EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - Lauren Kovsky loves to camp and the closer she can get to nature, the better.
"As long as there's no mosquitos and it's not raining, I don't use a tarp and I wake up and I look up and there's birds right over me, chirping," she said.
Kovsky is an experienced hammock camper and also a canoe outfitter. She runs a business called The River's Path, based out of Boulder.
"I've already spent about 40 nights in a hammock this year," she said.
Years ago she traded in her tent for a hammock and she hasn't looked back since.
"I am more comfortable on a hammock than I am on my bed," said Kovsky. "I used to have a set up that I got at REI by ENO, Eagle Nest Outfitters, and then I learned about cottage vendors, which is basically all these like little local shops all around the country."
She now has a custom hammock that she made herself.
"The hammock that I have now is 11.5 feet long instead of 9.5 feet and it actually weighs less," Kovsky said.
She also made her own top quilt, which is similar to a sleeping bag without a zipper.
"It does not get cold because this is down. This a 40 degree under-quilt, this is a 30 degree top quilt, so I'm good to a little bit above freezing with this setup. And then I also have a zero degree set up which I use when it's cold out," Kovsky said.
According to Kovsky, there's etiquette when it comes to hammock camping, like no shoes in the hammock. She said there's also tricks to help you get the best night's sleep you've ever had.
"I learned you actually sleep diagonally, so you put your feet across you, put your head across and then I'm totally flat," she said. "Every part of me is supported."
Kovsky said hammock camping follows 'Leave No Trace' principals but it has to be done properly.
"Sometimes people will use rope, like skinny rope, around trees. Number one, this may or may not actually hold a person, but also that will roll and actually damage the tree and pull bark off," Kovsky said.
"This strap here is from DutchWear Gear and it's called a beetle buckle suspension because of the beetle buckle and you can actually use this to go around a tree if you want. It's a one-inch strap, but I actually decided to make some two-inch straps," she said. "The reason for that is to really minimize the amount of impact you have on the trees. The thicker the strap the better."
Kovsky said she wants to advocate for education about how to hammock camp safely and also in a way that won't damage trees or have a major impact on the environment.
She said she is happy to offer advice or mentor any newbies and can be contacted at the information below.
One important thing to note is that hammock camping is not allowed everywhere so be sure to ask before you go.
It is allowed on National Forest Land and Bureau of Land Management Land but it is not allowed at most Colorado State Parks and it varies from regional park to park.
The River’s Path