What Should I Know Before Hammock Camping? [7 Quick Tips]

You just bought a camping hammock and are itching to go camping. You think to yourself: What should I know before hammock camping?

What do you need to know before you head out for your first hang? Here are 7 quick and practical tips to get you hammocking in a rush.

This entire site is full of tips for how to start hammock camping, learn more about it, and get better. For example, my guide to Hammock Camping for Beginners is a great place to start! In this post, you’ll get 7 quick and practical tips you should know before heading out if you are eager to get started fast.

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Beginner hammock camper ready to set out hammock camping

7 Quick and Practical Tips You Should Know Before Hammock Camping

1) Always bring insulation

Hammock camping beginners and newbies tend to forget about insulation. After all, you are hanging above the cold ground – how cold can it get?

Quite cold, actually.

You are free to experiment at home or for day hangs, but I wouldn’t head out backpacking with a hammock without some sort of insulation. And here you have two choices, in short:

  • Sleeping pad
  • Underquilt

Any old sleeping pad will do for starters. Toss it inside your hammock and wriggle around till you get it tweaked in. You can also get a double-layer hammock with its own pocket for the pad.

Underquilts hang under your hammock, warming up the air near your body while blocking wind and cold drafts from your butt.

They can get quite expensive, so if you don’t want to invest in the beginning a pad will do just fine. Not to mention some happy hammock campers also prefer the feeling of sleeping on a pad.

2) You can use a sleeping bag

I sometimes see or hear advice about sleeping bags when hammock camping.

It goes a little like this: “Avoid sleeping bags when hammock camping, the bottom is squished and then you won’t be insulated beneath you. Get a topquilt instead.”

I think this advice is based on them misunderstanding when they got the advice from someone else. Every sleeping bag will be squished and lose insulating properties on the underside. Not just for hammock camping, but tent camping, and so on. That is what the sleeping pad is for.

The advantage of using a topquilt instead is first and foremost in cutting weight and bulk.

In other words, it is fine to use the sleeping bag that you already have, with the sleeping pad you already have, inside your hammock.

3) Not bringing a bug net will be your biggest regret that night

how to keep bugs away when hammock camping

A bug net is easily forgotten or overlooked for your first hammock camping trip, but not the second.

Laying awake the entire night with bugs and mosquitoes nibbling on you can be mental terror.

Go check out the quick guide on Hammock Bug Nets, and you will get a grasp on the different types of bug nets and how to set them up.

4) Installing a structural ridgeline will ensure a consistent hang

Getting a structural ridgeline for your camping hammock will make sure you get the right amount of sag in your hammock. This is useful for getting consistent hangs.

structural ridgeline

Without one, if you were to tighten your suspension a lot, your hammock would be straight as an arrow. With one, your hammock would still get the same sag, pretty much.

You can also hang stuff from your ridgeline, and install a ridgeline organizer on it to put your items in.

Check out Shug’s Tutorial Videos on the subject. He has a lot of great YouTube videos on hammock camping which he has been putting out over many, many years. It is packed full of fun and quirkiness for an added bonus!

5) You never know when it’s going to rain

If you are hanging out and hammocking in your backyard or close to your car, I am sure you can do just fine with just your hammock, seeing as you have a safe “retreat” from bad weather.

For your backpacking plans, however, you should bring some sort of tarp or rainfly to keep you dry and warm from rain and wind.

You can always toss a cheap $5 tarp in the backpack and head out, but try to avoid the worst tarp mistakes by preparing beforehand.

6) Practice hanging your hammock

One of the most important things before hammock camping, especially the first time or when you get new gear, is trying stuff out at home first.

What should I know before hammock camping?

Hammock camping can require a fair bit of tweaking to get the hang of it. Particularly for beginners.

The last thing you want is to end up with a poor hang and no sleep, or worse yet, roaming around in the forest at night unable to figure out your hammock hang.

7) Don’t give up

If you try hammock camping and get a poor experience, it can quickly put you off from trying it ever again.

Getting drenched, eaten by bugs or poor sleep can easily happen if you jump carelessly into hammocking. By taking these tips to heart and being prepared, you are already to the races.

If you end up with a less-than-optimal experience, however, remember that it gets better with practice. And when you master hammock camping, it is certainly more fulfilling and comfortable than tent camping, in my opinion.

Conclusion On 7 Tips to Know Before Hammock Camping

To enjoy hammock camping, it’s crucial to remember insulation is key, with options like a sleeping pad or underquilt to combat the cold air beneath you. Staying warm is a safety concern. But there are other safety issues as well, so make sure to brush up on the safety guide for hammock camping, so you stay safe.

Despite common advice, using a sleeping bag with a pad inside your hammock is perfectly fine, offering warmth and comfort.

A bug net is indispensable to avoid a night of discomfort from insect bites. Installing a structural ridgeline ensures a consistent and comfortable hammock sag.

Finally, always be prepared for rain by bringing a tarp or rainfly, and practice setting up your hammock at home to avoid any issues during your adventure.

Now go plan your first hammock camping trip!

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