Chats With A Pro Hammock Rigger
We are busy working on something big for all of our Friends and Allies. Scallywags is working on the development of our own Hammock setup rig. So to get everyone psyched we sat down with the most prolific hammocker in Gauteng – Hannes.
If you have ever met Hannes in the wild you will have seen his pink and purple hammock amongst the trees or hooked on his bright green Jimny. He has been hammock camping for years and with an Amstel in his hand he is here to share some beta with us all.
When did you first meet a hammock..
Waay waay back my parents got a hammock. It was an old woven one, with wooden spreader bars. I used to play in it as a child but that’s about it.
It was in 2008 when I started climbing in Port Elizabeth that I met a guy who owned a hammock and my childhood memories came back. I spent a day climbing, chilling and ended up having a two hour nap. It was when I woke feeling refreshed that I decided it was time to get my own rig. A few months passed until I found a hammock that would accompany me on all my trips..
Rumor has it you spent two years sleeping in a hammock.. Is that true?
Yes. In 2015 around the campfire during a climbing trip around the Western Cape, Alex Bester remarked on my hammocking habits. He asked “Hannes, you sleep in a hammock every trip.. Would you sleep in a hammock every night?” I said, “Yea it’s super comfy.. Of course I will..” To which Alex responded with a bet that I couldn’t sleep in a hammock every night for a year. Obviously I took this and flew. That year (and the next) I spent every night in my garden in Pretoria, through rain, wind and hail. It was during this time I refined my rig, tarp and underquilt system.
Why do you love hammocks?
I love them for their comfort. I can lie on my side, moving my feet and head to find a spot that feels just right. Never like a bowed banana. I’ve found my perfect tension, not too loose but not too tight.. Just enough for the sides to come up past my head and shoulders.
What’s your dream rig?
I would love to use my hammock on a big wall. Instead of a portaledge.. Just be chilling up there in my hammock. Spending a night on a highline is also high on my list.
Your best night in a hammock?
Quite a while ago, still in the early days of my hammock journey in my OG rig and a dilapidated tarp. I went to a birthday party in a pine tree forest where the ground was covered in pine needles. Everyone thought it was the best place to set up their tents on the nice thick layer of needles, and I obviously rigged my hammock between the trees. The night goes by, we party around a fire and everyone retires to their tents. That night it rained and rained and rained. Eventually water began gushing through that layer of pine needles, flooding everyone who happened to be on the floor. I woke the next morning after sleeping like a baby to the sight of cold, miserable campers who had been forced out of their beds in the early morning.
Your worst night in a hammock?
On 25 April 2016, in an undisclosed kloof hidden somewhere in the Magalies I found the perfect spot from a boulder to a tree above the stream. My friend Nish came along and decided to rig from the same, wrist sized tree to another boulder. This felt stable so we went to bed. Ebert and co were still chatting away. Early morning arrives and Ebert needs a spot to rig from too.. So while Nish and I sleep he decides (among all the other surrounding trees) to rig from the same, tiny tree as ours. As he sits down, the tree creaks and we all fall straight into the stream. I’m rudely awoken and submerged inside my sleeping bag in the water. My hammock (the same one I’ve spent the last two years in) has a great big tear and is written off…
What do you love about hammock camping?
It is so easy. Simple to set-up. All I need are two trees.. Which has now become just one tree and a Jimny.
Are there things you wish you learnt sooner?
It feels like I’ve been playing so long that I can’t even remember. I guess the rubber rings that divert rain water off the suspension. If you’re not careful water will run down your hammock into your sleeping bag during big storms. You’ll feel your feet soaked.. But by then it’s already way too late.
Have you ever slacked on your hammock?
Hell yea! I found myself amongst some boulders in Botswana and decided to rig between a massive rock and a baobab tree. So using my webbing I anchored my hammock on one side to the boulder and the other to the tree about twenty meters away. I spent a beautiful night under the stars. The following morning I couldn’t help trying to walk a little bit, so I stood up inside my hammock and literally walked my hammock.
Will you get yourself a Slammock?
Definitely! Seeing what’s possible with it is really inspiring. I want to learn how to surf a rodeo line.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Butt freeze is real!