Need a Father’s Day gift? Don’t underestimate the power of a hammock


If you find yourself in need of a necktie over the next week or so, you might be out of luck.

Yes … it is that time of year when so many people honor Dad with a colorful new tie as a token of gratitude for all the support, affection and guidance over the years.  While the stereotypical Father’s Day gift does give Dad a bigger selection of ties for the next job interview, wedding party or bar mitzvah … many outdoors-centric fathers may be hoping for something different this year.In two blog posts last year, I suggested replacing that necktie with a Leatherman all-purpose tool, a neat digital trail camera or a simple but useful headlamp.

Need another last-minute idea? How about a hammock?

At our campsite for the past several years, one of the social hot-spots has been a cheap hammock we bought at Wal-Mart and hung between a pair of trees. I believe we paid just $15 and while I did have one incident where I didn’t tighten my knots and wound up on the ground, the hammock served quite well.

Heading into this camping season, though, my wife found the perfect upgrade. It is a large stand hammock (shown above). No more need for knots, and it is possibly the most comfortable thing I’ve ever laid in. They come in all sizes, colors and price ranges — and while the cheaper alternatives will provide Dad with plenty of relaxation if used and stored properly, it doesn’t hurt to splurge a little on a nicer model. Our new hammock can hold quite a lot — as you see in the picture, nine kids piled in on a recent camping adventure. It is built to hold up to 450 pounds.

And there are few things more tranquil than laying in a hammock and watching the clouds drift through a blue sky while listening to a few wild birds or the ripple of a nearby creek.

Growing up in Scouts, I’ve slept overnight in my share of hammocks, and it can be quite an experience. It is a good idea to keep an eye on the weather and if rain is in the forecast, to use a plastic tarp or rain fly. Remember that even on clear nights, dew will form and your sleeping bag will likely need to be air-dried the next day.

Also, with your body exposed to air on all sides, you will get much cooler sleeping in a hammock than you would on the ground — so be sure to have a few extra blankets around and line the inside of your hammock before laying down.

And you never know when sleeping in a hammock overnight will bring you closer to nature. On one Scout camping trip, one of the older teens announced to the troop that he was going to do the manly thing and sleep out in a hammock while we all hid in our tents. Early in the morning, we awoke to him screaming that there was a “Chewbacca” on him. The beast turned out to be a curious chipmunk that jumped off a tree and onto his chest while he was still sleeping.

One warning though to all dads … if you do get a hammock for Father’s Day, don’t leave it unoccupied for too long. My wife and I have learned that hammocks are quite the kid-magnet — so be prepared to protect your territory!

Have you ever spent the night in a hammock? Do you have any interesting hammock stories? We’d love to hear them!


~ by zaktansky on June 15, 2013.

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