Grounded Hammock

Sorry for the lack of posts, truth is I’ve been busy trying to get Pain, Curiosity and a Bear Part 3 done, working too much, and both my last trips were on the big bike, mostly due to time restrictions. It’s not the best way to travel, but Curiosity just can’t do 900 miles in a day. Not at the moment, anyway. I might have to work on that.

Despite this, I have been doing things with minimalist motorcycling in general. Going Small 2.0 is outselling Going Small, which I like, and Curiosity is getting prepped for the ride to Canada and the Horizon’s Unlimited meet in Ontario.

You should all go.

In the mean time, I thought I would type about hammocks.


I got a hammock in Alaska when I bought a new sleeping bag. It was something of an impulse purchase. I’d been using the Nomad Tenere tent, which was comfortable but huge. The REI had a Hennessy Hammock on the shelf and I picked it up. As a tent, it’s lacking, but by the time I left Central American it was my main tent. In fact, I didn’t even set up the Nomad in South American once.


I’ve never had one of those fancy, expensive, backpacking tents, so the hammock is much smaller than I’m used too. It was also less expensive, though I think the one I bought was marked down some.

While I have been singing the praises of the hammock (I don’t think I’ve ever spelt as well on the ground), a frequent question is what I do where there aren’t trees. While I was sleeping Chile’s beaches I didn’t usually pitch any sort of shelter. It wasn’t like it was going to rain there. But I do see the problem in some areas, such as the great plains, where storms are common and trees can be scare.

Alternative hanging options are around if you go looking. I’ve used shelters in campgrounds and the bases of power lines, but if there really is no where to set up, you can still use a hammock as a simple shelter.

I use a Hennessy Expedition Hammock, and have always used a sleeping pad inside. This isn’t the best method of preventing the convective cooling hammocks are known for, but it does mean when I sleep on the ground I have a pad.


Find a level spot. I put Curiosity on the side-stand, and set the hammock up on the “down” side. I’ve never had anyone convince me the center-stand was more stable than the side-stand, and I use a puck for most surfaces. The bike hasn’t fallen on me yet.

Since most hammocks aren’t meant to be on the ground, a tarp or something underneath is a good idea (DD Travel hammocks claim to have waterproof bottoms).

The Hennessy has a bottom entry, which is at the foot of the hammock when it’s hung, but is the head end when it’s on the ground. I take the rope on that end, loop it over the handlebars, then stake it down on the other side of Curiosity.



I should also point out that, while I normally use small, lightweight stakes, I’m using larger ones this time. I’m thinking about carrying a couple for times the lightweight stakes can’t cut it, or just switching to them permanently.

With that end staked down I stretch the ridgeline reasonable snug and stake the other end.


You should try to take care and make sure there’s enough room for the rain fly, as you can see I cut it kind of close.

With both ends staked, I pulled out the guide ropes the Hennessy has to open up the inside. It’s not exactly roomy, but there’s room enough.


Looking towards the foot end. The rain fly isn’t on in this picture, to let some light in.

Set up takes only a couple minutes, and tear down not much longer. It might be even faster if I had those fancy skins to wrap everything up in, but I don’t yet.

Obviously, there were lots of trees in this park, so I could have hung the hammock, but I hope you get the idea of how it can be used as a bivy. Now, it might not be as comfortable on the ground as a ‘real’ bivy would be, but no bivy is going to compare to a hammock when you can hang it from something. And, really, usually you can find somewhere.

I also have a video showing all this. Go multi-media.

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2 Responses to Grounded Hammock

  1. Rick says:

    The hammock is the way to go.


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