Hammocks make great sleeping space for camping. They’re easily portable along with other camping gear and much more comfortable in many cases than sleeping on the ground. To really have a great experience with hammock camping, take a few minutes to review our tips for getting started.
1. Pick A Good Sleeping Hammock
Not every hammock is great for sleeping outdoors. You’ll want to make sure the hammock you get is rated for the most comfort and support for sleeping through the night out in the woods or any other terrain.
Your back will thank you for taking the time to pick what’s right for you as an individual.
You’ll also need to make a choice between the asymmetrical design that allows you to lie diagonally to avoid curving the spine and symmetrical designs, which have you sleeping in a straight position that causes the spine to curve more. Your back will thank you for taking the time to pick what’s right for you as an individual.
2. Pick Your Hanging Method
Before you even head out on your first camping trip with your hammock, choose the method you’ll use to hang it up. Decide if you’ll learn some of the traditional knots used for simple rope or if you want to use some of the pieces of available hardware that can help you rig up your hammock. You can take a look at some of our other blogs to help decide. Either way, you’ll have to make sure you get the right stuff before you take your trip.
3. Practice Your Method
Take a little time once you decide how you’re going to hang your hammock to do a little practice. If you’re going to use traditional knots, make sure you get out your rope and run through them a few times.
Practice a few different ones depending on what you find you might need on the trail. If you’re using specific hardware, check out the instructions and work with it a few times. A little prep at home will help you avoid some frustration when working out in the open and trying to get everything ready quickly.
4. Be Ready For The Cold
It’s important to remember that your hammock usually doesn’t actually replace your sleeping bag. In some climates, it may be perfect for the heat, but in most you’ll want to be prepared for the chill of the night, as camping in a hammock is usually colder than in a tent on the ground.
A mummy-style sleeping bag will usually fit best into a hammock and is a good way to stay warm. It’s also a good idea, because of being completely in the open air, to pad and insulate the bottom of your hammock to really get the temperature rating you expect from your sleeping bag.
The best method for this is an insulating pad that perfectly fits your height and the bottom of your hammock. Naturally, you can also supplement with regular quilts and blankets, and it’s a good idea to prepare with some of those in places with unpredictable weather.
5. Prepare For Bugs And Rain
With a hammock for your camp bed, you won’t have a tent to sleep in to keep the elements off you simply because of the way they hang. The bugs and weather don’t really stop for that though, so it’s important to be prepared. Having a bug net with you and a tarp for coverage will keep you from getting soaked and/or eaten alive while you’re trying to sleep.
Some of the best hammocks for sleeping and camping will even come as part of a kit that includes a perfectly sized bug net and rainfly. Otherwise, a standard tarp mounted above your spot and some properly hung basic netting will do the job, though a separate rainfly that can be properly secured provides a better shelter against all forms of weather.
6. Hang Relatively Low With Little Slack
Even if you’ve been fine with a sagging hammock before, it makes a difference when you’re looking at sleeping in your hammock for several hours. Especially as you’re adjusting to sleeping this way, you’ll want the hammock to be taut and provide the best support. This goes double if you’ve ever had any kind of backaches.
Keeping it relatively close to the ground is also a good idea for the ease of getting in and out of your hammock when you’re either tired or still trying to wake up in the morning. As time goes on and you find how you personally sleep best, you can always change up a little to discover just the right amount of sag and if you prefer being a little higher off the ground. But for starting out, it’s best to have a base of good, easy support to work from.
With practice and multiple outings, you’ll surely discover more to love and more to do to make your hammock camping a success. Using these tips for your first venture out will help you get a leg up and have an enjoyable first time when you know what to expect. Happy camping!