Want to try something new on your next camping trip? I’ve slept in a hammock at summer and fall camp and loved it. Try skipping the tent and sleep in a hammock instead! This article will give you a lot of information about hammocking and some useful tips and tricks.
1. What you need to get started
First, you need a hammock for backpacking (with ropes or straps, not the kind that sits a frame for relaxing in the backyard). Another thing you will need is a tarp to keep you sheltered. There are hammock tarps that are specifically made for hammocking, like this OAV Hammock Tarps.
Sometimes, you may need a mesh protector to keep mosquitos and bugs away. There are two types of bug nets: a built-in bug net, and a detached bug net. Built-in bug nets are attached to the hammock, whereas a detached bug net surrounds the whole hammock and is purchased separately.
The Eureka! Chrysalis Hammock comes with a mesh top, as well as a Tropicscreen for backyard camping, a CamperSleeve for more versatile weather, and a flarp (tarp).
2. How to set up
There are three types of suspension systems: ropes, straps, and whoopie slings. Let’s start off with ropes. Hammock ropes are made of strong paracord with a loop at one end and a clip at the other, that wrap around a tree. First, pass the rope around the back of the tree, then put the clip end through the loop, pull it tight around the tree, and clip it onto the hammock. You can adjust the length of the rope by wrapping it around the tree multiple times.
A better option is hammock straps, which are similar but have the advantage of being lighter, stronger and more compact.
The third option, whoopie slings, are for more serious users. They are more complex but lighter and easier to adjust.
When setting up your hammock, pick two trees that are around 7 feet apart for most hammocks, and ideally 18 centimeters in diameter or more, to ensure they are strong enough.
3. Ways to keep warm
There are three ways of keeping warm that every camper should know about: layering sleeping bags, insulated sleeping pads, and hammock quilts. One very simple way to stay warm is by layering two or more sleeping bags, or using a fleece liner for your sleeping bag.
Placing an insulated sleeping pad under you will block out the cold wind that blows up from beneath you. Finally, you can buy a hammock quilt, which is a down blanket that goes under your hammock (on the outside, as an under quilt) or around it (an over quilt).
If you plan to hammock in the winter make sure that you have winter-rated gear, and consider more than just two insulating layers.
4. Tips and tricks
Here are a few tips and tricks that I’ve learned from my Scouting experiences. Firstly, know your environment if you want to be a happy camper. Where you choose to set up your hammock is very important.
Also, laying diagonally in your hammock is more comfortable because it keeps the material and dip flatter. To store your gear, you can put it on a tarp under your hammock (which is tarped above to protect you from the rain and snow). You can also hang it up in a tree, or off the hammock line if your gear is light.
Lastly, if you have a built-in mosquito net then don’t put your arm against it or you will get eaten alive! Mosquitos may not be able to enter through your mesh, but they can still bite through it if you are pressed up against it.
5. Average Cost
The cost of hammocks can vary quite a bit depending on the quality. They can go from $20 all the way to $250. Hammocks are drastically different in price because of some key factors like material, size, versatility, added features, and weight rating.
To meet your basic summer camping needs all you really need is an inexpensive, basic hammock. But if you’re willing to spend a little more money on a better quality hammock, consider a camping hammock from one of the company’s above, because they sell hammocks that are versatile, light, and compact.
I hope these tips inspire you to try hammock camping, I highly recommend it. I love it because it feels like an adventure, it gets me closer to nature, and it helps me become more independent as an outdoorsman.