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  • Letter from a Hammock Lover!

    Greetings Hammock Lovers! My name is Boris. Please forgive if I use wrong words or make misspellings. English is not my first language. I have had very rough childhood, but hammocks have completely changed my life. Please let me explain.

    A little about me. I’m originally from the mountains. My father left me and my brother and sister before we were born. He was a real lady man always courting other ladies and fighting their males. Because of this violence, we lived in fear for our lives for most of my first birthdays. On more than one occasion we saw my father kill. In our small mountain community, this is how disputings were handled.

    However, my mother loved us very much. To protect us from our father’s violence and rage, we moved around a lot. Our houses, if you can even call them that, were more like little rooms with dirt floors. Even though we didn’t have much we were rich in love. My mother adored us and made sure to protect us from any danger.

    It wasn’t all bad. Growing up in the mountains did have advantages. We would often spend hours running through the woods, playing in meadows, swimming through rivers, and climbing countless trees. It was a fantastic time of youth. I learned to love the sunrise and let the seasons guide my paths.

    Obviously my language and writing skills are not very great. That is because I was not allowed to attend a regular school like you. My mother worried that children would be scared of us, or even try to harm us because we were so different. Children can be so mean. However, my mother believed very much in education. She trained us to fend for ourselves and to respect nature. Although we had no money she believed in feeding us healthy, organic meals. She always found a way even if it meant trying new things that did not seem very tasty.

    All of this changed the day we first encountered it. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was almost a dream or, as Americans would say, a scene from a movie. We were hiking around the mountains when we came upon a strange and glorious item hanging between two trees. After looking it over and talking about what it could be, we finally understood. This was our “AHA Moment”. After all of these years struggling to make ends meet, narrowly avoiding horrific dangers, even fighting off starvation, mother nature had provided us with a solution to our troubles.

    Mother called it a “Bearrito”. We devoured that Bearrito so fast! Every last bite was delicious! Bearritos hang there and don’t even run! No more chasing down deer or swimming through frozen rivers for tiny salmon. Now we travel around without a care in the world knowing just around the bend a delicious Bearrito might be waiting for us. It seems as if more and more of these Bearritos keep popping up! And for that I must thank you.

    We have since learned that you have a different word for Bearritos. Your word is hammock. Tomato, Tomahto. Although we do not speak the same language, we’re really not that different. We all love our hammocks.

    So I want to thank you much for loving hammocks. Hopefully we will meet soon. Very Soon. I’m waiting.

    Boris The Bear

    Have a question about hammocks for Boris? Ask away – he’ll answer.

  • Heartbeat

    Fred had the friendliest smile in the world. When he hiked down the trail, other backpackers went out of their way to meet him. Fred’s big red pack swayed back and forth as he inspected these fellow travelers. After exchanging traditional dirtbag customs and courtesies, Fred and his new friends were buds for life. This is how the ceremony always transpired.

    Fred’s heart longed for the trail, and Tom believed it was the only thing keeping that heart beating. Fred’s prior military service was fraught with violence and left an indelible mark on his personality and temperament. But on the trail, Fred was made new. Sometimes he slobbered too much when he met a new friend, but they never seemed to mind.

    Fred was a big yellow labrador retriever with 3 legs. He lost his back leg as a military working dog in Afghanistan. After his tour of duty, Fred was adopted by Tom and found a new purpose in life: hammocking. Fred was probably the only 3 legged hammocking war hero dog in the world. Yes, he still suffered from nightmares, and sometimes loud noises caused him to hide underneath the closest structure, but life on the trail gave Fred meaning. The trail was his asylum, his shelter from the storm.

    At the end of the trail, Fred and Tom would climb into their hammocks. Fred has his own, obviously. After snuggling in for the night, the worries and stresses of the real world faded into the darkness like soft butter on a hot biscuit.

    Fred liked to sleep with his head propped up on the edge of his custom multi-cam patterned, dog-sized hammock. This way he could survey his kingdom and protect his pack leader, Tom, from the myriad of dangers on the trail. Opossums, racoons, squirrels and woodchucks regretted the day they sauntered into Fred’s camp looking to steal an easy meal. Don’t let the missing leg fool you. Fred was smart. He learned to keep his voice down whenever his highly trained sense of smell alerted him to an unwanted camp visitor. Instead of barking and tipping off his intrusive adversaries, he’d let them get close enough and pounce from his hammock. More often than not, they got away. But catching and killing wasn’t the point. Protecting Tom from wild, blood thirsty beasts was Fred’s mission. He always accomplished his mission.

