When people talk about camping, the first thing that comes to mind is tent camping. A tent is understandably the default overnight shelter people choose. But these days, camping in a hammock is very popular.
In this blog, we’ll answer some very common questions about hammock camping, how to set it up, and the materials you will need to have a successful hammock camping trip.
What is Hammock Camping?
Hammock camping means you’re using a hammock and its few accessories when sleeping overnight instead of using the typical tent. This alternative is very common for many backpackers and bike campers who enjoy lightweight camping.
It is versatile, easy to use, and portable. Another advantage of sleeping in a hammock is being spared from sleeping on rocky grounds or sloped terrains.
Hammock Camping Checklist
Many hammock tent systems already pack the needed items to set up a hammock and all you will really need is to find two sturdy trees where you can tie them up.
You can also DIY most of these materials or if you want to have a more comfortable sleeping experience, add a few items.
Check out our checklist below:
If you’re buying one, always consider comfort and durability. Weight is also a big factor especially if you’re backpacking.
You will also want to check the size, dimensions, and fabric of the hammock you’re choosing. There are single and double hammocks available. As for the length, choose one that is 2 feet longer than your height.
Lightweight hammocks have a 30-denier level while sturdy models (best for rough use) have 70-denier fabric.
- Suspension System
Most suspension systems do not require special knots to tie. Others also include protective sleeves to protect the tree bark. It’s advisable not to use bare ropes as it damages the tree bark.
- Sleeping pad
Sleeping pads provide extra stability and comfort while you are sleeping. It also gives extra warmth at night since it adds insulation underneath your hammock.
Sleeping pads vary in sizes. If your pad doesn’t fit to your hammock’s shape, you can deflate it to fit into your hammock. You can also just cut the pad to conform to the shape.
An alternative to a sleeping pad is an underquilt. Since the underside of the hammock is mostly exposed to the cold, the underquilt acts as an insulator and protects the hammock from the outside, providing more warmth when you sleep.
- Rain Tarp
If you think a hammock can only be used for warm summer days, then you’re wrong. As a solution to rainy or drizzly days, you can add a rain tarp to your accessories.
This is the equivalent of a rainfly for tents. To set this up, you will need to have a ridgeline tied between the trees just right above your hammock. Secure the four corners with a rope attached to the ground.
- Bug net
To prevent bugs from disturbing your deep sleep, consider getting a bug net that can cover your entire hammock. If you’re choosing one that only covers the top, you may treat the bottom of the hammock with an insect repellant. Be sure the spray is safe for fabrics.
How to Set Up a Hammock For Camping
Setting up a hammock may appear time-consuming, yet with the right strategy, it is a fun and simple way to relax for camping. Check out below some helpful tips on how to set up a hammock for your next camping.
- Choose the right spot
Choose the right spot to set up a hammock. Ideally, it should be located between two trees. Consider safety when choosing a spot.
One of the most common dangers that you should avoid is to hang your hammock on dead trees. You have to choose strong and sturdy trees. You also have to watch out for dry and tall branches above. A strong wind can cause dry branches to fall.
Choosing the right spot also means you have to check with land managers to make sure you’re not disobeying any camping rules. If they are allowed, follow their tent-camping rules if there are any.
Some campsites would allow you to set up a hammock but they may have their own guidelines like using only an already established campsite or setting up at least 200 feet from a water source.
- Consider the right distance between two desired trees
The distance between your two chosen trees affects how your hammock would feel. Ideally, the distance should be around 10 to 15 feet. You can easily estimate it by taking 10 to 15 steps between trees. Also, consider how low or how flat you would want your hammock to be set up.
A hammock that is too bent or too flat won’t be comfortable. A good setup is ideally having the hammock’s straps form an angle at about 30 degrees toward the tree.
- Ensure that your hammock is no higher than two feet off the ground
For convenience and safety, ensure that the low point of your hammock is no higher than two feet off the ground. You’ll not be able to get inside your hammock if it’s too high. As a general rule, you should tie the rope around shoulder height.
Tie the other end of the rope a little lower to create an elevation for extra comfort. So if you tie one end at shoulder level, tie the other end around a foot lower than your shoulder’s height.
- Check the stability of your hammock once you’ve set it up
Once you’ve set up your hammock, do not immediately jump into it. Check it’s stability by slowly applying weight using your knee. This is also the best time to check if you’ve achieved the height that you’ve desired.
- Set Up Your Bug Net
This last step is one of the most important things that many campers tend to overlook. You may have a really nice and comfortable hammock, but your sleep won’t be as comfortable if you’re disturbed by night bugs. Make sure that you include a bug net in your setup.
Considerations For Hammock Camping
Camping in a hammock brings a lot of benefits from comfort to practicality to versatility. However, it also has a few considerations and it’s important to keep them in mind.
The first consideration is its insulation. In warm weather, a hammock can keep you cooler than sleeping in a regular tent because it offers better air circulation.
But in colder temps, a hammock is a disadvantage over a tent. Although the sleeping pads of your hammock improve its insulation, it may not be enough if the temperature is really low.
The heat of your body escapes out when you are sleeping in a hammock which makes it a disadvantage to set up in colder temperatures. Even if you covered layers of blankets on top of you, your bottom can be chilled because there’s no enough insulation under it.
- Can Cause Sleep Issues
While a lot of people consider hammock camping as comfortable, others struggle to sleep well in this setup. They consider a hammock too restrictive which makes it uncomfortable if you stay in it longer.
- Not The Best Option For Two People, or More
Sleeping soundly at night is challenging when there’s two of you in one hammock. You’ll certainly need another one for that. So if you’re planning on hammock camping with a friend or a family member, make sure that each of you has his or her own hammock.
Camping in Hammock can be an incredible alternative to traditional tent camping. It’s fun, comfortable, and safe. Consider the considerations for hammock camping to determine if this is a good fit for your next adventure.
With a little preparation, you will get the hang of it and you’ll become a pro in no time.
If you have any more questions about camping in a hammock, I’d love to hear them and I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the comments section below.
For more choices and an amazing range of quality hammocks with a lot more information for your next adventure read my post on the Best Camping Hammocks.
You may also like to read my Honest Outfitters post for a comparision that may help with your decision.
Remember! Leave it cleaner than you found it, only footprints not rubbish.