Beginners Guide to Hammock Camping

By Everest Active Gear | February 23rd, 2018 | Camping, Hiking

Beginners Guide To Hammock Camping

If you’re a beginner getting geared up to go hammock camping for the first time, or just need a reminder of the camping essential items to have at the ready I’ve put together my “tips” as a reference guide. Spring is near, which means that camping or hiking trip you’ve been itching to take is just around the corner.

If your planning your first camping adventure then you might be asking yourself, what you should take? Prepping for a hammock camping adventure depends on what kind of trip you have in mind. If you’re planning driving somewhere and going on small day hikes from a base camp you have a lot of options.

Beginners Guide to Hammock Camping

Planning To Go Hammock Camping?

While spending time outdoors Hiking Mountains, Forests Trails or National Parks, wherever you are headed, there are some important things you should consider ensuring your own safety. Many of the steps are simple and do not take much effort or time, they can be lifesaving.

What Should I Prepare?

If you plan a hiking trip and stealth camping you want to prepare more portable lightweight essentials. The distinction between the two is usually referred to as “camping” or “backpacking.” Campers generally drive or ride somewhere and camp-out at a location, such as a designated campground. Backpackers generally hike a trail and make camp with only what they have packed with essential items.

Gear best suited for either “camping” or “backpacking” has to do with weight and packability. Make sure you consider which you’ll spend more time doing when you start shopping for your gear. Backpacking gear tends to be higher priced because it’s focused on weight, however it’s great for camping and backpacking. The dual usage functionally is good for anyone planning on doing both.

Responsible Planning

Make contact with a friend or family member and inform them about your journey before you leave, even if you’re not traveling alone. Be sure to inform them of your exact location and route you are taking, who is with you and when your expected departure and return date is.

Be sure you have all the phone numbers of everyone in your group, not only in your phone but write them down. This is important, if your phone dies you can still have contacts.

Camping Checklist

Try also to plan and consider your specific needs instead of relying on a generic checklist. Having your own list of essential items will apply for most trips as these remain the same. I have put together a comprehensive day hiking check list as a guide.

Camping checklist

Hydration and Water Filtration Solutions

Hydration is the most important aspect to plan for before leaving on any hike. Be sure to consult with someone who is more experienced and be sure you have adequate amounts of water when hiking. Consider using a filtration system over packing extra water, this will save both weight and space in your bag.

You will need to take a water bottle with you so that you can store and hydrate as you move from water source to water source. Check out the portable LifeStraw. There are many good options on the market for water filters these days.

Observe Weather Conditions

The last thing you want to happen either being in camp or worse, out on a trail hiking is getting caught in a storm.

While this is not only unfortunate for your comfort during the hike it could become potentially a serious threat to your safety as you can easily become disorientated and cold in inclement weather as it changes conditions quickly.

Depending on your environment and seasonality you are hiking or camping it’s important to watch the weather forecast. Not only before your hike, but during. There’s great phone apps to assist with weather and radar observation.

Observe Weather While Hiking

Always keep in your day pack a few basic essentials you need just for safety if you are caught out by changing weather conditions. It’s better to be over-prepared than to be under-prepared.

Communication Devices

This can be as simple as  informing a friend or family member of your plans. In addition, there are a few devices available that allow people to track where you just by carrying a small device, such as a Spot.

It will depend on the type of hike planned that will really dictate what communication device you will need. Most of the time a mobile phone will work. You will need to be careful with your battery and think about packing a charger, there are many options here.

Whatever you choose, ensure there is a plan in place for communication should you require assistance on your trip.

Food Storage

Being woken up and interrupted by critters raiding camp while you sleep is no fun! With your food planning and preparation use biodegradable items so that you adopt leave no trace principles. Some items can be burned in the camp fire if the package is safe to do so. Other items will need to be packed out with you and discarded appropriately at a trash station.

Another thing to think about is when storing food, be sure to have it sealed either in a bear-bag or hung up higher in the trees so that raiding wildlife can’t get to it during the night.

bear bag set up

Hammock Camping The Right Way

Hammocks are the lowest environmental minimum-impact shelter. They require no ground leveling, trenching or staking. When used correctly with tree-friendly suspension systems, hammocks don’t alter the natural environment. The smaller your camping footprint, the less likely you are to impact plants or wildlife and leave no trace.

