What is a camping hammock?
Hammock. Saying the word will bring images of swaying back and forth on the back porch or soaking up some sun in the summertime. So imagine leaving the tent behind and sleeping at your campsite in a hammock. Here I’ll explain how to camp with a hammock and take your next camp out to the next level.
Important Camping Hammock Features:
Hammocks keep you cooler, so ensure you’re prepared for camping in all climates.
Not all straps are created equal. Find straps that have multiple hanging points to create the perfect fit.
There are a variety of sizes in hammocks for camping. Decide how much room you need.
Hammocks work best when they have accessories to help with climate and bugs.
First things first: hammock camping is a LOT colder than regular tent camping. Why? Well, think about it. When you’re up in a hammock the air can now surround you from the top and the bottom. This is why I prefer to hammock camp in Texas in the summer.
98 degrees during the day? No big deal. At night the temperature will still dip down to a comfortable degree to give you a few chills.
So how can you avoid getting too chilly? I recommend a sturdy sleeping bag. In the summer I’ll use one just as a blanket, but as it gets colder you’ll want something you can snuggle in and stay warm.
But that’s not the end-all. There is also something called a hammock underquilt. Your hammock will sit inside of this hanging blanket to add some warmth.
Top Hammock Underquilt options:
When it comes time to set up your hammock you’re going to want to make sure that the straps are fully adjustable. There’s nothing worse than getting ready to set up your straps only to find that you can’t get a good distance from the ground because your hammock straps don’t have enough points to hook in your carabiners.
In terms of hammock camping basics, there’s a general rule: the more connection points the better. You’ll want to have as many connection points as possible to fully optimize your hanging potential.
Let’s say your only option is two trees of unequal heights. With multiple connection points, you can hang your hammock at similar points on the straps to ensure you have a level sleeping space. It doesn’t seem like it will make a huge difference, but it definitely will if your tree options are limited.
PYS Outdoor makes an affordable option with 20 connections points. The only difference is carabiners are not included with this set. You could spend a couple more bills for the top-rated ENO brand, but if the weight ratings are similar, you’re going to get a similar product. Don’t sweat the straps just yet.
Single or Double?
Let me say up front that I don’t recommend sleeping with two people in a hammock. It’s just… uncomfortable in my opinion.
That being said, if you want the extra room then a double will give you that space. You have to remember that when you sleep in a hammock the best way to get the most comfort is to sleep at an angle. This will create a nice flow of your back, and you’re going to sleep like a baby cradling in your parent’s arms.
So if you need a little extra room then go double, otherwise a single will accommodate most folks just fine.Roo Double
Rain tarp & Bug net
Texas has some funky weather for sure. Even in the summer, you can have a random cold front or torrential rain. Never mind the fact that if you’re going to be somewhere that has water nearby you’ll be faced with the challenge of dealing with various bugs including mosquitos.
A shelter is going to be one of the more important hammock camping basics for setting up your hammock, and if you’re backpacking, it’s a minimal addition in weight that will bring a large amount of importance.
Some hammocks can be purchased as an all-in-one option like this Quarter Dome from REI. You set it up and it has the shelter included to protect you from bugs, but it doesn’t have anything to protect you from the rain.
The Mantis from Austin’s Kammock is a more involved version that includes the shelter too for ‘the ultimate hang’. When you’re talking about quality, it’s nice to have everything you need in one kit.
I pieced my hammock set together though. When I was deciding I wanted to try hammock camping I bought it in chunks, so don’t feel like you must grab a combo, it’s just an easy way to ensure you have what you need.
You may not think there’s going to be a need for full shelter status, but just think if you’re camping around Houston in the summer: You’re going to need protection from mosquitos AND the rain, so you must have a tarp and a bug net.
The bug net from Wecamture is what I use, and it has served me just fine from the creepy crawlers.
So to recap: Get a comfy hammock, then some great adjustable straps. Once you have that you’ll need to think about a rain tarp and bug net. Camping in the colder temps? Then don’t forget your underquilt to go along with a low temp rating sleeping bag.
Think you’re ready to go hammock camping? Drop a comment and let us know where you’re headed!