Last night I tried hammock camping for the first time. My friend Steve had given me a decent tarp which I hadn’t used yet and, along with a cheap Thai mosquito hammock, I set up for another night out. Setting up took longer than expected, about 2 hours, but I think it will be much quicker next time. Once again it took a long time to get a fire going because of the damp and I used many different types of wild kindling in my various attempts. I finally succeeded using some dead bindweed.
Hammock camping is totally different to my usual swag shelter style and it was good to get off the ground. It did induce, however, a feeling of both claustrophobia and vertigo. The hammock was much shorter than I’d expected. Listed at 7’1″, once strung I barely fit in with my 6’1″ length – there was certainly no room for a bag.
It wasn’t a very successful first camp and I learned several valuable lessons from it. Unlike tents, you can’t bring loads of stuff in with you (bottle, camera, machete, knife, pouches, etc) because it all ends up u dear neath you and you spend most of the night trying to rearrange things to make yourself comfortable. Also, you can’t use a bivi bag inside the hammock as there just isn’t enough room to manoeuvre. Once you’ve messed up the zip on your sleeping bag inside the bivi bag you won’t be able to fix it and that leads to a cold, uncomfortable night.
With a bit of practice I’m sure I’ll find the right way to do things. It does feel good to be high above the slugs, ticks and rodents. I plan to use this a lot more in the future.