Tip #1: Use only Tree Saver Hammock Straps, they don’t damage bark unlike traditional types of rope suspension systems. The straps are incredibly lightweight and only weigh around 16 oz. this makes it easy to pack light for hiking or camping. Our straps are 1” wide and 10’ long with 14 loops, each loop is triple stitched tack bars, adjustable daisy chain loops at 3” spacing for ultra-fine tune adjustments so you can achieve the perfect hammock hang. Never hammer or screw anything into trees.

Tip #2: Set up hammock camp at least 200 feet from any water source to avoid contamination. These riparian areas provide unique plant habitats that are significant in soil stabilization.

Tip #3: Camp in established pre-existing campsites or shelters to set up your hammock. As per the Leave No Trace principles, “Good campsites are found, not made and altering a site is not necessary. Large hammock groups should split into smaller sub-groups to prevent disturbance. Leave No Trace Seven Principles advises keep campsites small, focus camp activity in areas where vegetation is absent.

Leave No Trace

Tip #4: Don’t hang your hammock from dead trees. You could injure yourself if the tree was to fall, and you could alter the environment around you. Even if your chosen trees look alive, check above you for dead branches, commonly referred to as “widow-makers” without stating the obvious reason as to why.

Tip #5: Check with local land managers and landowners to ensure your proposed camp site allows hammocks.

Tip #7: Hang your hammock so it’s no more than 18″ off the ground. You should not hang a hammock any higher than you are prepared to fall. Use the thickest part of the tree trunk and avoid trees that bend or in wet areas. Wet soil is more susceptible to impact than dry ground and your added weight could dislodge or uproot a tree from the soil.

Tip #8: During daytimes take down your hammock when you leave your campsite. This prevents animals or even children if you are in a populated campsite from getting tangled.

Tip #9: When breaking camp (bug out), pack everything and inspect your campsite and surrounding area for anything left behind. Be sure all trash is packed up and taken with you. Leave the spot just the way you found it.

What is Hammock Camping Gear?

Start with the most obvious camping equipment, hammock, sleeping bags, backpacks, and all that other gear that immediately comes to mind when you think of camping.

Camping Hammock

Our hammock range of double hammocks and integrated bug net hammocks with heavy grade 31gm polyester mosquito net  will ensure you sleep soundly without mosquitos and bugs bothering. lightweight and easy setup, durable and versatile and reversible. Novice to experience nature enthusiast this hammock appeals to all campers. It is everything that you could ask for in a hammock making it the best camping hammock.

The Yosemite and Acadia hammocks have an innovative net system means that you will be able to set this hammock up with little effort and comes with an incredibly easy to follow instruction manual. Not only is this a brilliantly simple, but the best hammock tent on the market.

Hammock Tarp

One great advantage of hammock camping with hammock tarps is that in adverse conditions, rain, wind, snow you can set up the tarp first and then keep your gear dry as you then set up your hammock. Our Adventure Dry Fly are traditional shape Catenary or Hex Cat-Cut rain tarps.

The design incorporates special curved cuts to further reduce the weight of a rectangular tarp. This also prevents the tarp from sagging or flapping in wind. This offers you the best protection from the elements while keeping size and weight to a minimum.

Tip: Practice setting up your camping hammock and hammock rain tarp at home first. Always check your equipment, the more efficient you are at set up and pack down of camps the sooner you will be out on the trails.

Backpacks

Backpacks are an area where the distinction between camping and backpacking makes a difference. If you’re camping, you arguably won’t need a backpack. although you want a good day pack if you’re planning on hikes.

When it comes to backpacks and a guide to backpacks there are three main distinctions for sizes: day packs, overnight, and long haul. Which type you need depends on your plan.

Backpack Camping & Hiking Scout3400

Sleeping Bag

Hyke & Bike Eolus 800 Mummy Sleeping Bag

When selecting your bag, temperature rating is a good place to start. If you’re planning on only going fair weather camping a summer bag is probably all you’ll need. That said a 3-season bag will give you more scope for unpredictable weather.

Sleeping bags are also an item that not one size fits all, so there is plenty of resources available for find the right one for you.

Sleeping Pads

A good sleeping pad is like the mattress on a bed. Although your fully supported in a hammock with no pressure points in a “flat-lay” position a sleeping pad adds comfort. look at specs when comparing sleeping pads, if one is thicker, longer or wider and has a higher insulation value or R-value it will be more comfortable and warmer.

