Hammock Camping 101
We thought you might ask. Check out this Camp Starter Kit for beginners to hammock camping.
Tent campers, we understand you’re comfortable where you are. Trust us when we say that camping in a hammock will change the game for you.
Five quick reasons to sleep off the ground:
- No rocks, no sore backs. We mean it.
- Set up camp in under 2 minutes. Never could do that with tent poles, could you?
- Travel lighter. Our Wallaby hammock is 10 oz and packs down to the size of an apple. You can say sayonara to bulky hammocks or clunky tents.
- Sleep under the stars. Who wants to look at the top of a tent when you get into the woods?
- Leave no trace. Tent camping leaves a footprint on the ground, marking Mother Nature forever. Sleep in a hammock and leave your camp better than you found it.
5 reasons you should hammock camp
The right hammock is a matter of individual preference; however, there are realities you should think about before purchasing. Consider: length, width, weight capacity, and fabric durability.
The Roo double hammock is 5 feet wide, 10 feet long, and holds up to 500 lb. Our Roo is made with ripstop LunarWave™ fabric, engineered specifically for hammock camping. In comparison to our Wallaby hammock, the Roo is for campers who want a little extra room while sleeping. The Roo is referred to as the ‘double’ hammock because of it’s high weight capacity and durability. Sleep solo for an extra spacious night’s sleep.
The Wallaby single hammock is 4 feet wide, 8 feet long, and holds up to 400 lb. Its Gravitas™ Fabric is soft as silk and wildly durable. This hammock is for folks under 6 feet tall, kids, and campers who want a hammock that goes anywhere. We refer to it as ‘single,’ because a single person in the hammock (lounging or sleeping) is the most comfortable set up we’ve tested. At 400 lb, however, you can safely seat two.
Both hammocks are made with a ripstop nylon to prevent large tears before they happen. Plus, we’ve got your back with a Lifetime Warranty.
Like 14 carat to fool's gold, there is a difference between a quality hammock and one that won’t stand the test of time. Our hammocks are made with technical fabric designed for hammock camping and engineered for safety and comfort in the air.
Yes x 2! Hammock camping is kid and pet friendly. For kids, remember that they need to be old enough to sleep on their own, unless you don’t mind getting cozy in one hammock. Our founder, Greg, and his son, Owen (age 5), go hammock camping as a father-son activity frequently. Greg positions himself close to Owen’s hammock to reassure Owen that he’s close by. After a few tries, Owen loved hopping in his hammock on his own. Now, he’s asked that one be hung in his room.
For pets, our Roo hammock is certainly large and strong enough to hold you and your pet. Just make sure their nails are clipped short to avoid any tears to your hammock! Our tear resistant fabric can withstand quite a bit of wear and tear, but better to protect it when you can.
Your ideal hammock camping trees are 12-15 feet apart, sturdy and alive. If there aren’t any trees in the area, find two weight-bearing points that can fully support your weight to attach your Python Straps to. We recommend a car rack or gazebo poles.
- Start with two sturdy trees, or poles, 12-15 feet apart.
- Slide one Python Strap around the tree, pulling one end through the last loop on the opposite end.
- Pull tight. Repeat on opposite tree with your second strap.
- Clip the carabiner at one end of your hammock onto one of the Python Strap’s 18 attachment loops. Repeat on the other side.
- Hang your hammock no more than 18 inches off the ground.
- Adjust the tightness of your hammock according to your preferred sleep style.
For additional support, watch this video.
We say it takes under 2 minutes to set up the hammock and straps, but for some folks on our team it takes only 45 seconds–practice makes perfect!
Try setting up your hammock once or twice before you’re in the backcountry so you know how much time to set aside once you’re camping.
Suspend your gear above the ground by clipping it onto your python straps or your hammock’s gear loops located along the sides of the hammock. This allows for quick access for water bottles, headlamps, and lightweight bags.
For your heavier luggage, some outdoor companies make gear lofts that go underneath your hammock to store your gear. We’re working on one ourselves. Stay tuned!
Some of you might have back problems that could interfere with a good night’s sleep while camping. To you we say–hammocks are your friend.
