The Swing of Things: What to Look for in a Camping Hammock

Hammock camping offers outdoor explorers the opportunity to experience the outdoors in an immediate, intimate way. Sway to sleep as you watch the cosmos, and breathe fresh air all through the night. The benefits of hammock camping are many, and new systems offer accommodations that can rival or surpass tent camping. To enjoy the adventure at its best, you’ll need to make sure you have a great hammock system designed to handle the elements and provide comfort.

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Your hammock system needs will depend on the type of excursion you want to pursue. Consider the following construction elements.

Material
A camping hammock calls for light, strong, durable material. Parachute nylon is among the most popular fabric types for travel hammocks. It can support up to 400 pounds, yet is light and compact, making it ideal for carrying on an overnight backpacking trip or stowing as an airplane carry-on. It is also breathable and fast-drying, which is important for staying comfortable and withstanding the elements. Single-person and double occupancy models are available. A double model is a good option for a solo sleeper who requires a bit more width to stretch out comfortably.

Design

The gathered-end asymmetric hammock is the most prevalent camping hammock style. Its shape promotes a diagonal sleeping position, which gives the sleeper a relatively flat surface suitable for full-night slumber. It’s important to note that not only the asymmetrical cut but also the width of the hammock contribute to sleeping comfort—it will be impossible to stretch out on too-narrow a hammock, regardless of how it’s cut. Look for a width of 60 inches or more.

Bridge hammocks are bulkier and heavier with the weight of the spreader bar, and some campers find the design to be constrictive. The spreader bar gives the hammock a more stable shape, rather than letting it shift with your body, resulting in a cocoon-like feeling. Campers who aim for lightness of gear and for a feeling of free movement in sleep should stick with gathered-end asymmetric models.

Hammock Pitching Accessories
Camping hammocks are not freestanding. This provides great advantages, because your camp site options are not limited to the quality of the ground beneath you. You can pitch your hammock between two trees on a hilly or rocky site and sleep with ease. But you will need good ropes to properly secure your hammock.

To avoid being dumped to the ground in the middle of the night, make sure you select tree ropes that are sufficient to the task. Polyester is a great all-purpose rope type; quality ropes are capable of supporting more than 400 pounds.

Look for ropes with strong, lightweight hooks to keep your carrying weight low. LA SIESTA hammocks come with their own suspension system, so all you’ll need to remember to bring is padding to protect the tree from the suspension rope.

Added bonus: LA SIESTA travel hammocks also double as picnic blankets, perfect for a mid-day snack quick nap where two trees are not available.

Final Considerations
Hammock camping is a great alternative to tent setups but, like all new things, requires planning as well as trial and error. Find your balance on shorter trips to become familiar with new gear and new strategies before taking on greater wilderness challenges.

Above all, stay safe, and enjoy getting in touch with the natural world.

Hammock Camping 101: 5 Reasons Why You Should Switch From A Tent To A Hammock

http://theultimatehang.com/hammock-camping-101/

Hammock Camping – Part II: Types of backpacking hammocks, and spec comparison to ground systems

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