Nothing beats hammocks for a comfy night’s sleep in the outdoor. They have become quite popular with campers, scouting groups, and backpackers because they not only offer protection from pests and other elements, but also they keep one out of dirt.
In addition, research has shown that sleeping in a hammock is good for your heath, and it can cure insomnia. Yes. Although hammocks are just beginning to garner recognition in most sleep studies, it is something that numerous people across the globe understand and embrace.
In this article, we will teach you how to choose the right hammock, but first things first, here are some of the most famous types of hammocks.
Most pro outdoor campers and enthusiasts prefer hammock camping over other styles of camping adventures, for the level of fun and enjoyment a hammock offers. Hammock camping is more comfortable, more enjoyable and even easier to setup and take down. Amateur camping enthusiasts would have lots of doubts in their minds regarding safety, quality, bugs, and other aspects of this camping type. But knowing the basics of hammock camping will prepare you and make you understand why it’s actually better in some ways that regular camping. First, what types of hammocks do you nee to look for?
Types of Hammock
When you think of a hammock, most amateurs think of a rope hammock, which is the most conventional one of all. But, this kind of hammock is not the most suitable for an outdoor camping and hiking adventure. Exclusive and specially designed and manufactured outdoor camping hammocks are available in the market and they come in a wide variety of styles. Hammocks offered by some of the leading brands can be purchased both online and in stores. Finding the best and most suitable one is very important to enjoy a comfortable stay in the wild.
As you will see below, there are at least eight types of hammocks:
1. The Mayan hammocks – They are well-known for their comfort and they don’t have any stretcher bar. They are usually hand-woven by Mayan style craftsmen using practices that have been taught and shared for generations. Mayan craftsmen weave the brightly colored Mayan Hammocks using either nylon or cotton in thin threads. They are both flexible and breathable, and they adapt quickly to body size and shape.
2. Brazilian hammocks – Brazilian Hammocks are available in a vast range of lively colors, and they are hand-made using cotton. They are a good choice if you want to relax in the outdoors and keep warm. Unlike most other hammocks, the Brazilian hammocks often come without spreader bars, allow the user to cocoon into a snugly universe of their own. They are famous for their durability and comfort and they are a great choice for people in colder climates because they are much thicker – they trap warm air, giving extra warmth.
3. Nicaraguan hammocks –Manufacturer double weave these soft cotton items to form a tightly woven but breathable hammock. Nicaraguan hammocks are among the best non-spreader or in-line bar hammocks.
4. Rope hammock – They are usually made of wooden spreader bar system and either hemp, cotton, or polyester/nylon. They also have an open crocheted-like pattern of ropes at the end of every cord, pulled through and knotted to the bar.
5. Fabric poolside hammock – These are variations of the traditional spreader bar design hammocks that use fabrics for comfort, decorative style, and luxury.
6. Tree hanging hammock – These are usually hanged on the tree. They are portable and when erected can provide a roof, walls, and accommodate a dozen people.
7. Chair swings hammock – These are suitable for one or two people. They are the choice if you don’t have much space.
8. Baby hammock – For many decades, many cultures have used baby hammocks. They are specially designed for baby to sleep in. They have the comfort of a mother’s arm.
Factors to Consider when choosing a hammock
- Width – How wide do you want your hammock to be? Widths vary from about 48 inches (4 feet) to 102 inches (8.5 feet), with 72 to 84 inches (6-7 feet) comfortably accommodating two persons. Solo sleepers often go narrower depending on how much additional room they want. However, remember that wider hammocks will enclose farther from you and make you appear claustrophobic.
- Length – Lengths varies much less compared to widths, but you should go for longer than 96 inches (8 feet) hammocks. Again, it will depend on your personal preference.
Hammocks setups require suspension systems as well as pairs of carabiners. Regularly, they come with the hammocks, but manufacturers can also provide them as separate accessories. Suspension choices include nylon ropes (shouldn’t be overly stretchy to avoid touching the ground), synthetic tree slings, and webbing straps (should be wider than 0.75 inches). Go for hammocks with a lot of attachment points as they allow more flexibility and setup adjustability.
