Can You Sleep In a Hammock?

Hammocks have become increasingly popular over the past few years. What used to be a backyard novelty is now a social pastime (see our post about “hammocking”). Hammocks aren’t just popular with the hammocking crowd, however. Hammocks offer a lightweight, compact, and affordable alternative to camping in a tent.

More and more campers, hikers, and backpackers are opting for hammocks and leaving their tents at home. But while many embrace camping in a hammock, some people aren’t quite convinced. They question the comfort of sleeping in a hammock, and doubt it could ever replace their tent. While hammock camping isn’t for everyone it’s definitely possible to get some quality sleep in a hammock.

Here are a few ways to sleep better in a hammock.

Bring a tarp

You may have heard that tents provide more protection than a hammock, but that’s not necessarily true. Many major hammock manufacturers – such as Hennessy, Grand Trunk, and ENO – make hammocks that come with a waterproof rainfly and a mesh netting to keep the bugs at bay. Of course, basic travel hammocks don’t come with this level of protection.

A tarp can help protect you from moisture, block the wind, and help retain some of your body heat to help you get a better night’s sleep in a hammock. String a line above your hammock, drape the tarp above your hammock to create an A-frame, and stake down the corners to keep your tarp secure.

Invest in a sleeping pad

Generally speaking, you’re going to get colder sleeping in a hammock than sleeping in a tent. The ground insulates better than the empty space between your hammock and the soil below. A tarp can help trap in some of that body heat, but you still need a barrier of insulation between you and the air below your hammock.

A sleeping pad provides extra insulation as well as extra support while sleeping in a hammock.

Bring a warm sleeping bag

Since hammocks are usually a bit cooler than tents, you need to make sure that you can stay warm enough to get some quality sleep. Having a tarp and a sleeping pad in place could be enough to do the trick, but a warm sleeping bag will ensure that you stay comfortable and sleep well.

Find the right distance

You don’t want your tent to hang too tight, but if it’s too lose, you could end up dragging on the ground. ENO recommends finding two living trees spaced 10 to 12 feet apart to set up your hammock. Of course, how tight or loose you hang your hammock will defer depending on your preference.

Keep in mind that new hanging straps tend to stretch out over time. Set up your hammock and lay in it for 30 minutes to an hour to see if your hammock sags. Then, adjust the hammock to your preference.

It’s typically better to hang the hammock too loose than too tight. That’s because you want to lay in your hammock at an angle.

Find the right angle

If you have a sleeping pad in your hammock, you can comfortably sleep in with your body lined up with the hammock anchors. Without a pad, however, you want to lay in your hammock at an angle. This provides more support and will help you sleep better in your hammock. While you may have luck positioning your sleeping pad at an angle in your hammock, pads tend to slip and move around unless lined up with the anchor points.


It’s not that difficult to sleep in a hammock if you have the right set up. Some people may still find a tent more comfortable than a hammock, but hammock camping is definitely worth a try! Whether you’re looking for a tent, a hammock, or any other camping supplies, we have everything you need for a day, weekend, or week outdoors. Stop by and see us the next time you’re in Northwest Arkansas!

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