What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of camping?
Yes. The question that comes to our mind is â€œWhere am I going to sleep?â€.
The answer to this question is a tent. But the second question that should come to your mind is whether you will sleep comfortably in a tent or not.
The issue with a tent or any other form of camping on the ground is that the ground in a camping site is usually uneven. It is also difficult to sleep if rough stones or tree roots bother your back.
Hammocks are the solution to those problems. A hammock is the modern way of camping that takes your back off the ground and gives you a deep and cozy sleeping experience.
But before you go hammock camping, it is wise to know everything about hammocks first. So, today we are here with an article that will answer all your queries about hammock camping.
What Are Hammocks And What Is Its History?
The journey into the world of hammocks starts by answering these two questions. You can proceed to all the details of hammock once these questions are answered.
To put it simply, hammock camping is when a camper sleeps in a single piece of cloth, called a hammock, suspended on more than one support.
The supports, usually trees have to be around 10 feet apart and should be strong enough to hold your weight. There are a lot of small things you have to keep in mind while setting up a hammock. Based on the condition, climate, or weather, you will need different accessories to go with a hammock.
Have you ever wondered who was the first one who thought of a hammock?
Well, there was a group of people called the Maya who were the first to make hammocks out of plant fibers and tree barks.
They got popular 800 years after that though, through sailors of all people. A certain someone named Christopher Columbus realized the benefits of hammock camping during his journeys. He made people realize that hammocks were a cure for seasickness. Harsh weather can often result in the standard beds being unusable and thus they opted for hammocks instead.
For these last 100 years, hammocks have evolved and are been used mostly for leisurely activities like camps and hikes.
Are Hammocks Right For You?
To make a decision about anything, the best thing to do is a pros and cons list. So, letâ€™s make one for hammocks and see if hammock is right for you.
Advantages Of Hammock:
Hammocks have become a favorite among campers recently. There are many valid reasons for that happening. A hammock has a number of advantages.
It is a big plus when it comes to hammocks. They are very comfortable to sleep in.
Hammocks are good for your back and induce a deeper sleep. With the hectic schedule of the modern world, a hammock can get your mind off it and give you peace of mind.
Carrying luggage is the worst part of any vacation camping. Who wants to carry big luggage. With a hammock, you certainly wonâ€™t. They are light and can be easily packed.
Hammocks are generally more durable than other forms of camping just because it is a single sewn cloth. If you buy one hammock, it can be good enough for quite a few backpacking trips.
Because everyone likes to buy a long-lasting product, hammocks are a good option.
If you are camping for the first time, you will thoroughly enjoy hammock camping. When you plan to go for a camping trip, all you are looking for is excitement, and what is more exciting than sleeping above the ground, hanging in the open.
If you are looking for a new experience and want thrill in your life, it is highly recommended you carry a hammock for sleeping.
You want to camp but also worry about the environment? A hammock is an eco-friendly way of camping for you. It doesnâ€™t affect the natural vegetation of the ground and since there is nothing to be dug into the ground, it doesnâ€™t affect the soil.
Be careful because using ropes for tying a hammock can affect the supporting tree by damaging its bark but a pair of tree-straps prevent this problem completely.
Disadvantages Of Hammock:
There are two sides to every coin. The hammock has may advantages but it also has some disadvantages to go with it.
1. Options In The Market
It is good to have options available to you. But unfortunately for hammocks, there arenâ€™t many. A hammock usually is of two types, one-person or two-person. You can get them in different colors and designs but other forms of camping, especially tents have more options for you to choose from.
Also, when it comes to lucrative designs, there arenâ€™t many available for hammocks.
2. Number Of People
When it comes to hammocks, only you can sleep in one. So, if you are going camping as a group it might get difficult to find too many ideal tree positions to set up several hammocks.
You can overcome this by using hammock stands but generally, it is a drawback of hammock camping.
3. Danger Of Wild Animals
Do you like danger? Of course not, no one does. So, there is an issue with a hammock that as you are sleeping in the open, you run the risk of wild animals spotting you. Animals like bears are dangerous at night.
There is no sure way to avoiding wild animals but you can try by lighting a fire near your hammock.
How Are Hammocks And Tents Different?
