When you think of camping, you most likely picture sleeping in a classic, flat ground tent. Yet as of recent years, hammock camping has grown more and more popular among campers and backpackers. This is likely because camping in a hammock offers many advantages that common ground tents lack.
Firstly, hammocks and hammock “’tents” are lightweight and can be condensed into a small package. Hence, they are ideal for backpacking during which you have limited room to store and carry camping supplies.
Secondly, because they are suspended above the ground, you can set up camp almost anywhere. When camping with a regular tent, you must make sure wherever you set up camp is flat and cleared of plants, rocks, and sticks. Though this is rarely an issue when camping at a campground, if you are backpacking and need to set up tent alongside a trail, it can be hard to find a suitable spot to pitch a tent. On the other hand, with a hammock, if you have two trees, you can set up camp on all types of terrain: including rocky, uneven grounds and sloping hills and mountain sides. You can set up your hammock almost anywhere in nature and leave no trace of your stay.
Another benefit of hammock camping is that, because you are suspended off the ground, you are protected from any ground moisture or pools of rainwater. Ground moisture is a problem that many campers run into when camping in conventional tents, but when sleeping in a hammock or hammock tent, it is not a worry.
Lastly, one of the best aspects of sleeping in a hammock is the comfortability. Though it may feel strange at first to camp off the ground, you soon discover that hammock sleeping puts less pressure and stress on your back than regular tent camping. Unless you have a fancy air mattress, sleeping in a tent on the hard ground can be very uncomfortable, and you often wake up sore. If you find that sleeping on the ground is a regular complaint of yours while camping, try sleeping in a hammock or hammock tent on your next camping trip; you might find yourself getting a better night’s sleep.
If hammock camping has you intrigued, then why not try it for yourself? They are a great, individual alternative to ground tents. All you need to do is find the right hammock for you: simple, right? Surprisingly enough, the selection of camping hammocks is quite large and diverse due to a variety of designs, features, and accessories. Hence, the process of narrowing down your decision may be a tad bit complicated. Luckily for you,e have done our best to simplify the world of hammock tents and have created a camping hammock buying guide; from features to considerations, we teach you the basics of hammock camping. Better yet, we have compiled a series of reviews of our favorite hammock tents at the end of the article, so continue to read for some further inspiration.
For the most part, the majority of hammocks share the same design: a large piece of fabric with gathered ends that are attached to some sort of suspension system, creating a banana-like shape. That being said, various types of hammocks differ in material and added features. Here are the two main types of hammocks that you can use on your camping trips.
Day hammocks are the typical, casual hammocks that you usually find in backyards. They are usually made from cotton, netting, or rope. These types of hammocks provide support, but unlike most camping hammocks, they do not provide insulation and protection against cold weather. Also, while many day hammocks are attached to a metal support structure, some are portable.
Such portable day hammocks can serve as an alternative to tents if you are camping in a warm, mild climate, such as on the beach. Day hammocks do not protect against cold and wind of harsher climates, but if you live or are visiting an environment that stays warm at night, then a day hammock could also be used for outdoor, overnight purposes.
If you are interested in hammock camping, then a hammock specifically made for overnight, outdoor use is most likely the type of hammock you will want to invest in. There are a variety of types of overnight and camping hammocks that may offer different features and accessories depending on the type of climate you intend to camp in and the type of trip you wish to embark on.
In general, overnight camping hammocks have some sort of insulation and waterproof material to protect you from the cold and wind. We will go more in depth about the various types of hammock insulation later in the article.
In addition, camping hammocks can differ in shape and design. Some are designed with the classic banana shape, while others have a tubular shape. Such tubular camping hammocks are called bridge hammocks and have rods or bars at either end to prevent the hammock from bunching which provides a flatter rather than a curved lie.
Overnight and camping hammocks can be further focused into specialized categories, including backpacking hammocks and hammock tents.
Hammock tents provide an insulated hammock to sleep in, while also including a tarp or rain fly that resembles a conventional tent. Though the tarp does not fully enclose the hammock, it still provides protection from rain, wind, and light snow.
Backpacking hammocks are very similar to regular overnight hammock tents, but are designed to be even more lightweight, less bulky, and easy to pack. They are made with lightweight materials, such as nylon. Though they are still insulated, they are less padded to reduce size and weight.
Here are some features and additional accessories that are important aspects to hammock camping.
The down side to hammock camping is that you are susceptible to the cold from all angles. So if you are camping in cold climates or harsh weather, you will need to have a hammock that is well insulated.
There are different types of insulation; some of which are built into the hammock. For example, double layer hammocks have an added layer of padding sewn in to provide additional protection for the cold. Under quilts are another great form of lightweight insulation. These quilts are engineered similarly to sleeping bags and are attached to the underside of the camping hammock. It is important to attach this under the hammock and not in it to ensure your body weight does not crush and deflate the quilt; if it is deflated, it will not insulate properly.
Every camping hammock has a suspension system designed to provide strong support. Each camping hammock and hammock brand has their own unique suspension system: most involve ropes, straps, and carabiners. At first, these suspension systems may seem complex and hard to assemble correctly. Yet with some patience, and practice, you will get the hang of it; once you do, set up will be easy and quick, comparable or even faster than assembling a traditional tent . When you first start using your camping hammock, make sure you read the instructions and practice setting it up before you embark on your camping journey. Trust me, it is no fun learning how to set up a new tent or hammock while you are pushed for time as the sun sets.
If you do not invest in a hammock tent, but decide you might need extra protection from the elements, you can always purchase a tarp or rainfly separately. Though it is not always necessary to travel with a rain fly or tarp when hammock camping, if the weather takes an unexpected turn, this additional hammock accessory could save your camping trip.
