Saturday, October 27, 2012

A new mania

I always enjoyed watching wind and the willows.  I loved Mr. Toad and his many manias.  Little did I know as a young child that I would be somewhat obsessive.  Whenever I had a "hobby" it was life consuming.  When I was into miniatures and cards I ate and slept Warhammer, Lord of the Rings, and the American Civil War.  When I learned I could make pipes all I could talk about was briar grain, tobacco, stem making techniques, and the great carvers.  This of course was interspersed with waves of miniature painting and trying to convince my wife that playing Mordheim was fun.  Then came the motorcycles.  Oh and I forgot to mention the pen making, brush shaving, and being a rockstar.

With no workshop here and even less people to play miniatures with than I had in Ohio (which was 1) I have now turned to a new mania.  In the summer of 2002 I went backpacking in the Jenny Lakes wilderness.  I had been on a few trips before as well and I loved it every-time.  This time I had a herd of ping pong ball like mice running over my chest while I slept under the stars.  Rodents using my body as part of an obstacle course made me uncomfortable but camping, especially backpacking, makes me feel alive.  Being in the woods with some friends, climbing to the top of Mt.  What's its name, it makes me feel alive.  But did I have to hurt on the ground and kill myself in the hike to enjoy it?  I started thinking about hammocks over tents in those days and even brainstormed about bug and rain protection but never took active steps towards my goal.  Then in 2011 I went backpacking in raccoon creek st park in PA and killed myself with a super heavy backpack.  I was also starting to feel my age and did not sleep nearly as well as I did when I was a youngster.   I started to look into lightweight and ultralight backpacking which brought me into contact with Hammock Forums.  Here I found a bunch of crazies who, like me, thought hanging from a tree would be the better way to camp.  And several did it with packs 1/3 or even less than I was used to carrying.  With my body falling more and more out of shape and my knees hurting even more this was sounding like an interesting solution.

So in the midst of working almost continually I have been dreaming of sleeping in a hammock.  I have been looking to find rip-stop nylon (to build my own hammock) and today I finally touched bases with a supplier, so I'm stoked.  I want to hang as a family and I have already designed (in my mind) some sweet kids hammocks.  Once the I get some nylon hopefully we will be cooking with gas.

I ordered a hammock from Olive Planet (as this was the only one I could find that was anywhere near long enough for me).  So I have a hammock on the way.

I swung by Adventure on the rocks and picked up 2 Petzl Spirit carabiners.  Can't say enough nice things about this guy.  He also has pointed me in the direction to get materials for making my own hammocks and quilts.  This is the beginning of my suspension system.  For my personal hammock (to be procured before the  pending Goa vacation) I'm still in need of a few things:

1) Polyester webbing straps (tree huggers) this is to protect the trees from getting hurt from the hammocking process.
2) Dyneema rope.  I am trying to contact boat companies in Mumbai to get it.  Amsteel Blue is the big American brand but is pure unobtainium here in India.  Marlow is available and I'm going to try and get 3mm Excel D12.  This stuff only weighs practically nothing and can support 993 kg.  I don't even weigh that much.  I am going to make woopie slings and soft shackles with it.  That's right.  Woopie slings...and soft shackles.
3) Bug netting (I won't need this at the beach but it will be needed before I will actually treck with this setup.
4) Tarp.  I thought this would be the trickiest but found a material for sale here called Silpaulin.  Not only does the webpage have a picture of a buff Indian guy trying to rip it but I think (according to its waterproofiness and weight) to basically be silnylon.  So if I go for the lightest stuff I'll be rocking the cash box.

To get my family set up I'll need more of the same and the nylon which I have finally sourced.

Oh, and I'm not writing about my bike because I am too terrified of Indian bureaucracy to get my license and
registration taken care of.

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