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Racking out, South Pacific style

Submitted by Eric Daniel

While sleeping under the stars is all well and good, in the Army it presents a couple of challenges. Suitable terrain is an issue, as is what's up with the local weather and the resident wildlife, and finally, there is the issue of your neighbors; the tank that runs you over in the middle of the night is probably the one that didn't see you.

While nothing short of a fighting Winnebago is going to resolve any of these issues, what I have found that goes a long way to mitigating some of them (in addition to being quite comfortable) is a compact, lightweight nylon mesh hammock. There are a number of hammock models out there, with prices ranging from $10 to $200, but the one I opted for was large yet light, and made of nylon, and in 1990, cost me about $20. While the use of a hammock assumes some place to attach it to, as a tanker I found that clipping the end rings to the bustle rack was a perfect fit (with the turret over the side.)

If, however, you have no tank to attach your hammock to, but trees are available, the hammock has no peer. You're off the ground so you don't have to worry about those invisible sticks and rocks that always seem to poke you when you lie down, and by stringing some 550 cord between the end rings and draping your poncho over, you have an excellent rain fly for those middle of the night downpours.

Nylon mesh hammock

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