Having a hammock in your bug out bag will help you get the needed rest to recover from a stressful situation. However, it is more than a sleeping accessory and as you will discover in this article, hammocks are versatile and can be used in various situations.
If you go camping often, you probably learned the hard way that a rough night out can ruin the next day. You will have a hard time adapting to the situation, even though it’s just a recreational experience. Imagine having to survive in the wilderness with a weak mind and body just because you didn’t manage to get some shut-eye.
I’ve spent countless nights sleeping in my hammock. There is a learning curve you should master before being able to swing from trees and get the rest you deserve. Even more, I’ve looked for alternative uses for my hammock, wanting to get more out of it. Your hammock becomes an important part of your prep if you learn how to use it other than for its most obvious use.
The deal with hammocks
In its most basic form, a hammock is a square or rectangular piece of fabric or netting, gathered together at each end with rope, webbing or a metal ring. Straps or ropes help you attached the gathered ends to a pair of anchors (usually trees). There are many ways to use a hammock, but for my examples, we will go with a net hammock since it’s the most accessible and it offers more possibilities. I also recommend reading the following article, since will teach you some useful tips and tricks for setting it:
Alternative uses for a hammock
1. It can be used as a sine net
If you think about it, a net hammock is a glorified fishing net reworked into a place to sleep. If you want to use it for fishing proposes you have to establish a goal. Rather than using it as a loop-shaped net for bass or other fish, try to use it as a seine net.
To put it in a few words, a seine net is a large net that is thrown over a location where fish are expected to be or where they are baited. People from all over the world are using seine nets to catch a school of fish in places where fish is expected to be found.
Even more, some people use it to catch fish swimming upstream or downstream. What they do is stretch the hammock over a stream and anchor it in place. As long as the fish is big enough to get stuck in the loops of your hammock, you will have something to put on the plate.
Now, this may sound simple enough, but some work needs to be done. You should start first by removing the pieces that bind the ends together. By doing so, you will have a larger, rectangular net and more chances of catching something. Once you remove the binding pieces, you will need to search for two sticks about 6 feet in length. You will use these to hold the net in place.
Related article: How To Use Zip-ties In An Emergency Situation
Make sure you secure the net to the sticks using paracord or zip-ties. The bottom of the net should be placed at the bottom of the sticks to prevent fish from passing underneath your net. While you can secure the sticks into the bottom of the stream at each bank, I recommend stretching the net out and swing it into an arc. This will help you heard the fish to the bank where they can be easily picked by hand.
2. Turn your SUV into an RV
If you like to go camping, you should know by now how difficult is to find a place where to hang your hammock. It takes quite some time till you are able to find two trees at a suitable distance apart to form the proper amount of curve for it. This is why people have hung their hammocks from their minivan or SUV.
To make this work you need a long enough car. Start by wedging the ends of the hammock in the passenger-side front door and in the corner of the tailgate on the driver’s side. Begin at the tailgate and drop the hammock in between the upper left-hand corner of the body of the vehicle and the open tailgate. Close the tailgate to secure one end of the hammock.
The next step requires dropping the seats, so they lay as flat as possible. Finish the work by wedging the other end of the hammock in the passenger-side front door. Now you have a nice place to sleep, without cramping inside your car. Make sure you lock the doors to avoid someone from opening them and ruining your sleep.
3. Use your hammock as a cargo net
The mesh of the hammock is flexible enough to be used as a cargo net for bulky items. You can stretch the hammock over whatever you want to prevent the items you carry from moving around in the car as you drive. Now, you can secure the ends with cords or zip-ties and even a small carabiner will work if you have them.
You can also lay the hammock out, flat on the ground and pile everything you need to carry on it. Gather the ends of the hammock together and tie them with a cord. You will have a sturdy carrying bag that you can sling over your shoulder.
4. Improvise a hanging chair
Some people turn their hammocks sideways and move it forwards so that they can sit with their legs hanging over the front end of the hammock with the rest of it going up their backs. I’ve seen this setup done many times and it helps create a relaxing and comfortable chair.
Even more, I’ve seen it used for fishing as the improvised chair was hung by a tree leaning over a stream. It’s an ingenious method to fish while relaxing at the same time.
5. You can make a ghillie cloak from your hammock
A mesh one can be turned into a ghillie suit with a little bit of work. You will need to cut some small branches and grasses, whatever you can find in the environment around you. After you find enough vegetation, weave them into the mesh of the hammock. You can use the paracord from your bag to tie the vegetation in place, or use zip-ties. Once you have the ghillie cloak ready, you can lay it over yourself as camouflage. You can also use it as a hunting blind and set it in various positions. Place it where you know your dinner is walking by.
A final word
The versatility of a hammock is not up for debate. It’s more than a sleeping accessory if you know how to use it. Setting it up the right way and making good use of the tricks listed in this article will provide you with a better camping experience. A hammock is an ideal piece of gear for your bug out bag.
You should consider getting one, especially if you have kids. Children love hammocks and they will play in them for hours. Most importantly you won’t have to fight a constant battle to keep them happy while exploring the great outdoors.