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Letter Re: Trail Shelters and the Hantavirus Threat by Zac T.

Hello All,

In an effort to remove oneself from the vectors in a trail shelter I’d suggest never going in to a trail shelter… Carry and bring your own solution with you. After hiking for 10 hours, nobody is going to break out their N95 mask and wet mop down a shelter to remove the virus risk. The best someone can hope for is to remove themselves from the now known threat and avoid the pests causing it.

Hennessy hammocks [1] come complete with a rain fly and mosquito netting that you zip yourself in for the night. No bugs, and no mice. However, some people can’t comfortably sleep in them, some can. It is best to figure this out before shelling out the cash. Once you borrow and try one, carrying a complete solution for camping out replacing your tent for a hammock is a good bet. What I found personally is that tighter ropes make a more horizontal sleeping area, I don’t like having my feet above my head. Everyone is different so you have to find what works best for you.

Yes, you still could sleep on the ground using a tarp lean-to, but when it only takes a few minutes to find trees 15 feet apart and wrap a nylon strap using carabiners around it. In under 10 minutes you can have your sleeping area set up. And tear down using snake skins is just as quick. You can break down your sleeping area in the same amount of time, under your rain fly, keeping dry… [2] (Video.)

You can even get an under bag and winter camp using a hammock [3]. (Video.)

(This Shug Emery guy [in the video] is a bit crazy, but you gotta respect camping at -40 Fahrenheit in a hammock.)

This year I got my hammock and have made a few trips to places that didn’t have good level ground for a tent or tarp -like in a swamp. Yep- the mosquito netting is a great thing! The hammock opens up your mobility, and it is noteworthy that Hennessy sells green and camouflage hammocks.

You can get a cheaper hammock to try sleeping in it, before you commit to buying a more expensive Hennessy.

One warning that I’ve read is worth repeating: If you put up a hammock in a trail shelter you risk causing the load bearing supports to shift causing a shelter to collapse. Aside from that, thigh-diameter trees work fine.

I hope this is helpful. – Fitzy in Pennsylvania