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How to choose the best camping hammock

Written by Fiona

March 27 2018

Camping hammocks are on the increase. They offer a great alternative to a tent and many walkers and cyclists claim a camping hammock gives a better night’s sleep. A hammock keeps sleepers off the cold and wet ground and, in many cases, they are lighter than a traditional tent. 

Read these tips for choosing the best camping hammock.

What type of hammock?

Single hammocks

In most cases, single hammocks have widths that range up to 5ft. A single hammock is lighter when compared to a double hammock. This enables it to be easily portable and convenient to put up. However, they offer a limited sleeping space and experience, which makes then unsuitable for family camping.

Double hammocks

A double hammock is wider and can cope with a combined weight of up to about 500lbs. They provide more space for sleeping and if you are off on an adventure with your partner, it means you need only one hammock for people.

A cosy looking hammock set-up. Pic credit: Best Gear Designs

Further hammock detail

Hammock length

The lengths of hammocks differ much less as opposed to their widths. However, you should check the length to ensure that it is at least 2ft longer than your height. 

Hammock fabric

Hammock fabric must be of good quality to ensure it holds your weight. Consider purchasing durable fabrics which will serve you better for longer. Check the denier numbers to make sure the fabric is of good quality and durability. 

What about the weight?

It will depend on your type of camping as to whether the weight is an important consideration. If you plan to drive to a place close to where you will camp he hammock can be heavier. If you will be walking day after day with the hammock in your pack, then it’s worth paying extra for a lightweight hammock.

Hammocks usually fit into these categories: Parachute Nylon, Ultralight, Backcountry/Expedition and will be priced accordingly. Usually the lighter the product the more it will cost.

Something different: Multiple people in a hammock! Pic credit: Luiz Cent

Support system

 

Investigate how the hammock will be supported when in the hanging position. Hammocks should include carabiners with enough strength to hold different weights. Many hammocks are suspended with “tree straps”, which should be strong and durable. 

Which way will you lie?

The traditional sleeping position in a hammock is width ways, however there are hammocks that allow you to sleep at right angles to the suspension system. Both are comfortable and it will be down to personal preference which one you choose.

Hammock with a flysheet. Pic credit: Rob Beattie

What about the accessories?

As with all types of camping products there are plenty of accessories to be tempted by. An insect mosquito net could be a good choice, for example. Another god idea if it is going to be cold is a separate underquilt to offer insulation from below.

Many people will choose to sleep on a slim self-inflating camping mat and inside a sleeping bag. You might also choose to take an inflatable pillow or use a dry bag stuffed with clothes for an alternative pillow.

Another great addition for wet climates is a waterproof flysheet that can be rigged up above your hammock to keep you dry at night.

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