What does Cal Poly's Hammock Club do? Hang around, mostly

Carter Wilson, president and founder of the Cal Poly Hammock Club, relaxes in his hammock under the train trestle at Cal Poly.
Carter Wilson, president and founder of the Cal Poly Hammock Club, relaxes in his hammock under the train trestle at Cal Poly.

Sometimes lying around is an art.

A group of Cal Poly students has made an official pastime of lounging around with the formation of the university’s first-ever Hammock Club.

The Cal Poly Hammock Club was formed in March by a group of students committed to having fun in the outdoors and the love of stringing up hammocks for leisure.

“The biggest question we get is, ‘What do you guys do?’” said Carter Wilson, club president and a third-year mechanical engineering major. “We just want to get away and enjoy the outdoors, and do that by hanging up our hammocks and relaxing.”

The fledging club has bimonthly meetings, and so far has recruited 40 students and organized five events — including a Big Sur hiking and camping trip (the group slept in hammocks) and a beach outing at the Pismo Beach pier (they hung hammocks from the pilings). They’ve also hung hammocks on campus beneath the elevated train tracks on Stenner Creek Road.

Club members are creating colorful T-shirts for those who join. The T-shirts have a silhouette of Bishop Peak with the image of a hammock stretched out in the forefront. On the back is the “hang loose” hand gesture.

The concept of the club is to socialize, get away from the daily grind of school and studying, enjoy nature and bring together students of various disciplines. Wilson said the group includes men and women from various majors — animal science, journalism, engineering and more.

“That’s something that has been really nice for me,” Wilson said. “It’s great to interact with and socialize with people who aren’t just engineering majors.”

Members pay a $25 fee a year. The group has worked to get a nearly 50 percent discount on hammocks from a company called Trek Light Gear.

“There’s a proper way to hang a hammock, which we teach,” Wilson said, adding that he wants to create an instructional video explaining it. Hammocks are hung from trees and other suitable structures. “You have to make sure the cinches are properly adjusted and the hammock is well supported. You could slip and fall if it’s not.”

On the Memorial Day weekend camping trip to Big Sur the club hung nylon hammocks, which weigh only about 20 ounces, from oak trees and redwoods.

“We slept until about 9:30 a.m. and people were so comfortable in their hammocks they said that was the longest they’d ever spent sleeping while camping,” Wilson said.