Hangkara: Hammock Camping with Tenkara

Article by Michael McFarland

One of the reasons I started to get heavily involved in tenkara was its simplicity. Based on the hundreds of people I have met during my growth in the sport, it is fairly obvious that simplicity is a big factor for many involved in tenkara today.

One of the biggest advantages of this simplicity is the fact that you can now lower the amount of gear required to successfully fish. This allows you to become more open to incorporate fly fishing into other outdoor pursuits. Already, I have met a number of friends who take a rod along with them when they hike, rock climb, mountain bike, camp, etc… I am one of these people.

This concept is what inspired me to write this article.  I want to add yet one more option to those out there that may not have heard of a particular obsession, hammock camping. That’s right readers! For those looking to lighten their packs, open their options for camping locations, and just plain do things differently, hammock camping may be just the ticket.

McFarland SP16 - Hangkara Hammock Camping

I was first introduced to hammock camping while searching the web for a more comfortable, lightweight sleep system. I do a lot of camping in the back-country areas around and within Rocky Mountain National Park. One of the things this park delivers is right in the name, “rocky”. That’s right, the ground is hard and uneven in nearly every viable camping site that you will find. It makes sleeping on the ground, even with sleeping pads or mats, uncomfortable.

Enter our trusted friend Google! While searching for a resolution to my problem, I ran across a website that advertised a solution, Hennessy Hammock.

After much deliberation regarding my biggest concern, side sleeping, I ordered one and started my review. Needless to say, I was sold after only a few trips. I had never camped more comfortably, and the use of a hammock opened up a world of possibilities for location.

I now own several hammocks including the Expedition by Hennessy and the Blackbird XLC by Warbonnet Outdoors.

How does all this relate to tenkara? Think about all of the great fishing spots you have discovered over the years. If you think about the possibilities of being able to camp in those areas regardless of terrain or needing to prepare a site to make it suitable for sleeping. Hammock camping is back-country camping, simplified. Does this message sound familiar?

McFarland SP16 - Hangkara Hammock Camping 2

I can’t express enough the personal freedom that grabbing my hammock gear, my favorite tenkara rod, and a map to a new area of Colorado has provided to me. I look forward to seeing a few more hangers on the trail this year.

What are you waiting for?

Michael McFarland has been an avid fly fisherman for 10+ years. It’s a passion that started shortly after a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park that quickly turned this historically saltwater angler into someone that has made high altitude fly fishing part of his daily life. Michael has showcased his hybrid kebari patterns at several Trout Unlimited tying clinics, the Denver Fly Fishing Show, and the International Sportsmen’s Expo.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine.

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  1. The primary reason I have shied away from hammocks has been that I am a side sleeper… from this article it sounds like you made it work for you… I would appreciate more feedback on that aspect/use. Thanks, and have an amazing day.

    1. Hey Thom, I tried to reach out to the original author to try and answer your question to no avail, sorry. I’m a side sleeper as well and seem to do well in hammocks myself. Once you get situated inside one comfortably, I find it relatively easy to fall asleep. The only thing I do is lay on a bit of a diagonal, makes the hammock lay out a bit more flat which is conducive to leaning toward one side.

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