Hang your hammock tight for a more flat lay, or with a small lag for slight bend in your back while sleeping. According to some doctors, hammocks can actually help us fall asleep faster and encourage a deeper, more fulfilling sleep. Sleeping in a hammock also removes your sleeping “toss and turn,” keeping you stationary and dreamin’ sweet. We have heard story after story of our hammocks being a camper’s best night sleep.
If you have back problems, give hammock camping a try. We can’t make any promises, but it just might be what your back’s been looking for.
Everyone sleeps a little differently, but we’ve got hammock sleeping down to a science. All trees should be around 10-12 feet apart, hung so your head is slightly above your feet.
The straight-back sleeper
If you want to sleep with a straight body, hang your hammock taut, without slack. This will make your hammock tight on the sides, creating a cocoon-like home for the night. We’d also recommend this sleep set up if you’re a stomach sleeper.
The slouchy sleeper
For a slight bend in your back, hang your hammock with a little more slack. This will give you more freedom in your hammock through the night.
The baby baller
For a little extra warmth, sleep on your side with a slight bend in your knees. Pull your knees to your chest for extra warmth and security.
No problemo. We’ve been there, and it’s doable. There are a few different strategies.
- Get your hammock as tight as possible, without slack. Flip from your back to your stomach with ease.
- Set up your hammock with some slack, add a sleeping pad, and make sure you lay diagonally. You should be able to comfortably sleep on your stomach.
There’s never a wrong time to take out your hammock for a good night’s sleep outdoors. While summer is the most popular time to hammock camp, the proper insulation will enable you to sleep outside comfortably year-round.
Yes, you absolutely can. You can use a sleeping pad in a hammock to help insulate your body; although, we don’t recommend it as the best method to keep warm. Due to the shape of some pads, it isn’t entirely comfortable and it’s very clear when your body is off the sleeping pad. There are better products out there made specifically to keep you warm in a hammock.
Temperature comfort varies based on the individual. Our Thylacine is rated as low as 0ºF, and our Firebelly and Koala insulation is rated for 30ºF when used together.
That said, we will tell you that most of our team members have hammock camped in temperatures at or under 20ºF and we were toasty as mountain goats. With the right equipment, cold weather shouldn’t deter you from sleeping in the trees.
Thylacine sleeping bag
For optimal warmth, you need something under your hammock and on top of you. Underquilts are attached on the outside of your hammock, allowing insulation to stay lofted and not squished (like the bottom of your sleeping bag would be if you slept on top of it). Lofted insulation keeps the greatest distance between you and the cold air, making sure you stay as warm as possible all night long.
For insulation on top of you, we recommend some kind of down insulation that allows you to create a footbox around your feet. As one of two most important spots on your body to keep warm through the night, it makes the difference to have toasty toes! We recommend our Firebelly Top Quilt (make a footbox with drawstring cord built in), or the our Thylacine Sleeping Bag, winner of Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year Award for Best Sleeping Bag.
Additional warmth can be found through smart layering. Start with your head, make sure you have an insulated hoodie or a wool hat to keep warm. Two pairs of socks should do the trick, plus any other layers on top or bottom.
Protection from elements
Keep the bugs at bay with a 360º protection insect net. Make sure any net you are looking into protects against no-see-um bugs, the tiny ones that slip through most nets. Other important things to keep in mind are breathability (you shouldn’t have to sacrifice the ability to breathe for bug-less night) and the functionality of getting in and out. A premium net will keep the bugs away from your face all night long, allow air to pass easily through the net, and have access to multiple zippers for easy entrance and exit.
Dragonfly insect net
No fear! In a hammock, you don’t have to worry about pools of water on the ground like the tent-dwellers. To keep your hammock dry, invest in a quality weather shelter. When looking at weather shelters, or rain tarps, make sure the fabric is water resistant and there are multiple attachment points for variable set up options.
Kuhli weather shelter
Absolutely. Same as any other form of camping or outdoor activity, however, it is important to take the proper safety precautions and always have a backup plan should there be no trees available.
The most important safety concern: sturdy trees or poles. We can’t emphasize this enough.
From there, don’t hang over 18 inches off the ground and avoid hammock stacking (hammock bunk beds). Respect the above precautions, and get on your way! There’s a world ready to be explored, camper. Welcome to elevated camping.
Your guide to hammock safety.