12 Nights in a Hammock

I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions. Most of the time I think they’re just setting yourself up to fail – they’re an all or nothing proposition usually, and they’re often forgotten the moment you have your first stumble. How many resolutions to go to the gym every Saturday survive that first weekend away in late January? How many times does someone declare “no more chocolate” right up until discount mini-eggs appear on the shelves? Not many, I would wager. It’s also very hard to just decide to change based on a whim, rather than by being forced to through circumstance.

This year however, I am going to set a few long-term goals. I’m hoping I’ll have a little more luck than most since they’re things I actually want to do anyway – not chores in service of fitness or self-improvement (though handily they won’t hurt in these areas either).

Resolution 0: No flights

I think I pretty much covered this in a previous post, so I’m putting my money where my mouth is.

Resolution 1: Sleep outside at least once a month

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Underquilts + hammocks = literally the cosiest camping experience possible.

I’ve spent the last year or so putting together and dialling in my hammock camping setup. It’s now at the point where I’m confident about sleeping out in it at any temperature ranging from a few degrees above freezing, through to whatever sweaty limit that I wouldn’t manage to sleep in regardless of whether or not I was in a bed. Despite all of this, I haven’t found loads of opportunities to try it out in earnest. I’ve had a couple of days walking in the Borders over the summer where I slept in the hammock, as well as a night on Islay in December – but I want to make the most of my weekends this year and get a good few nights outside sorted.

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A glorious night was spent in the trees behind this ruined church on Islay in late December. There’s a lot to be said for warm west coast winters, though I could have done without the near gale force gusts.

The way I’m going to do this is with a pretty arbitrary structure: one night out a month. This should be pretty achievable, even in busy months, and it tallies with my plans to get out in my own backyard a bit more. A monthly “microadventure” to push myself into being a bit more active and appreciating my own countryside. Other bonus benefits of this include getting a little bit more confident about stealth camping in some riskier spots (in preparation for some long-term bike related plans). And, because I’m not locked in to too specific a schedule I can skip the windier or colder nights and make it up later in the month.

Resolution 2: Practice some bushcraft skills

As long as I’m camping out once a month, I may as well take the opportunity to practice some bushcraft skills (especially since, for unspecified reasons which may become clear in a future post, I may need them in the near future). At the very least I want to try out a few new camping recipes, practice some more fire starting, and maybe try a little bit of foraging.

Resolution 3: Experiment a bit with media

This is a funny one. Not a lot of people know this, but for a couple of years back in the day I used to record a regular podcast. Don’t look for it, because it’s hopefully nowhere to be found any more. We made it back when I was 17-19 or so, so I imagine that it’s completely unlistenable now. However I’ve never really fallen out of love with the format, I love listening to them, and I hope one day to go back to regularly recording one.

For the moment I’d like to experiment a bit with video. Not really vlogging, because let’s be honest, my life isn’t that interesting, but also not instructional videos, because that market is more than saturated in the hammocking and bushcraft categories. Instead I want to do something in between, some sort of mini podcast-esque adventurey videos. I might not even put them online, but it’ll be fun to practice my presenting skills and video editing. We’ll see where that goes.

Anyway, those are my goals for 2017 (beyond the obvious ones, which mostly revolve around gainful employment). If all goes well I’ll update throughout the year (because I should probably use this blog for something other than angry rants) with photos and trip reports.

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