You cannot get to know if something is good or not unless it is compared with something of the same area. The main competition for a hammock is a tent. You can make a clear choice about hammocks after seeing it compared to tents.
|Durability||More durable||Can be used 1 or 2 times|
|Comfort||Very Comfortable||Not very comfortable|
|Carrying||Easy to carry||Difficult to carry|
|No. of people||One person in a hammock||3 to 4 people in a tent|
For the details of hammocks vs tents, check out here.
Are Hammocks Healthy?
There is no scientific proof that hammocks are good for health but based on our as well as other userâ€™s experiences, hammocks have a number of health benefits.
1. Induces Deeper Sleep:
Sleeping at an angle at a height, we have seen that hammocks can make you very comfortable and you can go deep into your sleep. With the wind blowing, the slow movement of the hammock can give you a cradle-like experience, and get the inner child in you fall asleep.
2. Improves Brain Activity:
The first point is the reason for this. In this hectic world, you need a give a rest to your brain to improve its activity. It is just like switching off your cell phone for a few hours and the cell phone will work better.
So similarly, sleeping in a hammock recharges your brain and makes you feel fresh in the morning.
3. Gives Back Relief:
It is meant for our back to sleep in a curve. Sleeping in beds makes your vertebrae stay in an upright alignment for a long time, resulting in stiffness. Hammock, donâ€™t do that. Your vertebrae can adjust to your sleeping position and prevent your back from getting stiff.
4. Improve Your Bodily Functions:
Your bodily functions speed up when you sleep. This is a known fact. So, when your mind is at peace because of comfortable sleep, your bodily functions improve and you stay healthy.
Which Hammock To Choose?
Choosing a hammock can be quite a difficult task if you don’t know what are the options in front of you. There are different types of hammocks available and they come with different features.
Types Of Hammock Available:
Hammocks are limited in the types and designs available in the market. But among the ones available, they are divided into a few types based on construction, usability, and features.
1. Parachute Hammock:
The hammock you generally find in the market is a parachute hammock. It is made up of thin nylon fabric. It is relatively light in weight but it doesnâ€™t provide you with any insulation for your back.
2. Rope Hammock:
If you plan to buy a hammock just for relaxing for a short while, this is the one for you. It is made in a fishnet-like design and is very comfortable. They are wider than other hammocks.
3. Expedition Hammock:
They are made of strong material and the wear and tear are non-existent. It can be used throughout the year in any season. The best feature of an expedition hammock is that it can be turned into a hanging tent.
4. Ultralight Hammock:
If you want to carry minimal luggage, you have to buy an ultralight hammock. They are incredibly small but the strength of these hammocks is on the lower side.
Factors To Consider While Choosing Hammock:
Once you have known the types of hammock available, you need to know on what basis will you choose the hammock. Choosing a hammock can go a long way in determining how good your camping trip is. The things you need to consider before buying a hammock are:
Hammocks usually come in two sizes: Single Hammock & Double Hammock
|Single Hammock||Double Hammock|
|Weight capacity||300-400 pounds||400-500 ponds|
|Width||4-5 foot||5-6 foot|
|Comfort||Not too much||Very comfortable for one|
|Carrying||Easy to carry||More difficult than a single hammock|
If you are a person of average height, it should not be an issue for you since the generally available one in the market will be perfect for you. But if you are extra tall, it is better to choose one that can accommodate you.
Generally, choose a hammock that is 2 feet longer than your height and you are good to go.
‘Denier‘ is a specification that you can look into before choosing a hammock. The lighter the fabric, the lower is the denier number.
Hammock makers use 70-denier fabrics to make robust models and 30-denier fabrics to use lightweight models.
Pick up your desired type, choose the size and length, and pick the material. Now you have the best hammock in your cart.
What Are Hammock Accessories?
Camping in a hammock is fun, as long as you have the necessary accessories with you. For a smooth camping experience, do you want to know what you need? Let us see:
Accessories Based On Conditions:
We have already seen what are the considerations you have to make for a good hammock. Since it is the main part of the hammock system, the best one for you has to be selected.
Most hammocks come with a suspension system of their own but you should buy a pair of tree-straps separately. Make sure that the tree-straps should be at least 0.75 inches wide. This ensures that you are not harming the tree that is supporting your hammock.
