Things You Might Not Know About Hammock Camping

Photo credit: Gideon Haden ChomphosyHammock camping has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Some might be quick to deem it a fad that will soon fizzle out, but hammocks have a number of advantages that will make camping in a hammock an enticing option after it’s no longer trendy. Hammocks are often more lightweight, more compact, and more affordable than tents, and they are extremely easy to set up in a short amount of time. As long as you’re just providing shelter for yourself, and you will be camping in a wooded area, hammocks are great for camping.

Trial and error is a great way to get a grasp on things. However, if you want to skip some cold and uncomfortable nights while you figure out how to sleep in a hammock, we’ve got some advice for you. Here are a few things you might not know about hammock camping.

To prevent injury, you should never hang your hammock from a dead tree. This goes for camping as well as everyday lounging. Dead trees are prone to breaking, which can result in a serious injury. Steer clear of all trees that look like an appropriate roost for a group of Disney buzzards.

Some places do not allow you to hang hammocks. Regulations vary from place to place, and park to park. Some state parks and national parks do not allow you to hang hammocks, or have stipulations that limit hammock use. For example, hammocks are allowed in the Great Smoky Mountain backcountry, but only at designated campsites.

As for hammock camping in Arkansas state parks, there doesn’t seem to be a firm policy. The former state parks director said, “At present, one of our policies can be interpreted to prohibit hammock camping.”. There are parks, however, that do allow hammock camping. To be certain, it’s best to contact the state park directly and ask if they allow hammock camping.

It can get cold in a hammock. Like, really, really cold. Unlike tents that are fully enclosed – which helps provide insulation by containing body heat – hammocks are typically open and are made of a breathable material that doesn’t provide much in the way of insulation. Also, you’re suspended in air, which means that you don’t have the ground to provide insulation beneath you. A warm sleeping bag, an underquilt, a sleeping pad, and a tarp or a rainfly are all great ways to add insulation and stay warm while sleeping in a hammock.

Not only are you exposed to the elements in a hammock, but you are exposed to insects. Travel hammocks that aren’t designed specifically for camping do not come with netting. This means that you are a dangling buffet for bugs and insects. If you don’t want to purchase a hammock with built in netting, you can purchase just the netting which will keep your hammock pest-free.

Trees may look big and solid, and they don’t say things like “ouch!” or “hey, stop that!”, but you can harm trees by hanging a hammock. The more surface area you have on your hanging strap, the safer it is for the tree. Using a couple of bandannas at each anchor point can help keep trees safe. Make sure that you only use trees that are large enough to support your weight.

Your gear will be exposed. This might not be a big deal, but it’s something to consider. You can keep gear safe and dry by bringing it in a tent, or sticking it under a tent vestibule, but you don’t really have this option when camping in a hammock. This is easily fixed, however, by bringing a large water-tight trash bag to store your gear in overnight.

One Comment

  1. […] Hammock camping used to be on the fringe, but it’s become quite popular over the years. Hammock camping offers a number of advantages over traditional tent camping. Of course, camping in a hammock when […]

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