You’ve been enduring the pains of camping with a tent for long enough. Tents are difficult to carry, and they are a pain to set up. Plus, you’re stuck inside of a plastic box. Luckily, you have the option of hanging a hammock between two trees. Pick up the right gear to make your next outdoors excursion a success. This article provides some insights on what makes hammock camping preferable, and we’ll walk through several tips to improve the quality of your next hammock experience.
What Makes Hammock Camping Better Than the Rest?
Benefit 1: More Versatile Than Other Methods
If you’re looking for a way to camp that will be viable in many terrains, hammock camping is the way to go. Unlike towing a camper, you will be able to take this style off the road and far away from civilization. While tent campers are busy looking for a level spot to put their tents, you’ll already be hanging between two trees. The only time that hammock camping isn’t preferred is when you’re going into a terrain that doesn’t have any trees.
Benefit 2: Lightweight Design is Easier to Carry
Most campers care about how heavy their gear is because they want to be able to carry it up steep inclines. If you’re planning on camping in a remote location, you’re going to be complaining about the heavy tent you have to haul along the trail. Unburden a few pounds from your shoulders by becoming a diehard hammock camper. In addition to saving your back from the struggle of carrying a tent, hammock gear doesn’t take up as much space within your bag.
Benefit 3: Being More Connected to the Outdoors
The best part of using a camping hammock is the ability to camp without a roof over your head. It’s just as comfortable as sleeping in a bed, but you have the luxury of gazing up at the stars at night. You’ll also enjoy the feeling of a cool breeze in the hot summer months.
Improve Your Next Trip With These Tips
Get ready for your next camping trip by reviewing these pointers that can make your experience much more enjoyable. (These are especially important for first time hammock campers.)
Transporting & Hanging Tips
When you need to carry a hammock out to your site and set it up among trees, you’re going to need tough gear to get the job done.
- Transporting: Unless you’re driving up to your campsite, you’re going to need a way to carry your hammock gear. It’s not going to fit in a messenger bag, and a duffel bag is going to be difficult to carry along the trails. When you’re transporting your hammock a great distance, you need to find a sturdy backpack that you will be able to rely upon. Search for backpacking gear that has been tested by other outdoors enthusiasts. You need a bag that’s big enough to carry all of your gear, and it needs to be built to provide comfort along the long walk to your site.
- Hanging: You might think that hanging a hammock involves tying a rope around a few trees, but this method is not preferred by professionals. Expert hammock campers and park officials believe that such activities will harm the bark on trees. Instead, you’ll actually need to use special tree straps that are designed for this purpose. Each of the tree straps will loop around the tree before attaching to your hammock. Tree straps are designed to hold a lot of weight without breaking, and they are also designed to avoid leaving a mark on the support system that nature provides.
Tips to Help Stay Warm
Hanging under the trees is a breeze during the day, but it gets chilly at night. Make sure to put serious thought into how you’re going to stay warm on your trip.
- Bedding: Most outdoor enthusiasts will recommend buying a high quality sleeping bag to take on your next trip. However, you should be careful to make sure that you’re buying a sleeping bag that is rated for the appropriate season for your trip. You don’t want to be caught in the middle of the winter with a thin blanket between you and the cold air, and a thick blanket will make a summer camping trip just as miserable. You’ll find that many bags are rated for three seasons, and most of the well-made bags will tell you what temperatures they are ideal for as well.Most hammock campers recommend using an additional item in the winter months. If you’re brave enough to camp in the cold, you should carry along an extra layer to keep you warm at night. A thick sleeping pad will help you to maintain your body temperature during the coldest hours of the night. You could also try adding an underquilt to your hammock for an extra layer to keep you warm.
- Here’s Another Consideration: You’ll need a fire to stay warm during the winter, but you can’t leave the fire unattended when you go to bed. That’s why many campers prefer to use a hammock tarp to block the wind while they sleep.
Related: Check out our tips for winter camping.
Tips to Keep Away the Bugs
You might be excited to try out your new gear, but there’s a swarm of insects that are excited about the same thing. Before you pack, take a look at these tips to keep away the bugs.
- Fire Is Your Friend: Campfires aren’t just for roasting marshmallows; they actually help keep away the bugs. However, you should be sure to check with the park to see if campfires are allowed at your site. Whenever the bugs are bothering your group, you can always light a fire in the fire pit. The smoke acts as a deterrent to keep flying insects from buzzing around your hammock. Make sure to put out the fire before you go to bed, and look at these other tips to help you sleep soundly.
- Natural Products: There are natural products available to help keep insects away from your campsite. If there are too many mosquitos around your hammock, you could try using tea tree oil as a deterrent by applying a small amount to the hammock.
- Use a Net: In addition to using an underquilt to keep the mosquitoes from biting through the hammock, you could try hanging a bug net above your hammock. Some bug nets are free standing structures, and others require a simple guideline to hang them between the trees. (Many high-end hammock tents come with netting already in place.)
Tips to Make Your Sleep More Comfortable
You might consider roughing it on a camping trip to be an accomplishment, but other members in your party will want the option to relax. Here are some tips to help keep people happy while they hang in their hammocks.
- Positioning Yourself: Believe it or not, there is a learning curve to sleeping in a hammock. Many people don’t realize that sleeping in a straight line with the hammock is more difficult. Sleeping in a straight line will cause back pain, and you might even wake up with your rear touching the ground. Most seasoned hammock campers prefer to sleep on a diagonal angle. The hammock supports your body better when you sleep on an angle, so you’ll get a better night of rest.
- Comfortable Bedding: You might think that cold weather is the only time of the year that people should bring extra bedding for their hammocks. However, the extra bedding isn’t there only to provide warmth; it helps make the hammock more comfortable. Try using a quilt under the sleeping bag, or incorporate a foam pad for an easier night between the trees.
Everything You Need to Keep Dry in a Hammock
- Rain Shelter: When you’re camping out in the elements, a good tarp will go a long way towards keeping you dry. Tarps aren’t used just to cover your boat during the winter. A thick tarp will help keep your hammock out of the rain as well. Hang the tarp along the same lines that you used to hang the hammock, or you could try setting up an extra line above the hammock, and be sure to secure the ends of your tarp to keep it from blowing in the wind.
I personally use the Outdoors Way 12 foot hammock tarp and love it. It only adds about 1.5 pounds to your pack, so it makes an easy addition.
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Get Ready to Hang Around Outdoors
Hopefully, we’ve provided a lot of new information about what makes hammock camping preferable to other methods, and you’re ready to try it out for yourself. Take the tips above into consideration in order to maximize the enjoyment that your group experiences on your next trip into the great outdoors. Spending time outdoors with the people you love is one of the most enjoyable things you can do, and you’ll make everything a little better by bringing along the know-how to stay warm, dry, and comfortable.