You will need a carabiner to attach your hammock to the tree strap. They are usually given with the hammock, but in case they arenâ€™t given, you can easily get them from the market.
4. Overhead Tarp:
If you are sleeping in the open, there is a chance of getting wet because of rain or dew. That is why you need a tarp over your head. As with all tarps, the bigger the tarp is, the more protection it will provide.
When you sleep in a hammock, your back is over the ground, and the hammock is made of thin material, so it doesnâ€™t provide any insulation. Thus, when the wind blows beneath you, it carries away your body heat and makes you feel chilly.
That is why you need an underquilt. An underquilt is hung below the hammock to provide you with insulation from beneath. There has to be a gap between your hammock and the underquilt. The air in this gap will get warm because of your body heat and keep you warm all night.
6. Bug Net:
Planning to sleep in a hammock? But, sleeping in the open means that there is a chance of bugs like a mosquito biting you at night. It is a basic problem with hammock camping. That is why you need to nave a bug net around you. Some hammocks come with its mosquito net, while in other cases, you need to buy a bug net separately.
7. Sleeping Bag:
The last thing you need for a good night’s sleep in a hammock is a sleeping bag. It is not necessary like other accessories but it is advisable to carry one. The underquilt can insulate you from beneath but for the wind over you, you need a sleeping bag.
Wrapping yourself around with a sleeping bag can provide you with a feeling of your warmth that makes sure you sleep well.
Alternative To Trees:
There are some accessories that are needed in case you donâ€™t have trees around your camping site.
1. Portable Stands
Did you know? There are substitutes for trees readily made and sold in the market. Yes, you can just go and buy one if you donâ€™t want to depend on trees anymore. Even better, you can make one by yourself using the DIY solution for portable hammock stands.
2. Cars Or Trucks
You are right, you can use the same car or truck you used to come to the campsite as a support to your hammock. You still need to worry about the other end but at least you got one end covered.
3. Poles Or Posts
You must probably know this already, a telephone pole, or a light post can be used as an alternative for trees. You still need to look at whether the pole is strong to hold you.
4. Non Tree Objects
So what, if you donâ€™t have trees around you. There are so many other things you can use for tying your hammock. Consider a rock, or a boulder, or wooden planks, all of them can be a good substitute for trees.
You can just tie your hammock to buildings, rain shelters, or pavilions. If you are camping in some state park, this is something you can look for definitely.
6. Hammock Structures
You have probably seen one in your city but didnâ€™t realize what it was. Yes, hammock structures are made for setting multiple hammocks at a time and are found in universities, parks, etc.
Want to know more? You can check out 6 Secret Techniques of Hammock Camping Without Trees
How To Set Up A Hammock?
There are two ways to set up a hammock. One is with trees and one without trees. Both are almost similar with just a few differences.
Set Up With Trees:
You may have observed people setting up hammocks. But are they doing it right? You have to strictly follow four steps if you want to set your hammock right.
Step 1: Choosing The Location:
Before setting up the hammock, you need to look for an ideal location. Look for two trees at a distance of around 10 feet and see if the surrounding is fine. Check if the place doesnâ€™t stink and there is no dirt around. Once you found a place, start with your set up.
Step 2: Suspension And Tree-Strapping:
Tie the tree straps to both the trees you chose. Ensure that they are tightly strapped. After strapping, use carabiners to connect your hammock to the straps. Check the suspension and adjust it if needed.
Step 3: Height And Angle:
The height at which a hammock is set up has to be kept in mind. You want to have a hammock where it is easy to climb on but your back doesnâ€™t touch the ground. You can adjust the height by moving the straps.
Make sure that the string of your hammock makes an angle around 20-30 degrees with the ground.
Step 4: Setting Up Accessories:
The overhead tarp, the underquilt, and the bug net need to be set up in an orderly fashion. The tarp needs to be at an angle so that in case of rain, the water drains off. The underquilt needs to have a decent gap with your hammock and then you have to ensure that the bug net doesnâ€™t have any holes in it.
Setup Without Trees:
Without trees, the setup is still similar but it is a quicker process with lesser number of steps.
Step 1: Suspension And Height:
The location isnâ€™t necessary if you are camping without trees. So, the first step is checking the suspension. You can use ropes to tie your hammock to the tree alternative and then use a carabiner to hook the hammock to the rope.
