you would with a tent. Come morning, detach it from the straps and stuff it into its stuff sack. No more rolling fabric and wrestling it into a stuff sack that you know you won’t have space for in your pack anyway.
6) Information. It’s impossible to contain all the awesomeness of hammocks in a single blog post. If I did, it would be millions of words long and no one would read it. So I encourage you to go to check out other online places like HammockForums.net. There you will find information on literally everything hammocks, meet some really cool people, and interact with thousands of super friendly hangers. I warn you though- if you spend more than an hour on that site, you will spend the rest of your backcountry life in a hammock. Not that that’s a bad thing.
-The Urban Outdoorsman
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