The Ultimate Guide to Hammock Camping: Everything You Need to Know
Updated: Jun 23, 2022
If you're looking for a new and exciting camping experience, look no further than hammock camping! This guide will teach you everything you need to know about this growing trend in the camping world. From selecting the right gear to setting up your campsite, we've got you covered! The next camping trip should definitely involve an entire hammock. So strap on a backpack and get ready for an adventure like never before!
Hammocks are popular in the backyard and frequently find their way on camping trips. They're lightweight and portable, making them a breeze to transport. We look at what it takes to make a good camping hammock, as well as some suggestions for using them.
Hammock Camping vs. Tent Camping
Comfort (possibly): Many people enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of hanging in the lounge position in a hammock. Some people absolutely adore the leisurely feel of lounging in the comfort position. This is mainly determined on an individual basis. Some people hate not being able to completely lie flat and elongate their backs at night. What most people do not know is that if you position yourself correctly in a hammock by being sideways in the hammock you can lay flat. The most comfortable part about sleeping in a hammock is getting off the ground. Tent camping is always on the ground which can be cold and wet. Find some sturdy trees and get hanging.
Weight: Because there are no poles or hefty rain flys to carry, hammocks are almost always lighter and more portable than tents. Most single hammocks weigh right around 1lb with a pair of tree straps. Some of the best backpacking hammocks or an ultralight hammock can weigh as little as .5 lbs.
Cost: The backpacking hammock cost savings come from the purchase price and not the weight or materials. If you're comparing apples to apples, hammocks are usually less expensive than tents. They range from $20-$100, but most lightweight backpacking tents start at $100.
Location: On the ground, you can stow your gear in a stuff sack and take off on your own. In open areas, though, consider how much protection you'll need if things start to rain; for example an operational vehicle or a rubberized tent floor will keep water out without you having to pray for it! Keep in mind that ventilation is necessary to avoid condensation buildup inside the hammock, so don't go too deep into the woods where there's little airflow.
Anatomy of a Hammock
A hammock isn't only composed of fabric stretched between two trees. The suspension system that supports the hammock, the ridgeline that runs above it, and the hammock's fabric constitute the three primary components. All three play an essential role in a hammock's comfort and long-term viability.
Suspension System - used to attach the hammock to the trees.
Ridgelines - one or several lines running above the hammock. Used to suspend a tarp and/ or a bug net.
Bug Net - A bug-proof mesh that envelops the hammock. Usually sold separately.
Tarp or rainfly - Hung above the hammock, it shields you from wind, rain and snow.
Quilts - Hung under the hammock to act like an external blanket.
SUSPENSION SYSTEM: KEEP IT SIMPLE AND ADJUSTABLE
Hammock camping setup starts with the suspension system holding up the hammock and is one of the most critical parts of a hammock sleep system. The best suspension systems are adjustable, allowing you to tweak the hammock after you have suspended on nearby trees. Daisy chain straps are the most common adjustable suspension system you will encounter. Most hammocks come with the daisy chain included. Pro Tip: Always make sure you buy a hammock with an adjustable daisy chain with at least 10 loops to work with. This makes setting up the hammock so much easier as there are several feet of loops to work with.
The ROPE (Basic): A rope that you tie to a sturdy tree with a knot is the most basic suspension system you'll encounter. Although they are inexpensive and readily available in stores, a piece of rope isn't the optimal suspension system. They're 'hardened' and difficult to untie when they're out of reach. When you climb into that lovely hammock, it may have you sitting on the ground. Rope is also typically smaller and might harm the tree bark. Because of the danger it poses, use of a rope in some campgrounds is even prohibited. I would discourage any use of a rope if you can avoid it.
DAISY CHAIN STRAPS: Daisy chain straps, such as the wise owl straps, employ a single webbing strap with many loops that serve as hammock attachment points. Clip the hammock to the loop that gives you the best height using a carabiner. You can quickly move up or down a loop by unclipping the carabiner if you misjudge the height. Daisy chain straps are also great for attaching gear to the side of your hammock. These are the best and easiest to use hammock straps. These straps will keep your hammock comfortably hanging for a great camping trip.
