By Cousin Chloe (Age 9)
When we went camping for an overnight trip this fall I got to sleep in a hammock for the first time. We have a Speer hammock and we've had it for quite a while. We set it up between two trees with a tarp over top of it. The tarp my dad used is the Cook Custom Sewing 12' x 14' tarp. We lined the bottom of the hammock with a blue foam pad with a 3/4 length Therm-a-Rest® under my body. Then we put my MEC Aquilina sleeping bag (which is good to -7 degrees Celsius) on top of that and that's what was in my hammock.
What did I wear to bed? In the middle of the night it went down to freezing, so I had to wear lots of clothes. I wore my MEC long johns, my fleece pants and my MEC fleece sweater. I also wore a fleece toque and my Wigwam wool socks.
When I climbed into my hammock it was a little tippy, but after I was fully in it wasn't tippy anymore. I was kind of cold at first, but after a while I was warm. I slept until a bird started squawking and it woke me up. Then it took me a while to fall back to sleep. It was quite comfortable except that I was sleeping at an angle where my feet were at the same height as my head and I think I would have slept better if my head was higher.
It was nice to try hammock camping and I will try it again, but I think a different angle or a wider hammock would be better. Definitely a hammock will be on my Christmas list this year.
A Note from Chloe's dad:
I got interested in hammock camping a few years back. I bought Ed Speer's book (now somewhat dated) and hammock (the price was right), and brought it along on a few trips to experiment. Try as I might I found the hammock too short and narrow to get the desired diagonal lay and fiddling with a pad inside proved unsatisfactory to say the least. So the Speer hammock was relegated to a daytime lounger/camp chair. Nevertheless the idea of camping in a hammock continued to intrigue me and from time to time I would check the web on the state of hammock camping. A few months ago, researching different suspension options for my brother's new ENO hammock, I ran across Derek Hansen's excellent website theultimatehang.com and bought his book "The Ultimate Hang: An Illustrated Guide To Hammock Camping." The detailed info, great pictures, and a post about hammock camping with kids rekindled my interests enough to bring the old Speer hammock along on our last fall trip. Caleb wanted to sleep with me under my DIY two man Ray-Way Tarp (more on that in a future post) so Chloe got a chance to try the hammock overnight. We used one of our 'kitchen tarps' from Cooke Custom Sewing - a little large compared to a typical hammock tarp but the extra coverage was welcome the next day when it started to sleet and hail. The experience has us motivated to play with hammocks indoors over the winter so that come next summer we can give hammock camping another try!