I just wanted to plant a bug in your ears regarding the annual event I attended last weekend. The Palmetto State Hangers (PSH) host an annual event, their largest of the year, every fall at Santee State Park in Santee, SC. Last year there was over 80 people in attendance and this year there was over 110 present over the weekend.
The event is a gathering of hammock camping enthusiast and those interested in hammock camping. Vendors attend and have their wares on display and workshops are conducted on areas of interest to campers of all types. This year there were primitive fire making, all about knives, dehydration basics, kids wildlife clinic, and rope splicing.
Some of the vendors there were UnderGroud Quilts, Dream Hammocks, Ripstop by the Roll, Bonefire Gear, TATO Gear, Terrapin Outfitters, Wilderness Logics, and Dream Hammocks presented an anodizing workshop and anodized titanuim gear for free to those in attendance. I am sure I missed a vendor or three but there were a lot of gear for all of the gear addicts there.
Those and other vendors donated to the raffle that raised over $2500 dollars for the state park program to introduce families to camping, a program that PSH provides at least 10 volunteers at 2 different locations annually. The parks for a minimum fee to the families host them for a weekend of camping and camping instruction from cooking, gear setup, workshops and furnishes their gear some of which is given to the families. This will be the 3rd year I thing PSH participates in this program.
All types and makes of hammocks and hammock gear were well represented by the attendees and it is not unusual for folks to walk up and inquire about your setup and many offer to let the inquisitive take a test ride and share tips and experiences openly.
There were meals provided by wonderful volunteers who cooked and cleaned for the large crowd. Live music was enjoyed 2 nights in a low key by the fire ring performance. An author of Carolina ghost stories shared a few regional tales nightly and one brave 12 year old told the longest story ever told by a campfire where we learned Bigfoot keeps a pet dragon.
Some canoed, kayaked, fished, hiked the trails and rode the mountain bike trails when the weather broke enough or just braved the elements. All reveled when the $2500 challenge was meet and the club's president sat down to have his beard shaved with a straight razor as promised if the goal was meet.
The evening forecast lows of perfect 61* were replaced with upper 60's, rain and misty weather was ever present in the evenings but Saturday fair weather prevailed for the majority of the day.
Great times, wonderful meals were shares as friends reacquainted from Michigan to Florida and new friends were made.
I should have posted an open invitation here to anyone that had an interest in hammock camping but the thought didn't occur to me until I sat down to write this quick summary of the trip.
If anyone has any interest there are many group outings, (group hangs in the hammock world) held around the country and all around the globe, so you should be able to find one near you by dropping in to the trip planning pages over at hammock forums.
And if you fancy a colder hammock hang, check out their "Frozen Butt" hang in January in Columbia, or go to the genuine article in Minnesota where butts really do freeze.
I scored some great gear to review, an UGQ Hangar tarp and down beanie (both in camo) and a few other goodies making this a great trip.