Fox Outfitters and the Great Outdoors
6 Tips for Hiking, Backpacking, and Camping with a Hammock
Parachute hammocks have become a popular trend in the hiking, backpacking, and camping communities. If you frequent any outdoor themed Instagram accounts (like @fox.outfitters) you've probably seen countless photos of hammocks overlooking breathtaking landscapes and been inspired to bring a hammock on your next adventure. Whether you are looking to ditch your tent for a full hammock setup or just bring a hammock hiking to enjoy a relaxing view, this guide to hammock camping has everything you need to setup the perfect backcountry hang.
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT HAMMOCK
These days it seems like there are hundreds of companies making backpacking hammocks. The number of options can be overwhelming. Many of them make great hammocks, but we want to avoid cheap knock offs that use inferior materials and construction. We look for a few important markers of quality when selecting a hammock. First, we examine the seems to make sure they are triple stitched for strength, durability, and safety. Second, we look at the the weight the hammock is rated to safely support. Third, if we are going to be backpacking or hiking with the hammock we look at how much it weighs, more expensive fabrics will be light weight, durable and very strong. Fourth, we look at reviews online and from trusted blogs and outdoor publications. And lastly, we look at cost and value.
2. TREE STRAPS MAKING HAMMOCK HANGING EASY
If your hammock doesn't come with tree straps they can be bought separately and are well worth the investment. They make hanging between any suitable trees quick and easy and because they are flat protect the tree's bark better than rope.
3. LET YOUR HAMMOCK HANG LOOSE
First time hammock campers often hang their hammock with little slack thinking this will be more comfortable. However, hanging it loose with slack in the middle actually makes the hammock easier to sit and lay in (more on laying in your hammock below). You should also aim to keep the hammock lower to the ground. A low hung hammock is better because you can reach your belongings on the ground without getting up and if you accidentally fall out of the hammock you won't get hurt.
Checkout this free hammock hanging calculator form The Ultimate Hang.
4. YOUR HAMMOCK HAS A HANDY GEAR POCKET
Your camping hammock probably has an attached stuff sack that everything conveniently packs into. While your hammock is hung this stuff sack becomes the perfect spot to keep your water bottle, headlamp, snacks, and more.
5. LAY IN YOUR HAMMOCK DIAGONALLY
If you have properly hung your hammock it will have enough slack to allow you to stretchout angled horizontally (see above for tips on the proper hang). Try a 30 degree angle as a starting point and adjust as to whatever feels most comfortable, this will allow you to lay flat while relaxing or sleeping. At an angle you can even sleep on your side (one of our favorite ways to sleep in our hammock).
6. USE A SLEEPING PAD IN YOUR HAMMOCK
Even on warm nights, a hammock will be cooler than sleeping on the ground, since you are suspended in the breeze. You can add some warmth by laying a sleeping pad in your hammock.