Hammock camping is fun!
Real fun. And there are so many things to write home about a hammock. The little weight makes it a great option for a backpacker or an overnight hiker. In my opinion, in a quest for tent vs. hammock for camping, the jolly swinger (you know what I mean) carries the day.
So is the camping tent being edged out of the equation by the hammock? Well, this is a matter of whom you talk to. Some people swear by a tent, yet others swear against it. Tell you what, buy what you like, but as for my family and I, whenever the weather allows, we will go with the hammock. Read my hammock review article to see several that I have tried out.
Whenever a hammock is mentioned, the image of a jolly, carefree buccaneer swinging between two palm trees with a bottle of rum comes to mind. Could this be an effect of watching the Pirates of The Caribbean series one time too many?
But as you will see here, in many instances, camping with a hammock is the better choice for a light backpacker. If you have to live off a backpack for a few days, then you no doubt want to consider carefully what you put into it, no? Ouch!! My back …
Just do it
If you never try hammock camping, how will you ever know how sweet it is? Sometimes, it pays to throw all caution to the winds and be free, just do it!
For practice, and to get a feel of things, start hammocking in your backyard. That will give you the confidence and assurance that a backpacking hammock can hold your weight. You will not be smashed to smithereens. Doesn’t happen!
Benefits of backpacking, camping or hiking hammock
It is light! There is no disputing that fact. In fact, the estimated weight of any hammock for sale is 1 pound, give or take a little.
Toss in the whole shebang, you know, straps and all, and you will have yourself what? About 2 pounds? Yes, that is just about right.
It packs into a small size. It is not only light, but it also packs down to a small size. This means it occupies less space in your pack.
Less weight and less bulk is definitely a winner for any backpacker. Remember you still have to carry all the other items like a double sleeping bag, hiking attire and so on.
Easy to set up … now, take this point with pinch of salt because the easy-to-set-up thingy actually depends on many things.
Just find two trees that are evenly spaced. If the space is the right size, tie up your hammock and hop into it.
A hammock keeps you well elevated. The ground can get a tad too cold for your back. Now, you do not want that, do you?
It will also keep you safe from vermin and all the creepy creepies that crawl on the ground.
Being lighter and smaller, it is definitely cheaper than a tent for camping. Yes, that is right. Save money, there is life after the hiking and camping vacation.
It is so darn comfortable! But then, if you do not try it, you will never know this, will you?
Hammocks for backpacking now come with many features. Some come with protective measures against insects and bugs.
Some also come with rain and snow protection measures.
Very breathable for the high summer temperatures.
Cons of hammock camping
- It can be a bit hard to sleep on your side. I mean, how do you turn in your sleep without waking up?
- It can only be set between two evenly spaced trees. If you are camping in an area without trees, the hammock may not be very useful.
- May not be much use in winter, although I dare say it can beat sleeping in a tent on the cold ground
Features of a hammock
Everything that you buy for your hiking and camping vacation must be bought to size, or must it? This included men’s hiking boots, tents, women’s hiking shoes and many more. The camping hammock is no different.
The basic advice is to buy a hammock that is about four feet bigger than you are standing up. This means if you are 6 feet tall, but a 10-feet hammock.
Rain tarp/Rain protection
This could be sold with the camping hammock that you buy, or you may have to buy it separately. This tarp ensures that you stay protected against rain. It also protects against snow and ice. You will be glad you have one because Mother Nature can be really relentless at times.
In any case, protection from up, the sides and at the same time sleeping elevated from hard cold ground sounds like a win-win situation to me.
It is best that you buy a big tarp so that you can have some privacy even for changing clothes. After all, the hammock tarp will stay intact for a long time and might in fact outlast many hammocks.
Hammocks for camping may come with bug protection features like a mosquito net. This is usually inbuilt but if it is not, you can still take an outdoor mosquito net with you to bug-proof your hammock. There are many types of mosquito nets made to be used with hammocks.
You can also use chemical repellents, spray your hammock with them. However, be keen to find the repellents that are human-friendly because it is you who will have to sleep in the hammock.
Sense suggests that if you camp away from where bugs are most likely to be found, you could lessen the chances of attack. Make your camp away from stagnant water bodies. That will keep some mosquitoes away, not all of them though.
Just in case, do take your malarial tabs. Just to be safe, you know.
This is very important. If you weigh 300 pounds, do not buy a hammock for backpacking that is rated for 200 pounds, or you could plummet fast. In any case, you want to buy a strong hammock that will last a long time.
What comes to the fore here is single or double nylon for people that would love to buy a parachute hammock. The stronger the better. It will be longer lasting. Buy from the best brand names, which have been in the market for some time and read a few reviews for each hammock before you can buy it.
If you would like a two-person hammock, they are also available in large numbers. Note that there are also hammocks, which are rated as ultra-light whose weight you will hardly notice.
For outdoor use, for hiking in Africa, for backpacking, buy a hammock that is made of nylon. This dries quickly in case you are drenched in a shower. It is also lighter.
Avoid cotton hammocks as they are heavier and may absorb a lot of water if you are caught in a shower.
Since you will be suspending your hammock on trees, you would do the trees one good turn by avoiding using rope alone as this would cut into the outer layer. You can however use padded rope, or make your own rope padding with foam.
Hammock straps come in all materials and sizes and are sold separately. They should not be too expensive. Usually, they are in the form of wide webbing, wide in the size of about 1 inch, which is safe enough for the trees.
Do carry more webbing than you think you will need. Who knows? It is better to err on the side of caution when you out there hiking overnight in the jungle.
This is the least considered feature of a hammock but it serves a very important purpose, that of preventing unwarranted sagging of the hammock and protecting its edges against breakage.
I do not know whether many hammocks for sale come with warranty, but as I review the best ten hammocks for camping, I will find out. Of course, it makes more sense to buy one that is sold with a warranty than one that is not.
Double layer camping hammocks
I just thought it prudent to mention this one here because it is very helpful. A double-layered hammock will have space between the layers where you can slip in a sleeping pad, which will give your back more support as you sleep.
These are basically the things to look forward to when you choose hammock camping. Hammocks are usually diamond shaped, so when you are buying a tarp or pad to go with it, buy one that is styled in the same shape. Do note however that a hammock will only keep you safe from the ground, thus you should take other camping safety precautions into account. Before buying you can read the best camping hammock reviews.
Camp in style! Go the hammock way.