My son

His first trip camping without dad


For several years my old bones have preferred hammocks with down quilts, but is that tipi a Seek Outside, Luxe, or …?

1 Like

That one is a Mountain Laurel Designs.

1 Like

My favorite tipi is Hyperlight Mountain Gear made of cuben fiber, the two man fits two full grown people, gear, and a dog with no issues

MLD rocks.

1 Like

I purchased an MLD Trailstar directly from Ron at the Trail Days event in Damascus, Va. Several years ago. Interesting guy.

I’ve also purchased a few other MLD products such as bivy bags, stuff sacks, etc. All have been og good quality. Usually two of each because when I purchased them my son was young still living at home thus items were purchased in pairs so we could do things together.

However, as Brian mentioned I too most of the time prefer to sleep in a hammock when possible. I prefer my black OES tarp most of the time.

Though I don’t get out camping as often as I used too or think I want.

There in lays a tale.

When I was first getting into hammock camping after first giving it a go solo. I invited my son to go, and give it a try. He was maybe 10 y.o. at the time.

We loaded up two backpacks and set off to find a place to camp on the mountain north of our house. It took quite a while to find a place that suited him. He insisted his hammock be hung very close to mine. 12 feet away was to far away. It took a lot of walking to find a place that met his requirements.

This is where it became clear it is important to make stuff sacks of different colors or at least have different color draw strings. I had too many things that were each supplied in black stuff sacks. So we rig up the traps, the hammocks, and then discover we forgot one sleeping bag. And instead had another black stuff sack with a bivy bag in it. Repacked everything and went home. It was to near dark to go back, but we were not to be put off hammock camping that night.

I do not have suitable trees in my yard to set up two hammocks, but my neighbor does.
Three trees in a straight line near perfect distance apart. We set up our hammocks, went home to till time to go to sleep. Wasn’t settled in very long. Maybe 10 minutes when I heard a very loud odd sound back on the mountain. It seemed to be very close to where I’d camped alone the night before.

Three hisses. Kind of like a house cat hissing. But a lot louder and deeper tone. Maybe an eighty pound house cat. Dogs up and down the valley began barking. Made the hair stand up on my arms. About ten minutes later it happened again. Three loud hissing sounds. Dogs everywhere began barking again. I asked Jonathan if he heard it. No response. He was off to dream land. 20 minutes later I heard the hissing sound again, but this time it was farther west. Probably very close to where we had first set up our hammocks. I thought it was a good thing we’d forgotten a sleeping bag. Because if we’d stayed and camped there we would have been close to what ever was hissing. It would surely have woken him up, and he (maybe me too) would have wanted to get out of there. And it was a very rugged steep area, difficult to walk in the dark even with head lamps.

Anyway. It wasn’t until months later I thought there must be sound files online of nocturnal critters common to the area. I figured maybe it might have been a bobcat. My son had frequently captured pictures of bobcats on his trail camera. Or more likely some kind of bird that could mimic the sound of a predator to scare away what ever was after it in the dark. Sound files of a bobcat weren’t even close to what I heard.

The only sound file I ever found, that was as near as I can tell the exact same sound was a panther hissing. This sound, quickly repeated 3 or four times:

Panther hiss fast

Now the DNR’s official policy is to say there are no panthers / mountain lions in the state. The last one known killed was in the 1930s, near the town of Richwood. But I know people who claim the see them. One girl, a rad tech that works at Pocahontas Mem Hospital where I sometimes did service work, lives in Richwood but drives the 25 miles or so through the Monongahela National Forest to get to work told me she has seen them several times, and indeed some years earlier her father had confronted one that was killing his rabbits. He figured it was a young one and that a more mature cat wouldn’t have been scared off as easily.

But, often in the dark, a field mouse rustling around in dry leaves can sound like something a lot bigger, a black bear looking for a big burrito dinner hanging between two trees. :open_mouth:
And if one thinks to much about critters that make strange sounds in the night no one would ever leave the house after dark. Like people of old time used to be avoiding the forest spirits.

Enjoy time with your son. It won’t as long as you’d prefer. My son rarely responds to my text messages to him. But when I was 23 I wasn’t thinking to much about my parents either. The new adventures on my own were the focus.


I love reading every word of your reply’s, I dream of the eloquent ways laced with intelligence that I don’t possess. Forgive my ignorance…

Thanks Tyson. Not sure I deserve that assessment. But I guess things balance out. My family pretty much holds the opposite view. :open_mouth: