Before I got into hammock camping and when someone asked me what a hammock was, the first thing that would come to mind is the traditional rope woven hammock. Now as you know, once you get off of one of those hammocks you look like a checker board from the rope pressing into your skin. While this may be comfortable for a little while, this is not what you use to hammock camp.
Traditional Woven Hammock
Hammock Camping is much more than this. It uses a considerably lighter weight material that is also much more pack friendly. Typically this is parachute nylon or something similar, which is strong while still remaining breathable. Your most basic and widely used camping hammock is a gathered end hammock but there are other options out there. A gathered end hammock typically has a channel sewn into each end or is tied together with a whip finish.
Now it wouldn’t be hammock camping if you were sleeping on the ground. A hammock requires suspension and two fixed anchors. I will go into detail on hammock suspension in another post but put shortly, your suspension involves tree straps and a way to attach them to your hammock. Your anchors, typically speaking, will be two trees roughly 15 feet apart. When choosing anchors, first never hang from anything that is load bearing or not meant to have a lateral load on them. Secondly, you want to make sure that your trees are at least 6 inches in diameter and are healthy with no widow makers or dead branches in them. Before picking your camping spot, always look up to check for hazards. This includes tent camping when camping near trees.
Gathered end Hammock
Why choose Hammock Camping over Tent Camping?
When it comes to getting a restful and rejuvenating sleep deep in the back woods, Hammock camping is unmatched. Forget having to find a level spot, bringing a sleeping pad and or a cot and a pillow to use in a tent. A hammock is all you need (granted the weather is warm). When you use a hammock you don’t have to worry about how level your site is or waking up in the middle of the night with a rock jabbing you in your side because you’re suspended off the ground!
When enjoying the great outdoors it best to leave as little impact as possible to preserve this resource for generations to come. Hammocking is a step in the right direction when done properly! By using a hammock, you won’t mat the ground vegetation down with a tent footprint. The only real impact you make is with the trees and as long as your use the correct tree straps, you won't do any harm to the Cambium Layer of the tree.
Tent vs Hammock Camping
Another reason to hammock camp is to shed pack weight! Because you don’t have the poles and all the extra shelter material, hammocks tent to be the lighter sleep system. However, this isn’t always the case if you spend hundreds of dollars on a light-weight single person tent. Again though, you’re sleeping on the ground and you will still have to carry your sleep system gear as well.
Lions and Tigers and Bears… Oh My. Well hopefully not but there’s still snakes and spiders and bugs. While being in a hammock isn’t completely free of these bugs and bothers, from my experience, it does help tremendously. By being off the ground you make it harder for these insects to reach you! Combine that with a bug netting and you are all set to enjoy a relaxing night in your hammock.
Wrapping up, I hope this post has helped you gain a better understanding of what hammock camping is. If you think you are ready to make the jump from tents to hammocks, be sure to take a look at our Hammock and Tarp Bundles that have everything that you need to Get Hanging. Don’t forget that each bundle purchased plants two trees in a National Forest that needs it the most. Until next time… Get Hanging