If you make it a point to relax in a hammock and nothing else but hammock during your outdoor excursion or mountaineering trips, then surely you don’t need to be convinced about the exclusive benefits of using the same.
Nobody knows better than you that a how a hammock scores a few notches above a tarp or canvas tent or any other conventional form of ground shelter in terms of portability, convenience of use, and comfort.
The use of hammocks as a perfect way of relaxing when outdoors is getting more and more widespread with every passing day and is fasting becoming a trend.
So that you can stretch out and relax without any inhibitions during the day as well as sleep tight at night, you’ll need to take good care of it. Keeping your hammock in tiptop condition will keep it perfect for you to rest comfortably as well as prolong its lifetime.
If you’ve been using a hammock for a long time, you may be in the know about practical maintenance tips. Nevertheless, you can brush up your knowledge and even become a pro when it comes to keeping it in a condition conducive for putting your feet up with the following guidelines.
Suspending your hammock
Nowadays, the most popular brands of hammock are sold with a series of add-ons that let you suspend the same securely. Chances are that your own hammock was supplied to you with tackles like buckles, straps, hooks, carabiners and other related add-ons.
However, this article doesn’t support or recommend any specific hammock strapping or hanging technique. Anyway, it won’t be out of place to emphasize that you may be able to unwind and/or settle down if you could do away with the use of the aforementioned add-ons.
By learning the ropes of tying a bowline knot with adjustments or allowances for tightening or loosening the grip not only will you have a tremendous sense of achievement (for having accomplished the technique) but also be able to keep carabiners or straps at bay.
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Not using the add-ons will also add to the functional life of your hammock. Since a hammock doesn’t shelter you from the sudden or unexpected rains or snowfall, you need to carry a separate rain-fly during your trips.
That again calls for using straps for setting it up with the hammock which in turn means unwarranted wear and tear that can be avoided. So, how do you safeguard your outdoor billet or haven from abrasion or deterioration?
Simply pick up the nitty-gritty of making a modifiable taut-line glitch or snag to lace up the slender lined from the rainfly or tarp. In case you need to adjust or modify the stressing of the principal base strings or ropes in a manner that no further knots have to be made, go for drip rings made of aluminum.
Not only are aluminum drip rings lightweight (thus not adding to the heft of the hammock) but function as excellent drip-line.
Also, you don’t need to unfasten them while you take off your hammock and you don’t need to worry about causing harm to the fabric or material. Just tie an over-arm or round-arm loop while strapping the rings so that you can untie conveniently the next morn.
Carry out inspections of the base ropes periodically
It is the ropes strapped to the hammock that tolerate the maximum strain (and hence subject to maximum attrition) as your entire weight is supported or borne by it. Needless to say, they’ll wear away and lose their effectiveness with passage of time.
Carry out a detailed inspection of the ropes much before you start packing up for a trip and check out their tensile strength by hanging the hammock in the backyard of your home.
One downside of ropes is that they lose their functionality sooner than you know it but this drawback is compensated by the fact that you can go in for a replacement without breaking the bank.
Ropes appropriate for tethering with a hammock are generally affordable. So that you can use the ropes for a longer time period, make it a point to use a bowline loop when tethering the same to a hammock.
Packing up a hammock perfectly
No, there is no rocket-science involved in packing up your hammock in a way so that it never touches or brushes the ground. After a relaxing and rejuvenating sleep at night when it’s time to pack up and leave, just fully tilt the hanging bed so that the cushioned side is facing downwards.
Turning it on its head will completely clear it off all dead leaves, dust or grime that may have accumulated while you’re sleeping or relaxing.
While unfastening the hammock, just release the knots on the ropes tied to the trees on either ends. Your hammock must have delivered to you with an inbuilt sack for stuffing it. Locate the storage pocket containing this sack and turn it inside-out.
Thereafter, slowly push in the hammock beginning from the end to where your feet were resting. After you arrive at the head-end, undo the rope and put the same inside at the last.
Finally, cover the pillow bundle with the sack and fasten the Velcro flap and you’re ready to lug your hammock for the onward journey or suspend it on a tree while you tend to other things.
Learn to balance your hammock to prevent sliding awkwardly
More often than not, you’re not able to put up or install the hammock evenly so that the entire length (of the hammock that is) is equidistant from the ground.
Consequently, you find yourself slithering or skating to one side after you clamber onto it causing you to turn or cower up ultimately compelling you to stare at the stars all night.
Not being able to put up the hammock in a level manner on a periodic basis also puts a strain on the anchorage capacity thereby shortening its lifespan.
So how you go about correcting the imbalance that occurs while strapping it up? First checkout whether both the straps are of the same length or not.
If not, try to level the elongation of the straps. Sometimes, loading the hammock heavily can cause the disproportion or unevenness.
The reason why you should check whether the leashes are of equal length is to ensure that these stretch out evenly. Thereafter, make sure whether their height is also identical.
Crosschecking these two aspects might solve the problem of one-sidedness. If the problem still remains, you could try shifting up the straps on the side of the tilt.
What to do when you need to camp in an area devoid of trees?
Hammocks are designed and stitched for tethering them on to trees or natural props that keeps the same well above the ground. But then you may not always get that privilege, particularly when you’re camping in an area that is a treeless plain or a grassland area with sparse vegetation. In such an eventuality, you may be forced to improvise the use of hammock as a tent.
That’ll call for setting up the hammock in a manner that puts minimal strain on it and doesn’t affect its fabric structure. As an experienced user of hammocks, you might be aware that their bases (the underside that is) are well-ventilated and hence breathable.
Before you start camping, spread a tent footprint ground cloth to keep the dirt off while you lie down. This sheet also acts as a buffer keeping the weight off your back when you move with your camping supplies.
Next, you’ll have to look for stakes or props (as many as you can find) in order to put up the hammock as well as the tarp in a stable manner. You can source these stakes right when you’re packing at the beginning of the trip or look for them when you’re camping in a forested area with a dense covering of trees.
Keep the hammock clean and dry
Your hammock picks up a lot of dirt and grime during your trip. However, you’ve never thought of getting rid of all that muck during the course of the trip simply because you don’t have the means of cleaning or rinsing it. The cleansing part is postponed till you get back home.
But do you realize that you carry more weight as your trek progresses? Your hammock gets a little heftier every time it absorbs dirt or water. By the time you reach home, it feels as if you’ve been heaving a mountain on your back.
The remedy is to pack 5-6 sachets of detergents (no you don’t have to carry a bucket) and clean the hammock by a rushing brook or rivulet in daytime and putting it up to dry fully.
Though this is an imperfect way of cleansing the canopy, the impromptu washing process will at least keep a considerable amount of dirt off the same.
So, there you’ve it-taking care of your hammock while camping. If you follow the abovementioned instructions, you bet you’ll be able to stretch the life of the hammock by at least a few more years.