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Hammocking: The best campus pastime literally ever

Hammocking - Hannah Anderson

Illustration by Hannah Anderson 


Last spring was one of the happiest semesters of my college experience. Sure, I was impossibly busy with classes and job applications. And sure, I had to spend hours every day deep down in the dungeon that is the Mess office. But I was still ridiculously, impossibly happy. I chalk this happiness up to the fact that I was spending every open daylight hour outside, in a hammock. As the weather finally warms up, I plan to do the same this semester. 


It’s the most delightful on-campus outdoor activity outside of going to the Natural Lands. If you set up a hammock in the right part of campus, you’re automatically transported to a peaceful, tree-filled world. You’re swaying gently in the breeze, listening to the leaves rustle, and looking up at the sky. Maybe you brought a friend, and the two  of you are having the kind of lazy, meandering conversation that a set of hammocks can facilitate. And, as a bonus, you can probably actually pull out your laptop and get some of your homework done from within this Edenic paradise. 


I would recommend hammocking to anyone. I can’t believe I never made time to do it before last year. 


So, to help you to get out there and hammock yourself, are some dos and don’ts: 


Do: Order a cheap hammock. Don’t spend more than $30 on a hammock. Not if you’re going to use it on the quad — why would you need heavy-duty straps for that? I “borrowed” my hammock set from my parents, who bought them from a random vendor at a farmer’s market, on sale. I used them almost every day for two months last year, by which point they were already worn-in. I’ve gone camping in them, and gotten rained on. And they’re literally fine. Nice hammocks are a scam. 


Don’t: Leave your hammock up for multiple days. Okay, if there was one way you could actually ruin your hammock, it would be doing this. Every day, I used to walk by the hammock that someone left up outside of Rand last year, and as I watched it get battered by wind and rain, I would feel genuinely bad for that inanimate object, a testament both to the ridiculousness of this practice and to the unending human capacity for empathy. It’s also just kind of rude — I don’t think I have to explain why you should share the best hammocking spots. Sad to see that people have already started doing this on campus! 


Do: Find a secret spot. I’ve never felt the need to leave my hammock up all the time, and you know why? It’s because I have my own little spot that few other people use. It’s not too far away from the center of campus, but it’s not on the Quad. I’ll never tell you where it is. There are so many trees on this campus. Find your own spot. 


Don’t: Sit in other people’s hammocks while they’re gone. Fascinatingly, I’ve had this happen to me before! 


Do: Leave your hammock up all day. Overnight? That’s weird. But it’s so fun to spend literally an entire day in a hammock. You can just intersperse hammocking with your daily activities! It’s best to do this with a friend — you go to class, or band practice, or whatever it is, and leave your friend to hold down the hammock spot. Then you come back, they go do their activities, and by evening you’re eating dinner from a Usefull bowl, back in your hammocks! 


It’s secluded enough that you could probably have a sneaky adult beverage there, while you watched the sunset. Not that I’ve ever done that.

Charlotte Smith is from Boulder, Colo.

Her majors are creative writing and English.

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