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Motorcycle Hammock-Camping

The Best Midlife Crisis We Could Think Of

Author

urbanred

How Many Hammocks Are Enough?

Like many things the answer is always X+1 with X being the number you currently own but a number that can change over time. Some people have too many hockey cards while others have too many Funko Pops. We probably have too many hammocks. But the formula is right there in the first line, so… yeah. NMBL and I each bought another hammock.

Of course we want to try them out before heading off on our next trip. It would be irresponsible if we didn’t. That meant us walking down to our local park to co-opt a few trees and get a feel for our new hanging beds. Overall we’re both happy with the new purchases. We’ve been a few years with some go-to hammocks so it is time to be in new beds as wear and tear take slowly their toll on the old ones. Still, the old ones are serviceable. Did we need to? Not necessarily. However we both had something in the back of our minds that help us justify the purchases. Bug nets.

I’ve been using the ENO Double Nest almost exclusively since day one of us hammocking. NMBL has used the ENO as well as the Dutchware Half-Wit (my dalliance outside of ENO). Both hammocks have been good. The ENO’s solution to bugs, however, is an unwieldy external bug net that you have to slip over your completed sleep system. It’s a pain in the neck to get in and out of, it limits your diagonal lay, and it interferes with my belly sling. All of these things make it a pain to deploy and use. This is not good when you’re in a heavy mosquito or black fly situation like we were on the tail end of our last trip.

NMBL had her issues with the Half-Wit at the same time. Yes, it has an integrated bug net but only for your top half. It was hot as heck camping beside Lillooet Lake so sleeping without a top-quilt was nice… except she was getting eaten alive from the waist down if she kicked off her covers. It made for a restless sleep for her. That’s never good when you have a day of riding ahead of you. So, what to do?

It was time for us to get into the world of integrated bug nets. NMBL was the first to pull the trigger with a purchase of the aptly named Hammock Gear Bug Net Hammock. It’s a well put together hammock with some nice finishing. For $130US you get an 11′ long symmetrical gathered-end hammock with an integrated bug net that can be unzipped and stored in one end when the bugs aren’t as buggy. It’s got under quilt hooks to keep you insulation in place, easy to grab zipper pulls, a simple stuff sack, integrated ridge line, and continuous loop ends with carabiners on each end. NMBL opted for some extra storage with mesh peak-pockets for either end. It’s 58″ wide, quadruple stitched, and uses a hexagonal ripstop nylon fabric. All in all it’s a solid hammock and during our test hang she was quite comfortable.

DES in NMBL’s new Hammock Gear Bug Net hammock

I waited a bit longer to dig around and figure out what I wanted. Turns out I’m a bit more minimalist. My choice was the Warbonnet Eldorado asymmetrical bug net integrated hammock with triangulated tie-outs on one side that keep the bug net off your face at night. It’s a simple approach to hammocking being a gathered end asym with nothing more than a stuff sack, integrated ridge line, and continuous loops at either end. I supplied my own ‘biners and at $125US it’s overall a great hammock at a good price. It’s fabric is a “traditional rip stop weave with a bias-directional diamond grid to create a fabric that has an incredibly comfortable cotton-like texture” according to the website. I’ll be darned if they aren’t right about that! The bug net is fully removable on the Eldorado giving you the option to better see the stars on bug-less nights. My only real niggle is the fact they don’t put in a nice zipper pull making zipping up the bug net a bit fiddly from the inside. I’ll add a couple myself but it just seems like an oversight. That aside, I’m happy with my 11′ long x 62″ wide Warbonnet. These guys are considered one of the big players in the hammock world and the Eldorado’s affordable elegance shows why.

NMBL in DES’ new Warbonnet Eldorado hammock

We’re heading out to go camping near Tahsis on Vancouver Island very soon so we will both have a better idea of how we like the hammocks after a few nights sleep. With that in mind we’re both looking forward to trying them out! I’ll report back when we get home.

DES out.

Trek of the Four Burritos

Travelling by motorcycle is all about pushing your boundaries, your comfort levels. You learn a lot about yourself when it comes to the physical excesses you are willing to expose yourself to alongside the uncertainty around your skills. Skills are improved through practice and doing, physical prowess is improved through good diet and exercise (which I’m guilty of ignoring). But there are other boundaries to push that are less obvious and, to some, not even boundaries at all. For NMBL and me that boundary push was travelling with others.

Our trip this July included two wonderful, talented people who were brave enough to take a chance on the two of us while we pushed the mental boundary of being just a husband-and-wife team. Kudos to CG and JS for joining in on our weirdness over four days. That takes a pair of reproductive organs.

Continue reading “Trek of the Four Burritos”

Dusty Adventures: Hurtling Down the Hurley

Well that was gnarly. In a good, fun way but it was gnarly.

