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For more than a thousand years the hammock has provided a simple and comfortable place to sleep. As basic as a fabric hung between two trees, the hammock has found itself helpful to the original explorers and continues to be a favored choice of camping today. The benefits of hammock camping make it easy to see why this sleeping arrangement is increasing in its popularity for the use of camping.
With the history of being as simple as a cloth and yarn, the hammock has evolved to a much more refined backpacking tool. Though there are many different types of materials used for hammocks today, I prefer those made of nylon. Nylon is a mix of woven synthetic materials, and it is found to be beneficial in many modern camping hammocks.
Nylon hammocks are made to be ultra-lightweight. They even daunt the name “parachute hammock.” This name is an accurate description of the material’s strength and ability to hold large amounts of weight. However, these hammocks are not exactly like a parachute, so don’t go jumping out of any moving vehicles with them.
Nylon is strong to begin with, but interwoven and overlapped layers of fabric insure an even stronger hold. The average camping hammock will easily hold between 300-500 pounds.
This hammock material is also breathable, making it quick to dry out and allowing air to flow through on hot days or nights. You don’t have to worry about a little bit of dew getting on the hammock in the morning. It will dry out fast.
Parachute hammocks are easily packed into equally as light bags. Usually these pouches are attached to the hammock itself for people like me who lose those tiny bags. Once packed, the bags fit easily in, or on a backpack. The only other thing you must think about is the tools to hang your hammock. Some old-fashioned rope can do the trick, but I prefer to use hammock straps for their conveniences. The hammock straps (typically sold separately) weight two pounds or less and take up very little space. With the ultra-easy portability, hammocks can come along with you on day trips, backpacking, and afternoons outdoors.
From its portable bag, the hammocks can unfold into a seat or sleeping arrangement that is quick and easy to set up. All you need is two objects that are stationary and an appropriate distance apart. We’ve used trees, vehicles, boulders, and a combination of several other objects to achieve an optimal hammock set-up. Once you find your stable anchors, all you have to do is wrap your rope or hammock straps around those objects, check to make sure you are secure, then dive right in. On average, this process takes about 2 minutes, then the rest of the time is spent relaxing in the hammock without a care in the world.
While I enjoy hammocks for the purpose of sitting and relaxing, the camping hammock can be used for so much more. Obviously, a camping hammock can be used for sleeping, or camping. This sleeping arrangement is optimal for backpacking and hot summer nights. The hammocks simplicity and light weight is idea for backpacking trips where a tent adds much more weight to your pack. In addition, those hot summer nights are much more enjoyable with the breathable fabric of a hammock.
The location is also a perk. Set up your hammock over creeks, sandy shores, cliff sides, and more without the fear of it blowing away. You do not even have to look around for an official “campsite” to set up your bed. The flexibility of no set campsite can provide much better views to wake up to.
If you are looking to invest in camping gear, but do not want to put down a tun of money for a tent and all its fixings, a hammock could be a better choice for you. Most hammocks will cost well under the price of a tent. There are also hammock accessories which allow for more comfort such as sleeping pads, mosquito nets, rain tarps and more. However, these accessories are not necessary to enjoying the night in a hammock.
Overall the hammock is an excellent piece of gear to enhance your outdoor experience. Its design, strength, and versatility makes the hammock a reliable tool in the realm of outdoor gear. Being far lighter and cheaper than a camping tent, the hammock may just be what you need to mix up your backpacking adventures. From being the perfect portable seat, to a comfortable sleeping arrangement, the hammock is an excellent choice.
Do you enjoy hammock camping? What tips and tools do recommend for camping with a hammock? Leave your responses in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!