Archive for the ‘hammock skills’ Category

hammock comfort

Posted: June 29, 2015 by Jeff Fabiszewski in blog, Gear Reviews, hammock skills

There are many advantages to hammock camping in Florida.  Many people think that the heat, humidity, and biting insects are a deterrent to camping.  That does not need to be the case.  Hammock camping is fast to set up.  The the material aids in comfort; say goodnight to hard ground, rocks and sticks poking your back as you sleep.  And the user gets rocked to sleep under a star filled sky.  And when it comes to ticks, chiggers, mites, and mosquitoes the entire sleep system is treated in Permethrin Insect Repellent.



To stay cool we focus on the site.  We look for a place that will aid in keeping air flowing around the hammock.  As kayakers it is easy to suspend the hammock next to and sometimes over water to maximize the breeze; although, doing so has made for some interesting stories.  Pay attention to the tides and animal trails when camping next to the water.  You could find yourself being bumped by a nocturnal animal going to the water.  Or waking up wet due to rising waters.


hammock camping in florida

In many ways to the onlooker it looks like we are topless.  We still set up the tarp over the hammock with bug net; and adjust it in a way that it is not directly over the top of the hammock to allow for quick deployment over the sleep system if we get a surprise midnight Florida shower.  This is simply done by folding the tarp on to itself.  In addition to the tarp being arranged in a way to not restrict air flow and our view to the stars.

Drip lines are also added on to the Slap Straps so rain water does not flow down the hammock. ¬†Some people like to hang a battery operated fan along the ridge line inside the hammock bug netting. ¬†We forgo the fans for a simpler yet effective natural air conditioning system. ¬†Before going to sleep we soak the bug net in water. ¬†This helps to cool the interior of the sleep system through evaporation cooling if the hammock remains dry and there is a steady flow of air. ¬†I also sleep better clean and tolerate the heat easier during the night. ¬†So I take a quick shower away from the water’s edge with potable water, some no-rinse, and a wash cloth.

To protect the trees we like to use a thick webbing nylon daisy chain, also known as ENO Slap Strap.  This protects the bark and eliminates the need to tie knots.  We have had success with TreeHuger Hammocks and ENO Eagle Nest Outfitters sleep system.

There is little need for light when camping when there are stars and the moon.  Never the less, we have occasionally use two types of lights around camp; in addition, we do use a head lamp in camp.  The Luci portable solar LED lantern made by MPOWERD and ENO Twilights.

mpowerd-luci-inflatable-solar-lantern-xlENO Twilight_blue

And let us not forget have an empty bottle with in the sleep system.  If you have a urin bottle there will be less of a need to leave the comfort of the bug net.

I normally sleep on the diagonal with a Klymit Pillow X.  Sean sleeps in the fetal position with a shirt as a pillow

We have paddled this river many times and every time something new occurs.  In the past we have heard deep cat like guttural sounds, found a leg of a deer along the bank, and been surprised by an owl flying over our head.  And the night we spent out there held a special surprise for me.

Early that day Sean and a few of our friends paddled up to Silver River. I was unable to join them because I was teaching a rolling class two hours away.¬† By the time I was able to join Sean they had finished paddling Silver River and were waiting for me at Ray’s Way Side Park.¬† It is a common thing that they were waiting on me.

We gathered our camping kits then paddled down river to join up to the Oklawaha.  The water was clearer than usual due to all of the rain.  And the trees had that ravaged windblown look.  The park service has been implementing designated camping locations to decrease the impact of camping along the shore line.  And it seemed to be working because where we camped looked great!  There was no trash, and we had a table.

It is always amazing how much gear some paddlers can put into their kayaks.  Two of our friends brought so much gear for this overnight paddle that I thought they planned on staying for a month.  But Sean was guilty of this packing style when we first paddled around Pinellas County.

During dinner the six of us swapped stories of better ways to cook, pack, and what not to do.  Sean once had an aluminum cook set.  And he forgot his hot pad to remove the pot from the stove… He used his bare hand to pick it up from the handle… the next camping trip he had a new GSI cook set.

Sean burnt his finger two years ago

I too have done some silly things but I did my most memorable mistakes when I was in Scouts.  One mistake I witnessed was trying to speed up the baking of a cobbler in an aluminum dutch-oven by adding more wood.  I do not know how hot the fire got but it melted the aluminum dutch-oven.

