Richard Bucker

frustrated yet?

Posted at — Nov 19, 2018

Are you frustrated but all the choices for gear? Just last night, on a Shark Tank rerun, one of the sharks said that hikers/campers would buy a collapsible pot because hikers buy stuff. Then this morning I was watching The Patriot Act when the presenter was talking about conspicuous consumption. All that rattling around in my head as I tried to decide whether my go to kit was going to be ground based or hammock based, tent or tarp, air mattress or pad, cheap and heavy or expensive and heavy.Let’s face it hiking, especially long distance hiking, is in itself conspicuous consumption. I did not like it as a kid and I do not like it as an adult and as a parent too. (as I stare at my small collection of Swiss Army Knives included limited edition.)The sad reality is that even though these bobs carry Bug Out Bags they really cannot plan for every eventuality. One guy had a tarp and hammock. And said that if there are no trees that a mylar bivy was the fallback. Dropping into urban vs wilderness with the intent to escape and evade is so mu different than going for a hike, making a wrong turn, and just trying to stay alive.As I look at my 5x9 tarp over my hammock, 5x9 tarp over the ground, the hammock stand and tent poles … thinking about the fire damage in my favorite hiking places … being conspicuously UL I know that I know nothing more or new since I started. I know that once I make a gear selection that I can be committed to that choice but getting to that point is difficult.I like my manicured lawn. Sleeping on the ground and not dragging sand into my bed sleeping bag or bivy means something to me. When primitive camping, with the kids, in Disney or Circle F I’m constantly fighting the sand. Not to mention that the ground is rock hard and puts demands on mattresses and pads. At Nobles Camp the grass was so tall that I had to consider cutting the grass in order to setup the shelter.One realization is that tent poles are not necessary. [a] Some sort of wedge would work from a tree or maybe a bush. [b] you just gotta look for a stick and improvise.Getting up off the dirt means having a hammock but that creates new problems when the weather is wonky. Think convection and conduction. Then there is overall fit of the tarps, and the availability of trees. But a hammock has another benefit. Just some place to rack out for a nap. They take no time to setup and especially in the swamp or side of a mountain or hill.Still no decisions yet.UPDATEIn the setup above I was using these alloy hooks. THEY FAILEDYama 8.5x8.5 tarp positioned square did not cover the 9.5 hammockDiagonally the approx. 11ft length covered nicely. The diagonal configuration of the Yama tarp worked well. It had the same challenges that the other tarps did as the variable tension of the stand were a challenge. One offsetting feature was that there were only 2 side tie-outs. These can be raised with a tent or trekking pole. Maybe even some sticks. When taught and connected with shock cord the tarp is reliable.