The great thing about conventional tents is they provide protection from bugs and mosquitoes. If you plan to camp in an environment or season where mosquitoes and other pests are particularly prevalent, you may want to invest in a bug netting to attach to your hammock. Some camping hammocks have this feature included, while others do not.
Here are a couple considerations that are important to keep in mind when choosing a camping hammock.
Most overnight hammocks are made of lightweight, breathable, water resistant materials like nylon. Try your best to avoid hammocks made of cotton, because cotton is heavier and takes many hours to dry off after getting wet.
Weight is another important consideration to make, especially when backpacking; again, lean towards lightweight materials like nylon. Some hammocks are “double layered”, meaning they have an extra layer of padding of added insulation. Such feature is great if you are camping in cold climates, but the trade-off is that it adds extra weight.
Believe it or not, camping hammocks can accommodate more than one person. Though most camping hammocks are designed for the individual person, some have enough room to comfortably fit two people.
Also make sure the hammock you choose is long enough to accommodate your height. Most camping hammocks can fit the average height person comfortably, but if you are tall, make sure to pay attention to the length of the hammock.
Weight capacity is also important to keep in mind when picking your camping hammock. Make sure the hammock you chose can support your body weight.
There are a variety of camping, backpacking, and day hammocks on the market to choose from. Here are some of our top hammock recommendations of the best camping hammocks, backpacking hammocks, and lightweight hammocks.
If you and your partner are looking for a large hammock tent for your next camping journey, we recommend considering the ENO Eagles Nest Outfitters - OneLink Sleep Systems, specifically the double deluxe model. This hammock sleep system combines all the necessary hammock features and accessories for a snug, dry, comfortable night in the outdoors. It includes a double deluxe hammock, rainfly tarp, bug net, suspension straps, carabiners, and even tarp stakes. It is made of a durable, woven, nylon material that is constructed with triple interlocking stitch holds that will withstand the wear and tear of outdoor elements. It has a maximum capacity of 400 pounds, providing enough support for two full sized adults. Better yet, it can be condensed into a lightweight package that weighs under 5 pounds. ENO Eagles Nest Outfitters - OneLink Sleep Systems provides everything you will need in a hammock for camping.
If you are looking for a lightweight, compact backpacking hammock, then we recommend the Kammok Roo Double Camping Hammock. When you are hiking for hours a day, you want to be carrying a tent that is lightweight and not bulky. This hammock provides just that; it weighs only 23 ounces. Not only is this hammock lightweight, it also very durable. It is made of rip-stop nylon material that can support over 500 pounds. Also, this spacious backpacking hammock can sleep up to two people. The Kammok Roo Double Camping Hammock provides the easy to carry, durable aspects that you need in a backpacking hammock.
If the design and shape of a bridge hammock intrigues you, then you will want to consider investing in the Lawson Hammock Blue Ridge Camping Hammock. This bridge hammock provides the durability, lightweight, and accessories any good camping hammock should have. It has a total package weight of only four and a quarter pounds: accessories and all. This hammock is made of durable nylon, waterproof material that is built to withstand rain. It also comes with both a waterproof rainfly and bug netting. Not only does it have all the quality features you would expect out of a camping hammock, but it can also be used on the ground as a regular tent. So even if you cannot find two trees, you can still get use out of your camping hammock. For those of you seeking a quality bridge hammock to take on your next camping trip, we recommend the Lawson Hammock Blue Ridge Camping Hammock.
If you are camping on a budget, but still want to give camping hammocks a go, then we recommend the Winner Outfitters Single Camping Hammock. This single to double person camping hammock is lightweight and constructed out of durable nylon material. It also includes two hammock straps and carabiners. Better yet, you can get this good quality hammock at an affordable price. The only down side to the Winner Outfitters Single Camping Hammock it does not provide the proper insulation for cold weather because it is made of such lightweight, breathable material. If you desire to camp in cold, rainy weather with this hammock, you will want to also invest in an under quilt and rainfly. Nevertheless this affordable camping hammock provides all the features necessary for a fun, inexpensive camping trip.
If you want to hammock camp in cold weather and harsh conditions, we recommend investing in the Clark NX-270 Four-Season Camping Hammock. This versatile, single person camping hammock has six insulating pockets to fend off the cold while also doubling as overnight storage for gear. It has an attached water repellent layer to whisk away rain and light snow. It also has bug netting to keep pests away in warmer weather when you decide to camp without the rain cover. This hammock is designed to feel spacious; it has flexible, fiberglass poles that create room and space by making an arch that supports the fabric. Better yet, it is made of a durable, breathable nylon material that can withstand the four season elements. Though the Clark NX-270 Four-Season Camping Hammock is more expensive than simple, three season camping hammocks, it provides protection and insulation that is well worth the extra money especially if you’re planning to make use of this hammock in the cold.
Hammock camping provides a unique, easy camping experience that takes conventional tent camping to the next level. Camping hammocks can often be less expensive and easier to carry and set up that regular tents, and offer a lightweight alternative to tents while backpacking. If you are even somewhat interested in this distinct form of camping, we recommend trying it out. As with most outdoor equipment, there are a variety of camping hammocks on the market that range in material, features, and added accessories. We hope this buying guide has helped you simplify your camping hammock buying process and given you some inspiration and motivation as you shop. Hopefully, with the information shared in this article, you will find the right camping hammock for you. For more helpful information and advice about camping, explore the rest of our website for more buying guides and outdoors articles. Happy hammocking!