Most people sleep on a tent when camping. However, hammock camping and therefore, camping hammock demand, is now slowly gaining popularity among campers mainly because they are more lightweight and easier to set up than tents. Though many people think that sleeping in a hammock would expose you to bugs, wild animals, and extreme temperatures, there are actually camping hammocks where one can be protected from the environment.
If you are new to hammock camping and would like to make your first purchase, you should seriously read these guidelines in order to determine the best camping hammock for you. You can also take a look at our larger camping hammock article where we draw some broader strokes.
1. Camping hammocks come in different lengths and maximum weight capacities
Camping hammocks have different maximum weight capacity. Make sure to choose a camping hammock that can accommodate your weight and height. Some single camping hammocks can accommodate as much as 400 lbs. Hammocks can be as long as 14 feet to accommodate tall frames. It is best to choose a camping hammock, which is slightly longer than your frame and with triple interlocking stitching so it can carry your weight no matter how heavy you are.
Your weight and height can affect the ideal hammock hang. Usually though, the angle of repose is 30 degrees. The preferred distance between two trees or posts is around 10 to 15 feet.
Clearance from the ground would depend upon your sit height. If you find it difficult to install anchor points for your camping hammock, this hammock hang calculator from The Ultimate Hang will make it easier for you.
2. Camping hammocks come in single or double models
It depends on your preference whether you want to sleep alone or with a partner. Hammocks come in single or double size, although it is generally comfortable to sleep alone. Parachute camping hammocks usually have single and double models. The nylon material is very durable and resistant; hence, it can withstand the weight of two persons.
Single hammocks can be used for longer camping days while double hammocks are only good for one or two nights. The best way to sleep in a hammock is by positioning your body slightly diagonally to allow for side sleeping. Sleeping with a partner can greatly limit movements and can be quite uncomfortable if you have to sleep for several nights in a row.
3. Camping hammocks come with different accessories
Camping hammocks usually come with accessories to protect you from the weather or bugs. For instance, there are camping hammocks with integrated mosquito nets to keep bugs away especially if you are sleeping on the beach, on tropical areas or those with heavy foliage.
There are also accessories to protect you from harsh weather such as a rainfly or a hammock tarp to keep you dry outdoors when raining or even during a storm or to protect you from extreme heat during summer. A sleeping pad, top quilt or under quilt, meanwhile, will keep you warm if the weather is cold.
Some hammocks have spreaders to keep the surface flatter while others have ridgelines to control the sagging and the flattening. Ridgelines keep the mosquito nets and the rain flys from touching you too.
4. Choose nylon hammocks over cotton hammocks
Camping hammocks are made of nylon material because they are lighter and nylon is water repellant. They weigh an average of 2.50 lbs and can be easily folded and stored in a nylon drawstring sack. The parachute nylon hammock is breathable so it is ideal for use during hot, summer days. Anytime that you need insulation for your hammock, there are pads and quilts available to keep you warm.
Cotton hammocks, on the other hand, are mostly used indoors. They are heavier and absorbs water. They may be more comfortable because of the cotton fabric and they come in attractive colors and prints but they take long to dry.
5. Not all camping hammocks come with a suspension system
Hammock suspension systems come in many forms. There are pre-made suspension systems such as tree-hugging straps made of nylon tubing. One example is the Double Nest Parachute Camping Hammock with Tree Straps. The straps do not have insertion points and simply wraps around the tree. It prevents any unnecessary damage to the tree bark. There are also steel wall mounts and screws where the cords or ropes can be attached. However, since it requires insertion, may cause damage to trees or wherever it is attached.
There are also DIY suspension systems available wherein carabiners, cinch buckles, metal rings and knots are used. There are also one-inch webbing straps and Amsteel rope and cords that can be used as DIY suspensions for your hammocks.
Usually, camping hammocks can be suspended on portable stands with web-looking contraptions. The suspension system consists of stakes, ground plates, guy lines and struts. It may not be freestanding but it is portable and easy to pack and assemble. However, it may only hold a maximum capacity of 275 lbs.
Sleeping in a camping hammock instead of a tent require some getting used to especially if you are a side sleeper or you love sleeping on your stomach. However, camping hammocks are definitely easier to set up, store and carry around. If you are not fond of sleeping on the ground with rocks and uneven ground beneath you, then a camping hammock is right for you.
It could be more fun to sleep in the open air than covered by a stuffy tent. Just make sure to choose the best camping hammock for your needs. As long as you have the right camping hammock and you know how to set up a hammock properly, you would definitely get a good night’s sleep under the stars.