Tip: Set your hammock, bag and pad up early, so you don’t have to do it in the dark.

klymit-hammock-v-1

Lighting

Camping Lantern Outdoor Portable LED

Most campsites don’t have illumination, so you have to bring your own. A flashlight is O.K., but headlamps free up your hands for camp tasks. A lantern is nice for ambient light and you can also build a campfire but ensure you proper permissions.

Camp Stove

There are many options when it comes to stoves and burners. Some of the more popular brands can be a little pricy, I suggest shop within a budget when starting out, there are plenty of options, so you don’t need spend a fortune.

You can heat or cook your meal, have breakfast and prepare your morning brew at the same time. Pack at least one fuel canister and a lighter. Ensure you test your gear at home to be sure you know how it works.

portable camping stove

Camp Cooking Utensils

Camp Cooking Utensils

Again, there are many compact types of cookware on the market that include pots, plates, cups and sporks. Backpacking cookware is compact and lightweight and very portable. You will need to remember a scrubber, biodegradable soap, a towel and even a compact cutting board.

Tip: When home pack all your kitchen gear in a large clear plastic bin with a lid. It’s easy to store away and everything will be ready next time you want to camp.

Camp Toiletries

If you need prescription medications and specific hygiene items take them. Always plan for the season you are camping in. Be prepare for bugs by bringing repellant, and sunscreen. Take your own bio-gradable soap, toilet paper and a small towel (microfiber) along with hand sanitizer when preparing food.

Camp wash bag

Topographical Paper Maps

Topographical maps

Whether you’re camping or backpacking at some stage in your trip there’s a good chance you won’t have cell phone service. Get a map of wherever you’re planning on going before you leave and study the terrain.

Topographical maps will show you contours and elevations, learn how to read your map and not to rely on GPS. Even if you bring a dedicated GPS unit source a map, ensure you have a map with you at all times.

First Aid Kit

It should be no surprise that you need a first aid kit for camping. Include the usual aspirins, bandages, and gauze. Include some hiking-specific items for blisters, insect repellant and antiseptic. There are per assembled packs available for hiking and camping that are compact and inexpensive.

Small First Aid Kit for Hiking

Meal Planning for Hiking

If you enjoy cooking and are an accomplished chef, then plan meals for camp and out on the trail hiking. It’s important to be mindful that simple prep is better. Even if you’re not a chef you need do a basic meal plan for your planned camp duration.

You can go with Fresh Grocery, prepared meals or Dehydrated, or a combo of all of them. Be sure to bring plenty of Trail Snacks.

Be mindful of wildlife around the campsite or grounds as this can be an issue. In bear country check the local regulations.

What About Camping Clothing?

You might be asking yourself what clothing should I wear when hammock camping? Cotton is usually not recommended because wet cotton can make you cold, surprisingly even in mild weather and can lower your body core temperature. You need to layer your clothing, there are some good synthetic blend clothing available, but I recommend to wear merino wool or bamboo fabric.

Take a warm jacket, even long underwear and beanie for night time. Pack a lightweight rain jacket just in case. You will want one pair of sturdy shoes or boots depending on the type of trip you’re planning. Dedicated hiking boots offer more support, padding, and stability for your ankles.

Where To Go Hammock Camping?

Want to start but don’t know where to begin? The possibilities are endless, from national parks, RV parks or even stealth camping. Hiking and camping is a way to immerse yourself in the outdoors. Hiking with only your own two feet and carrying only what you need you can truly discover the beauty of nature. After all, nature is our therapy.

With a little planning and preparation, it’s an activity that almost anyone can do. Camping facilities are also numerous, in peak seasons make your campground reservations well in advance as they can be busy and popular with family campers. Private campgrounds can be found online, or you can do a google map search or see my pick of the the  best 5 National Parks for hammock camping.

Another option is Free Campsites that are open on a first-come, first-served basis. Booking months ahead isn’t required, but it’s a good idea to check with the campground to get tips on the best time to show up in order to ensure a site.

Hiking Directory

Summary

Remember, your needs are likely a little different than everyone else’s so adapt and make your own list of preferences. Some prefer the more creature comforts so plan you first trip within your ability and comfort level.

Don’t forget things like medication, hygiene products as they are often left off of those checklists, or anything else that makes you feel a little more human after being out on a days hike. The basic rule of thumb is simple though, if you’re backpacking, you want to keep the list down the bare minimum of essential needs, pack light. If you’re camping, pack your vehicle with the gear you think necessary.

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