I receive lots of fan mail from my ham radio friends that have read Three Hundred Zeroes. I received a very nice letter recently from Tom, WA8WPI. He wanted to know more about hammocks and long distance hiking. Here is my reply to him:
Thanks for the nice words. The book's getting a great reception, and I've even had a few people tell me they got their ham license because of it. Thanks for spreading the word, as an unknown author, that is the best help I can receive. If you're an Amazon customer you can leave a review there about the book, that actually helps the books ranking.
As for hammocks, you either love 'em or hate 'em. I love 'em.
On the plus side:
- They're light.
- They can hang almost anywhere, and even though it never happened, you can even use it on the ground, like a tent.
- They're off the ground, so flooding is not an issue.
- One can sit under it in rainy weather. I cooked several breakfasts this way. One can use the hammock as a seat, sitting in the opening.
- A sleeping pad is not needed (unless some stays are in a shelter. In my shelter stays, I just piled gear under me as a mattress.)
- The slit never opens. The hiker's weight forces it closed and the Velcro seal does a good job of staying together. In fact, it is sometimes a nuisance to keep it open, it wants to close.
- No bugs, unlike tarp camping.
- The occupant can see in almost every direction, unlike a tent.
On the minus side:
- Only one person can sleep in it.
- It takes some getting used to. With practice you can even sleep on your belly (trick: sleep diagonally to the hanging axis.)
- Changing clothes is easiest if one puts legs on ground and uses opening as a seat.
- The backpack has to stay outside. I would "bear hang" mine and cover it with the rain poncho and never had a problem.
- There is no "flat" floor to put things on. However, the rope along the top ridge is fabulous for hanging things on, such as damp clothes, lamps, etc. Mine also had some pockets up there to put stuff in.
I guess that pretty much sums it up. I would encourage you to borrow a hammock and try it out. If you were not so far away, I'd offer mine. Like I said, you'll either like it, or hate it.
Maybe you have other comments on hammocks? Please do leave a comment, we bloggers love comments. Enjoy your hikes and stay safe out there.