It was a couple of years ago when I was introduced to the idea of ‘hammock camping’. I was traveling through Asia and met some people at a bar who explained that they were sleeping in a hammock near the beach. Having spent countless hours relaxing in hammocks, I was naturally intrigued and liked the idea of cheap, minimalist travel so I decided to try it for myself. I must admit, after a week or so of hammock camping I was more than ready for a comfortable hotel bed, but if you’re only camping for a couple of days then hammock camping is a fun and rewarding experience.
If you’re a regular camping enthusiast and want to give hammock camping a go, then we’ve decided to make your learning curve a little easier by offering our top 7 hammock camping tips for beginners.
Buy the right hammock
Clearly the most vital element to hammock camping is the hammock itself. It’s crucial that you buy a model that’s designed for camping and not just a regular hammock or cheap knock-off. You’ll want a high strength and durable camping hammock that is rated at least double your body weight. Keep an eye out for reputable brands that are on sale, you might just bag a bargain.
Understand how it works
Don’t just buy a camping hammock on your way to the campsite without understanding how it works first. Set it up at home and make sure you can get comfortable sleeping in it. You’ll need to make a lot of adjustments until you find your sweet spot, and once you’ve found what works for you, take a photo so you can reference to it.
Being exposed to the elements, it’s vital that you find a spot that’s safe and sheltered from the wind. You’ll need to anchor your hammock straps on two sturdy trees, ensuring that you angle your hammock suspension rope at around 300 for a nice, comfortable sag. You’ll want your hammock looking like a smile and not pitched too tight or high on the trees. Try to find a spot with a natural wind block (dense shrub) and avoid camping below any loose or weak branches.
Sleep on an angle
There’s a certain technique to hammock camping that will make your sleep far more comfortable, and that is sleeping on an angle. Once you’ve setup your hammock correctly with enough slack, sleep in a diagonal position which prevents the sides of the hammock from bunching up during the night (and waking you up).
Stay warm and dry
Staying warm and dry in your hammock is the key to an enjoyable experience. To avoid the ‘cold buttock syndrome’ (even on warm nights), use a hammock underquilt with a warm sleeping bag, and always use a hammock top quilt on chilly nights. I always like to be precautious with the weather and use a rainfly or at least an 8’ x 10’ tarp just in case the forecast is wrong. If you’re using a rainfly, pitch it so the ends extend at least a foot on all sides of your hammock.
Always use a mosquito net
Trust me, there’s nothing worse than hammock camping without protection from mozzies! Rather than slapping on mozzie repellent every couple of hours while you’re trying to sleep, the best solution is to buy a mosquito net, or at least a mosquito head net if you’re already protected by a sleeping bag.
Bring a pillow
There’s no doubt that sleeping in a hammock isn’t as comfortable as a bed, so our last tip is to bring a pillow with you! Not only will you feel more relaxed, but it also helps you find the right sleeping angle in your hammock. Always use a soft pillow rather than a hard one, and even if you forget you can always use a balled up shirt or jacket as a pillow.
While hammock camping takes a bit of getting used to, it’s an enjoyable and rewarding experience once you’ve got your setup right. Practice makes perfect especially with hammock camping, so ensure you have the right equipment, plan your trip properly, use our tips, and you’ll be well on your way to being a seasoned hammock camper.
TJM Australia have all your camping needs covered with a wide range of camping gear and accessories. For more information, phone their staff on 07 3865 9999.