Finding The Perfect Hammock Campsite

By adminpro | January 21st, 2018 | Camping, Hammocks

If you’re just starting out into the world of camping in a hammock it is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. For centuries people have set up hammocks to relax and rest in the midst of nature.

Whether your hammock is in your backyard or packed in a backpack for weekend hikes, you’re certain to appreciate the versatile comfort. When you are ready to sleep or relax all you have to do with a camping hammock is set up and you are ready to relax.

Finding The Perfect Hammock Campsite

What’s The Best Camping Hammock?

For campers making the switch from tents to camping hammocks the things to look for in a good campsite and ideal hammock setup are going to be different. With little practice, you’ll soon be able to spot excellent places to hang your hammock as you hike through the trail and they will become obvious.

Camping hammocks are popular among leave no trace and ultra-light campers and hikers alike, tree hammocks when hung correctly in conjunction with appropriate tree saver hammock straps reduced the impact on the environment and their lightness and lack of bulk compared to tents is making them increasingly popular. In addition, they leave the least environmental footprint.

Stealth Camping, What Is It?

Also known as “wild camping”, stealth camping is camping at a non-designated camp site. Stealth camping is extremely popular with hikers, backpackers, bike-packers and hunters.

Stealth Camping occurs when you are in remote backcountry wilderness that does not have any designated campsites.

Stealth Camping, Is It Illegal?

Generally, stealth camping means you do not have permission to set up camp and sleep at that specific site. Therefore, you will need to inquire. Please do not stealth if it is not permitted.

If you are remote enough and not causing any harmful impact on the environment and follow the Leave No Trace principles of camping and do so responsibly it’s usually acceptable.

However, I highly recommend asking around for the land owner’s permission and always look for “no camping” signs.

When Is It a Good Idea to Stealth Camp?

Stealth camping opens up the possibility to setup a campsite anywhere, an outcrop with a great view, near a river or lake, etc. You may need to stealth camp if you encounter bad weather or get tired and want to setup camp before reaching a designated site. Stealth camping is more peaceful by avoiding crowded shelters.

When Is It a Bad Idea to Stealth Camp?

There are numerous reasons why trails and parks want you to stay in designated sites. If trails had reminiscences of fire rings and clearings every few yards It would destroy the habitat and the serene natural experience in general for all. If you do stealth camp and it is legal, it is extremely important to practice Leave No Trace Principles.

Ethics of Stealth Camping

The practice of Stealth Camping is not without controversy. Many people argue that Stealth Camping is bad because it violates the principles of Leave No Trace. If you’ve ever come across a Stealth Campsite that’s littered with trash, evidence of a fire or a crudely constructed fire ring, broken trees that have been used as firewood, rope burns on trees or paths through virgin forest, or campsites surrounded by flattened vegetation, it’s easy to adopt this point of view.

Past attempts to prevent high impact Stealth Camping by outlawing it haven’t worked. Take a hike down the Appalachian Trail and you’ll see many ugly, highly impacted campsites next to streams and along river banks despite regulations to the contrary.

Educate Not Just Regulate

The way to mitigate and eventually stop such behavior is through education. Educate not just regulate. Most campers mean well but don’t understand how fragile campsites are. Education showing hikers and campers what impacts are and teaching them sustainable camping techniques is far more effective than passing unenforced regulations.

Many experienced hammock campers and backpackers know how to perform very low impact Stealth Camping in accordance with the Leave No Trace guidelines. Know how to select campsites on durable ground away from fragile vegetation, hang food at night to avoid attracting wildlife, use camping stoves to cook. All of these habits are teachable skills that should be shown to less experienced campers and hikers so they know how to practice low impact Stealth or regular camping.

Finding A Suitable Site for My Hammock?

The first thing to be aware of when setting up your campsite is water, this is a basic for all campers, ensure you are at least 200 ft from a water source.

If there’s no running creeks or water source nearby, make sure that you carry water enough for any cooking, cleaning and drinking that you’ll be doing in camp.

