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One Foot Outdoors: Hammocks an outdoor gamechanger

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what is the one thing you couldn’t live without? This is a fun icebreaker game that is commonly used for teambuilding in a get-to-know-you style forum.
One Foot Outdoors

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what is the one thing you couldn’t live without?

This is a fun icebreaker game that is commonly used for teambuilding in a get-to-know-you style forum. I recently traveled for work, and we played this game in a room of about 50 people. The situation was dreadful, the outlook grim. Our plane went down en route to the conference and we were stranded on an island with the co-workers we were sitting with. We were each allowed to bring one thing with us. What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without?

One by one, we each stood up and introduced ourselves, and told everyone the one item we would bring and why.

The answers varied, as you can imagine. Across the room some of the items included a fishing rod, a knife, a piano, a tent, a motorcycle, and Lyle. Kudos to Lyle for being so well liked that a co-worker couldn’t live without him. Cell phones were also a popular choice.

Then it was my turn.

“Hi! My name is Tim Babcock. I’m from Flin Flon, Manitoba, and if I was stranded on an island the one thing I couldn’t live without is my hammock.”

Now, you are probably wondering why, of all the things on earth I could have chosen, I picked a hammock. I know you are thinking this, because of all the blank stares I got when I announced this in front of my peers. Hear me out.

The purpose of the exercise is to get off the island. My question is, why would anyone want to leave? I’ll gladly take my hammock, tie it between two trees and wait for help to arrive. The island isn’t so bad. It’s got trees for making shelter and fresh water for drinking. My cell phone doesn’t work, no one is stopping me on Main Street, and there are no meetings to attend. I’m living the dream!

I have accumulated a lot of camping and outdoor gear this summer. Some of my favourites are a USB charging LED lantern, a microfiber towel that doubles as a sack for carrying things, a good all-purpose knife, a lightweight set of cookware that almost fits in your pocket, a self-inflating pillow, and of course, Epic Wipes.

But none of those are as versatile as a hammock. When you aren’t using it to swing suspended between two trees, you can use it as a ground sheet or a tarp. You transform it into a tent by spreading it across a clothesline and tying down the corners.

I prefer to use mine the way it was intended – stretched out between two trees so I can let the natural swaying motion rock me gently to sleep. If I could replace my bed with a hammock full-time, I would. Studies have shown that hammocks help people fall asleep faster, stay in a state of deep sleep longer, and get a more comfortable rest. Mattresses can create pressure points, whereas hammocks eliminate these because you are suspended in the air.

For those of you who may be wondering, we did eventually make it off the island. After weeks of living the dream, we broke down the piano to build a raft, used the hammock as a sail and set Lyle afloat to wave down a ship. I hope Lyle’s item was sunscreen.

Tip of the week: Don’t take my word for it, try one out for yourself. Hammocks have been around for centuries, predating the Europeans arriving in the Americas over 500 years ago. There are many different styles available, so do some research and figure out which one works best for your lifestyle. If you like naps as much as I do, a hammock is a great investment. If ropes and knots are intimidating to you, there are many hammock enthusiast websites with easy to follow instructional videos. The best thing about hammocks may be their affordability. You can get started with a camping style hammock for under $40.

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