Canadian Park Hound

Outdoor Trips & Tips With The Novice Bushwacker

Aren’t you afraid of bears when you sleep in a hammock?

with 3 comments

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This post was inspired by a comment that I received today. Andrew asked, “never concerned about animals (bears) when sleeping in a hammock??”. 10 times out of 10, whenever I mention that I sleep in a hammock I get asked this question, so fair enough. Here’s my perspective on the question.

Yes, I concern myself with animal encounters. No, I’m not worried about them.

I came to find out about hammock camping after researching solo tents. Previously I only had a 3-man tent and I quickly discovered just how heavy it was for solo tripping. I checked out the Hennessy Hammock, read the reviews, testimonials, watched a bunch of clips on YouTube and decided to take the plunge. The sales guy at MEC did make a crack about being a “bear sausage”, but that didn’t deter me. My first hammock was the Hennessy “Ultralite”. I’ve since added the “Expedition” model to my gear.

I actually feel safer in my hammock than I do in a tent. When it comes right down to it, you’re wrapped in nylon and you find yourself in the extremely rare situation to have a predaceous bear clamped down on your ass… it won’t matter which shelter you’re in.

That said, I’m not worried, but I do concern myself with the idea and take precautions.

  1. I keep my site fastidiously clean and I hang my food in a well sealed bag as far away from my sleeping area as possible.
  2. I never eat in my tent. Ever.
  3. I carry bear spray.

The great thing about the Hennessy Hammock (and why I feel safer in it than a tent), is that the upper half of the hammock is “no see-um” mesh and you can see outside (even with the fly up) much easier than if you’re in a tent. You have a wider range of vision and therefore, more reaction time if you do in fact get an unwanted visitor to your site. There is a ridge line inside the hammock that you can clip handy items to (ie. – bear spray, hunting knife, air horn etc.).

View from inside the Hammock (Guskewa Lake, Algonquin) IMG_1852

I have yet to see a bear.

Famous last words, perhaps. My feeling is that, if it should come to pass that I meet my end by bear attack or by a mauling from a bull moose during the rut (or a deranged wolf that hasn’t eaten in months)… at least they’ll have a helluva story to tell at my funeral. I’m not sure that cancer or a car crash would be a more desirable way, even though those situations are more likely (statistically speaking).
I visit the backwoods knowing that I’m not on the menu and that I need to give the true inhabitants of the woods a great deal of respect and a wide berth. I haven’t seen a bear during my travels yet, but I’d like to… from a safe distance, of course.

During my last trip (blog post to come), we did see clear evidence of a bear visit on the island that our site was on. I’m sure it took one whiff of us and gave us the wide berth.

They’re out there though. No doubt about it. When I came back from a solo trip a few years ago, this is what my car looked like…

IMG_2095

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Written by canadianparkhound

February 7, 2014 at 4:31 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Ha ha! Camping in my Hennessy hammock across Canada at the moment and have had similar concerns! Think I should get me some bear spray and maybe an air horn!

    rowsbywoof

    August 8, 2016 at 2:11 am

    • Excellent! Yes, bear spray is always a good idea. An air horn, too!

      canadianparkhound

      August 8, 2016 at 9:04 am

  2. Reblogged this on Rowsbywoof and commented:
    This chap has had similar concerns as me!
    I like the “bear sausage” phrase!

    rowsbywoof

    August 8, 2016 at 2:13 am


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