In the mountains, two trees are often easier to find than a patch of earth flat enough to pitch a tent. This factor alone is enough reason to give hammock camping a try. It’ll take some time to feel out your preference—the perfect hang is subjective—but you’re good to go with two trees and enough line or a pair of straps (more on that below). Keep it off the trail (human or game), and give yourself about two feet of ground clearance. That’s just enough space to keep yourself from an unfortunate midnight run-in with a curious porcupine.
In the Desert Southwest, where trees only grow at the highest elevations and along perennial water sources, hammocks would be most challenged. Some hammocks have been designed to be pitched on the ground, and I have seen some creative rigging systems, but these approaches have significant trade-offs and seem forced. I’ll just bring my modular tent or tarp & bivy, thanks.
Sometimes you’ll find yourself sliding to one end of the hammock. This is because your hammock isn’t level. You’ll want to make sure your hammock is level to prevent you from sliding throughout the night. The first thing to do is to check your straps. Are both straps of equal length? If not, you’ll want to even them out as best as you can. With all materials, the straps may stretch a tiny bit throughout the night. This can throw off your hammock level. By making sure both straps are the same length, they’ll stretch at the same rate. The next thing to check is the strap height. Make sure the straps are level and at the same height. Once you’ve taken care of those 2 steps, your hammock should be perfectly balanced. If you find yourself still sliding to one side, move the straps up an inch or two on that side.
Most hammock campers will need to have effective insulation underneath their hammock, in addition to the conventional topside insulation (i.e. sleeping bag). This can be a properly installed sleeping pad, but this ground-inspired product does not translate well to hammocks, and under-quilts are widely preferred. In extreme cold temperatures, a full-sided tarp to block the wind is also very helpful.
It can seem difficult to strike balance between overconcern and under preparation. That line was blurry to me when I began hiking alone, often resulting in me placing myself in needlessly uncomfortable and unsafe situations. What seemed missing was a description of the necessities of safe hiking, presented with reason and practicality for the beginner hiker in mind.
Tip #3: Look for an established (pre-existing) campsite to set up your hammock. Per Leave No Trace principles: “Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.” Large hammocking groups should split into smaller groups to prevent unnecessary disturbance. Leave No Trace advises: “Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.”
Bottom Line Love hammocking but hate the bugs? Don’t have a fortune to spend on a hammock? Check this one out! From backyards and barbeques to backpacking and sleeping under the stars, this inexpensive hammock is an inexpensive and comfortable choice. This complete system includes everything you need to stay protected and comfortable, for a low cost! For true hammock camping versatility this package can't be beat - take only a shockingly light hammock or all the pieces for a complete sleeping shelter. The Blackbird is an interesting asymmetrical design that will give you a comfortable hanging experience in all kinds of weather and terrain.
Comfort is the most important quality we scored because if you're not comfortable, what's the point? We considered fabric feel, headspace, and overall size and roominess. We sat in them, laid in them, put sleeping bags and pads in them and even tested their capacity for adding a friend. Roomier models tend to sleep a bit better, while many of the lighter designs sacrificed comfort for less durable materials and a compact size that feel great in the pack but can impact your comfort quality of sleep. No matter what you're using your 'mock for, comfort is king!
The Hennessy Hammock Hyperlite, Ultralight Backpacker, and Expedition are all great hammocks and have the same dimensions. The main differences between them come in materials and cost. The lighter the materials, the greater the cost. The Hyperlite is the lightest and most expensive with a total weight of 1 lb 12 oz, then comes the Ultralight Backpacker at 1 lb 15 oz, and finally the Expedition at 2 lb 12 oz. The heavier the model, the more durable it will be, but all three of these hammocks will last for thousands of trail miles if treated well. The Hyperlite and Ultralight Backpacker are rated to hold up to 200 lb and the Expedition will hold up to 250 lb. If you’re a backpacker, keeping weight down is important, which is why we prefer the Hyperlite. That said, the Expedition is still a great value buy.
Hammock camping is a form of camping in which a camper sleeps in a suspended hammock rather than a conventional tent on the ground. Due to the absence of poles and the reduced amount of material used, they tend to be significantly lighter than a tent. Their reduced weight often results in less space inside than a similar occupancy tent. In foul weather, a tarp is suspended above the hammock to keep the rain off of the camper. Mosquito netting, sometimes integrated into the camping hammock itself, is also used as climatic conditions warrant. Camping hammocks are used by campers who are looking for lighter weight, protection from ground-dwelling insects, or other ground complications such as sloped ground, rocky terrain and flooded terrain.
These stock systems are functional and usually intuitive. But they may not necessarily be the lightest, most adjustable, or best for your specific needs. To explore alternative suspension systems, check out Dutchware Gear, and read posts on the topic by Derek Hansen at The Ultimate Hang, which is an excellent resource (and book), and the single best place to continue your hammock education.
Most companies offer several hammock sizes, including singles, doubles, and even extra-large models. In general, most hammocks measure between 9 and 11 feet long and can hold up to 300 or 400 pounds. According to many manufacturers, their best sellers are double hammocks. While pairs of people use them, individuals also like to sleep alone in a double and wrap the extra fabric around them for added warmth (even in warm months, you can get chilled in the early morning hours). As you choose between a single and double, keep in mind that two people will be pretty snug if they sleep together in a double. You have to *really *like your partner.
2. Keep it simple. The folks on Hammock Forums are incorrigible tinkerers, and a lot of them give no thought to weight and/or complexity. It’s easy to turn following tip (1) into a never-ending spiral of experimentation. That may be your style, and if so, more power to you. But I’m guessing most readers of this blog want a reliable, simple, lightweight set-up that they don’t need to fuss with. With discipline, this can be done with a minimum of iterations and expense.
But why are spreader bars bad? It might seems like a good idea to spread open the hammock and create a flatter appearance. By spreading open the hammock, it appears to be a more inviting surface. But these spreaders created many unnecessary problems. For one, the spreader bars disrupt the natural center of gravity on the hammock. Spreaders cause the weight to distribute unevenly. You may have experienced the unbalanced shaking while getting into these hammocks. Or have even been a victim to sudden flips when you make the wrong move. Many people new to hammock camping recall experiences with these poorly designed hammocks. They end up associating all the negative experiences of rope hammocks with all hammocks.