Hammock Camping

Hammock camping is perfect for freedom-loving folks who like to go where the wind takes them. The hammock packs small and light and travels easily in the backpack or on a bike or a motorcycle. It is also quick to set up and doesn’t require much from the campsite, just a couple of trees. Of course, it doesn’t protect you from the nightly monsters quite as well as a tent, but it’ll work just fine if you bring along the right gear. Read the full story

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Hammock camping is perfect for freedom-loving folks who like to go where the wind takes them. The hammock packs small and light and travels easily in the backpack or on a bike or a motorcycle. It is also quick to set up and doesn’t require much from the campsite, just a couple of trees. Of course, it doesn’t protect you from the nightly monsters quite as well as a tent, but it’ll work just fine if you bring along the right gear.

We gathered some tips here to get you started. It might seem cool to buy the most expensive gear with all the bells and whistles, but it isn’t always smart. Besides, you shouldn’t hoard unnecessary things since the world is already drowning in crap. So, think about what you want to do and get the gear needed for that. You will save your money, sanity, and a little bit of this planet.

With or without a mosquito net?

This is pretty simple. If you only plan on lounging in your yard or balcony in the daytime, get a hammock without a mosquito net. If you want to spend a night in your hammock without bugs invading your dreams, get a hammock with a mosquito net. Fancy doing a little bit of both? Choose the latter because the mosquito net also protects you from flies and horse flies.

We don’t need no stinking tarps or do we?

If you only hang out in your hammock in sunny weather, you won’t need additional shelters. But when camping in the wilderness, the weather can be quite unpredictable. To keep your hammock from becoming a bathtub, take along a rain tarp. Set that up over your hammock, and you won’t be bothered by rain, snow or small sticks falling from the trees.

Cold or warm weather?

If you’re hammocking in the daytime or on a tropical island, you won’t be needing any extra insulation. However, if you like backpacking with a hammock in winter without freezing, you should put something between the hammock and your behind. If you are in luck and live in a place such as Finland, the summer nights can also be cold, so this is not just a seasonal thing.

So, what to shove down there? A normal foam or inflatable sleeping pad works well between the hammock and your body. Don’t inflate the pad fully so that it better contours to the shape of the hammock. Another nice option is a so-called hammock underquilt. If you like it easy, get a hammock with double fabric. You won’t need to squish the pad at the bottom of the hammock in a fit of rage and have it slide here and there while sleeping. Simply slip the pad between the two fabrics. Then just get a suitable sleeping bag for the weather and your bum won’t freeze anymore.

Safe and comfortable

Hammock backpacking is as safe as a kitten with a chainsaw as long as you do it smartly. Make sure that you use sturdy and healthy trees. And check that there are no undead branches or any other big evil things to attack you from above when you’re sleeping. Only use ropes, slings, and carabiners that are in good condition and meant for this kind of stuff. And even though hammock is not that picky when it comes to the campsite selection, there’s no point setting it right on top of sharp rocks, tree stumps or claymore mines. I dare you not to be stupid!

A narrow hammock is quite ok for lounging in your backyard. But you should get a wider and about a yard longer hammock for camping so that you can comfortably sleep diagonally in it. This way your body is not crammed in unnatural positions and you’ll sleep a lot better.


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