Hammock Camping 101

Western North Carolina has been ahead of the curve when it comes to hammocks, most likely thanks to ENO’s headquarters being located in Asheville. You’ve probably got friends who leave their hammock up year round on their porch or backyard. You’ve most likely experienced the frustration of loosing out on the last available tree at an open field music festival. If you’re a personal hammock owner, you may have already ditched the tent for a hammock. Lots of people are doing the same thing.

Hammock camping isn’t about roughing it or sacrificing comfort for the sake of a lighter load, though that’s a bonus. It’s about increased comfort, easier setup and takedown, and an enjoyable time. If you haven’t been in a hammock in awhile, you’ll be surprised by how comfortable they are these days. Gone are the pinching cords of rope and uneven hang. Today’s hammocks are made of breathable nylon. ENO’s hammocks also utilize a “tree saver” suspension system (no nails or hooks) so you leave less of a footprint in the great outdoors. Hammocks generally offer all the features of a tent including gear lofts and privacy tarps for changing your clothes while standing (take that, tent!).

ENO hammocks are supported between two trees, posts, or other structures and come in styles for singles or couples. Windpouch hammocks harness the power of the air and fit one comfortable lying down or three to four using it like a couch. Inflatable hammocks come with a stake to prevent any unfortunate loss on a windy day. It’s easy to go into far more detail here, but stopping one of our locations will give you access to experts who can run through all of the features.

Sleeping pads and other camping comforts have come a long way, but can be a pricey investment for a family or someone just getting started. This usually leads to a choice based on budget and a feeling of coming home happy, but exhausted, and saying, “I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed.” When you climb into your hammock after a day in the woods, you’ll find support for your entire body – from head to toe and from side to side. You’ll go to sleep with a smile on your face and wake up feeling recharged and energized. Instead of feeling like you need to get out of your tent as quickly as possible in the morning to experience being outside, you’re already there!

In addition to the added support, you won’t have to worry about a stray rock under your tent or searching for completely level ground. You can camp on a hill or in the rain or snow. Accessories like bug nets and rain tarps are commonplace and take less time to set up than tents. ENO has just released the Nomad hammock stand, a portable shock-cord stand that supports up to 300 lbs.

As with any outdoor gear, it’s all a question of how committed you are to investing in the gear you need to be comfortable. With hammock camping – just like tent camping – it’s easy to get all the basics you need at an affordable price. You can always invest in additional gear and four-season options.

If you find hammock camping isn’t for you, you’ll still have an incredible piece of functional and comfortable gear added to your outdoor arsenal.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

New at DBO: Water (and Town) Ready Footwear from Astral

From fantastic paddling to river parks, Asheville has plenty of opportunities to hit the water, and the unseasonably warm forecast this week has us dying to get our toes wet. It doesn’t hurt that we’ve just received a shipment of water ready footwear from Astral. Their designs are awesome for paddling and just general kicking around. And did we mention they’re based out of Asheville? From new styles to old standbys, here are a few of our favorites.

Rosa (Women’s) & Filipe (Men’s)

feliperosa.jpg

We’ve gotta confess, with the abundance of flip-flop choices in the outdoor industry, when we heard Astral was coming out with a flip-flop, we were a bit skeptical. But then we met the Rosa & Filipe and it was love at first wear. These flips are lightweight with plenty of arch support and feature Astral’s signature super sticky G15 rubber and razor siping on the sole. We’d be so bold as to say that they’re the grippiest flip flops on the market. But what really sets these guys apart is the convertible heel strap. It’s a breeze to add and remove and makes it a cinch to take them from flip flop to sandal anytime you need a little extra support.

Lowyak (Men’s & Women’s)

lowyaks.jpg

Low-profile enough to fit in any boat and stylish enough that you’ll want to wear them around town, the Lowyak is the whole package. As if that’s not enough reasons to make them your go-to shoe, their incredibly lightweight construction makes them a fantastic choice for travel or an ultra-lightweight camp shoe.

Brewer (Men’s) & Brewess (Women’s)

brewers.jpg

Grippy, water-ready, and supportive, we think the Brewer & Brewess are the ultimate outdoor sneakers. Need to portage your boat, fit in an unexpected hike, tackle a stream crossing, or just kick around downtown? The Brewer & Brewess have your back. With great features like insane grip, quick drainage, and balance-promoting midsoles, these are legit water shoes, but once you try them, they’ll quickly become a part of your everyday wardrobe.

Photos: Spencer Cooke, Effort Inc.Instagram Facebook

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Traveling Bug Free

With the start of travel season comes one unfortunate side effect: bug season. While we’re fortunate to live in an area where mosquito bites are typically just an annoyance, ticks are a fairly common problem and the rising prevalence of bug born illnesses has many people rethinking their bug protection routine. Of course, those with international travel plans need to be particularly proactive about bug protection. To help you have a fun and bug free experience on your next adventure, our team of travel experts has put together a list of our most effective bug prevention strategies.

Cover Up

reefrunnerexo.jpg

It may sound simple, but the more covered you keep your skin, the less chance there is that you’ll be bitten. Lightweight long sleeve tops and long pants will keep you protected without overheating. Because sight is one of the senses that mosquitoes use to find their next meal, it’s always a good idea to steer clear of dark clothes, in favor of light, whenever possible. Our favorite options are long sleeve synthetic shirts with mesh panels for airflow, like the Percorsa or Reef Runner shirts from Exofficio.