Keep in mind hammock camping near a water source can usually mean mosquitoes. But if you come prepared with an Everest Active Gear best hammock with mosquito net, you’ll have no problems.

How To Hang A Hammock?

As a hammock camper finding the perfect pair of trees is not an exact science, but you will develop a sense for the right location the more frequently you go hammocking.  Everyone has slightly different preferences for how they like to hang their Hammock. Ensure to select two healthy trees or solid anchor points roughly the length of your hammock part plus at least a foot spare each end.

There is plenty of adjustment with Tree Saver Straps so experiment with the Hammock sag, slack, height and angle of your hammock straps to get a setup that is comfortable for you. With practice, and using a hammock calculator for assistance you’ll find the best position to sleep in your hammock and achieve the perfect hang.

Hammock Calculator

One of the many advantages of hammock camping is that you can almost ignore the terrain on the ground since you won’t have to look for a flat area to set up like a tent. You will be completely suspended above any rocks or ground vegetation, hammocks have the least impact of any temporary shelter. Keep in mind that a hammock should be hung no higher than you are prepared to fall.

Where To Hang a Hammock?

Avoid dead or dry trees, it’s impossible to determine how much a dead tree has decayed inside and the possible extra weight from suspending a hammock could cause the tree to snap or branches to fall off, often referred to as widow-makers.  Similarly, young saplings won’t be strong enough to support your weight and will cause harm to the tree. So, how to hang a hammock, select a tree with a diameter of at least one foot, any smaller and the tree will probably be too young to support you safely. Use Tree Saver Straps to make sure you aren’t damaging the tree bark.

Overhead Hazards

The last thing when picking out your trees is to look up and see if there are any large branches or broken limbs that could potentially fall on you (widow-makers). Older trees especially will have branches or pieces of wood the if disturbed could fall to the ground.  This is particularly important if you’re going camping in the winter. Ice and snow may be all the weight need to snap off the frozen branch. It is also recommended to pack a waterproof tarp or hammock tarp for additional shelter from the elements.

Campsite Guidelines

Environmental Impact

Use established campsites whenever you can.

Safety

Avoid hanging a hammock on dead trees and limbs (widow makers), be weather wise.

Water

Be sure there is a safe and sufficient supply of water.

Terrain

Consider drainage, natural cover and sunlight before setting up.

Stoves & Campfires

Use lightweight stoves whenever possible. Follow local policy if you must use a fire.

Privacy

Respect privacy and solitude of others be considerate.

Permission

When camping on private property, get permission in advance. Get permission from land managers for using public lands. Secure proper permits in your State or area.

Respect Wildlife

Learn about wildlife through quiet observation. Do not disturb wildlife or plants

Campsite Size

Comply with area regulations on group use and Camping Guide sites. Choose a site that is large enough to accommodate your group.

Summary

One improper poorly located campsite or campfire may have little significance at the time. However thousands of such instances seriously degrade the outdoor experience for all. Please be considerate of your impact to the environment. Be considerate of other campers and hikers, travel and camp in small groups. Respect private property and leave gates open or closed as found. Leaving no trace when camping is everyone’s responsibility.

2 Comments

  1. Lauren February 7, 2018 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Hi there Timothy… This article is insightful and informative, I like it. It came in really handy a week ago when I went camping for the first time using a hammock. I had always thought they can’t be used in camp. before that, I had only gone with a tent but my recent experience changed my whole view on hammocks. I can’t imagine using any other thing apart from a hammock during camp. Also, I didn’t know setting up camp without permission is called Stealth Camping, really fancy name if you ask me. I’ve done it so many times, I’m lucky I’ve never been caught.
    Anyway, thank you for this very informative article 🙂

    • adminpro February 7, 2018 at 5:00 pm - Reply

      Thank you Lauren, I’m very pleased you enjoyed the article and found some benefits. Thank you for taking the time to reply, Happy Hammocking!
      Kind and Best Regards,
      Tim

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