Camping Hammocks 101 – Everything You Need to Know
Modern camping is all about the experience. Being one with nature and just detoxifying our mind from the hustle and bustle of the city. One of my favorite ways to relax outdoors is by using a comfortable hammock. Hammocks are like huge cradles that you hang from one stable object to another, like a tree or a rock. Its breathable fabric makes lying inside feel like you are riding a cloud. Take my word for it, if you are going to camp bring a hammock.
Now, to help you in this endeavor I have created this article that covers all the basics you would need to understand when it comes to maximizing your hammock experience. We will go through basic tutorials and a couple of tips to make sure you get the most comfortable with your hammock. So, let’s get to it, shall we?
How to Stay Warm in a Hammock
Just because the cold season is rolling in does not mean you should pack your hammock in your storage room for the time being. There are some ways you can still use your trusty hammock even when the weather starts dipping lower. If you plan on camping during the winter season but still want to take your hammock with you, here are some tips you can do in order to make sure your hammock stays warm and toasty. Below are helpful techniques on how to stay warm in a hammock.
#1. Choose your Campsite Wisely
Once winter starts to settle in one of the biggest hurdles you will face will not be the temperature, not entirely, but the wind. Wind delivers the cold air and spreads it like a tidal wave. One tip I can give you is to choose a campsite that is surrounded by a dense forest or surrounded by cliffs/hills/boulders. This should help stave off the blistering cold of the wind.
#2. Seal Yourself Off with a Sleeping Bag
Once the temperature hits the single digit Celsius, a blanket will not be enough to keep you warm. If you have an insulated sleeping bag on-hand I suggest you use it now. There are temperature ratings for sleeping bags so check those out. Something that offers a -10ºC rating will suffice. Another tip I can give you regarding the use of a sleeping bag with your hammock is to fill the sleeping bag with extra clothes. Make sure you are filling empty space within the sleeping bag as this can help contain warmth. Plus, you will be glad you will not have to change into frozen clothing and boots in the morning. If you are planning to stay at night, the advice is to keep a modern kerosene lamp with you.
#3. Use your Rainfly/Tarp
Tarps are waterproof and use non-breathable fabric. This is a great insulator which you should definitely take advantage of. A hammock that comes with its own tarp is a great choice as you can attach the tarp directly above the hammock with no need for extra tools.
#4. Homemade Insulating Pads
Do you have a car window shade? You can use it as a makeshift insulating pad. Basically, anything made of a reflective material (emergency blankets, for example) can be used as insulators in your hammock.
#5. Prepare a Simple Heater
Before going to bed you should boil some water and pour them into a couple of water bottles. Put the water bottles inside a sock or cloth and place it on the foot side of your sleeping bag. Be careful not to burn yourself though.
#6. Know your Limits
Finally, you need to understand that there comes a time when not even the best warming techniques will be enough. If you want to go camping when the temperature is below freezing I suggest you do your research. What is the average temperature during winter in your campsite of choice? Check the weather station and don’t take unnecessary risks.
How to Setup a Hammock
Hammock camping is a fun way to go about your outdoor activity. It is a good lightweight alternative to tents if you plan on a short camping trip. Setting up the hammock is actually easier than you would expect. If you still don’t feel confident about setting up a hammock, I will give you three basic tips to help you along the way.
#1. Check the Trees in the Campsite
Trees will be your main anchor points when it comes to hammocks. Not just any tree, mind you, but something strong enough to hold your weight. The best distance between tree anchors is about 5 meters apart. There are some hammock straps that offer considerably longer length. Go for these straps to ensure you will not find yourself short when setting up the hammock.
You should also make sure that your hammock straps won’t damage the tree bark. A camping rule is to leave everything as you found them. I recommend you get an actual hammock strap rather than using a simple rope when putting up the hammock.
#2. Fixing the Hammock Points
When anchoring the hammock, I suggest you attach the tree straps at eye level. Basically, hang the hammock at the height you think you can stand a fall. Not that the straps will give but it is best to take all necessary safety precautions. You should also try to find an area where the ground is flat and with now rocks protruding. Placing the hammock above uneven ground can increase the risk of accidents.
#3. Setting Up the Hammock
Once you have chosen the best location and the perfect set of trees to attach your hammock, next comes the fun part. Secure your straps to the trees and make sure it doesn’t slip down. You can avoid this problem by attaching the straps using a carabiner. You can also use knots or loops to secure your straps if you are an old-fashioned camper.
