New Camp Kicks

Got some new “shoes” to wear around camp [etc.] and I couldn’t be happier!

These are basically like the ubiquitous Crocks™, but I like the design far better. [I never liked the heel-sling on the Crocks]  They have more of the shape of my favorite pair of jungle-mocs… a full shoe shape covering the heels and higher on the top of your foot. I like the grips on the bottom better, and they weigh in at only 8.5oz. in a men’s size 11 [44cm]. Plus at under $9 shipped from China and delivered in only a week, they are a better deal than the $18+ range for Crocks™.

I believe that these “aqua shoes” are what the Chinese use to wear in the public baths.

The insoles are actually held to the main body of the shoe by those five nubs that lock into the sole. They can be popped out to wear the shell as a shower shoe that will drain and dry faster, but together I would have no problem using these for a shallow stream crossing situation.

The tread feels very secure, gives good traction, and the two layers in the sole make it far more soft and comfortable than the Crocks style ones I have tried on.

 

As I said, I got a 11US/44cm… I would have been fine with a size smaller, but these will have room for socks later in the season.

No name/ no brand, these are extrusion molded of something like a heavy CCF [closed cell foam]. The cutouts seem to be shaped well enough that they will not encourage tearing except under duress. These “Aqua Shoes” feel as sturdy as any pair of Crocks, and they slip on-and-off very easily, which is important to me getting in and out of my hammock as often as I do. I have been wearing them around the house and yard for the last few days. They are nice enough that I don’t miss my Teva brand “Pajaro” sandals which are my go-to all summer. I may have more thoughts as time wears on and these have a chance to show their true mettle and how well the soles hold up to wear, but for now I am really pleased.

Link>> “Aqua Shoes”

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“using the mind completely” & “…passing the world right through.”

The way of transcending the world
Exists in passing the world right through.
It is not necessarily in severing ties
With others and fleeing the world altogether.
The means of understanding one’s mind
Exist in using the mind completely.
It is not necessarily in cutting off from desires
And turning the mind to ashes.

– Hung Ying-ming

***********************************

If one purifies the ground of one’s own mind

and beholds one’s own nature,

There remains no Pure Land for which to hope,

No hell to fear,

No passions to overcome,

No duality of good and evil.

One is free from the cycle of rebirths.

One will be born in every life as one’s mind wishes.

– Ikkyu

Buying a Hammock

You want to try out hammocking, but don’t know where to start? There are a lot of “convenient” solutions out here… you can get one at Wally’s or on the net ASAP!

This post is gonna tell you that not all of them are gonna make you happy with the expense and the experience…. So>>

 

Thanks to Bill Puckett over on FB for starting a thread that was badly needed:

“I see a somewhat regular requests by new members along the lines of ” I don’t want to spend much money to try this hammock thing so what should I buy that’s cheap?”. Here is my 2 cents worth of wisdom. If you buy the better products and find that you don’t like hanging for some reason, you can ALWAYS sell your gently used gear for a slight discount to the original price. The good stuff when new rarely goes on sale so a bargain for nearly new gear with good reputation is almost always a workable proposition. The net cost (eyeball estimate) of a round trip (buy, try, sell) is probably less than the cost of cheap/poorly made/poorly designed that you buy then trash.

My advice? Buy the good stuff and learn to use it well. Do your homework before buying (watch Shug’s videos on YouTube and read “The Ultimate Hang”). I think you’ll have better outcomes and will ultimately save yourself both hassle and money.”

The second piece from the same thread is from Devon T. Cloud:

“I think a lot f you are missing the point of Bill’s post. Yes, you’re going to spend a lot of money on your UQ, TP, and accessories regardless. You are however still going to buy that stuff if you are REALLY going to give hammock camping a try. If you don’t purchase that stuff (or at least borrow it from a friend to actually try it) you are not really trying hammock camping. Using a pad and a sleeping bag renders hammock camping on par with tent camping and if you don’t purchase gear that holds your pad in place, maybe even less comfortable.

What Bill is more saying is don’t buy that Ebay or amazon special or other short, cheap hammock – purchase from a reputable brand. Yes you can spend 300 bucks if you want (I did and it was worth every penny), but you don’t have to. Dream Hammock makes a cheap hammock that has an integrated big net for around $125.00. Netless version is around 50 bucks. I believe Dutch has similar options at similar prices, and these are hammocks made out of the correct material instead of that stretchy parachute material that you will most likely never get a flat lay out of. 

In other words, if you are going to try hammock camping, commit to it enough to actually give it a chance instead of shooting your experience in the foot by purchasing an inferior product to save 40 bucks. That extra 40 bucks will make a difference in comfort that is so great it could be the difference between becoming a hammock camper and not becoming one. The extra 40 bucks is well spent one way or the other… after spending it you will truly know whether hammock camping is really for you or not.”

In response to Devon’s words, Thomas Ressler added:

“Very well put. Buy your second hammock first and if you don’t like it, it is easy to sell. Also many cottage vendors will give you a free look at it and you can return it for a full refund. That is our policy at Dutchware. Lastly not only is the value of our cottage vendors there but we have experience and aren’t a hammock made by someone who doesn’t eat work and sleep in a hammock.”

Mr. Ressler is also known to the community as “Dutch”…  suffice it to say he is one of the “gurus” of modern hammocking. His suggestion that you “Buy your second hammock first” is the single best expression of the whole thread.

 

I know that hammocking is gaining in popularity almost daily. I understand that the kids just call it “ENOing” after the ubiquitous Eagles Nest Outfitters hammocks that are out there everywhere from Amazon to REI. ENO clones are all over the net at prices going up from $15… the problems with these are that they are not going to give you that great experience you are hoping for. Some are as little as 8′ long. Most have mighty thin fabric. Most have really clumsy suspensions that are a PITA to get up safely… and ate heavy as well. Yes, many are offered as “double hammocks”. Friends… NEITHER OF YOU CAN GET A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP IN A DOUBLE HAMMOCK [and I don’t even want to get into the horizontal-bop-in-a-hammock thing here… you can try it, betting you won’t like it.] Plus, you won’t believe how much all that “double” fabric droops and flaps in yer face!

Best advice beyond that of the Dutchman, is get yourself over to the HammockForums.net site, go to the forums, read a whole lot of the posts there asking for advice and then scroll down to the vendor links and take a look at the choices. Or find the section on group hangs around the country and go to one… people will usually be glad to explain their choices and let you try out their gear.

Your money will be much better spent, and, most importantly, your experience will be exponentially better, too!

What’s A Hang?

A lot of eating, and we sleep in hammocks.

For this one at Harold Parker SP in Mass, we had three stoves, two grills, a gas smoker, ten pounds of mixed sausages, three racks of ribs, short-ribs, pulled pork, steaks, hot dogs and burgers, “cooler” corn, corn chowder, five salads, potato pie [with bacon], bacon apple pie, dutch oven pizzas, dutch oven “dump” cake, 35 year-old aquavit, three dogs, twenty-five people [ranging in age from 20-74]… and a whole buncha fun!

[Oh, yeah… we gave two newcomers the chance to try out nearly every hammock made, together with other gear, so they can make considered choices when they get ready to spend some money]

At the next hang, we eat lobster!

[Both “n00bs” are already planning on being there, too!]