Hammock Camping Tips
Pick the right hammock for you.
The most common hammock is a simple gathered end hammock. This is, most simply put, a rectangular piece of fabric, gathered at each end and suspended from two anchor points. When used correctly, they are extremely comfortable and very lightweight.
Another type of hammock is the “bridge hammock.” For this, picture a cot, hanging between two anchor points. It is a rectangular hammock utilizing spreader bars that help it retain its rectangular shape. These can be a little heavier, but some people swear by them. And in them.
Never hang your hammock higher than you are willing to fall. Suspension will fail. Hammocks will tear. Used improperly, you can be seriously injured (some people have died.) Always hang your hammock no higher than 18” from the ground when loaded.
This is also a great height for entering the hammock as it is about chair height. Also, hammocks are not swings-there is a tremendous amount of force placed on the suspension and anchor points (swinging will damage trees.)
Get the distance right.
It has been agreed that the most comfortable lay in a hammock is dependent on the angle of the dangle, distance between trees, (and using a Teton Hammock!) To have the right amount of sag in the hammock, i.e.; don’t hang it too tight, the distance between the ends of the hammock should be roughly 83% of the total length of the hammock.
For an 11’ hammock that equates to just over 9’, allowing a proper sag and great comfort. To achieve this, the anchor points will need to be 15-18’ apart. When attaching your suspension to the anchor points, you will want the suspension at roughly a 30* angle.
This can be checked approximately by extending your index finger, and raising your thumb (looks like a gun, oh no…) the line should touch your finger tip and tip of thumb. This all sounds a little like math class, but after a little trial and error, you will find what is most comfortable to you.
Most newbies lay in a hammock wrong. They just do. If you lay in a gathered end hammock with your head at one end and your feet at the other, well, you’re doing it wrong. But that’s ok.
Hammock Camping tip number 4: To properly lay in a hammock, push your feet out diagonally from the center line and your head opposite at the other end. This “diagonal lay” will allow you to sleep completely flat, on your back, side and even stomach.
This is probably the best hammock camping tip you can receive. It is critical to use insulation in a hammock. You will feel the cooler air around you, even if it is 80* outside. You need something to insulate you from the air just as much as ground-dwellers need to be insulated from the ground.
Most new hammock campers will use a ground pad that they already have. This works ok, but they have a tendency to shift and sometimes end up on top of you…This can be resolved but putting the pad inside of your sleeping bag. If you can afford it, the best option is an underquilt. This is essentially a bag suspended beneath/around the hammock.
The advantage to this is your insulation is never compressed and retains its full loft and insulation capabilities at all times.
Always have a plan to stay dry. There are innumerable tarps and pitching combinations, but you should always have one whether it is for shade, rain or snow. Hammock Tarps can be as simple as a blue tarp from the local box store, or as technically superior as our 3 and 4 season Summit Tarps. It’s up to you.
Keep your line dry.
Tie small strips of cotton t-shirt or shoelaces on your suspension (under your tarp) to act as a water break during storms
If you are of the male variety of our species and you get that wake-up call at 2am, there’s no need to get up and put your boots on. Just tuck and roll. Carefully. Just remember which side of the hammock your boots are on!
Keep your melon covered.
Wear a beanie when sleeping in a hammock. This will help you retain body heat.
We hope these tips will help you enjoy camping in your hammock! Connect with us on Facebook to get more tips and tricks!
— The Crew at the Teton Hammock Company