Whatever your choice is, make sure that the hammock straps have a slight sag to it for comfort. The best way to go about finding the correct angle is by giving the hammock a 30-degree angle dip from the trunk of the tree. Your hammock should be at chair height from the ground. As for additional accessories like tarps, check the weather forecast before heading out.
How to Build a Hammock Stand
If you find yourself without any stable anchor point for your hammock or if you simply want to set it up in your yard then a hammock stand is your best solution. But how do you make a hammock stand? Surprisingly, it is actually another easy endeavor. With the right tools, materials, and an easy to understand tutorial. Now then, let us go through what you will need before we begin with the guide.
Step 1 – Make Angled Cuts
The first thing you need to do is to make angled cuts with the 6’ beams. Make a 30-degree so that there will be a 60-degree angle from the beam to the floor.
Step 2 – Now, it is time to drill some holes for your bolts.
The ones that will give you the most trouble will be the holes that need to be attached to an angled base. These angled beams will be placed in between two 8’ beams with the hole/bolts going all through three beams. In order to help you make sure you get the holes lined up straight, you can lay down all three beams on the floor in a position that will eventually end up in once you are done.
Please note that the angled beams should not be on the equal level of the base beams. The base will be placed on top the 4” pieces and will be elevated from the ground. The angled beams being able to completely reach and lay flat on the floor allows for better stability. The other holes that you will be drilling will be for the eyebolts that are used to hang the hammock.
Step 3 – Quick Assembly
Once you have drilled all the holes to the beams it is time for some quick assembly. Don’t forget to use the washers on the bolts and a tightening washer for the nut side.
To help you figure out which beam goes to which, I have included a short video tutorial for video reference:
How to Tie a Hammock
There are several ways to attach a hammock and secure it to a beam. One of the most common methods is by tying a knot around the tree. However, not all knots are created equal and some knot techniques are more suited to hammocks than others. Below are the best knots for hammocks that you can use as well as a guide on how to do each.
1. The Backpacker Hitch
The Backpacker Hitch uses friction and your own body weight to secure it neatly to any beam or tree. Here is how you can do it:
Here is a video tutorial to help you along the way: Knot School - How to Tie a Backpacker Hitch
2. The Bowline Knot
Again, here’s a quick video guide to show you how it is done:
Tips on How to Setup ENO Hammock
Let us go to a more specific topic, shall we? One of the most popular hammock brands is the Eagle’s Nest Outfitters (ENO). They are proven and trusted when it comes delivering high-quality hammocks which are celebrated for their lightweight, comfortable, and durable qualities.
In order to make the most out of your ENO hammock, it is best that you set it up properly. I’ll give a quick low down on how to set up your ENO hammock with the accessories that it comes with.
ENO hammock straps are quite long so I suggest you look for trees that are around 10 to 12 feet apart. Choose trees that are healthy and strong. You should also make sure there is nothing hazardous is lurking at the top of these trees. Once you have picked out a couple of great trees, simply attach the suspension system by the specific ENO hammock product by following the instruction manual.
You should take the necessary steps to not only secure your hammock but also protect the trees. I usually put a couple sticks in between the strap and the bark to reduce the friction that the straps will generate.
Read more: Bear Butt Hammock Review
That is about all the basics that you need to understand when it comes to your hammocks. Remember to always take your safety and protecting the environment into account. It is possible to damage the tree bark when you attach a hammock so I suggest you use official hammock straps to prevent damaging the trees. It is always smart to go for the best-rated hammocks in the market. You might need to spend a few extra cash but the quality and performance of these hammocks will make it all worth it in the end.
As always, if you have anything to add, like additional tips and guidelines, please feel free to use the comment section below.
About the Author
Ahoy there! The name’s Kevin Smith, the proprietor of this little travel and outdoors blog. The outdoors has always been a passion of mine since I was a kid as my parents were avid campers themselves. They taught me everything I know when it comes to camping, hiking etc. and I would like to do my part by imparting my know-how to like-minded individuals who enjoy the same hobby as me. I started this website in the hopes of helping other people when it comes to answering questions, giving tips and recommendations focusing on the camping niche. Along with some close friends of mine, we are here to help you make the most out of your outdoor experience. Enjoy your stay and enjoy the wild side!