WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HAMMOCK CAMPING

Hammock camping is a great lightweight alternative to carrying a tent while out backpacking or camping. However, there are a few things that you need to know before you invest the money in the gear or set out on your trip with only your hammock.

Photo: Lea Hart

 

What is "Hammock Camping"?


Hammock camping means that you have swapped out a standard tent for a hammock! Many hikers, backpackers, bikers, and outdoor connoisseurs use hammocks to lounge in, but with the right accessories, they can be used in place of a tent. This option can be a lightweight swap and give your back a break from the hard ground.


 

Tent VS Hammock


My Preference


I prefer camping in a tent. I feel more secure and protected from the elements. This is personal preference of course! I am on a tight gear budget and I decided to invest in the tent option. I typically adventure out in the wild with others, so I like the tent option because the weight of the gear can be split across two packs.


The Pros and Cons of Hammock Camping


Pros:

  • Hammocks can alleviate back pain.

  • Since you are off the ground, they can be much comfortable than lying on the ground.

  • With the right accessories, they can provide the same amount of protection as a tent.

  • They can be a lightweight option (however, with the widespread use of Dyneema Composite Fabric this has changed).

  • You're off the ground so no critters can enter your tent.

Cons:

  • Your gear will have to sit on the ground (as well, as any pet you may bring).

  • Lack of privacy (can you change your clothes in your hammock while suspended?).

  • You're reliant on trees and campsite that allow you to hang hammocks.

  • Only one person can sleep in the hammock.

  • You may spend more on gear if you already have a tent.


 

The essentials for hammock camping


Before you go camping overnight with a hammock you need to be sure to run through each of these points in your head! This is specific to camping and sleeping in a hammock, not to be confused with lounging in a hammock for funsies!


PSA: I am not an expert in hammock camping and don't hammock camp often anymore! Please go to the resources that I linked throughout this post.


 


No matter the season, you will need a hammock, hammock straps, a bug net, a tarp, an underbelly quilt, a sleeping bag/quilt/or liner, and a sleeping pad.


Summer

If you are hammock camping in the summer, the need for a sleeping bag is probably low, but you might want a down quilt or a sleeping bag liner to keep you warm in case of drops in temperature at night. However, you will want a bug net to keep those pesky out of your sleeping environment! You will also want to bring a tarp to hang over your hammock in case of rain.


In high school, when I used to sleep in my hammock (even in the summer), I would wake up freezing because the dew would soak into my clothes in the morning, making my core body temp drop below comfortable.


Spring/Fall

Depending on where you live, these seasons are typically the most comfortable for any type of outdoor adventuring, so you'll most likely need to pack the same type of gear!


For Spring and Fall, you will most likely want a 60 to 40 degree rated sleeping bag or quilt. This will make sure you are warm and toasty all night long (of that's what you prefer)!


Winter

Due to where I live, I tend to shy away from much outdoor adventuring in the winter months. However, if that's not you then make sure you are well prepared for the wintery conditions ahead for you. Check the weather and make sure you have a sleeping bag that is degree rated safely under the predicted low! You don't want to wake up freezing!


Top Product Recommendations


Hammock

I would suggest Kammock Roo's over the popular ENO brand, but that's not to say that I oppose ENO. Kammock is committed to sustainability and I have personally interacted with the CEO and will endlessly recommend their brand! They have a ton of fun colored hammocks to choose from!


Price (Roo Single): $62.10

Weight: 10.2 oz

Photo: Kammock.com


Hammock Straps

If I were to purchase straps, I would suggest Kammock. Kammocks Python 10' straps are designed to be tree-friendly. Their statement is that "the variable width design offsets the pressure placed on trees by widening at the end of each strap. The hammock strap's secure suspension keeps them from slipping and rubbing the bark unnecessarily". Do right by the trees! :)


Price: $26.10

Weight: 8.2 oz

Photos: Kammock.com


Bug Net

For bug nets, make sure you buy a net that is compatible with your hammock. So, following my recent recommendations, I would recommend the Dragonfly bug net by Kammock.


Price: $79.00

Weight: 9.8 oz

Photos: Kammock.com


Hammock Tarps

Kammock and ENO have great versatile tarps that can be used for multiple purposes. The Kammock Kuhli is a great option if you can splurge. The budget option would be the ENO ProFly Hammock Rain Tarp.


Price (Kuhli tarp): $169.00

Weight: 20.5 oz

Photo: Kammock.com

Photo: REI.com


Underbelly Quilt

This will keep the bottom of your hammock from getting too cold! The wind will whip right under your hammock and will wick the heat away! This type of quilt will ensure you are warm.


Price: $109.95

Weight: 1lb 11 oz.

Photo: REI.com


Sleeping Bag

Some individuals use what is called an underquilt to prevent the draft from under the hammock creating a cold sleeping climate. However, if you're looking for versatile pieces a sleeping bag will do! I think you may sense a trend in the gear that I recommend because no surprise my sleeping bag is from the brand Kammock! I own the Kammock Thylacine 40 degree synthetic sleeping bag. This sleeping bag is SO soft and I love that it has a hood and adjustable footbeds! Kammock also makes a sleeping bag liner to add 20 degrees of warmth rating to the sleeping bag!


Price: $160.30

Weight: 2lb 5oz

Photos: Kammock.com


Sleeping Bag Liner

Because I am on a tight budget as a college kid, I was not able to purchase the Kammock sleeping bag liner that is compatible with my pack, so I found a cheaper alternative. I have yet to order my liner for my sleeping bag, but I plan to order the Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Extreme Sleeping Bag Liner to add up to 25 degrees to my pack. This liner will allow me to camp comfortably in 15-degree weather!