Updated: Oct 23, 2022
If you're looking to take your camping experience up a notch, consider giving hammock camping a try! Hammocks are becoming an increasingly popular way to camp, and for good reason – they're comfortable, versatile, and can be set up in a variety of ways. In this blog post, we will discuss 16 hammock camping tips that will help you make the most out of your next trip!
16 Hammock Camping Tips and Tricks
Sleeping in a hammock might be a pleasant and lightweight alternative to tent camping in the great outdoors. However, sleeping well under the stars necessitates abilities and expertise to ensure that you are ready for success while resting in your hammock. To get you started, here are our top hammock camping recommendations to guarantee your next excursion goes off without a hitch.
1. Get a camping specific hammock
With all the different hammocks on the market, it can be tricky to find one that's best for camping. You might think a backyard cloth hammock would suffice, but it's really way better to get a models specially made for camping. Why? Because they're built from lightweight yet tough materials like ripstop nylon--materials that can take lots of wear and tear in harsh conditions, like you'd experience while hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Hammocks that are lightweight and small enough to fit in a suitcase are also available. Furthermore, because camping-specific hammocks are lighter and more compressible than their fabric counterparts, they're ideal for packing into your backpack.
2. Understand hammock weight limits
A camping hammock has a specified weight limit and it's critical to comprehend this weight maximum before your first excursion. Before you buy a hammock, be sure to find out how much weight the manufacturer says it can support.
When you're outside, keep to this limit. While it may appear relaxing to sit in a single hammock with a loved one or partner, doing so may damage your hammock if it isn't strong enough to support the weight of two people.
3. Bring a bug net
The major disadvantage of hammock camping is that most hammocks lack a bug net. This can be particularly problematic during the summer months, especially in areas where flies, mosquitoes, and other biting insects are common, such as the Grand Teton National Park. Fortunately, there's a simple answer for this problem; hammock bug nets.
If your hammock doesn't already include a bug net, it's worth investing in one for summer camping. Alternatively, you may use a mosquito headnet, but it won't protect the rest of your body very well.
4. Don’t forget a hammock tarp
In addition to a hammock bug net, consider bringing a hammock tarp with you into the hills. Hammocks don't naturally provide any wind or rain protection, so if you want to stay warm and dry in wet places like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you'll need a tarp. A purpose-built hammock tarp is ideal but, if that isn't an option, most reasonably large general camping tarps will suffice.
Avoid being caught in the rain by ensuring your tarp provides enough coverage on both sides of your hammock. I really like to have a rain fly anytime I go hammock camping just in case of a thunderstorm or rain.
5. Use hammock-specific straps
You may be tempted to use makeshift materials like cords or ropes to rigged up your hammock, but you should always trust in hammock-specific straps.
hammock straps are especially designed by professionals to support the weight of an adult human. So strap yourself in with confidence for a good night's sleep!
Aside from that, employing cords and other thin ropes can harm trees. Because these tiny strings can cut through tree bark, causing serious injury or death to any sort of tree. However, the majority of hammock traps are wide enough or include enough padding to avoid tree damage when used properly.
6. Do a test run at home first
If you've never hammocked before, we strongly advise putting your hammock to the test at home. Doing so can help you figure out what works for you and ensure that you remain comfortable on your excursions. Consider making your first hammock trip a weekend getaway to a local campground if you don't have a backyard or place to test out your hammock. Bring a tent with you just in case things become too unpleasant, and use this time to learn how to adjust to your new hammock. A great hammock to try at home is the found at Longdaycampingco.com
7. Figure out the right pitching height
You should typically pitch your hammock 18” (46cm) from the ground to reduce chances of injury if anything unexpectedly happens.
Before you decide on a pitching height, take some time to walk around your campsite and assess the trees. Once you have found the perfect spot, spend some time fine-tuning your set up. After you have pitched your hammock, don't forget to give it a test run so that you can see how high off of the ground it actually is.
Making these changes too close to bedtime may result in a rushed, sloppy job.
8. Pick the best trees
Choosing the proper anchoring trees is critical since your hammock's strength is only as good as the trees it hangs from.
Here are some key things to keep in mind when picking trees for your hammock site :
Avoid using dead trees
Choose trees that are significantly more than 6” (15cm) wide
Only use trees that don’t move if you shake them
Select trees that are about 10 to 15 feet apart
Avoid trees that have poison ivy, poison oak, or other poisonous plants nearby
Don’t pitch a hammock under overhanging dead branches
9. Consider using drip lines
Even if you use a hammock tarp to keep you dry, water may slide down your hammock straps and into your sleeping area on a rainy night. The standard solution to this problem is to utilize a drip line. Drip lines may seem sophisticated, but they're simply lengths of cord that you attach to your hammock straps. Tie one end of paracord to each of your hammock straps and let it hang down toward the ground about halfway between the hammock and the tree.
Finally, in a rainstorm, water will drain down the hammock straps until it reaches the drip line, which directs the water straight to the ground rather than onto your head.
10. Learn how to sleep in a hammock
Although there are several methods to sleep in a hammock, the most popular choice is to sleep diagonally, at a 45° angle with your body against the hammock. This sleeping position provides the most level surface area, allowing your body to lay flat while still providing support. If you have never slept in a hammock before, we recommend experimenting at home first until you find a comfortable position.
11. Pack an underquilt in chilly conditions
If you want to hammock camp in the colder spring and fall seasons, a hammock underquilt is a good idea. A hammock underquilt is essentially an insulated cover that fits over your hammock's underside to keep heat from escaping during the night.
An underquilt is perfect for those times when the temperature outside plummets and you need an extra layer of warmth.
12. Bring a camping pillow
Many people believe that pillows are not necessary when sleeping in a hammock, however this is wrong. Although it's not required, bringing a camping pillow with you will enhance your overall experience. I really like this hammock from Long Day Camping co with an included Pillow:
13. Illuminate your hammock with string lights
Hanging a set of string lights above your hammock may be a fantastic method to light your environment without the need of wearing a headlamp for folks who enjoy reading late at night before going to bed. Simply suspend a pair of battery-powered string lights beneath your hammock tarp, turn them on, and relax in your comfy hanging abode at night.
14. Create your own gear storage system
One of the major limitations with hammocks instead of tents is that they don't have much gear storage capacity. However, if you'd like to provide yourself some additional gear storage space, hang a second ridgeline next to your hammock for the night using paracord or other lightweight rope. You may then attach a stuff bag to the ridgeline and use it as a makeshift pocket for storing your belongings at night.
15. Use a top quilt instead of a sleeping bag
At night, because synthetic and down insulation lose their insulating power when compressed, the insulation beneath your body does not keep you as warm as it would if you were wearing nothing at all.
Consequently, a top quilt (which is like a sleeping bag but without the bottom) can provide warmth and weight savings while hammock camping.
16. Ensure you’re lying in the optimal diagonal position
Many people who try out a hammock for the first time don't realize that the proper way to lie in it is diagonally across it, not directly down the centerline. Lying diagonally in a hammock allows you to achieve a flat posture rather than a banana-like position if you lie parallel with the hammock's centerline.
It may take a little bit of adjusting to get comfortable, but once you find the sweet spot you'll be glad you took the time to do so.
These are just a few tips to help you make the most out of your hammock camping experience! Experiment and have fun! Let us know in the comments below if you have any.
Check out some other great info and great site at Cool of the Wild