What could be better than relaxing hammock camping in a campsite set up yourself and just enjoying the beauty of nature? It’s a worthwhile past time whether you’re a hardcore nature enthusiast or not. It is incredibly simple, and the preferred method of camping for many hikers and outdoorsy people. We have prepared a list of everything you need to know about hammock camping.
There are a few concerns that plague many newcomers such as bugs, back pain and weather. Fortunately, most of these concerns are easily resolved, and after reading this article, you’ll be out with your hammock in no time at all.
Get the Right Hammock
When most people picture hammock camping, they see the traditional rope hammock gently swaying in the wind. This is a bad idea on many levels. These types of hammocks are great for casual use, but try sleeping in one of those for more than an hour and you’ll experience. There is a large variety of camping hammocks available on the market which would be perfect for your great outdoors adventure, all you must do is choose.
Hammocks vs Tents
Granted, tents are the more traditional way to camp. They aren’t the best choice though since hammocks have a few advantages that totally blow tents out of the water. For example, when you camp with a tent you sleep on the floor, this is extremely uncomfortable. But as most hammock campers can confirm, sleeping in a proper hammock is amazing. Hammocks are also lightweight and easy to set up as they are the ultimate environmental low impact shelter.
Get a Flat Lay
Most people who complain of a back ache when sleeping in a hammock probably aren’t doing it right. If you lay lengthwise in a hammock you end up looking like a human caterpillar and you are going to get an extremely uncomfortable night’s rest. A hammock is not a bed, there is a different way to sleep in a hammock, and it’s called a flat lay.
When trying to get a flat lay, give the hammock some slack. Don’t tie it too tightly, your body weight will tighten the walls, raising them up and making you feel claustrophobic. You want your hammock to look a little curvy, as this is the ideal shape.
Now, lie at a diagonal angle, imagine yourself at a 30-degree angle from the midline. Your head and feet will be slightly elevated, but the rest of your body should be relatively flat. If you have achieved a proper flat lay then the hammock should hug the natural curve of your back.
You can now toss and turn around trying to find your comfortable spot. The truth is that sleeping in a hammock is very easy, and there is almost nothing to it. If you’re having trouble, then just spread out the material and get in at an angle and this will make it easier for you to get into a comfortable position.
Once you’ve gotten into a flat lay, you’ll be able to find the most comfortable position and it is unlikely that you’ll suffer from backache the next morning.
To be properly comfortable in a hammock, you need to be warm. The problem is that a sleeping back is not enough. When sleeping in a hammock, you compress the bottom of a sleeping bag which hinders the insulating capabilities of the sleeping bag.
You could buy an under quilt. This is a quilt that has been filled with a synthetic material and hung on the outside of your hammock. This keeps the heat inside of your hammock, and when paired with a quilt on top of you or a sleeping bag then this is the best insulation option.
If the price turns you away then you could just use a sleeping pad paired with a sleeping bag. This will work just fine, but the pad will keep moving throughout the night and this frustrates many people. This can be solved by simply putting the sleeping pad into the sleeping bag. Problem solved!
Keep the Weather Out
Hammocks are perfect for sunny weather, but as any true camper can tell you- the weather isn’t always perfect. So, what can be done if the rain comes? Easy. Just take out our large area coverage rainfly and enjoy the sound of the rain all around you. The most basic rainfly can be made from hanging a blue tarp over your hammock. This isn’t practical however since these tarps are heavy and will make it harder to carry your pack
Our Specialized Rain Tarps are best available at nearly 85 Ft. That’s a huge 16 Ft larger than an Eno Profly. Our Tarps are PU 3000 Polyurethane (PU) coated and UV protective fabric a special waterproof material that is lightweight and durable. This is the preferred solution among expert outdoorsmen.
Straps vs Cords
Use Everest Active Gear Tree Saver Straps instead of ropes or other brand straps. Our Tree straps spread the pressure more evenly and don’t strip the bark off the tree. Remember, we need trees need to survive, so try and minimize your impact.
Be Safe; Take Only Pictures and Leave Only Your Footprints
Check your gear before everything you need to know about hammock camping before heading out. You don’t want to just jump in your hammock if it’s been stored for any duration, and be mindful and be safe, never hang your hammock higher than you’re willing to fall.
Avoid dead trees and always check the canopies for heavy branches and hazards, and last, but not least, clean up behind yourself! Take only pictures and leave only footprints.
Illustrations by Derek Hansen of theultimatehang.com