RIDGELINE: FOR SUSPENDING A BUG NET, TARP AND/OR WET CLOTHES
The ridgeline is a thin strip of rope that joins both ends of the hammock. It runs head to toe along the top of the hammock. Some hammocks include an incorporated ridgeline, while others require you to provide your own. Most people use a piece of paracord or amsteel to make a ridgeline. The ridgeline is frequently used to hang a tarp or a bug net over the hammock, but it has several further uses. In some hammocks, the ridgeline can be adjusted to alter the form of the hammock, allowing you to sleep at a specific angle. It's also an excellent location to hang small bags while sleeping to keep them within arm's reach. I personally like to not use a ridgeline and sleep directly under the stars.
BUG NET: BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY
In the winter, you don't need a bug net. However, in the spring when the bugs are out in full force, a bug net may be required. A bug-proof mesh is provided with tents, but not with hammocks. Fortunately, adding a bug net to a hammock system after the fact is simple. You can either make your bug net or purchase one. Alot of great brands in the camping hammock industry are adding a bug net with their hammock or double hammocks.
TARP:Or Rainfly IN CASE OF RAIN, SNOW OR WIND
For a hammock, a tarp is definitely suggested. You'll want to have a tarp on hand that you can hang over the hammock to protect you from the wind, rain, and snow no matter how remote the possibilities are. Tarps are used to cover the hammock from top to bottom and provide a tiny dry space around it Stakes and guylines are generally included with tarp purchases, and they are used to keep the tarp in place. There are some really nice rain flys you can buy to help with possible rain while sleeping.
QUILTS: A MUST-HAVE FOR colder weather HAMMOCKING
You can just sleep in a hammock with your sleeping bag wrapped around you. The pressure of laying on your sleeping bag will squash the bag and reduce its effectiveness in keeping you warm. Most hammock sleepers have experienced how their back froze up the first night they slept in a hammock. Hammock sleepers must use an underquilt, which is a sleeping bag designed to hang underneath the hammock and keep your back warm. The hammock fabric is not warm enough due to its thin and light material. Top quilts are also available and can take the place of a traditional sleeping bag. You don't need both, but some people prefer the extra warmth that top quilts provide. Again,The underquilts capture the heat surrounding your back while you sleep and keep you warm from dusk until dawn. On a cold night, an underquilt can be used in conjunction with a top quilt to provide top and bottom warmth much like a sleeping bag. In this article, we've reviewed our favorite hammock underquilts.
SLEEPING PAD: (JUST FOR EXTRA COMFORT)
When the weather gets chilly, you'll need more clothing to keep you warm while sleeping. It's hard to use a sleeping mat beneath you in a hammock when compared to camping in a tent. The sleeping pad frequently slides out in the middle of the night, and its boxy shape makes it difficult to sleep in the hammock. When the outside temperature falls below 50 degrees, you'll want to substitute your sleeping pad for an underquilt. If you don't already have a sleeping pad, here are our top ten lightweight options.
Most of the items you'll need for a hammock are designed to make your life simpler. For added comfort, add an inflatable pillow. There are specialized clamps that replace knots and make hanging a hammock even easier. Glow-in-the-dark guylines are also available, so you won't trip over your hammock setup in the middle of the night. These are just some of the specialized items available to make your hammocking experience more enjoyable.
Hammocks are one of the most versatile pieces of camping gear you can own. With a little creativity, they can be used in a variety of ways to make your life easier while you're out on the trail.
7 Hammock Camping Tips
1. How to lay in a hammock for optimal comfort: Climbing in and laying down like a banana is not the best way to sleep in a hammock. For some, having too much curve in the spine is uncomfortable. Get into the hammock and angle yourself 30 to 45 degrees from the center to sleep diagonally for a flatter lay. You'll get better back support and sleep more peacefully rest at night. In a hammock, stick to one person. It may appear romantic to acquire a hammock for two, but it won't be pleasant when your elbow is in their face and your knee is in their back. Unless you like that sort of thing of course.
2. Always anticipate the weather
: Because you are more exposed in a hammock than in a tent, it is critical that you plan ahead of time. As needed, utilize an underquilt, a top quilt, or both. Don't be hesitant to use a tarp to guard against wet weather, wind, or snow.