    If you’ve never seen a 3-legged dog climb into a hammock, it’s a sight to behold. Slung low underneath Tom’s, Fred propped his two front legs against his hammock. Next he burrowed and wriggled his torso deep into the fabric. After finding his balance, in one smooth motion he’d quickly and deftly scootch his butt and single back leg into the hammock. It was awkward and goofy, but effective.

    Fred and Tom hammocked all over the country. They were best buds. You can imagine why Tom’s heart nearly stopped beating when the Vet gave him the news.

    During their last hike to Clingmans Dome on the Appalachian Trail, Tom noticed Fred acting a little sluggish without his usual trail frenzy. Fred went to see to Dr. Duke for a checkup. It was the dreaded “C” word.

    Tom sat on the cold metal table and held Fred’s head in his lap staring into his big brown doughy eyes. Tom rubbed that special spot behind Fred’s right ear for the final time as Dr. Duke quietly and slowly removed her gloves and left the room. Fred’s breath was labored and slow, but content.

    Hearts stopped.

    Tom swayed slowly back and forth in his hammock slung on the edge of Fred’s favorite mountain overlook. He reluctantly allowed the wind to carry the contents of the urn over the edge and into the great wilderness. Although Fred’s heart was no longer beating, the legend of the three-legged hammocking war hero dog would live on.

  • Intruder

    What was that sound?

    Your eyes dart back and forth as your ears strain to confirm the impending mortal danger. It’s at least 9:48 PM – well past hiker midnight. You sank into the comfort of the hammock a few hours ago after covering at least 1.5 trail miles. Your trip report on Hammock Forums, and your Instagram may, or may not, eventually list that number as 12 miles, but who’s really counting?

    There it is again. Was that a Yeti? It had to be a Yeti. If it wasn’t a Yeti, it was most certainly some sort of rabid beast hell-bent on slowly devouring your succulent flesh. Obviously.

    Did I hang my bear bag? Can it smell those Pack-it-Gourmet Chicken and Dumplings I had for dinner? Death’s grip tightens around your neck like a noose as you run through every possible scenario. Each one ending in a fantastically gruesome scene more awful than the last.

    It’s probably a Yeti. Nevermind that it’s Summer in North Carolina where there hasn’t been a confirmed Yeti sighting for at least 5 or 6 years. Billy Bob saw one a few weeks ago, but ever since he started sleeping in a tent, he can’t be trusted.

    Slowly and quietly you prop up on your elbows; your ears picking apart every minute detail like Mozart listening to a symphony. Luckily, your cuben fiber tarp lets in just enough moonlight to survey the immediate surroundings. You contemplate turning on the headlamp, but you’re not 100% ready to give away your location. The enemy might still be unaware of this evening’s hang site. Plus, everyone knows male Yetis are attracted to headlamps. It could be a female. Your research has confirmed that females can’t see the particular light wave emitted by headlamps, but are you really ready to take that chance?

    20 feet away a branch snaps. It’s the scariest branch snap in the history of snapping branches. This is it. At some point every man must look death square in the face and victoriously declare, “NOT TODAY!”

    You lurch from your hammock managing to simultaneously unzip the integrated bug net, fire up your head lamp, and slide your feet into the Crocs waiting patiently on the ground. Grabbing a collapsible hiking pole you turn, take a knee, and ready yourself to engage the drooling death demon like King Leonidas triumphantly defying the hordes of Xerxes Persian Army.

    Time stands still. Your heart races. Condensation from your hot breath clouds the cool night air. Seconds tick by before you can just make out 1, 2, 3 little fluffy baby foxes frolicking their way across the trail.

    “Jim, what are you doing?” quizzes Dan’s voice from his Warbonnet hammock just a few feet away.

    “Did you fall out of your hammock?” asks Brittany as she rubs her eyes from underneath her top quilt.

    “What are you doing with my hiking pole? Are you ok?” your wife inquires.

    The two of you were sharing a tree and you must have bumped her hammock during your perfectly executed tactical dismount.

    “Did you see those little baby foxes?” She continued rolling to her side and cinching up her quilt. “They were soooooo cute, I just want to snuggle them and kiss their tiny little fox noses to death!”

    “I’m fine – just had to pee” you answer dismissively. “Go back to sleep.”

    The Yeti may have slipped through your grasp this time, but there’s always tomorrow night.