Adjusting the rope will adjust your height.
Step 2: Setting Up Accessories:
The second step is setting up of underquilt and tarp and bug net. It is the same as the one with trees.
Want Some Tips And Tricks For Hammock Camping?
It is good to follow the process but sometimes you need to improvise and here are some tips and tricks you need to keep in mind. For us, three ‘it’ has to be kept in mind while hammock camping.
1. Stick It
If your trees are a bit apart, you can use a stick to hold your string in between the trees. We advise you to look for trees at a small distance, but in case you could find such trees, this trick can come in handy for you.
2. Wind It
If you want a good hammock experience, please go somewhere where the wind speed is low. If the wind is fast-flowing, you will swing hard and feel cold, overall experience to forget.
3. Keep It
You donâ€™t want to get out of your hammock once you get in. So try to carry a pouch that you can hang to you hammock so that necessary stuff like your wallet, phone, or a sandwich is there when you need them.
How Much For Hammocks And Which Are The Best?
For better quality, you will have to spend more, that is the rule of this world. So, same goes for hammocks. As for the options in the market, we can give you the best ones available based on our usage experience.
Cost Of A Hammock
First of all, you will have to spend around $250 for a decent and satisfying hammock camping trip. It is considerably less than any other form of camping. If you have a small budget and want a good camping experience within this budget, here is how you need to approach it:
|Hammock with mosquito net||$60|
Please remember that these are tentative costs and an approximate value of what they might cost. If you go for a better-quality product, the price will also go up.
But for this price range, you can have a satisfying camping trip.
Best Hammocks To Check Out
There is a lot of hammocks out there made by several different brands, but what you need is the best one suited to you. You can go through the choosing section and make out what type of hammock you want.
Once you have done that you can look for those features in the description given for the hammock. Some good options in the market available are:
- Sunyear Camping Hammock with Mosquito/Bug Net
- Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro Mosquito Hammock
- Everest Double Camping Hammock with Mosquito Net
- Hennessey Hammock
- Lost valley Camping Hammock
Where Can You Use a Hammock?
To know the answer to this question, you will have to look care around you first. You will realize that you can hammock anywhere but some places are better than others.
Hammock In Different Situations
People say adaptation is the key to success. You canâ€™t use a hammock in the same manner in different conditions. You have to adapt to the situation offered to you.
There is nothing more comfortable than camping in front of the ocean. Beaches are a fun place to spend your weekend. But generally, you will not find many trees on a beach, So you need to carry your own portable stand in that case.
It is funny to think of hanging your hammock to a cactus. You canâ€™t do that obviously. So, you need to carry a stand here as well. One more problem with the desert is the scorching heat of the sun. For that, buy sunblock, and donâ€™t forget to put a tarp over your head.
There is a lot of trees in mountains, but you may find some places without trees as well. There you can tie your hammock to boulders and enjoy a good sleep at a cool temperature.
Remember a sleeping bag for cold places is a must for mountains.
The jungle is an ideal place for hammock camping. It has an ocean of trees and sunlight wonâ€™t bother you as well. Even the temperature is most ideal. So, it is a dream destination for you.
Just keep one thing in mind, you need a good quality bug net with you.
Campsites For Setting Up Hammocks
Would you like to know exactly where you can get the best out of hammock camping? Here in the US, you can set up a hammock almost at every campsite. But still, there are naturally some places better than the other for hammock camping. Some places that you can visit are:
- Olympic National Park, Texas
- Yosemite National Park, California
- Big Bend National Park, Texas
- Havasupai Falls, Arizona
- Chopawamsic Backcountry Area, Virginia
All these sites have a good natural habitat and a great environment. You will thoroughly enjoy these truly magical places.
So, Whatâ€™s Next? If you have read everything in this article you are ready to go camping with a hammock.
But theory is one thing and practice is another. You can know everything about something and still not be good at it. So, it will be best if you try your hammock out a few times before setting out for the actual camp.
So then, pack up your camping gear, grab some clothes, and set out for a new adventure with your hammock.
And yes, light a fire to avoid bears.
Share with us your experiences by commenting and what you think about hammock camping.