We all know sleeping in a hammock rocks (pun intended). What you may not know is that hammock camping is actually good for you, too. The gentle rocking helps you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper than a traditional bed. Couple that with the peacefulness of mother nature and you have a recipe for the best night of sleep you’ll ever have. Hammock camping also has less of a negative impact on the environment.
Tent camping can pack the earth beneath you and can actually damage the wildlife you set out to enjoy. A good hammock can even help you recover faster from a long day of hiking compared to traditional tent sleeping by properly elevating your feet and preventing swelling in your feet and ankles. This guide will help you pick the right hammock for your next hammock camping adventure.
Your Hammock Camping Guide
Choose The Right Hammock
All hammocks were not created equal. If you’re like me, many a time you’ve dozed off on a traditional rope hammock only to wake up hours later with a waffle print on the side of your face and a crick in your neck. Although rope hammocks are very popular, they are not very good for camping. Besides the obvious problem of not wanting to wake up with a waffle face, these hammocks are heavy and are not practical to take on a camping adventure. Today, there are many types of hammocks made from a light-weight material that is perfect for weekend trips or all out backpacking excursions. Nylon hammocks are strong, lighter than tents, ultra-portable, and are a breeze to set up.
Prepare for Mother Nature
Prime camping season happens to be prime bug season too. Nothing can interrupt your sleep more than mosquitos or other insects biting you all night. If you plan on ditching the tent and don’t want to bathe in bug spray you need a hammock that can protect you from the elements. Solution: add a bug net to your hammock – they are easy to set up and keep the mosquitos and other biting insects from bothering you all night.
Another common problem with hammock camping is exposure to rain. Don’t let the rain send you running to a tent. A simple tarp can give you the same protection as a tent without having to sacrifice the comfort of your hammock. Want an all-in-one solution? Try the Alpine Hammock. It is bug-proof, weather-proof, and even doubles as a bivy sack for when you have to sleep on the ground.
Setting Up Your Hammock
Want to know the best part of hammock camping instead of tent camping (besides being more comfortable and easier to pack)? You can set up camp almost anywhere! Forget trying to find a nice clearing and flat land. All you need for a hammock are two adequately spaced trees. Let’s face it, unless you are camping in a desert, your only problem is going to be deciding which pair of trees to set up shop in. People are often worried that the weight of a hammock might damage the trees, but with the proper tree huggers, the weight of the hammock is distributed so that there is no damage to the tree at all!
Number Of Sleepers
Hammock sleeping was once a solo adventure – not anymore. There are a number of hammocks available that combine the freedom of a hammock with the space of a two-person tent. These hammocks are still lighter than their two-person tent counterpart and give you the freedom to stare up into the vast, starry night sky while you gently rock to sleep with your camping partner. REI has a great two-person hammock that is ultra-lightweight and includes a stuff-sack that packs as small as a grapefruit!
Go For It!
Hammock camping is one of the best ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Don’t take our word for it – gear up, get out and catch some well deserved Zzz’s.