Hammock camping is a seriously lightweight, surprisingly comfortable, and extremely fun alternative to tent camping. But it can be intimidating at first. If you’re new to hammock camping, the idea of sleeping suspended between two trees might seem a little farfetched. For starters, what kind of equipment do you even need? Camping with a hammock requires a whole different gear list than tent camping. And then there’s actually setting all of that gear up.
Your Hammock The single most important piece of hammock camping gear is, of course, the hammock itself. You need a hammock that is lightweight, durable, and comfortable. Look for a model that is specifically designed for camping or backpacking. Though there are dozens of models available, here’s what we believe you need to look for in the best camping hammock: Lightweight (packs down small) Durable materials High weight capacity Versatile anchor points
Compatible with most accessories The ENO SingleNest Hammock (as well as its two-person counterpart, the ENO DoubleNest Hammock) meets these qualifications perfectly. Both hammocks are not only specifically designed for camping and backpacking, but they’re also lightweight (1lb and 1lb 3oz, respectively), constructed from high-strength 70-denier nylon taffeta, and hold up to 400 pounds. The SingleNest and DoubleNest come with high-strength aluminum wire carabiners so you can attach the hammock to a wide variety of solid anchor points. Finally, these two camping hammocks are compatible with all ENO hammock camping gear (including the Atlas Hammock Suspension System, DryFly Rain Tarp, and SoloPod Hammock Stand) as well as many accessories from other brands.
The second most important piece of hammock camping gear are the support straps or suspension system. This is the equipment used to support the hammock between two anchor points (usually two trees while camping or backpacking). Some hammocks come with a built-in suspension system. Others come with a suspension system that must be attached and reattached with each use.
Hammock Camping Accessories Though none of these are technically required for hammock camping, there’s no denying that they can make or break your enjoyment of the experience. A rainfly is perhaps the number one hammock camping accessory you need. It will keep you warm and dry all night long no matter the weather. The best models also have a gear storage compartment to safely stash your gear during big storms.
Another piece of hammock camping gear that I always like to pack is a bug net. Designed to keep mosquitos and other annoying critters at bay, the best models deliver 360-degree protection by covering your entire hammock. Specially designed to fit comfortably inside a camping hammock, an underquilt adds a whole lot of insulation, allowing you to stay warm at night. This accessory truly makes cold weather hammock camping in the winter possible.
A sleeping bag is the traditional sleep setup for most campers. Yet even slim-profile mummy bags can be uncomfortable in a hammock. A top quilt is a good alternative. Lightweight and extremely portable, these warm quilts can be used alone or alongside a sleeping bag for additional warmth.
Car campers and others unconcerned about lots of additional weight might be interested in adding a sleeping pad to their hammock camping gear list.
Paracord has a million uses. I always bring a role while camping (hammock or tent). With hammock camping, I’ve used a length of paracord to safely suspend my hammock in a pinch.
A quality set of camping stakes can help you set up a tarp, rainfly, or other shelters (when used with guylines). When the weather calls for a lot of wind. When it boils down to it, there’s little reason not to invest in an actual hammock camping rainfly, except for, perhaps, cost. Those that prefer a more versatile rainfly that works on its own just as much as with a hammock should invest in a tarp.
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