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Scouting4Ever

Hammock Camping Class

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I am working on developing a hammock camping class for our troop and our community. What kinds of things would you want to learn?

I am planning on including Leave No Trace and reading The Ultimate Hang: Hammock Camping Illustrated by Hansen and have found some good resources online. 

I have some different hammocks for the Scouts to try and see as well. 

Who has troops that are starting to have more Scouts hammock?

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10 hours ago, Scouting4Ever said:

... Who has troops that are starting to have more Scouts hammock?

Define "more". I was using rope hammocks with my patrol for nap times 40 years ago. A neighboring camp had the entire troop under sway. The site looked like an awesome spider's nest.

Check out My House In the Woods, a painting by Baden Powell.

Mrs Q got us a rope hammock for two not long after we were married. (It was a Kmart blue light special.) As the back started reacting badly to the cold hard lands, and as picnic tables could be hard to find  at times, I started to pack that and a tarp instead of a tent. (My only tip: pack about 20' 3/8" rope for a ridge line,  and 30' 1/8" parachord to rig a loop for retracting the tarp a la Venetian blind. Don't waste good star-gazing time for fear of an hour of rain.)

That thing is still in service as my spare, and I've loaned it out to many a venturer. In the past few years, Mrs Q got each of us outfitted with tech hammocks and netting. (Son #2, especially, "needed" one to keep up with the girlfriend.) It sure is nice to hear dismayed mosquitoes, but the stargazing is a little more of a challenge. And Mrs Q was charmed when, passing by the library, she ran into Son #2 and girlfriend  studying in their hammocks. The family who sways together, stays together.

We also have a stand-alone canvas hammock suitable for plopping on beach campgrounds or concert festivals. Kids would love when I'd award them for a chore or service by announcing "Now, for xxx, it's hammock time!"

As for today's Boy Scouts? They aren't quite as interested. First, there are only so many well-paired trees. Second, there's something to be said for huddling on the ground next to your buddies. Third, for the cost of three tech hammocks, you can buy one nice tech 4-man tent or dozens of tarps, rope, deet, and hiking sticks. As our boys get older, some turn to hammocks; some rig tarps; others, survival shelters. We find the variety of styles allows the boys to grow at their own pace and keeps our footprint quite small.

One final thing that I'd like to see more of: demonstrations of how to set up your hammoc on the ground in the absence of trees, how to rig tarps with rain-catchers, convert your gear to game traps,  bear bags, first aid gear, etc ....

 

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I have thought of doing this in my troop as well.  We have some older boys who use hammocks in spring weather, but no one seriously camps with hammocks.  I use one at every camping trip.  I have thought of doing a Saturday morning seminar for whoever wants to come, and maybe use the UNofficial Hammock Camping merit badge requirements (Look on HammockForums.com)  I would definitely cover the following topics:

 

1.  Use of tree straps to protect the trees.

2.  Different types of suspension, along with a demonstration of at least 3.

3.  How to stay warm in a hammock (pads or underquilts).

4.  Use of a bug net.

5.  Coverage of a tarp.

6.  Laying in a hammock at an angle.  

I would probably put together a good, inexpensive starter hammock, suspension and tarp combo for demonstration, and hand out the list of the equipment and the amazon.com page addresses where they can be purchased.  If you can put it together for under 50 dollars then you would have something scouts and families could try out.

Good luck with the class

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I have been camping in a hammock almost exclusively now for about 10 years.

IMO it is just another piece of gear which is slightly different from the rest. I don't think it needs a separate class in how to use one anymore than any other piece of gear. Choosing a proper location, setting up, insulation, etc... all are slightly different for using a bombproof tent, a floorless shelter, a tarp, bivy sack, hammock, or cowboy camping. Not sure why hammocks are separated from the rest as so unique that they require a separate class. I abhor the idea of a class presented by adults for a troop meeting in general. 

my 2 cents.

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Yes, Shug has done up some very nice videos...and very entertaining too!

For me.... I signed up for a hammock class at U of Scouting one year, hoping to get a chance to try out a few different types.  I've been curious about hammock camping for a long time, but have been uncertain and unwilling to spend $$$$ not knowing, since I'm a side sleeper.  I was disappointed that the course turned out to be pretty much sit in a classroom and listen to a guy that had hammock camped talk.  As best I could tell he only had real experience in his Eno

He did have an example set up in the classroom with two homemade bipods as stands he could use when there were no trees.... (car camping of course)  but it wasn't staked out in the classroom so it wouldn't support weight.

different kinds of suspension, with hands-on practice

different kinds of fly set-ups

and if possible a bunch of different brands and sizes of hammocks set up to try.

so with good hang angles and some with bad...or a way to adjust so the students could learn the difference, experience calf-ridge, etc....

 

I don't know if his channel is public again or not, but on youtube KennethKramm has done some nice works on inexpensive homemade hammocks and nets, and some interesting hangs too....and he did a really nice vid on history of hammocks.  he blocked his channel a while back because of some trolls and rude comments.... so I don't know if you can find that one as a resource or not.

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17 hours ago, blw2 said:

I've been curious about hammock camping for a long time, but have been uncertain and unwilling to spend $$$$ not knowing, since I'm a side sleeper.

Another side sleeper here. In my hammock, I hang it fairly tight, so there's not much droop in the middle. Actually, it's a while since I've been out in it come to think of it. I sort of curl up half sideways, with my knees wedged against one side, and my backside wedged against the other. Doesn't sound comfy, but it is for me. Always feels like I don't get much sleep in it, but always wake pretty refreshed so can't be that bad. Mine isn't the flat type,  not the hung from a palm tree net type you lay in while sipping a pina colada, chance would be a fine thing. More like, well, we got a load of them from a UK company called DD Hammocks. Basically a sheet of fabric folded over with webbing straps hemmed into the ends.

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We have about 75% of our scouts in hammocks.  Recent outing that was maybe 40 of the 50 scouts, they were strung out in the woods everywhere.  At summer camp it is closer to 90%, with the tent used for storage

Main one used is the Eno.  Also some have the Hennessy and other brands.  Variety of rain fly options, including the rigged rain fly, then a hammock, then a hammock under the hammock

The Scouts do classes maybe once per year on hammocking.

  • What size trees to use
  • How tight to make them
  • Alternatives to the higher priced rainfly
  • Straps
  • Making a hammock village
  • Accessories (lights / storage containers)

 

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I have been sleeping in a hammock for 6 years now in scouting and we have a few scouts interested in it. I have also taught Hammocking at Scouting University so send me a message if you are interested in a slide deck I created. Here is a Safety sheet and a PDF 

 

680-055_SafetyHammocks_WEB.pdf

hammck camping.pdf

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