Hammocking — ham·mock·ing \ˈha-mək\ing: (verb) the act of setting up and subsequently chilling in a hammock.
Hammocks of all shapes and sizes have been around for hundreds of years, some even believe up to a thousand years. Hammock is closely related to the word Hamack, which is a type of tree some of the original hammocks were made of. Ancient civilizations used them for sleeping, holding things up off the dirty floor, and a wide range of other tasks.
After the Europeans were introduced to the new world (and their awesome hammocks), they brought them back to Europe and their usage spread from there. Militaries adapted versions of the hammock for sleeping quarters, prisons used them as cots (I don’t think that lasted long, though), and now they are seen as one of the most universal signs of relaxation.
Recently, hammocking has transformed from a noun to a verb, and I mean so recently that my Microsoft Word still underlines it red and you won't find it on merriam-webster.com. What was once just something you saw in pictures of beachside resorts or island homes is now a growing trend across the county. Newer versions of versatile hammocks have taken off in the market, particularly for high school and college students.
One particular brand that has taken off in recent years is Eagles Nest Outfitters, ENO for short. They make long-lasting hammocks made of nylon taffeta and suspension systems that allow you to hang your hammock from just about anywhere. The hammock, straps and carabiners all fit into a small pouch that can be taken anywhere. ENO also makes an array of accompanying gear that makes
hammocking possible (and really awesome) in any weather.
When I say you can hang your ENO hammock from just about anywhere, I mean anywhere. I was first introduced to hammocking (the verb, not the noun) just two years ago, when a group of my guy friends all started getting them. During the summer between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college, I saw those guys hammock from more places than I thought possible.
They hung their straps on zip lines (which looked really questionable, so I don’t suggest attempting). They hooked themselves together and made hammock trains stretching between trees that were two wide for just one pair of straps. One of my best friends even hung his hammock in the back of his jeep to sleep in on a camping trip. They've stacked their hammocks thirty feet high between two trees, and hung from the swaying goal posts on our high school football field. Anywhere it was possible to hang a hammock, they did.
Hammocking became a huge part of our friend group. Hanging out became synonymous with finding a new place to hammock. Everyone had different colors; we looked like a nerdy rainbow hanging by the lake. Discovering the verb hammocking had brought us all closer. Suddenly we all had one HUGE thing that linked us all together (sometimes literally).
So whether you are a skilled hammocking machine or a beginner trying out your straps for the first time, be prepared for hammocking to change a lot more than where you sleep on camping trips. Those ENO carabiners have the ability to link together a lot more than a few hammocks. Some of my favorite summer memories over the past few years have been while lying (occasionally upside down) in my hammock. And the same hammock I first got when the trend took hold of my friend group is still with me, as strong as ever.
Long live the friendships I made in that hammock, and long live my ENO.
*Disclaimer: Gearhead Outfitters, Inc. wants to promote a safe, active, outdoor lifestyle. We recommend not exceeding the recommended height for hammocks of 36", and please be aware of hammocking best practices on the ENO website.
Photo Credit: Bror Thirion