Hammocks are so popular mainly because of their lightweight design and construction, which also makes them one of the most camper-friendly shelters.
Their weight limits vary from 150-500 pounds – read the cons before you buy one. If you intend to regularly lounge with your hammock, ensure that you buy a heavy-duty model. Remember that weight capacity means the static weight. Any unnecessary jumping up and down will shorten your hammock performance and lifespan.
Insulation is very important in a hammock, especially if you are planning to go camping during cold climate. Hammock should be kept warm when camping in cold conditions for a good night’s sleep. Sleeping bags will not be enough to keep you warm, because as you sleep, the bottom end of the bag will be compressed, resulting in a lack of insulation.
Most firms use breathable, lightweight nylon to keep you cool during the summer – cooler than a tent. However, some hammocks are manufactured using cotton. These are usually made for home use since they are harder, heavier and dry slowly once they come in contact with water.
Under quilt is the most popular option amongst outdoor campers and this would be attached outside the hammock, giving you perfect protection from extreme cold conditions. As a result of this, the heat will not be dissipated out, thereby keeping you warm and cozy. Another quilt covered on top will also help you stay warm. If price is the main restraining factor, then you could very well opt for a couple of sleeping bags, which should make you sleep just fine. You can make sure that the bag stays still overnight by placing the pad in the bag, thereby keeping it intact.
Other Hammock Features
Level of Comfort
Most of you might think that hammocks may not be a very comfortable option, but that is not entirely true. They offer one of the most comfortable sleep you can ever get when in the wild. Many amateurs often think that they would not last long at night in a hammock as soon as they finish setting it up; but in reality, your body would get used to it and you’d enjoy a relaxing sleep for sure. You get the opportunity to experiment your sleeping position and soon you’d be able to find the most appropriate and comfortable sleeping posture.
A flat laying position is very important to get a good night’s sleep without having any back trouble. Many campers complain about back ache mainly because of the fact that they have not found the best way to sleep right. Lying lengthwise on a hammock would be the most uncomfortable position, so make sure that you lay in a diagonal position. Flat lay is the perfect sleeping position on a hammock.
In order to get a flat lay, remember not to tighten the straps of the hammock, because once you lay on it, your body weight will create a claustrophobic atmosphere. A curvy looking hammock gives you the best sleeping posture. Once you lie diagonally, you’d find your head and legs to be elevated, but the rest of your body would lay flat, which is very important to achieve the ideal sleeping position. In a diagonal position, you can easily twist and turn as per your requirement.
Tents are quite complicated to set up and most of you might agree with this fact. If you are one of those campers who often struggle with setting up a tent, just try and understand the hammock setup process and you’d be amazed how easy and less time consuming it is to setup. Hammocks come with very few parts and this makes them easy to setup. Tautness of your hammock can be tested simply by connecting its ends to a tree or any other vertical surface. You can easily find the most comfortable sleeping position on your hammock.
Cost is a huge factor to consider for many new campers and amateurs who are not used to extensive outdoor activities. Hammock and a tarp would do the job for you, but there are many add-ons and accessories available in any outdoor store and online, which can also be tried if you like to use some. Hammock gear and tools will let you have the option of buying other exciting outdoor gadgets and tools.
If you are used to tent camping, then you’d possibly know how difficult it is to find a suitable camping spot for the tent. That problem is reduced to a great extent by using a hammock, because all it requires is just a couple of strong trees to hold everything together in place. If you don’t find trees, you can even lay it on a smooth surface and enjoy the outdoor fun (but this is certainly not the best way to enjoy hammock camping).
When you are going out on an outdoor tent camping adventure, you have to install a tent only using a pole and other ground clearing and damaging accessories, which leave a residue after you leave the site. None of that will ever happen when you use a hammock. It doesn’t damage the environment in any way. Any vegetation on the ground will not be affected in anyway and you’d be able to leave happily knowing that you’ve not damaged the camping spot and the environment.
