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  1. #1
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    Hammock camping with kids, dogs and spouses...

    Hey'all,

    This is my first post here. I have been reading through for over a year now, and really appreciate the wealth of information. I finally decided to put my hand up and ask.

    I have been a northern Ontario canoe tripper since I was 5 years old, and spent countless nights in one of those odd uncomfortable contraptions with the poles and the mess of screens and fabric. I started hammock camping last spring. I picked up a Hennessy Explorer Deluxe. I liked it so much after the first hang that I bough a Hennessy Expedition for my wife. A couple of weeks later, I bought the Hennessy leaf lounger, basically the explorer without a bug net, and installed it in my bedroom for the nights when my wife is on night shifts.

    Needless to say, going back to tent camping just seems horrible. So I was hoping for some advice.

    If I am camping alone, it's no problem. If I am camping with my wife, I picked up a set of spreader bars. I have used them once, and they aren't bad at all once you get used to it.
    Things get more complicated when I add in the kids and the dog. My eldest is 7, and I don't think he is quite ready to be in his own hammock away from me. If it was the whole family out together, I'd put kids and dogs in their own tent, but we are expecting our third kid this summer, so my wife won't be spending much time in the woods for a couple of seasons.

    So I discovered the Pet Palace from Cave Creek. I was wondering if it might work as a kid/pet palace The 84 inch large version should easily accommodate gear, and a sleeping pad and dog, while I hang in comfort above. I have a large hex tarp that extends right to the ground when required, so it would enclose the screened in area as well as any tent fly. Not having seen the pet palace in person, I really don't know if this is reasonable, functional or safe to do. ??
    My other concern was how the Pet Palace would interface with my Hennessy. Is there any way to attach the tie-outs on the hammock once it's inside? Normally i'd clip them to the tarp, but now the tarp is on the other side of a screen.

    I appreciate any thoughts. Up here in Canada it's a fairly expensive investment, so I want to make sure whatever I decide on is something I can use for years, and not just to get through one season.

    Thanks,

    Jake
    Last edited by jdschwass; 01-25-2022 at 08:32.

  2. #2
    Member Eclectic's Avatar
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    Hammock camping with kids, dogs and spouses...

    Regarding the Pet Palace, there is a lot of room in it. However, we prefer to keep the dog at the foot end of it rather than directly underneath the hammock.

    The saying is, “Never hang higher than you are willing to fall.” I would add, “Never hang directly over something (or someone) you are not willing to crush.” The chances may be slim, but there is always a possibility of falling. I would hate to land on a child or dog and possibly injure them.

    A better option would be a hambunk setup where the child is in a smaller hammock suspended either above or beside you. I am not sure whether the Pet Palace would accommodate that as we have never tried it. You may want to contact the company about that.

    Also, be sure your dog is not one who will paw at the screen when he sees someone coming. If he is, you may want to give him booties or keep him confined in a crate.

  3. #3
    Senior Member tsshaw78's Avatar
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    I can add my experience with children. Mine are six and ten and have their own hammock. I put a glow stick at my hammock so they can find me in the middle of the night. But most times they sleep through the night without waking so it's usually not an issue of them being a couple trees apart.
    A day camping in the rain is better than a good day at work,
    --Shaw.

    tsshaw78 is too hard to say on the trail - Just call me Shaw.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the tips. I fully agree that having someone under you seems a bit sketchy... hence my hesitation. I never really considered bunking the hammocks though. I will definitely look into that.

    I am not totally against putting a kid in their own hammock, but I will need to try him out in the yard first, and ensure that he is comfortable with it. Once you're out in the woods...there is no turning back.

    My canoeing companion dog unfortunately passed a few months ago, and I now have a 7 month old puppy. I really don't know yet how he will behave, but he sleeps with me every night at home, I think he will be fine in the bush. With regards to seeing people, that is not really an issue for me. I am typically very remote, and will be somewhat disappointed if I drive all that way to see another person!

    Thanks again for the ideas. I have some more reading to do!

  5. #5
    Senior Member tsshaw78's Avatar
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    I'll add when my daughter was 4 I had her and her brother in a tent about 10 feet away from me. In the middle of the night she awoke from nightmare and climbed out of the tent. Fortunately I am a light sleeper when I camp with the kids so I was right there but that did concern me that she could have wandered off.
    So I say that to encourage the backyard trial runs before heading into the woods.
    Now at six she is experienced and I worry less.
    A day camping in the rain is better than a good day at work,
    --Shaw.

    tsshaw78 is too hard to say on the trail - Just call me Shaw.

  6. #6
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    That's a good point. First off, you called me out... my son is actually still 6. He will be turning 7 this August. (can't believe I screwed that up!)
    That being said, he has been backcountry canoeing with me since he was 3. He actually had his last three birthdays while we were tripping.
    I don't have any concern with him wandering around. His sister will join us either this year or next, at which time they will share a tent and I trust him to keep an eye. But I would never hang too far away.

  7. #7
    Member Eclectic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdschwass View Post
    With regards to seeing people, that is not really an issue for me. I am typically very remote, and will be somewhat disappointed if I drive all that way to see another person!
    In our case, the dog saw our kids walk up and pawed at the bug net in excitement. He also pawed at the netting when my husband returned from watering a tree at 2AM (he should have taken the dog with him).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eclectic View Post
    In our case, the dog saw our kids walk up and pawed at the bug net in excitement. He also pawed at the netting when my husband returned from watering a tree at 2AM (he should have taken the dog with him).
    Oh no! So I guess people doesn't always mean strangers. My previous dog (Trooper) would have loved being anywhere I was, and I would have no concerns with him trying to escape. Finlay on the other hand is still up in the air. But if he tears through the net on the first night, only he suffers right

    I was thinking about trying to put him into something like the Pup Tent, but I'd have to buy it and test him out a few times at the back of the farm before I take him on a trip. At this point I am more worried about the dog than the kid!

    My hope is that after 8 hours of portaging, paddling and swimming, he will be so tired that he won't care where he sleeps!

    Thanks everyone.

  9. #9
    Hang Williams's Avatar
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    For the dog, I went with the dutchware pup tent because it was cheaper, lighter, and kept him out from being directly under me. He scratched thru the bug net the first night. I've since sewn in a replacement mesh, but I'd make a point of putting your pup in dog boots until you're sure.

    For the kids, I haven't figured out a solid plan for when my daughter is too big to share a hammock with my wife, so I'm no help there.

  10. #10
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    My kids were long grown and gone before my hammock days. As for my Border Collie she prefers to roll her own when it comes to where to sleep even though I do have an Alcott pup tent and a Pet Palace. I have a long line (the thin cable from Wally World) that runs high between two trees with an amsteel lead off the long line. This gives her room to chose, yet meets campground leash regs when in campgrounds or keeps her from wandering in coyote/bear/wolf country when backpacking. My backpack liner serves as a pad for her bed and as a 'barrel' to stuff my gear in the pack, but really she prefers to ignore the pad and roll her own.
    Last edited by OlTrailDog; 01-25-2022 at 19:33.

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