Welcome to Craig Hall, ENO’s finest Road Warrior! Craig takes time out of rep duties to answer some questions about his own personal hammocking experiences!
/ How did you first give hammocks a try?
I remember the first time trying out a hammock. I borrowed a hammock from my roommate. I threw the hammock and straps in the back of the car and drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina. I hiked back a few miles of trail to a nice hidden cove overlooking a rocky gorge with a stream flowing by. I found a perfect set of trees that I hooked my hammock up to and jumped in for a little rest and relaxation. I read a book for a few hours and eventually fell asleep in my state of relaxation. I remember waking up to the calm sounds of nature all around me. After that first time of using a hammock, I was hooked. I still go back to this spot when the need calls and the time allows.
/ Why do you love your hammock?
I love using hammocks because it’s relaxing, lightweight and gives me a place to rest my bones when I’ve put in some miles out on a trail. Being that it’s so transportable and compact, it’s no problem at all adding a hammock and straps to my daypack. I often set out for an unknown trails to find there’s always two trees waiting somewhere when I need them.
/ Where is the most scenic place you’ve slept in a hammock?
Without a doubt, Fisheating Creek in Florida is the most amazing place I’ve slung up a hammock to sleep for the night. This under the radar hidden gem of a place is a stretch of river that flows from Lake Okeechobee and can be accessed through Fisheating Creek Outpost. I rented a kayak and went upstream for a night in the swamp. I found a nice area to set up my hammock in a grove of old growth Cypress trees near the banks of the water. Being that it was winter and the water level was low, I was able to anchor my hammock to a Cypress knee root system (photo) that was eye level in height. That night was amazing. From the shelter of my hammock, I watched the fog spill in over the open water and full moon cast an iridescent glow throughout the trees.
The most scenic place I hooked up a hammock was in Yosemite overlooking Half dome.
/ Approximately how many nights in total have you slept in a hammock?
It’s hard to be sure exactly how many, but I would say I have approximately around 80 night sleeping in a hammock. I’ve been hammocking for about ten years. Most recently, I went to Savage Golf in Tennessee for a three night backpacking trip. I used my hammock system all three nights while busting out a thirty mile section of trail. Both nights the temperature fell below thirty degrees and my Nalgene bottle froze, but I was snug in my Single Hammock and Blaze Underquilt.
/ What do other people say when they see your hammock?
Most of the time that people see me with my hammock is when I’m out backpacking and I have the entire hammock system hooked up. People like the uniqueness of hammocking and are curious to find out more information as an alternative to tenting. I get a lot of other questions about how much everything weighs, sleeping on you back and what do when trees aren’t available. I’ve traded in my tent and use my hammock system exclusively when backpacking. The total weight of my Hammock System is 3.5 pounds. I learned to sleep on my back when I was thru-hiking the PCT using a Thremarest pad. It was easy to convert over to sleeping in a hammock that has no points of resistance. If trees aren’t available, I can use climbing wedges as anchors to attach my hammock. I can also lay my Pro-nest Hammock flat for a ground cloth and use it below my tarp that can be easily hooked up with my trekking poles to provide shelter above tree line.
Questions provided by rei.com/blog