I have never really enjoyed tenting. It’s always been hard for me to get comfortable, no matter what type of inflating mattress I used. I never got more than 3 hours of sleep, and always woke up extremely sore. In fact, the first time me and the family camped with our dogs, it was such a suck experience, we went out and bought a camper.
Fast forward a couple years, and now I am camping out with the Boy Scouts. Last year there was a lot of tenting involved, and I thought that if I had better tenting gear, I would be more comfortable. So I kitted myself up for Christmas last year with a new tent (Apex 2xt) and a nice new self inflating sleep pad that I used ON TOP of a twin sized inflatable mattress. And you know what? It still sucked.
Then my friend Marc came up to the lake with a hammock he was trying out. He set it up between two trees, put up a tarp in case it rained, and slept soundly all night. I was sold. I purchased a hammock (Grand Trunk Skeeter Beater Pro) and some suspension (ENO Atlas Hanging Straps), and was off to the races. The very first chance I could set up at the lake, I did; using a brown tarp as a rainfly. The end result? The best night of sleeping out doors EVER.
Wanting to get my kit a little more transportable, I purchased a Ultimate Survival Technologies 1.0 Tube Tarp to use as a rainfly. This fly worked out well until I wrenched a little too hard on one of the lines to tighten it down, and it ripped at a seam. So I upgraded to a PahaQue Raifly, fixed the tube tarp and handed it down to my daughter for her set up.
That’s right, the kids are all kitted out with hammocks now, and like to hang out with me at the lake. My son Benny has his own set up for Boy Scouts, and has been hanging on the camp outs with the scouts. He has a Blue Sky Outdoor Mosquito Traveler Hammock that came with everything to get hanging right away, and I also got him a UST Tube Tarp. My daughter Addie is using a simple parachute hammock I purchased a while ago with a Boy Scout Mosquito net and my old UST Tube Tarp. When I decide to upgrade my hammock, I’ll pass the Skeeter Beater Pro to her.
It is seriously the best sleep I have ever gotten camping! In fact, I sleep better in the hammock than I do in the camper, and probably as good, if not better than I sleep in my own bed! If you wake up all creaky, definitely look into trying a hammock. They are relatively inexpensive to get started with.
However, I can see this getting to be an expensive habit, as I want to upgrade the hammock next year to a Hammeck Netty, and am thinking of getting a couple of quality Under Quilts from Arrow Head Equipment so me and Benny can camp into November hanging from the trees. Like any other hobby, one thing leads to another……