Are you one of those campers who grew up with tent camping? You enjoy nature throughout the day but sleeping inside a closed tent at night? When I first had my camping trip together with my friends, it was a joined trip with other backpackers- that’s when I discovered hammock camping.
Hammock Camping is a fun alternative to tent camping. If you want to switch to hammock camping or new to this- you don’t have to be intimidated with the idea because sleeping with a hammock with surprisingly comfortable and indeed, fun.
For starters, you probably wondering how it works. Well, I’ll show you how to make it work and might convince you to ditch sleeping on a tent on your next camping trip.
Outdoor activities like camping and hiking recharge your soul. When you are in the wilderness, you allow yourself to connect with nature and be healed by it. So if you are planning on taking a short trip out of the woods this weekend, then perhaps packing a comfortable, handy, and a lightweight sleeping device such as hammock can add excitement in your adventure. Just like a tent, it provides traditional features but is more convenient than the former. Setting this up does not need so much space but only two sturdy trees that can hold your weight as long as possible.
What is a hammock?
A hammock is a kind of sling made using materials like fabric, rope, nylon, or netting and typically used for sleeping, swinging and resting. Historically, this was invented by natives from Central and South America for sleeping and eventually adopted by sailors, explorers, and soldiers for their voyages. Its use even extended when parents from North America utilized fabric hammocks to hold their babies. However, at the present time, these are typically used to relax during a lazy afternoon or during camping and hiking.
Different types of hammocks
There are various types of hammock available in the market. Generally, all kinds serve the same idea which is relaxation but each is specifically designed for different purposes. In fact, some countries have prided themselves because of their long-standing tradition of using hammocks which are truly a work of art. The following are just some of the example among a wide variety of hammocks.
- Naval hammocks
- Rope Hammock
- El Salvador hammocks
- Mayan Hammocks
- Brazilian Hammocks
- Hiking/Camping hammocks
- Couple’s Hammocks
1. Naval hammocks
This kind of hammock was first used by sailors and soldiers around 1950 as their primary sleeping device to bring comfort and maximize the limited space available in their quarters. It is made using strong fabric to ensure durability. It has no distinct design and intended to be simple. When you lie down on it, you feel like you are in cocoon wrapping you inside.
2. Rope Hammock
This hammock is made by stitching polyester or cotton rope with spreader bars attached at both ends. It is perfect to hang when you are on an island under palm or coconut trees while you are reading a book to have the classic relaxation experience. The open spaces allow the air to flow that causes you to feel relaxed to the extent of falling asleep.
3. El Salvador hammocks
The material used for this kind of hammock is a thread which carefully weaves to make it more durable and spreader bars are placed in both ends. This was first used by the people in El Salvador to keep them protected from earthquakes while they were sleeping. But as years passed, it becomes part of their culture and used for afternoon naps. In fact, in Central America, laying down the hammock all throughout the day is socially acceptable and they even have an annual Hammock Festival.
4. Mayan Hammocks
It is made using colorful cotton fabric manually woven by villagers and no spreader bars. Just like the naval hammocks, it looks like a cocoon that wraps you when you are inside of it. It is designed to carry a much heavier weight while giving comfort when you are sleeping.
5. Brazilian Hammocks
It is very similar to Mayan hammocks. It is made using cotton fabric and multiple fibers on a loom are created making it a better choice for colder days than the former. It is also more durable and long-lasting. Usually, it has no spreader bars but manufacturers are attaching bars to some models.
6. Hiking/Camping hammocks
As the name suggests, it is designed for hiking and camping. It is made using light materials making it highly portable and convenient for the hikers. It has a mosquito net which protects you from insects when you are into the woods.
7. Couple’s Hammocks
It is kind of larger as compared to others, usually 8 feet long, intended to carry two people even more than 500 lbs. It has spreaders and some are highly accessorized so that couples will get a luxurious experience when they lay down.
Benefits of hammock
Apart from it helps you to relax, a hammock is highly beneficial to your well-being. Provided below are some of the numerous benefits of it in your health.
1. Improve your sleep pattern
Hammock gives you comfort. As you lie down, the natural rocking motion, as well as the zero pressure points, help you to fall asleep faster than when you are on the bed.
