Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thinking of Hanging Myself

While researching potential ways of making my carefully researched and chosen sleep system lighter, easier and more comfortable, I discovered a method of camping I had yet to investigate.  I am kinda beating myself up since I had already invested time and money in gear, but since it wasn't a huge investment and can be adapted to this "new" method, I am not overly annoyed.  I am, however, strongly considering hanging myself... a hammock.

As I get older, which is no fault of my own, I become more attuned to the surfaces upon which I chose to sleep.  While lounging in my Lazyboy recliner slipping off into a mid afternoon nap, I contemplate my choice to exchange the luxury I currently enjoy for sleeping atop rocks, roots, leaves and mud.  That is a demoralizing prospect for a professional couch potato.

I really have made up my mind to take on the challenge and have already bought or made most of the requisite gear to do so.  My chosen sleep system consists of:
  1. Homemade Ray Jardine solo tarp tent
  2. Homemade Ray Jardine Spitfire bug bivy
  3. Homemade Tyvex ground sheet
  4. Thermorest neoair full length pad with matching top sheet, 
  5. Silk/poly blend bag liner
  6. Thermorest Alpine 35 Down Quilt
  7. Surplus Marine Corp -40 sleep system (two polyfill bags to mix and match)
All the components are proven individually, and I'm confident would be more than adequate as a whole, so I have no worries about my general preparedness in braving the elements.  What I do worry about is waking up in a knotted ball of sore muscles every day.  Above all my ability to endure my aging, aching, fat body will be the make or break psychological hurdle I will need to overcome.  This makes ease of use and general comfort foremost in my mind regarding any system.

When I came across the camping hammocks forum thread on Whiteblaze, it piqued my curiosity.  My preconceptions I think had blinded me to the idea originally which may be why I had overlooked it in my research.  Yet again I had become trapped in a notion of camping that had been programmed in since my first exposures to the activity.  Simply put, when you camp you are in a tent.  Everyone does that, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, famous mountain climbers and adventurers.  It is part of the culture.  When I diverged slightly in selecting the tarp tent, it wasn't much of a variant, so it still fit within my paradigm of the camping religion and was different enough to satisfy my sometimes contrarian attitude.  I was not really sinning against the camping gods however, so it was OK in my mind.

Sleeping in a hammock was outside that paradigm.  Why would I even consider being such a rebel?  Hammocks were for backyard naps on a warm summer afternoon, not for camping.  Maybe it was the z-axis altitude change that had me balking, I don't know.  Part of my subconscious pricked my conscious brain about it, as my subconscious seems to enjoy doing in regard to new stuff.  So I'm looking.  

Yet again I have to set aside what I know, empty the vessel, and refill it with a new mix of ideas that will enhance what I do and the choices I make.  Growth certainly is time consuming.  I understand how many get to a point in their lives where they chose to stop learning and just go with what they know, refusing to add anything new to the pile or change direction on their path.

I am not comfortable with being fixed in my ways if there is a means by which something in my life could be done better.  Granted, as I get older I get more skeptical about new stuff, and am getting a bit lazy in doing the research to vet these new idea, but I hope to always entertain a new perspective should it come along.

To date, I've gathered a few web links of use (see my Links page), and am currently digesting all the info they have to offer.  I've already decided I am going to try making my own, and that I am going to try using silk for the main material, and have developed my own (best I can tell) bugnet/storm cover design, which I will post at a later date if the prototype works out.

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” - Bruce Lee

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