Ahhh. Hammy camping. One of my favorite ways to sleep. The slow rocking eases you to sleep all cozied up in your sleeping bag. You wake up to the sound of birds chirping, the tops of trees in view and the inevitable, bugs buzzing around your face. Here’s how to make sure you have the best hammock camping experience possible.
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Pick your favorite hammy.
I have the ENO DoubleNest Hammock and I would recommend it to everyone. Not only is it roomy enough for a cuddle puddle, it can also double as a bug net. You just have to put something heavier in the pouch and whip it over you to cocoon yourself away from all the bugs. It is not bug proof but it will keep some out! If you are looking to save weight and room, the ENO SingleNest Hammock might be a better bet.
Pick the best straps.
I have the ENO Atlas Straps XL. These are long enough to reach just about anywhere you would need. They may not be the lightest option (1 pound) but they do offer you more options! If you are going for lightweight, do the ENO Atlas Straps (11 ounces), they are still long enough for what you will need but save you some space and weight. These straps are super easy setup and takedown without needing to know any knots.
Know if you’ll need accessories.
Bug nets, rain fly, down quilts, etc! Bug nets will keep the bugs from being pesky. You do not need an accessory every time you hammock camp but being ready for when you do would not hurt, I have gone many nights without a rain fly or a bug net and I have been just fine!
The bug net I have is the ENO Guardian Bug Net, it has worked perfectly for me. Although the bug net does have extra fabric, I have found it to be useful in order to fit in any situation.
For a rain fly set up, I just bought a 12′ x 16′ Tarp, a roll of paracord, and 4 stakes. Instead of spending the money on an ENO Rain Fly, I use this in the same way. Tie some paracord around the eyelets of the tarp for the stakes. Tie paracord from tree to tree and set up your makeshift rain fly! It works perfectly for quick hammock camping. If you are looking to backpack with this setup, the tarp may not be the most space conscious. You may way to get an ENO Rain Fly in this case.
A pillow can go a long way! I have a Thermarest Compressible Pillow that I would sleep with even when not camping! It packs down and is so comfy! I have heard of people using their Patagonia Nano Puff Bivy Pullover, an inflated dry bag, or a sweatshirt as a pillow too. They all get the job done! You can also go pillowless, it isn’t a necessity.
ENO UnderQuilt would be used for winter or cold weather camping. When it is cold or windy and you are sleeping in a hammock, it is easy for your back to get cold because you are losing conductive heat. There is nothing under you to keep you warm or block the wind. This is where the quilt comes in. It is basically an outer sleeping bag for your hammock to cut the wind. This allows you to stay warmer in colder weather! Another option is to put a sleeping pad down under you to cut the wind a bit. I use a Klymit Static Sleeping Pad and it works great for hammock camping and backpacking too!
Make sure to know what situations are possible to prepare for what accessories you may need. This will help you have the most enjoyable experience.
Pick the proper spot.
You want two trees that are not too close together that you will wake up with a backache and not too far apart that your hammock is taut. You want a nice sag in your hammock. This can make or break how you feel in the morning and for the rest of your trip.
Dress for the weather.
You can make yourself more comfortable by dressing warmer too! Bundle up and you’ll stay much warmer or wear light clothing if it is too muggy.
Have the proper sleeping gear.
When it is cold, I normally cozy up in my Mountain Hardwear Heratio 15 Sleeping Bag down sleeping bag, which is my favorite purchase of all time, when it is anything colder than about 50-60 degrees. I can unzip it if I get warm or zip it up and crawl in if I get cold. If it is going to be warm, I can get away with a Coleman Sleeping Bag Liner. But if it is going to be humid, make sure you do not have something that is heavy, you will want something light and airy to keep you covered from bugs but not make you sweaty.
Build a fire if it’s cold.
Building a fire by your hammock camp can allow you to feel the warmth throughout the night and a plus it can ward off animals.
Make sure the rest of your gear is stored properly.
If it is going to rain, make sure your other gear is under your rain fly. If you have food, make sure it is stored properly to keep animals away. Just being mindful will save you a lot of havoc.
Get ready to have the best night sleep of your life.
Some of my favorite night sleeps have been with a bunch of good friends, sleeping in hammocks around the fire. You wake up staring at the tops of trees all cozied up in a cocoon. It is nothing short of miraculous.
If you want a lot of the accessories in one, I have heard great things about the Hennessy Hammock Expedition. It has a built in bug net and rain fly saving room and weight because it is all in one. I have multiple friends with this and they all would never go back to a different hammock. However, this hammock is more for camping and not as much for leisurely hanging out. You may just have to buy both!
With these tips, you should have a very successful hammock camping trip! If you have any questions, feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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