Having a hammock when camping can make your whole trip more relaxed. Taking a hammock for camping is fantastic for sleeping at night, relaxing by the river, or even afternoon naps!
So, are camping hammocks comfortable?
Camping hammocks can be just as comfortable as any other type of hammock. The main difference is that camping hammocks are made from lighter breathable materials and usually are much easier to set-up. The only thing you have to remember when it comes to hammock comfort is that in colder temperatures you will need an underquilt or sleeping pad to stay warm.
Here’s what we will cover so you can sleep in comfort.
What is a Camping Hammock?
A camping hammock is made with the sole purpose of camping, hiking, and adventuring. These hammocks are made from different fabrics than traditional hammocks to make them lighter and more breathable. Many camping hammocks can weigh as little as 12 ounces!
When you’re camping, especially in the summer months, you’re going to want a hammock made from a nylon or polyester blend. This combination is usually breathable and will help you stay cool through the warm nights. You can also find mesh hammocks, but you’ll want to make sure they are light enough if you’re backpacking, and you’ll also want to make sure that you have a bug net.
Can You Use a Camping Hammock in Place of a Tent?
Of course, you can! Hammock camping is very popular amongst the minimalist hikers, bikers, and campers. There are several brands that make hammocks just for the purpose of camping! While this is a popular method of camping, there is more gear that you’ll need than just the hammock. Entire hammock sleep systems can weigh as little as two pounds!
A rainfly is the most important thing to have if you plan to sleep in your hammock overnight. This is a tarp-like sheet that ties between the two trees in which you’ve hung your hammock. A rainfly is designed to cover the entire hammock like a canopy to keep you (and your gear) dry through the night. Rainflies will also break any wind that would typically chill you at night.
A bug net is the second most important thing to have, especially in the warmer months, when bugs are at their peak. The bug net wraps around the hammock and has a zipper on one side, making it almost like a hanging tent. You will need an extra piece of paracord to suspend the bug net over the hammock so that it’s not laying directly on top of you.
Always make sure that you have straps for your hammock. If you don’t, you can use paracord in its place, but you’ll have to make sure of the weight rating. If you’re over the weight rating of the paracord, you can always double up on each side! There are many strap options on the market; the average strap rating is 200lbs per strap, making a total hammock capacity of 400lbs.
Can You Take a Regular Hammock Camping?
If you choose to take a regular hammock camping, or one made from cotton (traditional), you may be a little bit uncomfortable. These hammocks don’t breathe very well, so you might get overheated in the warmer months.
In addition to getting overheated, cotton wicks moisture, but it doesn’t dry quickly. No matter what type of camping you’re doing, it’s very easy to accidentally get your hammock wet, even if it’s just from setting it on the ground.
Some hammocks are made from paracord, DuraCord, or dry core mesh. These hammocks aren’t always lightweight, but they are very durable to handle car or RV camping. Sleeping in these overnight might not get the best idea, though, as they are usually made with a net-like design, creating space for bugs to get on you at night.
Safely Hanging Your Hammock
When you hang your hammock, you always to make sure that you’ve chosen trees that are sturdy and safe. One thing that many people fail to consider is the safety of the tree as well as yourself. When improperly hung, the hammock straps can cause long-term damage to the tree.
When hanging your hammock, always make sure that you choose trees that are both thick enough to securely hold your weight, as well as the trees being green and healthy. Dead trees can be rotten on the inside without realizing and collapse from the weight of the hammock.
To prevent damage to the trees, there are pads that you can purchase that will prevent the straps from digging into the bark of the tree. ENO and Sea to Summit both make pads like these that go under your hammock straps and create a broader area on the tree, making them less likely to dig in. You can also use a towel for this, but it will take up more space in your backpack.
In addition to safely hanging your hammock, you always want to make sure you hang it properly to assure that you stay comfortable throughout the whole night. When hanging, make sure that the hammock is around three to four feet above the ground. Once you have the hight where It needs to be, make sure that the hammock is level between the straps.
When the hammock is level, but not too tight, this allows you to lay comfortably in the hammock, and it will hang off the ground enough to not wake up on the ground, as well as not being too high. Although most hammocks are safe, you still don’t want to risk any injuries by hanging the hammock too high off of the ground.
Accessories to Make Your Hammock Even More Comfortable
- Underquilt – An underquilt is an excellent piece of gear to have. An underquilt is basically a sleeping bag that wraps around the entire hammock. You can avoid an underquilt and just use a sleeping bag if you like, it all boils down to preference, really.
Underquilts are often heavy, even heavier than regular sleeping bags in some cases. The only real advantage to an underquilt is that you have more freedom to move inside of the hammock than you do with a traditional or mummy sleeping bag.
- Rainfly – As stated earlier, a rainfly is a must-have If you plan to sleep in your hammock overnight. There are many different types, colors, shapes, and sizes of rain-flies on the market. A traditional rectangle rainfly is the easiest to seat up.
If you don’t want to dish out the funds for a rainfly, you can research pictures of a rectangle rainfly, and make one on your own. Many people use lawn tarps in place of rain flies. Although these tarps won’t last as long, they are significantly cheaper than a manufactured rainfly.
- Bug Net – If it’s summertime, no matter where you are, make sure that you have a bug net. There’s nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night to bugs crawling all over you. There are many bug net options on the market for hammocks.
While not traditional, there are many hammocks coming out continuously with new improvements. There are hammocks that have built-in bug nets, which makes packing and hiking with the hammocks a little more convenient. Although these hammocks weight about the same as having the hammock and bug net separately, it is convenient getting the hammock and net into the same compression sack.
- Hammock Lights – While hammock lights are not required to have, you have to admit that they’re cool. There are many different brands and styles of lights, including solar-powered, battery-powered, chargeable, and even solar equipped with a USB port to charge your phone!
If you read before bed, you may want to invest in some hammock lights. Although you can use a headlamp, hammock lights are much more power-efficient. Whenever you set up your hammock lights, turn them off before getting into your hammock. The light will draw bugs in, and they will get into your bug net when you get in of you’re not careful!
- Straps – Straps are the one piece of gear that if you don’t have, you’re going to have a hard time hanging your hammock. You can use paracord to hang your hammock, but always be sure of the weight rating on the paracord before you try it!
There are a couple of types of straps on the market, and there’s a big difference between them. Some straps only have loops about every twelve inches, making it difficult to get your hammock taught sometimes.
You can also get straps that have all of the loops grouped together and almost overlapping. This is the best option as you can get the hammock as lose or as tight as you need it!
No matter what type of camping you do, there is a comfortable hammock on the market that will meet your needs. Even in harsh weather, different hammocks can offer insulation, and some can provide breathability.
In addition to hammocks, many manufacturers make hammock stands. These stands are perfect if you’re camping out of your car or RV, and you’re camping in an area with little tree cover. Hammock stands are also excellent for beach trips!
If possible, ask a friend that has a hammock if you can try theirs out! There are many options for hammocks, some of which may be more or less comfortable for other people!
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