Hammock camping has risen in popularity over the last several years, but some beginners looking to start might be at a loss for where to begin. You might be discouraged by previous experiences with cheap, uncomfortable, and difficult-to-manage hammocks in the backyard, but camping hammocks are much different.
Camping hammocks are designed to suit your sleeping positions, and they often lead to a better night’s rest than the ordinary hammock. After all, you should be comfortable any time you’re on vacation, whether you’re staying in a hotel or camping in the woods.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Select The Right Hammock For You
There are two basic types of camping hammocks: symmetrical and asymmetrical.
Symmetrical hammocks are closer to the typical design people are most familiar with. These hammocks let you lay with more of a curved back, almost in a sitting position for upright activities such as reading books or just relaxing.
Asymmetrical hammocks have more taut fabric, which allows you to lie in a diagonal direction across the hammock. With these hammocks, there’s less pressure on the spine, which allows for a more comfortable rest through the night.
2. Strap In Comfortably
Using polyester or polypropylene webbing around your anchor points will help disperse your weight across the hammock and won’t stretch or sag during the night. That way, you can be sure you’ll wake up in the same position as you fell asleep. Avoid nylon straps, which do stretch and can result in uncomfortable sleep.
Once you have the proper material and find the perfect trees or other anchors, start by angling your hammock suspension rope at around 30 degrees from the anchor point. This prevents the suspension from being too tight or having too much sag, which can lead to an uncomfortable, unsteady hammock.
3. Keep It Low
Staying lower to the ground will help eliminate a lot of the problems that beginners face with hammocks.
A lower hammock will allow you access to your belongings much faster and easier, which will come in handy if there’s an emergency or you need to get up in the middle of the night. It’s also quicker to get in and out of your hammock if it’s lower to the ground.
4. Remember The Storage Pocket
For smaller items that you’d like to keep off the ground or closer to your body, remember that many hammocks are available with an attached pocket for easy storage. This way, if you do have to get up in the middle of the night, you can keep your phone or flashlight nearby for quick access.
5. Use A Camping Pad
A lot of people will use a sleeping bag in a hammock during colder weather, but a pad underneath the bag will help, too.
Since hammocks suspend you in the air, you’ll get colder quicker with air passing over and beneath you. By trapping the heat underneath, you can help regulate your own temperature through the night.
6. Pack A Mummy-Shaped Sleeping Bag
A bag with rounded edges will fit inside of a hammock better than one with rectangular edges. The mummy shape will help ensure that the pad remains comfortable instead of having rigid corners that can fold awkwardly and cause shifts in the hammock while you sleep.
7. Bring A Warmer Sleeping Bag Than Normal
This will especially come in handy during the colder months. Sleeping bags are generally rated for the expected temperature within a tent, but it will actually be 20 to 30 degrees colder if you’re in a hammock since you’re suspended in the air.
You can also help prepare for the colder weather by wearing warmer sleeping clothes.
8. Keep The Bugs Away
Many hammocks already include a bug net to keep out mosquitoes, moths, and other flying creatures, but it’s smart to grab one if yours doesn’t. That way, you can have the peace of mind that flying bugs won’t bother you during the night.
Even if you don’t get sewn-in or additional netting, consider buying a face net to cover exposed skin.
9. Give Yourself Shelter
It doesn’t take much effort to shield yourself from the elements. If your hammock doesn’t already come with one, a simple 8×10 tarp should protect you from the wind and rain in any size hammock.
There are several different types of tarps, though. Experts generally agree that full-coverage tarps are the most functional and provide maximum protection. Full-coverage tarps often have extra flaps that can be used to enclose all four sides for more security.
10. Ask For Help
Remember, if there’s anything you feel uncomfortable about before you go camping, there are plenty of experts online or at outdoors stores that you can ask for some advice – or you could ask a question below and we’ll get back to you right away. Always make sure you’re 100 percent prepared before leaving for a camping trip, and you’ll be sure to have a good time.