Hammock camping? Here are our top tips!
Hammocks are becoming a popular camping and hiking gear. They are small and light enough that everyone can bring them even on day hikes. Hammocks are also comfortable, enjoyable, and are even easier to set up and take down. No wonder many people are leaving their tent behind and switching to a hammock.
If you are one of those people who are considering buying a hammock for their next hike, here are ten tips for an unforgettable hammock camping.
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Choose the Right Hammock
Buy quality and durable hammock. With the popularity of hammocks, the number of cheap knock-offs in the market is also going up. Remember that investing in a high priced but durable one that will last for a long time is better than buying a low-quality one that might get damaged after just one use.
Choose a hammock that fits your body frame and sleeping style. Some hammocks are for single use like this ENO SingleNest Hammock. Another great option is the Hennesy Hammock Ultralite that is good for seven footers and can support up to 250 pounds.
Practice Using Your Hammock
Practice makes perfect. Before you go camping with your hammock, try it out first. Do not just go all out into the wilderness without using it at your backyard first, especially if you are new to hammock camping.
A trial with your hammock will ensure that you will know the ins and outs of setting it up. Trying it out will also help gauge if you will be comfortable with it, if it is the right size for you, or there are necessary adjustments needed.
Choose the Right Spot
Hammock camping is not just a matter of tying your hammock between two trees. Do not just hang where the view is excellent; you should also make sure that your camping spot is safe.
Properly check for hidden dangers like dead trees. Dead trees and thin trees are too weak to support heavy weight and have a high possibility to collapse. Survey also the area as their might be wasp nests or poisonous plants hanging around.
Hang at the Right Height and Right Sag
A crucial aspect for a comfortable hammock camping is the right height and the correct sag for your hammock. A proper starting angle when hanging your hammock is 30-degrees from horizontal. An angle will not just make lying in your hammock comfortable, but it will also make it harder to fall out of and more stable.
When hanging your hammock, hang it at a height that makes it easy to get in and out of it. Avoid pitching it too high.
Use Tree-Saver Straps
When you go hammock camping, it is inevitable for you to hang your hammock between trees. The ropes of your hammock have girdling effects on trees that can damage its barks.
To avoid this, hang your hammock using hammock tree straps. These tree-saving straps are 1 to 2 inches of polyester webbing that go around a tree and won’t cause any damage on the tree.
There’s no better feeling than knowing you are not damaging the natural environment when you go hammock camping.
Lay in Your Hammock Correctly
The proper way to sleep on your hammock is by lying on it diagonally. With the right sag, you will be able to lay at an angle comfortably. Laying at an angle will put you in an ergonomically flat position and will also prevent the hammock’s sides from bunching up.
To prevent your body from sliding down, hang the foot of the hammock at least 8 inches higher than the other side. Play around until you find what sleeping position are you at most comfortable.
Stay Warm in Your Hammock
Even during warm summers, expect that you will get cold sleeping on your hammock. Hammocks hang above the ground, giving space for cold air to circulate underneath you. To avoid having a “cold butt,” add insulation. You can do this with a sleeping bag. A warm but lightweight sleeping bag is Western Mountaineering’s Alpinlite or the Ultralite (a narrower version of the Alpinlite) and Versalite (a warmer version).
Stay Dry in Your Hammock
But if your hammock does not come with a rainfly or trap, chances are your hammock’s brand sells them separately. ENO’s ProFly Rain Tarp and the Outdoors Way Hammock Tarp are great rain tarps that will help you stay dry.
Use a Pillow
If you still find it uncomfortable sleeping on your hammock, try using a camping pillow. A pillow will give your head a soft spot and will make it more similar to sleeping on your bed until you can find your sleeping angle.
A lightweight and inflatable pillow that is a favorite is Trekology’s Ultralite Camping Travel Pillow. You can even fold up some clothes and use it as a pillow, to avoid the extra baggage.
Keep Bugs Away
Do not let flies and mosquitoes ruin your otherwise excellent hammock camping experience. Always bring with you a mosquito net or insect repellents to keep the bugs away during your sleep.
Some hammocks already come with mosquito nets. The Everest Double has a built-in mosquito net, and the ENO DoubleNest OneLink does have not only a bug net but also a rain tarp.
Hammock camping can be an enjoyable and relaxing experience when you come prepared and know what you are doing. So use these ten tips and tricks to make the most of your hammock camping trip.
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Steffi is a twenty-something web content writer who loves eating mangoes. She is also a night owl who lives off of coffee.