Best Emergency Tool
We don’t want any camper to face such a situation, but to be very clear, a hammock can also be used as an emergency signaling flag. Most of the hammock models come in bright colors and they are big enough to catch the attention of any rescue team around or in air. It can also be used as a sleeping bag during emergencies. With the addition of any kind of insulating materials, the camper would be able to enjoy a relaxed sleep.
Most of you might not associate a hammock to be one of the best shelter options for sleeping at night; but, on the contrary, it is far better than a tent. When you sleep in a tent, you’d be forced to sleep on rocks, pebbles, rough sand and so on, if you do not follow proper bedding procedures, which results is constant tumbling and turning over, but none of those issues would ever affect your sleep in a hammock.
Outdoor Fun Experience
Hammocks offer more fun and outdoor entertainment when compared to a tent. Sleeping under the stars at night in the lap of nature takes it to the next level.
Secure and Strong
There is zero compromise on security and safety for hammock users. Some of you may think that it is just tied to a tree and so the risk of the tree breaking down, or hammock losing it due to your weight, or so on could cause a serious issue. However, it is more sturdy and secure than you might think. Instability is quite common because you are suspended above the ground. All kinds of extreme weather conditions can easily be overcome just like you’d do with a regular tent. There are many hammock accessories like tarp, rain fly, bug net, warming pads, and more, all of which can be of great help to you during tough situations. It is one of the safest shelters out in the wild, so stop worrying about its rigidity.
Pro campers would often suggest newcomers to try out hammock camping just because it is an excellent novelty item and makes the whole outdoor experience exciting and super fun. If you are going on a group adventure trip and you happen to be the only one sleeping on a hammock, then your friends would soon start envying the fun you enjoy. Even during day, you can lay down on your hammock and read a book or catch a glimpse of the beautiful nature around you.
Camping Near a Water Source
Camping near any source of water like a lake, stream etc. is the preferred choice for most of the outdoor enthusiasts, but it is very difficult to find a level surface near them, which makes hammock the most preferred option for such situations. Finding a strong tree near a stream isn’t going to be a problem for sure.
Now, let us give you an overview of all the different advantages and disadvantages of hammock camping.
Hammock Camping Pros
- Comfort – Hammock offers superior comfort and relaxation over other forms of outdoor shelters and accessories. Hanging it anywhere you go is one of the most prominent benefits offered.
- Avoiding sandy beaches – When you are camping along the beach and if you have a hammock with you, you get to sleep on it all day and night long without getting sand on your body or your shelter for that matter. During hot summer days, the shade from the tree will be more than enough to keep you enjoying the nature and weather.
- Cheapest – The most important benefit of a hammock is its price. Hammock and its accessories can be purchased at an affordable price. Leading brands come with lots of features, but a luxurious hammock would not cost a fraction of what a tent of similar features would cost.
Just like every outdoor product, hammock also comes with few negatives, which also should be taken into consideration by an outdoor enthusiast.
- Weight – Hammock is known for its lightweight properties, and you will find amazing deals online. But, if you are new to hammock camping, it would be better if you visited a retail store to check the weight of any particular model in person before making your purchase online.
- Dimensions – Hammocks are available in varying shapes and sizes and it is very important to find a suitable one for your body. Most online buyers buy a large or small size hammock and later end up hating it the whole time. To avoid this, read the product description carefully and look at the dimensions of the hammock. Space in your backpack is invaluable; so, you should make sure that you purchase a hammock that you’d use for sure.
- Safety – Robbing is one of the common risk factors faced by all kinds of campers, whether it is tent or hammock camping. In fact, hammock campers can be easily robbed because they can be easily found in the wild from the hanging hammock, so make sure to have necessary safety equipment in hand before heading out to the wild. However, if you will be going on a group hammock camping trip, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Happy hammock camping!