Nature walks, stargazing, bonfires, and S’mores are just a few of the things kids (and adults) look forward to when a camping trip is near. Sleeping in tents usually adds to the excitement as well, but just wait until you see your kid’s reaction when you tell them they’ll be sleeping in the trees!
Camping with hammocks can be a lot of fun, and there are definitely some great reasons for sleeping in a hammock instead of a tent (less gear to carry for example). There are, however, some things to keep in mind when hammock camping with kids. Whether you’re an experienced camper or new to the outdoor adventure, the following tips are indispensable when it comes to hangin’ in the trees with your littles.
1) Kid-Proof Your Set-up
As all parents know, cubs sometimes need a little extra accommodation to hang with the big bears. This definitely holds true when it comes to camping in hammocks with kiddos.
One of the most obvious adjustments is hanging their hammock low to the ground. This will help your child feel safe and ward off any fear of heights. They’ll also be able to get in and out easily, preventing unnecessary tumbles.
If you’re camping in cooler weather, you might want to use a sleeping bag instead of blankets or quilts, as those can sometimes end up tossed to the ground. (Also remember that sleeping without a tent calls for warmer gear in general).
Even though you may be sleeping under the stars, it can get pretty dark out there! Having a battery-operated lantern nearby or flashlight at hand will be useful during those “scared-of-the-dark” moments or late-night potty runs.
Lastly, make sure rain doesn’t ruin your parade (or hammock camping experience in this case). Bring a tarp or our specially designed Rain Fly, to keep everyone warm and dry.
2) Do A Trial Run
Trying anything new may take a little practice to get used to, and sleeping in a hammock is no exception. This is where the idea of “backyard camping” comes in handy. Pick a Saturday night, grab your kids, and venture out of the great back door into the comfort and safety of your own yard. This is the perfect place to help your kids get used to hammock camping, so they will be pros when the real camping happens. If a pup is part of your brood, this is also a great time to test run hammock camping with Fido.
3) Get Some Helping (Little) Hands
A great way to assist your kids in feeling comfortable with hammock camping is to have them help as much as possible (depending on their age). Whether it’s attaching the carabiners to the straps or helping to choose the perfect spot to hang the hammock, the more involved they are with the process, the more relaxed and confident they’ll feel while using their hanging cocoon. Understanding how to secure the hammock will inevitably help your kids feel more secure too.
4) Set The Rules
Safety is key to making any camping trip enjoyable (rushing to the hospital with a burned hand or broken limb isn’t much fun for anyone). Sitting your kids down and setting the rules for safe camping and hammock use is a must. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for your little ones, but our general rule when hammock camping with kids: no one gets out of their hammock at night without permission from an adult. Establishing this rule from the beginning will help subdue any apprehension you may have of your child wandering around alone at night. Of course, this only works if your child is mature enough to abide by rules in the first place, which brings us to our final point.
5) Make Sure Your Kid Is Ready
If your child is new to camping, and you’re not totally confident they won’t wander off the campsite or try playing Superman (or woman) from the hammock, it’s best to ease into the whole hammock camping thing. Maybe do some test runs in the backyard (as mentioned above), or you may even have to wait a year or two before your tot is ready for such an adventure. The most important thing is that hammock camping should be FUN, and being worried about your child’s safety is the last thing you want.