OSU joins national hammock craze

The Hammocking Club enjoys hanging out in a forest together. Various outings are planned throughout the year, including their most recent trip to the Three Sisters area this past weekend.

Kendall Jordan, Practicum Contributor

Club discusses their love for the outdoors, one of two hammock clubs in Ore.

Many college students enjoy hanging out, but lately, more and more of them are hanging up, too—up in a hammock, that is.

The Oregon State University Hammock Club was launched in 2015 by now-graduated enthusiast Bonich Meister. The club’s president said there are no regular meeting times, but the members share when they are planning to hammock on campus and other members will join them.

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Jonathon Goddard, third-year biology and pre-dental major, and former club president said the OSU Hammock Club is growing in popularity as a fun activity to find friends, study and chill out with other students.

Hammock clubs have exploded on college campuses across the U.S. and OSU’s version is leading the way in Oregon. Currently, only OSU and Linfield College have an officially recognized hammock club on campus in this state, according to the OSU club homepage for the university.

Cameron Bennett, the club’s president and civil engineering major, said he has always loved hammocking because it is easy and accessible.

“You don’t need a lot of gear to do it, helping people to camp who haven’t before,” Bennett said. “It’s great getting people involved in the outdoors.”

Bennett said the club caravanned to the Three Sisters area this past weekend for its spring outing, where club members hung their hammocks in the woods and enjoyed a couple days of camping and hiking.

Carver Heine, a freshman double majoring in forest engineering and civil engineering, said he joined the club because hammocking helps him study.

“It’s a really relaxing way to hang out, but it’s still productive because you can sit back in the hammock and do homework and it is not a very stressful environment,” Heine said.

Goddard has been a member since summer 2016. He credits Meister for the club’s early success.

“She really loved hammocking and spring semester 2015 she started inviting students to hang with her,” Goddard said. “It caught on, and she decided to make it a club. It was her way of connecting with the OSU community. It sounded like a great way to get outside and meet people, so I joined.”

The club’s mission statement on the OSU club website emphasizes student interaction.

“We strive to provide students with a community of peers who engage in hammocking activities, promoting leisure and relaxation in a fun and supportive environment,” Goddard said.

Jachob Wolff, a sophomore majoring in construction engineering, said his favorite outing was last fall when the club traveled to Umpqua Beach on the Oregon coast.

“We went to the beach, enjoyed the sand and went for a nice hike as well and group activities and just hanging between the trees,” Wolff said.

Bennett has been a hammock enthusiast since his junior year of high school. He said recent crummy weather forced the scrubbing of planned outings, but this last weekend’s big camping trip to Three Sisters is important for the club.

According to Bennett, other outings are planned near the OSU campus, including at the Bald Hill hiking area west of campus and the McDonald-Dunn forest north of campus.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that national sales of hammocks have more than doubled in the past two years, noting that the nap-friendly slings are especially popular among college students.

The Journal quoted sports analyst Matt Powell, who said a new hammock culture has taken shape with millennials, taking hammocking to a whole new level.

A hammocking video posted on YouTube by the University of Florida’s hammocking club, “World’s Largest Hammock Party,” has helped popularize the activity along with a highly publicizedeffortbyBrighamYoungUniversity’s club to set the Guinness World Record for Highest Hammock Tower, also chronicled on YouTube. Hammock towers are stacked hammocks up the trucks of the same two trees.

Today, hammocks are big business, with many styles and fabrics sold by popular sports clothing companies like REI and websites like Mayfair and Hayneedle and specialty hammock companies like Pawley Island. They range in price from around $40 to as much as $500 or more.

The hammocking craze on campuses has not been without some controversy. A few universities, such as Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina, have banned the slings on campus, pointing to safety and tree health issues, according to an article on EAB’s Daily Briefing website.

The same article noted that many other universities have created hammock-friendly areas. The University of Central Arkansas created two hammock farms where the activity is encouraged and supported.

Bennett said the OSU club is dedicated to leaving no trace on outings and camping trips, protecting trees and the environment, noting the low impact hammock camping is known for and the club’s desire to leave no footprint.

Students can join the club or obtain further information by visiting the club’s Facebook page, Facebook.com/ hammockingclubatOSU, or emailing Bennett at [email protected]