Hammock camping has been around for decades but was fairly uncommon up until recently. Now campers and backpackers of all types are ditching their tents for hammocks and finding that they’ve never slept better.
Many hammock lovers will be quick to tell newcomers that sleeping in a hammock is extremely comfortable and the setup process is no harder than setting up a tent.
But it's important for first time hammock campers that they get familiar with their new equipment and have an understanding of what to expect.
We have come up with our top 9 tips for first time hammock campers so you’ll be able to make your first hammock trip go smoothly and really understand first-hand why so many outdoor enthusiasts are switching to this unique style of camping.
1) Picking The Right Hammock Is Crucial
An absolute rule of thumb is making sure you pick the right hammock for camping because this could make or break your first trip. Hammocks come in all shapes, sizes and colors but some important differences set them apart. There are generally 2 types of hammocks: A single and a double. A single will save you a little space but a double will give you more room to get comfortable and offer optimal comfort which is why we highly recommend our double hammock so if you're just getting started with hammock camping, keep it simple with the Bear Butt double hammock.
2) Protect Yourself Against Bugs For Warm Weather Trips
With warm weather comes the hassle of mosquitoes, tiny flies, or any other form of insects. Bugs are not only annoying but they can also leave painful bites, transfer disease, and cause other health issues. Hammocks will leave you open to insects if you don't protect yourself so bug nets are an absolute must for any time of year bugs are out, the Bear Butt bug net is specially designed to completely cover your hammock, protects from mosquitoes and even has a zippered door located in the middle for easy in-and-out access so no insects will get in.
3) Practice Makes Perfect
Before you head out on your first hammock camping trip you must practice setting up your hammock. This will help you get familiar with all your new gear and stop any frustration setting up when your out on your first trip. You will want quick and convenient straps for an easy set up like the Bear Butt Kodiak straps which you can hang anywhere and never worry about knots.
As you attach and adjust your hammock, check the angle of your suspension lines (the lines connecting your hammock to the tree strap). These lines should be roughly at a 30° angle. When looking at your hammock it should have a deep sag to it. This sag will allow you to lay properly in the hammock and not fall out from it as you move during the night.
4) Learn To Lay In Your Hammock Properly
The trick to getting the “sleeping like a baby” rest you hear people talk about is learning how to properly lay in a hammock. The key to sleeping in a hammock is to lay at a diagonal angle, not straight, with your feet slightly higher than your upper body. The problem with laying straight you end up sleeping with a curve in your back, by laying diagonal you’re able to keep your back and legs at a comfortable level.
5) Invest In A Rain Fly To Stay Dry
When you need to protect yourself from rain, snow, wind and (potentially) blizzard conditions. Its always best practice to have a rain fly even when you know the weather may be an issue. It's better to be safe than sorry. If you don't have a rain fly it can make for a horrible experience if suddenly the weather changes so we recommend you take a look at our ultralight rain fly.
6) Travel Light
When out camping or backpacking you want to keep your luggage as light as possible and one great benefit to hammock camping is how lightweight the setup can be. Hammocks are generally very light, it's all the accessories that can up the weight so be sure to pack only what you actually need to keep your setup as light as possible.
7) Selecting And Positioning Your Hanging Spot
Look for an area with flat ground to make leveling easier, Also make sure there are no rocks, branches or potentially harmful objects directly underneath your hammock. It's very rare a properly suspended hammock would just break but just to be on the safe side you don't want to land on anything that could hurt you. Before you finally settle on the spot you want just be sure to look up at the trees, never hang your hammock under dead trees or live tress with dead tops or branches.
You also want to make sure you are protected against any winds so always look for an area with a good windbreak such as hills, natural landscapes or a cluster of trees. In addition to looking for a natural windbreak if you have no option but to set up camp, then you’ll want to position your hammock with the long side perpendicular to the wind. If you position it parallel, the wind will blow up your hammock’s tarp like a balloon and you’ll end up cold.
8) Stay Warm With An Under quilt And Sleeping Pad
This is one of the most important hammock camping tips when facing the winter months. Air circulates freely beneath a suspended hammock. Without a sleeping pad or under quilt your body is in near direct contact with the cold air surrounding you. Having a sleeping pad can really help with warmth and comfort. If the night is cold add an under quilt to your hammock to create warmth beneath you and prevent drafts from reaching your body.
9) Bring 2 Pillows
For first time hammock campers we highly recommend you bring a travel pillow because there's nothing worse than having to use a sweater balled up. It will make sleeping in a hammock easier to get used to and will help you get into a comfortable sleeping position. Bringing a small second pillow can also be handy for knee support. Many new hammock campers tend to find that their knees may feel a bit sore as they get used to laying properly in a hammock.
At Bear Butt, we want to make sure that all first time hammock campers have the best adventure and by following our 9 tips for first time hammock campers you can be sure to be ready for an incredible experience.
Bear Butt gives you only the best-designed hammocks and other innovative, top quality gear for you to live your outdoor adventures. Our camping products come in a variety of colors to choose from.