Choose Your Spray Wisely

bugspray.jpg

Most heavy duty bug sprays rely on either picaridin or DEET. While both are very effective at repelling mosquitoes and black flies, there are plusses and minuses to both. Think about what kind of bugs may be a problem where you’re heading- DEET is somewhat more effective against ticks, but picaridin does a better job keeping no-see-ums at bay. The effect on your clothing is another factor to keep in mind. DEET can damage synthetics (think every non-wool/bamboo piece of technical clothing you own), so be careful to keep it away from your clothing and other synthetic gear when applying and wash your clothing frequently to get rid of any residue.

Double Up Your Protection

exo_bandana_1.jpg

To keep as protected as possible, we’re huge fans of using bug repellant clothing, in addition to, topical bug protection. Permethrin spray is a bug repellant designed to bond to fabrics. It can be sprayed on your clothing and gear to provide an inexpensive second layer of defense against bugs, with each application lasting up to two weeks. If you’d like longer lasting protection, several brands, including Exofficio, have started making clothing pre-treated with permethrin, that keep their effectiveness for over 70 washings.

Eco note: while permethrin is considered to be extremely safe for humans and warm blooded animals, it has been shown to be very harmful to cold blooded creatures. We don’t recommend using permethrin spray or permethrin treated clothing for water sports and hikers should use caution when crossing streams.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Festival Essentials

Ahhh festival season, the magical time when your weekends are spent camping, discovering new bands, and enjoying cold brews. Our team is stoked to be kicking off festival season this weekend at LEAF (our sister store, Frugal Backpacker, will be running a pop-up shop, so stop by and say “hi”). As experienced festival goers, we’ve learned that preparation makes all the difference in whether a festival is an awesome experience, or memorable for all the wrong reasons.Over the years, we’ve compiled a list of the things that we don’t hit festivals without, here are a few of our favs.

silipints.jpg

A Durable Beverage Holder

Love warm beer? We thought not. On a warm day, drinking a beer out of a disposable plastic cup is pointless (not to mention, terrible for the environment). That’s why we always bring our own cups. One of our favorites is the Sili Pint (shown). This packable silicone pint glass is inexpensive, indestructible, provides just the right amount of insulation, and comes in fun colors. If you want something a little fancier, we’re also huge fans of the Hydroflask True Pint. This double wall stainless cup will keep your beverage frosty and sweat free for hours.

islander_limecharcoal_1.jpg

A Comfy Place to Perch

When you’re in it for the long haul, having a place to chill is essential. We love the ENO Islander Blanket (shown). It’s super lightweight and features a hidden pocket, perfect for keeping keys and cash out of sight. If a real chair is more your style, the Helinox Chair One can’t be beat. This super compact and lightweight chair is easy to set up and take down for easy portability.

wuneek_true_bluecamellia_rose_3q.jpg

Good Footwear

If you like to get down, you need to keep your feet happy. Supportive (but still breathable) footwear is a must have. While we love Chacos (they are, after all, a festival staple), this season we’ve fallen in love with Keen Uneeks (shown). These funky sandals are super comfortable thanks to their sock-like fit and contoured arch. We dig the fun colors they’re available in and that they offer toe protection.

f41200_2214_f_precip_jkt.jpg

Rainwear

Nothing can rain on your parade quite like, well, rain on your festival. Don’t let soggy surroundings ruin your festival experience; it’s so easy to be prepared. A reusable poncho makes for a lightweight and compact emergency cover (we always keep a couple on hand for unprepared friends), but for regular use, we prefer a lightweight rain shell. If you overheat easily or participate in a lot of outdoor activities, you might want to consider a higher end model, like the Arc’teryx Beta LT, but for most users, we think that a classic no-frills version like the Marmot Precip Jacket (shown) works perfectly.

Need inspiration on great festivals to hit in the Blue Ridge? Pick up a copy of this month’s Blue Ridge Outdoors or check out their festival directory here.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Preparing to Hike the Appalachian Trail

Ask any Appalachian Trail thru hiker and you’ll hear that it’s the adventure of a lifetime. The majority of the trail is in forest or wild lands, although some portions traverse towns, roads, and farms.

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (or simply the AT), is a runs between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine, passing through North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire. The trail is approximately 2,200 miles long (the length changes over time as parts are modified or rerouted), the longest hiking-only trail in the world. It is managed by the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Preparation for a thru hike or to just hike a portion of the AT is imperative to your success. Whether you’re planning on joining the Class of 2016 hikers or might head out in the future, join us for a series of classes and presentations by AT hikers and experts at our store in Parkway Center on 1378 Hendersonville Road in Asheville.

  • January 26, 6-8 p.m. || What to Expect from the Appalachian Trail (And What It Expects of You)
  • February 9, 5-6 p.m. || Fundamentals of Thru-Hiking Gear: Lighten Your Pack, Lighten Your Mind
  • February 16, 5-6 p.m. || Philosophy of Long Distance Backpacking: Getting Your Head in the Game
  • February 20, 3-5 p.m. || Tails from the Trail with Gary Sizer

For more information, visit our Events Page, call our store in Parkway Center at (828) 684-6262 or visit the store.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER