Swing into the Ultimate Hammock Camping Guide

Key Points

  • Before hitting the great outdoors, acquire a basic knowledge of how to hammock camp, including an understanding of gear.

  • To ensure a comfortable night's sleep, gain expertise in the setup of a hammock tent.

  • Carefully consider important factors when choosing the right hammock for your camping needs, such as weight limits and outdoor temperatures.

  • Use this comprehensive buyer's guide on various types of camping hammocks to learn how to hammock camp and readily explore the available options on the market in 2023.

Are you tired of the same old camping experiences and ready to try something new and exciting? Perhaps you're ready to try high elevation camping? If you're looking to change up your camping gear and experience, look no further than hammock camping!

While any experienced camper knows the difference between a sleeping bag and a cot, learning how to hammock camp opens up endless new adventure possibilities! Get ready to explore the great outdoors in a whole new way. Whether you're camping overnight in your backyard or solo backpacking across the Rocky Mountains, hammock camping is a tried and true way to raise your chances of seeing shooting stars.

Upgrade Your Camping Experience With Hammock Camping

While most people associate hammocks with lazy summer afternoons, a hammock actually provides a relaxing and luxurious camping experience. However, it's important to understand the ins and outs of hammock camping to ensure a successful trip.

From properly securing the hammock to having the necessary gear for comfortable sleep, there's more to hammock camping than just hanging a hammock between two trees. Make the switch to hammock camping for a unique and enjoyable camping experience.

Camp in Comfort: The Required Gear

Hammock camping is a unique and enjoyable way to experience the great outdoors. Whether you decide to DIY a setup with the gear you already have or purchase a hammock tent or sleep system, there are certain essentials that you need for a comfortable and safe camping experience.

At the top of the list is, of course, the hammock itself! This is the foundation of your setup and needs to be comfortable, durable, and suitable for the environment you are camping in.

Next, you need a suspension system with straps to securely hang your hammock, ensuring that you don't end up on the ground with a thud in the middle of the night!

To stay warm and comfortable while sleeping in your hammock, you also need an under quilt or sleeping pad to provide insulation from the cold ground and prevent heat loss through the bottom of the hammock. To keep the top of your body warm, a top quilt or sleeping bag is also necessary.

Additionally, a rain tarp or rainfly protects you from the elements in case of inclement weather. A bug net keeps pesky insects at bay so you can sleep in peace. Finally, set up a ridgeline to hang your gear, providing a convenient and organized storage solution.

While not essential, some people like to bring a pillow for added comfort. With all of these items in tow, rest assured that nights spent in your hammock will be both restful and relaxing.

Stay High and Dry: Setting Up the Rain Tarp

Having a rain tarp is crucial for a comfortable hammock camping experience – especially when the weather turns unexpectedly.

To set up the rain tarp, use a ridgeline. If you purchased a hammock camping system, it probably came with a ridgeline. If not, simply use a paracord or rope that’s longer than the hammock itself with enough extra length to secure it around both hammock anchor points.

The height of the ridgeline depends on the weather forecast. If you're expecting high winds and rain, keep the ridgeline low. However, if the weather is calm and mild, set the ridgeline as high as you desire.

When attaching the tarp to the ridgeline, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Different models have different requirements, so it's important to read and understand the instructions carefully. Tie the two anchor ends, maintain tension where the tarp meets the ridgeline, and stake the tarp along the perimeter.

Mission accomplished!

Escape the Bite: Add a Bug Net

When it comes to adding a bug net to your hammock camping setup, follow the manufacturer's instructions. If your setup comes with a bug net, it probably connects to the ridgeline, keeping it off your body. However, if the bug net wasn't specifically designed for your hammock camping gear, you may have a slide-over, or cocoon-style, bug net.

To use this type of bug net, simply unclip one end of your hammock and slide the net over it. Reattach the hammock, and either add another ridgeline or attach the bug net to the existing one. There should be a zipper on the net to allow you to enter the hammock easily.

Finishing Touches

As you prepare for a night in your hammock, don't forget to add the final touches to your camping setup. If you’re using a slide-over bug net, start by putting on the under quilt. Being suspended in the air lets a lot of heat escape through the bottom of the hammock, so an underquilt helps retain more heat and provides more comfort than just a sleeping pad. In colder conditions, you may need to use both a sleeping pad and an underquilt.

Next, choose between a top quilt, a sleeping bag, or a pillow. A top quilt is a great option for keeping your front warm and is easy to enter and exit from, compared to a sleeping bag with zippers. If you already have a sleeping bag, a mummy style works best with the shape of the hammock and provides better heat retention. A pillow is not necessary but adds a cozy touch.

To lie more comfortably in your hammock, try lying at an angle. Instead of lying straight between the trees, shift your head to the left and your feet to the right (or vice versa). This simple adjustment makes a big difference in your comfort level.

Key Factors When Choosing a Hammock Tent

Investing in a complete hammock shelter system is an efficient way to experience hammock camping and backpacking and determine if it's a suitable option for you.

A benefit of all the kits listed below is that they come with the necessary components for a hassle-free hammock camping experience, eliminating the need for additional purchases that could result in incompatible gear.

As a beginner, it can be challenging to navigate the process of buying separate components, so that hassle is eliminated with these recommendations.

Backpacking Versus Camping Hammock Shelters

When it comes to choosing a hammock shelter system, first determine if you’re using it for backpacking or camping.

Backpacking hammock systems are lighter and more compact, with a focus on minimizing weight. They often use lighter-weight fabrics and may come with a higher price tag. On the other hand, camping hammock systems are for stationary use and are generally heavier but with the same features and functions.

When deciding which type of hammock system to purchase, consider the intended usage and your personal preferences for weight, durability, and price.

Single Layer or Double Layer

When it comes to hammocks, there are two main options to choose from: single or double-layer.

For temperatures below 70°F, insulation is essential for a comfortable night's sleep in a hammock. A single-layer hammock requires you to sleep on top of a camping pad or to hang an underquilt underneath the hammock's body. Inflatable pads are often difficult to keep in place, which is why they are not the most ideal option. 

On the other hand, double-layer hammocks have an internal sleeve that holds a sleeping pad, keeping it secure and out of the way. However, the extra layer of fabric in double-layer hammocks does add some weight.

Hammock camping set-up in the woods

Three Types of Suspension Systems

There are three popular types of suspension systems used for hanging a hammock: webbing, daisy chain, and whoopie sling.

To use the webbing system, wrap straps made of polyester around a tree and then directly attach them to the hammock using a carabiner or metal hook.

Some hammock systems add daisy chains to the webbing, allowing for an easier way to attach the hammock.

The lightest weight option is the whoopie sling: a knotless tensioning system that operates like a Chinese finger trap, attaching the hammock to the webbing straps.

All three types of suspension systems work well with the main difference being their weight.

Tarp Suspension Requirements

The suspension system for tarps used in hammock camping must be separate from the one used to suspend the hammock between two trees. Tarps usually come with a knotless setup, including cord tensioners at the ends of the ridgeline and on the side guy lines, making set-up quicker and more convenient.

Gathered-End Hammocks: Design and Length

Gathered-end hammocks are a popular choice for backpacking and are recognizable by their bunched-up ends and banana shape. If you prefer a flat sleeping experience similar to a bed, choose a longer gathered-end hammock. A length of 11 feet is pretty lengthy for a hammock, while a nine-foot hammock is moderately short.

Mosquito Netting

Many hammocks come with built-in mosquito netting, while others have a zip-in or removable option. If you opt for a hammock without built-in netting, choose from several standalone options that slide over one end of the hammock and cover the head end, or ones that zip closed from the top.

The level of insect protection you need is a matter of personal choice, and all options are equally effective.

Gear Storage

Having internal gear storage in a hammock is a convenient feature.

Store small items such as keys and a smartphone inside pockets on the hammock. Store larger gear outside of the hammock, usually on the ground, unless you use a gear sling to hang it underneath.

Distance Between Rain Fly and Hammock 

When using a hammock tent system in warm or humid weather, consider the distance between the rain cover or tarp and the hammock. An adjustable air gap between the two aids in air circulation, preventing the transfer of condensation from the tarp to the hammock and onto your sleeping insulation. This is crucial for a comfortable and dry sleeping experience.

Elevate Your Camping Experience: A Guide to the Top Hammocks

Welcome to the quintessential buyer's guide on the best hammocks for camping!

Choosing the right camping hammock is crucial for the comfort and enjoyment of your outdoor experience. With so many options available, it may be challenging to make a decision. That's why this guide exists — to help you find the perfect hammock for your needs. From lightweight and compact models to luxurious and spacious ones, find the top choices on the market here.

Without further ado, dive into the world of camping hammocks and explore some of the best options available in March 2023!

 Kammok Mantis UL All-in-One Hammock Tent

The Kammok Mantis UL All-in-One Hammock Tent is an innovative and comprehensive shelter solution for hammock camping. This set includes a hammock with detachable mosquito netting, a tarp, and a simple-to-use suspension system with a daisy chain design.

Despite being one of the lightest weight hammock shelter systems available, the Kammok Mantis UL has not compromised on features, strength, or waterproofness of the materials used. 

This hammock's usability stats are as follows:

• Height Limit: 6’4”

• Weight Limit: 300 lbs

• Trail Weight: 35 oz

Ideal for both beginners and experienced hammockers alike, this one-stop solution offers an effortless setup, unbeatable comfort, and a range of features to make your trip unforgettable. Wake up refreshed after experiencing the intuitive design and reliable performance of the Mantis UL.

 Kammok Mantis UL All-in-One Hammock Tent Photo source: Kammock.com

Hammock Gear Wanderlust Complete Kit

The Hammock Gear Wanderlust Complete Kit is a great comprehensive solution for hammock camping. It includes an 11-foot zippered hammock with built-in mosquito netting, a waterproof hexagonal tarp, and an easy-to-use suspension system. The long length of the hammock provides a flatter sleeping experience, mimicking the feeling of sleeping in a bed instead of a banana peel. The waterproof tarp protects you from the elements and offers ample room for other activities like cooking, dressing, or reading.

This hammock's usability stats are as follows:

• Height Limit: 6’4”

• Weight Limit: 300 lbs

• Trail Weight: 40 oz

This all-in-one hammock system offers unparalleled comfort and convenience, making it the ideal choice for new and experienced hammockers alike. The system comes with a spacious 11-foot hammock, knotless suspension, and a complete set of components including guylines, carabiners, quilt clips, tent stakes, and more. You're ready for any adventure from day one with this comprehensive setup.

The system provides the best of both worlds, with an affordable price and a weight that's worth every penny for ultimate comfort.

Hammock Gear Wanderlust Complete Kit Photo source: Hammockgear.com

 ENO SubLink Hammock

The ENO SubLink Hammock Shelter System includes a gathered-end hammock, a separate mosquito net, a rainfly, and a knotless whoopie-style suspension system. ENO product line focuses on the hammock components included in this kit, making it lightweight. The kit contains a single-layer hammock that is approximately nine feet long, making it suitable for individuals under six feet in height. If required, you can use the optional bug net with a ridgeline to keep it away from your face.

Included with the hammock is the Helios Suspension System, which is a knotless whoopie-style hammock suspension that you can use with any hammock. Additionally, there is a catenary cut tarp rain fly designed to reduce weight and improve wind performance.

If you are taller than six feet, you may want to consider using a longer hammock, as the Sub7 included in the SubLink system is on the shorter side. However, for those with a smaller stature, the ENO SubLink is a great option to get started with hammock camping.

