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Re: Hammocks

>Regarding tent choices:

>Has anyone used a hammock in lieu of a tent? Seems to
>have several advantages, at least for warm weather
>use - light weight, comfortable, and easy site selection.
>Just find two trees.  A light weight tarp could be set
>above it for rain protection. Any comments?

>Jim Brady   brady@maine.maine.edu

I think most hammocks are a pain to sleep in, including the Army jungle
hammock which incorporates a canopy and mosquito netting. (Those are made of
heavy canvas and weigh more than many modern tents. The basic idea seems
valid but it needs redesign!)  The small, light hammocks available from
Campmor et al. should be good for resting and avoiding wet ground.  Of
course, you can get used to anything if you are tired enough: I've even
taken naps in my harness while climbing very long ropes in caves.

The world's finest hammocks are made in Yucatan.  They are hand-woven from
miles of string (traditionally cotton but now available in synthetics).
They should be suspended loosely:  They expand sideways enormously, and
lying in them uses a principle very different from the conventional one of
elevating the head and feet:  If you lie diagonally, your whole body is
horizontal and very comfortable.  You can roll over as desired.  There is
plenty of room for sleeping bag and pillow.  They are available in sizes
"single," "double" and "matrimonial" (which apparently requires other than
the missionary position ;).  A Yucatan hammock would be a true luxury on
the trail but the volume and weight are significant.  I don't know any good
sources; try checking ads in _Mother Earth News_ or similar magazines, or
visit "hippie" shops.  Price may be $50+.

A hammock can create extra sleeping-space in a shelter.  You could even
install little mouse-deflector cones on the ropes.  8:>   Hammocks are nice
outdoors in warm, dry weather (great view!), though dew from trees may drip
on you.  You won't stay dry in serious rain, even with a tarp overhead and
drip-loops on the ropes, but it might be better than the ground.

Last time I slept outdoors in my hammock in a nat'l park, raccoons had a
terrible fight right under me, then climbed the trees at either end and
snarled at each other for hours.

I used to sometimes sleep in my "double" Yucatan hammock at home,
suspending it between eyebolts screwed into corners diagonally across the
room.  One night, one of the screws pulled out and dumped me on the floor.
It wasn't serious because the foot end fell, but the cat that was sleeping
on my chest did major damage with her claws!

--  Frank    reid@indiana.edu    NSS 9086