Can You Sleep on Your Side in a Camping Hammock?

Can You Sleep on Your Side in a Camping Hammock?

Side sleeping in my camping hammock was a worry of mine before buying my first camping hammock. As I pretty much always fall asleep on my side, the thought kept coming back to me: Can you sleep on your side in a camping hammock?

The short answer is yes, you can sleep on your side in a camping hammock. Not all camping hammocks will be as comfortable for side sleeping, however, and you need a little bit of technique to get the hang of it, no pun intended.

Sleeping on your side in a hammock can be achieved by either laying down diagonally in an end-gathered hammock or by using a lay-flat hammock tent or bridge hammock. Using either variation lets your body stretch out and sleep in a straight position. This will allow you to sleep comfortably on your side in a hammock. 

Related: Hammock Camping 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

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Can You Sleep Comfortably on Your Side in a Camping Hammock?

The level of comfort you will be able to achieve in your camping hammock depends on a few things. If you are a tall person and get a camping hammock on the shorter side, for example, an ENO hammock, it can be harder to get the proper comfort needed as you simply don’t have enough fabric for your size for side sleeping.

If you want to sleep on your side you need to have enough fabric so you can get a very straight hang or lay. Being bent on your side is no bueno.

Getting comfortable sleep on your side in a camping hammock is dependent on hanging your hammock right.

I recount many tent camping trips where I was slightly uneven on the ground. Getting poked by a rock or a tree root through your mattress in the night is not an unfamiliar happening either.

When you sleep on your side in a camping hammock, at a slightly diagonal position or stretch your legs out in a lay-flat hammock tent, you can sleep even better than you would on the ground or in a tent since you are up and away from rocks and uneven terrain.

Side Sleeping Is Important for Many Hammock Campers

About 54% of people prefer to sleep on their side. Therefore it’s important to give some good pointers to this question since many hammock campers will be side sleepers.

Side sleepers vary between stretching out, and the fetal position. It makes sense that the hammock should allow for both these positions, to allow comfortable side sleep.

Let’s dive into the important parts affecting our position and sleep in the hammock. 

Which Factors Are Important for Good Side-Sleep in a Hammock?

One of the most important factors for comfortable side sleep is being able to lie straight. Once you start curving up, your back and side will be sore as a tenderloin after an hour or two. We already touched briefly on hammock length being a factor. If you’re 6 feet (around 180cm) or taller, you’d want an 11-foot hammock, at least.

To sleep comfortably on your side in your camping hammock, you have to consider the style of hammock you want to sleep in. Fabric also plays a role.

You have different types of camping hammocks that each offer their advantages and drawbacks while being very different to lay down in.

3 common camping hammock styles that offer different side sleeping abilities:

  • Gathered-end hammock
  • Bridge hammock
  • Hybrid hammock

If you want to dive deeper into the different types, read the article above. In short, I get the best side sleep in my bridge/hybrid hammock, the Haven Tent.

A double-layer hammock with a pad for more comfortable side sleeping

Then, you can have a single-layer or double-layer hammock among the regular types of hammocks.

A single-layer hammock has one layer of fabric, and that is all that is under you. It’s lighter, but harder to use with a sleeping pad. At least in theory.

A double-layer hammock has two layers of fabric, with a pocket between the two layers. You can place a pad between the two layers. Having two layers of fabric makes the hammock stronger and more suited for carrying a heavier person. Some people also use a double-layer hammock for added protection against bugs.

Points to consider when picking a camping hammock as a side sleeper:

  • How tall are you? 
  • How long is your hammock? 
  • How wide is your hammock?

Testing out different hammocks would be smart, to ensure you have enough fabric in your hammock to sleep diagonally.

how can you sleep comfortably in a camping hammock

How Can You Sleep Comfortably on Your Side in a Camping Hammock?

Getting comfortable in a hammock as a side sleeper might seem tricky at first, but with a few adjustments, it’s definitely achievable. Here are some actionable tips to help you find that sweet spot for a good night’s sleep under the stars.

  • Aim for a 30-degree angle on suspension: This helps give you the optimal hang in a gathered-end hammock, which ensures you don’t end up like a banana.
  • Find the Right Angle: Lie diagonally across the hammock. This position helps flatten your body more effectively than lying straight, distributing your weight evenly and reducing the cocoon effect.
  • Choose a Spacious Hammock: Opt for a double or wide hammock. It offers more room to achieve the diagonal position comfortably without feeling constricted.
  • Add Padding: Use a sleeping pad or two for extra insulation and to create a flatter, more structured base. This makes side sleeping much more comfortable.
  • Invest in a Pillow: A small, lightweight camping pillow can significantly improve neck and head alignment. If space is a concern, consider a stuff sack filled with clothes as an alternative.
  • Practice Beforehand: Test your setup in a safe environment before your trip. Experiment with different configurations to find what works best for you.

With these tips, you’ll not only enhance your comfort but also improve your overall sleep quality in a hammock. Remember, the right setup is key to ensuring you wake up refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

Can You Sleep on Your Side in a Camping Hammock?

Which Hammocks Are Best For Side Sleepers?

My best recommendation for some solid side sleep in a hammock is the Haven Tent Hammock

The whole concept of the hammock is designed for a flat lay. Which is ultimately what you want for sleeping on your side. It also gives you everything you need in one kit. The hammock, pad, rainfly, bug net, stakes, and guy lines.

It also doubles as a tent, if you set it up with your trekking poles or sticks.

I have personally, as a side sleeper, slept many nights out in the Haven hammock, and I sleep like a baby every time. It has really leveled up my sleeping experience while I’m out camping.


It’s time to get your best sleep in a hammock. Get out there and try some hammock, or read some reviews and measure.

Hammocking is rarely perfect on the first try, so hang in there, and hang around for more tips!

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