Cruising Dreams Are Made Of This

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

Why didn't we get a hammock years ago when we first started cruising? Silly me!

Okay, admit it. Somewhere along the line you’ve had a dream of lounging in a hammock aboard your boat in a tropical location. Or stringing that hammock up on a secluded beach somewhere.

But for whatever reason, you never quite got around to getting that hammock.

That was us. As a kid, we always had a hammock in the front yard at our cabin on a lake in Michigan. I loved it! And when we talked about cruising, I always imagined a hammock strung up on the foredeck. For some reason, we never got one. Until now.

About a month ago, Emma from Travelling Accessories asked if I‘d like to review her latest offering (she also sells these great “purse/tote bag” dry bags) – a hammock that’s designed to be strung on a boat or from trees. As you might guess, it took me all of about two seconds to reply YES!

We got it a couple of weeks ago and I can only say that I love it. How nice to get something just for fun in the middle of things like bilge alarms, spare parts for the engine and so on.

Admittedly, it took a little trial and error to find good attachment points on the boat – far enough apart and also sturdy – but pretty soon we had the perfect spot between the forestay and a sidestay.

Besides the fact that I just plain enjoy having a hammock, there are several reasons that I like this one:

  • It takes almost no space to store – just a little larger than a ball cap (we’ve had a lot of windy days so we take it down whenever we’re not using it)

Why didn't we get one of these years ago when we first started cruising? Silly me!

  • Once we figured out the attachment points, it takes less than 30 seconds to set it up. This means that we use it even if just for 15 minutes at a time.
  • Stainless carabiners that won’t corrode (many others are steel, which quickly rust in salt air). In case of salt build up, just soak in a vinegar/water bath.
  • Holds up to 400 pounds – altlhough it’s light weight and tiny to store, it’s strong.
  • Two nine-foot long tree straps (that can be clipped much shorter than that if needed) mean that you are almost certain to find somewhere to attach it.

Why didn't we get one of these years ago when we first started cruising? Silly me!

  • Webbing for the straps instead of rope – less point loading on the forestay and furler if that’s where you attach it.
  • Nifty loops in the tree straps make setting it up and adjusting it a breeze. No knots to tie!
  • Sewn-in storage bag so you don’t lose it overboard.
  • Total package – everything is ready to go; I didn’t need anything else. Some travel hammocks don’t come with tree straps or you have to tie everything together.

This last point was one of the reasons I’d never bought a hammock before – I didn’t know what all we’d need. The idea of one that was ready to go really appealed to me!

A few tips on setting a hammock up:

  • Try to have the hammock stretched out lengthwise as much as possible; if the two ends are too close together, you’ll find your feet trying to touch your head once you’re in it.
  • If using the forestay as an attachment point, put the strap above the jib sheets so it won’t slide down too far.
  • If attaching to the mast, go above the main/boom for the same reason.
  • Close hatches under the hammock!
  • Don’t attach to lifelines or stanchions – you’re likely to bend the stanchions.

Looking around, I do find some other travel hammocks that are less expensive, but from what I can tell they don’t have the features such as stainless  clips or an all-in-one package (that is, tree straps have to be purchased separately).

Emma/Travelling Accessories sells these only on Amazon:

Now that I know how great it is to have a hammock aboard, I can’t imagine why we didn’t get one years ago!

Why didn't we get one of these years ago when we first started cruising? Silly me!

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  1. After many sleepless nights on land trips through VZ, I think they are an acquired taste….lol. Sport-a-seats do it for us.

  2. Oh Darrell Williams, just for you

  3. My daughter bought me a hammock in south america and we found a perfect attachment set up in the Camden Stables market in London ! Totallynot boat related but it works great ! We use itwhen ever we can its so comfy !
    Glad you are enjoying it ! A good book and a beverage and your all set !

  4. Andrew Meacham

  5. So glad you guys are loving it!! <3

  6. We love our ENO hammocks, but we had to buy straps in addition and the carabiners are plastic. This looks like a great deal!

  7. my wife and I go out about a week in every six or so in our van conversion. While the van it a totally cool rolling bed & breakfast we find ourselves sleeping in the hammocks cuz they are so fun. not sure if the link will come through but here are a couple of fun shots. One with two from trees, and then one with four on DIY stands prepping for a trip with our adult kids who were visiting us last summer near Mt. Rainer Washington.

    : ) Thom

    • Love that group of four!

      • Yea it was a totally fun camp set up (that photo was just a test in our yard before the trip).
        I wanted to see if my wife and our two kids could have a Walton’s reenactment of “Good Night John Boy” in camp. Way silly fun!

        On “Do you carry the frames too?”
        Yes. I made them out of easy to find items at Home Depot. They fold up and stow under our bed. Below is another link showing my wife’s Warbonnet Ridge Runner on one of our TATO stands (not DIY, but the one of the top portable commercial stands out there.) We went the _stand_ route to keep the peace between us and any rangers that happen upon us in the forestry camps. The LUV our setups!

        : ) Thom

        • Barbara K says:

          No bear encounters? LOL

          • We do regularly camp in “Bear Country” so much so that we swapped out all gear/containers for “Certified Bear Proof” containers. In some areas it is posted that fines are possible for any food left out in camp without proper containers.

            Fortunately we’ve had no big furry visitors.

    • Barbara K says:

      The 4 are amazing. Do you carry the frames too?

      • I don’t actually sell them. Those were done with large tripods (maybe old surveyor’s equipment?) with horizontal pipes and straps connecting them. Just have to be sufficient to hold the weight.

        • Barbara K says:

          Great idea to use old equipment 🙂

          But what I meant to ask the van conversion person (Thom) was: does he carry the frames in his van?

          • Sorry for the misunderstanding . . . the minute I read your note I started laughing. Duh!

          • I might have replied to this already???
            Yes we carry two pairs of stands (for our two hammocks) under the platform bed in the van.
            As an aside, IF there happens to be any of you that want a couple of the DIY stands I built I have two to give away (free) to someone in need if they want to visit the Oregon coast (Astoria) to pick them up. Let me know (I should get an email if someone replies to this thread?) and we can go from there.

  8. Barbara K says:

    It’s half price on amazon right now.

  9. Amazon has the hammocks on sale today!

  10. C.C. MacNair says:

    Backpackers have been using hammocks for years for camping. I have a Warbonnet Blackbird that I love it came with tree straps and titanium carabiners and a built in foot box. If you go to Warbonnet web site they give links to video’s on the proper way to set up a hammock along with the proper way to sleep in them which is level and at a diagonal. The best sleep I have ever had. Enjoy your articles and read them every chance I get. Keep up the great tips.

    • Thumbs up on the Warbonnet hammocks. I too have a WB Blackbird, and my wife sleeps in a WB Ridge-Runner. And two of their “Superfly” hammock tarps. Quality craftsmanship from a US cottage vendor. The owner is tops!!

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