3. Choose your trees wisely: Hammocks are fairly safe for sleeping, but you should consider where you will hang your hammock. To begin with, choose two sturdy trees that can support your weight without bending and are approximately 12 feet apart.
Watch for widowmakers (dead trees that might fall) and stay away from the tallest trees, especially if there is a risk of lightning. When you've selected your trees, make sure they're free of boulders or logs. It doesn't happen all that often, but if your hammock were to crash to the ground, you'll want a
4. Double protect from the bugs: The one downfall with hammock camping is the bugs. Hang your bug net outside of your face and exposed areas. The netting prevents bugs from entering the hammock, but they can still bite through it if their skin is close enough to yours. You may also use permethrin, a repellent that is very effective against ticks, to treat your hammock. Permethrin is similar to DEET and is available at most sporting goods stores.
5. Bear safety also applies while hammocking: When camping in bear territory, be sure to treat a hammock like a tent. Don't store your food or fragrant goods in your hammock. When camping in an area known to have bears, hang your food from trees using bear hooks, bear lockers, or otherwise.
6. Bring a few extra carabiners along:
When you're hammock camping, it's always a good idea to have a few carabiners on hand. These handy climbing clamps are used to connect the hammock to the suspension system, hang stuff from a ridgeline, and more. Even if your hammock comes with some carabiners, having a few extras is never a bad idea.
7. Sleep under the stars: There is nothing and I mean nothing greater than sleeping under the stars on a clear night. This is one of the few joys most people do not get to experience now with thier fancy campers, air conditioning, and hotels. So get out there and give it a try one night under the stars should be on everyones bucket list.
I hope these hammock camping tips get you as excited for jumping in a hammock as I do. The camping hammock is an affordable way to do some great hiking with friends and family.
Considerations for Choosing a Hammock
WEIGHT: UNDER 3 LBS
Not all hammocks are made equal. When buying a hammock, you must first verify that the hammock is light enough to bring along. If the hammock weighs more than 3 pounds, it's best to choose a tent instead.
LENGTH: APPROX. 10-11 FEET LONG X 5 FEET WIDE
Another important feature to consider is the size. If you're tall, this becomes particularly crucial. The ideal hammock length to take camping is 8.5 feet long by 4 feet wide. Unless you are petite or a child, a hammock with a dimension of 8.5 feet by 4 feet will not accommodate you well. A 10-foot by 11-foot hammock should comfortably fit most people.
WIDTH: SINGLE VS DOUBLE WIDTHS
Single and double width hammocks are likewise available, with each size designed for one or two individuals. Single width hammocks are tight, making it hard to sleep sideways. You run out of cloth before you can fully extend your legs. They're only good for one person at a time. The length of a double hammock is usually measured from one D-ring to the other. A single hammock may accommodate two people, but it's difficult, if not impossible, for two individuals to sleep comfortably in a hammock. Double hammocks are popular because of their greater breadth, which makes it easier to sleep diagonally.
MAXIMUM WEIGHT CAPACITY: YOUR BODY WEIGHT
The maximum weight that a hammock can support is shown in the product description. When examining the range, don't just focus on your own weight. Include your gear, your dog, and any other things you might want to store in the hammock during an emergency. Make sure there's a 25-pound buffer between yourself and the hammock and you'll be fine.
MATERIALS: NYLON VS. POLYESTER
Most hammocks are made of nylon because it is light and breathable. Denier is the term used to describe the thickness of a material, with 70 denier being more durable than a lighter 20 denier material. Some nylon hammocks will have an outside DWR coating to keep them dry, but you may do this as well. Polyester is a good choice if you want a more durable material. It is also UV resistant, so it won't fade in the sun. It is not as breathable as nylon, however, so it may be too hot to use on a summer day.
SUSPENSION: ADJUSTABLE IS KEY
Make sure the suspension system is as basic as possible while still allowing for adjustment. You'll want to be able to adjust your hang swiftly when it's chilly, windy, or raining. The fewer moving components and pieces you can lose, the better. convenience: Some people like D-rings or whoopie slings because they may be adjusted without having to get out of the hammock.