Everything you need to know to get started with hammock camping


Nate Edwards / BYU

In recent years, hammock camping has become one of the most popular trends in the outdoor industry, growing from a fairly small subset of backpackers and campers to a full-fledged movement. As a result, equipment makers have introduced an increasing number of options for those looking to ditch their tents in favor of sleeping suspended above the ground. If you’re thinking of joining this movement on your own, we’ve got a few tips to get you started, including our picks for the best beginner-friendly hammock camping gear currently available.

Why choose a hammock rather than a tent?

The traditional tent has been a camping staple for decades and remains a viable option for those looking to get a good night’s sleep in the backcountry. So why would anyone leave their tent behind in favor of a hammock? For starters, hammocks tend to be smaller and lighter, not to mention their quicker and easier setup. A hammock also does not require the camper to find flat ground perfectly clear of rocks, branches or other objects. All you need are a few trees and the right equipment to keep your hammock securely in place, giving it a versatility that a tent doesn’t always have. And since you don’t sleep on the hard floor, many people also find them much more comfortable.

What about insects, wind and rain?

One of the reasons campers love their tents so much is that they do a great job of keeping bugs away while protecting us from the wind and rain. Adding a mosquito net and flysheet gives the modern camping hammock the same capabilities, without adding a lot of weight and bulk. Once the hammock is in place, the mosquito net and mosquito net are suspended above it a little higher in the tree, providing a shelter that looks a lot like a full tent suspended in the air. In fact, some camping hammocks are complete systems that include these features and more, but a simple bug net and tarp will suffice.

Nemo Cloudview Hammock Best Outdoor Equipment

How to stay warm?

A sleeping bag is still one of the best ways to stay warm while camping, whether you are sleeping in a tent or a hammock. The big difference is that with nothing but fresh air beneath you, things can get a bit colder when you’re hanging among the trees. As usual, if you’re using a sleeping bag, you’ll want one designed for the temperatures you’ll encounter while camping, with a lighter bag preferably in hot weather and a heavier bag to use when the mercury starts to drop. .

When you spend the night in a tent, a sleeping pad acts as a buffer between you and the cold ground, providing some extra warmth. Sleeping pads are not as common among hammock campers, although Klymit’s V Hammock and V Insulated Hammock are both designed specifically for hammock campers. These pads have built-in “wings” along the sides that help keep the user warm while blocking out the wind, ensuring a better night’s sleep when things get windy.

Alternatively, many hammock campers choose to leave the traditional sleeping bag behind and wear upper and lower duvets instead. These lightweight blankets are made from the same materials as a sleeping bag, but are designed to be more versatile and less restrictive. A duvet is attached to the bottom of the hammock, providing both warmth and comfort to the camper. Meanwhile, an upper comforter works in conjunction with the lower comforter to create a warm, comfortable sleep system that keeps cold air out while allowing the user to move more freely. These duvets have the added benefit of being very compressible, taking up less space in a backpack than a sleeping bag without compromising performance.

ultralight hammock from the sea to the top of the glamping

What should i look for in a camping hammock?

Just like the rest of our outdoor gear, modern camping hammocks are lightweight, extremely durable, and surprisingly technical. They tend to be made from extremely strong nylon fabrics and are designed to work with aluminum carabiners and polyfilament straps, which have been designed to leave no marks on trees. Hammocks come in a variety of lengths and widths, they’re designed to compress down to a surprisingly small size, and some can even support two people.

Unlike the hammock you have in your backyard, which is primarily for lounging, a camping hammock is designed for sleeping. They are designed to cradle your body, allowing you to sleep comfortably. Most are very long, but if you are particularly tall, you may need to look for a model with extra space. Generally speaking, you want a hammock that is at least two feet longer than your height in order to get a good fit.

Also be sure to check the maximum weight supported on a hammock. Most models are strong enough to hold 300 to 400 pounds, but if you dive into the ultralight category, that number can drop significantly. Additionally, you need to remember that it’s not just your body weight that you need to take into account, as you’ll likely have a sleeping bag (or duvets), smartphone, headlamp, and other items in your room. the hammock with you too. These things might not seem that heavy, but extra ounces can add up quickly and it’s always best to have plenty of cushion just in case.