Let’s step back a bit. As Covid limits what we can do and where we can go NMBL and I focused on a BC vacation for this year. You know, explore your own back yard and all that. And with the new bikes we really wanted to go someplace we couldn’t have visited on the FZ’s. With the ADV bikes however… we picked Gold Bridge. Not the easy way either. We went the Hurley.

The Hurley is a Wilderness Road in BC between Pemberton and Gold Bridge. Basically it’s a main logging road that’s also used by adventurous types to get to good hiking, fishing, prospecting, and off-road vehicle spots that are out of the way. It’s a bit (in)famous here in South Western BC as something of a challenge. The Hurley is known for wash-outs, sharp tire-shredding rocks, ongoing grader & excavator work, and soft gravel on the switchbacks at both ends. We had the privilege of experiencing the last three items on that list during our trek. Continue reading “Dusty Adventures: Hurtling Down the Hurley”

Pandemic Riding: Odd and Unpredictable

Strange times. When we finished up last riding season no one could have predicted that the world would be in the clutches of a pandemic. But here we are in the middle of a new riding season with a new set of social norms. Now we meet up at our usual spots and physically distance. Some of us wear masks. All of us have noticed the somewhat reduced traffic. And for those of us going on Forest Service Roads (FSR) we have seen a LOT of other motorcyclists (and ATV riders). It has been an interesting summer so far.

Continue reading “Pandemic Riding: Odd and Unpredictable”

We’ve had some fun!

NMBL and I have been riding as much as possible so we can be comfortable on our new bikes. And what’s the point of not riding when the weather is nice? Heck, it was so nice in January when the Vancouver Motorcycle show was on we just road out to the Trade Ex because we could. And we weren’t the only ones! There were bikes aplenty in the motorcycle only VIP parking right out front. It was a great ego boost as well since the big Twin got a lot of attention from people heading into and out of the show. Oh, and here’s the new one for 2020 (which I din’t buy). But I did buy a subscription to Motorcycle Mojo magazine! Continue reading “Vancouver Motorcycle Show, Weekend Rides, and Future Posts”

Up for some Adventure?

It has been quite a while since NMBL posted back in August about buying bikes, offering her sage advice on why it’s OK to buy a bike with some kilometres on it. Or miles if you’re into that sort of measurement. And though it’s been a while we haven’t been idle. NMBL and I have looking at how we want to get out on the road… more specifically what kind of roads we want to get on to. Its started with me putting a bug in her ear. Continue reading “Up for some Adventure?”

Buying Used Bikes: Think low mileage is always better? Think again.

If you’re looking for a solid used motorcycle that won’t cost you an arm and a leg in repairs and maintenance, you might think low mileage is a bonus.

And it could be, but only if the bike is just a year or two old.   But let’s think this through: if a bike is — say — ten years or older, and it’s only got a few thousand Kms on it, what’s it been doing all this time?

That’s right: it’s been sitting in storage.

And what happens to bikes that sit in storage?  They dry up.  Seals, gaskets, and hoses don’t seal properly anymore.  Forks get mushy and brakes don’t grab.  Parts of the engine that should be constantly bathed in oil get dry and dusty.  Cylinder heads get gummy.

“Always ridden, never stored” is the second-best thing you can hear from a seller, right after “every maintenance milestone met.”  A motorcycle that has been properly cared for and never left in storage is going to be in much better (and much less expensive) shape than a bike of equivalent age with low mileage, because keeping a bike running is much better for its functioning than keeping it pristine is.

Take these two m-h-c.ca bikes for sale as an example:

https://vancouver.craigslist.org/van/mcy/d/vancouver-black-2008-yamaha-fz6/6950464868.html

https://vancouver.craigslist.org/van/mcy/d/vancouver-red-2006-yamaha-fz6/6950467883.html

Always ridden, never stored; every maintenance milestone met.  Always kept under cover.  Detailed service records available.  

m-h-c.ca is about to go adventuring much further off the pavement, and you could own one or both of m-h-c’s beautifully-kept sport-touring motorcycles!  Discount available if they’re sold as a set.

It’s not great. I was asked to write something for our summer edition of the staff newsletter at work. It was supposed to be an article but turned into this kind of spoken-word thing. Anyway, a little easy reading for you all before NMBL and I head off on our vacation this Friday. I hope you like it.

Continue reading “Motorcycle Poetry”

First Aid for Riders

When was the last time you took a First Aid course? Do you know what to do if one of your friends goes down on a ride? Do the members of the group know what to do if you go down?

No one wants to think about leaving their bikes, but it happens. Whether it’s due to weather, pushing beyond your ability, or an inattentive driver, motorcyclists get hurt regularly. Knowing some First Aid is helpful in those roadside emergencies and can even save a life. NMBL and I have both done First Aid training but our certifications have lapsed. This week we took the opportunity to update our knowledge specifically for riders. The local Mottorad dealership, High Road Vancouver, hosted a First Aid on the Road clinic  with a pair of paramedics who are riders themselves. Continue reading “First Aid for Riders”

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