I have camped out in hammocks a lot. I have tried Hennessy’s, but find it almost impossible to keep my back warm in them, or to keep a sleeping mat under me for that purpose. Della can do it though. A conventional hammock with an inflatable mat is just fine for me. The original rectangular Thermarest Neoair did a very good job and kept the sides of the hammock wide enough that it did not compress the sleeping bag against the shoulders and arms (thus creating a cold spot). You can make any hammock lie straighter by including a centre line (Tom Hennessy has a patent on this, but anyone can use it, just not manufacture it). If you add a cord tensioner to it (such as a clam cleat) you can adjust the level of comfort, but a centre line is not really necessary (though handy for hanging things from, eg with a caribiner). As you don’t need a pillow in a hammock, just place your inflatable pillow under your knees and you will have a delightful night’s sleep. The great thing about a hammock is that you can sleep dry in it when there is six inches of water flowing underneath! I have done this on the Baw Baw Plateau (in winter apprxbelow minus 10C) which is so humid that in the cooler months rain actually falls out of the air UNDERNEATH your hammock tarp – which spooked me the first time I saw it…but you survive…or you do not. If you do not, you don’t write about it, so…). People advocate a variety of sophisticated hammock tarps, but a simple 8’ x 8’ square of silnylon works well. I have been completely dry with a 7’ x 7’ one on a night when my friends were just about drowning in their tent nearby. Being able to camp dry in very wet places such as Fiordland, a hammock  works well so long as there are suitable trees. There just about never are for TWO separate hammock campers! However, I have camped out double-bunked in two hammocks with someone as small as Della above and me below under one tarp. You have to boost the upper person in, so it is best if they don’t have to get up too many times during the night for toilet stops! One other advantage of hammock camping is the reduced chance of being struck by lightning (as there is no way the current can pass through you). I was camped out one night on one of the  Mt Darling Creeks in the most spectacular thunderstorm, with lightning striking the ground repeatedly for almost an hour within a couple of hundred yards of me. Very stimulating! That night the deer did not come to honk at me – as they usually do when I am camped out alone in the Victorian Alps. Sometimes as many as a dozen will line up and serenade me for as long as half an hour. I NEVER shoot at deer at night – just isn’t at all fair!

Follow this link for practically everything you ever wanted to know about hammock camping (plus a little more): http://theultimatehang.com/archives/

Hammock camp Mt Darling Creek 2008/09/21: Large storm tarp shown (unnecessary even for Fiordland, but VERY dry)
Hammock camp Mt Darling Creek 2008/09/21: Large storm tarp shown (unnecessary even for Fiordland, but VERY dry)
8' x 8' cuben tarp by (http://www.zpacks.com/shelter/tarps.shtml) with wings can be pitched as a 'fire' shelter (as shown) or used as a hammock tarp (one end closed as storm shelter) 200 grams Hernes Spur Wonnangatta River 2011-11-18.
8′ x 8′ cuben tarp by (http://www.zpacks.com/shelter/tarps.shtml) with wings can be pitched as a ‘fire’ shelter (as shown) or used as a hammock tarp (one end closed as storm shelter) 200 grams Near Wonnangatta Station 2011-11-18.

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2 thoughts on “Hammocks”

    1. I tried various of those, but I think an inflatable mat works best because you can always use the tarp as a ground shelter and the hammock as a ground sheet when there just aren’t suitable trees – which happens more frequently if you hike with others, but happens also alone.

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