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Tips for Choosing the Right Camping Hammock
Whether you're completely new to camping or you're an experienced camper, going through the many camping hammocks available and finding the right one can be an exciting and difficult process. There are so many different options that it's easy to get distracted. However, there are a few things you can do to easily narrow down the selection to something more manageable to choose from. I'll give you tips for choosing the right camping hammock that should help you out.
The Correct Length and Width
The first is to know the rough size of camping hammock you need. The height of the person or people who will be sleeping in the hammock will determine the length that you purchase. The number of people that will be in the hammock will give you an idea of the width you will need. It’s better to get a hammock that is too big than too small.
Should You Get a Lightweight Hammock?
The next thing you need to think about is the weight of the hammock. If you intend to be hiking to your campsites, then weight really is a very serious consideration, and you should eliminate any camping hammocks that would be too heavy for you to carry with your other gear. You should aim for the most lightweight hammock you can possibly find. If you intend to be driving directly to your campsite and camping next to your car, though, this is much less of a concern.
Open or Closed Hammock
You need to think about whether you want your camping hammock to be open or closed. By this I mean that there are both traditional hammocks with nothing on top, as well as hammocks that have a sort of lid on top. This top could be designed to actually protect you from weather such as the rain, (rain fly or tarp), and cold temperatures, or it could just be a net meant to protect you from bugs. Either of these kinds would be very useful, but which you should get really depends on where you intend to be camping. In some areas, you would really need the bug protection, while in others you might be fine without any protection at all. When in doubt, it's usually better to get the top unless it would seriously affect the weight.
The Best Material
Lastly, hammocks generally fall in one of two categories: spreader bar or non-spreader bar. They then fall into three subcategories: fabric, rope, or string hammocks.
The hammocks with a spreader bar are easier to get in and out of because the bar keeps them flat. The hammocks without spreader bars conform to the body and are typically hand-woven. There are Nicaraguan, Mayan, and Brazilian hand-woven hammocks. The Mayan hammocks are made from thin brightly colored tightly woven strings that are more popular for camping because they are flexible and durable; they can hold up to 600 lbs. and fold to compact size.
Fabric hammocks are beautiful, comfortable, and known for their breathability. They also have no holes or gaps which provide a smooth surface and the ultimate comfort when compared to rope hammocks. They are usually made from cotton and therefore not very waterproof. The best types of hammocks for outdoor use are polyester canvas hammocks. The polyester material is more durable and weatherproof. The term “canvas” refers to the how tight the weave pattern of the hammock is. It can be a duck or plain pattern with duck being tighter one. The tighter the pattern, the more durable the hammock will be. Most camping hammocks are lightweight, portable, and compact.
Why Use a Hammock vs Tent
- They are easier to set up – find two trees or use poles
- You will be sleeping off the ground
- Easier to disassemble
- Cheaper and lighter
- If your hammock has a spreader bar, make sure that it is water-resistant
- Try to get a hammock that has quick drying weatherproof fabric if you will be purchasing a fabric hammock.
- Don’t purchase rope hammocks for children they can have some pretty large holes or gaps and are not the most comfortable.
- Do purchase a rain fly and mosquito net for your hammock.
- Fabric hammocks are much more comfy than rope hammocks
- You can place your gear in the hammock as long as you take this into consideration when you are selecting the proper width.
Want to lay in the shade? Here are a few vids that can help.
- An excellent video for newbies. I know the cold and hammocks don't generally go together, but check it out. And feel free to check out this channel.
- Okay, so this is a bit slow, but it's thorough. My advice - just sit back and give it a once-through.
- Another great instructional video. Unfortunately, I don't think he ever followed up with his "cold-weather" hammock video.
- This guy does a fairly good job at selling the Hennessy hammock - especially if you don't like getting wet at night!