Can an old fart like me make the jump from tent to hammock camping?
At some point in their lives, most people give up on camping because they can’t take sleeping on the ground. I have to admit that, if it weren’t for self-inflating mattresses, I probably would have gotten out of the game long ago.
There is another way for campers to get off the ground — hammock camping.
Apparently this has caught on in a big way. Like other outdoor pursuits, technology has changed the game and you can find all sorts of fancy hammocks and accessories. Especially if you’ve got deep pockets.
Not that affordability should ever be an obstacle to following your passion. However, a major hurdle for me would be an experience I had in the late ’70s while trying to sleep in a hammock in the back of a box truck. I was driving trucks back then and had a 12-hour layover in Lorain, Ohio.
If this were a movie, you’d be seeing one of those swirly flashback transitions that would bring you to a post office loading dock. Words appearing on the screen would read: “Lorain, Ohio, 1978.” The words would fade and the swirly image would transition into the interior of the back of a 20-foot box truck. There you would see a younger dumber me, struggling to settle into a hammock strung from wooden planks along the walls of the truck bed.
You can probably imagine where this is going.
Hunkered into my zipped sleeping bag I rolled onto my side and experienced what would later become known as a Homer Simpson moment. The hammock rolled over and, unable to catch myself, I did a face-plant on the floor.
As this was happening, things went into slow motion as they tend to do in these situations. I guess that’s nature’s way of letting you savor what could be the last moments of your life. And nature’s way of letting you know you’re not as clever as you thought you were.
So, if I’m to take the leap of faith required to transition from tent to hammock camping, I’d have to get that image out of my head — that long descent from the hammock to the hard wooden floor of the truck and the feeling of my nose being compressed into my face.
Meanwhile, I’m researching hammock camping. On that note, I’d like to give a shout out to some of the folks from the Google+ Camping and Paddling and Camping communities. They’ve been extremely helpful. There’s no substitute for experience and their input helped me decide which ultralight camp chair to chose. (See previous post.)
I’ll keep you — and them — posted on whether I decide to get off the ground and join the world of sling sleepers. Who knows? Perhaps, by now, someone has come up with a football helmet comfortable enough to sleep in.