While the origins of the hammock remains unknown, it is believed the practice began among fishermen in Pre-Columbian Latin America. Having few supplies on hand and not wanting to sleep among the critters on the ground, hammocks proved efficient and comfortable for generations to come. You might be interested to know that even Sir Robert Baden-Powell used a hammock to camp with. In 1911, he created “My House In the Woods,” a watercolor painting documenting his campsite setup. Today, hammocks come in all styles and prints, used by thrill seeking cliffside campers and suburban porch loungers alike…and thanks to a grant from Hennessy Hammock, you can try them yourself at Mays Family Scout Ranch.
A New Campsite is Prepared
Hammocks camping requires trees, not platforms and clearnings like tents do. Followers of the Leave No Trace Principals point out that when using proper hammock camping equipment, campers impact the environment less than traditional tent camping does. Still, the grounds chosen for Primitive Site 3 (PS3) needed to be prepared. Beginning in 2020, Troop 93 volunteered multiple weekends clearing brush to develop the site. Adam Arntson, the Ranger for the camp discussed the finished project. “This is our most backcountry site and sits close to the Medina river. This is an excellent hike-in experience and perfect for hammock camping, thought there is room for traditional tents if someone opts to camp that way.”
PS3 is tucked among the many hackberry, pecan, and various other trees in the lowlands near the Medina river. The area offers incredible relief from the sun on a hot Texas summer day, and is the perfect place to hang a hammock. In the winter, after the leaves have fallen, the sun shines bright, giving campers an entirely different experience.
Hennessy Hammocks – the Industry Standard
“The single person Hennessy Hammock’s are fully enclosed, like a tent you can hang, have rainflies, and built-in bug screens. And don’t worry about falling over in these hammocks… no, they are built in such a way that falling over is impossible,” Ranger Adam insisted. “In fact, you don’t get in by sitting down and swinging your legs over at all, you actually climb in from the bottom near where your legs would go. I know it may sound weird and difficult, but it is not… explaining it properly here is much harder than using the hammock, believe me!”
How to Properly Use a Hammock
Those unfamiliar with using a hammock may have some reservations about using them. Some, may have tried it, but didn’t like it, which the Ranger replied, “There is a good chance you used it incorrectly.” Most believe all you need to do is climb in with your head pointing toward one tree and your feet toward the other. While that might be fine to recover after mowing the lawn, it certainly won’t give a good night’s rest. Ranger Adam recommends visiting Derek Hansen’s website, The Ultimate Hang. “It’s the first place I go,” he said, mentioning that the two of them have corresponded a few times already. “He’s a Scout himself. In fact, Derek’s first time hammock camping was at a Boy Scout High Adventure Base when he was 14.”
Ready to Hangout at Mays Family Scout Ranch?
Mays Family Scout Ranch has 20-hammocks for rent in addition to standard campsite rental fees. Visit www.MaysFamilyScoutRanch.org, and make sure to choose Primitive Campsite 3 for your site. Once the reservation is made, email Mays@AlamoAreaBSA.org to coordinate the equipment rental for your visit.
Hammock Rental (2-night minimum)………………….. $30/each
Additional Nights………………………………………………. $10
Links to TheUltimateHang.com used with permission from Derek Hanson
Derek Hansen is a lightweight backpacker, former Scoutmaster, and “hammock enthusiast” who enjoyed his first hammock hang at age 14 at a Boy Scout high adventure base. When he’s not out testing outdoor gear, he enjoys reading and spending time with his family.