2. Lessen your stress
When your stress bar is too high, rest in a hammock for some time while you are listening to meditation music until you are relaxed. Hammock enables your mind to be at peace and your body to calm down.
3. Help your blood to circulate
Your position when you are on the hammock allows your blood to circulate better. It is because your upper body particularly your head is elevated thus enabling your brain to receive blood effectively. It can also improve your breathing.
4. Heal your back pain
When you always wake up with a sore back or aching muscles, probably because your back receives too much pressure during your sleep. As you fall asleep due to rocking motion, your body relaxes as well as your joints and muscles.
5. Improve your focus
Enough sleep helps you stay focus. But hammock can also improve your mental state because the swaying motion triggers your brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex. It leads your brain waves to synchronize resulting in a more alert mind.
How to start Hammock Camping?
Hammock camping has been a popular trend for the past years and many backpackers are switching to hammock rather than a tent. This is because, hammocks tend to be lighter, compact, cozy and easy to use compared to the traditional tent that most backpackers use. Many prefer this because all you need is a couple of trees and the right gear to hold your hammock securely, you don’t need to find cleared ground as you do with the tent.
Sleeping above the ground is way better than sleeping inside the tent with hard ground.
To start hammock camping, you need proper gear and mindset for you to enjoy the experience. Here are the benefits you can enjoy with hammock camping:
Benefits of Hammock Camping
Hammock camping is more beneficial because:
- It can cut down and extra weight in your pack and save more space for other gears.
- The hammock is lightweight and durable.
- It’s easy to set-up and easy to take down.
- No sleeping on rocks, branches, or even uneven ground.
- You are more open to nature and enjoy the night breeze.
- It’s long-lasting, sturdy and great value for money as it’s high quality.
It’s fun! Sleeping outside with nature, enjoying the fresh air and sleep under the night stars is amazing.
Even though the positive of camping with hammock outweigh its negatives, there are still few that we should consider with hammock camping.
The downside of hammock camping
Now, you’re starting to love your hammock, and planning to switch right away. However, there are few downsides that you must take note before switching with hammocks.
- If the weather is not cooperating during your camping trip, sleeping on a hammock is not a good option.
- Hammocks offer a little room to do other stuff other than sleep, read and relax. But, you can use this as a camping chair so you don’t have to worry about where to sit to.
- Storing gear for your hammock can also be a problem.
These are a few of the disadvantages you can encounter when you choose a hammock over a tent. I’m not saying to completely ditch the tent, if you can, you can bring both the tent and hammock so when there is a sudden change of weather, you can always be prepared.
What to consider when buying a hammock?
There are some things to consider before buying a hammock that you have to keep in mind.
A camping hammock is not similar to the beach hammock you see or your backyard hammock. The quality of the material is made for outdoor adventure and made with extremely durable material.
Before you rush buying a hammock, you should consider the following when choosing your hammock.
- Durability and Usage
- Gears and Accessories
There are two different hammock sizes you can choose from; the single and the double hammock. Literally, it means a single hammock is for one person and the other is for two. Most backpackers choose the double hammock even though they are only one to use it as it can provide more comfort and space.
Each type of hammock is designed for a specific purpose. Should you want it to have spreader bars or none? Considering the design enables you to enjoy the experience while you are inside of your hammock.
Looking for the right length for your height is important so that you can comfortably stretch your legs while resting.
4. Durability and usage
Hammocks are made using different materials. It is important to buy a durable hammock as you’ll be using it for outdoor activities. You also have to consider the weight- the hammock is supposed to be lightweight but durable enough to carry your weight as long as possible.
5. Gears and accessories
The hammock should have a strap to set it up. Bug Net is also important as you don’t want to sleep outdoors with all the bugs bugging on your ear and biting you. If you’re fine with sleeping under the rain, a rain tarp is a good investment. Also, it is important to have an insulator like a sleeping bag or insulated blanket in which you can use when sleeping in cold weather.
Hammock symbolizes relaxation and freedom. Since it is doesn’t take too much space and weight in your baggage, you can carry it with you anywhere. It is easy to set up also. Just get a sturdy rope for both ends and look for two sturdy poles or trees to tie on. Want to have your own hammock? You can order it below.