June 13, 2024

Backcountry Bowhunting

Off The Beaten Path… No Regrets

Why I Made The Switch

2 min read
Colorado Elk Camp

Thinking out of the box or non-traditionally is something that I’ve done for quite some time. I made the move from a tent to using a bivy sack years ago. Why? Simplicity and weight savings. Well, now that I’m older, it’s time to re-think things again. 25 years ago I had 2 lower back surgeries. This was the real push for me to go ultralight.

During my ultralight weight gear and bivy sack days I still opted for an upgraded sleeping pad. With my back, I just didn’t want to skimp in that area. Most carry some sort of luxury item, this was mine.

Last summer, on a spur of the moment, I bought a simple hammock. It was a basic setup that included everything I needed to “hang”. I read that to lay comfortably and flat you need to lay diagonally. WOW! It worked! Moments into my first time in the hammock I was hooked! I needed more gear to make the transition to the trees but it was soooo comfortable I was committed.

Warbonnet Blackbird XLC

A huge benefit of moving to the trees is that level ground is no longer needed. Don’t under estimate this benefit. No more looking for a flat, root and rock free area to set up a tent. Just find some trees that are ~15 feet apart and you’re good.

What about the weight? Isn’t a hammock setup heavier than a bivy sack? Yes, but the sleep quality, in my opinion, is worth the slight weight increase. Below is a chart that compares the weights of using a hammock with a bivy sack or tent.

ItemHammockBivy SackTent
  REI Quarter Dome
  Integral Designs 5’x8′
  Warbonnet Minifly
Bivy Sack
  REI Minimalist
Down Quilt
  Golite 30
Sleeping Pad
  NeoAir Xtherm Pad
  Warbonnet 20 degree Wookie
  Warbonnet Blackbird XLC

Bottom line. If you’ve got back problems I’d suggest giving a hammock a try. No joke, I sleep better in my hammock than I do in our high-end mattress at home. To wake up with no aches or pains is worth it to me.

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