Hammock Camping 101
Hammocks are a backyard favorite, from afternoon catnaps to breezy porch nights. No one would argue it’s the best way to kick your feet up, but hammocks are more than just a place to hang. They’re a game changer when it comes to quickly setting up camp and sleeping in comfort.
Don’t believe us? Check out our top 5 reasons why you should hammock camp. When heading to the backcountry or a weekend camp out, we recommend using this guide to get you properly geared up and out the door.
The gear you need to hammock camp
The essentials: A hammock and a pair of straps are the bare essentials to get camp off the ground. Choose a high-quality hammock and straps that will safely suspend you all night along. We have a few favorite hammocks you can count on.
The next level: Depending on where you camp and how you prefer to sleep, consider bringing bug, rain, or warmth protection to make your camping experience extra comfy. Add on these items when you need to or remove them when you don’t to save weight in your pack.
Bug protection: In warmer weather, we recommend always bringing a 360º insect net to keep those crawly critters away. Keep in mind breathability (you shouldn’t have to sacrifice the ability to breathe for bug-less night) and the ease of getting in and out of your hammock. A premium net will keep the bugs away, allow air to pass easily through the net, and feature multiple zippers for easy entrance and exit.
Weather protection: When the forecast calls for rain, pack a rain tarp to keep you and your gear dry. Invest in a quality weather shelter with water-resistant fabric and multiple attachment points for various set-up options.
Warmth protection: When hammock camping in climates below 70ºF, we advise you to insulate properly under and above you to prevent heat loss. An underquilt + top quilt system is your best bet to stay warm in a hammock throughout the night. Trail quilts are a versatile piece of equipment, designed to attach below or above a hammock to block cold winds and trap heat.
Tips for choosing your hammock
Hammock fabric: Choose a strong ripstop nylon fabric and consider the tradeoffs with “denier” values. A higher denier number can handle rougher use, but at a heavier product weight. A lower denier value offers a lighter weight product, but rough use will wear out the fabric quickly. Our technical Diamond Ripstop Nylon was engineered specifically for hammock camping to withstand wear and tear, while offering a lightweight, breathable hammock.
Hammock size: The right hammock size is a matter of individual preference. Hammocks come in multiple sizes and most people will have no problem finding a comfortable fit.
Roo Single Hammock: Comfortably fits one person for lounging or sleeping. A Roo Single saves weight for backpackers, compared to a double hammock, and securely holds up to 400 lbs at just 10.2 oz. Dimensions: 4 ft 2 in × 8 ft 4 in
Roo Single Ultralight Hammock: Designed for ultralight backpackers, the Roo Single Ultralight significantly sheds weight for a one person hang. At 5.6 oz, this hammock holds up to 300 lbs. Dimensions: 4 ft 2 in × 8 ft 4 in
Roo Double Hammock: Offers a solo sleeper an extra spacious night’s sleep and enough room to lounge with two. A Roo Double holds up to 500 lbs and weights just 18 oz. Dimensions: 5 ft 7 in × 10 ft
Roo Double XL Hammock: For extra tall campers over 6 ft 4 in, we recommend a Roo Double XL for maximum comfort. Securely hangs up to 500 lbs and weights 22 oz. Dimensions: 6 ft 6 in × 11 ft 6 in
How to set up your hammock
Finding the right trees: 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, for example, a car rack or camping shelter.
Putting up the straps: Once you’ve found two sturdy points, hang each strap about 6 ft above the ground by pulling the narrow end of the strap through the last loop of the wide end.Attaching your hammock: Clip the carabiners (or loop-and-toggle system of the Roo Single UL) at each end of your hammock into one of the attachment loops on your Python straps. Repeat on the other side. The lowest point on your hammock should hang no more than 18 inches off the ground, for a safe and easy to enter and exit hang. Adjust the tightness of your hammock according to your preferred sleep style.
Different sleeping positions in your hammock
Position your body diagonally across the centerline to achieve the flattest lay in your hammock. For extra comfort, add a camp pillow and sleeping pad in your hammock for supportive cushioning and to block drafts from below.
The straight-back sleeper: If you want to sleep with a straight body or on your stomach, hang your hammock taut, without slack. This will make your hammock tight on the sides, creating a cocoon-like home for the night.
The slouchy sleeper: For a slight bend in your back, we recommend hanging straps at a 30-degree angle to the horizon for a comfortable hang with enough give to allow your back to slightly bow. 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.
Tips to keep camp organized
Suspend your pack and other 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 to water bottles and lightweight bags.
For extra storage, add an overhead ridgeline and organizer to keep headlamps, pocket knives, and snacks close at hand. For heavier gear, consider a gear sling that goes underneath your hammock. Think of it as a mini hammock for your backpack, boots, and jacket off the wet ground.
With plenty of room to lounge, comfy trail quilts to stay warm, and extra storage space, you’ll be listing your hammock set up as a luxury suite on Airbnb! Before you head out to the backcountry, we recommend doing a test run in your backyard so you’re familiar with your gear and confident in your camp.