The Ultimate Hammocking Kit

aka: How to go from full-tilt to lying in a hammock with water boiling for tea in under 2 minutes



I decided to do a detailed listing of how I've prepared my hammocking kit, and how to use most of the items in it. It really is remarkable, what you can pull off once you've got a rhythm to it. From biking down a trail at full-speed, or hiking through a forest, you know when you come across it. The perfect rest area. The shade is perfect, the breeze is perfect, the birds are chirping, and it's about time fore a break. Let me show you how to make the best of this situation.

I start with a Camelbak Pathfinder, so I can carry extra water on my back if desired, though usually I leave that empty for just a quick afternoon out. In the large pocket, we have our sleeping quarters, seating, kitchen, and a few emergency supplies, because I'm like that. A Lifestraw in case I run out of water, toilet paper in case of that, and a few bags because bags are useful, for cleanup if nothing else.

The stove is the GSI Halulite Minimalist, inside of which fits a 100g Isobutate fuel canister, Optimus Crux LPG stove, pot-grabber, lighter, and strike-anywhere matches. I collected all of these various pieces over years, so the costs were spread out. All-told, this entire kit probably set me back about 500 bucks, not gonna lie. The stove alone is about $60. Once you've got it though, DAMN it's amazing. Get quality and it can last a lifetime.

This is your bed, your napping quarters, your friend. Ticket To The Moon or other parachute-material hammock. This one is 3 meters long, and rated for 160kg (350 lbs). You get good at telling if two trees are the right length apart pretty quickly. You loop a pair of daisy chains around two trees, attach it to the ends of the hammock with a pair of caribiners, and you're set. Most, if not all of this, can be purchased at Mountain Equipment Co-op, or similar outdoor stores.

This is how you repack a hammock. Unclip from caribiners, and fold in half while pulling thin and straight. Twist this bundle around a few times, and fold in half again. You want to try to have the small pocket (also useful for holding your cellphone or drink while lying down) out and untangled at all times.

Tuck the 'elbow' part of your folded hammock into the pocket first, and stuff the rest in after it with your thumbs, holding the closure string of the pocket with your fingers. You get pretty good at this pretty quickly too. If you can manage it with the hammock end ropes right at the top, it makes it very easy to pull out and set up the next time without any twists or tangles in it.

The caribiners I leave attached to the daisy chains, and I just fold those over a few times and tuck them into the bottom of the bag. I haven't had them tangle up on me enough to warrant wanting an added tie to keep it bundled. The chair is more of an optional item that's just kinda nice to have at park festivals or while fishing. Also useful if the ground isn't comfy when making your food. This Alite Monarch is rated to 113kg (250lbs), weighs 0.5kg (1.3 lbs), and easily rolls up into a small bag. I'll often swap it out for my purse or other larger item I may want with me, or plan to pick up.

You can see it works differently from other chairs, in that it only has two legs. You balance yourself with your own legs, and it takes a bit of getting used to, but to be honest it's almost hard to fall over backwards. If you're capable of standing up without falling over, you're capable of sitting in here without falling over.

The front pocket contains a camping food (boil water, add to bag, wait, eat), tea (boil water, add dry leaves, wait, drink), knife (it's one of our species' earliest tools for a reason), spork (omnomnom), sunscreen (sunburns are never fun), whistle (if you get lost, you want something louder than yelling), chess set (y'never know, and boards can be drawn in the dirt), fuel canister puncturer (dispose of your waste responsibly), footbag (always wanted to learn), mate spoon (unless you like drinking the tea leaves), pencil (can't hurt), and medical kit (always a good idea). Once you have good quality, portable 'essentials', there's plenty of room for fun stuff.

As I said above, this backpack comes equipped with a water bag as well, but it's rare that I fill that up. Not just because cleaning it is mildly annoying, but I've taken to carrying an extra bottle of water with me on another daisy chain, worn cross-strap over my shoulder. The extra slack I pass through a belt loop on my pants, and that keeps the bottle from swinging around as I bike. Added bonus, if one of the trees I run across for hammocking is too large, I have an extra strap and caribiner that I can use to double the length :)



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