A little over twenty years ago we went backpacking for the first time with our children (teens and tweens). It was a great family time and brought a sense of satisfaction to be able to carry all your needs for a few days on your back and enjoy the time in the outdoors. We continued this tradition for a few years but then decided to move on to other pursuits – horseback trips, white water rafting etc.
In the last few months I have been doing research on hammocks and discovered the wide array of camping hammocks available now. Back when we went it was carry the tent and sleeping bag and, if you were “lucky”, a small foam pad to keep you warm and give a little cushion from the hard ground. I have many fond memories of the times we spent together but not such fond memories of the actual hike or the sleeping on the hard, rough ground. (O.K., I’m a bit of a wimp.)
We went with another family who also had children the about same age as ours. We learned to get along with others, to share and to help each other.
This picture was taken at the start of one of our excursions. Our children learned to love and appreciate the outdoors – although none of them do any backpacking at this time – and they still enjoy camping.
As I learned about the camping hammocks – the ease of set-up, the comfort, the light weight – I began to wish that I could try backpacking again. I’m not really serious about it because, at almost retirement age and not being in great shape (looking at knee replacement in the next year or so) I doubt I could handle it. However, I am envious of the younger generation that have so many options available to them.
I’m quite sure there were hammocks available for camping back when we were doing our outings, but it was something I’d never heard of. I’m also sure that there have been great improvements in the camping hammocks over the past twenty years as well as an increased selection.
Now as I think about camping, I wonder what it would be like to use a hammock instead of a tent and sleeping bag. We have been going on three generation camps for over ten years but have progressed from tenting, to tent trailer to fifth wheel camper. Maybe it’s time to take a step back to the simpler way?