Prep: Sleeping Quarters

It’s a good thing I left enough time to test things before the tour. I had Plans A and B for sleeping accommodations, waffled between the two for a few months, and finally  went with Plan B. It was the privacy and bike security (out of the sight of passersby) that tipped the scales. Maybe not the most comfy sleep, but other factors made up for that. Or so I thought.

Plan B

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With the near end pointed into a stiff wind. It zips closed with the bike inside.

Unfortunately, I found this clever tent option to be too noisy in the wind. It had the loud slapping/snapping sounds of a large flag. I couldn’t adjust it and reduce the racket and it woke me repeatedly throughout the breezy night, whenever the wind picked up. Additionally, my back was not pleased with the cot/inflated pad/sleeping bag setup.

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It seemed like such a good idea… alas, not for me it turned out.

Returns were allowed, but opened packages would need inspection and the refund would be lowered. Shipping would be on my dime, possibly back to China or maybe to Europe where the business is located, and the whole process till I saw any money back could be six weeks. I decided to instead sell it off on a popular motorcycle forum’s marketplace at a discount. It was snatched up, payment received via PayPal within three hours.

It’s a very good tent, just not for me.

Plan A

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Assembly wasn’t as complicated as it appears. I pretty much got it right the first time. It’s designed to allow hiking poles to prop up the tarp for a nice view, more ventilation.

With most of my funds replenished, I ordered items for the original Plan A: Amok Draumr hammock including their custom insulated pad & tarp; Tensa4 ultralight hammock stand.

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Ahhhhh! Like reclining on a cloud. It even has a “seat mode”. There’s a zipped bug net but I didn’t need it last night.

A hammock was my preference because for five years prior to my full-time RVing I had slept in a hammock-on-a-stand indoors. Blissful comfort; my back loved it. So did my cat—the Maine Coon named Tali I had at the time (and for my first year of travel) would leap into it, swing wildly, then snooze happily once things settled. She had never been the type to snuggle and sleep with me until that hammock. She insisted on sharing it with me.

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The morning after. Note that the tarp is adjusted low and tight to the hammock for “storm mode”, as they call it, to help block most of the wind.

The problem with hammocks & travel is that there aren’t always trees available. Even when there are, more and more frequently the rules forbid tying straps or anything else on them for fear of damaging them. Bryce Canyon National Park is one such place. But it was fine at Grand Canyon National Park where I was a campground host last summer (North Rim). When asked if it was okay I said our Ponderosa pines weren’t like those weak, wimpy trees in other parks. Heh.

Anyway, the Tensa4 hammock stand solves that issue. With it, I can hammock camp just about anywhere—far more places than with a tent. Its footprint is tiny, you don’t need level ground, and the ground conditions don’t matter. Mud, rocks, even water (within reason!) is fine since you hang above it all. And when there are appropriate trees, where it’s still allowed, the Amok hammock is even easier to set up, sans stand.

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Everything fits in my yellow waterproof dry bag strapped along the passenger seat & rear rack. 29 lbs including sleeping quilt, pillow, and the bag itself. About the same as Plan B would have been with cot and all, but more compact.

Plan A will work for me. The timing was great when I got the final part (the stand): moderately windy and rain off and on all night. I put it through a… not “worst case” by any means, but sufficiently adverse conditions that I would be able to tell if I can get used to the setup, learn to live with it. Verdict: yes, it should be fine.

By the way, it lays completely flat once you’re inside the Amok hammock. You don’t sleep with it slanted towards the feet unless you want to—there are adjustments to raise the head/back into a lounging seated mode. You can tweak the leg end for that mode as well. Go to their site if you’re curious.

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Product photos from the Amok site since the hammock itself in my pics is hard to make out under the tarp.

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