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Helpful Tips and Resources For A First-time Hammock Camper

February 22, 2019

Hammock camping is an alternative way of camping that does not require the use of a tent. To begin, a hammock camper is a camper that sleeps on a hammock that is suspended. This is a form of camping that some do not know about but those that do find it to be much better for them then traditionally camping on a tent on the ground.

What Hammock Should You Use

Some people have a bad taste in their mouths from the experiences they had with hammocks throughout their lives. For example, throughout the summer months you find yourself and many others constantly flipping off their hammocks.

It's rough.
It’s rough.

This is not an enjoyable experience even though some may laugh at it. Not all hammocks are like this, luckily. The hammocks you want to stay away from are the ones that have spreader bars. Not all hammocks with spreader bars are bad, but most are and these are the ones that people fall off of.

Hammocks that you can choose from are gathered end hammocks, bed hammocks, and bridge hammocks. These are all choices from which you can pick from and it will take just matching up what you need to the benefits of that specific hammock.

Why Choose a Hammock Over a Tent

Many people are amazed at seeing individuals using hammocks over a traditional tent but when seeing the benefits of using a hammock instead of a tent may lead anyone to make a switch. For one, hammocks are much more lightweight than a tent. Tents that are lightweight often cost a lot more whereas a hammock costs much less and will be lighter. Hammocks are also not difficult to build compared to a tent that leads people into a rage of anger if they are not a pro at setting it up.

Another benefit of a hammock is their comfort. When using a tent, you have to lie on the floor. Floors are not kind to your body and will cause soreness to the body when waking up. When camping you want to be comfortable, so a hammock does provide that. Sine hammocks are suspended it allows for the body to be comfortable and not feel as if their sleeping on a solid ground.

Setting up a hammock is also very easy. To find two trees to hang a hammock on is not difficult to do. On the other hand, to find a flat area without debris is not so easy. Most likely to set up a tent it would require you to clear the debris from an area yourself. If you chose a hammock, then you could do so in five minutes and sit back and relax as your friends are still building their tent for another thirty minutes (if they are lucky).

Lastly, hammocks provide an ability to connect to nature more. This does not mean that when it rains you will be drenched and get a little too close to nature because hammocks have all the benefits of protection from the weather as tents do. By connecting to nature, I mean that you can fall asleep watching the stars, smelling the fresh air, and feeling the soft breeze rock you back and forth. These are all the perks of a hammock than a tent does not have.

Setting Up and Sleeping In Your Hammock

When tying up your hammock make sure to not hang it too tight. You make think this makes it more comfortable and like a bed but it will do just the opposite and cause discomfort. For example, you will be squished by the sides leading to discomfort, you can cause damage to the trees or hammock itself, and the walls of the hammock will cave in blocking your face.

To not cause discomfort to hang the hammock a little looser, giving slack. This will allow you more comfort when sleeping. Another trick to staying comfortable is to lay at an angle. Sleeping at an angle allows you to lay flatter and the hammock will curve to your body.

Staying Warm, Keeping the Bugs Out, and Bad Weather Out


Not that kind of curve
Not that kind of curve

Sleeping in a hammock instead of a tent may sound like a good idea in the summer but not in the winter. Also, the ability to keep out bugs and bad weather may be questioned as well. Actually, keeping warm in a hammock is totally attainable as well as keeping the bugs and bad weather out.


To keep warm in a hammock you simply must use either a foam pad, quilts, or sleeping bags. A foam pad is great for providing insulation that will keep your under-body warm. For some, a foam sleeping pad may need to be altered. To do this all you need to do is get a foam pad and cut it to your shape or comfort. Quilts are the best type of insulation you can get to keep you warm but they are also the most expensive. To go a cheaper way, you can purchase sleeping bags and use them instead to keep you warm. Whatever you decide on using, it is possible to use a hammock in the winter or in a climate that is colder.

Another concern of many campers when camping is the bugs. Nobody likes bugs and buying and doing whatever is necessary to keep out the bugs is worth it to many people. This being said, people may choose a tent over a hammock any day of the week just to avoid bugs. It is possible though to use a hammock while still keeping out the bugs! To do so simply use a mosquito net. There are mosquito nets that are made for hammocks but if you can’t purchase them, a standard mosquito net would work just fine to keep all the bugs out.

Weather is also a problem that can turn a lovely night in a hammock to a horrible night in a hammock. No one wants to get rained on or snowed on but to avoid this problem in a hammock is completely double. To solve this problem, you really only need a tarp. Find a tarp that is large enough to cover your hammock and that you feel comfortable under. Also, arrange the tarp when setting it up above your hammock in a way that will let the snow or rain run of the tarp rather than pile on. Make the center a high point so that the sides are angled which will allow rain to run right off.

