If you're new to the world of hammock camping, it may seem as though there is a lot to know. This article will provide 5 of our Top Tips for Hammock Camping allowing you to get the most of your trip.
You'll be thrilled that you'll never need to spend another moment looking for level ground to set up a tent. You'll also be pleased that hammocks are ultralight, and super compact - allowing you to take it on the trail or to the lake.
If you are interested in hammock camping and don't yet have a hammock, consider the FE Active Trestles Hammock for your gear. Take a quick peak below regarding the specs of this hammock and compare it with others you may consider to make an informed decision.
Specification of the Trestles Hammock:
Constructed with a 210T parachute nylon and ripstop fabric
Extra Wide (Double) 118" x 78.5" (300 cm x 200 cm) dimensions
Weights 2 lbs
Includes set-up accessories such as tree rope, carabiners, and additional straps
Included attachable mosquito net
Tip #1 Embrace the Sag
Contrary to what many beginners believe, you actually want to have a fair amount of sag in your hammock. If your hammock is set up too rigid, you may find the hammocks wraps around you too tightly, constricting your shoulders and arching your back uncomfortably.
Picture your hammock from the side. If it looks like a nice smile, you probably have a dip that's perfect.
Pro Tip: For those who move a lot in their sleep, a deeper sag helps prevent you from rolling out in the middle of the night. Bonus!
Tip #2 Sleep Diagonal
Unlike a traditional bed or sleeping pad, you're actually going to want to sleep diagonally in your hammock. Sleeping diagonal will help counter that deep sag you created when you set up your hammock by opening the hammock up, allowing for more space to move, and less constriction.
You'll really notice the difference, if you sleep in a Double Hammock like the Trestles, compared with a standard single hammock.
Pro Tip: Double Hammocks are NOT meant for 2 person sleeping. Camping hammocks aren't designed the same as a traditional lounging hammocks regardless of the size. Remember, two or more people trying to sleep in one hammock will always "pool" to the middle over time creating a very uncomfortable, and cramped sleep. Each person should have their own hammock for maximum comfort.
Tip #3 Hanging the Foot End Higher
Even if you never miss a leg day, our bodies are naturally heavier on the top half than the bottom half. With this in mind, consider hanging the foot end of your hammock slightly higher during setup. This arrangement can help prevent you from slipping toward the middle of the hammock during the night, as your body will already be in a better anatomical position to take advantage of gravity, which will help stabilize your position at night.
Tip #4 Bad Weather and Bugs
As much as we'd all love to camp in perfect weather all the time, we know this isn't the reality. Whether you're greeted by rainy weather, or just the morning due, hammocking camping requires a bit of extra planning so you don't get "caught" waking up wet.
Unlike a tent, hammocks don't have a built in fly. If you find yourself camping in unpredictable weather, or in a location with heavy morning dew, consider getting yourself a FE Active Galapagos Rain Fly. These highly waterproof (5000mm of protection) rainflies help protect you from the wind and rain. They install over your entire hammock and pack up small - meaning you can bring it "just in case" without worrying about taking up too much space in your pack.
A second thing camping hammocks don't (always) offer, is a way to keep the bugs and falling debris out. Unlike a tent, a hammock doesn't offer 4 walls, a roof and a floor. Protect yourself by choose a hammock that has a built in, or removable bug mesh. Not only will it keep the bugs out, but it also keeps off falling tree twigs and leaves that would otherwise fall in the hammock throughout the night.
Pro Tip: Choose a style (like the Trestles) that has the option to remove the bug mesh when not needed. This style allows you more flexible seating during the day, and easier entry and exist.
Tip #5 Stay Warm
Although hammocks are a great alternative to tent camping, they are tend to run on the cool side. During a balmy summer night, this form of sleeping is welcomed as you have lots of air flow to whisk away the moisture and body heat. But what about when it cools off?
Without a way to block the wind (no walls or roof) you may find you are more effected by the wind and cool night temperatures in a hammock. Even during summer camping, we recommend having a thin sleeping bag like the FE Active Zeros with you. It will improve your overall comfort and act as a barrier between your body and any cool breezes that can creep up during the night.
If you're camping in the spring or fall, consider a slightly warmer sleeping bag like the FE Active Ventura. This will provide you with the insulation you need to get a good sleep, and having little details like the attached hood act as a pillow, giving your a luxurious feeling sleep.
Pro Tip: To stay even warmer, consider adding a sleeping bag under your sleeping bag inside your hammock as an additional layer of protection. Winter camping usually requires you to have a "under quilt" or a blanket that gets installed around your sleeping bag. You'll want to avoid the dreaded "cold butt syndrome" commonly experienced by winter hammock campers!