Recently I had the opportunity to go on a hiking trip with my brother-in-law and his two boys. He and I have spent many of hours hiking mountains and hunting animals, but we decided to change things up on this trip. Our usual campouts include a camp trailer that we return to every night, but we thought we'd take it to the next level. We decided to buy some hammocks online and hike to a place that would require us to sleep in a hammock. I guess we could've slept on the ground, but he and I are way too old to be doing stuff like that. The boys probably could've handled it, but I knew I wouldn't be sleeping that way.
We ended up buying our hammocks on Amazon. Mine was made by Honest Outfitters, and I absolutely loved it. The strap system on it was easy to use and very durable. In fact, the entire hammock is extremely durable. It also packs up into a very convenient little bag that doesn't take up much room in my backpack. We also bought some lightweight sleeping bags to use in the hammock. I'm not sure I would recommend getting the one I used. It would be a great sleeping bag for tent or truck camping, but the combination of it and the hammock caused me to sweat. It also packed up nice and small, which was again convenient for putting in my backpack.
The plan was to hike 14 miles total. We would hike 7 miles in, find a place near water to set up camp, and then walk 7 miles out the next day. Using our OnX maps, we found the trail systems we would use, and we identified some water sources we could use as well.
The hike was more than we expected. If you've ever tried to hike to the top of Pine Valley Mountain in Southern Utah, you know what I'm talking about. We went through some pretty tough terrain, and we burned through our water quite quickly. The scenery was beautiful though. It looked like we were in places people hadn't been in a long time. We were hoping to see some nice deer during the hike, but we only saw a few, and none were really amazing bucks.
As I mentioned, we burned through our water pretty quickly, and the only water we brought with us was what we could fit in our backpack bladders. We also brought our water filters, and that's why we planned to camp near water. Our meal plans were Mountain House meals, and we would need water for them. Sadly, the water holes we had mapped out on our phones turned out to be less than appetizing. None of us thought our filters would be able to do the trick. We were optimistic though, and we kept hiking. We ended up going further than we had initially planned to camp, hoping we'd find some good fresh water to use. Luckily, just before we got to where we eventually made camp, we came across a little puddle. The water looked clear, smelled fine, and we decided to use it. Using my Sawyer water filter, I filtered two liters of water, and it was amazing! We were able to use the water for drinking and for cooking our Mountain House meals that night.
The meadow where we ended up staying was beautiful. We had an awesome dinner, enjoyed some great conversations, and were able to relax in our hammocks. I wasn't able to get a lot of sleep, but again, the hammock beat sleeping on the ground. The hike out the next morning was beautiful. I had to get back early, so we were up and hiking by 6:00am. Again, we saw very little wildlife, but the scenery was breathtaking, and it's hard to beat early mornings on the mountain.
All in all, I had a great trip. We all did. We're already planning our next hiking trip with the hammocks. I think our next trip will be in the desert though. We'd like to try out the hammocks in a place where we wouldn't need the sleeping bags to keep us warm.
Have you ever slept in a hammock in the mountains? What recommendations would you have?