Hammock camping is not something to be afraid of. Tents can be the thing of a past for you and make your camping experience more enjoyable. Remember to find a hammock that works for you and a setup that works for you and you will have no problem. With rain, sleet, sun, or snow you can have a great camping adventure with your hammock and ditch the tent.

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    Vicki Cerda
    September 10, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    This was some really good tips and I have always wanted to use a hammock

    Vicki Cerda
    September 10, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    I have always wanted to try hammock.

    Joe Clark
    September 10, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    I just finished a 5 night hunting trip in a hammock near Waldport, Oregon. Everything you said is true. I use a mosquito net (upper body only) and it worked well. I also use a upper quilt and full body down under quilt. I would say it does take about the same time as a tent to set up and in some cases longer. I had big trees and had to add dynema rope which fortunately my hunting partner had . My straps are ten feet long but the trees are big out here. Where a hammock shines is that you can hang all your wet clothing on tarp or hammock ridgeline. Also when hunkered down by rain cooking from a seated hammock is a joy compared to a tent. Hanging is very comfortable and sitting up to get up in middle of night is great. Setting up over moss, tall ferns, or fallen branches & soft sloped ground would have been a hassle in a tent. I love to kick back read or listen to my little transistor radio. Drink and eat too in my hammock. No sweeping out the tent either. Bring a square yard of thick mill plastic for putting on clean socks and cooking so cookware does not get dirty. You can still fall on your back though. Gathered hammock extremely stable but it is possible to take sitting for granted if your butt goes past outside lip. I think it happens because in poor lighting the underquilt shades position of hammock opening. Fool me once as they say. Coffee straight over shoulder for good luck

    Hammocking is a learning curve but learning is part of fun. Hammocks are light but you have to choose tarp wisely otherwise your weight maybe heavier then a lightweight tent. I have two tarps in my quest. One heavy and one light. The heavier one is now my four season or car camping choice. Choose your ridge line rope wisely too. Paracord sags in cold wet weather..go dyneema all the way. There are times that height of legs is important. This takes experience. Adjusting to sleeping on my back was no problem. I have tried all kinds of bottom insulation and so far a wide and long underquilt properly adjusted is best. Also bring a lightweight down jacket for those chilly nights. To reiterate the best thing about hammocking is when you have to hunkerdown in miserable wet weather…

    September 11, 2017 at 10:35 am

    I just did a two week hiking trip in the European Alps (Haute route Chamonix-Zermatt), I used a hammock, and at 63 years old I never had any backpain and/or kneepain, usually my hiking problems. I think hammockcamping may add 10 or more years to my hiking career…

    Daniel de La Fé
    September 11, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    I’ve spent at least 35 nights of my last 40 of camping by sleeping in a hammock instead of a tent! Hammocks are definitely the way to go, but I have to disagree with a few things here.

    1. Having a taut hammock is way better than a loose one especially if you don’t like sleeping on your back. I sleep on my side and front usually so a taut one is way better. I toss a pillow between my shoulder, head, and my hammock to make the best comfort.

    2. For bugs you don’t even need a bet even though my buddy uses one. If you are a smaller human then you can easily wrap a double nest hammock around you by putting a weight (your phone) in the side pocket and throwing it over you.

    3. For your butt getting cold then yeah the quilts or a down are necessary. I always wrap my down around my feet because they get cold first.

    Definitely go for the double nest if you plan on sleeping in the hammock, and expect your first night or two to be bit so great but after that it’s the best camp sleep ever!

    John Mury
    September 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    If you find yourself in a steady or heavy rain, you’re also going to need something to prevent the rain from running down your suspension into your hammock. One of the best rain breaks is simply a piece of hanging cord so the drips will run off rather than toward your hammock. I use a piece of paracord tied in a prusik loop on each end.

    March 19, 2018 at 11:36 pm

    Awesome!! I’ve learned a lot I never knew and now I can’t wait to try hammock camping!

    May 26, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Nice blog .
    I also hammock camp and found the whole experience amazing

    May 29, 2018 at 6:20 am

    Oo wow ! Very helpful tips. But my part of the world is a mosquito prone area, I cant go out sleeping in a tent with foreingners, It wouldn’t be so nice. But for a single adventure experience, I might try it. ,

    Leigh Davis
    May 29, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Unless you are going down into the Grand Canyon where there is no hammock camping allowed. So, know ahead if the natural resources are available for hanging a hammock.

    July 11, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks for the thoughts! I’ve not yet stayed overnight on a trail, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot and have been weighing the options of tent vs hammock! I appreciate your insight and suggestions!

    October 11, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    […] you plan to hike on the equipment you take with you is something you should be familiar with. If, for example, you plan on taking a tent, before going on the hike try building the tent a few times, that way when it comes a time you will […]

    Janice Cone
    January 12, 2019 at 12:51 am

    I hike with my dog, he’s about 45 lbs. I’m wondering how I would get him into the hammock with me? Has anyone done this?