The Worst Sleep Of My Life Could Have Been Solved With A Hammock

My wife and I were vacationing in Maui. It was August; hot, muggy, sweaty and sticky.

So obviously, we decided to go camping.

It was a cheap and easy way to stay close to the ocean and the parks for efficient daytime exploring.

We did our research and decided to bring our tent to Haleakala National Park the first night and Wai’anapanapa State Park the second (then we’d get a hotel and actually shower with soap on night 3).

Wai’anapanapa State Park.

Haleakala National Park towers over the island of Maui. Because of its high elevation, the park experiences much lower temperatures than the rest of the island.

Even in August, the weather is perfect for camping.

No problem.

On our first night at the Hosmer Grove campground, we set up our tent just below 7,000 feet in elevation.

The rental car thermometer read 56 degrees F; Perfect.

We set up the tent, crawled in and slept hard. Half way through the night, rain pitter-pattered on the tent walls.

It was the kind of sleep you remember for the rest of your life, the kind of sleep you daydream of from your cubicle after a vacation ends.

At 4:30 AM, well rested, we woke up and packed our things to go catch the sunrise at the Haleakala Crater.

Above the clouds, wrapped up in blankets, we were both completely satisfied in our decision to tent camp across the island.

During the day, we drove the road to Hana, hiked through bamboo forests, chased waterfalls and dined on coconut cocktails and famous banana bread. “This is the reason people move to the islands.” I told Renata.

When night fell, we found a camping sight at Wai’anapanapa State Park, just as planned.

Unlike the night before, this campsite was at sea level, on a grassy knoll right next to the ocean.

We set up our tent, looking forward to the sound of crashing waves and rustling palm trees. We crawled in and

holy hell, it was hot.

Even at 10 PM, the thermometer read 86 degrees. It was hot, humid, muggy, stagnant. There was no breeze or rain to cut through this heat.

I crawled in my sleeping bag and quickly sweat through my clothes. I threw the cover off and laid on top of the bag. When that was still hot, I flattened out directly on the tent floor.

“Don’t touch me,” I told Renata, which was fine with her. Coming from Colorado, we were both suddenly homesick for snow and windstorms.

12 AM, we yanked the rain fly off the tent, hoping for more circulation.



I could not sleep; I would not sleep. 

I would sweat here all night and stare at the sky, thinking of cold and sunrise. When sunrise eventually came, we were both dehydrated, drenched in sweat.

Hot evening.

“We’re getting a hotel room tonight.” The first parched words out of my mouth.

Years later, I discovered hammock camping and learned more about its origin.

The practice can be traced back to the hot, humid Caribbean basin, where natives slept in hammocks as a solution for my exact suffering in Maui.

Hammocks allow for a cross breeze both underneath and above your body, they are perfect for sweaty nights at say, Wai’anapanapa State Park.

Since our vacation, I’ve been rocked to sleep by hammocks in Colorado, Wyoming, California, from sea level to 8,000 feet.

My biggest battle has been learning how to stay warm in cold climates.

So when I shiver in my zero degree bag, I think back to Maui often.

I haven’t been back to the island since, but when I do, I intend to hammock camp.

About the Author

After spending 5 years testing gear, meeting people and exploring his home state of Colorado with his wife, Andrej realized something about the outdoor industry. Mostly, that it was complicated. Andrej set out to create no-nonsense gear that was just as easy to use as it was reliable. He recruited a team of wilderness professionals and educators and hit the drawing board. The result was simple gear that you could trust, with specs you understood. Now he’s inspiring others to get out there and explore, by giving them the confidence to trust both themselves and the gear they use.