There’s nothing better than sleeping in the quiet of the woods, under a beautiful night sky. Except for being rocked gently to sleep in a hammock in the quiet of the woods, under a beautiful night sky!
Hammock camping is gaining popularity by day. More and more campers, hikers and backpackers are trying their hands on sleeping in a hammock, saying it’s easy, advantageous and most of all, convenient! There are many types of hammocks out in the market, but all of them are lightweight, easy to set up and fun to lounge in. More importantly, hammock camping is versatile for any terrain (plus, no sleeping on the ground!)
If you want to up your camping game or simply curious about trying it out for your next trip outdoors, here are hammock camping essentials you may want to bring for a more enjoyable experience – we’ll discuss them further later on.
- Rainfly – This will serve as your protection from rain and other elements, especially if the weather forecast says there’s a chance of rain during your trip.
- Bug or Mosquito Net – Adding this to your hammock will not only protect you from annoying insects but will also add an extra level of privacy.
- Ridgeline – Some hammocks already come with this feature, but if yours don’t, you can purchase it separately. This is the cord you’ll need to hand your rainfly, tarp or bug net.
- Tree Straps – Also called suspension straps, this is what you’ll need to hang your hammock into trees. Some models come with this, but it’s ideal to bring extra! Be sure to get wide tree straps to help protect the trees, as opposed to cords that can cut through the bark!
- Sleeping Gear – You’ll need good sleeping gear to keep you warm at night. Bring a sleeping bag or an insulating blanket and a good pillow.
- Camping Lantern – You’ll need a good source of light for when you’re relaxing inside your pod. A good camping lantern is ideal for when you’re reading, for going to the bathroom or playing card games with friends! Check out our rechargeable Camping Lantern here.
Here are 10 brilliant hammock camping tips for beginners:
Be prepared for the trip
When you buy a new tent, you know very well that you need to learn how to set it up at home before your trip to avoid wasting time at the campsite. The same goes with your hammock. Try a practice run setting it up at home. You can check out step-by-step video guides or tutorials online to learn the quickest and easiest way to hang a hammock.
Set up at a good location
Once at the campsite, you’ll need to find a good area to set up your hammock, preferably a spot with shade a clear ground beneath. Choose sturdy trees (that can hold down your weight) about 10-16 feet apart to hang your hammock.
For your safety, never use dead trees or saplings or ones with moss or lichen - they’re very likely to break, no matter how light you are. It’s also important to check for dead branches in the tree that may fall on you while in the hammock if the wind picks up.
Ideally, you’ll want to hang your hammock at least 1.5 feet (maximum of 4 feet) above the ground. Just think of it this way – don’t hang it higher than you’re willing to fall! Don’t hang it above tables, any sharp objects or any water features.
Set up a tarp
A rainfly is important to shield you from rain. Some hammocks come with a built-in rainfly. If yours don’t, invest in one even if you’re expecting clear skies during your trip.
It’s also advisable to add a hammock tarp (even if you’re already using a rainfly) – choose one depending on your needs as some are ideal for fair weather conditions while others can offer better protection against elements including snow (4-season hammock tarp).
Don’t forget the bug/mosquito net
This will prove useful especially if you’re camping during spring or summer season where mosquitoes and other insects are aplenty outdoors. Prevent bites and the annoying sounds of buzzing by covering your pod with bug netting.
Use a drip line
A drip line is your best friend when you’re hammock camping in the rain. To prevent rainwater from seeping through your pod and getting everything in it (including you!) wet, use rope to tie a drip line on your suspension straps, making sure it’s protected under the tarp.
Don’t hang your hammock too tight
If you string up your hammock too tight between anchor points, it will have a “cocoon effect” which is a set-up for uncomfortable sleep. Instead, hang it with a good sag, ideally with angle of 30 degrees horizontal.
Not only will this make your pod comfortable, but a good sag will also make it harder to fall out of.
Sleep on the diagonal
For a more comfortable sleep, experts recommend that you lay down diagonally across your hammock. This way, your back is better supported as your body reclines flat across the fabric.
To relieve pressure on your knees while lying down diagonally, use a knee pillow or place some padding around your knees.
Hang it with the foot end higher
In the middle of sleep, even if you try sleeping diagonally, you may find that your body keeps on sliding back into the middle of the hammock. To prevent this, tie the foot end about 8-10 inches higher which will keep your torso (the heavier part) from sliding into the middle.
You won’t be inside of a tent to keep you from the cold, so it’s important that you keep warm inside your pod especially if you’re camping in cool weather. Use a cold weather sleeping bag and a sleeping pad. To provide more insulation, add an underquilt which wraps around the bottom of your hammock, trapping in heat.
Practice hammock safety
Just like in a tent, don’t bring in food inside your pod to prevent attracting ants, insects and even wildlife to your hammock and your campsite. Also, don’t participate in hammock stacking!
Enjoy your first time hammock camping! We’d love to hear about your experience – don’t hesitate to share it with us at our Facebook Page!
Our Camping Lantern makes a great gift for friends and family who love camping, hiking, fishing, backpacking or any other outdoor activity. Treat yourself to one, too! Shop here now!