This hammock's usability stats are as follows:

• Height Limit: 6’ 

• Weight Limit: 250 lbs

• Trail Weight: 35 oz

The ENO SubLink Hammock Shelter System provides a unique option for backpackers, with its netless hammock design. This allows for greater modularity and lighter weight, compared to other backpacking hammock systems from brands like Hennessy or Warbonnet. For those who prioritize gear weight, the netless hammock is an ideal choice. However, if you prefer a hammock with built-in mosquito netting, the SubLink system is still a great option.

The SubLink system is user-friendly and easy to set up, making it a great choice for those who are new to hammock camping. Over time, you may choose to switch out components for your specific backpacking needs. However, for now, the SubLink system provides a convenient and lightweight solution for entry-level hammock enthusiasts.

 ENO SubLink Hammock Photo source: REI.com

The Hennessy Hammock Explorer Deluxe 

The Hennessy Hammock Explorer Deluxe Asym Zip is a highly popular and lightweight adult hammock, renowned for its patented asymmetrical design and rainfly.

Its single-layer construction includes a convenient side zipper and integrated mosquito netting, making it easy to get in and out while keeping bugs at bay. The suspension system combines durable webbing straps and a strong Spectra cord, providing optimal strength. Hennessy Hammock is a well-established and trusted brand in the camping and backpacking community, having invented the integrated hammock tent system. The Explorer Deluxe Asym Zip is a testament to its innovative legacy.

This hammock's usability stats are as follows:

• Height Limit: 7’ 

• Weight Limit: 300 lbs

• Trail Weight: 51 oz

The Hennessy Hammock Explorer Deluxe Asym Zip Hammock impresses any outdoor enthusiast with its asymmetrical design that provides outstanding comfort and support. Its integrated bug netting keeps the bugs away, and the included tarp offers ample protection from the elements, making it the perfect camping companion. The zip entry allows for easy entry and exit, while the ropes and stakes that come with it make setup effortless.

This hammock is an excellent investment that guarantees high-quality and long-lasting performance for years to come, whether you're an experienced hiker or just starting out.

The Hennessy Hammock Explorer Deluxe  Photo source: REI.com

Dutchware Wide Netted Hammock

The Dutchware Wide Netted Hammock is a complete hammock camping kit that comes in a range of custom colors. Ideal for taller individuals or those seeking a flat sleeping surface, the 11-foot hammock features a structural ridgeline for added support. The package also includes an 11-foot tarp with guylines for added protection, and a lightweight polyester suspension system for ease of use. This hammock package has everything you need for a comfortable camping experience.

This hammock's usability stats are as follows:

• Height Limit: 6’1” 

• Weight Limit: 350 lbs

• Trail Weight: 43.2 oz

For outdoor enthusiasts seeking a comfortable and versatile hammock camping setup, the Dutchware Complete Wide Netted Hammock Package proves to be an excellent option.

Constructed from premium materials, this hammock boasts a wide and netted design, ensuring a restful night's sleep. The package comes complete with all necessary components, including suspension ropes, carabiners, and a tarp, offering a convenient and comprehensive solution for your next camping adventure. Whether you're new to hammock camping or an experienced pro, this package provides comfort and ease of use.

Dutchware Wide Netted Hammock Photo source: Dutchwaregear.com

Final Hammock Camping Daydreams

Hammock camping is an excellent way to enjoy the great outdoors without sacrificing comfort. With so many options on the market, it's important to consider various factors when choosing a hammock shelter system. These include height limit, weight limit, and trail weight. Whether you prefer a single-layer hammock or one with integrated mosquito netting, a lightweight and easy-to-use suspension system, or a spacious tarp, there is a hammock camping kit that meets your needs.

Some popular brands that offer comprehensive solutions for hammock camping include Kammok, Hammock Gear, ENO, Hennessy Hammock, and Dutchware. With their wide range of products, finding the perfect hammock system for your individual needs is just a click away.

From ultra-lightweight setups to more robust kits with ample protection from the elements, the quality and durability of these brands provide a comfortable and memorable hammock camping experience.

Pair your hammock with a camping pillow and an insulated sleeping bag, and say hello to paradise!

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