The Double Float

Two Jackson locals have built something that combines rafting and hammocking, and now you can buy a Hammocraft of your own.

By Dina Mishev

CHILDHOOD FRIENDS BRYAN Carpenter and Bland Hoke Jr. have been “messing around with floating around on different hammock situations for about ten years,” Hoke says. This April—after designing, fabricating, and testing about nine different iterations of a frame that, when strapped onto two SUPs or kayaks or a raft, allows for simultaneous floating and hammocking—the two men launched a Kickstarter campaign to get funding for their company, Hammocraft. A Hammocraft has been available to rent through Teton Backcountry Rentals since last summer, and Carpenter and Hoke have been selling them to businesses for a couple of years. (You can find a Hammocraft in Hampton, Virginia, and buy coffee from one floating in a marina in San Diego, California.) Outside Online and the Wall Street Journal have done small stories on the company and its singular contraption. But the two friends are still waiting for it to take off as much as it deserves.

The feeling of swinging in a hammock while floating on water is like nothing I had ever experienced. (I interviewed Carpenter and Hoke while Hammocrafting on the small pond in R Park.)

“It’s hard to describe the double float,” Carpenter says. “Laying in a hammock and looking up and seeing things spinning around—this on the stretch of the Snake from the [Jackson Lake] dam to Pacific Creek is otherworldly. You can literally look at the clouds the whole time. It’s perfect.”

Carpenter and Hoke make only the frame, which weighs fifty-nine pounds and, when disassembled, fits into a standard ski bag. It costs $795. You can buy SUPs and hammocks through Hammocraft, and even a battery-powered motor to mount onto a SUP or raft so you don’t have to paddle. If you buy this whole kit, you’re looking at around $8,000. Renting the frame, hammocks, two SUPs, and paddles from Teton Backcountry Rentals costs $130 for a full day.

ONE HAMMOCRAFT FRAME can hold five hammocks. Each is suspended from a simple slot-and-knot system, which allows you to adjust each hammock’s height and lets each hammock disconnect in the unusual event of a flip. While Carpenter and Hoke recommend people take the Hammocraft only on flat water, they’ve taken one down the Class III rapids in the Snake River Canyon. Randomly, the afternoon they did this a photographer from the Jackson Hole News&Guide was at the largest rapids in the canyon—Lunch Counter and Big Kahuna—and snapped a few photos. The News&Guide posted the shot on its Facebook page, and it quickly got several thousand “likes.” Carpenter and Hoke put the photo on Hammocraft’s website, too. “Our insurance company made us take the picture off, though,” Hoke says. Carpenter says, “It was one of the things we said we’d never do, and then we did it and it wasn’t that bad, but we definitely don’t recommend anyone else try it.” The raft/Hammocraft did not flip, but, “The guy on the hammock in the back got launched out.” Hoke adds, “On Facebook, people were commenting that it looked like a certified death trap. People will think it’s going to flip over without ever really looking at it. It’s legit, though.”

Hammocraft is so legit there’s one registered with the U.S. Coast Guard in California. “We had an electric motor on one in San Diego,” Carpenter says. “We got pulled over. Luckily the officer was nice. He started asking me questions about where my permits were. So now there’s a Hammocraft registered as a vessel in California.” The U.S. Navy also stopped the men while they were Hammocrafting in San Diego. “It was one of the ships with big guns on board,” Hoke says. “They flagged us down and said, ‘We need to write you a ticket,’ and then there was a pause of about five seconds, ‘ … for being badass.’ That’s generally the response of everyone who sees it—excited and intrigued.”

Visit hammocraft.com or rent one at tetonbcrentals.com.

| Posted in JH Living
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