Hammocks Guide

Using a Hammock While Hiking

When most people think of backpacking and camping, and where they’ll lay their heads each night, the first image to pop into their minds is a tent. While tents are certainly great for providing a home sheltered from the wilderness each night, the hammock is a clear winner for so many reasons.

A hammock generally equates to a comfortable and lazy way to relax, but camping hammocks can offer much more than that to their user. If you’re sick of setting up an extensive campsite every time you retire for the night, a hammock may be just what you need to gain a fresh perspective on hiking.

Setting up a hammock is easy to do, but with practice and perseverance, you can hang your hammock in such a way that it rivals any king size bed. With the right tips for hanging your hammock gear, you’ll never want to look back onto a bulky and uncomfortable tent again.

Camping Hammocks

Hammocks are a popular choice for the beach, relaxing on your back deck, or lounging around on holidays, but camping hammocks are designed a little differently. While they still use the same design of a floating canopy, they’re built to be more rugged and weatherproof than most.

The way your hammock is suspended will also differ for camping hammocks, and there is a variety of options here. Whether you want to use a hammock stand, tree straps, or S-hooks will depend on what you’re comfortable with during assembly.

Finding a good camping hammock should involve consideration of the material used, weight allowances, strength, and capacity, each of which will depend on your personal preferences. Because a hammock is so versatile, they make the ideal alternative to a tent as they’re easier to set up and require minimal space to keep your comfortable.

For extra room, you could even purchase a double hammock for your hiking trip. Double hammocks are equipped to fit two people, and can be hung at the same time to save energy. Keep in mind, though, that a double hammock will weight twice as much so you’ll need to accommodate for this accordingly as you pack.

The Benefits of Using a Hammock

The backpacking hammock is a favorite for many hikers and campers, thanks to the huge range of benefits they can bring. If you’re tired of setting up a tent or making up complicated bedding each night, here are just a few ways the hammock can improve your situation.

  • Comfort: The difference between camping on a hard ground and sleeping in a relaxing hammock is indescribable. When you’ve had a long day of adventuring, you want to the most comfort at night to recharge your batteries and a hammock can bring you that.
  • Elevated for safety: Many of the dangerous or annoying insects and animals come out at night and tend to live on ground level, making the hammock the perfect height to escape an invasion
  • Versatile: If you don’t have much room at your campsite or you’re working with a strange space, a hammock is a great way to utilize the room you do have and create something comfortable and roomy above all of the chaos.
  • Space saving: Taking a hammock along with your hiking supplies reduces your luggage significantly, as it’s far less weight and material than a traditional tent or sleeping bag. All of your hammock gear including ropes and supplies will fit comfortably into most backpacks and they’re extremely easy to pack and unpack.
  • Ergonomics: When set up correctly for your body type, a hammock can actually have ergonomic benefits. If your feet are elevated correctly and your spine positioned right, you can reduce fatigue and swelling in your legs so that you’re completely refreshed for tomorrow’s hike.

How to Hang a Hammock

There are a few things to consider before hanging your hammock, as tempting as it may be just to place it anywhere and hope for the best. Once you’ve mastered the correct angles for your preferences, hanging your hammock will become second nature to you so it’s important to practice until you get it right.

  • 1. Find your campsite and select two sturdy trees with about 12 – 15 feet between them.
  • 2. At the 6ft mark of the tree, attach 2 webbing straps around the trees so you can protect their bark and create your attachment points.
  • 3. Connect your hammock rope depending on the method your hammock uses, whether it’s carabiners, loops, or otherwise. Attempt a 30-degree angle line when setting up the hammock to the tree.
  • 4. Position the hammock so you can sit comfortably on it from the ground, which should be about 12 to 18 inches.
  • ​5. If needed, place a tarp or tent over your hammock to protect from the weather.
  • 6. Consider using a specific to hammock hanging calculator figure out which angles will work best for you, such as this one from The Ultimate Hang.

Why Hammocks Are The Smarter Choice

Once you’ve perfected the art of hanging your hammock, you’ll see just how easy they are to set up anywhere and anytime. While others will waste hours sometimes setting up a tent and sleeping bag, you can have your hammock ready to go for either relaxing or sleeping.

Hammocks are no longer just for sipping cocktails on the beach, as these handy inventions can make the life of a hiker so much easier. They’re lightweight and versatile, making them the ideal companion for the ultralight enthusiast too.

There’s no denying the range of benefits that hammock camping has, and the simplicity, comfort, and fresh air that it can bring to your hiking experience. Don’t give up on hammock camping if you hit a snag, though, as a little bit of tweaking can improve your rest significantly.