So what should I buy?

Along with buying a hammock, you’ll also need a suspension system (or straps) to attach it to a tree, as well as carabiners to keep everything in place. At some point, you’ll probably want to add rain repellent and bug netting as well, especially if you’re planning on backcountry camping. These days, there are many options to choose from for each of these, but we have a few suggestions for you to consider. Below you’ll find our picks for the best options for hammock campers.

Hammock for one person – Kammock Single room ($ 69)

The Kammock Roo Single is just about the perfect one person hammock for beginners. It weighs just 10 ounces, supports up to 400 pounds of weight, and collapses to an incredibly small size to fit in your backpack. The fact that it only costs $ 69 doesn’t hurt either, making it a good investment for those who just dip their toes in the waters of hammock camping.

REI Kammock

Hammock for two people – ENO DoubleNest ($ 70)

DoubleNest Eno Hammock

If you are looking to share your hammock with someone else, you will definitely want one made especially for two. The ENO DoubleNest is the model of choice for many thanks to its spacious interior, capacity to support up to 400 pounds and total comfort. At just 1.2 pounds, it’s not particularly heavy either, making it easy to carry with you on just about any outdoor adventure.

REI Camp Saver

Hammock Straps – Ultralight Colibri Tree Straps ($ 30)

When purchasing straps to use with your hammock, you should look for those that are strong enough to support your weight, but that will not cause damage to the trees you wrap them around. They get bonus points if they are also light. This describes the ultralight Hummingbird tree straps to a tee. At just 1.55 ounces, they’re incredibly light, but can still support up to 400 pounds of weight. Plus, when packed, the two straps are about the size of a candy bar, which means they don’t take up much space in your bag either.

Buy them now from:

Amazon Hummingbird

Carabiners – Rallt 10 KN ($ 10)

Most hammocks will come with carabiners designed specifically for use with that particular model, but if you need to replace one of your original models, Rallt is here for you. These aluminum carabiners have very easy to use wire doors and have been specially designed for hammock campers. They have a rating of 10 kilonewtons, which is enough to safely hold around 2,248 pounds. That’s not bad for a tool that’s only 3.15 inches long and weighs just 0.7 ounces itself.

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Rainfly – ENO ProFly ($ 80)

Many hammock campers take the DYI route and simply use a basic plastic tarp as a flysheet. But if you are looking for something that has been specially designed for use with a hammock, then the ENO ProFly is hard to beat. At 22 ounces, it’s not particularly heavy, and its six anchor points help keep it securely in place, even in a heavy downpour. ProFly’s durable ripstop nylon fabrics allow it to stand up to general wear and tear, ensuring it will be useful equipment for many years to come.

Buy them now from:

Amazon ENO

Mosquito Net – Chill Gorilla Bug Net ($ 37)

If you are going to sleep in a hammock, you will also need adequate defense against biting insects. This is why most hammock campers carry a mosquito net with them on their backcountry trips. One of the best options is the Chill Gorilla Bug Net, which is designed to work with any hammock and offers protection in the form of a very thin and lightweight net that keeps insects out and a constant breeze.

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Under duvet – ENO Vulcan Underquilt ($ 175)

As mentioned, a comforter is one of the best ways to stay warm in a hammock without the strain of a sleeping bag. The ENO Vulcan Underquilt offers great value for money by using PrimaLoft insulation, water resistant fabrics and a design that makes it compatible with just about any hammock on the market. The Vulcan is so warm that it can be used for all-season rides, making it a good choice in winter as well.

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REI Amazon

Top Quilt – Hammock Gear Burrow 20 Quilt ($ 259)

A good duvet is a good place to start, but you will also need the right duvet. The Hammock Gear Burrow 20 is one of the best available for hammock campers right now because it’s lightweight, highly compressible, and uses goose down insulation to keep you warm in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. . It’s also easy to get in and out and removes the traditional mummy bag hood to help reduce feelings of claustrophobia.

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Hammock equipment

Editor’s recommendations


Sally J. Minick

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