We also had a fire on the Oklawaha River.  Camping is just not camping without one.  The only thing that burned was Kevin’s marshmallows.  Some people like their s’mores extra crispy.  Granted I like to have baked apples as my campfire snack.

We then all bedded down for the night.  Everyone was in tents but me.  I wanted to sleep in my hammock and be gently rocked to sleep.  A few hours before dawn, I was abruptly woken up by a solid bump.  Something walked under me and was tall enough to push me like one does to an obstructing tree limb.  I held my breath.  All I could see was blurry starlight.  What I heard sounded familiar.  It didn’t sound like a dog walking through camp.  It sounded more like a buck.

I did not fall asleep after that bump.  The mind creates so many plausible and frightening ideas.  After the sun started to break I checked the bank for tracks.  And I did see some deer tracks near the water edge.  So maybe a deer did walk under me thinking I was a tree limb.

– Jeff

go fly a kite

Posted: June 15, 2010 by Jeff Fabiszewski in Florida Kayaking, hammock skills, Think Green

This past weekend Sean and I paddled a part of our inter coastal water way.  In the future the oil from the Gulf probably will kill everything around us.  But until then we wanted to enjoy the simple pleasures that kayaking has to offer.  The change of scenery from our asphalt cement synthetic light jungle to the earthy wild moon lit lands are always refreshing to visit by kayak.  And this time I added something new to our adventure on one of the spoil islands.

I added a kite to my kayaking kit.  I cannot tell you the last time I played with a kite.  Watching it magically dance above the trees.  Wondering if that thin line would keep it tethered to earth.  Were those trees trying to grab the kite and shred its freedom?  There might me a metaphor between those lines.

The kite did fall into the trees a few times.  The line even snapped once.  But both instances the kite was able to fly again.  I could have flown it all day long.

The tide started going out so we looked into the tidal pools to see what was around…

After investigating our little island we ate and relaxed by our little camp fire.  We did have a little rain Saturday night.  Well actually it was a lot of rain.  It was a white out.  It rained hard for ten minutes and then nothing.  It worked like natural air conditioning.  A great way to fall asleep in hammocks.

The following morning we rolled out of our hammocks, packed up our kits, and paddled to meet some friends of Sean’s.¬† They just purchased new kayaks, a Chatham 17 and an Eliza.¬† They wanted some tips on self rescues with their new kayaks.¬† So we helped them get to know their new paddling partners. (I see my kayak as a paddling partner, without it, I am just floating around, LOL)

We paddled with them until noon and then we went our separate ways.   Back to what we left behind.  РJeff

Published on

The unusual things make memories.

Before paddling in the Florida Keys, my memorable stories of past events have been about rogue water features, the confused aquatic life, or a memorable time at the boat launch. Well one night during an attempt to paddle around the Florida Keys several four legged mammals made the evening something to remember.

On the third night, we made camp at a designated kayak camping key. It looked as if we were the first people to have ever camped there. My two friends hung their hammocks and I pitched my tent. It was just a normal evening. Although, as the sun disappeared into the horizon, we began to hear a commotion down by our kayaks. We walked down to the only sandy part of the beach thinking that we could help some fellow paddlers land their kayaks.

There was no sign of life on the small sandy beach. The idea of a raccoon scurrying seemed like a possible idea, but I saw no tracks. We still put rocks on top of the hatches and returned to camp. Just in case we were sharing the small island with some four legged friends we placed our food into a bear-bag and suspended it in a tree.

By this time, the sun was gone but not the sound of activity coming from the trees. Then tiny eyes appeared. Rats were the owners of this island. Well they kept an eye on us, and we gave them little thought as we went to bed. The three of us believed there was nothing in camp that would be of an interest to them.

Well we were wrong. The three of us did have something that rats found interesting. For a while, the symphony of snoring from my paddling friends lulled me to sleep until an excited rat started having fun. The rat ran up the side of my tent and slid down the tarp. All night the rats played on the guidelines over the hammocks and sliding down our tarps. I guess they were board.

They never got into the food. Nor did they do any damage to our gear. And they left us with a cool story to tell.

Written by: Jeffrey Fabiszewski – St Petersburg, FL., 02-03-2010

Illustration by ©2010 Inc.