Who hasn’t had the opportunity to take a nap on a hammock in the backyard during the summertime? Chances are you’ve done this. Nothing better than a nice shady set of trees with a hammock to snooze on out in your backyard after the barbecue is done and everyone has left your house. The hammock has some practical uses that we’re going to cover concerning your outdoor adventures and can even do in a pinch to help you when the going gets rough.
Firstly, the hammock is not a “communal” item: you’ll have to have your own. We used to tote these hammocks around with us in the Service that were basically very little more than a volleyball net with reinforced ends. That being said, look carefully when you pick out your hammock. Cheap you buy, and cheap shall you receive! You need one that you will fit in comfortably.
There are some advantages to using a hammock when you’re camping and on a hike. They’re extremely portable and are able to be either folded up or rolled up and carried in a cargo pocket or stuffed into one of the pockets of your backpack. Then we can take it to another level: the ones made by the U.S. military and classified as “jungle” hammocks. These are the best bets because they have a small canopy over the top, and come complete with mosquito netting. You step into the hammock and zipper up, and you’re protected from the rain and the bugs.
Find the Best Hammock to Suit Your Needs. Follow These Tips for Find the Best Fit!
You can still find these premium hammocks if you enter in “jungle hammocks” or U.S. Army issue jungle hammocks,” and search for it on www.amazon.com. There you’ll find the one that meets your needs. Let’s put out some advice to go along with that hammock when you find the right one.
The end ropes: Tie off a stick midway on each support rope. The stick should be about 1” in diameter and about a foot-long end to end: affix it to the support rope in the center and spray it down with DEET or another bug repellent that is effective. When the ones that crawl come marching, the coated stick will be a barrier to their advance. Spray the rope about an inch down and up from where you’ve tied the stick.
Ensure you’re at least 2-3 feet off the ground or more when you’re in the hammock: This means that if you leave 2-3 feet when you tie it off, it will be less distance when you’re in it between you and the ground. Other pests such as rats, mice, snakes, etc., will not be able to bother you if you’re about three feet off the ground or more. The higher the better but remember to make sure you can get in and out of it safely.
For a non-self-enclosed/open hammock: you can use D-rings to close off the first 1/3 down by the feet…and put your sleeping bag into the hammock. Later when you get in, attach another D-ring up top to make it more snug and secure.
Open hammocks: If you have those five bungee cords and a poncho (as I mentioned to obtain in other articles), you can rig up a rain shelter…four corners of the grommets lashed off with the bungees. Tie off the hood, and the 5th attaches to a branch to lift the hood vertically, making an angled “roof” that will keep the rain off you.
BE AWARE OF THE CREATURES! Be aware of bears, mountain lions, wolves, wild boar, or anything else that may be in the vicinity. Know where they are, their trails, and where they lair. Chances are you don’t want to place your hammock near a cave where there is bear scat and tracks in front of its entrance. Also, check for “buddies” such as bees or hornets and indications that the trees you’re using either have them nesting inside of it or in the branches. Better safe than sorry in each case.
Fall and Winter: Yes, you can still camp out in a hammock even at this time of the year…but you need to make sure you have plenty of insulation in your sleeping bag and a barrier for underneath, such as the poly sleeping pad that is issue to break up the cold from beneath the hammock. Gore-Tex monster needs to come out: pants, top, and polypro. The “Bear” suit would help here, too. If you have no surplus store in your area, you can order all this stuff through amazon.com, and you’ll have it in no time.
Creature comforts: Take some water to drink and some small snacks up in the hammock with you so that you don’t have to leave frequently. For other “issues,” an empty Gatorade bottle can help you out immensely, and in medical supply stores, an equivalent product can be purchased for ladies who don’t want to leave the hammock. Enough said here, and I’m sure you can figure out what I mean!
Make sure everyone on the trip knows where everyone else is, either tent or hammock. Motorola radios are a great thing here, as you can have call signs for one another and can then make sure everyone’s alright, as well as alert everyone if there’s a problem. Be smart and affix the Motorola to your chest/front of your shirt so that you won’t have to fumble for it in the dark.
Be aware of your weather patterns. Don’t risk using a hammock when there are high winds or in a very bad storm. Discretion is the better part of valor. The hammock should always be an “adjunct” and used in a survival situation as a last resort, not as your primary means of shelter. An example would be if your tent was burned up by a campfire’s stray embers. Then rely on your poncho and hammock. Find the best one for you and your family, enjoy the outdoors, and be safe. JJ out!
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
Originally published May 26th, 2018
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