Hammock camping is a great way to camp in the great outdoors, it makes camping a lot more exciting, it’s a lot more affordable, refreshing, you can camp in your hammock literally anywhere (over rock fields, boulders, heck even water if you want to be on the adventurous side). In this article I’m going to be talking about hammock camping for beginners and how to get the most out of your camping trip.
Bears..OMG! Keeping Safe While Hammock Camping
One question I see often is, “will I be a bear taco?, or “what if bears see me?” I want to get this straight, camping with a hammock is no different than camping in a tent, actually it’s probably safer because you have more visibility of the surrounding areas. A tent will not slow a bear down if it wants to look inside it.
A rule of thumb to follow – Cook and eat your evening meals a few miles away from your campsite and bears will be drawn to check that area, NOT your camping ground.
However, if you want to be on the safe side, just place all your food away from your campsite. You’ll be as safe as you are while tent camping.
This is one of the many reasons I love camping in a hammock, you can elevate your hammock as high as possible and sleep with the squirrels if you want to. It’s actually a lot of fun to do, but it isn’t for the faint hearted, or those who sleepwalk.
Avoid The Mass Cold During The Night – KEEPING WARM
Most heat will disappear beneath the hammock causing you to get chills on your back. Here’s how to keep incredibly warm during the night.
Get an Underquilt – My favorite option by far. They provide you with immense warmth, as well as a wind barrier, and extremely light weight.
Self-Inflating Pads/Mats – If you want to go the extra mile to make sure you’re well insulated all night, a self-inflatable pad is the perfect choice. They are easy to inflate and deflate, and provide you with great wind protection.
CCF Pads – An alternative to using a self-inflating pad, is using CCF Pads. Just like the inflatable pads, these give you a barrier between the cold air and the hanger. Most CCF Pads are lightweight and durable.
Sleeping Bags – I’m not talking about the sleeping bag that you sleep in. If you are a casual camper and you have loads of spare sleeping bags laying around, these are incredible for extra insulation.
There are 2 ways you can use these, such as “underquilts” or place them in the hammock itself. You could just go all-out commando and wrap the entire sleeping bag around the hammock and zip it up. If you can’t afford underquilts, sleeping bags are a good alternative.
Be Ready For Your Hammock Camping Trip
Problems arise when you don’t pick the right hammock, or you haven’t practiced the methods properly.
Read these tips to make sure you get the outright best camping trip out of your hammock so you can enjoy the peaceful outdoors and adventure without getting avoidable back pain and discomfort.
- Choose A Good Sleeping Hammock – Whatever hammock you buy, make sure it is designed for the best comfort and support for sleeping during the night. Your back is not something you want to take lightly.
- Pick A Hanging Method – Before you head out on your camping adventure, you should pick a knot and method you’d like to hang your hammock up with. There’s nothing worse than getting to your campsite after dark, with no plan on how you’re going to set things up.
- Practice The Method – Now with everything good that comes in life, you’ll have to practice it first. Practice the method and knots you’ll be using on the camping trip. Take a little time to prep at home, which will prevent any frustration from happening in the great outdoors.
- Get Ready For Cold Nights – It’s important to know that your hammock won’t replace your sleeping bag. In some areas, it can be perfect in the heat. However, for most areas you will need to be ready for the cold. Camping in a hammock is colder than camping on the ground. A rule of thumb to follow: Take a bunch of spare blankets and sleeping bags so you’re prepared for an extra chill in the night.
- Be Ready For Bugs And Rain – Now that you’re hammock camping, you won’t have the cover of the tent to keep bugs and mosquitoes off you, which is why it’s important to bring a bug net with you to the campsite. Bring a tarp for coverage from the rain, which will stop you from getting soaked in the night.
Critical Hammock Considerations
Cost – You shouldn’t have to spend a fortune to get a great hammock. However, if you are wanting a hammock that will last you years to come, it’s best to get one that is high quality.
Weight – A few ounces may not sound like a big deal now, but just remember that you’ll be taking a lot of gear on a camping trip, so be sure to get one that is lightweight, with the correct support for your back and neck during the night.
Dimensions – As a basic outline, the wider and longer your hammock, the more comfort it provides. This is a lot more true when you’re purchasing a hammock to sleep in. Hammocks for day-use don’t need to be that big or heavy so these can be extremely light.
Strength – Strength plays a big role when buying a hammock. If your hammock doesn’t have this, your hammock could drop and you can potentially hurt yourself.
Best Use – Hammocks for sleeping in and hammocks for chilling in are created differently. Choose one that fits your requirements for the hammock.
Straps – Many straps are sold separately, so make sure you get the strong and durable ones.
Related: Camping Hammock Tips and Recommendations
Mastering hammock camping will come naturally after multiple outings.
After you have camped in your hammock a few times you will discover what to do and what not to do, secret tips you can use for your next adventure, and the best ways that will work for you to keep you warm all night long while the chilly night breeze brushes past your hanging hammock.
I hope you enjoyed this article. What was your favorite camping trip, have you used a hammock yet? Let us know in the comment section below 🙂
13 thoughts on “Full Beginners Hammock Camping Guide”
Great article! We love using our hammock during the day while camping – I never thought that people sleep all night in it but that’s pretty cool!
Yeah, it’s actually quite popular. It’s definitely something to do even as a one-time experience to see if you enjoy it or not. Glad you learned something.
Hammock Camping! What a novel idea. I love camping but I do not think I could Sleep in a hammock all night. Our last camping trip ended early due to crazy winds that all but destroyed our setup. However we are not deterred and will go again, this time I’ll take a hammock, perhaps the hubby will sleep out leaving me more room in the tent!
Hahaha, that doesn’t sound like a story that ended happily ever after. What a disaster! Camping is suppose to be a time of peace and enjoyment, not stressing about having to chase your equipment because it’s flying all over the campsite, lol. Yes, definitely give it a go (Don’t worry about the bears haha). Thanks for the comment.
Thanks for the great article. When I was in Mexico, we went to one of the villages and the locals all slept in Hammocks. They said that they were extremely comfortable. Of course it was very hot, and probably more comfortable to sleep under the stars. Now I think I’ll buy me one. Cheers.
Thanks for the feedback John. Yeah, they are amazingly comfy and something I recommend anyone to try if they enjoy the outdoors.
I had never thought of “Hammock Camping” but must say you have made it sound like a really good alternative to the traditional tent. Thanks for the info.
If you haven’t heard of it, then you need to go camping more (just kidding haha). Not many people hear about it because I guess it’s just a ‘small’ group of people that do this as a tradition, because it really is A LOT different from camping in a normal tent. Cheers for the comment Cambell.
Great article…we have a VW Campervan T25 and a Bell Tent and love camping! Never thought about Hammock Camping before…maybe we could introduce it to our collection.
We’d never have the trouble of being invaded by bears though, not in the UK anyway 🙂
Hammock camping is a great idea, however if you’re quite scared of wildlife and noises outside this might be right for you. And that’s good you don’t have to worry about bears, what a great camping BONUS!
Cool article Brandon. What length of hammock do you recommend for someone who is 6 foot?
I recommend a hammock that’s 8-10 feet in length.
Awesome, thanks for replying!